Would You Buy An Expensive Lock If Someone Else Had The Key?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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encryption-lock

 

Apple and Google recently enabled full-device encryption by default on their mobile operating systems – and big brother doesn’t like it – not one bit. As always he talks about things like ‘National Security’, ‘terrorist threats’, etc., and that there will be total chaos in the streets if ordinary citizens are allowed their right to privacy.

Some of the stuff that has hit the media has been ridiculous and would be laughable except these idiots are actually intent on total control.

For example, the head of the FBI has issued dire warnings of children dying if ordinary people are allowed their privacy via encryption programs. The secretary of Homeland Security used the deaths of the 168 people killed in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing as ‘proof’ that, while privacy was important, encryption should not be allowed to stymie US law enforcement.

Big Brother wants to stick his nose into EVERYTHING. Anything that makes that harder to do frustrates the hell out of him.

big brother is watching poster

 

So he continues with the stupid excuse that the necessity to snoop on law abiding people is because criminals and terrorists might use encryption tools as well.

It’s a bit like saying that no one should be allowed to drive a car because someone, somewhere, sometime, might get drunk and cause a fatal accident.

Then there’s the EnnEssEhh director who wants mandatory “front doors” to be built into all cryptographic technology used in the U.S., so that you can’t have secrets it can’t spy on. His idea is for all encrypted software and hardware used in the U.S. to have one encryption key for the user (you) and another that would be made available to the government bureaucrat spooks any time they wanted it.

This is complete nonsense. And they know it. But still they persist.

They have already got the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which removed the right of a purchaser to use their goods as they see fit. This legislation means that digital products continue to be the property of the seller – not (you) the buyer who paid for them. And it makes it illegal for buyers of digital goods to circumvent any features that allow snooping.

Going back to my car analogy, that is like a car dealer selling you a car on the condition that you never open the hood to see how it works, or perform your own modifications.

In practical terms this means that if you buy a new phone or computer, the manufacturer can have a spy device pre-installed in its hard components or its software and you would be forbidden by law from finding out about it or fixing it.

If Big Brother thinks he can enforce stupidity like this then he is even crazier than I think he is – and I think he is completely crazy already!

Big Brother can legislate all he wants, but we all know that the only people who will abide by these new laws will be the law abiding people. The criminals and terrorists will find ways round it, through it, over it, or under it.

It’s the same flawed logic as in the continued cry from liberals to take legally registered guns away from law abiding people so that only the criminals are armed.

Neighbor Wants Guns Banned

 

Then there is, not the probability – but the FACT – that if a government spook friendly encryption system was created, it would immediately be attacked by hackers – including hackers employed by foreign governments, some of them friends of the terrorists that the legislation is supposed to be there to defeat.

And what about the practical commercial aspect to it all? When you think about it, who in their right mind is going to pay good money for an encryptiuon system that they know can be broken?

Would you buy an expensive lock if someone else had the key?

I think not.

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RIPIE, YIPEE!!!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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In my post last Friday that I called ‘Looking Through The Windows’ (click here if you want to read it)   I mentioned that the demise of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser was imminent and Windows 10 would see a whole new ‘streamlined’ internet browsing system bundled with it.

Now it’s official.

Microsoft is indeed ditching Internet Explorer. If fact it is getting rid of the entire brand.

Microsoft has confirmed that it was re-branding its new browser, currently known as ‘Project Spartan’, when it is released in summer.

Microsoft-s-Spartan-Browser

As usual, the need to kill off Internet Explorer is Microsoft’s own fault. They have released a series of bloated and buggy versions of IE over recent years, every one worse than the previous one. Now IE has attained a very negative reputation with internet users, particularly experienced ones.

But IE’s death will not be a quick and painless one. Instead a lingering demise is planned. Why I don’t know.

Some versions of Windows 10 will apparently still be shipped with IE still on board. Presumably you will have to go through the rigmarole of deleting it and replacing it when the new version is ready. Possibly a reason not to buy the new Windows 10 system until they get their act together.

internet-explorer-9

On the positive side, the new browser will be free. Not because Microsoft likes to give things away for free (that’s not what made Bill Gates the richest man in the world), but because they started that trend when they were trying to kill off Netscape, which they successfully did.

Since then no one pays for a browser. Apple, Google, Mozilla, Opera and the rest are all freebees these days. Inadvertently I suppose Microsoft did us all a big favor.

The only thing that scares me is the hype coming from Microsoft.

Statements like, “Microsoft’s change in direction is a smart, albeit bold, and a symbolic gesture.” don’t fill me with confidence. It is the same type of nonsense that preceded the release of ‘Windows Vista’ and ‘Windows 8’, and if you read last week’s post you will know what disasters I thought they were.

So will a change of name, or re-branding as Microsoft calls it, mean that their new browser will be a good one? The jury is still out on that. Like everything else we will have to wait and see. If they stick with the name ‘Spartan’ the implication would be that the new browser will be slick, fast and not memory hogging. That would indeed be good and a welcome changes from recent versions of Internet Explorer.

Having said that, I don’t think Google Chrome is in any imminent danger though.

Spartan Browser 2

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I Spy With Your Little ‘i’ – A Free And Open Internet?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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internet surveillance

When the internet was born it was a tool of the military establishment.

Then it broke out of that stranglehold and escaped into a world of freedom of expression and communication for everyone.

Never before had a system like this been available to the general public. Never before had it been so easy to find information, search for friends, communicate with groups with similar interests, etc. Its popularity was assured.

The world wide web developed at break neck speed, much too quick for the people who hate and detest freedom. They were confounded.

It was a free and open internet.

world wide web

So how could it ever go wrong?

Well, as with the financial crisis, when you dig down a bit you find the Clinton administration again as the culprit.

During the 1990s, when the World Wide Web was first being woven into social and cultural life, internet companies and corporate advertisers lobbied the Clinton administration to minimize privacy restrictions, so that they could re-engineer the Web to enable commercial surveillance of internet users.

The warnings of public interest groups were ignored as social networks, search engines, service providers and advertisers lobbied hard against even the smallest of efforts at data protection. Motivated by greed, they ensured that commercial surveillance would be pervasively integrated online. They are still at it today, that’s really what cloud computing services are all about.

A few thousand giant corporations, like Google, have become able to capture information every minute, of every hour, of every day, from everyone who uses the internet. And they can’t stop because their profit strategies totally rely on accumulating user data.

google for profit surveillance

Thus began the surveillance society. The government saw how easy this could now be done and began to catch up fast. If there was snooping to be done, they were not to be left out in the cold.

Until Edward Snowden, who had been a computer consultant working for a subcontractor to the US National Security Agency (NSA), copied several hundred thousand classified documents relating to surveillance programs being conducted by the US and its allies in the name of the war on terror, and sent them to journalists, nobody really understood the level of snooping that was going on.

Most of it was unnecessary, intrusive, unproductive and immoral, and after Snowden’s revelations nobody believed the United States government was totally innocent of any wrongdoing.

ennesssseh

Further revelations published since have helped to reveal a surveillance system that intrudes into almost every facet of our private lives. Privacy in fact is a thing of the past, unless you have the time, resources and knowledge to try to circumvent it.

If the government was only spying on the communications of foreign countries such as China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, and if it was confined to what could be termed ‘unfriendly’ nations and their agents throughout the world, then I don’t think anyone would mind so much. It’s a necessary evil in today’s world.

But unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. Friendly nations and heads of state, European institutions, the UN headquarters, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to name but a few, have all also come under the snooper’s gaze.

This has not only shown up the irresponsibility and arrogance of those in charge of the snoopers, and their lack of common sense and ethics, but it has also created even more ill will against the United States.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an ally of the United States, was a victim of the snoopers. As a result of that revelation, the German government protested publicly its outrage. It also terminated its longstanding telecommunications service contract with Verizon, directing its business to Deutsche Telekom instead. Two weeks after that it expelled the head of US intelligence in Germany.

The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, also took public stands against US privacy invasions. He, like Merkel, had also personally been a victim of the US snoopers.

Then the UN General Assembly voted unanimously to affirm online privacy as a human right, and in June 2014, responding to the EU, the US Justice Department had to promise to send legislation to Congress that would grant European citizens many of the (inadequate) privacy protections accorded to US citizens.

Bad enough not trusting your supposed ‘allies’, but US intelligence agencies have gone even further. Now they don’t even trust the decent, honest, hard-working citizens of America who have never broken any laws, nor have any intention of doing so.

prism

The Prism program, for example, allows the NSA to collect data from your emails, telephone conversations, contacts, videos, etc., from major US digital companies including Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

The XKeyscore program uses several hundred servers distributed across the world to store information on the activities of every Internet user, including your emails, internet searches, the websites you visit, what you post on social networks, and blogs like this. (Whoops!)

The list goes on and on.

After Snowden’s revelations, commercial firms like Google, Facebook and others scrambled to distance themselves by professing outrage. Their protestations had little to do with political principle but a lot to do with ensuring they continued to make fortunes by collecting data on us.

The US Internet companies went on a public relations offensive, and also raced to reorganize their overseas operations, to reassure worried foreign customers that they were complying with local data protection measures.

IBM, for example, committed over a billion dollars to building additional data centers overseas, hoping to ease customer fears that their data was not safe from the US government’s surveillance. But then the US authorities demanded that Microsoft, which deploys more than a million computers in over 40 countries, hand over emails stored on its servers in Ireland. Data is not safe and private anywhere it seems.

Last week I wrote a post about the Facebook/US Army experiment in trying (successfully) influence how people thought. (Click here if you want to read it.)

And so it continues.

Personally I think it is a pity that the powers that be are able to devote time, energy and money against people who have done nothing wrong, yet seem unwilling to remove child pornography and other evils from the world wide web. But the latter would require a decree of decency and morals that is sadly lacking in those who direct such matters for the government.

The US has lost the moral authority to talk about a free and open Internet, because that free and open internet has already been destroyed.

No doubt there is worse to come.

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Further Fun Facts For January.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Another round of fun facts, not just for January, but for whenever you feel like it really.

As random a mixture as ever.

Enjoy.

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fact 01

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Las Vegas casinos don’t have any clocks in

them because the owners prefer that

players lose track of time and keep gambling.

Las Vegas casinos

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Clear Coca-Cola was created for the USSR in the 1940s

because Coca-Cola was regarded in the Soviet Union

as a symbol of American imperialism.

A chemist satisfied the request by removing

the soda’s caramel color and the company

put the drink in a clear bottle with a white cap

and a red star and sent 50 cases to Russia.

Coca_Cola_Clear_by_Giluc

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Dogs can be trained to detect

the scent of lung cancer

long before symptoms develop.

Dogs can be trained to detect the scent of lung cancer

.

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This image of what appears to be

a humanoid on the Moon

is believed to be an optical illusion

created by a rock formation’s shadow.

Certainly not proof of alien life,

or is it!

image of humanoid on Moon

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Liam Neeson was once offered

the role of James Bond,

as were Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds,

but they all turned it down.

Liam Neeson offered the role of James Bond

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The three pyramids in Giza Necropolis

are the most famous Egyptian pyramids

but in fact, as many as about 140 pyramids

in total have been discovered in Ancient Egypt.

three pyramids in Giza

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.

In October 2006,

Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in stocks,

only eighteen months after it was created.

The three founders received big rewards,

Jawed Karim getting $66 million in Google stock,

Steven Chen $310 million,

and Chad Hurley $334 million.

Google bought YouTube

.

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A Japanese survivor from the Titanic disaster

was shamed when he returned to Japan,

he was told he should have gone down with the ship.

Japanese survivor from the Titanic

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The term ‘Make the grade’ originates from

the world of railroad construction

in nineteenth-century America.

The word ‘grade’ is short for ‘gradient’

as calculations had to be carefully made

to ensure engines did not encounter

sudden steep gradients.

Make the grade

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The polar bear is the only bear species

that does not hibernate;

they are active all year round.

polar bear does not hibernate

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Coffee can cause muscle contractions

along the final part of your intestine,

which can jumpstart your need to use the restroom.

This happens to about 50% of people that drink coffee.

Coffee can cause muscle contractions

.

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Every day, the heart creates enough energy

to drive a truck 20 miles.

In a lifetime, that is equivalent

to driving to the moon and back.

the heart

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J K Rowling’s publisher suggested

she use initials rather than her real name,

‘Joanne Rowling’,

in order to appeal to male readers.

She chose ‘J.K.’ borrowing the ‘K’ from

her grandmother’s name, Kathleen,

although neither ‘Kathleen’ nor ‘K’

are part of her legal name.

J K Rowling

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Marilyn Monroe had a bigger IQ than Albert Einstein.

Monroe’s IQ was 163, 3 points higher than Einstein.

She also had bigger … never mind …

Marilyn Monroe had a higher IQ than Albert Einstein

.

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The Beatles song “Dear Prudence” was written

about Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence,

when she wouldn’t come out and play

with Mia and the Beatles at

a religious retreat in India.

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Fasab’s Final Facts For 2014.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi, and welcome to the final fact day for this year.

There is a mixture of random bits and pieces along with some seasonal offerings, so hopefully you will find something of interest.

Enjoy.

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facts 04

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Norwegian scientists have hypothesized

that Rudolph’s red nose

is probably the result of a parasitic infection

of his respiratory system.

(Oh boy!!!)

rudolph_the_red_nosed_reindeer

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In December 1843 Charles Dickens

published a little novella

about a grumpy old curmudgeon who

rediscovered the true meaning of Christmas

after being visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.

He called it ‘A Christmas Carol’ and

it was a resounding success,

so much so that in the succeeding 171 years

it has never been out of print

and has been made into many movies

and television shows.

A Christmas Carol

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The skin of a polar bear

is actually black

which helps them to trap heat.

polar bear

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Christmas has its roots in pagan festivals

such as Saturnalia (December 17-December 23),

the Kalends (January 1 – 5, the precursor to the

Twelve Days of Christmas),

and Deus Sol Invictus or

Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun (December 25).

The Christian church heartily disapproved

of such celebrations and co-opted

the pagans by declaring December 25

as Christ’s day of birth,

though there is no evidence

Christ was born on that day.

saturnalia

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In 1999, a single stroke of lightning

instantly killed a whole soccer team.

The eleven players were all between

twenty and thirty-five years old.

This freak accident happened during

a match held in the eastern province of Kasai, in Congo.

The strangest thing of all, however,

was that the players from the home team

came out of this tragedy unscathed.

lightning instantly killed a whole soccer team

.

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In some of the Greek islands,

instead of a piling their

presents under a Christmas tree,

many families still put their gifts

in a wooden fishing boat

symi_fishingboat_sea

.

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YouTube can be found in sixty-one countries

and across sixty-one languages,

with almost 75 percent of its users

living outside the US.

It’s estimated that more than 1 billion users

use YouTube each month

mainly for entertainment.

According to Alexa rankings

YouTube is the third biggest

(i.e., most powerful) website in the world

trailing behind only Google and Facebook

and ahead of online giants such as

Yahoo, eBay, Wikipedia, Amazon, and, PayPal.

YouTube logo

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Each year more than 3 billion

Christmas cards are sent in the U.S. alone.

3 billion Christmas cards

.

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Until the Lincoln Cathedral was

built in England in 1311,

the Great Pyramid of Giza

held the title for the

world´s tallest man-made structure.

It held the record for an incredible

and unparalleled 3871 years!

Great Pyramid of Giza

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According to data

analyzed from Facebook posts,

two weeks before Christmas is one of

the two most popular times

for couples to break up.

However, Christmas Day is the

least favorite day for breakups.

Contrary to popular belief,

suicide rates during the Christmas

holiday are low.

The highest rates are during the spring.

couples to break up

.

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Mickey Mouse on Mercury?

Measuring 105 kilometers across (65 miles),

a striking resemblance to Mickey Mouse

can be found on Mercury’s southern hemisphere.

It is attributed to an accumulation

of craters over a long period of time,

or else Mickey was originally a Mercurian!

Mickey Mouse on Mercury

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Christmas trees have been

sold in the U.S. since 1850.

Christmas trees

.

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The demented Roman Emperor Caligula

once ordered his troops

to go to war with the sea.

He made troops return with

seashells as plunder of war

against Neptune.

Roman Emperor Caligula

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The British wear paper crowns

while they eat Christmas dinner.

The crowns are stored in a tube

called a “Christmas cracker.”

British wear paper crowns while they eat Christmas dinner

.

.

George Frederick Handel’s

great Christmas oratorio,

“The Messiah”,

was first performed in 1742,

in Dublin.

.

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It’s Hard To Explain How Good I Am At Describing Things!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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But I can still describe today 

–  it’s Pun Day!

Enjoy or endure!

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rofl

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If you think you dream in color,

is it just a pigment of your imagination?

dreaming in color

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My boss fired me for complaining about the office escalator,

It didn’t go down well.

office escalator

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First guy: “What would you do if your son told you he was gay?”

Second guy: “I’d buy him a straight jacket.”

straight jacket

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Paddy goes for a job interview at a chemical factory.

The manager asks, “Have you worked with chemicals before?”

Paddy replies, “Yes.”

The manager then asks, “Can you tell me what nitrate is?”

Paddy replies, “Yes, it’s time and a half.”

job interview cartoon

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I was on holiday in the Alps

when I saw a sign saying ‘Ski Hire’.

So I went a bit further up the slope.

ski hire

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I’ve just bought a shire horse.

As if my other horse wasn’t shy enough.

shire horse

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I keep having recurring nightmares where

I’m in a hospital surrounded by loads of pregnant women.

Could I be going through a midwife crisis?

cartoon hospital

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I’ve just got a job testing hover boards.

The money’s not great,

but it keeps me off the streets.

hover boards

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Pirate cheerleaders have it easy.

“Give me an R!”…

Pirate cheerleaders

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A guy came up to me the other day and said,

“I’m a 3-5 stringed instrument of the harp family,

popular among nobles in medieval Europe.”

I said, “You’re a lyre!”

 

lyre

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It will be Google’s birthday soon.

They’re planning a search party.

Google’s birthday

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I went for a depression test.

Came back negative.

Oh, NO!

depression test

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I rang SeaWorld the other day,

because I wanted some information.

Before I got through to an employee,

I got a tape telling me

“This call may be recorded for training porpoises.”

training porpoises

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If someone asks you to

spell “Part A” backwards,

don’t do it.

It’s a trap……

a trap

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Steppenwolf was an assumed name.

He was born Toby Wild.

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I Don’t Believe It! – The Bureaucrats Have Done Something Sensible!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It had to happen eventually.

Admittedly we’ve been waiting for a long, long, long time, but finally the bureaucrats seem to have done something sensible.

Sort of.

But hold on!

US citizens, fear not, your bureaucrats are standing firm. They are not included in this minor breakthrough.

It’s all about the snoopers.

In this case Google, who thinks it has the right to collect any and all information it can from people who use its search engine to find things on the internet.

But as a result of a recent European Union Court of Justice ruling, EU citizens have been given the ‘right to be forgotten’. Certain users can now ask search engines to remove results for queries that include their name, where those results are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.”

Google is complying, but reluctantly, making the whole process anything but straightforward and easy. It is launching a service that lets European users ask for personal information to be deleted from the search engine, but on its ‘right to forget’ form users will be asked to provide links to the material they want removed, their country of origin, a reason for their request, AND also attach a valid photo identity.

And keeping its options as open as it can, Google has also said, “In implementing this decision, we will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information. When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information — for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.”

Who defines “the public’s right to know” has not yet been clarified, but I bet you if it is left up to Google what is in the public interest will be remarkably similar to what is in Google’s interest too.

It’s not much, but it’s a start.

Come on all you American bureaucrats, America used to lead the world, what are you waiting for?

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