Archives For Security

The deadline for you to opt out of the government’s ill advised national health record system is rapidly approaching, and for the record yes I have opted out. I’ll give you a concrete example of what I’m talking about when I say ‘ill advised’, currently it’s assumed that you’ll be OK to share your anonymised medical data for research purposes by setting sharing it as a default. This is despite it being shown time and time again that the anonymisation of such data just doesn’t work. You might share my concerns about this lack of concern and level of indifference to the idea of informed consent. What the agencies of the state clearly don’t get is that this this information belongs to you and I, it doesn’t belong to my doctor, your medical data is yours your doctor holds it in trust for you. And until the state demonstrates a clear and unequivocal understanding of that point I say no thanks and I’d invite you all to do the same. My Health Record? Not so much.

PS. The architect of My Health Record is Tim Kelsey, yes that same Tim Kelsey who presided over the UK Government’s, program which tanked over sharing data without explicit consent. And unfortunately for us that attitude is baked into My Health Record’s DNA.

PPS. To me the carelessness of of the government in this whole affair is indicative of the increasingly totalitarian relationship between the government and the people.

And the encryption law is passed…

Simply put, it is possible to have convenience if you want to tolerate insecurity, but if you want security, you must be prepared for inconvenience.

Gen. Benjamin Chidlaw (1954)

Update to the MH-370 hidden lesson post just published, in which I go into a little more detail on what I think could be done to prevent another such tragedy.

We are hectored almost daily basis on the imminent threat of islamic extremism and how we must respond firmly to this real and present danger. Indeed we have proceeded far enough along the escalation of response ladder that this, presumably existential threat, is now being used to justify talk of internment without trial. So what is the probability that if you were murdered, the murderer would be an immigrant terrorist?

In NSW in 2014 there were 86 homicides, of these 1 was directly related to the act of a homegrown islamist terrorist (1). So there’s a 1 in 86 chance that in that year if you were murdered it was at the hands of a mentally disturbed asylum seeker (2). Hmm sounds risky, but is it? Well there was approximately 2.5 million people in NSW in 2014 so the likelihood of being murdered (in that year) is in the first instance 3.44e-5. To figure out what the likelihood of being murdered and that murder being committed by a terrorist  we just multiply this base rate by the probability that it was at the hands of a `terrorist’, ending up with 4e-7 or 4 chances in 10 million that year. If we consider subsequent and prior years where nothing happened that likelihood becomes even smaller.

Based on this 4 in 10 million chance the NSW government intends to build a super-max 2 prison in NSW, and fill it with ‘terrorists’ while the Federal government enacts more anti-terrorism laws that take us down the road to the surveillance state, if we’re not already there yet. The glaring difference between the perception of risk and the actuality is one that politicians and commentators alike seem oblivious to (3).


1. One death during the Lindt chocolate siege that could be directly attributed to the `terrorist’.

2. Sought and granted in 2001 by the then Liberal National Party government.

3. An action that also ignores the role of prisons in converting inmates to Islam as a route to recruiting their criminal, anti-social and violent sub-populations in the service of Sunni extremists.

And there goes net neutrality & privacy… Thanks Trump