Time out

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been taking a bit of ‘time out’ from my online persona. Don’t you need to do that sometimes… you know ‘don’t go to the places you normally go’, ‘do things that bring you closer to nature to get back perspective on what’s really important in life’?

Why ‘time out’ now? Well not sure really, but nomally my periods of ‘time out’ follow periods of hyperactivity. I guess my brain just needs to ‘get back to basics’ or maybe this is just my very simple way of ‘refuelling’ and I guess Spring is a good time for this as new life is popping up everywhere after a long cold dark Winter 🙂

U.K. workers private data sold

This is an amazing story in that it happened in the U.K., not the U.S. or somewhere else in the world where privacy legislation is somewhat lacking.

So despite the Data Protection (DPA) legislation in the U.K. There has now surfaced evidence (following a raid) of workers being blacklisted and their personal data stored by a consulting company to for the last 15 years to make this possible.

Around 40 construction companies who subscribed to the scheme would send lists of prospective employees to The Consulting Association, who would then warn them about potential troublemakers. Employers paid ÂŁ3,000 as an annual fee, and ÂŁ2.20 for individual details, the ICO said. Invoices to construction firms for up to ÂŁ7,500 were also seized during the raid.

Not only was the database held without the workers’ consent, but the existence of it was repeatedly denied. This is a direct violation of U.K.s DPA.

Following the raid on 23 February, investigators discovered that the Consulting Association’s database contained the details of some 3,213 workers, the ICO said. Read more on BBC News.

RFID on metal cans

In Japan an RFID tag has been released on an aluminum can for the first time ever. This is pretty interesting as metal has always been a problem for RFID, in that it blocks it from being read.

Here is a link to the article in NyTeknik in Swedish. I can’t find anything in English, so if you find a link would appreciate if you could share with me and my visitors 🙂

Celebrities Big Brother ‘white trash’ brings in RFID for entertainment

The Celebrity Big Brother program has moved on to another dimension in their surveillance with the use of RFID on participants, just for our entertainment. It is pretty sad that we are a nation that feel entertained by such ‘white trash’. Have we nothing better to do with our time than to take part or watch these programs that encourage surveillance to a level of acceptance in a society where surveillance and location tracking is increasing on endemic scales.

I wonder how many of us come home each evening, and switch on the TV before even taking off our shoes, or changing our clothes to something more casual? I wonder how many of our brains are turning to vegetables as we sit in front of our TV to be enterained by this ‘white trash’? I wonder how many of us eat our dinner in front of the TV?

Thank goodness for blogging and social networking, for that our children are not lured by the ‘television generation’ that I guess that I am a part of. There is much negative to be said with children going online, but at least they need to think, act and make decisions whilst sat in front of their computer. Not like those of us that vegetate in front of the TV.

If you can think of any intelligent reason for the benefits of TV vegetation and this type of ‘white trash’ please share. I am always open to adapting my opinions if the arguments are compelling enough.

Sentinel dogs

An interesting development on CCTV at Leeds univeristy U.K. They have developed ‘sleepless’ cameras. Well you could liken it to the sentinel dog, sleeping with one ear popped up, just in case. The cameras are able to detect if someone else than the person that left the bike takes it. These cameras have been developed by a PhD student Dima Damen to tackle the problem of stolen bicycles with seems to be endemic wherever you go, and the success rate of the owner getting back their bicycle is only 5%. The technology could also be applied to airports for suspicious luggage, i.e. someone comes in with a bag and leaves with no bag… read more here…

Independent schools join the privacy debate on ContactPoint

Excellent news! Independent schoos in the U.K. are encouraging all member schools to educate parents on what ContactPoint is about, and how to request that their child’s information can be “shielded”.

‘The Independent Schools Council (ISC), which represents 1,280 fee- paying schools, has written to its members describing the new database, ContactPoint, as an “unjustified interference in the privacy of the majority of children and their carers”. ‘

Read more at Times online.

Leave your biometrics behind in Canada

The federal government is quietly working on a controversial plan to collect biometric information from visitors to Canada, immigration department officials revealed yesterday.

“The idea will be that we will take biometrics from people who are coming temporarily to Canada and need a visitor’s visa — temporary workers, students and visitors,” Claudette Deschenes, assistant deputy minister in the immigration department told members of Parliament. “Those who don’t need a visitor’s visa to enter Canada will be taken at the port of entry.”

Following in the footsteps of the U.S. border controls…. fun. I wonder what they are really going to use it for…and more importantly I wonder what privacy laws exist in Canada that will protect this biometric data? Read more on Toronto Sun.

Britain’s surveillance culture

The Information Commissioner in the U.K. Richard Thomas warns of ‘surveillence culture’ in Times online. Well what’s new… although he also brings into the discussion the ContactPoint database. This is the U.K. database containing details on every child in the country. Action on Rights for Children talk alot about this.