Entries categorized "Privacy" Feed

Privacy Discussion around the Breakfast Table

I WONDER if I should startle my primary school children with discussions about what other people can see and hear. After I made a short audio clip on Anchor (an app you can get on Android and iOS) about this idea, I started to wonder if I might be creating a bigger problem by opening a can of worms years before it should be considered.

Much of the rage around young people and computing concerns how Facebook, Google, and Microsoft may collect information from school kids using web browsers and apps. The potentially sensitive data could eventually make its way into the hands of third-party advertisers. The result is a little creepy for many young people and their parents.

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Data Protection, Revenge Porn and Privacy #elss16

If you've done nothing wrong

THE COMPELLING DOUBLE ACT of Eoin O'Dell and Fergal Crehan during the DIT e-learning summer school (#ELSS16) should be bottled and distilled for the required viewing of all Irish educators. Both learned men explained relevant issues about protecting privacy of student records and brilliantly supported their points with regulations and case law.

While listening to their presentations, I stated thinking about revenge porn and data protection constraints that make it difficult to share information when it contains the face, voice or work of a separate party who does not consent to the use of personal data.

Revenge Porn and Privacy

It's not hard to find examples of people circulating intimate photos or videos of former partners online. "Revenge Porn" is a well-form genre of expression where images taken during a relationship are subsequently shared when it ends. I'm surprised to see NSFW "ex gf" channels on Tumblr easily pass through content filters on many third level internet connections.

Revenge Porn is classed as cyberbullying but it is not illegal unless it is persistent enough to qualify as harrassment, under Irish legislation dating from 1997.

However, if the video contains copyrighted content such as a backing track from a mainstream musician, it's possible to file a takedown notice for copyright infringement against the revenge porn clip.

Data Protection and CCTV

While the e-learning summer school was underway in Dublin, Tania McCarthy, a Clare mother, was convicted of using her 5yo son to steal clothes from Penneys. Security camera footage shows the little boy dragging a heavy bag full of stolen goods from the shop before his mother was detained and charged. Earlier CCTV footage shows she had previously used the same tactic, when €200 worth of clothes were taken.

However, Penneys cannot share the CCTV footage with other shops since Irish Data Protection laws protect the privacy of the perp. The law currently prevents retailers and even gardai from sharing images of prolific, repeat and convicted shoplifters for fear of breaching their privacy, unless the ordinary decent criminals grant their consent.

In Northern Ireland, retailers are deemed "data holders" who follow strict protocols regarding their sharing of shoplifing images "for training purposes".

+++ Bernie Goldbach attends the e-learning summer school in Dublin every year, upskilling in digital literacies.


Hammering Away State Secrets

Kitty and Her Wall HammerPhoto snapped by @topgold of Kitty hammering away on the Berlin Wall.

YEARS AGO, WE used to pulverise components to ensure they were never read or used again--just like I watched happen when the Berlin Wall came down and Stasi agents destroyed dossiers rather than risk their exposure.

When I worked with classified government material, I followed protocols with all electronic material, printer ribbons, and carbon paper. The only way I could satisfy all the operation security monitors was through the total destruction of the storage or printing apparatus. I remembered those days when reading about "one of the most bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history" that happened when two GCHQ security experts viewed "the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents," wrote Alan Rusbridger. [1]

Destroying physical storage devices might seem merely symbolic today, but the fact UK intelligence officers still follow that protocol means they might not have moved beyond the basics of our digital age. Even though the Guardian's raw material (and the items subject to discovery in a court case) were destroyed in London, copies of those documents are also in locations far removed from the reach of British or American intelligence services.

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Grew Up with Super Snoops

Headed to WorkPhoto by @topgold from the back seat of a Huey.

I REMEMBER WHEN I first appreciated the term "signals" in a job title. That was in the 70s when my first cousin told me he was wiring the Oval Office.

One result of the wiring job was a conversation recorded in the Oval Office of staffers and Nixon talking about how to unravel the Watergate scandal. I attached that seven minute conversation to this blog post.

A decade after Nixon, one of my offices inside the beltway of the District of Columbia had to operate its word processor and printer inside a perspex bubble because a white van was often parked outside. The not-so-anonymous van was configured with an antenna array that the office signals technician knew could read print jobs over the air. Around the same time, a college friend started working with signals inside a formidable organisation I would later know was the National Security Agency. This was a break-through in the guy's career because he trained as a computer scientist and not as an electronics engineer. Today it makes sense because of how the NSA has leveraged Big Data.

Smoking Gun from Nixon Tapes

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If You've Nothing to Hide

If you've done nothing wrong
Bernie Goldbach found a pertinent discussion on Reddit.

TOO MANY OF MY friends have gotten really bad at privacy. "You know what happened on 9/11" they tell me with bated breath.

They're accepting a massive deterioration in liberty because they cannot fathom what might happen. They're hopelessly uninformed because they've never worked with contaminated data sets. And they're unaffected by oversharing that so easily becomes a part of their socially networked lives.

Two generations from now, historians will marvel at how the first cohort of truly connected citizens stumbled through levels of protection that people need in order to keep their affairs to themselves. This isn't a matter of secrecy--it's all about privacy. Cory Doctorow explains, "Privacy isn't secrecy. I know what you do in the toilet, but that doesn't mean you don't want to close the door when you go in the stall."

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The Private Side of Google Plus

David Armano on Social LayersBernie Goldbach in Limerick | 355 words

ONE OF THE most interesting things about Google Plus is the way I've seen it used in business when conducting close-held discussions. G+ lets you keep things from prying eyes.

Most people look at Google Plus as an alternative social network, but knowing they don't have the time or energy to relocate themselves and their friends from Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. Even though some business strategists (like David Armano with his graphic) see G+ tying together communications, collaboration, search and media, few people point out how there's an invisible pillar in the G+ schema. It operates behind the scenes and goes largely unappreciated by social media experts. It's the locked-down and private channel for collaboration.

If you trust Google Docs as a channel for communicating only between your business partners and if you use Google Forms to capture data without it leaking across the internet, you're familiar with the plumbing on the private side of Google Plus.

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Expecting Drones in Irish Skies

DroneBECAUSE THEY'RE RELATIVELY INEXPENSIVE, I expect to see drones overhead hotspots in Ireland. They're excess to military war zones and plenty of new models have evolved.

You can operate a radio-controlled plane with impunity in Ireland and the only concern most people have with unmanned drones is their careless operations over built-up areas. But there's a bigger issue and it revolves around the massive surveillance stash that a covey of drones could bring to the State.

In the USA, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is trying to see who has requested permission to fly drones. The ACLU recently issued a report on drones and privacy. There is very little in American privacy law that would prohibit drone surveillance.

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Who Looks at My Cameraphone Shots

iOS 4 in the handLIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE, I tap and accept app prompts when asked by apps for permission to access my phone's photo album. Doing that may allow an app to copy and store my images on another server.

And if you believe Nick Bilton, after you permit some iOS apps to have access to location information, "the app can copy the user’s entire photo library, without any further notification or warning." This might concern some friends who carry around compromising cameraphone images. But Apple apps aren't the only apps pulling images off phones. I see this happening with Instant Upload when using Google Plus. For years I've stored photos in the cloud while connected to Nokia's Ovi service.

It might not be apparent to iPhone owners that when they give permission for an app to use location data, perhaps for mapping, that they are also approving “access to location information in photos and videos.” That "location information" is embedded inside the images themselves. To get the approved "location data", the images have to go to the application developers' servers where they're stored, opened, and analysed. For some iPhone owners, this can create a huge risk to privacy.

But that's one of the issues we have with phones that track our movements.


I shot the iPhone photo myself and uploaded the image with its EXIF location data inside to my Flickr photostream.

Nick Bilton -- "Apple Loophole Gives Developers Access to Photos" on the NYT Bits Blog, February 28, 2012.

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Business Intelligence through Document Tracking

Adobe Tracker

I AM A BIG FAN of version-checked document handling and that's why I often prefer edits done inside Adobe's PDF ecosystem and with Microsoft Sharepoint docs.

The screenshot shows the dashboard we're using in a creative multimedia module as we learn how to squeeze business intelligence from email traffic. The toolset includes Adobe SendNow, Newsweaver and ReadNotify.


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