Mark Zuckerberg's entry on the Facebook blog yesterday demonstrates that he both believes in and, more importantly, understands privacy. Finally.

The new Facebook privacy policy, introduced this week, has been welcomed as a meaningful step in the right direction as users look for assurances that the Internet giant will provide them with the tools to protect their own privacy while using the social networking service. The new policy is streamlined and simplified after mounting global pressure for Facebook to provide more effective privacy settings.

Facebook is now overhauling its system so users can more effectively control their information, with the changes being rolled out in the next days and weeks. The focus of the overhaul has been on providing a single control for content, more powerful controls for basic information and an easy mechanism to enable users to turn off all applications. Meanwhile, the company is offering assurances … Continue Reading ››
Nick Clegg has today announced measures that we can all applaud, such as abandoning the ID card, the NIR, Contact Point, and so on. It is a Big Bang of reforms, intended to make the State smaller , less intrusive and more accountable, and to make manifest the Big Society, all in a woosh, just like the Origins of the Universe, and all going on expanding forever. Of course, in the Universe, some big things are just gaseous exhalations, and some small things so dense and heavy that they exert irresistible gravitational pull, and so it may turn out once more, here and merely in England.

What Nick Clegg has done is to cherry pick some of the Liberals favourite causes. But it is worth noting that what these measures demonstrate is not only what the Liberals believe in, but to say – look, the Coalition works. No one … Continue Reading ››
You may have noticed that the European Parliament made a press release last week in relation to its new digital strategy. sets out the vision for internet policy for the next five years and after. This has been passed as a resolution and has been referred to the European Commission.

Among other lofty goals such as the right of every EU household to have access to broadband at a competitive price by 2013, the EP advocates a digital rights charter. The EP says that this charter should "consolidate the Community acquis including, in particular, users' rights relating to the protection of privacy, vulnerable users and digital content ...".

The resolution says that a "clear legal framework laying down the rights and duties of citizens is essential. Preserving 'a fair balance between the right-holders’ rights and the general public’s access to content … Continue Reading ››
In previous posts I have tried to suggest that, on one reading, far from it being difficult to comply with data protection rules, it is actually difficult not to comply with them -the First Data Protection Principle in particular. The problems that arise come from the gap between normal rational behaviour, common sense assessments made by people processing data, and the rules which apply to these ordinary circumstances and assessments. The data protection industry is based on this gap, showing not how ignorant people can become knowledgeable and compliant, but how their original understandings do or don’t fit into the rules. The difference between the two is pretty considerable.

In my post on Gulliver (December 2009 Blog Archive), I attempted to illustrate and satirise something like this, by describing a regime based on regulating the weather, the weather of course following natural (common sense) rules which the legislators then … Continue Reading ››