iPhone-wielding enemy trumps Defence

iPhone-wielding enemy trumps Defence

Summary: Department of Defence chief technology officer (CTO) Matt Yannopoilos today said Defence was being beaten in Afghanistan by enemies accessing information quickly via iPhones.

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Department of Defence chief technology officer (CTO) Matt Yannopoilos today said Defence was being beaten in Afghanistan by enemies accessing information quickly via iPhones.

Matt Yannopoilos

CTO Matt Yannopoilos
(Credit: Defence)

At the Australian Computer Society (ACS) Canberra Branch conference this morning, Yannopoilos said "bad guys" in the war-torn country were making better use of available data by "using iPhones and applications — and multiple SIM cards — and going much faster than we are", despite the fact that Defence had more intelligence at its fingertips.

"Information is what is the thing to sort out in a modern warfare," he said. "It's less about how much lead [metal] you can rain down on somebody and more about: Do you know where they are? Do you know what they are doing? And how do you get that information to your forces?"

Defence currently has around 4500 applications storing data, and a range of data warehouses gleaning information from various sources such as sensors, ships, aeroplanes and radars, according to Yannopoilos.

"Defence is one almighty information collection machine. It generates more info than I've ever seen," he said.

However, Defence's information was stuck between "silos" of data, with most of it going unused unless someone happened to be looking at it carefully, he said. In the future, Defence hopes to have data that is not separated into application silos so that it can be used by other applications when required.

Yannapoilos said people had to be more disciplined around the way they stored information. "It's something we've got to do, otherwise we're not going to realise our network-centric objectives, and we're not going to realise the information superiority that we have."

He also hoped in the future to be able to develop applications quickly to fit Defence needs, pointing out that while creating an iPhone application might take two weeks, developing a Defence application can take two years.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Government, Government AU, Malware

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6 comments
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  • Thank you for letting Australia know that all our defence data is stored on a "Collins-class" mainframe system.
    Treknology
  • Readers of this post might be interested in what the US Army's "Apps for the Army" program is all about: http://www.istrategylabs.com/2010/02/apps-for-the-army-a-first-of-its-kind-app-dev-contest-for-mil/
    corbett3000
  • Never heard a bigger crock of rubbish in all my life. We could control very Mobile Telecommunications tower in all Afghanistan if we wanted and your telling me a mountain dwelling afghan with an 'iPhone' could be beating us at our own game? Get real, you can not honestly believe that, can you?
    OPK-4c076
  • Want to overthrow infidel imperialist Western pigdogs?

    There's an app for that.
    aaargh-13463
  • They are sending a little bit of information to a specific recipient.

    Trying to find that particular sender or receiver when they and the 'when' are unknown, is a whole other story.
    Patanjali
  • I really despair when I read, yet again, "Defence's information was stuck between "silos" of data, with most of it going unused" and the ongoing implication that Australian industry is failing to produce a solution. Last year, my company developed, implemented and tested a data mining application for Defence inside 6 weeks - it passed the Defence-designed acceptance tests with flying colours and the target Defence audience raved about the leap in capability it represented. And yet here we are, 12 months on, the software and the idea languishing on the shelf because no-one within Defence appears to have the will or the means to find a relatively trivial amount of money to implement it. The real hurdle seems to be that we are an innovative SME and are wholly Australian owned. I suspect that if we were a US-based multinational and had inflated the development price by an order of magnitude, there would no problem - Defence would find the money and would be lauding the ability of US industry to continue sucking ludicrous amounts of money from the Australian taxpayer. Bitter? - you bet!
    concord19