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Politics Technology

Privacy laws in the UK Suck Europe prepares for legal action!

privacy-protection-425x319It likely comes as a blow to the Government to find that UK is to face legal action in the European Courts for failure to comply with European Law in regards to privacy. The EU Directive requires that the UK (and other states in the EU) create a industrial regulator that will act as a guardian of privacy. The requirements that monitoring of Internet activity sticks within the permits of the law would be their responsibility.

Since the UK has failed to create such a regulator and given the high profile invasions of privacy such as BT’s trial of Phorm software against its user base to “provide better advertising” has lead to the EU Commission launching legal action against the Government to ensure that the privacy of the people is respected.

The EU Directives in question, ePrivacy Directive and Data Protection Directive in the opinion of the European Commision have been broken on two key points.

Firstly the aforementioned requirement of an regulatory body which should be independent needs to be setup to monitor the monitoring of interception of communications. This is the first point the commission is taking action over – creation of such a body will see the UK fall into compliance with this respect of the law.

Secondly, the UK Law in regards to permission for interception of communication has the vague requirement of the interceptor should have reason to believe that consent has been given. This does mean that under UK Law, consent does not actually need to be given only a reasonable believe that it is implied. Under the directives, consent must be given freely, and in knowledge of what is being given. This is a clear difference of opinion.

Many belive that with the information commisioner it should be able to cover the requirements of the regulator to cover and monitor and that the creation of a new body to manage this is a waste of tax payer’s money.At the very least however a significant shake up of the privacy laws of the UK may be in order.

References
The Gaurdian
V3

Categories
News

The Stig to be Unveiled

The StigTop Gear Driver, The Stig has became the center of a legal battle to begin between the BBC and Harper Colins an autobiography by the publisher is due to be released soon which would see the identity of the Stig Unveiled. So if you want to know who the Stig really is, have a look at what Autobiographies are due to hit the courts in the near future.

It is unclear if however the autobiography is of whomever is behind the masked driver or someone who knows him and it has inadvertently been leaked as part of the process of writing the autobiography.The secrecy surrounding the identity of The Stig has been one of the BBCs best guarded secrets. The previous driver in the guise of the Stig was uncovered. He consequently was dropped from the show and replaced with the new Mr Stig.

BBC insist that the knowledge coming to light would ruin the viewer’s enjoyment of the show, or more realistically, the identity of the Stig would lead to a drop in sales of The Stig’s memorabilia. Either way, the BBC is ready to put our cash where its mouth is as they spend likely millions in a legal battle. Surely, given that there has been a loss of The Stig’s secrecy previously it would be easier to let the information come out, and drop him from the show again?

References
SMH

Categories
News

Children’s Data in Public Realm

Dilbert Data SecurityNow we are slightly more than half way through 2010. In this year UK mostly government departments have lost significant quantities of data. The security levels of the UK seems to be at atrocious levels. The liberal democrats have initiated a Freedom of Information Request over the data that has gone missing. To the shock of the general public the findings was significant.

Around 200 electronic devices have went missing in just 6 months. Works out as about 0.91 items every single day are lost by Government bodies. This level of loss cannot be accepted. The largest breach of security, perhaps not to anyone’s surprise came from the NHS. Specifically, Yorkhill Children’s Hospital which lost 20 PCs with confidential patient data. Surely with the loss of children’s personal information associated with that, the government needs to consider the issue of data security.

I would recommend that a high level review of all government agencies take place as a matter of urgency. Find out why so much data can go missing in such a short period of time and plug the problem before it gets worse.

I think now is time for the Parliament to realise the danger of the importance of data loss. People of the UK, stand forth and speak to your MP make parliament listen.

References

ITProPortal

Categories
Politics

Cameron shows his true colours.

David Cameron British Prime Minister

“Benefit fraud and error is the one area of ingrained waste that outranks all others”

The Prime Minister has been in office not even for a year and he’s already bringing in dubious acts and intentions that could seriously undermine confidence in the British Government which already faces problems with confidence after years of Gordon Brown’s unique leadership.

His comments remind me of another politician equally famous for being stupid:

“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.”

Former President George W. Bush

There is two issues with his plan of using companies to seek out the benefit fraudsters. Firstly, the fact that they are companies, so any organization stands to earn money by finding benefit cheats through the bounty system. Justice can never be a monetary oriented goal. The moment that happens the strength of the justice system has failed us. Second, protection of personal data – the Data Protection Act.

The ministerial body of which the data protection act is associated with, the Information Commissioner Office has made a statement regarding Cameron’s plans. They have requested a meeting with the welfare officer responsible for the oversight of this plan to answer questions over privacy concerns.

Isn’t it interesting how if we make an error, we are responsible yet if the state makes an error, we’re responsible It seems that now is the time to reconsider how our political system operates. Let us begin with dealing with the cost of political expenses.

We shall look at a honourable member of parliament for our example.

David Cameron Salary: £188,848 (Parliament Research Paper)
Housing Benefits: £21,293.86
Communication Benefit: £65.50
Net Income: £210207.36

Now lets compare that against those horrible benefit cheats:

Joe Blogs Undeclared Minimum Wage Salary: £11563.50 (based on October’s new Minimum wage of £5.93).
Housing Benefit: £5256
Job Seeker’s allowance: £2600
Net Income: £19415.50

Alright, so we can see that David Cameron can pay this benefit cheats annual income with fraudulent benefits out of his own housing benefit and still have change. This cannot be just.With any luck then, perhaps the Government will be the first that faces the wrath of the new credit industry investigating benefit fraud. Until such a time as the government can prove itself worthy of policing this level MP Benefit Cheatsof personal data it is essential that the Information Commissioner finds in the favour of the right to privacy of information of the people as it could be a very slippery slope to slide down once we start hunting for evidence of potential benefit frauds by organizations who has it in their best interest to find guilty parties as that is how they will be getting paid.

Perhaps then instead of targeting the money that people use to survive the daily commute to work David Cameron should concentrate on bosting financial aid. Increase benfits, or increase Minimum Wage.

Efforts should be made to bring down the cost of living in the UK or increase the financial security of the average person. Incidentally, MPs as a whole occur the tax payer a £40Million bill, people like those listed to the left, cost a hefty amount more.

Can you belive that some of these benefit fraudsters dont even have a second home? (or third and fourth in the case of our prime minister).

TheyWorkForYou.com rate David Cameron’s cost to the tax payer beyond his salary at £152,179.

References
Caledonian Comment
The Express
The Express 2
The Mail Online
TheyWorkForYou.com

Categories
Internet Technology

United States looking for internet censorship

I recently criticized the UK Government over the IE6 browser not being upgraded and general security breaches of astronomical scales. Now it is the turn of the United States to be criticized, again.

“Wikileaks.org should be shut down by any means necessary.”

US Government Conservative Representative

Of course, I am not surprised that a conservative wants to shut down the Internet site by any means necessary lets face it the US Conservatives are trigger happy maniacs ready to shoot anything that doesn’t agree with them. Lets face it, some of the documents released on that site about the Afghanistan war have apparently left many Americans thinking the war was a mistake. US policy is to hide up the facts rather than simply admit they were wrong and try to leave the war as quickly as possible.

However, its time for them to wake up and smell the modern world. The Internet is here, and it is not the domain of the United States Government no matter how much they want to control it.

“The military is telling the troops they cannot even view what is publicly available, even though the WikiLeaks documents are on hundreds of websites.”

There are other nations that insist on censorship such as Afghanistan and China. It seems that the United States is keeping in good company with its friends such as them.

The Demand

The US Department of Defense has demanded that Wikileaks remove, delete and return all documents that they have classified. This being the property of the United States Government. Given that the main server that is being used is hosted in Sweden, Not USA they are likely to face a tough time of bringing it down lawfully.

I completely understand that the information may indeed be classified and should not have been leaked in the first place but that is the lesson that Governments need to learn. The weakest link in the government is the Government. Remove the Government and there wont be any more leaks of Government documents! Beef up security, stop using ancient software, ensure your staff are trained and vetted.

References
ZDNetUK
CNet
Washington Times