Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “Privacy”

Manipulation and EU Elections – twilight of Democracy?

I worry about whether the forthcoming EU Elections can be truly “free and fair”. Outside forces seem to have the ability and desire to over-ride the wishes of the people.

Read more…

Unwitted Consequences

Single man meets single woman on dating site – nothing salacious, no story even for the gutter press.

The man is a cabinet minister – again no story just sympathy for someone in the public eye trying to form a relationship.

The woman has a chequered professional past – again no real story; dating websites are said to be full of profiles that don’t exactly tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Relationship ends – again no story just sympathy for someone in the public eye trying to form a relationship.

So why are we abuzz with stories of hypocrisy, lack of transparency and conflicts of interest? Read more…

Confusion over “rights”

The head of MI5 says we have to choose between the “right to security” and what he sees as a more amorphous “right to privacy”.

Two terrorists say that we have to choose between the right to  “freedom of speech” (if it involves mocking their prophet) and the “right to security”.

Public opinion says that Gordon Taylor (head of the PFA) has to choose between “freedom of speech” (if it involves citing the Hillsborough tragedy / scandal in support of his member Ched Evans) and Mr Taylor’s continuing “right to his job”.

We seem confused! Read more…

Nicholas Witchell speaks for the Queen

Standing outside Balmoral (outside note), the BBC’s Royal Correspondent has “spoken for the Queen”.

He assures us that she is “very concerned”, that she is “aware of the Constitutional niceties”, that her advisers have “kept her informed throughout the night”, but that never-the-less, “she will be privately relieved”.

What a waste of space. I can understand why someone said of him,  “I can’t bear that man. He’s so awful. He really is.Read more…

Are the geeks inheriting the earth?

There is an interesting article in the Observer of 11 May 2014 by Andrew Smith about his birthplace, now known as Silicon Valley. He concludes:

… for all the excitement and convenience they generate, the tech people are giving us a world which suits them, which we need to start treating with far more caution than we presently do. …
Observer, 11 May 2014 : Silicon Valley: an army of geeks and ‘coders’ shaping our future

It is a worrying portrait of the place that “gives” us apps for our mobiles and tablets and mega-presences like Facebook that seem to be mediating moderating and manipulating so much of our communications.

It is in many senses the same problem as Westminster – an out of touch elite having undue influence on our lives. Read more…

Loss of Privacy – is not just over the Horizon

I am watching the BBC2 Horizon documentary on privacy Inside the Dark Web (Wednesday 3 September 2014). I have always veered between complacency and paranoia when it comes to personal privacy and the internet. I think I got it wrong; I have been veering between complacency and a genuine concern – and I need to recognise the latter.

It’s not just Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, but also Sir Tim Berners-Lee and David Chaum raising concerns. Read more…

Anachronisms – windmills for political bigots

something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, especially a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time
Dictionary.com : Anachronism

If you hear a politician saying “it’s anachronism – it should be abolished”, beware the political zealot. Read more…

Twitter – Anti-social media?

The Sophos Security Blog reports:

Twitter is taking people’s favourites and injecting them into others’ newsfeeds as if they were retweets.

The move is causing harrumphing among people who mistakenly thought their favourites were private.
Naked Security 19 August 2014 : Twitter injects favourites into newsfeeds, but is it an ‘invasion of privacy’?

Once again we get concerns that a “free service” (read: a service where we volunteer to be the product), is trying to set the expectations of their users/products. Read more…

Globalisation and insecurity

Recent events have highlighted what a connected world we live in. Current orthodoxy seems to be to accept free trade and globalisation either as a force that cannot be resisted or as a “good thing”. Dissident views seem to be isolationist.

Whilst I see some interconnection as a good and useful thing, too much connectedness can hamper us – as we see in European nations’ reluctance to take action against Russia in protest against the situation in Ukraine. Most European nations seem to be convinced that Russia’s soviet ambitions are behind the Ukrainian unrest (and the “apparent” shooting down of the Malaysian Airliner). However they also know where their energy supplies come from. So they are rendered supine – huffing and puffing but not doing a lot.

We need to be more discerning about our alliances and who we associate with and who we do business with. Globalisation can lead to insecurity at the national level as well as at the individual level. Read more…

Filter Bubble

Filter Bubble? What the … ! Please read on:

A filter bubble is a result state in which a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (such as location, past click behaviour and search history) and, as a result, users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles. Prime examples are Google‘s personalized search results and Facebook‘s personalized news stream.
Filter Bubble on Wikipedia

Briefly this means that some search engine (like Google) know you so well – through tracking technologies – that they have the ability to tailor search results to what they think you want to hear.

Does this matter? Well consider this case a Search on “BP”; Read more…

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