Quiet News Week
It's been a quiet news week for the DW/DSS/BI market. More happening in the general IT market, other than a few minor developments in the SCO vs. the rest of the world battle. With all the companies and governments weighing in against them and the execs already having cashed out a pile of stock (see earlier post) it's likely that this will eventually drift away and die its deserved death. Software company acquisitions are generally dull ends to companies being pressured out of the market. In Oregon the news is s the ongoing fight of Open Source advocates vs. lobbyists over the state sending money and jobs out of state. The biggest IT news was yet another security flaw in the most secure Windows yet.
The developing stories about the federal uses and abuses of citizen data are more interesting. Federal agencies (FBI, CIA, NSA, TSA, DHS) have all been purchasing personal and consumer data from data syndicators at an alarming rate. Some of the abuses, and more important, the potential for abuse, are entering the public awareness. I've seen some stories popping up, and I know of a few more in the works over the next month.
The potential for abuse is the biggest worry, closely followed by the fear of consequences over bad data. The agencies are buying commercial data designed for uses like credit reporting, skip tracing and marketing. These databases have error rates ranging from 1% to 10%. Take three databases with an average rate of 3%, add in errors created because the data was never designed for easy integration with other data sources, and you have a large, expensive, worthless database that can result in wrongful jailing with no access to attorneys, rather than a slight increase in junk mail or a problem getting a loan.
The worry over the consequences, the lack of controls and the lack of visibility into the use of these systems has already reached several members of congress who have introduced or are introducing legislation to halt or control law enforcement use of the databases. The huge increase in security spending for a data-based silver bullet will be a big story this year. If this administration has its way, the story will stay buried and eventually get swept under the rug.
Posted by Mark Monday, August 18, 2003 10:05:00 PM |