U.S. getting strict on privacy…?

Interesting that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined more than 650 small telecommunications companies for failing to certify that they are protecting customer data, reports the Wall Street Journal. The companies did not file required paperwork showing they have implemented data protection protocols. The requirements stem from the FCC’s tightening of privacy rules in 2007. It looks like they are serious 😉

More on Pirate Bay

If nothing else, the copyright infringement trial of The Pirate Bay Four in Sweden is turning into an entertaining spectacle according to PCWorld. For courtroom drama, it’s got it all: Irreverent defendants joking with prosecutors; rabid anti-copyright proponents with megaphones; a hacked recording industry Website; and even a cool pirate bus parked outside the court.

What’s more there are claims in the Swedish newspapers that this is the first trial whereby the defendant is ‘twittering’ updates during the trial. To follow the feed go here 🙂

Online there is no expectation of privacy rule Canadian courts

A Superior Court in Ontario, Canada has ruled that IP addresses are akin to your home address, and therefore people have no expectation of privacy when it comes to their online activities being accessed by law enforcement. This means that, in Canada, police can potentially request information from your ISP about online activities, and can do so without a warrant.

Your activities on the Internet are akin to your activities out in public—they’re not private and are possibly open for police scrutiny, according to an Ontario Superior Court. The ruling was made by Justice Lynne Leitch on—surprise!—a child pornography case. The judge said that there’s “no reasonable expectation of privacy” when it comes to logs kept by ISPs. ….. scarey, read more.

Covert surveillance of Deusche Bahn’s workers

Really interesting case on workplace surveillance in Germany. Deustch Bahn (railway operator) has been conducting covert surveillance operations without the consent of their employees. It involved covert surveillance operations that were given exotic code names such as “Babylon”, “Traviata” or “Prometheus” as well as a private detective agency.

Deutsche Bahn has submitted a 37-page report to the German government and parliament.  In the report, the Bahn admits that three major screenings took place in 1998, 2002/3 and 2005/6.

Although there’s talk of a legal “grey area”, some lawyers are convinced that Deutsche Bahn’s actions were illegal. “Screening the private data of employees and comparing this with the data of supplier companies is in accordance with German data protection law only if the employees themselves and the workers’ council agree with this beforehand.  And this was not done apparently. Read more it will be an interesting case 🙂

Facial recognition for driving license must undergo public hearing

The Department of Motor Vehicles recently proposed a $63 million contract with a company that uses facial-recognition software, which can detect whether a person photographed for a new driver’s license already has a license. The software allows the DMV to match a photograph with the entire DMV database of driver’s license pictures. This risk identified by the privacy group is of ‘mission creep’, that is this technology being used to identify persons in other situations, such as in a crowd.

This move has been blocked. Hence the DMV’s request to fast-track a new technology that the agency is seeking to deter identity theft, . The DMV sought permission from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the contract as early as this week, without the scrutiny of public hearings. This is a victory for privacy-rights groups as this proposal will now have to undergo a public hearing.


I received an interesting comment from Neil (who I happen to know is a school teacher) on the problem of cyberbullying that is a significant problem.  Cyberbullying is the virtual form of bullying and mobbing and normally includes sending or posting of harmful or cruel text or images using the internet or other digital communication devicess. Incidences of cyberbullying can occur in chatrooms, via IM or SMS/MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), and Neil says that his experience is that it is happening on Facebook too. Cyberbullying is more intrusive than physical bullying because it is invasive, it follows the child everywhere and there is no escape.

There are some websites that provide good advice on how to deal with cyberbullying and one I can recommend is the DirectGov website on cyberbullying.

CERN nostalgia

I was amazed to find a comment on the posting walled gardens for minors  from Mike Gerard. It has been a long time. Apart from being an exceptional work colleague during my time at CERN, he also agreed to be the coach for a team of us ladies (we were about 6) that would run the CERN relay every year at the end of May. The core team was myself (British), Monica Marinucci (Italian ), Maite (Spanish ), Aneta Baran (Polish ), Leanne Guy(Aussie ), Irmeli Svenson (Swedish), and Catherine Charbonnier (French) We also had some that came and went, sorry if I missed your names ladies 😉

I think the first year we ran it was in 1998. Each of us needed to run 1km, and OK for you fit guys out there this is nothing, but for us it was like a marathon as none of us were runners.  Mike used to take us out twice a week leading up to this race. He was amazing, he also got some stick from his colleagues when he was caught running around CERN with 6 ladies puffing in tow 🙂

We did so well that we even got medals in first or second place in our ‘ladies only’ team category a couple of years. After the first race I trained in earnest and have since run a whole load of half marathons and two full marathons (incl. NYC), and every time I have stood at the starting line I think of Mike and what he said that made me believe that I could run, how I said that I didn’t have a runners form, almost as though it was out of my control, I was getting to that age where the kilos were starting to load. He said that “you needed to run in order to get a runners’ form”. He was right, it is the chicken and egg thing. So I started to run… and got that runner’s form and I remember that one day when he said to me “now you are starting to look and run like a runner”. This made me feel very proud.

Apart from running I have since done tjevassen (ladies cross country skiing race) twice 30km, and once a race on skis of 45km. I have done an ice-skating race of 30km across the Swedish lakes. I have three times cycled tjevatten (ladies cycling) of 90km each. I have swam in tjevarnbroswimmet 1km upstream in water of only 16 degrees (with a wetsuit ;-)). I have trekked across the mountains with a 10kg rucksack on touring skis, got stuck in snow blizzards and survived. I even canoe and take a tent to sleep in overnight. In fact it makes me what I am today, determined and much more, getting mentally younger every year I get physically older. My personal moto is that “there is no excuse for not trying”.

More importantly if I had never started running I would have never met my very fine viking man soon after arriving in Sweden who has since become my husband. We met in a running club, at that time when running was my only life outside of my work. So this is why I feel nostalgic, if it wasn’t for Mike’s encouragement I would not have what I have today, and it is those things that money cannot buy 🙂

I don’t normally name people in full on my blog for obvious reasons, but I wanted Mike to get this public thank you from me and from the team, and this is the best way I can think of to do this 🙂