back to article Spooks' favourite IT firm tells Reg readers to grow up

Detica managing director Martin Sutherland wants to have a privacy debate with you, but reckons you need to grow up a bit first. As boss of the UK intelligence establishment's favourite IT contractor - now part of the UK defence establishment's favourite megacorp, BAE Systems - he's well aware of the tension between what's …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Mature conversation?

    He is a big poopy head

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'll start thinking about that once I'm happy that I can trust the government with personal data that's potentially open to abuse. As I don't see how that's possible, his whole argument is irrelevant.

  4. citizenx

    Arrogant beyond belief

    So "we'll have your data eventually, like it or not"

    Instead of being "childish" and trying to prevent this, "grow up and tell us how you think we should use it - but consider this - you'll never know we've kept to the agreement".

    I think this greedy little man needs to think less about lining his own pockets and more about humanity.

  5. Jason Bloomberg
    Big Brother

    Who needs to grow up ?

    Burglary is not a problem related to leaving your doors unlocked but due to thieves nicking things. Disingenuous at best and the moral is don't facilitate abuse in the first place, oppose collection.

  6. Claire Rand


    its not so much the collection I care about, let them snow themselves under if they want, though I do object to paying for it.

    my issue is the fact people view the "database" as perfect, since to admit it has errors reduces its value, but it will get things wrong, but there tends to be no easy way to correct these mistakes.

    oh and coupled with el'govs tendancy to make the victim responsible for any mistakes they make.

    if these things are oh so useful *sell* the benefits properly, not with vauge staements ala ID cards, tell me what I get out of letting you have all this?

    i'd love a 100% linked up database, the gov stores my address etc, then makes it illegal for companies to do so,

    oh and since you have all my details i guess i;ll never need to apply for benefits, tax rebates etc, it will all be automatic right?

    thought not

  7. Graham Marsden


    "What matters in terms of privacy, according to Detica, is how they're used."

    No, what matters in terms of privacy is Data Troughing where every possible detail is being recorded on databases, whether it's actually needed (or justified).

    "Where investigations are directed in a more focussed way it means members of the public will not be investigated unnecessarily"

    No, members of the public should not be investigated *AT ALL* unless there are reasonable grounds for suspicion!

    This is just a piece of post-hoc spin trying to justify holding large amounts of data by saying "trust us, we won't look too hard at your information, honestly!"

  8. Anonymous Coward

    I'm innocent! I have nothing to fear!

    So he seems to be suggesting that, if we all agree to be monitored, tagged, database-enrolled, tracked, surveilled, profiled and data-mined, then the innocent among us will have nothing to fear as the authorities will only pursue the suspicious? Oh, where to begin...

  9. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    This the same BAE that cannot be trusted to not arm psycho dictators in third-world states, so the government troops can basically ride rough shod over even the most basic of human rights?

    I have no wish to discuss anything with anyone who has anything to do with BAE systems!

  10. regadpellagru
    Paris Hilton

    time factor

    ""The debate should be about how you process the data," Sutherland said."

    Kind of accurate, only lacking the time factir. The debate should in fact be "you get the data, *now* (if harvesting is allowed)", and you process it in the *future*.

    The consequence is, then, that you have no idea *how* it's processed when you give it away !

    Given some of the data is DNA samples that last from birth to death, you then get why people are worried about it, quite rightly.

    PH icon, since she got it back then, and it's been put all over the place, some time after

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The guy's selling snake oil; he's just another degenerate parasite who wants to make money from our fear. Screw him, and Gordon Brown too for that matter; we've all learnt how much we can trust these bozos.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re-evaluation needed

    Regarding keeping more data, Sutherland gets it completely wrong in my opinion ... unless he does think we are all children.

    If data isn't going to be used for a purpose, then it shouldn't be collected in the first place. As far as our overlords are concerned, having the data there is just asking for it to be used in any which way they want; they'll deal with the consequences in the very unlikely occurance that they are found out.

    The article deals with a number of issues, DDoS attacks, etc. but it is the growing number of databases and the information that they hold which is of concern, certainly to me. If the likes of 118800 and their cronies think they can buy and sell my personal information and that the Information Comissioner can get stuffed, then what chance does Joe public stand if the Government decides to increase the personal data it holds on us all?

    Regardless of who his competitors are, the government shouldn't be compiling this information ... full stop. That's the argument.

    Once you have a load of data, you can mine it to prove whatever you like depending on how you phrase the question. Already existing information on insurance claims is one thing, but collecting informtion which has no purpose is not acceptable; a point which seems to be lost in what reads to me to be much irrelevant comparison with other data usage in an attempt to justify more government data collection on behaviour.

    This is starting to sound like $cientology on a national government scale to me. If you don't like what they're saying, ensure you have enough data-dirt on them to discredit them.

  13. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    It's very easy...

    No database, no privacy problem. Sorted.

  14. Paul 4

    Very nice....

    So his way of closing down any debate on wether there should be a database in the first place is to call people names? Grow up...

  15. tfewster

    Pot, meet kettle

    > two people separately reported their cars, registered at the same address, had been damaged at the same time.

    By the same vandal? Or the same falling tree? Or one hit the other? Lots of innocent explanations, but if they continue assuming ANY coincidence => [fraud|paedophile|terrorist], then they're the immature ones

  16. Joefish

    Let's have that debate.

    I'll grow up and discuss it maturely and dispassionately, with personal interests set aside.

    He can quit his job and surrender his shares, to be sure there's no vested interest there either.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The insurance companies example is irrelevant anyway. They are given information (and a fee) in return for providing cover and it is understandable that they will use this to prevent fraud.

    The various government databases are compiled of information taken without consent and we have no control, or even influence, over how that data is used and abused. An earlier commenter points out how data has been abused in the past and only a fool would think it won't happen again.

    What we need is absolute opt-in on all databases and regulation to ensure our details are deleted when requested. This especially applies to govt. held data.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I want those who access my record(s) on a database to tell me every single time they do so, the name of the individual or program who did so, and the reason why. And they better provide it with some sort of markup, so I can easily process it.

    I'd be less unhappy with all these databases if their use was transparent, so that I could complain about any unreasonable usage.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    God Bless IBM

    "the Dutch census data used by the Nazis to hunt down Jews? Or the US census data illegally used by the Roosevelt"

    IBM data processing technology vendor of choice for the Third Reich, stunningly lethal when coupled with the cold calculating and ruthlessly efficient German logic

  20. Mr Jolly
    Big Brother

    Ding Dong - Message for Martin Sutherland

    Dear Mr Sutherland

    Take your intrusive pieces of kit along with the IMP/MTI probes and shove them where the sun doesn't bloody well shine.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mr Jolly.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Vested Interest Talks up Conditions Favourable to their Interest...

    enough said really.

  22. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!
    Black Helicopters

    Not the collection, but how it is used?

    So, by extension, he would have no problem with me trailing him everywhere with a video camera, refusing to tell him what I'm doing with the footage, and making no assurances that it won't "accidentally" be interspersed with footage from before decisions that will affect his life and liberty are made on the contents of his footage by deranged baboons, and a laptop containing said footage is left on an unencrypted laptop on the 5.15 to Birmingham?


    (PS: AC @ 11:09, "Mature Conversation" - New monitor, please....!)

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Stupid man

    Its Sutherland who needs to grow up.

    Obviously the data that is stored, how it may be processed and the use to which it may be put are inextricably linked. You cannot process data that doesn't exist and you cannot misuse data that you don't have.

    What it boils down to is the following question:-

    "Does the system store only the data it needs to perform its specified role?"

    If a system stores data that *exceeds* its published requirements/roles then the question has to be asked: "Why is data item X being stored when there is no *published* requirement to do so?"

    In the case of the NIR it is obvious that data is being stored beyond its purpose as described by the Government (verifying the identity of persons in the UK). To perform this task it does *not* need to store full fingerprint profiles, a hash value is more than sufficient.

    So you have to ask *why* does the NIR store full biometric profiles? Which leads us on to how those full profiles may be processed and used, either now or in the future?

    Saying "its not about the data, its about how it is used" is like trying to disassociate a disease from the organism that causes it.

    Stupid, stupid man!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Name calling

    So he's aware that the privacy debate has swung strongly against his views and has no real answer other than name calling?

    My data, not yours, my right to privacy on that data, not a discussion as to how you can use it.

    There is no case to answer, he has zero right to my data and I have full rights to privacy and that is written into my human rights.

  25. Andrew Moore
    Thumb Up


    we might need to grow up but Sutherland definitely needs to get his head out of his own arse. He and others of his ilk (I'm looking at you Etrugrul) should have details such as telephone numbers, addresses, email addresses, info about spouse/kids all posted on a publicly accessible database- let's see how they like it. And then use the "it's how the data is used" argument right back at them when they inevitably ask for the database to be taken down.

    Sutherland cannot predict how our private data will be used in the future and/or by other depts and governments. Just as I cannot predict how his data would be used by the general public if made available as suggested.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stasi! Stasi! Stasi!

    The more I read about surveillance the more it gets my hackles up. Whatever 'good' he claims his company is doing society remember it is there to make a profit. So he will try to justify the intrusive nature of what he does and the cost. Yet a recent support into NSA surveillance suggests such data-ming isn't anywhere as effective as hoped. The worst thing is is that there has been no real debate about this in Parliament. Even though a new Communications Data Bill is due to go through all the talk seems to be as if it is done & dusted. So much for democracy. I suspect even if the government lose they'll find some way to justify it. I now think it is time that we realised that the government don't care about the freedoms we used to enjoy and are determined to profile everyone some kind of potential risk to society. We do now live in a police state. What we must do is be as unco-operative and evasive as possible. We should make it as difficult as possible for the security services to build profiles of us all (which I believe is the ultimate aim of IMP).

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I promise not to misuse YOUR data

    Tell you what, Mr Sutherland, you trust me with all YOUR data and I'll trust you with all mine. Let's start with the BAE defence stuff. Just send me an unencrypted memory stick with all your classified corporate and commercially sensitive stuff on it - I'll promise honest, God's truth, cross my heart and hope to die, on my granny's grave, not to lose it, or tell anyone about it. In fact I promise not to even look at it. Fair deal? After all - its not the collection that counts, it's what we DO with it? Wasn't that your point? And we can trust the government and we can trust private enterprise - can we? You can certainly trust me, I'm a man of my word.

    Of course you won't do that. You'd be mad to do it. I feel the same way actually. And with good cause. I have already seen what the government DO with my data, and what private companies do with it. My data has been lost by the tax authorities, stolen from the Ministry of Defence, lost or sold by private companies, exposed on the internet, and passed on to third parties by companies who told me it wouldn't be. I KNOW what gets done with it. That's why I don't like it being collected and centrally collated. I really do not think that is immature. It's just realistic.

    And finally - I think you are understating the power of the processing that can be done. I've been reading Bruce Schneier. According to him a LOT more can be done with our data than YOU are suggesting. And I trust him.

  28. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Has Detica HyperRadioProActive Competition for Cyber Security Gravy Train/Sticky Sweet Trolley?*

    "Sutherland and his head of security and risk David Porter reported that Detica's R&D department is working on network defence technology - suitable for commercial and government applications - that it says will be able to tackle novel attacks."

    MeThinks they shall not even be able to shepherd them. The Best Plan would be to mount a Better Novel Attack and lead Virtually in the Field but that does require ESPecial Personnel in the Key Driver Chain Channels ..... of Authorisation.

    Someone once said it is easier to apologise than to ask permission, and they were not wrong.

    * Does the Pope wear a funny hat?

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Will software spot patterns of...

    insurance companies ripping off the public?

  30. Psymon
    Big Brother

    So we are told we MUST trust gov and BAE with this data...

    When, as the article so clearly shows, BAEs very business model is based on mission creep?

    Develop a tech, then try to ply said tech to as many diverse applications as possible to maximise profits?

    Trust isn't readily given to organisations that habbitually betray it, either through miguided good intentions, insidious motives, or good old fashioned incompetence.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Yes how could databases be misused...

    ...I mean immature behaviour by a teenager is soooo evil !

    You will confirm, you will conform.

    You sir, are an arse!

  32. bertrodinsky

    All you need to know

    is that this person effectively works for NuLabour. If knowing that, you still believe a single word he says or trust him one iota I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in buying.

  33. I didn't do IT.

    (Non) Value Add

    Joe Pleb to Gub'mint: "So, what _are_ you going to do with it?"

    That's the point, really. We are _already_ debating about how the data is processed; we see examples *EVERY DAY* how the data is manipulated, twisted, and "analysed" to such a state that Gub'mint assumes someone is a Jew^H^H^H Terrorist because one of his grandparents is of a certain religion or nationality. Suddenly, vast swathes of innocent people become "necessarily" investigated.

    But the "investigation" isn't done by someone doing interviews with coworkers, associates, or relatives, or even deigning to see what is going on with their own eyes and mind. Its done by, again, the database and its biased, prejudiced, and unethical "analyses". They want the "perfect machine" to judge innocence. Is this because they no longer trust themselves, or just because they are too lazy to take responsibility for their "vaunted" efforts?

    If "the machine" says it is so, IT MUST BE TRUE. If it (however possibly remote) made a mistake, then its not MY fault, is it Citizen? It must be YOUR problem for not supplying the proper information, ISN'T THAT RIGHT?

    What can a humble Subject of the Crown (or Resident [Citizen] of the State over here) do? What has any hope of preventing this travesty from happening against him? By stopping the wholesale. gluttonous slurping of his personal details and private dealings before it becomes sucked up, and instantly out of date or irrelevent.

    If the Gub'mint really did do something useful with the information - EVEN OSTENSIBLY - such as automatically file tax returns (from the existing reports from companies about how much money is paid to employees, and how much tax was paid to HMRC), automatically apply for benefits (from existing reports of fire, death of parent as a minor, etc. through NHS, etc.), etc. But then again, the poor plods can't even get or keep their own little digital fiefdoms in line; continually putting out misreported earnings vs. tax, unable to determine proper road tax, unable to get a clue about what they are doing with *THE DATA THEY ALREADY HAVE*, let alone the huge, fat dripping, data deluge they are gagging for.

    It may have been a sensationalized film, but I for one am contributing to pay rights for public showings of the film "V", and other "subversive films"(?!) here in the Colonies. We need examples to show what is going wrong *RIGHT NOW*. Isn't it "A Bad Thing" when the dystopian "fiction" films of Hollywood are becoming today's headlines?!

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Well said Martin

    Sounds ok as long as the government doesn't try to sell my details, get enough junk mail aready. As long as the naughty people are caught i don't mind...

    Detica are a good company, British success story, kicking ass over their competitors.

    I'd trust Martin Sutherland more than Gordon Brown.... can never trust a politician....

  35. Anonymous Coward

    I never intend to grow up!

    I intend to think like an 8 year old, using the knowledge I have but with the openness & as much innocence as I can maintain.

    Lack of imagination, unwillingness to take both the past & present into consideration, Intransigence & over Authoritarian views on either side of the argument are usually what causes the problems!

    From an old fuddy duddy who really know better :)


  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where was this muppet educated?

    This is how you kick it off, accuse most of Tech in the UK of being childish. Brilliant, I am sure no one in the world will rise to the challenge of going after your infrastructure after you have announced you're dealing with personal data, well done captain blunder.

    What are Martin Sutherland's credentials? I assume he can at least code all the products he is selling? I assume he has indepth knowledge of all the operating systems he is going to be defending? Or is he just a figure head, the child in the operation, stumbling around creating bad PR for Detica?

    Come on Detica employees, you must know this guy, what do you think of him, does he really live up to this grown up and fully aware moniker that he tries to implicitly attach to himself, or is he really just a fool blundering around, is he some ace computer science guy that actually know what he is talking about, or does he just see himself as a <del>parasite</del> <ins>facilitator</ins>.

    What does Martin Sutherland actually do?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Its not about the purpose, its about control

    "By identifying potential targets based on anomalies and hypotheses rather than starting with the individual, it helps balance security and privacy concerns."

    Google translate gives me the following result;

    "By gathering vast amounts of personal and private communication data without concern for a warrant, we get to pick out non-conformists, peace protestors, hippies, climate campaigners, and go on speculative fishing trips... rather than doing some proper detective work to identify the most serious and dangerous crooks who will never use unencrypted comms in any case"

    Its not about the purpose (however noble the cause). Its about control of information about me. I won't surrender control over my communications data without a fight.

    The UK is not a nation of criminal suspects.

  38. Tom 106
    IT Angle

    Dear Mr Sutherland

    I note from your comments to Elreg, that you say the debate should be about how you process data.

    My own concerns on the subject matter is who is allowed to access the data, and for what purpose?

    What assurances will I have of the data being secure?

    What reasons would a Civil Servant or Government contractor have for downloading the data to a laptop, USB key, or disc storage, whereby the storage device could be mistakenly misplaced, lost or stolen? Should there be a need for the data to be downloaded in the first place?

    Who is allowed to access the data, for instance, practically almost any person with a bit of savvy can telephone the DVLA and obtain details about a vehicle owner. Whilst our politicians and Government allow instances like this to take place, how can I as an individual trust the Government, politicians and contractors in keeping my data secure?

    Why should any individual or organisation be able to obtain details about the value of my vehicle and it's performance by way of sending my vehicle registration via SMS to a company, because said company want to profit from what I consider private and personal information about my vehicle.

    There are a variety of concerns Mr Sutherland, and those concerns need to be addressed from people like yourself, without you having to insult or patronise people in the way you have with your comments to elreg.

    If a debate is to take place, then I would like to see factors such as "the security of data, who can access the data, how data is updated, the removal of obsolete data, keeping correct data, and the quantity of data" being debated,

    I am not against the storing of data and for it's well intentioned purpose, but I do have concerns, especially in the light of day, when we know for a fact that data has been lost by Government, Civil Servants, and Contractors, and furthermore IT systems are not fully secure..

    Convince me by relieving me of my concerns, and then perhaps you would perhaps receive more support, (and less immaturity).

    Kind regards


  39. EnricoSuarve


    Y'see its not the people we irresponsibly arm the world over...

    It's where they keep putting the bullets, bombs and missiles...

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Collection and processing

    may be different things, but they are the same overall. The reason we have problems with the collection of data is because we don't trust the processing of said data. We don't trust those who will be processing it now, we don't trust those who will be processing it in future, we don't trust that any promises regarding the data processing will either be kept or that the rules will not be changed. In short it is a trust thing. And all the evidence shows we can't trust the politicians and we can't trust the private enterprises who pay the politicians to be awarded the contracts to process our data.

    I think we are fucking well grown up about this, you can fool little children quite easily but as we get older we get wiser.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Well said Martin

    Well said Martin, one positive comment, I guess all the negative responses are from people who work for rival companies and are jealous, perhaps they need to grow up!!!!!

  42. Hugh_Pym

    Trust the government?

    I don't know why everybody is so uptight about New Labour abusing their data, Do they think the Tories more trustworthy, less intrusive, less paranoid. After the expenses scandal you would have needed a micrometer to tell who was least trustworthy.

    No comrade whoever you vote for the Government always gets in.

  43. Professor Quatermass

    I will NEVER tell you why I resigned

    It's a private matter. And it's a pity we can't financially ruin companies complicit in this Labour Government's insidious schemes.

    I will not make any deals. I've resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered.

  44. teacake

    Is this guy for real?

    Mr Sutherland seem to think we're only concerned about humans processing our personal data. We're not. A data-mining algorithm is just as bad, if not worse. If you're running your data-mining tentacles over a database, you're still processing the data in it, you're still - how can I put this? - running fishing expeditions on millions of people.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Surely missing the point

    Surely the fact that a lot of though has gone into possible analysis of this data is why so many people do not want it collected.


    he can find a way to guarantee me that future governments will not abuse this data and that it will be retained securely indefinitely

    then I will have to -

    Leave the country, as it will have become a non-democratic state with no transparency as to the records it it keeping.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't think he gets it. Some points:

    1) It doesn't matter how ethically the data is processed, public sector including security services have time and time again proven they cannot keep it secure.

    2) There is no such thing as a perfectly accurate data mining algorithm for this sort of task and almost certainly never will be due to the random and chaotic nature of the data. As such the monkeys sifting through the data that has been mined out will be taken as correct and factual, but as the data is really imperfect, innocent people will get harassed and treated like terrorists just because the imperfect algorithms singled them out incorrectly.

    Come back to the table with a new argument when your unrealistic utopian view of things has been corrected and when you understand the limitations of what your technology can do and hence base your arguments around this rather than your fantasy of what they should be able to do in your utopia where all human actors working with the data are also infallible.

  47. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Phish Tickling ...... for Great White Shark Hunters

    "We should make it as difficult as possible for the security services to build profiles of us all (which I believe is the ultimate aim of IMP)." .... By Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 17th July 2009 12:01 GMT


    If you can be bothered to find the right wherewithall, you could try the exact opposite approach and create for them a persona which they would be interested in. And if they realise they are being groomed that should make them even more interested for then there is added Dynamically Flexibility in what are supposed to be Definitive Profiles. But the Bi and Multi Polar Players are always going to be Works of Art Defying Static Description.

    "What does Martin Sutherland actually do?" ... By Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 17th July 2009 12:32 GMT

    Ask that of any hot shot to know if they are in the right position.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't anyone pay any attention to anything?

    The biggest news story of the past month? Tabloid journalists using shady private investigators to hack phone systems, obtain bank statements, phone records, tax details, social security files, and vast amounts of other information on thousands of people. This has revealed, if you didn't know by now, that it's easy for anyone with a bit of money to buy any computer record on any system.

    With hundreds of thousands of people having access to big databases, it's hard to do anything about it - maybe Mr Sutherland should be campaigning for much more severe penalties for misuse (selling data, losing data, etc) if he wants us to feel more secure, especially as based on revelations of the past month the police don't seem to care about it. But maybe he'd rather hush it all up.

    Until we can prevent this kind of abuse, I really don't want any more databases. To talk about nazis and internment programs comes across as a bit paranoid: the fact that anybody will be able to buy any detail of your life should be a more pressing concern, for politicians and businessmen as much as anyone else.

  49. Luther Blissett

    This is the present incumbent of the Master Dalek?

    Doing some astroturfing ahead of deep budget cuts that will follow the day after the next general election?

    I recommend the prospective Chancellor take the easy decision now, on which IT projects to cut immediately, because the economy is indisputably screwed, and the depth of that is such a State Secret that no-one outside the Cabinet is supposed to know the true facts, that it will take a year to determine what to do.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Is this guy for real?

    He works for BAE, albeit in a round about manner, that's all you need to know.

    I'm a placid forgiving sort of person who likes to look for the good I believe is in everyone but there are no words in the abundant vocabulary of the English language to express the personality of a BAE drone. I think it was due to my nature I managed to last two weeks before literally walking out the door never to return again, I'm sure a less tolerant person would have left after one day.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"

    "which analyses in large datasets and flags unusual or suspicious patterns."

    Oh joy, so if you do things that 80% of the population don't you will be on "the list".

    Its ok though we will not assume your a [Commie|Jew| beared Muslim|insert current chosen "evil" minority group], we will just subject you to further checks (review your banking/travel/social networking/phone/ use untill we can find something to get you with).

    "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"

    "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security"

  52. jsp

    Is he perhaps...

    ... related to Aaron Kempf ?

  53. Anonymous Coward

    Epic Fail

    It's a bit like the govt collecting our credit card details and internet banking passwords but assuring us, "well we're never actually going to use them" - i'd much rather you didn't have the information at all TBH gordon - i can't trust you not to use my money to build yourself a duck pond.

  54. Infernoz Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    Cheeky Corporatist

    Wrong! Intrusive data Collection really does matter, if your get enough direct, or indirect, identifying, or worse mis-identifying, data, it can be misused later!

    You can only misuse data you have collected, so the use argument is a red herring. It is easy to backup over-broad data before a database is 'sanitised', and new analysis can be applied to one or more databases, so making the results far more intrusive than the original intent.

    The state can be both intentionally, and unintentionally, malevolent; the incompetence, and cynical erosion, of our political checks, has allowed this to occur.

    I don't trust the state at all, I try to have as little to do with it as possible.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "What matters in terms of privacy, according to Detica, is how they're used."

    To quote someone else who screwed the government: "Well he would say that, wouldn't he?"

  56. Anonymous Coward

    Pssst, it's a secret

    Don't anyone let McKinnon know that Sutherland REALLY has UFO secrets on his computers.

  57. Colin McKinnon


    I'd like to believe that Mr Sutherland bases his opinions on a rather idealised view of civil liberties.

    Under his proposals, I would be a terrorist suspect if I am seen to behave like a terrorist (by which I mean shopping in the same places, accessing the same websites - rather than more blatant terrorist behaviour like blowing things up).

    I shouldn't be too bothered about being a terrorist suspect since surely our criminal investigation bodies would never tamper with evidence, the courts would never convict someone wrongly, and I wouldn't be disadvantaged indirectly by, say getting the sack from my place of work due to investigation as a terrorist suspect?

    Except there are lots of documented cases where exactly that has happened.

    At least I am innocent until proven guilty, and can't be jailed without a public trial? Wait a, that's not the case any more.

    While we do have to put up with people pimping there warez regardless of their effectiveness, I think its sad and pathetic that in the past 15 years we have replaced a legal enforcement structure deigned to protect the innocent with one designed for punishing the guilty (with little regard to the collateral impact on the innocent).

    Civil liberties have intrinsic value for protecting the innocent.


  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    blahblahblah honest we're not a bunch of lying basterds like phorm - honest - blah blah blah. Hey don't look at our tax records!

    Once the government starts hoarding personal data that is irrelevant to the running of the country about its population it's about time you think about a revolution.

  59. The Metal Cod
    Big Brother

    What Is Martin Sutherland Lacking?





    I'd rather be accused of needing to grow up than lacking Clue, ethics, decency and/or morals.

    Or will you give me unfettered access to all of your personal data?

  60. EvilGav 1

    @ I didn't do IT

    You are so wrong, they wont use a database to find out if you are guilty, they will use Phrenology.

    Well, why not, it's about as scientific and reliable as an Über-database.

  61. Stevie


    What matters is not only how you use a database, but who you show it to. This is self evident.

    As for data mining: I can't tell you how useful those messages from Amazon are that pile up in my inbox, suggesting that since I bought "Programming Perl" and Jack McDevitt's "Cauldron" from them I would obviously need copies of "Programming Python", "Wicca For Dummies", "The Times Atlas of the World" and I dunno what else.

    Because there isn't a word in the English language for "less use than a totally useless thing for which no known use exsists outside of the vetrinary needs of the (extinct) megafauna of Planet Zongo, which I just made up". "Useless" doesn't begin to come close, and "Data Mining" is two words.

    And just in case that loopy idiot Aaron Whozizface is lying in ambush, I was a database administrator for 12 years on real databases running on real computers before I realised it was a loser's game and moved on. I listen not to the ravings of SQLJerks who's experience is entirely confined to toy computers running joke databases. I *know* the difference between data mining and "a query". But I also know that data isn't information.

    What was the question?

  62. Richard Porter

    Two cars damaged?

    So if two people sharing a house have their cars parked outside and someone crashes into them, or crashes into one and propels it into the other, or if drunken yous wlak past smashing windows, why is it suspicious that both cars got damaged at the same time? It's just this sort of faulty logic that worries everyone. You're labelled a fraudster because of some spurious conclusion drawn by some badly written government software.

  63. Frumious Bandersnatch

    false positives

    The example this guy gives to show the "benefit" (since it's of no benefit to anyone except insurance companies, snoops and other assorted control freaks) of the system and "that it works" is completely bizarre...

    "In a simplistic but real example, he said, the software noticed two people separately reported their cars, registered at the same address, had been damaged at the same time."

    Let's put this in another way... a man gets struck by lightening, then later in the same day he gets struck by lightning again. While this is certainly unfortunate, and we might consider him especially unlucky, we can't actually infer that the two events are in any way related, whether it's because of him being especially unlucky, cursed by a vengeful deity, because he's looking for attention, or whatever. Once he's had his first lightning strike of the day, which we could write as 1/p_strike, his chance of having another lightning strike in that day is still the same: 1/p_strike (give or take a few hours).

    So to get back to this "expert"'s example, for every person who has damage done to their car on a given day, and calling the probability that this happens is 1/p_damage, then if say there are 1000 reports of damage every day, then 1000/p_damage of them will be unfortunate enough to have two accidents that they need to report. There is nothing suspicious about this at all!

    Either this person has no understanding of basic statistics, or they are deliberately lying. Either way, I would not pay anything for advice from this person.

  64. Matthew Brown

    What a bloody fool...

    The man is either being deliberately disingenuous, or has his head in the proverbial sand.

    Data storage and misuse is no different from governments being given broad powers to control the general population - the guy who implements them may (MAY) be on the level; He's not the one you have to worry about. It's the twenty or so guys who come into office after him that you worry about.

    State intervention in any aspect of a citizen's life (even in the form of simple observation and tracking) must be viewed as a necessary evil, and accordingly kept to a minimum. Improved security does not justify any increased risks of infringement of personal liberty and freedom.

  65. Kai Lockwood

    Big Brother says...

    Be happy in your work. Cast your mind free of thoughts. Don't learn, just live. Like a pig, in a cage, on anti-biotics.

  66. Nomen Publicus

    No Magic Databases

    The average family changes address once every five years. If it takes a month for a change of address to be registered we can make a prediction that at any given moment about 15% of addresses in the database are wrong.


  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How's the fraud and corruption case against BAE going ?

    Still being investigated ?

    How much was it....hundreds of millions ?

    I'll bet not much info is available on their database about that !

  68. Enigma9


    I had a Job offer from these idiots, RFID and it's security applications.. Telling me to grow up, how about you grow up first, RFID has never been nor will it ever be a secure medium.

  69. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    I'm a teapot!

    Dear Politicians, Pig-ignorant Spindoctors and any other professional liars:

    I would like to introduce you to a new word: Context.

    Databases are merely collections of disjointed, context-free data. Data is not a "fact". It is just data. You need to analyse it *in context* to understand its meaning. Databases cannot do this. Computers certainly cannot do this—to a computer, EVERYTHING is just a bunch of numbers. Interpreting those numbers is entirely up to the programming. Only *humans* can apply meaning to a collection of data points, because only humans understand context.

    Unfortunately, humans are fallible. They are not robots. They are not machines. They WILL make mistakes. How you handle those mistakes defines the acceptability, or otherwise, of any IT system. (No bank would install a computer system without ensuring a workable paper-based alternative is in place as a backup, for example.)

    The problem with attempts at building national IT-centred projects is that this government—and those before it—are spectacularly ignorant about IT. Most of our MPs are plainly IT-illiterate. These people are in no way competent to define, describe or specify an IT project. They sure as hell aren't competent to *manage* one either.

    The only sensible solution here is simple: define a *standard data format* for the personal information the many departments would like to have access to. Those of us who choose to provide our details in this format will also be free to demand a token payment for the *privilege* of granting you access to our *valuable* data.

    *We*, the people, would therefore be responsible for looking after our own data, and we would have the right to pick and choose to whom we give it. If the Police, DVLA, etc. are happy to charge their own bosses—that'd be us, the people, again—for their services, I see no reason why we citizens shouldn't be permitted to do likewise.

    Defining open standards is a far better use of precious government time and resources than building mammoth, monolithic IT projects like the massively overpriced NHS, HMRC and police IT cock-ups.

  70. Anonymous Coward


    Sutherland, we have grown up thats why firms like yours and governments like the one we have now have problems. We've woken up to what is possible,and what is possible is not always what should be allowed. It's possible I could hit you with a lump hammer, but it's not allowed .

    The problem with databases is its my data, my personal data, my private data that you want and why should i give it to you and listen to you when your only interest is making money out of my data. Do I trust this government NO. Do i trust you NO. This mania for interception and profiling has gotten completely out of hand. When a government fears its people it spies on them.

    Roast in the flames

  71. Mike48
    Thumb Up

    I have only one thing to add...

    "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man,

    I would find something in them to have him hanged."

    Cardinal et Duc de Richelieu (9 September 1585 - 4 December 1642)

  72. Mr Young

    Data Collection

    Maybe it's just me but I consider any information about me actually belongs to me? Wait a minute - I should be receiving a fat license fee everytime it's accessed/viewed/used by anybody for any purpose? Like, eh, that'll happen! I'm not bashing Open Source either, cause you can give anything you want, for free, to anyboby, if you want! Har,Har,FAIL

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd love to have worked for them

    But I was drinking heavily until my mid 20s and they only take people with 2i s and above, the stupid knobheads.

    I have dealt with their staff though, 1sts and Phds I'm sure, and thick as pigsh*t in terms of inventing new concepts. Very good at getting upset at non diplomatic language though.

    A case of style over content if ever there was one.

    At the end of the day they're still a consultancy that likes to talk the job up.

  74. Schultz

    Nothing to fear

    I am confident they got their statistics properly worked out and make sure there is little chance for false positives. Such as having a confidence interval of 1 in 1000, oh, wait, that would be 6100 false positives, maybe a confidence interval of 1 in 1000000 --> 61 false positives -- darn, they must feel VERY confident here!

    BS in --> BS out, works for people and for databases!

  75. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    RE IBM & the 3rd Reich

    IBM Germany cut their teeth on the German census data (1935 IIRC) which was analysed in record time and down to the individual, not household level. The IBM tabulators of the time had special extensions made to their design to facilitate this work.

    Very hand for dropping out specific groupd of people, or groups of people in a particular area of town. With a printer you can even cross reference addresses.

    So useful for efficient "processing" of the unwanted elements.

    So profitable for IBM corporate in New York, which IIRC was where the profits ended up.

  76. Anonymous Coward

    What an idiot

    The intentions of the enemy are not of great interest, only the capabilities. Intentions may change at the drop of a hat...

  77. Stewart Haywood

    I have a grown up question........

    Over time my personal data will change. Very simply, phone numbers, home address, employer, vehicle registration numbers etc etc will change. The changing data will result in an accumulation of errors over time. Also, there will be data entry errors in the data base resulting in an accumulation of errors as the size of the database increases and as changes are made to it. How are they going to manage this problem?

    Just think of all the people leaving home to go to university/college every year, all those leaving university/college to go to work or on the dole every year. Who in their right mind would think that these people are going to update their personal information at every move? Hands up all those who are driving around with drivers licenses with an incorrect address on them.

    It is not too difficult to imagine some poor serial suicide bomber being shot on a train because he lives where an evil Brazilian electrician used to live and the electrrician failed to update his information before dying.

  78. jake Silver badge

    75 comments as I type.

    And only two positive about the twat's comments. And both of those are AC ... both whom typed pretty much the same thing. I'd bet my bottom dollar that they were posted from the same IP address, and if so I'm almost equally certain they were the twat himself. I mean, do YOU know anybody stupid enough to believe that drivel?

    Send a message, folks ... Vote out all the incumbents until you get it right!

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Is there vested interest?

    If so, when the vested interest is removed how much credence can we put on those comments?

    My answers: zilch, nada, zero, nil, nought, nowt, nu'hin, ...

    Mind you, credence to el reg that the guy thinks commenting to/on el reg will talk the job up and accelerate drafting up a contract.

    Flushed it out?

  80. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    How the databases are being used?

    When a CEO of a failing company has 12 million shares of stock that could be worth $0.003 each if he uses the data ethically, or $15 each if he screws everybody and their family... Has everybody forgotten the dot-bombs of 10 years ago? Ah, Sutherland worked with the government. No chance of corruption there.

  81. Anonymous Coward

    I refuse to grow up

    and why would I debate privacy with mr Sutherland or any other industry lizard. I am sure existing markets in some of the more repressive countries on the planet will continue to ensure Detica are a British success. Money before morality and a profit at any cost?

  82. LaeMi Qian

    As inspired by XKCD

    Everyone change their names to obscure database-tangling commands.

    Or include odd unicode characters.

    Or silent non-pronounceables. (I recall a book character who changed his name to Hen4ry - the 4 is silent - specifically to screw up databases that refuse a number in a name field.)

    Or take a leaf out of Monyt Python (cultural precedent there) and become a nation of people ALL called Kevin Yohannas Bloggs (yes, even the girls).


    Or everyone with a brain could move en-masse to a nice UK peninsular, buy some razor-wire and declare independence (sadly, you can guarantee that within 2 generations your progeny will gave screwed it up all over again).

  83. ed2020


    "What matters in terms of privacy, according to Detica, is how they're used."

    What complete and utter bollocks! So if an organisation watches your every move, and collects all possible data on you, but does nothing with the information, there are no privacy issues?

    Does he think we're all morons?!

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ AC

    "You cannot process data that doesn't exist and you cannot misuse data that you don't have."

    That post sums it up, right there!

    Martin Sutherland is either a complete moron or utterly disingenuous if he thinks he can categorically say exactly how collected data will be used in the years to come.

    Unless this guy is clairvoyant, he should just STFU.

    There have been countless examples of Government abuse of existing data, not to mention their desire to share it at every available opportunity with the little Hitlers in local councils (and anyone else who takes their fancy). So it really doesn't take much imagination to see how this would end up.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to process the data?

    I highly suggest processing all of it with a destructive worm.

    You probably don't agree.

    Perhaps if you actually had public oversight, you would be in a prison cell, where Bubba could help you grow up. I can't imagaine you'd do well in there as Bubba's bitch, judging by your photo.

    Sadly, we have our own problems over here in the US, but I do wish my fellow human beings in England all the best in getting a grip on these spys. (And the fascism which supports it all) While I do agree a nation does need to do some spying, that spying needs to be under a warrant and have public oversight. Both our nations need a strong national defence. I am not stupid, I am a veteran of the USAF. I took an oath to protect the President of the United States, and the Constitution of the United States. Yet, I can't actually carry that out because it's not clearly defined how to arrest people like you--in my own country. Good luck to citizens of the UK.

    (Excuse me for flipping back and forth between countries--it's meant as an example which explains the situation)

    However, what you're real agenda is going against your own people. Just like the oath breakers in my own country are currently doing.

    Therefore my suggestion for fighting an invisible enemy (and electronic signals are invisible) is simply destroy it, ergo the worm suggestion. Really it doesn't even need to be a worm, remove the drives, remove the backups, put them in a pile and melt them down and make a statue out of it, bolt it to the ground in the middle of the public square. As a reminder to the people of what "dark government" should never be allowed to do.

    Until there is public oversight in both our corresponding countries, people like you will likely consider me a domestic enemy (actually I am the patriot), and I will consider you the domestic enemy, except I would be powerless to stop you. Neat how that works huh? There's a reason in the USA they won't clarify what to do when someone breaks their sworn oath. That reason is because all of the people like you would be in prison fairly rapidly.

    If you think about physics, electronics, and the physical world. There really are no more secrets. ( Oh sure there are some in our jets and rockets) However, we know you abuse anything electronic, torture, assasinate, and destroy. It's pointless to bitch about FIOS splitters when everyone is too chicken shit to cut them out of the system. And the corporate media blacklists everything while calling itself journalism.

    Really anything the mind can dream up, your already doing it. It's no secret. Your no better than the enemy we swore to defend against.

    Bottom line is,

    There's nothing really secret at all, except people like you covering up your own crimes, while simultanously trying to keep tabs on people like me who are shining the fucking light on you.

    Nice try though with the emotional bullshit, emotions are politics. Nice weapon.

    Maybe next time, use time itself with corrupt legislation as a weapon?

    It's okay your money is going to run out soon, then you'll be just like me.

  86. Anonymous Coward

    He is quite right it is not the Databases...

    BUT that depends on who is using them & for what Purpose?

    The Real Question should be:

    How do we put safeguards in place that ensure the data is only used by the appropriate people & for the intended purpose!

  87. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Gordon is no Reagan and has lost his Toy Raygun and is Defensiveless ...

    .... and Gripped with Fear of Discovery.

    "What complete and utter bollocks! So if an organisation watches your every move, and collects all possible data on you, but does nothing with the information, there are no privacy issues?

    Does he think we're all morons?!" ..... By ed2020 Posted Friday 17th July 2009 22:41 GMT

    He does not need to think anything of you, ed2020, when he realises you will do nothing, thinking that you can do nothing because he has Government Control. And there you were thinking GB was on a Roll whenever all that he has is a B Movie Role.

  88. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Re: How to process the data?


    Anyone who declares a war on anyone or anything is a terrorist cynically justifying subjective and indiscriminate murder. And it is invariably done to support a non viable and collapsing regime so it will exacerbate the problem and destroy itself from within with the Core Driver Decimated to Render the Regime Bankrupt of both Home and Foreign Support. And there is nothing more Vulnerable than the Capitalist System and its Banking Cartels which will always be perfectly Legitimate Targets for the Poor and Oppressed, as to Imagine to buy up Valuable Resources for Practically Worthless Paper given an Arbitrary Value of Debt and Spun as Credit is a Ponzi Pyramid Scam which collapses when the Debt is no longer Bought and the Currency is no longer accepted, being recognised for what it is....... a Free Ride for a Few with Plenty on the Backs of the Many with Nothing. And you definitely don't want to be spinning them a yarn to excuse and try to justify despicable and unforgiveable behaviour...... for they won't be listening in Ignorance having Learnt of the Workings of the World and how it is All Controlled Badly with Chaos and Misinformation to Hide the Grand Delusion to Server the Impossible Dream.

    And the pdf available at the address below, is a thoughtful, if somewhat perverse and subversive read which highlights the very clear and present danger for those who would dress up first degree murder for having a contrary political view as an acceptable public policy ......

    Man is getting SMARTer and at an exponential rate, and it is folly to expect him not to learn of past stupid moves which have become convenient norms but which have no place in the Future which knows of so much more and so many more knowing. It is not something that you can ignore, hoping it will go away/not surface. It is the current dilemma, is it not?

  89. Tom Paine

    A pedant writes

    @AC at 14:13: the duck house (not pond) was expense'd by a Tory, not Pa Broon.

    @pengwyn at 07:08: Internet * open government == a velvet revolution. is one possible way forward. (There are many similar projects in other countries.) Despite it all, there are sufficient people of good will doing good work, I believe, that it's possible to hope that the tide can be turned. "Us Now" ( ) is interesting, too.

    A lot more work is needed, of course.

  90. Anonymous Coward

    Titles, titties and tomfoolery

    His insurance scam analogy is full of crap. Two people living at the same address both reporting damage to cars registered there could easily be a husband and wife having a bump in the driveway when both were leaving for work. How it proves conspiracy to commit insurance fraud is utterly beyond me but I get the impression that beady-eyed little bastard could sell ice to an eskimo and this is just one tactic he employs to keep the public money flowing into his company.

    As for the growing up about privacy thing. I'll grow up when Government proves it's done the same. Function creep, data-loss, biometrics anyone?

  91. Camilla Smythe

    Immature? Moi!

    Then you, being generous, Sir are a sophist and a remarkably poor, dare I say immature, one at that.

    "But he says the "immature" privacy debate is too focused on the fact that new databases are being populated. What matters in terms of privacy, according to Detica, is how they're used."

    Are you saying that you have already built them and are in the process of filling them with data or have you built them and filled them with data already and wish to, not, discuss what you are going to do with it or are they built populated and already working?

    If, being generous again, I were to assume that your use of the word 'immature' actually relates to the progress in discussions regarding you achieving your aims then I am bound to point out that the debate has not even moved beyond whether we need or want these databases in the first place so it is even less mature than you would wish us to believe.

    Of course I might, in your eyes, be naive to think you have not, or should have not, yet built and filled these databases or have not yet run full scale performance testing on 'live' data. However please don't use 'immature' when you mean naive.

    I look forward to the preliminary performance reports being posted to WikiLeaks. In the meantime I hope you have taken measures to prevent your employees reading The Register or finding...

    on the interwebs.

    Yes, that noise your staff sniggering behind your back.

    Welcome to public life. Do you wish to have a 'mature' discussion about privacy?

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Data, No Profits

    "The debate should be about how you process the data," Sutherland said. "The best computers can do is find patterns in large volumes of data."

    OC he would say that, without YOUR data actually being collected,processed and or stored then he has NO data to make his profits from after all.

  93. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    No database, no data to analyse.

    Let's be clear.

    Why do *they* want this data?

    What benefit does it give *us* to give it to them?

    How much will they charge *us* for the work. Because as taxpayers it will be us that pays for this.

    As for the insurance case its so simplistic it's what professional fraund investigators do. Straight data analysis would drop this out on overnight sweeper runs.

    Do you get the feeling he's a Turkey farmer telling his birds "You'll love Christmas. It's a very happy time for me."

  94. skeptical i
    Thumb Down

    Sounds like another gubmint boondoggle ...

    ... at least the F-22s in Amurka are only pissing away money and not increasing the likelihood of the Average Jo getting snared in "we wanna catch us a terra-ist" data- trawls. (We have the banking/ finance industry to do that for us already, except they claim to trawl for people on the brink of losing credit worthiness so they can jack our interest rates "pre- emptively".)

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blokes a fuckwit

    end of.

  96. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    A mature debate ...

    is what this man wants. So, let him have it according to HIS OWN rules ...

    I hope one of his legs drops off.

    I hope this will be swiftly followed by two of his gonads.

    I hope all the hair in his armpits grows out of his nose.

    There, a mature debate according to Mr Sutherland's principles.

  97. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother


    Yes, you behind the bikesheds, stand still laddy!

  98. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Image processing for facial recognition complete.

  99. Anonymous Coward

    Gather only the info needed...

    for the Task you are doing, your patterns will match & be far more accurate.

    The Left Hand does not need to know what the Right Hand is doing, in fact if it does know then it can't be doing its own job. It has been too busy monitoring to carry out its own duties.

    Then use all the extra processing power which should become available for the benefit of mankind, instead of suspiciously monitoring & manipulating mankind!

  100. MyHeadIsSpinning
    Big Brother

    Sutherland is Big Brother

    "The debate should be about how you process the data," Sutherland said. "The best computers can do is find patterns in large volumes of data."

    Not so hard.

    Match National ID number with key words found in comments on forums or websites. Match those ID numbers with voting history, health records, DNA, tax records, education history, CV found on job sites/recruitment sites, facebook profile, photos, pron viewing history, mobile phone records, card purchases, travel history, relatives and all their data...

    The first step is to populate, then disseminate, then cogitate, then exterminate...

  101. ElFatbob


    This guy's been reading too much Ben Elton.

  102. Tawakalna

    mature conversation?

    he looks like a sh1t teacher in some grotty comprehensive, in fact he looks like a total c*ck, I cannot have a mature conversation with someone who wears a nylon suit and has a vest on in summer.

  103. lukewarmdog


    YOU grow up.

    By the rules of the playground, you now have to use MY database until you come up with a snappy comeback.

    My coats the one with spare BAE stock in the pocket.

    You're right.. I'm NOT just pleased to see you, it is in fact a really large gun. It's a present for a Saudi princess they haven't stoned to death yet.

  104. not.known@this.address
    Black Helicopters

    Data Protection Act?

    How does one go about claiming damages when someone leaves a copy of my data on a train, loses it in the post, misplaces a hard-drive that is supposed to have been destroyed before the old PC was shipped to some third-world Dictatorship (hey - maybe *that's* how I can get a new machine!), or however someone within either Government, BAE Systems or Detica manages to make a mockery of their "security"?

    If my wife and I both drive our car, but her insurance is cheaper through Company A and mine cheaper through Company B and the car is involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault etc, we are supposed to notify the insurance company as they cover the CAR as well as us as individuals, n'est pas? Nice to know that you will still get clobbered if youf ollow THEIR rules, innit?

    I'm on a couple of science-fiction forums where we discuss things like space travel, alien life, "creation" of fictional worlds and so on - including things like WEAPONS and COMBAT VEHICLES - and some of us even "practice" what we talk about by attending conventions, or such activities as paintball, laserquest and Airsoft. Other members include medical doctors, serving and retired military personnel, government people within various agencies around the world, and more besides. Once this database trawl gets under way, I expect I will be receiving a visit from the Men In Black since I am obviously involved in subversive activities...

    One last thing... Carnivore/Detica/Echelon Bait: Gordon Brown, M16, global thermonuclear war, Whitehall, Guy Fawkes, secret mission, Horonto Gosh, Horonto Gosh, Anaya Tolya, Boom!

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