Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


The Trouble With Metrics

Is that they can be gamed. See “
Terror law used to stop thousands ‘just to balance racial statistics’
” in the Guardian:

Thousands of people are being stopped and searched by the police under their counter-­terrorism powers – simply to ­provide a racial balance in official statistics, the government’s official anti-terror law watchdog has revealed.

Lord Carlile said in his annual report that he had “ample anecdotal evidence” of it happening, adding that such a practice was “totally wrong” and constituted an invasion of civil liberties.

“I can well understand the concerns of the police that they should be free from allegations of prejudice,” he said. “But it is not a good use of precious resources if they waste them on self-evidently unmerited searches.”

He said there was little or no evidence that the use of section 44 stop and search powers by the police could prevent an act of terrorism.

What information security metrics have you seen gamed like this?

Via BoingBoing.

One comment on "The Trouble With Metrics"

  • Chandler says:

    Other than all of them?

    The form of metric gaming I hate the most is the “we’re going to measure how hard we’re working and equate that to getting the job done” approach to metrics.

    It’s a definite variation of what my Game Theory professor told us long ago and far away, “He who makes the rules wins the game.”

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