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 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*
One regular North Coast Voices reader is so crooked at The Daily Examinerthat he sent me a message on 7.10.14; Check out its self centered article in today’s rag. "Projects to help AREA rebound'. Apparently Grafton is the only community in the Clarence Valley that needs to rebound. How on earth can our "Grafton Mayor" show leadership, positive perception in the community and most of all entrepreneurship when this rag which claims to be "The Voice of the Clarence Valley" speaks only of Grafton and of Cllrs only representing Grafton?
A stop laughing this is seriousmusing:
I Boy the Wonder Cat, being a respectable Northern Rivers moggy, do hereby make it known that I take no responsibility for any resident, ratepayer or visitor fatally choking on their breakfast cereal after reading one of my musings.
A weed by any other namemusing:
Batman & Robin, Superman & Wonder Woman, Green Lantern & The Flash, Tarzan & Cheetah, Tick & Arthur, The Fat Controller & Psycho. Guess which pair are in Northern Rivers local government and not between the pages of comic book?
A seriously wonderingmusing:
The big news in the Clarence Valley on 30 September 2014 was that it was the only local government area left out of NSW Labor's promise to implement a total ban on CSG exploration and mining in the Northern Rivers.
Besides the fact that ERM Power, Metgasco Limited's largest shareholder, has made political donations in the past to all three major parties - what else could explain this odd state of affairs?
This little moggie wants to know what part Clarence Valley Council's executive might have played in this decision.
So, was one or more of the people comprising the Clarence Valley Council executive approached by Labor and did they react coolly to any question of inclusion in Labor's 'CSG Free' Northern Rivers promise?
A second meejamusing:
Anyone regularly reading print and online mainstream media would be well aware that much of what passes as journalistic effort these days is an uncritical reworking of unsolicited media releases. What many readers might not notice is that the media companies, which sometimes create or assist with these media releases, may already have a relationship with newspaper groups. Take coal seam gas-tight gas miner Metgasco Limited- it employs the services of Citadel: Specialists in Corporate Communications. Co-incidentally, so does APN News & Media which owns mastheads on the NSW North Coast such as The Northern Star and The Daily Examinerwhich from time to time report on coal seam gas exploration and well drilling in the Northern Rivers.
Richmond NSW-based Deputy Editor of The Land newspaper and former editor of The Daily Examiner, Jenna Cairney, is obviously pining for sunny northern climes. She is moving across the Rio Tweed in six weeks' time to take up a new position at APN’s Sunshine Coast Daily in Maroochydore QLD, as its first female editor. Regular SCD readers, from Kin Kin down to Caloundra, should expect a fresh voice willing to break new ground on issues important to them.
A someonemade a complaintmusing:
According to Lexie the friendly ginger feline I sometimes talk to on my travels, a complaint has gone down to the NSW Ombudsman concerning alleged misconduct by one member of a council executive. No, there is no prize for guessing which NSW North Coast council. Way too easy!
An ooh aahmusing:
Feathers are becoming ruffled in the local government doocot it seems. Not content with implying that a local resident is a liar concerning a previous water complaint, Clarence Valley Council management has now zeroed in on The Daily Examiner – declaring its reporting of dirty drinking water in Yamba on 6 September 2014 “spurious”. Bet that impressed the newspaper’s sports editor who had this to say of the day: “The Yamba triathlon festival gives competitors a real taste of what the place has to offer, even a dose of the infamous water supply thrown into the mix…….Bill North reporting in Yamba for The Daily Examiner.”
A selective backgroundingmusing:
Word is that at least one Northern Rivers newspaper has been informed that local government reforms will mean that councillors will no longer be able to bid for or hold council contracts. Far as I can tell this means at least three Clarence Valley councillors will have, to some degree, to choose between being breadwinners for their families or elected representatives for their communities after September 2016. However, it is far from clear as to whether council has informed them of the fact that the proposed rewriting of the NSW Government Act is likely to affect them directly.
Post script: On 19 September 2014 the NSW Office of Local Government stated that there were as yet no details of provisions to be included in the planned new Local Government Act. Therefore a new rule concerning councillors and council contracts could neither be ruled in nor out of the mix.
If rumour is correct it seems that NSW North Coast Nationals were desperate to keep their man, Richie Williamson, in the Clarence Valley Council mayoral seat. It's now being alleged that retired Nationals federal MP and former House of Representatives deputy-speaker, Ian Causley, had also attempted to sway at least one councillior's vote in the 16 September 2014 mayoral election. Telling all my furry friends to stick close to their owners and report back as these behind-the-scenes machinations are becoming interesting. Will the North Coast Nats call in their marker and make use of the mayor's casting vote when they want Clarence Valley local government to back their mining or dam policies?
A beat, beat, beat of the drumsmusing:
There is a strong rumour doing the rounds concerning the Clarence Valley Council mayoral election of 16 September 2014. It is being alleged that Federal Nationals MP for Cowper, Deputy Leader in the House of Representatives and Assistant Employment Minister, Luke Hartsuyker,has been meddling where he shouldn't by attempting to dissuade at least one councillor from running against the incumbent mayor, former Nationals pre-selection candidateRichie Williamson.
A you heard what?musing:
It doesn't take a genius to guess which Northern Rivers council management is alleged to have forwarded sensitive correspondence, (between one local resident & council) on to numerous third parties within the local government area. Tsk, tsk, tsk.....
An 'eaven 'elp usmusing:
Word around the traps is that Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson will act as NSW Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis' campaign manager in the lead up to the 2015 state election.
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.