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Richi Jennings

Every day, Richi Jennings pricks the self-important bubbles of people who think technology is life's be-all and end-all. In On The Other Hand, he also brings us useful insights and loads of laughs from around the Web.

PND: Huge central Police database of villains and, err, innocents

OTOH: Big brother and unintended consequenses

Article comments
By Richi Jennings (@richi).

"Wooly Plod" by yettis doings @ Flickr (CC) What's all this then? The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has unveiled the Police National Database (PND). It's a centralised database of 10 to 15 million people in the UK, built by merging tables from all the UK Police forces, CEOP, SOCA, and others. The data include not only information on criminals, but also on those questioned and released. You can just imagine the concerns this is raising.

  • On the one hand, this was a recommendation of the inquiry into the Ian Huntley Soham murders.
  • On The Other Hand, there's speculation that the PND wouldn't help solve a similar case today.

Plus, today's skateboarding duck: Bono, the biggest (and stupidest) dog in the world...

Mark Say says:
It has been developed ... at a cost of £75.6m in response to the primary recommendation of Lord Bichard's inquiry into ... the Soham murders in 2002. ... The NPIA has rolled [it] out ... over the past few months. It ... focuses on [data] relevant to crimes such as domestic violence [and] child abuse.
It includes access controls ... authorised users can only find information they need for their particular roles. ... Auditing systems [should] deter misuse. more.png

Lewis Page adds:
[It] lets coppers access information across force boundaries ... which was very difficult to do until now. ... Said NPIA chief Nick Gargan ... "Many people will be surprised to know that [we] have not had this capability for many years."
Lord Bichard said in tinned quotes ... "I chaired the Soham Inquiry ... I was surprised by ... the fact that police forces ... were not able to exchange information routinely ... I was shocked by that."
[The] project was funded by the Home Office, overseen by the NPIA and executed by Logica. ... The NPIA is keen to emphasise that the PND is being run in accordance with ... data-protection rules ... "Individuals have the right to access [their] personal data. ... Anyone wishing to find out what is held about them ... should contact their local force." more.png

Michael Ide recalls the Bichard Inquiry:
It was found ... that the police had failed miserably in uncovering the ... charges against ... Ian Huntley, who, almost a year later, murdered ... Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, both just 10 years old. more.png

"Thanks to the unique way she is funded," Aunty Beeb solicited feedback; here are some of the less spittle-flecked ones ("other comments are available"):
Maybe helpful to police but let's be clear, even the senior office in charge of the Soham case states none of this would have prevented those killings. ... This 'intelligence' - AKA unproven rumours - will now appear on CRB checks of innocent people, stopping them from getting a job.
Fred Schuhmacher:
Comparing with other countries ... we get the least privacy in Europe, the most intrusion, the most likely to end up in jail ... and the most likely to be smeared by tabloids with no comeback. ... So why do we still have Europe's highest violence against ordinary people?
We can assume that this will go direct to the CIA in the same way as census information. Thanks 'Dave'.
"If you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to worry about." -Josef Goebbels. more.png

Today's Skateboarding Duck...

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Richi JenningsRichi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.


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