Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Google Execs Convicted on Privacy Charges

International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)/- 24 Feb. 2010

(Updated 1:31 p.m. ET)

In a decision that is expected to have ramifications worldwide, an Italian judge convicted three Google executives on privacy violations in Milan court today. Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer and two other executives were found guilty of failing to comply with Italian privacy code in allowing a disparaging video to be posted online. A fourth defendant was acquitted.

Google described the decision as an “astonishing” attack on freedom of expression on the Internet. All three will appeal the decision.

Judge Oscar Magi ordered a six-month suspended jail sentence and fines forPeter Fleischer
Chief Counsel of Global Privacy among those convicted. Fleischer, Chief Legal Officer David Drummond and former Google Italy board member George De Los Reyes. The three were absolved of defamation charges.

Outside the Milan courthouse, public prosecutor Alfredo Robledo said the decision sends a clear signal. "A company's rights cannot prevail over a person's dignity.”

The trial stems from the posting of a video to Google Video—a YouTube predecessor—that showed teenage boys taunting a classmate with Down syndrome. Prosecutors charged that the executives did not do enough to keep the offensive video off its site.

The case opened the door for a debate about who is responsible for content posted to the Internet. EU law is cloudy concerning user-generated content.

In a statement, Peter Fleischer said the ruling sets a dangerous precedent. “If company employees like me can be held criminally liable for any video on a hosting platform…then our liability is unlimited.” He said today’s decision raises questions for the operators of many Internet platforms.

The ruling has provoked reactions from privacy and legal experts worldwide. “It is quite hard to comment on such an incredible sentence,” said Rome lawyer and privacy expert Rocco Panetta of Panetta & Associati, who described the sentence as “most interesting from a legal point of view” and one that “needs to be assessed with prudence.”

A Centre for Information Policy Leadership advisor likened the decision to prosecuting the post office for hate mail that is sent in the post. “I find it worrying that the chief privacy officer who had nothing to do with the video has been found guilty,” said Richard Thomas. “It is unrealistic to expect firms to monitor everything that goes online.” - IAPP

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Obama Administration: "No reasonable expectation of privacy" of your mobile phone locations tracking


The Obama administration has asserted its authority to maintain what it earlier referred to as Bush-era, draconian, big brother privacy invasion of American citizens.

With all of the next-generation mobile phones giving away your location to anyone interested enough to look, a new buffet of opportunities may be provided to your local criminal.


Think you have nothing to hide? As yourself if you would answer these questions if posed by some stranger in a parking lot:

1. Where do you sleep?
2. Where do your kids sleep?
3. When are you home?
4. When are your kids home without you?
5. When is nobody home?
6. Where do you work?
7. When are you at work?
8. Where do you bank?
9. When do you go to the bank?
10. Where do you go on Saturday night?
11. Where were you on X date last year?
12. What schools do your kids go to?
13. How do they get home from school?

Do these make you uncomfortable? If so, you may in fact have 'something to hide'.

The obvious point is that having 'nothing to hide' is relative. Nothing to hide from Whom?

Nothing to hide from "the Government"? Which Government? Nothing to hid from government employees? Nothing to hide from government contractors? Nothing to hide from your next door neighbor? Nothing to hide from your co-worker? Nothing to hide from you next-door neighbor's daughter's degenerate brother-in-law? Nothing to hide from your co-worker's criminal cousin visiting from Milwaukee? Nothing to hide from the home invader lurking in the parking lot of the grocery store, looking for his next victim?

Exactly how open are you with your your invitation for others to view your private information?


Apparently, according to the Obama Administration, you have "no reasonable expectation of privacy" of the tracking information produced by your mobile phone.

Feds push for tracking cell phones | Politics and Law - CNET News

As always, the federal government cites terrorism as its reason for needing the capability of tracking granny as she buys her depends, or Dad's stop at a slot machine. But so far, they've only shown use against American Citizens in garden-variety crimes as their told-you-so moments.

Many of course would argue that allowing such tracking to fall outside the realm of constitutional privacy puts Americans at risk of criminal activity and government abuse. As Obama argued in his campaign, the government has a strong and valid system for obtaining warrants for the searches they claim they need. They seem to some to be addicted to the voyeurism, however, facilitated by the practices of previous administrations.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Religious Right Weighs In On Human Tracking Chips

The religious right is beginning to voice concern of the concept of mandatory human chipping. The practice of forceably installing tracking chips in human beings has been proposed by others on the right, as a means of tracking people who have lost their civil rights, such as certain kinds of convicted criminals.

The State of Virginia has cited religious freedoms in its decision to outlaw the practice:

House Oks Bill Banning Implanted Tracking Devices | WSLS 10

Del. Mark L. Cole (R-Fredericksburg), the bill's sponsor, said that privacy issues are the chief concern behind his attempt to criminalize the involuntary implantation of microchips. But he also said he shared concerns that the devices could someday be used as the "mark of the beast" described in the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible.

Full story of the run-up to the vote Washington Post

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The government has your baby's DNA -

Hospitals have been collecting and keeping the DNA of our children for years.

The government has your baby's DNA -

The liability to which the the Government exposes itself by this carelessness is so catastrophic, it is difficult to tally. The opportunity for government employee abuse and a new "perfect crime" level of identity theft are obvious.

And here come the class actions...

Friday, February 5, 2010

European Parliament rejects EU-US counter-terrorism deal on sharing of personal financial data

It's Official: No deal between the US and the EU on bank transfer data sharing. The US is officially out of the loop from here on, regarding SWIFT international bank transfer information.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Secretary Clinton calls parliament chief in attempt to save bank data deal

EUobserver / Clinton calls parliament chief over bank data deal

US Secretary of State Clinton has called the EU Chief of Parliament in attempts to save the now flatlining deal to turn over bank transfer information to the US.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010


SWIFT Says No Transfers until Parliament Votes

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions (SWIFT) says it will not share European banking data with U.S. officials, pending further action by the European Parliament, reports Handelsblatt (in German).

On February 10, Parliament will vote whether to accept the SWIFT agreement reached between U.S. authorities and the EU Council of Ministers late last year, prior to the Lisbon Treaty going into effect. The agreement allows for the sharing of European citizens' transaction data with the U.S. Justice Department for counterterrorism efforts. Under the deal, SWIFT was to have resumed the data sharing as of February 1, but the society now says it will not engage in such transfers until Parliament has had its say.

It is widely expected that Parliament will vote against extending the agreement next week. "This shows that companies in the EU take Parliament seriously," says Henriette Tielemans, a partner in the Brussels office of Covington & Burling LLP. "It also shows that Parliament has every intent to use the powers that it received under the Lisbon Treaty."

Monday, February 1, 2010

EU Parliament to Reject US Demand for Bank Transfer Data

Recent years of what some have described as over-reaching US policy has lead to a backlash from the European Parliament.

SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Funds Transfers, is the mechanism by which nearly all international bank transfers are sent and received, and by which funds are verified internationally. SWIFT handles some 15 million international money transfers each day.

Secret deals during the last decade moved SWIFT servers from Europe to US Soil, so that US intelligence agencies could monitor money transfer activity over the SWIFT system. This arrangement met with severe opposition when it saw the light of day in 2009, as SWIFT defied US requests and moved its servers back to Europe.


Now the European Parliament is likely to spike a deal which would allow US terrorism investigators access to European bank transfer data. Privacy advocates oppose the deal and Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office says the data profiling is ineffective in counter terrorism efforts.