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[FYI] (Fwd) UK: Ministers told to plan for e-nightmare
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- Subject: [FYI] (Fwd) UK: Ministers told to plan for e-nightmare
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- Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2000 12:03:19 +0000
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From: "Dave Foulger" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Ministers told to plan for e-nightmare
Date sent: Tue, 1 Aug 2000 09:36:29 +0100
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July 31 2000 BRITAIN
Ministers told to plan for e-nightmare
BY ADAM SHERWIN
BRITAIN could descend into Internet anarchy, with high-tech criminal
gangs controlling the economy, while EU bungles may foster the rise
of a violent underclass poised on the brink of revolution. These are
two visions of life in 2015 included in a government report.
Civil servants produced a series of "future scenarios" for ministers
based on extrapolations from current economic indicators and
interviews with business leaders and information technology experts.
The report was put together by the little-known Future Unit at the
request of Peter Mandelson during his reign at the Department of
Trade and Industry.
Two of the projections were omitted from the final report, Work in
the Knowledge-Based Economy, when it was delivered to Stephen Byers,
Mr Mandelson's successor. The Future Unit has now published them on
its website, alongside the full report.
In one of them, called "Gangland", a failure by Government to secure
electronic transactions leads to the nation being held to ransom by
hackers. Society reaches the verge of meltdown as a bankrupt
Government is unable to pay for public services. With gangsters
running the electronic economy, people return in desperation to an
antiquated form of exchange - cash. The report gives warning that Mr
Mandelson's dream of a cutting-edge Britain leading the world in
digital commerce could turn into a techno- nightmare.
It predicts: "The technological revolution . . . is foundering on the
rocks of Internet anarchy and lack of trust by 2015. Government
failed to provide the structure by which technologies and people
could communicate securely and efficiently."
The other projection kept from ministers, "Death by a Thousand
Regulations", depicts the EU "through mismanagement of major
decisions" exerting a draining influence on Britain's economy.
Nationalism becomes popular as the economy stagnates and the
Government provides only "a basic level of provision" for a volatile
There are also more positive scenarios. In "Wired World", for
example, Britain boasts a "vibrant and dynamic economy" of dot-com
entrepreneurs reliant on secure communications.
The DTI says it has responded to the threat posed by the lack of
security on the Web by producing measures to prevent electronic
information being seized by criminals, including the legal
recognition of digital signatures.
The Future Unit says that the scenarios are not exact predictions of
the future but "different perspectives on potential outcomes".
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