There’s been a lot of talk recently about privacy and the right to access personal information for “new” purposes, mainly in connection with new taxes that will require a census of home ownership, which some are proposing be based on data from utility bills. The information held by the utility companies was given to them to facilitate the payment of utility bills, not the gathering of unrelated taxes. People are a little concerned. The Data Protection Commissioner is echoing that concern.
So in what way can we consider certain facts to belong to us? It’s easy enough to understand that one’s thoughts and opinions are “owned”, and perhaps the derivatives of these (e.g. artistic works) could also be owned. But [click title to read more…]
There was a bit of a hubbub today when CNET published an article on Google’s apparent collection of MAC addresses as part of its Street View service. The problem, according to the article, is that these unique numbers were from more than just Wi-Fi access points, they were from laptops, phones and other Wi-Fi devices, and this data was cross-referenced with their locations. Furthermore, all this information could be accessed by any Joe Public through a simple API made available (until recently) by Google. To add to the problem, Google don’t provide you with a way to remove any of the data associated with yourself.
With a bit of mash-up experience one could [click title to read more…]