Tuesday, May 29, 2012

SPR–yet another TLA. Is this one useful?

spr mda logoLike we need another three-letter-acronym, but there we have it, a new one – SPR which stands for Single Point Reporting. In layman’s terms, that means if you’re being bullied online in any way, you can report it via a single button on your device. According to the email I received a couple of days ago, the MDA (Mobile Data Association), the Police and the Home Office have been looking at improving internet crime reporting for a couple of years, and they’re now looking to get wider feedback on the concept and put it into implementation. I have my doubts about it. I can’t help feeling that there is a vested interest from the parties involved rather than thinking about it from the perspective of the average internet user. But maybe that’s the cynic in me. Maybe this really is something that will improve crime reporting. I must admit, I’d prefer to find ways to reduce crime in the first place and maybe the ease of which it can be reported will make that happen. It should also be noted that online and mobile security is most definitely not my field of expertise so I’m passing the information on in case any of you fancy getting involved and feel it’s worthwhile pursuing. Details below:

For the last 2 years, MDA Chairman, Mike Hawkes, has been involved with the Police and Home Office in researching ways to improve (mobile) internet crime reporting.

Mike is a security specialist and the work he has been doing in this field has led to the development of an initial API to the police systems to enable single click transfer of all data required to progress and secure a prosecution from information held on a mobile handset.

It quickly became apparent that this work had implications across the whole communications domain and, as a result, MDA is seeking to widen the engagement of interested parties to all involved in internet and communications with the objective of establishing the Single Point Reporting (SPR) of data from whatever source, via a free open standard API meeting the security services' requirements.

With the express backing of West Yorkshire Police and the Metropolitan Police, as well as backing from Lord Harris, the Nominet Trust, and the Home Office, work is now advanced to the point where funding is being discussed by the police and Home Office to move the project forwards.

MDA has established web pages on its site to attract the wider industry and we are now actively recruiting our core teams and the support of the major players within mobile and elsewhere and planning a launch meeting in early July to set out the detailed workstreams and milestones.

The website landing page, together with links to the forms encouraging organisations to register interest, can be found at http://www.themda.org/initiatives/spr.php. If you have views on this subject and wish to be involved, please register your interest at http://www.themda.org/initiatives/spr.php.