Perkins & the Missing Data

Perkins - Ifm afraid therefll be some overtime needed this weekend.

I suppose itfs this missing data fiasco, Sir .....

Ifve told you before about that word, Perkins. This isnft a fiasco; itfs no more than a blip.

Well, better a blip than a wobble, eh Sir!

Look, itfs no big deal; we just have to sort out the PR response.

Hard to spin this one surely, Sir! Another 600,000 data records gone missing on top of the previous millions. And there were also a load of medical records found by the roadside. We might as well publish the lot and be done with it.

Ah, so youfve guessed!

Guessed? What do you mean?

Well, what Ifm going to tell you is hush-hush; need-to-know basis and so on. But I think itfs time to put you in the picture. The thing is, the records were deliberately glosth.

I donft follow, Sir. I thought we were trying to keep proper control of peoplefs personal data?

Well, we were ... but that was until we realized it was impossible. Letfs face it, only an idiot would leave a laptop full of data in a car overnight, right? And only an idiot would send 25 million records unregistered and unencrypted by internal post. Are you with me?

So far so good, Sir.

OK, now what does the above tell you? ...

There is a surfeit of idiots working for the government.

Exactly Perkins, and the point is, can you see any possibility of this changing?

Well, no Sir, I suppose I canft. Only if we imported half a million Germans to take over the running of the country.

So, we need a new plan ...

You mean, all this is part of a plan?

Of course, Perkins! Look, if you wanted to hide a large tree, would you hide it in the Sahara desert?

Of course not; itfd stand out like a sodding great tree surrounded by sand.

Exactly. So where would you hide it?

Ifm not sure, Sir. Ifve never tried to hide a large tree.

Itfs an allergy, Perkins. The point is, youfd hide it in a dense jungle, wouldnft you? How on earth would you find the one you wanted among millions of others?

I suppose so ....

If we want to prevent criminals using the data, the best thing is to publish ALL of it. This will swamp their computers. And of course, information is only really useful if nobody else has got it.

But itfs mind-boggling, Sir!

Yes, it is rather clever, isnft it?

But why donft you just do it all at once? Why this drip-drip of data which makes the government look incompetent.

Look Perkins, the government is going to look incompetent whatever it does, so letfs get rid of that particular canard straight away. No, this ploy is too revolutionary to bring out all in one go; most people would think we were mad.

I thought you said they did anyway, Sir!

No Perkins, I would never say that, and not just because it's true ... they might THINK we're mad, which is of course much worse than our actually being mad .... but I digress - trust me Perkins. One day everyone will recognize the wisdom of this policy, and wefll get credit for openness; but it needs to evolve slowly as the impossibility of protecting the data slowly dawns on the gDaily Mailh readers. THEN we can hit them with a press statement and get all the kudos.

I donft think Ifll ever get the hang of politics, Sir.

Donft worry Perkins; you can leave politics to the politicians.