Private Images and Public Debate

(Published by myself in the Age , Opinion section today . The recent discovery of a number of videos of young Australian soldiers brandishing military weapons and skylarking on the popular video sharing system, Youtube, perhaps comes as no surprise given the shear volume of material now contained on services such as this. From the bedroom to the battlefield, increasing amounts of seemingly innocent everyday occurrences are now recorded and distributed by individuals not always aware of the context in which their productions may be received, reported upon and politicised. 

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The OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data

Along with balancing the rules that govern Intellectual Property, the battles over the protection of personal data becomes another area of potential conflict within a society where information storage and global retrieval devices have become cheap and ubiquitous. Here is the international guidelines set by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). Also see the primer that I wrote earlier this year about privacy and why it is important.

The development of automatic data processing, which enables vast quantities of data to be transmitted within seconds across national frontiers, and indeed across continents, has made it necessary to consider privacy protection in relation to personal data. Privacy protection laws have been introduced, or will be introduced shortly, in approximately one half of OECD Member countries (Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the United States have passed legislation. Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland have prepared draft bills) to prevent what are considered to be violations of fundamental human rights, such as the unlawful storage of personal data, the storage of inaccurate personal data, or the abuse or unauthorised disclosure of such data.OnOn

On the other hand, there is a danger that disparities inationalegislationsnsns could hamper the free flow of personal data across frontiers; these flows have greatly increased in recent years and are bound to grow further with the widespread introduction of new computer and communications technology. Restrictions on these flows could cause serious disruption in important sectors of the economy, such as banking and insurance.
n OECD Member countries considered it necessary to develop Guidelines which would help to harmonise national privacy legislation and, while upholding such human rights, would at the same time prevent interruptions in international flows of data. They represent a consensus on basic principles which can be built into existing national legislation, or serve as a basis for legislation in those countries which do not yet have it.
The Guidelines, in the form of a Recommendation by the Council of the OECD, were developed by a group of government experts under the chairmanship of The Hon. Mr. Justice M.D. Kirby, Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission. The Recommendation was adopted and became applicable on 23rd September, 1980 (link).

The Death of a Meta Tag

 I just found this article from that wonderful site, search engine watch, about the death of Meta tags, or at least, the death of the 'key word' Mata tag. (I don't know of anyone who actually used it). The things about Meta tags, is that they give a site rigorous time, author, and context specificity, so they are much more valued by the academic community (where context adds value) than a general web audience. I would really like to find articles from the academic community about the use (or demise) of Meta tags (especially with second generation searching). Now, how do I find them?

By Danny Sullivan, Editor-In-Chief
Traffick.com's Andrew Goodman wrote recently in an essay about meta tags, "If somebody would just declare the end of the metatag era, full stop, it would make it easier on everyone."

I'm happy to oblige, at least in the case of the meta keywords tag. Now supported by only one major crawler-based search engine — Inktomi — the value of adding meta keywords tags to pages seems little worth the time. In my opinion, the meta keywords tag is dead, dead, dead. And like Andrew, good riddance, I say! (October 2002)

Globalisation and the Internet

What is globalisation? 

Globalisation is a somewhat difficult concept to ground, but it is an important concept nevertheless for our understandings of the 'big picture' Internet. The term globalisation did (at least in the popular mind) come to the fore around the year 2000 (about the same time as the US led technology boom. And there was a lot of confusion during this period about what ‘globalisation' was and where it was leading us and who were the main instigators.  There were major protests against (a certain type of) globalisation all over the world from Seattle, to Geneva, to Washington, to London (and of course here in Melbourne).

 This is a video taken at the Seattle protest in 1999.

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What is privacy and why is it important?

  1. What is privacy and why is it important ? 
  2. How might privacy change in the digital domain?
  3. How does the Internet threaten privacy?
  4. What are some of the laws within Australia to protect privacy? 

1) What is Privacy 

Privacy can simply be defined as the right to be left alone. 'It is a comprehensive right and it is the right most valued by a free people. It is a fundamental human right.  A society in whish there was a total lack of privacy would be intolerable; but then again a society in which there was a total privacy would be no society at all’ (the is a balance needed). Privacy is the right of people to make personal decisions regarding their own intimate matters, it is the right of people to lead their lives in a manner that is reasonably secluded from public scrutiny, and it is the right of people to be free from such things as unwarranted drug testing or electronic surveillance (edited from Answers.com http://www.answers.com/topic/privacy)

 What is information privacy? 

Information privacy is the ability of an individual or group to stop information about themselves from becoming known to people other than those they choose to give the information to. Privacy is sometimes related to anonymity although it is often most highly valued by people who are publicly known.

Privacy can also be seen as an aspect of security—one in which there are trade-offs between the interests of one group and another can become particularly clear. (edited from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy)

UN Declaration of Human Rights. 

The UN Declaration of Human Rights defined Privacy as this:

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone had the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.  

Without Privacy 

Without privacy life would be hell. It would mean that you would be highly vulnerable to the control of others, you would lose your freedom which may lead to inhibition and tentativeness and you may be less spontaneous and you would be more likely to be manipulated. 

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Trust corruption and surveillance in the electronic workplace

Information Age | Trust, corruption and surveillance in the electronic workplace

Every wondered why it is a bad idea for your boss to monitor you at work? Ever wanted to hone your arguments against monitoring (to take on your boss)? Good old fashioned trust is the most productive form of 'monitoring' at work it seems. Here is an article from Professor John Weckert, from the Centre of Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, at Charles Sturt University in Western Australia (from 'Information Age' 10 August, 2002)

There is little doubt that trust is important. A group, whether an organisation or a society, can achieve much more with it than without it. Things are more efficient where there is trust. Where there is lack of trust there must be surveillance, filling out of documents and keeping of records, which is all largely unproductive work. Societies function better the more trust that there is, and without any trust could not function at all.

How to write an abstract?

Writing a good abstract has become a much more significant  task for journalists and writers. This is because the humble abstract has become important  for search aggregators and for reading online in general. Here is a good tutorial on how to write one.

The Abstract

Abstract -It is important that your final abstract clearly describes the essence of your work in your paper. Below is a sample of an abstract that clearly states the purpose of the paper and summarizes the content. Please follow the sample to create a clear description of your work for better recognition within the indexes.

SAMPLE ABSTRACT

This paper introduces the Chaos Theory as a means of studying information systems. It argues that the Chaos Theory, combined with new techniques for discovering patterns in complex quantitative and qualitative evidence, offers a potentially more substantive approach to understanding the nature of information systems in a variety of contexts.  Furthermore, the authors hope that understanding the underlying assumptions and theoretical constructs through the use of the Chaos Theory will not only inform researchers of a better design for studying information systems, but also assist in the understanding of intricate relationships between different factors.

First, the authors describe what the paper is about. (This chapter introduces the Chaos Theory as a means of studying information systems.)

They summarize the content of the paper. (It argues that the Chaos Theory, combined with new techniques for discovering patterns in complex quantitative and qualitative evidence, offers a potentially more substantive approach to understanding the nature of information systems in a variety of contexts.) 

Then, they explain their purpose or objectives for writing the paper. (Furthermore, the authors hope that understanding the underlying assumptions and theoretical constructs through the use of the Chaos Theory will not only inform researchers of a better design for studying information systems, but also assist in the understanding of intricate relationships between different factors.)

Note: Your abstract does not necessarily need to be three sentences like the sample above – but it will need to be between 50-200 words, nor does it need to be worded the same way. Use your own words, but capture the idea behind this sample abstract.

Robert Verberg

Delft University of Technology