Bartleby, the Scrivener, by Herman Melville, published in 1856, is a short story set in the Wall Street office of a respectable but unnamed New York lawyer, who narrates the story. He is one of those “unambitious” lawyers who, “in the cool tranquillity of a snug retreat, do a snug business among rich men’s bonds and mortgages and title deeds”. He employs in his office scriveners, copyists of legal documents, the strangest of whom is Bartleby. Bartleby shows himself to be a reliable if odd employee and copyist. But after a time there are unexpected events. Bartleby creates an enclosed place for himself in his employer’s part of the office with a screen, behind which he withdraws. It becomes clear that he is living in the office, because he is always there. Most importantly, when asked to carry out tasks by his employer he responds each time by … Continue Reading ››
The controversial and heavily challenged Data Retention Directive is under fire again. Today's post on telecoms blog Watching the Connectives discusses the recent EDPS Opinion in which the privacy watchdog calls on the European Commission to consider all options, including repeal of the Directive, to strike a better balance between individual rights and crime prevention. You can read the Opinion in full here, and Rob Bratby's summary here.