Sunday, May 06, 2007

Who's the fascist?

“The main problem we are facing are two extremities – waiting patients and privacy fascists and we are trying to find a pathway for the middle of the two.”

These are the words of a certain Richard Granger, the man in charge of Connecting for Health; a project which is the turning into the computing equivalent of the Titanic. It's hard to keep up to date with precisely how many billion pounds this shambolic exercise is costing the tax payer, but it's a fuck of a lot.

I can't quite believe that this incompetent has the audacity to accuse members of the public of being 'privacy fascists' for being concerned that this government IT scheme may turn out to be a fraudster's goldmine or even a despot's weapon. There have been two recent notable examples of NHS IT schemes leaving confidential personal information wide open on the web for anyone to access; so these 'privacy fascists' seem to have cause for concern.

Arguably Mr Granger is showing certain 'fascist' attributes with his actions. His overt disdain for a proper democratic consultation process shows that he possesses a disctinctly autocratic streak, while schemes such as his Connecting for Health may well be used and abused in the future by our increasingly controlling state.
"I can't believe that my son is running the IT modernisation programme for the whole of the NHS"

These are the words of Richard Granger's mother, she hardly sings the praises of her son who she reveals even failed his computer studies course at University. At least his mum realises that that giving birth to her son may have been an error:
"I feel dismayed that I'm watching the hospital where I gave birth to my children, where Harold Wilson was born, being dismantled. Some of the money which goes into Connecting for Health could be saving my local services."

I think that we trust bungling twerps like Richard Granger at our peril, he may indeed be too stupid to know what the government's real motives are for this obsessive centralisation of our personal data; however this does not excuse his crass incompetence or his disdain for our right to a bit of privacy.


berenike said...

But governments are often advised by the less than expert, and in any case people get shifted around so much that it's a wonder anything gets done. There is a BRILLIANT wee idea tht can be adapted for any data storage purpose that you can see here
(no it's not my company or anything) that would make farces of this kind actually structurally impossible, yet the company have the problem that while the occasional techno bod gets it, and falls off his chair at the sheer blinding genius, the suits making decisions either don't understand, get sacked, or (in the case of one Warsaw hospital) can be seen to back out at the point at which they realise creative accounting would be seriously hampered. Funny, no? Simple, perfectly secure (in real-world terms), so cheap it makes Lidl's look like Harrods, flexible, . . .. and no, we must stick with the electronic equivalent of a steel filing cabinet with a really BIG padlock.

Never mind the dictatorship of relativity, how can we overthrow the all-pervasive melted marshmallow blanket of mediocrity?

berenike said...

And see RIchard Feyman's "memoirs" for the effectiveness of really big padlocks in protecting, e.g., atomic research secrets ...

Garth Marenghi said...


a great idea would be to put the option to patients themselves to enter data that they were happy to put up onto the system

they could then make the bits that they chose accessible by medical doctors in case of emergencies etc

that way no one is forced to do anything they don't want, and it would be possible to cheaply get the benefits from a more bottom up approach


berenike said...

Yeah, it could be added easily to the likewise incredibly cool virtual PC app that is already anyone's for the use
(Webee - I only don't use it because I currently have an connection speed of c330b (yes, no K) to 69Kb - also me academic chums are hampered cos the thing requires some competent tinkering to run on Macs).

I clearly don't have the sheer anger capacity of the owner of this blog, but it was an attempt to express some part of the sheer frustration that folk like the guys with this idea must feel - it's obviously the ideal solution to so many things, but nah, can't be having with anything that's not like what's been done before, (though obviously it mustn't look like anything that's been done before, because as our Teacher Tony has shown us, Old is Bad, New is Good).


(heh, just seen that you're a medic - you must truly royally eggzystentially and in a very real sense pissed off ... )

Anonymous said...

You don't rise in a beaurocracy by being good at your job; you rise by being positive about the initiatives of people above you.

A rubbish fairytale

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