Light touch folly

Light touch regulation. Now, there’s a senseless folly. It’s a green light to bad actors wherever they operate. It’s like building a medieval castle’s walls half as thick as planned to save money in the belief that enemies are too stupid to work it out. Saying that the public good far less important than the speed of developments is unwise to say the least.

The INTERNET arrived in the UK in the late 1980s. Now, it seems strange to recount. Clunky Personal Commuters (PCs) and basic e-mail were the hight of sophistication as we moved from an office of typewriters and Tipp-Ex to the simple word processor[1]. Generations will marvel at the primitive nature of our former working lives. Getting scissors and cutting out paper text and pasting it into a better place in a draft document. Tippexing out errors and scribbling notes in the spaces between sentences. Yet, that’s what we did when first certifying many of the commercial airliners in regular use across the globe (Boeing 777. Airbus A320). Desktop computers took centre stage early in the 1990s, but administrations were amid a transition. Clickable icons hit screens in 1990. Gradually and progressively new ways of working evolved.

Microsoft Windows 95 and the INTERNET were heralded as the dawn of a new age. Not much thought was given to PCs being used for criminal or malicious purposes. No more thought than the use of a typewriter to commit crime. That doesn’t mean such considerations were ignored it just means that they were deemed a lower-level importance.

In 2023, everyday there’s a new warning about scammers. Even fake warnings about scammers coming from scammers with the aim of scamming. Identifying whose real and whose a fake is becoming ever more difficult. Being asked to update subscriptions that were never opened in the first places is a good indicator that there’s some dirty work afoot. Notices that accounts are about to be blocked referring to accounts that don’t exist is another.

In 30-years the INTERNET has taken on the good and bad of the greater world. It hasn’t become a safer place. In fact, it’s become a bit like the Wild West[2].

Our digital space continues to evolve but has nowhere near reached its potential. It’s like those great western plains where waggons headed out looking for rich new lands. In any towns on the way the shop fronts are gleaming and inviting but if you look around the back there’s a desperate attempt to keep bad actors at bay.

Only a fraction of the suspicious, emails, texts, and messages get reported. People unconsciously pile up a digital legacy and rarely clean out the trash that accumulates. A rich messiness of personal information can lie hidden to the eyes but just bellow the digital surface.

When politicians and technocrats talk of “light touch regulation” it’s as if none of this matters. In the race to be first in technology, public protection is given a light touch. This can’t be a good way to go.

[1] Still available – Tipp-Ex Rapid, Correction Fluid Bottle, High Quality Correction Fluid, Excellent Coverage, 20ml, Pack of 3, white.


Author: johnwvincent

Our man in Southern England

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: