Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “privacy”

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…

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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…

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…

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…

“Free” Web Services vs “Snoop free” Web Services

That great giant that is Google regularly gets a hammering for its intrusiveness, the argument being that if you are not the paying customer, you are the product and your details will get monetised.

Google-bashing is easy, too easy (and fun), but Read more…

Do you want an ex US National Security Advisor on your board?

Dropbox (the cloud storage provider) have just announced a new appointment to their board. It’s what is not said in announcements that is so revealing:

We’re proud to welcome Dr. Condoleezza Rice to our Board of Directors. Read more…

“We should do everything possible to avoid …”

I get tired of the lazy response of some politicians and commentators after any outrage.

“We should do everything possible to prevent terrorism”. Everything possible? Well an internal security service that would put East Germany and the old Soviet Union to shame would be a start.

“We should do everything possible to prevent children being harmed by paedophiles”. Everything possible? Well for a start you can castrate every male at puberty (having taken any samples necessary to ensure the continuation of the race).

“We should do everything possible to ensure that we have a competitive economy”. Everything? Child Labour – or even slave labour will make us more competitive. So will abolishing most (if not all) of the welfare state.

Even if you do everything possible, outrages can (and will) still happen and desired outcomes will not happen.  But what will we have given up? Read more…

Dog Whistles

Normally “dog whistle politics” refers to senior politicians making possibly inflammatory remarks to get their supporters to come happily to heel.  For the Tories it is “immigration control” and “repatriation of powers”; for Labour it is “redistribution” and “public sector”.

However today I think we saw the dog whistler-in-chief react to a dog whistle. Read more…

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