Archive for the ‘legal’ Category
Don’t write it down, don’t even think it
For some reason at almost 4am on the 28th February I was surfing the Guardian. Right on the front page was a small link to ‘Chlie sausage’ with other links with earthquake coverage.
Intrigued, I clicked, and got this:
(click for the larger size)
This is clearly a case of a mistaken button push. It came down fairly quickly, and it’s not in Google’s cache anymore, but a search brings up the leftover metadata.
I suppose the lesson here is don’t add anything into a news system which you don’t intend to be visible to the public. I can remember this being impressed upon me during early days at Radio New Zealand. Journalists were actively discouraged from adding private notes in the news system, for the amusement of the newsreaders or sub-editors.
It was pointed out that a court request for information could make the comedy slur of a hapless newsmaker very public indeed, and perhaps lead to legal proceedings! Not fun.
The recent addendum to the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines says much the same thing about personal web-presences for BBC staff: If you wouldn’t say it on air, don’t put it on the web.
TVTropes has a whole category of fictional and some real-life ‘Is this thing still on’ moments broadcast on television.
In the end, I’m reminded of the time I saw the Guardian’s mis-publish, nearly 4am. And surreal things happen in the wee small hours, as the poet, Rives, points out in this cleverly written piece at TED in 2007. Enjoy.
Incredible bank screw up, but innocent party is sued. Be afraid.
Mediapost reports that a California judge has ordered Google to release the ownership details of a Gmail account user, and deactivate the account.
A bank in Wyoming wants the details because it has accidentally emailed personal financial records to this Gmail address. It then emailed to try to get them deleted, but didn’t hear anything.
So, just a few issues here then:
I wouldn’t respond if a bank I’d never heard of started asking me to get in touch. That’s called Phishing.
Why was the bank emailing unencrypted files around the open internet?
What would have happened if they had posted the material to the wrong physical address? Would they send the police round to change the locks?
Why should an innocent party lose access to their email in this way?
Definitely not the end of this story yet.
Get in quick or lose HD on Freeview
OFCOM are currently requesting comment from stakeholders in the UK’s digital terrestrial TV network. As tax and licence-fee payers, that’s most of us.
They are being asked by the BBC to authorise a change in the way the new high definition multiplexes are operated to allow for the use of encryption.
Encrypting HD-DTT risks stunting the growth of high-definition in this country and threatens to criminalise anyone who’s using any sort of non-standard cheap-and-cheerful reception equipment (which by law you are required to have a TV licence for). If you’re using open source receiver software, you can kiss that goodbye should this change go through.
What amazes me is that OFCOM published their letter on the 3rd of September and want comments back by the 16th. Err, that’s today!
That’s 9 working days to get comments in on a proposal that has far-reaching ramifications on the way the system of TV distribution works in Britain. Does this indicate that OFCOM doesn’t grasp the serious implications of this change, that it just writes to the ‘industry’ and allows such a short time for responses?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a good background to why this request is being made.
And if you’re still reading this today, get some comments off to
Filesharing with shared computers may equal anonymity
An american judge has decided that the RIAA, who are seeking to prosecute illegal filesharers, may not have personal information from Boston University about who was using a particular computer.
There were too many people around who could have had access apparently.
So if you’re going to share files at university, make a party out of it!