DVA Northern Ireland lost personal information on 6000 learner drivers

Opps I missed this one, came out the week preceding Christmas. The British government is having some interesting publicity this year!

The Driver and Vehicle Agency in Northern Ireland has admitted to losing the personal details of over 6,000 drivers. Two unencrypted discs sent to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea have gone missing in transit said the Northern Ireland agency. Read more….

Thanks for 2007 and Merry Christmas!

Hi, a quick post to wish all of you that have found time to make a visit to my blog during 2007 a Merry Christmas! A special thank you if you commented on some of the topics that I post on! It gives me inspiration to post more! I appreciate meeting you ‘virtually’ or ‘physically’ or both. It has been a very cool year and 2008 is sure to be even better!

Here is a Christmas picture. My home in the snow 🙂

Stripping PII

You know that stripping PII (personal identifying information) from data collected on us for statistical or other reasons is not as clear cut as we may have been led to believe. Removing PII should theoretically provide no link to our identity. It is however safe to say that for the aggregate of this stripped data the same cannot be said. The link although may not be direct is nonetheless a link of sorts, in the form of a ‘dormant identity linkage’. There has been an interesting study done at Carnegie Mellon University (Uniqueness of Simple Demographics in the U.S. Population) that those of you interested in this subject matter maybe be interested to read.


Yes Herman is the new member of our household. He is not home yet as I have been in NYC the last week working on an assignment. Herman is an iRobot. The first time I heard about Herman was from a friend in Geneva that had an iRobot to cut his grass a few years ago. Then as I was flying over to NYC last Sunday I read one of those funny brochures, you know with all these strange stuff that Americans buy. Do you know you can even buy stairs for aging dogs? It’s so cool, and then I saw Herman. That night in my hotel, I dreamed of Herman (yes he was called Herman in my dream) and he was in my kitchen, cleaning.

Hence I told my work colleagues who set about finding Herman during my stay here in NYC! I want to thank Tari and Jack for helping me to find him. Now is to see that he gets home safely, break the news to my husband that we have a robot in the family now, and make sure Herman feels at home on arrival LOL 🙂

Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)

Just as today in my work I carry out Business Impact Analysis, Risk Analysis and Compliance Assessments, now has come out something called a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA). This comes as no surprise to a lot of us working in this area. I am pretty pleased that this has been developed. Although clearly there is bound to be still some work/tweaking to do, I do think it’s a pretty good start. Link to press release follows:

“UK’s first privacy impact assessment handbook has been launched to help organisations address the risks to personal privacy before implementing new initiatives and technologies”

Meet Kai

I got pretty excited when I came across this posting. Taking a look at Customer 2.0, or at least that is what they are doing at Microsoft.

“Have you met Kai? Kai is the name that we (the MS IT EA Team) are thinking of giving to Customer 2.0. She is young and lively and one of the most demanding customers we’ve had to deal with on the web. Know why? Because she expects us all to grow up……..

Kai is calling to you to make her internet experience Fun, Social, and Engaging. If she uses your services today, that does not mean she will use them tomorrow. She is brand loyal, but your site will hold her attention primarily if it holds the attention of her community. Her group. Welcome to the fad.No more expecting Kai to live with badly designed sites. She learned about programming in high school (or middle school) and is unafraid of making her own mashups. That said, she doesn’t need to. You will provide something beautiful to her. She is outright offended when she sees a site or service that she feels is not professional or trustworthy. She’d never hand her friends over to something klunky.

A few demographics will bring this into focus. Kai may live in a western country… or not. She is as likely to be speaking Mandarin Chinese or Hindi as she is to be speaking Spanish or English. “

Identity Linkage and Privacy – part 2 published

Hi, I have just noticed that the second part of my article on Identity Linkage and Privacy has been published by ISSA. The link below will take you directly to the article if you are a member of ISSA. If you want a copy of the article and you are not a member of ISSA just make a comment on this mail and I can get the pdf to you. Email me directly if you have my email address.

Identity Linkage and Privacy – Part 2

By Karen Lawrence Öqvist

Where ever we go, whatever we do in our everyday lives, our personal information is being collected somewhere by someone or something, online and offline.

Facebook is bowing to protests

Lauren has a good posting about Facebook and how they have implemented a Beacon system. I mentioned this in a previous post. What this does is notifies your friends when you have purchased something. Basically boils down to that SPAMMING has evolved, to ‘let’s spam our friends’… nice world. So here we have Facebook that has better privacy controls for the user than let’s say MySpace, and then Facebook goes and spoils it by implementing this blatant invasion of privacy. I don’t want all my ‘friends’ to be notified of everything I purchase. Maybe in 10-20 years it will be normal, but NOT today.

Anyhow they have now changed the system so you need to approve before a notification is sent to your friends. Although I agree with Lauren’s view completely, what’s wrong with a simple Opt-out? We should have a choice and it should not be defaulted to Opt-in or click this button to keep your privacy every single time you purchase something, we should have the choice to set our default settings to Opt-out or Opt-in. And if we choose to Opt-out, it should stay that way unless we -the user- change it!