Sunday, December 22, 2013

Search Me

In the UK, we had/have a deplorable police practice called "stop and search"

now this was ostenisbly so people suspected of carrying {drugs, knives, guns, islamic-extremism, irishness} cold be caught - unlike the US, this was targetted - of course, the net effect was to alienate various groups (especially the last 2) even more.

ironically, one of the things about the british police people like is that you could ask them staff - "ask a bobby" was a common piece of advice - the {time, location, help, etc}...and generally, they would be helpful (still are sometimes) - also, them not carrying guns makes them a bit more accessible:)

So now, if you search the internet via some engine {Google, Bing, Yahoo! etc}, what you look for will no doubt be part of the encroaching polis-state's total information awareness - as someone said at the IETF, when flying to Vancouver recently, he'd set off from another airport very early, and was about to send his partner an {e=mail, SMS, checkin} saying "this airport is SO dead", and then thought "do i really really want the NSA to put their interpretation on that".....

how weird to live in this world.

so the {NSA, GCHQ, Disney, etc} collect all our utterances.....but you can't go ask them for anything.

note that despite this, 9/11, 7/7, and poor Rigby's murder occurred. all that money spent by the surveilance state, but they can't reveal what they know in case the bad guys know that they know who the bad guys are and where they live.

come on, its our money, and we know you know where everyone lives, so how about you use it t round up the usual suspects for once before they commit some outrage, eh? just once. to prove you didn't spend it all on drink and drugs

Dave Eggars puts it in to context with a nice article discussing the swings of history and the story of Bernstein and the Front....for me, what we need is an extremist liberal take over of government which locks up and persecutes all the surveillance people for a couple of years, to give them a taste of what they are going to enable, but to point out that if it was an extremist right wing takeover, it would never end.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

terms and conditions, part II

1. We were wondering why there's no service that explains all online services' Terms&Conditions in Plain English once and for all (using a common set of terms:)

e.g. you own everything you put here on google's blogger service; or you own nothing you put here on google's blogger service. When you die, it is all deleted; or when you die, it is all in the public domain; etc etc

2. We were also wondering why there is no service that explains to you your privacy settings in one simple infographic, once and for all

e.g. using a simple visualisation of which people  who you don't know from Adam can see something you post or tag or blog, when a friend of a friend responds, reposts/ tags etc  - i.e. a simple venn diagrammy type thing with your ego net extending at least to friend of friend, then with pictures of people further away in the you-centric infosphere, and so on.

Of course, one answer to these two questions is that there isn't really an honest way to make money from such a service - or at least, not in a way that would a) induce trust and b) not cause all the existing service providers to set their best lawyers on you...

So I'm thinking this is an excellent project for cloud legal people at QMUL - we can get law students each year to do a project translating T&C for for the lay person, and explaining about property and privacy for the great public users of the unwashed Interweb....

3. Single sign on - hmmmm - how do we do this with really fast revocation? I quite like the two-gadget approach (you need a fitbit like device that talks to your smart phone - without both, AND you, then all bets are off....

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misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home