The Year of the Ox has got off to an interesting start – though oxen being what they are, we should probably be taking the long view about ‘slow and steady progress’. The UK certainly hasn’t been characterised by much movement in the last couple of days. It’s snowing again as I write this post. Today has been mostly clear and sunny here, and a good deal of yesterday’s snow started to melt – the white, fluffy stuff on every twig sliding off and joining the increasingly ice-like layer on the ground…
However, I’m not going to join the general moaning about how 1/2 inch of snow brings the UK to its knees. I tend to agree with those who say that it’s not worth having a fleet of snow-ploughs standing by in every county, if they only get used every 20 years or so. I wonder how many of the moaners have invested in a set of snow tyres. After all, many of our continental neighbours switch between summer and winter tyres every year – there’s no technical issue there, just one of cost and convenience.
Another complaint I heard yesterday was from people who had tried, before setting out, to check the travel information sites of their respective train, bus and airline companies, only to find that the site was swamped with requests or didn’t have any useful information on it. Could it be that the person responsible for keeping it up to date either couldn’t get to work, or couldn’t get hold of current data about conditions…?
Either way, those interested in this kind of problem might like to have a look at the SCADA guidelines, here on the website of the CPNI (Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure). SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is becoming a bit of a buzz-word, and seems likely to become more of one in 2009 as the new US regime turns its attention to the themes of transparency and accountability.
It’s not far-fetched to assume that SCADA principles will reach into diverse aspects of information technology, including identity, privacy and governance. If 2009 is the year in which digital identity and personal privacy achieve recognition at the level of ‘critical infrastructure’ elements, it could be a very interesting year indeed.