Predictions 2010: Ninth Post

December 16, 2009

The tendency is for all my personal predictions to be eaten up by other contributors so that anything I write ends up looking like blatant plagiarism. Mind you, I am not against a bit of constructive plagiarism – without it most updating publications (web sites, broadcasting and newspapers) would speedily collapse. Some of the following predictions are original, albeit derivative.

1. As this morning’s PR agency’s press release suggests (rather terrifyingly), there will be a cloud {i}explosion{/i} in 2010. More and more law firms and mid-sized commercial organisations will send more and more of their systems to the cloud until we see a cloud {i}implosion{/i}, maybe not in 2010 but soon, with a massive security breach arising in the cloud. For a time thereafter, the journey will be like a walk in the Brecon Beacons on a grey day – in and out of cloud with the occasional illusion that you have risen above it all. (For the record, I don’t think the near-inevitable cloud implosion is likely to be a cloud problem per se – security breaches happen with paper, with CDs, with memory sticks and probably with intercepted smoke signals. But we live in a world that seems to want to pretend that paedophilia and bullying are the products of the Internet, so what hope has the cloud of seeing more sophisticated analysis?)
2. We will all suddenly realise that hardly anybody actually cares about privacy – and whole swathes of IT specialists and IT lawyers may have to adapt their career plans. I suspect that the young woman I observed yesterday walking through Chippenham’s centre, but in her own ‘private’ mobile phone bubble, does not care about her level of privacy on Facebook – if she did, she would not be regaling all and sundry with the intimate details of last night’s sexual encounter. And despite repeated warning and exhortations, very few of the rest of us take the level of care with personal details that we supposedly should, even if we are a lot more discreet than her. It seems to me that it is verging on arrogance to think that the failure of this majority stems from ignorance. Just because I don’t put bars on my windows, it doesn’t follow that I am indifferent to burglary – it means that I have calculated that the risks don’t justify the changes in life outlook with which extreme security is inevitably associated.
3. Everything and every aspect of IT will be mobile. People will feel bound to move around just to show that they are properly equipped to play in the big time, even when they haven’t really got anywhere to go. Security and mobility are not comfortable bedfellows so it will be a fraudsters paradise – and we still won’t care.
4. As screen sizes for mobile devices increase, it will be deemed more and more acceptable to rely on them exclusively. Shares in Specsavers will go through the roof because the largest mobile device screen will still be barely bigger than a gnat’s eye.
5. The Tories will have a decent working majority after the election but IT policies will be such a low priority that the only real relevant change will be the cancellation of the ID cards scheme. The Personal Information Security Scheme, which will be introduced a year or so later, will have a familiar smell to it but will be completely different to the ID cards scheme.
6. The judgment in EDS v Sky will be published – possibly. My assumption is that it will come out the day before I go on holiday. Practically everyone who mentions the case will cite Magna Carta (justice delayed etc).
7. Banks will refuse to pay out in most cases of ID fraud. See 2 and 3 above.
8. Desktop computers will become purely ornamental. I will be able to sell tickets to my office and bequeath its contents to the National Trust.