Thursday, May 22, 2008

A follow on from my Times article

For those who have read my article in today's Times I will be doing a slightly extended version of the article tomorrow morning hopefully which will cover off all the things that I couldn't put into the article because of word limits.

There are a multitude of other technology reason why having a monitoring system for all Internet traffic is a bad idea, ranging from the fact that it will become a target for hackers, to the fact that those with something to hide will just find a way of getting around monitoring if necessary. Remember that the network is global. There is no "Fortress UK" on the Net.

More tomorrow. Work calls today.


CityUnslicker said...

many congrats on your graduation to the MSM.

well done Dizzy.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely with your article. It would be next to impossible to achieve, and with this current lot of tossers in charge actually has a negative chance of being finished and working.

However if they ever got close, it would certainly popularize TOR wouldn't it!!


John Pickworth said...

Great article... I hope other's pick up on your argument. Be nice if some of them were the actual idiots proposing this stuff but hey, we shouldn't wish for too much all at once.

PS. Your link to the Times needs editing. String at end of URL ?Submitted=True produces a child 'Thank you for your comment' window. Ta.

Village said...

Have just read the paper copy (have got to give this article the duty it deserves!)

Got to agree with it, although even try to get close is of course a continuing step down the big brother highway.

That said maybe I should set myself up as an IT Consultant and make lots of money off the government.

Well Done!

Anonymous said...

Presumably you'll actually read the proposed legislation and comment on that, rather than your rather weak misinterpretation. The proposed database is to consolidate in one place data already held by ISPs and telcos under the auspices of RIPA 2000. As such it is header information, not content and so there will be no megawatt consuming multi-petabyte database to screw up.

Even El Reg got it right. So much for challenging the MSM...

dizzy said...

If there was legislation to read I would, but as was reported across the media, this is a proposal that has not got to paper in that way yet. The figures in the article were, and are, massively under-estimated for precisely the reason that what content may or may not be recorded remains unknown. Add to this the very real point that all traffic will still have to filly packet inspected, it remains a totally relevant figure.

As for it not being a multi-petabyte system that is so risible it deserves to be slapped down big time. The original scaling of the stuff being retained under RIPA has reached stupid proportions, these proposals intend to extend retention period by a multiple of four. They then, somehow, plan to transfer this data, into a centralised system that will be utterly unmanagable and pathetic in terms of performance when making queries.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Phil but you'll have to do better than that. The information available on the draft proposal makes pretty clear what is being considered, and it isn't your Orwellian scenario.

Funnier still is that your Times piece makes reference to millions upon millions of iPods, yet right here in comments you state that it is currently RIPA requirements multiplied by a four-fold increase in retention period. So it isn't complete content archiving after all.

Christ, you all kick the MSM then when a chance arises to show how it could be done properly you blow it!

"They then, somehow, plan to transfer this data, into a centralised system that will be utterly unmanagable and pathetic in terms of performance when making queries."

Tell you what, I'll leave the Unix system admin work to you, you leave the data warehousing to people who know what they're doing. Deal?

dizzy said...

These plans are under consideration for inclusion in a draft communication bill. There is no draft proposal according to the reporting as they are at an early stage and have not even been passed onto ministers yet. I note you've gone from referring to draft legilsation - which doesn't exist - to a draft proposal now.

There is also some neat misrepesentation on your part going on in relation to what I wrote in the last comment. I said that the retention period is being times by four, I did not say that the RIPA requirements were not changing. As such the ipod example, which was done in order to give perspective on what a petabyte actually is.

Now regarding data warehousing, what do you think such things run on? I could have added DBA, netadmin etc into my by-line as well but I didn't. So let's talk about I/O if we must, and write-back caches along with the speed of disks, and the difficultly of parsing large scale data across table, sizing for indexing, managing deadlock situations, and feeding massive data stream into a system if we must, deal?

dizzy said...

Whilst we're at it, let's talk about the required fabric and chaining of the multiple SANs you would need that would have read/write well below that required to handle the amount of data we're talking about on simple 24 hour basis. Won't be long before it takes longer to load data than the period the data is for, just like what happened withthe NHS.

Anonymous said...

"Let's talk". Why? I have a job to do earning a living, rather than tossing off time blogging. Only came here from your Times article. I'd happily talk data warehousing to pay clients (non-Government projects, bad experience with a DTI projects many decades ago convinced me that Government projects aren't worth the grief that inevitably goes with them), but I'm not going waste time discussing horizontal and vertical partitioning, indexing strategies, transaction scope, replication, multiple role-specific databases. Far better things to do.

Good luck with future articles.

dizzy said...

Thanks for the wish of luck. I have work to do to, but I have many screen and type fast.

Caroline Hunt said...

You're bloody joking? I read The Times every day however today due to a lack of change in my pocket and being in a hurry for work I didn't pick it up - what are the odds?

Anonymous said...

'Fraid I read the Telegraph Monday to Saturday and read the Sunday Times on, er..., a Sunday.

(Rather depressing, but I've followed this pattern for over 30 years.)

Is your article on-line?

If not - I look forward to reading your next article the next time I'm on the train to London or when you appear in the Sunday Times.

In the meantime - congratulations from someone who was once a member of "Eric's Club" in Liverpool.

Anonymous said...


Where are you getting your information that this will contain anything other than source, destination, type, location or device?

Anonymous said...

Hate it when that happens, Caroline.

Anyway, Diz, where's your Times RSS feed?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing such a consise article in the times today. Nearly every single IT project that has been taken on by this government has been on big mess up. CSA computers, NHS database, the courts system (which i know for a fact cost £22k per PC in every court, and didn't even work properly)

I just hope they don't even TRY to do this because it'll be a massive waste of money and will probably have the data leaked if not "lost" at some point.

Anonymous said...

I assumed someone was flying a kite, so when they eventually come round to monitoring our phone calls at random they could dress it up as a compromise.

dizzy said...

Tim: am using my phone to post this comment. Am working on a rather long post about that which I will be putting up tomorrow as am off out for the day today.

Mike: it was a guest contributer, so no rss.

Elby the Beserk said...

Just so. All my emails henceforth contain the phrase "watch out for the marijuana bombers". We all do similar, and they are fucked. Indeed, as you note, they are fucked anyway, as they haven't a clue as to what they are talking about, as evinced by their splendid record on large scale databases.

lilith said...

Splendid, Dizzy :-) I salute your geeky mind and your fast typing...give it to 'em.