MAILBAG A roundup of your recent comments on our stories and blogs about Elections Ontario

Elbows in your ear, data in your pocket
Over the past week, it was an IT-related government scandal pushed that really irked our readers. The security breach at Elections Ontario was in itself probably low tech (USB sticks with voter information were lost, stolen or misplaced) but some commenters hinted that the government agency had proven itself incompetent in dealing with their computing resources.

When we first wrote about the incident, commenter zedbeat, for example, advocated stripping the provincial government of its responsibility for securing voter information:

“This is completely outrageous. We can’t trust the Ontario government with managing any sensitive or personal information after something like this.”
Meanwhile, reader Judith Fraser suggested that the employees responsible for the breach wouldn’t be held accountable in the same way they would if they worked for an enterprise.
“In the private sector,” she wrote, “they would be drawn and quartered for such a breach.”
We also wrote a retrospective article looking at the possible reasons for why employees at Elections Ontario didn’t follow protocol. Analysts said that making punishments for not playing by the rules harsher wouldn’t necessarily lead to more security.
But Peter de Jager didn’t think complex analyses of motivation (or lack thereof) were necessary. As far as he’s concerned, common sense and the existence of real penalties would prevent similar occurrences in the future:
“How to put this simply? DATA is not a dog, stop taking it out for walks!
“Or perhaps something from my youth? Never anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. Revamped to: Never put sensitive DATA on anything you can carry in your pocket. And for the love of Grace Hopper if it’s sensitive, encrypt it!
“Failing all of this? Fire the person who loses the data AND fire their manager. This nonsense would all stop in a heartbeat.”
Fair enough. But that’s too much already about drawing, quartering and firing people. Let’s move on to something on the lighter side of things: whether you should be able to carry a tablet in your pocket. We blogged about the threat the Microsoft Surface may pose to Apple and how a 7-inch tablet might be just the right size for fashion designers to work around in the future.
Reader Ben500 liked our idea about 7-inch pockets, and noted that his BlackBerry PlayBook already fits into some of his jean and coat pockets.
“It is helpful when you need to put it down while out and about,” he wrote.
Kenshin767, however, favoured the opposite approach, making the tablets smaller:
“I have no problems with my phone/tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Note. It is the perfect size to fit into pockets – 5.3 inches. They are already there on the market, I think if we slimmed them down to that size for more tablets there wouldn’t be a need for the increased pocket size.”
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