Category Archives: satire

GDPR could cost Rotherham man more than the world’s entire money

In rather shocking news I can reveal that Roy Flynn, 58, of Windsor Road, Wath-upon-Dearne, is potentially facing fines of more than £60 trillion, under the EU General Data Protection Regulation. 

The regulations, which will become law next May, and will require consent for everything anyone does ever, leave data controllers liable for fines of €20 million every time they are breached. 

Mr Flynn is known to be an active social media user, and a member of several local clubs, including the Wombwell Top Gear Appreciation Society, the Mexborough Real Ale Club and the Brampton Bierlow Fat Men on Expensive Bicycles Group. He regularly makes personal comments about people on web articles, posts Facebook updates about fellow members of these societies and repeatedly fails to use “blind copy” when sending group emails. It has also been reported that he uses an unencrypted Dell Inspiron laptop with anti-virus software that was last updated in August 2007.

Cyber security experts are now warning Mr Flynn that unless he downloads their GDPR White Paper and purchases their unique data discovery tool he will be liable for fines in excess of the total amount of money in the entire world. It is being suggested that this could cause significant disruption to his community activities.

However, when contacted by the author Mr Flynn would only comment “Bugger off you soft Southern weirdo”. 

The Information Commissioner’s Office has said “we are aware of this incident and are making enquiries”. We expect to hear the outcome of these enquiries within the next decade.

For similar news see here, here, here, here etc 

The views in this post (and indeed all posts on this blog) are my personal ones, and do not represent the views of any organisation I am involved with.

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The chilling effect of Google Spain on my blog

UPDATE 04.07.14: As a result of the European Court of Justice’s oppressive judgment requiring the removal of virtually all of history from the internet, I feel I am forced to edit this old post. This is nothing at all to do with childishly making a point. Honestly.

10 December 2006

The shock publication by [REDACTED] that world-famous [REDACTED] and celebrity, [REDACTED], was snapped with several large [REDACTED] on his [REDACTED] raises profound data protection issues.

[REDACTED] surely never expected that his night out with [REDACTED], Sir Jimmy [REDACTED] and Elizabeth Taylor, would end in him being [REDACTED] so ignominiously [REDACTED] as they looked in on Wang with [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] and a miniature trombone. Nor would he have expected it to be plastered across the front page of the News of the World.

Whether the journalists can rely on the section 32 DPA exemption will depend upon how the ICO or the courts assess whether knowing that [REDACTED] has such an hilariously small [REDACTED] – despite his well known predilection for [REDACTED] – will depend on [REDACTED].

My assessment is naturally clouded by my enormous [REDACTED WHOLE OF REST OF BLOG POST] 

 

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The Windmills of Mr Cameron

The Prime Minister revealed recently that, when it comes to justifying the introduction of disproportionately intrusive surveillance legislation, he draws comfort from fictional depictions of crime detection:

In the most serious crimes [such as] child abduction communications data… is absolutely vital. I love watching, as I probably should stop telling people, crime dramas on the television. There’s hardly a crime drama where a crime is solved without using the data of a mobile communications device

Although this relevation has drawn some criticism, I think such criticism is unfair. Mr Cameron’s policy approach has a precedent. Hansard shows that, more than forty years ago, his predecessor adopted similarly populist bullshit robust research. Harold Wilson, in a debate on proposed changes to laws regarding investigation of serious crimes

image

is recorded as saying

The Prime Minister: In the most serious crimes a spectral assistant is absolutely vital. I love watching, as I probably should stop telling people, crime dramas on the television. There’s hardly a crime drama where a crime is solved without a private detective consulting his dead partner who has returned as ghost whom no one else but he can see. If we don’t modernise the law to permit this sort of practice we will never know how many dead people could still have fulfilled their calling to support their surviving crime-busting partners while wearing dandyish white suits

So, Loz Kaye, Paul Bernal, OnlyOneIssue et al…enough with your cynicism. Get out your history books and recognise that there’s a venerable tradition of people with too much time and money on their hands imagining that fiction is reality.

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A Fairy Tale of Wilmslow

A clunkingly fatuous fairy tale for Christmas

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there were villages where the villagers were told by the king to look after some valuable possessions of other people, and though they tried hard to protect these items, they had limited money with which to do so.

Most villagers did everything they could to protect these precious items, but sometimes the village elders overlooked the risks, or decided to spend some of the villages’ meagre earnings on other important things. And sometimes some of the stupid villagers took risks, or other villagers, thought they were not stupid, still took stupid risks. This all meant that, just sometimes, the valuable items got lost, or given to the wrong people, or maybe even stolen.

The Sheriff of the Land was a good and strong man, and he too was worried about these precious items. He encouraged village elders to tell him when something happened to the items. When he thought the villages had really been bad, or unwise, he would fine them, and so they had even less money. And the villages would try very hard to improve, and they would listen to all the Sheriff’s edicts, and try to do what was right.

Most people in the Land, and in the villages themselves, accepted this: they knew that it was important that the sheriff showed everyone he was strong, and wouldn’t tolerate loss of or risk to the precious items.

However, in the towns, there were people who had also been asked by the king to look after others’ valuable possessions. Some of these people were very irresponsible, and they often lost the items, or had them stolen, and, what was worse, they wouldn’t confess this to the sheriff. And even though the sheriff knew about this, he mostly allowed the lawlessness to continue, because it was so rife, and because some of the townspeople were very powerful.

And so it was that the villagers found it hard to bear when the Sheriff issued public proclamations that said how badly they – even those in villages which had never done anything wrong – protected the precious items. They found it especially hard to bear because it was their own precious items which were being treated with so little care in the Outlaw Towns.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said yesterday:

“We are fast approaching two million pounds worth of monetary penalties issued to UK councils for breaching the Data Protection Act, with nineteen councils failing to have the most straightforward of procedures in place

“It would be far too easy to consider these breaches as simple human error. The reality is that they are caused by councils treating sensitive personal data in the same routine way they would deal with more general correspondence. Far too often in these cases, the councils do not appear to have acknowledged that the data they are handling is about real people, and often the more vulnerable members of society.

“The distress that these incidents would have caused to the people involved is obvious. The penalties we have issued will be of little solace to them, but we do hope it will stop other people having to endure similar distress by sending out a clear message that this type of approach to personal data will not be tolerated.

“There is clearly an underlying problem with data protection in local government and we will be meeting with stakeholders from across the sector to discuss how we can support them in addressing these problems.”

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(Data?) Protection for Maine Coons

News that the Police Union of Senior Staff  has called for controls over ownership of Maine Coon cats, following the serious concerns raised by recent misidentification of one as the Essex Lion, raises interesting points about the extent to which cat-lovers should be required to place their pets on a central register.

So, the Essex Lion turns out in all probability to have been a Maine Coon cat. Those of us who questioned whether Essex Police were potentially over-reacting to the reports now accept that problems with perspective can confuse the best of us.

Although there is no need at all for those caught up in the scare to be embarrassed, Felix Silvester, spokesman for the Police Union of Senior Staff – an organisation representing senior police spokespersons – has announced that the Union are calling for registration of Maine Coon cats:

These animals are not like normal cats. For one thing, they are bigger. For another they are quite possibly fiercer. The fact that the Essex Lion scare went on for as long as it did is unavoidably connected to the fact that there is no register of Maine Coon cats. If there had been one I’m sure it’s the first thing Essex Police would have checked. The Police Union of Senior Staff is calling for a compulsory register of all Maine Coons.

This raises important points both for animal rights and privacy activists. Although the concept of “personal data” in the Data Protection Act does not currently extend to animals, a proposed European Commission directive may change that. The Directive 12/666/EC on Monitoring Information on Animals and Other Wildlife states that

the definition of personal data…should be extended to all domestic animals, and some ruminants

While this is wholly sensible, and something respected commentators have been calling for for some time, it must be observed that none of the protections afforded to human data subjects will extend to feline ones. Cats could find themselves subject to unlimited detention and inhumane treatment (because they are not human).

I remain deeply suspicious of Mr Silvester’s comments, and do not think that the embarrassment of an entire police force justifies such draconian measures as a compulsory register.

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Initial thoughts on a suspiciously missing judgment

A guest post by anonymous blogger “Juvenal”

Finding court judgments should be easy. And finding a judgment of the Supreme Court should be easier still. Could it be possible that a landmark judgment has suddenly “disappeared”. Even that it might never have been reported in the first place??

That is the shocking conclusion I have come to after reading the excellent analysis by blogger @loveandgarbage of the landmark case of Smith v DPP and Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police [2011] UKSC 666. He points out that the judgment should be at http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/docs/uksc-2011-0666-judgment.pdf but that goes, suspiciously, to a blank page. Every effort is being made to find out what is going on.

Making an FOI request seemed to me to be the best way forward. Under FOI, unless an exemption applies, a public authority must disclose information to a requester. So, even though the Supreme Court holds an absolute exemption under section 32, I thought it was worth a try. I was shocked to be told that the information was “not held” and that I was being classed as vexatious for asking for a judgment that never even existed. Can you imagine anything more suspicious?

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