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Wednesday, May 26, 2004
  You're being watched
You're being watched: "Earlier this year, for example, the Justice Department unsuccessfully attempted to subpoena abortion records from hospitals and Planned Parenthood offices, ostensibly to scrutinize enforcement of late-term abortion laws, saying consumers no longer had a 'reasonable expectation' of medical record confidentiality."

Free Registration required to read this article in the LA Times. After you read this, take a look at the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's presentation to Parliament about the Canadian version of the U.S. Patriot Act.

I would like to be very clear at the outset. We object strongly to this Bill for two reasons: first, because the legislation is far too broad; and second, because it co-opts private sector organizations by pressing them into service in support of law enforcement activities.

nuff said
Monday, May 24, 2004
  Life With Alacrity: Four Kinds of Privacy
Life With Alacrity: Four Kinds of Privacy
It's true that privacy is one of those words that mean many things to many people. I'm not sure that trying to categorize it is a helpful exercise. Privacy is contextual and personal. Any external definition is likely to miss the mark for an individual. That's why, I think, the most appropriate part of most privacy codes is the "informed consent". That is what prevents the uber geek from deterimining what is and is not private for any individual.

What's private for me is for me to determine.

Friday, May 21, 2004
  Absence Alert & HELLO
I've been travelling for most of the last week, so didn't have the energy to blog. Still don't, but the Blogger people have added a photoblog abiltiy with their partnership with Hello, so I couldn't resist posting the picture below.

Have a good day.

Just a quick snap with my new CoolPix. Feels a little bleak. Maybe I'm Scandavian after all? Posted by Hello
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
  Catherine Jamieson Photography | Photo Of The Day
Catherine Jamieson Photography | Photo Of The Day

Look at this woman's photo's. Read her blog. All will be well.
Just a quick note that this is a way cool site. First it is your entrance to the world of Montreal blogging, which is killer. Second, they've added Webistemology as a newbie site.

Ya gotta love it. I've got a back log of posts, and have run out of time again. Will be travelling for a chunk of the next two weeks. Still don't have a digital camera. Curse that darn't indecision.
Monday, May 10, 2004
  Digital Camera redux
I've come close to deciding that my first foray into digital photography will be another Nikon, the CoolPix 3200. Any comments or feedback would be appreciated.
  Gmail & privacy
About Gmail

Just in case you have any questions about Gmail and privacy, you can send the concerns to privacymatters@google.com.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
  Where to host my site & blog in Montreal?

In case anyone from Montreal trips accross this, I'm looking for recomendations for a web host. I want the possiblity to move my web site to PHP with a MySQL backend, and to use Movable Type for my blog....not that I don't love the convenience of Blogger!

Any recomendations?

  Quote of the day
ITBusiness.ca: "Companies that deploy technology to solve management problems have discovered that not only are computers intelligence amplifiers, they're also stupidity amplifiers. "

Get it right first. Then automate it.
  Public Safety Act?
At least one reading of this modification to PIPEDA suggests that now the government can ask private enterprises to collect information and disclose it to the government in circumstances where the government would not have enough evidence to justify a warrant to collect the information themselves.

Is it just me, or is this a bad thing?

Here's what the parliamentary summary says:

Clause 98 amends section 7 of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) to permit the collection and use of personal information by air carriers and other organizations subject to the PIPEDA without the knowledge or consent of the individual, for the purpose of making a disclosure for reasons of national security, the defence of Canada or the conduct of international affairs, or a disclosure required by law.

Organizations subject to the PIPEDA are already authorized to disclose personal information without the individual’s knowledge or consent for reasons of national security, the defence of Canada, the conduct of international affairs, or where otherwise required by law (sections 7(3)(c.1)(i); 7(3)(d)(ii); and 7(3)(i) of the PIPEDA). The proposed amendment clarifies that organizations also have the authority to collect and use information about individuals without their knowledge or consent for the purpose of making such disclosures.

The department points out that the above amendment is particularly required in order to support the data-sharing regimes under proposed sections 4.81(1)(b), 4.82(4)(b) and 4.82(5)(b) of the Aeronautics Act under which Transport Canada officers, RCMP or CSIS designated persons, respectively, may require an air carrier or operator of a reservation system to provide them with passenger information under the air carrier’s or operator’s control, or that comes into their control within 30 days, for specified persons. It is important that the carrier or operator not have to advise or seek the consent of the concerned individual.
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
  You can't manage what you can't measure....or can you?
Certified Privacy Professional Workshops

I took a look at this, and have requested the brochure. So you have to understand that I believe that this workshop is a good thing. At the same time, reading the web blurb made me think of a few things. The second thing I saw was the footnote: Please note that the IAPP Certification Program is, at the time of printing, still in development. The Workshops will be based upon the expected common body of knowledge that will be covered by the IAPP Certification. However, there may be additional subjects covered by the test that are not addressed in these Workshops.

In other words, we want $500 so that we can tell you what we think might be on on the certification exam that we haven't finished writing yet.

The first thing that I noticed was this phrase in the first paragraph, "...body of knowledge...". Further on it states that, "The IAPP's body of knowledge will advance privacy as a systemic process to manage compliance". Cool. If there is likely to be a group of people that can come up with a 'body of knowledge' like this they are going to come from a place like Carnegie Mellon in cooperation with the practitioners in the IAPP. I've been doing privacy work for a little while now, and a couple of things are clear. Like Y2K, many people see the potential for billable hours as directly related to the level of panic that they can create. The last thing these people want is a rational, understandable and ultimately controllable approach to data management that will actually protect individuals' data. Much better to have businss managers and privacy advocates in a tizzy. So believe me when I say I really hope for a 'body of knowledge' on privacy.

But what does this mean? If you're going to manage privacy, how are you going to measure your successes? your losses? your risk? I'd really like to know. If you have any feedback, please click on the Drop me a line. link, and let me know what you think.

How do you measure privacy? I'll keep it private. Honest I will.
  eDay is tomorrow!
It was too much to hope for. The shipper says the eMac didn't make it to Montreal last night. Nonetheless the box is in Canada, and the shipper has it. I remain optimistic for tomorrow.
Monday, May 03, 2004
  It's on its way!
After increasing frustration with the second oldest of the machines in the house, we are going to take delivery of our brand new 1.25 GHz eMac with SuperDrive [CD & DVD RW] TOMORROW!

The old machine, Anna's 4 year old HP Pavilion 8575C, has done yeoman service running Win98 but enough is frigging enough. I'm going to nuke the drive after we scoop the files she needs off it, and install the new version of SUSE Linux that is coming off the shelves next week. The oldest computer in the house, an old PII 233 Dell Latitude, has been running RedHat Linux as my web and samba server for years. I see no reason to doubt that the HP will be reinvigorated as a Linux workstation.

The plan is for Anna to use the eMac for her standard sufing/e-mail/office type stuff, and we'll both start to experiment with it's audio and still image capabilities.

BTW, I ordered this over the phone from Apple in California late last Wednesday. If the web site tracking the shipment is to be believed I will receive the boxes tomorrow - 4 working days later. Ground shipment. No extra charge.

Kudos to Mark, the rep that I talked to at Apple.
Kudos to Apple for being clued in on how to do the simple things just right.

Stay tuned for the bitching if I don't get delivery tomorrow
  CBC Montreal - Bouchard's $8B Bonaventure dream
CBC Montreal - Bouchard's $8B Bonaventure dream

An expensive but beautiful dream. Where have I heard this before? Hint: Montrealers are still paying for the 1976 Olympic stadium
Sunday, May 02, 2004
  BW Online | April 30, 2004 | Bush's Double Vision on Privacy
BW Online | April 30, 2004 | Bush's Double Vision on Privacy: "In a free society -- the kind the President sent U.S. troops to Iraq to establish -- the lives of private citizens should remain private, while the lives of public leaders should be an open book. In the post-September 11 world, however, that notion has been turned on its head. Average Americans are increasingly accountable to Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge, while Cheney and other top officials wish to be accountable to no one."
Blog Survey: Summary of Findings

An on-line survey about blogging practices, and expectations of privacy and accountability. Probably the bit that expresses the most is when the author writes that, "The findings in this survey suggest that blogging is a world in flux where social norms are starting to flourish."
Montreal Metro Main Menu

Heard about this site on the CBC the other day. I didn't know that each metro station was designed by a different architect. I also didn't know that as a result of these differences, stress in the Montreal Metro is significantly less than in other city's systems.

Synomos Inc.

Latest iteration of Zero-Knowledge Systems Enterprise Privacy Manager. I've looked at it, and it's a heck of a product. Recomended if you have a sophisticated data infrastructure. This is the kind of tool you need to bring it under control.
Why Webistemology?

Here's my original posting from 2001, explaining where I came up with webistemology

If epistemology is the study of how we know what we know, then maybe wepistemology is the study of how we know what we know on the web. A recent story about a failed class action law suit may be of some interest here. Someone was silly enough to listen to a stock analyst during the dot boom, and was upset that they didn't get rich. Boo hoo. As a result of the dot bust, they sued the analysts that they listened to, trying to get rich by speculating on the market.

I particularly liked some of the judge's comments,

A collection of market gossip pervades the endless stream of news organization tidbits which are spread throughout [the suits]. Generally, these are expectable comments of the gamblers in the world's gaming pits depending on the season. They come during the inevitable sequel after market boom periods. Opinions turned sour by uncontrollable tidal waves of the economic cycle are substituted for considered standards of conduct.

It's way easy to fall into the second rate critic role, and just start lambasting everyone in sight. How stupid is the investor? What kind of slime worm lawyer sues over this kind of crap? Hell, the analyst in question was probably in someone's pocket all along. I'd rather not go there. The fact of the matter is that people like to work and act together. We are not sheep. We are social animals. No amount of invective, propoganda or surveys are going to change that fundamental fact of human nature.

Almost invariably people will talk positively about a community saying, "everyone looks after one another here". Go track the hacker boards for a cyber equivalent. So what happens when social animals - that's you and me, get together in a fundamentally anti-social mileau - the stock market and most corporations? Look around you and you can answer for yourself.

Modern myths:

* The stock market is a rational place.
* You can get ahead solely by hard work and diligence
* If you are wronged, a lawsuit will help

The people that launched the lawsuit against the wall street analysts can be excused for thinking that they had a case. The analyst, being a good social animal went along with the other analysts. Trite undertoned phrases about past performance not predicting the future were almost immediately contradicted by glowing reviews of companies and stocks that made sense only in the social context in which they operated....certainly in no broader economic or business sense.

The investors, following the rituals and taboos of their social grouping, really had no alternative to shuffle off behind the analysts and shovel as much money as they possibly could into the dot boom. There were feeding the myth by which they built their own dreams. It's so human as to be trite.

Along comes the bust. All the analysts, pundits and talking heads smugly spout about cycle, soft/hard landings, indicators and recovery. Have you ever been snorkeling or watched a nature show with shots of the schools of fish on a coral reef? Have you ever wondered how they could communicate with each other so well as to turn simultaneously without any apparent difficulty. The Wall Street analyst crowd could probably tell you.

How do we know what we know on the web? Look to the Judas Goat media, leading us to the slaughter. If you want to live, start listening around you instead. Blogs are part of the answer, unbiased search engines help, but most of all you can help yourself by casting off the broadcast mentality and realize that information is not given to you, but is something that you have to interact with. When you start doing that, then you will know how you know what you know.

This is relatively simple template look from Blogger. May get around to fixing it someday.

But not today.
One of the really fun parts of this re-invention is rolling through my blog links and rediscovering some stuff I haven't checked in a while. This is particularly the case for some of the Montreal blogs that I'm adding to my blogroll. You've got to love this city!
Back again.

Rather than track and move my prior blogs, I just deleted them, and decided to re-invent myself here. This was sparked by my joining the Integrity Incorporated blog here.

You think you know something?
How do you know what you think you know?

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