Archive for the ‘Privacy’ Tag

Privacy, But Not At This Price

dataprotectionSome MPs have complained that all the investigations into their expenses and parliamentary arrangements is an intrusion into their privacy. It’s a bit ironic, therefore, to hear the EU complaining that these same MPs have been party to an insidious erosion of our privacy. This is not some mild rebuke but an out right criticism that relates to BT’s involvement with the testing of an internet snooping system touted by Phorm which would be used to target advertising at internet users.

EU commissioner Viviane Reding, stated that ‘people’s privacy and the integrity of their personal data in the digital world is not only an important matter, it is a fundamental right, protected by European law’. However, the British government has failed to tack action because it would ‘cost too much’ even though our own data protection people stated the trial contravened the data protect act. It seems or privacy comes at a price the government is unwilling to pay.

Unsuspecting BT customers had their internet shopping habits recorded without their knowledge and those who did read about the intrusion and complained to BT got nowhere. Now the EU is taking the government to court to force a change of stance and to tighten the law on the confidentiality of electronic communications. The problem for the government is they want the right to snoop and record everything we do on the internet and on the phone. For once even the euro-sceptics my be thankful for the EU’s intervention.

Boiling Frogs and Lost Freedoms


Public Streets Private Views

You nave to laugh, people are complaining that someone has taken a photo of their house from the street or of the local shops just as they walk by. Forgive me but these are public spaces, when did the law change to make taking photos in public spaces illegal? What about all those tourists who photograph Buckingham Palace every day, or the Houses of Parliament, will they be arrested?

Google’s Street View is a very clever as it links photos of streets to Google’s maps so now you can see a map, an aerial view or, for some cities and towns in the UK a street view. As a gesture to the privacy brigade Google runs the photos through special software that searches for people’s faces and vehicle number plates and blurs them to make them unrecognisable.

I see no harm in the system and cannot understand why anyone would be concerned with Street View. There have been many wild claims about the images including being used by burglars to find houses to rob. Excuse me but the photos are not up to date, don’t give any indication of the things that deter burglars such as dogs, alarm systems and difficult escape routes. Its all a bit over the top, but there is a risk a few individuals stop the rest of us having access to an interesting development, and one I have used to see where friends and relatives have been living when they stayed on the other side of the world.