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.
A sadmusing at 11.21am 28 October 2014: A local Clarence Valley couple died in a car crash in Tyson St at around 2.30pm on Monday, 27 October 2014. The husband is believed to be a Clarence Valley shire councillor.
A who dunnitmusing: If Clarence Valley Council's general manager answered all the numerous questions he took on notice from Cr. Baker on 14.10.14 he was careful not to say during the subsequent monthly meeting and, Cr. Baker is apparently being equally silent. Some local wags have been jokingly taking bets as to whether the general manager was asked who was really behind the two complaints which triggered the unsuccessful Code of Conduct proceedings against Cr. Toms.
A rod for their own backsmusing:
Clarence Valley Council is about to place its 2014 Draft Keeping Of Animals Policy (bees, birds, livestock, poultry, dogs, cats, ferrets etc) on public exhibition. While few would dispute council’s right to make policy on this issue; the fact that people living on land zoned residential will have to seek permission and meet certain building/enclosure standards if they wish to keep three or more dogs or cats will pose a problem, if council does not clearly define the seeking permission process in its policy, how/by whom this will be managed and, how frivolous/malicious complaints will be dealt with. Laughingly, it seems to believe that the only risk it takes is if residents ordered to get rid of their pet moggies ‘n’ doggies challenge the order in court. What they are actually setting up is a classic scenario for a rapid escalation in neighbourhood disputes - for this policy as written has the potential to be used as a tool for spiteful payback.
A what about memusing:
More than a little worried about when I'll get my Sunday dinner - my two-legs just realised that there are only nine weeks left until Christmas and she has retired whimpering to the bedroom. What's the problem? Santa pays for everything doesn't he?
An into the lightmusing:
A very cool kitten just told me I had named the wrong redevelopment - so I've adjusted accordingly.
The projected project costs at concept stage for works/operations/maintenance depot and office rationalisation have been one of those closely guarded secrets beloved of Clarence Valley Council’s general manager. At a Corporate, Governance & Works Committee Meeting on 14 October 2014 a motion by Cr. Toms (Seconded by Cr. Simmons) to publish these costs was unanimously agreed to and a little light has entered in time for community discussion of this issue. *Cheshire cat smile on the dial*
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.