Tag Archives: privacy
August 13, 2009

Google’s Answer To Privacy

The following video is absolutely hilarious.

However, there is, unfortunately, an underlying issue, which the video manages to highlight.
Nice to see parody is still alive and well in 2009!

Google Opt Out Feature Lets Users Protect Privacy By Moving To Remote Village

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June 1, 2009

Do You Care About Your Privacy?

ICANN is currently going through a complicated process in order to introduce more domain extensions (the bit after the ".")

While the launch of new TLDs is something that a lot of people will welcome it is not without its issues.

One of the areas that has been receiving quite a bit of attention is in relation to intellectual property rights.

So what has this got to do with privacy?

In many respects very little, but unfortunately the latest document that the IP community have released does impact on privacy.

In simple terms the IP people see their rights as being more important than those of private individuals.

I've posted in more detail both here and here.

And if you have feelings about the subject I would urge you to make your feelings known to ICANN - any internet user can do so!

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February 25, 2009

Music Labels vs ISPs

I finally posted the letter we received from the music labels' solicitors over on the company blog.

I had been meaning to do so for a few days, but I was waiting to see if the ISPAI membership could agree on a response.

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January 6, 2009

Irish Green Party Are Spamming Idiots


Image by just.Luc via Flickr

I hate spam.

It's a tactic used by lazy uninventive scumbags.

I don't like politicians that much and consider most of them to be seriously overpaid.

So when I got hit with a spam from the Irish Green Party today to my personal email address I saw red.

Here's the spam itself (screenshot with personal details removed):

green party spam email

I love the way they wanted to "be sure" that I got their unsolicited junk.

I am not interested in the Green Party. I have never expressed any interest in them. I have not asked to be added to any of their mailing lists, so why the hell are they sending me this rubbish?

Funnily enough the contact details on their website include one for data protection - its' as if they were expecting a backlash from their spamming:

green party spammers

Well done Green Party - any chance of ever getting a vote from me is gone!


UPDATE: They spammed Alexia as well
UPDATE 2 - Adrian doesn't really agree with me
UPDATE 3: the story was picked up by The Sunday Times

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November 7, 2008

Irish Police Want Access To Browser Data

It's 2008. Ireland is supposedly a democracy, yet the Gardai (Irish police force) are now demanding that ISPs provide them with live access to  browser data.

Say goodbye to your privacy!

The story was covered in The Irish Times today

Basically the Gardai are asking ISPs to give them a live link into their networks to capture realtime data!

Retaining personally identifiable data falls outside the scope of the data retention directive, as it clearly conflicts with privacy legislation.

The EU data retention directive will come into force in Ireland in the near future, but what it covers is quite slim in many respects and even that is viewed by many as an invasion of privacy.

Having said that it is possible for the gardai, or other law enforcement agencies, to request web logs and other data from ISPs in specific circumstances ie. on a case by case basis where the access request is controlled etc.,.

But providing constant, live, realtime access? That's a new one.

According to the press coverage today, which is the first I'd heard of the entire thing, the Gardai are trying the "good citizen" ploy as their excuse for what is clearly a request to ignore our civil rights.

Do I want some police officer watching my every move online?

Would I be comfortable with that?

Would you?

I somehow doubt it.

In a country like Ireland where there have been so many cases of government bodies "mislaying" sensitive data this kind of request is insane.

(Disclosure: We are members of the Irish ISP Association (ISPAI) and I'm personally involved with the data retention working group within ISPAI)

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June 12, 2008

Eamon Ryan – What purpose does he serve?

Eamon Ryan is Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

Now the last time I checked Communications included such things as ISPs, broadband, internet - you know, that sort of thing.

I was also under the rather naive impression that Dail ministers couldn't opt out of parts of their own portfolio. You know, ignore those bits of their portfolio that might make them actually have to deal with real and substantive issues.

As MD of Blacknight I am our representative to the Irish ISP Association (ISPAI). I'm also on the  organisation's working group for data retention.

We've been working with our members and the various government departments and Gardai on the transposition of the directive into Irish law. I won't bore you with the details of this at the moment - it would also put me in a bad mood to even think about it!

A couple of weeks ago the ISPAI sent letters to various Irish government ministers including Mr Eamon Ryan, Minister for Communications (etc)

The letters attached (pdf) are the letter from the ISPAI to Mr Ryan and his signed response.

Considering the directive itself refers specifically to communications (Directive 2006/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC) his reply has left me more than a little confused:

I have no function in this matter

Sorry? You're the minister for Communications. How on earth can you hope to get away by saying you have no function in this matter? The directive affects just about everything your department is in charge of.

So I have to ask dear reader, what purpose does Eamon Ryan serve?



Zemanta Pixie

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May 8, 2008

Irish Media Confuses Terminology Again

The Irish media must have been really bored this morning or just looking for a big headline. I guess its all an anticlimax now that Bertie Ahern is gone and thew new cabinet are in place.

According to RTE there was a "security breach", while Morning Ireland used the term "hacker".

What were they talking about?

Was a major ecommerce site hacked?

Did private and confidential information leak into the public domain?

No. All that happened is that Damien Mulley worked out where a file was on the Data Privacy Commissioner's site before they announced it to the public.

Hardly newsworthy and hardly a "security breach".

The report itself is a totally different matter, however.


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December 12, 2007

Golden Spammers – Fined For Spamming

In the runup to the Golden Spiders earlier this year I noticed several complaints about their mailing lists.

Both Peter and Mary Rose complained of having issues getting off the list despite several attempts.

Now it transpires that Mary Rose has not only reported the issue to the data privacy commissioner, but that the commissioner has ruled in her favour and Golden Spiders / Business and Finance will be forced to pay €500 to the charity of her choice.


If only more people took the time to report abusive emailings like this maybe Irish business would learn how to use email properly

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September 25, 2007

WordPress Release Raises Privacy and Security Concerns

The latest release of WordPress was made public earlier today. Since I've stopped using WordPress I wasn't aware of it until I caught up with my RSS feeds a short time ago.

Whether the new release brings enhancements or new features won't really matter to anyone, as the new release brings with it a new "phone home feature":

Our new update notification lets you know when there
is a new release of WordPress or when any of the plugins you use has an
update available. It works by sending your blog URL, plugins, and
version information to our new api.wordpress.org service which then compares it to the plugin database and tells you what the latest and greatest is you can use.

Well it seems that it sends a lot more data back to WordPress than is actually necessary and the lead developer, Matt Mullenweg, doesn't seem to have a reasonable explanation for this.

There's a couple of posts about the issues this raises and a very long discussion of it on the a mailing list (worth reading!)
The key point being raised time and again is that people aren't given an option to opt-out of sending the data. It might also be seen as breaching EU privacy legislation according to one contributor.

UPDATE: You can disable the call home function via a 3rd party plugin. If you read the mailing list thread there's one or two options mentioned.

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