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[FYI] (Fwd) UK: Ministers told to plan for e-nightmare

------- Forwarded message follows -------
From:           	"Dave Foulger" <davidfoulger@hotmail.com>
To:             	<ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk>
Subject:        	Ministers told to plan for e-nightmare
Date sent:      	Tue, 1 Aug 2000 09:36:29 +0100
Send reply to:  	ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk

The Times
July 31 2000  BRITAIN

Ministers told to plan for e-nightmare


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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