Tag Archives: satire

Breaking the code

Bletchley Park’s use of adtech means you can’t opt out of non-essential cookies and still access the website

I found this ironically sad.

Visit Bletchley Park’s website and one is presented with a cookie banner. If you’re like me you will deselect all but essential cookies – so no “preferences”, “statistics” or “marketing”

Regulation 6 of the Privacy and Electronic Marketing (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR) is behind this.

As much as one might find cookie banners annoying, they are a result of cookies being inherently intrusive. They are code placed on one’s terminal equipment; sometimes they are essential for a website’s functioning (in which case they can be placed without consent) and sometimes they are merely useful (but not essential) for the user or the operator – perhaps to get analytics, or remember preferences, or deliver targeted advertising (in which case user consent is required).

The problem with the Bletchley site is that if one refuses “non-essential” cookies (I tried on Edge, Chrome and Safari mobile), they turn out to be rather essential, because what one is left is this

I only spent a few minutes trying to work out if it was some clever puzzle you had to crack to gain access before I realised it was just poor configuration.

So, in fact, the non-essential cookies are actually essential.

I’m sure someone with some expertise in code can sort it out. It can’t be beyond the wit of those running Bletchley Park to configure a website so that it functions properly without interfering with visitors’ computers.

The views in this post (and indeed most 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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Filed under adtech, cookies, not-entirely-serious, PECR

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.


Filed under GDPR, satire

Your Twitter account is worth…


Go and learn some economics. Something’s value is determined by what people are prepared to pay for it, and no one wants to buy your twitter account. Don’t be so greedy.

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Filed under nonsense, social media

(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.


Filed under satire

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?


Filed under satire