Guest Editorial: Information is Power

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Guest Editorial: Information is Power

    Best wishes,
    Phil Factor
    Simple Talk

  • yeah Phil we're all guilty us DB people of

    1. Putting power in the hands of the stupid er I mean politicians. 😀

    What we should always endeavour to do is omit ourselves from these databases so we the DB people still retain our freedom 😉

    Hiding under a desk from SSIS Implemenation Work :crazy:

  • Yeah! A trigger that deletes any sensitive information pertaining to the good folks in the SQL Server Central community would suit just fine. Nobody seems to notice triggers in production systems. 🙂

    This is an issue that really bothers me. A friend of mine was mistakenly put onto a government database in the UK because he has the same name as a convicted criminal. Of course, he wasn't aware that it had happened. For reasons he couldn't work out, suddenly simple things like getting a loan, getting a job, participating in societies and so on became hugely difficult. He only found out about the error when he persisted in wanting to know why he was turned down for a job.

    Best wishes,
    Phil Factor
    Simple Talk

  • what is even better than cataloging the data? Writing simple reports without understanding the data or the ramifications. 'Can you tell me how much a person does in a day.' 'Sure, as long as it is in the system.' 'That's fine. Those who work to hard to put their time into the non critical or required time keeping system will just be fired.'

    Incorrect use or understanding of data can cost people jobs and worse can close companies.

  • While I'm not sure this belongs on SQLServerCentral.com, in the United States anyway, I fear corporations and private capitalists more than I do my government. So let's start by concerning ourselves with their missing moral compass and use of databases.

  • With great power comes great responsibilty...... Some politicians haven't actually read Spiderman yet tho'. ANY invention can be turned to evil. The splitting of the atom lead to the greatest unatural disaster the world has ever known as well as the numerous households that owe their life-giving electricity to the nearest Nuclear Power Plant. This always has been and always will be the case with new technology, at least until the dysfunctional Programming within all Humans is corrected.

  • More items:

    In one of the papers I read last week, someone received notification from the National Health Service about appointments which they hadn't made because, as it turned out, NHS had incorrectly assigned the same ID number to 2 people. The "victim" didn't know how much of his medical history had been mixed up as a result of this. Of course, NHS didn't explain how this could happen or what they were doing to find any other duplications!

    Also on the radio over the weekend, there was an item about someone who received text message 'reminders' that his Barclaycard was overdue for payment. The problem? He'd never had a Barclaycard in his life, but, being blind, these messages could be read out by text-to-speech software at the most inconvenient times. Barclaycard were unhelpful, because they claimed that the only person who could ask for the mobile phone number to be changed was the owner of the account (although they now claim to have amended it).

    And this is without companies and government officials just 'losing' entire copies databases!

    Derek

  • How can 'you' assign 2 people the same id?

    With stupidityDB our new database product for goverments and health oirganisastions.

    Using our newly patented black hole data storage mechanism and void query engine organisations can lose data just as they have always done.

    Hiding under a desk from SSIS Implemenation Work :crazy:

  • Sure relational databases would make it easier for totalitarian regimes to oppress people, but if they weren't invented they would use XML instead. Sure it's more work, but it would have a similar effect. Kind of like firebombing Tokyo vs the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If they want to do something, they'll find a way.

  • There are good points being made here. The thought I had was that Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer were both were at pains to point out the threat that their invention posed when placed in the wrong hands. How much have we done to warn the public of the dangers of that come from the misuse of databases by the foolish and unscrupulous?

    Best wishes,
    Phil Factor
    Simple Talk

  • One might also consider the oft-observed platitude that once it is time for an idea to surface, it will surface no matter what measures are taken to stop it.

    Granted, I've taken some liberties with the original quote. However, Mr. Einstein was in no more position to control the use of his theories than were/are Messrs. Date, Codd, et al. Holding a latter-day designer/developer responsible for the use to which his and his predecessors' work is put is irrational as long as the designer/developer made conscious choices around those areas under his control to ensure the correctness and security of the data at hand. Granted the notion that the data belongs to the organization, unless the designer/developer IS the organization, there is little control he can exercise of the the use of his professionally prepared data vessel beyond moral indignation and/or ethical whistle-blowing.

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    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -- Hunter S. Thompson

  • G Bryant McClellan (3/2/2009)


    One might also consider the oft-observed platitude that once it is time for an idea to surface, it will surface no matter what measures are taken to stop it.

    Granted, I've taken some liberties with the original quote. However, Mr. Einstein was in no more position to control the use of his theories than were/are Messrs. Date, Codd, et al. Holding a latter-day designer/developer responsible for the use to which his and his predecessors' work is put is irrational as long as the designer/developer made conscious choices around those areas under his control to ensure the correctness and security of the data at hand. Granted the notion that the data belongs to the organization, unless the designer/developer IS the organization, there is little control he can exercise of the the use of his professionally prepared data vessel beyond moral indignation and/or ethical whistle-blowing.

    Good point. It should be noted that the Russians, Germans, and Japanese were all working on their own versions of the atomic bomb. Imagine if any of them had beat us to the punch?

  • Hey Bert...... This is an international forum you know..... as for what might have happened...... this forum might have been in Russian, German or Japanese :D, this isn't a nationality-specific question but a Human-error question so perhaps you should start looking at the big picture?

  • ronang (3/2/2009)


    Hey Bert...... This is an international forum you know..... as for what might have happened...... this forum might have been in Russian, German or Japanese :D, this isn't a nationality-specific question but a Human-error question so perhaps you should start looking at the big picture?

    Honestly, I don't care what kind of forum it is. I only know I would not want to be subject to the likes of Stalin, Hitler, or Hirohito

  • I think a major problem is that a lot of modern ideas (not just centralized databases) are not thought through. The push is to get them to 'market' as quickly as possible without thinking of the consequences.

    I'm sure everyone can come up with a list of examples. (Hints: Scripting, CCTV, cheap loans...)

    The argument with information/surveillance systems is that "if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear." But who want's to live in a goldfish bowl?

    And that's without the problems where the implementation/information is wrong!

    Derek

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