Time marches inexorably on and each day government bureaucracy at every level, health services, financial institutions and even retail outlets are all squirreling away information about each and every one of us in data bases both large and small.
Whenever one inquires about the safety of such databases the assurance received usually goes along the line that there is nothing to worry about - a high level of data security surrounds personally identifiable information and, it would be hard to identify individuals from those information blocs held in long-term digital storage (for comparison/research purposes) because the data has been anonymized.
However, this is apparently not the case. Due to the large number of public databases accessible on the Internet and by application to various institutions/agencies, it really isn't all that anonymous because most information can be mined and/or manually cross-checked. Thus potentially allowing re-identification of an individual and the information held concerning that person or family.
Computer scientists have recently undermined our faith in the privacy-protecting power of anonymization, the name for techniques for protecting the privacy of individuals in large databases by deleting information like names and social security numbers. These scientists have demonstrated they can often 'reidentify' or 'deanonymize' individuals hidden in anonymized data with astonishing ease. By understanding this research, we will realize we have made a mistake, labored beneath a fundamental misunderstanding, which has assured us much less privacy than we have assumed. This mistake pervades nearly every information privacy law, regulation, and debate, yet regulators and legal scholars have paid it scant attention...
"For almost every person on earth, there is at least one fact about them stored in a computer database that an adversary could use to blackmail, discriminate against, harass, or steal the identity of him or her. I mean more than mere embarrassment or inconvenience; I mean legally cognizable harm. Perhaps it is a fact about past conduct, health, or family shame. For almost every one of us, then, we can assume a hypothetical 'database of ruin,' the one containing this fact but until now splintered across dozens of databases on computers around the world, and thus disconnected from our identity. Reidentification has formed the database of ruin and given access to it to our worst enemies." With the Rudd Government seemingly stacked with politicians in love with the idea of big data bases and, Health Minister Nicola Roxon's e-health card (with its unique personal identifier within each chip) bearing down on ordinary citizens going quietly about their business in 2010-11, this is a problem we all need to consider carefully. As government legislation will not stop personal privacy being invaded (it can only provide mechanisms to rectify or penalise after the fact) and the hope that IT software will dam the information outflow is fast receding.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
[Adopted and proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948]
Hi! My name is Boy. I'm a male bi-coloured tabby cat. Ever since I discovered that Malcolm Turnbull's dogs were allowed to blog, I have been pestering Clarencegirlto allow me a small space on North Coast Voices.
An Ican't believe my earsmusing: The July 2014 Clarence Valley Council Environment, Planning And Works Committee meeting stuck in the memory of many in the valley because of the number of times various councillors stated that they were concerned about a development application/s but were going to vote for it anyway. One councillor stated words to the effect that he had concerns or objections covering one entire DA but was voting it through anyway. Oh dear......
A lotsa moolamusing: Did you know that in the 2o12-13 financial year Clarence Valley Council management handled two Code of Conduct complaints at a total cost of $19,900.
A price risemusing:From 1 July 2014 cat and dog lifetime registration fees in New South Wales will increase in line with the Consumer Price Index.
A qwertymusing: There have been a few giggles round the catnip patch after my friend Rex the German Shepherd told us that a certain hinterland-based Clarence Valley councillor has taken to telling people that it was a typo which saw one document sent to the Division of Local Government wrongly assert that an unnamed councillor had been found to have breached the Code of Conduct. Sniggers grew when more and more moggies realized that “0”and “1” are on opposite sides of the qwerty keyboard and, someone on council needed to have a prodigious hand span to achieve the so-called typo.
Because Clarence Valley Council has not removed the incorrect document from its website or asked Google to remove it from its search engine results – feel free to view this outrageous re-writing of local government history here. Because it doesn't take a genius to identify the councillor in question, the fact that Council has left the unemended document online probably leaves it open to being taken to court.
A stock exchangemusing: Ever since I fell in love with that foxy young ginger cat fighting for market share in a Whiskas commercial, I've been a keen observer (between naps) of stocks and trading floor weirdness. So I noticed that on 8 May 2014 Twenty-First Century Fox Inc removed itself from the Australian Stock Exchange. One less reason for the national media to pretend that Rupert Murdoch is an Aussie business mogul?
An unbelievably stupid decisionmusing: In June 2014Origin Energy placed one of its longtime NSW North Coast customers on a 12 month Financial Difficulty payment schedule - even though that person's account was over $800 in credit at the time. I say well done, Origin, your call centres have managed to annoy, upset and alienate one elderly customer. #FAIL
An I can't believe I heard thatmusing:Which NSW North Coast mayor said he could be trusted ‘because I have the numbers‘?
A parrotedmusing: Crazy the cockateil who spends his 'holidays' in my home wonders why Tony Abbott's master, News Corp, is insisting plain packaging doesn't work when data says otherwise.
926,994 views on YouTube after 6 days & as of early morning 9 June 2014.
An ongoing sagamusing:NSW Police v Geoffrey William Leviny, Maclean Court House, 9.30am 10 June 2014, Mention (Police), Criminal, Case # 201300148044.
A let's kill anything that movesmusing: 583. Mr Borsak [Leader of the Shooters & Fishers Party] to move—That leave be given to bring in a bill for an Act to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 to repeal prohibitions on the use and operation of game parks.(Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Repeal of Game Park Prohibitions) Bill) (Notice given 27 March 2012) NSW Hansard 15 May 2014
A thought to ponder:
In case of bushfire or flood - do you have an emergency evacuation plan for the family pet?
An adoption musing: Every week on the NSW North Coast a number of cats and dogs find themselves without a home. If you want to do your bit and give one bundle of joy a new family, contact Happy Paws on 0419 404 766 or your local council pound.