Are we all under surveillance?

We’re used to seeing CCTV cameras absolutely everywhere in this country, but this creepy introduction of facial-recognition technology is something I thought only happens in places like authoritarian China. ‘Deeply concerned’ UK privacy watchdog thrusts probe into King’s Cross face-recognizing snoop cam brouhahaIt emerged earlier this week that hundreds of thousands of Britons passing through the … Continue reading “Are we all under surveillance?”

MI5’s poor surveillance data handling

It’s not often a data protection or records management news story gets this much press attention. MI5 accused of unlawful handling of surveillance data MI5 has been accused of “extraordinary and persistent illegality” for holding on to data obtained from members of the public. The human rights organisation Liberty has taken the security service to court … Continue reading “MI5’s poor surveillance data handling”

Welcome, but not too welcome

On one hand, you have giant violins floating down Venice’s Grand Canal drawing in the crowds. On the other, plans to use high-tech crowd control techniques designed to keep those crowds at bay. Venice, overwhelmed by tourists, tries tracking them – The New York TimesThe city’s leaders are acquiring the cellphone data of unwitting tourists … Continue reading “Welcome, but not too welcome”

Reconstructing, repairing — recovering?

Do you remember reading about those Whitehouse officials whose job was to painstakingly tape back together all the fragments of paperwork Trump kept ripping up and throwing away? Well… Piecing together the history of Stasi spying – The New York TimesWhen pro-democracy protesters stormed the secret police precincts in 1989 and 1990, they found officers … Continue reading “Reconstructing, repairing — recovering?”

Oops! I did it again

Whilst MI5 gets accused of unlawfully handling their data, the police just lose theirs. Home Office urged to explain 150,000 arrest records wiped in tech blunder – The TimesPriti Patel has been urged to explain an “extraordinarily serious security breach” after The Times revealed a technology blunder wiped more than 150,000 fingerprint, DNA and arrest … Continue reading “Oops! I did it again”

Feeling uncertain? Certainly!

The latest news isn’t very promising. About 40 universities report coronavirus cases – BBC NewsHealth minister Helen Whately said “it must be really tough” for students, but they wanted outbreaks “under control”. Universities were working hard to be able to resume some face-to-face learning, the health minister said. But some students have questioned why they … Continue reading “Feeling uncertain? Certainly!”

How is WFH working out for you?

The future has always been uncertain, in an abstract you-never-know-what’s-round-the-corner kind of way. But these days, goodness me — the very near future has never been so completely uncertain, unknown, and unsettled. For instance, what will our workplaces be like, after all this? The office is dead – Marker “It’s not something I was even … Continue reading “How is WFH working out for you?”

Too soon?

The coronavirus outbreak continues apace, but has China turned the corner? With its epidemic slowing, China tries to get back to work – The Economist So along with reporting the number of new infections every day, officials are now reporting on the number of reopened businesses in their territories. The province of Zhejiang, a manufacturing … Continue reading “Too soon?”

Leave us alone

Hot on the heels of Robot Day is Data Protection Day, initiated by the Council of Europe  in 2007. On 28 January, member states of the Council of Europe & EU institutions celebrate #DataProtectionDay. It marks the anniversary of “Convention 108”. The first binding international law concerning individuals’ rights to protection of their personal data. … Continue reading “Leave us alone”

Banksy sells out

Remember back in March I linked to an article about Banksy’s legal conundrum? “If Banksy wants to keep enforcing any of his trademarks in courts around the world, and avoid the risk of them being canceled for lack of use, he will need to show judges stronger evidence of his brands being used in the … Continue reading “Banksy sells out”

Lost your wallet? Don’t worry

An article to show that honesty might not be as rare in people as the media would have us believe. Majority of people return lost wallets – here’s the psychology and which countries are the most honest Overall, 51% of those who were handed a wallet with smaller amounts of money reported it, compared with … Continue reading “Lost your wallet? Don’t worry”

The cost of convenience

An interesting critique of the ‘Uber-for-X’ business model so favoured, still, by Silicon Valley. The gains are so marginal, compared to the wider impact of these businesses. The servant economy The haves and the have-nots might be given new names: the demanding and the on-demand. These apps concretize the wild differences that the global economy … Continue reading “The cost of convenience”

China’s fear of losing control

This isn’t quite the brave new world we were hoping these new technologies would enable. Davos: George Soros calls Xi Jinping a “dangerous opponent” of open societiesSoros said he wanted to “call attention to the mortal danger facing open societies from the instruments of control that machine learning and artificial intelligence can put in the … Continue reading “China’s fear of losing control”

There are cameras everywhere

There is such a high level of surveillance in our society. There are cameras everywhere, but they’re our cameras. The ubiquity of smartphones, as captured by photographers With so many devices in so many hands now, the visual landscape has changed greatly, making it a rare event to find oneself in a group of people … Continue reading “There are cameras everywhere”

Eye to eye

From Chris Eckert, a maker of “little art machines”, has made what could be described as a surveillance sculpture. A disconcerting installation featuring 20 blinking kinetic eyeballs that track a person around a room San Francisco artist Chris Eckert, who wanted to make a point of increasing surveillance and decreasing privacy of the population, has … Continue reading “Eye to eye”

Just because you’re paranoid…

Alexa’s been caught out again. Amazon’s Alexa recorded private conversation and sent it to random contact Although Amazon maintains this was a malfunction rather than proof Alexa is always listening, the company has filed patent applications in the past for functionalities that involve always listening, such as an algorithm that would analyse when people say … Continue reading “Just because you’re paranoid…”

They know everything about us, and that’s ok?

I really need to stop reading articles about how our personal data is being used and abused by seemingly everyone on the internet. Nothing good can come from going over the same bad news. These from The Guardian are the last ones, I promise. Why have we given up our privacy to Facebook and other … Continue reading “They know everything about us, and that’s ok?”

Why Groklaw shut down

Groklaw, Pamela Jones’s website reporting on legal issues around the Free and Open Source Software community, closed down and she herself wants to “get off of the Internet to the degree it’s possible.” Loss of privacy, forced exposure, the dehumanising nature of total surveillance: issues I’ve been vaguely aware of recently, but never really thought … Continue reading “Why Groklaw shut down”

Watching the watchers

How Britain exported next-generation surveillance Britain is one of the most surveilled countries in the world. Studies put the number of operational CCTV cameras at between two and four million, for a population of 60 million people. The country’s national DNA database holds records on six million people. Telecoms companies are mandated to store logs … Continue reading “Watching the watchers”