PRIME and Karlstad university

I have a speaking engagement at Karlstad university tomorrow. Should be interesting especially as it is linked to the PRIME EU funded project. PRIME is about building a privacy infrastructure that enables us to have some level of anonymity in our transactions. Well it is much more than this. Anyhow it is about giving you and me the choice and power to keep our personal information private, it is about having the choice to track whoever is collecting our information with and without our knowledge, and pulling this information back if we like. It is about having control over our own identities. It covers all the stuff that I’ve been writing and speaking about!

btw I will have part 2 of the paper Identity Linkage and Privacy -that was originally published by ISSA in April and then reprinted by IAPP in July this year- published in ISSA December issue. This is what I will be talking about tomorrow.

Graduation at RHUL!

Hi, well at last, myself and some of my class-mates that passed a Masters Degree in Information Security last year with the Royal Holloway University of London had our graduation ceremony. It was a very special occasion. The champagne was flowing……we have some nice pictures…check the comments

Congrats to my class-mates, it’s been a pleasure studying with and getting knowing you all, and look forward to keeping in touch!

From left to right: Andy Smith, Ron Bailey, Bob Bowden, Brian Cooke, Me (in red), Richard Lane, David Musgrove, Steve Greenham, Jose Recio Pelaez.

IAAC speaking engagement 11 July

Hi, here is another speaking event for the Information Assurance Advisory Council. If any of my blog readers are there, look forward to seeing you!

Speaking at SQM INSPIRE Conference at Tampere, Finland

My paper on ‘Identity and Privacy -in the Information Age’ has been accepted at this conference. So I will be speaking there on the 1st or 2nd August. If any of my blog readers are there please drop a note!

Economics of information security – Bruce Schneier talks…

The information security guru Bruce Schneier gave a joint BCS and London School of Economics public lecture as part of this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations. I attended the lecture at the LSE, however not the one held the day after at the BCS. Here is the recording where he outlined ten trends that were changing the landscape of information security, and how viewing these trends in economic terms could help unravel some of the paradoxes of practical information security.

British schools use biometric software to record the data of children

When I was at the LSE conference in London I listened to Terri Dowty that discussed the growing trend on surviellance of children in the UK, starting with kindergarten. I was thus concerned to come across the following article this morning that up to 3,500 schools use biometric software to record the data of approximately three quarters of a million children. Children’s data stored, often include photographs and fingerprints, is stored on unregulated data collection systems and potentially insecure school computer networks and could therefore potentially be misused; notes that collecting the data from children under 12 without parental consent directly contravenes the Data Protection Act.

For more information on what is going on that impacts your children in the UK take a look on Action Rights for Children website (ARCH). For a more global picture take a look at

Descriptive analysis and inventory of profiling practices

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a great lecture by Mireille Hildebrandt at LSE on profiling. I have since found this great paper that describes the profiling practices. Moreover her lecture linked this into privacy the DPA deficiencies in this area, and also offline profiling that includes RFID, sensor technologies, etc., thus turning the offline world online!

Imagine a biometric behavioural profile such as a ‘smart car’ that knows when you get tired. A ‘smart car’ that either refuses to start or pulls over to the side of the road when it detects this. What about a ‘smart home’ that detects your needs based upon your behavioural patterns? I think she called this ‘environment profiling’ that anticipates your needs maybe even before you do yourself. In order to do this the environment must know enough about you in order to be able to make decisions for you, this means the collection of personal data -either knowingly or unknowingly- using online or offline technologies…..

So what does that mean to us? Simple, choice is taken away, our environment anticipates for us what we need or should need. I wonder if this means that in the future our children could develop with a reduced capability to make decisions, if simple daily choices disappear? Maybe this is nothing, and could be compared with the use of the pocket calculator and the reduced capability of my generation and beyond for mental arithmetic? However I do wonder if children in 20 years time will understand what it means to have privacy?