Category Archives: Law

Governments are always wanting to break encryption

Everytime governments try to break encryption on social media, and they are doing it a lot these days, they hold up an example such as in this case “Sex Traffickers” so if you dare question them, you are exposed as supporting Sex Trafficking, of course this is nonsense, there will always be alternative secure method that the bad guys will use, and law abiding public will be left exposed.

Hard to tell if they just don’t want the law abiding to be secure for their own purposes, Governments have been known to want to spy on their general population. But the better alternative is that they just want to be seen to be doing something about all that bad stuff on the internet. Maybe it’s a mix of both.
Details here: https://act.eff.org/action/don-t-let-congress-censor-the-internet

Adding disclaimers on blog comments

I was asked a couple of days ago to add a disclaimer to the commenting section on a WordPress Blog, something like: “Commentators are asked to be polite, stay on topic. While we do monitor and moderate comments, they are the expression of the commentator and do not necessarily share the opinion of the Blog owner.”

Surprisingly at this time there is no comment disclaimer plugin for WordPress (Jump to the bottom of the page if you want to see how to do it). In fact there is really very little written on the subject.

Quite a few bloggers over the years have been sued or faced criminal charges for their own postings, basically using existing defamation and copyright law. And recently we are seeing the threat of terrorist charges for “disseminating” a video that I saw a huge number of blogs sharing at that time, I don’t know of any that were actually contacted by any authority.

BloggingBlue have a great Comment Policy & Disclaimer, but if you go to comment there, there your attention is not brought to this disclaimer when you actually comment, I guess it should say “by posting you agree…” I found another well worded document but again with no way for the commentator to confirm they have read or agree to the policy here at Monsanto, who I know face a lot of commenting abuse.

Looking for legal advice on this, all I found was an Australian lawyer who suggests that you should:

add a Creative Commons licence to your blog comments page stipulating that in posting comments they agree to license them to you.

Funnily enough, the much loved, decade old herche’s blog disclaimer does cover commenting quite well.

Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed.

I think it is also important to warn aggressive trolls if you have a “Comment Kittening policy“.  Comment Kittening of course far more effective than the ban hammer or IP banning.

comment disclaimer

Adding the comment disclaimer, or whatever notice, will look like this is, and is done by adding the following to the custom.css or style.css.

 

#reply-title::after {
 content: "(your message to commentators)";
 font-size: 12px;
 text-transform: none;
 font-weight: 300;
 font-style: italic;
}

Of course if you do come across a better method, please let me know, just be polite, stay on topic…   😉

Why no prosecutions for privacy breaches

This case has been dragging on for years

in the UK prosecutions of News International staff, “Private Investigators” and a couple of policemen that we’re phone tapping, breaching privacy to make the news stories out of thin air, as I worked with Naomi Campbell’s agents at the time she kept “getting unlucky” in all her secrets getting out, it all made sense when we found out the only security control administrators didn’t have control over, the leak, was her cell phone, I saw some very creative but failed social engineering and brute force efforts to breach her privacy at that time.

SOCA

This story a couple of days ago caught my eye, and I was thinking of commenting directly on that, but now this latest news that the police have been sitting for 6 years on evidence that over 100 non-news related companies have also been criminally breaching people privacy using paid hackers as a part of normal business practice, and have not prosecuted them, is incredibly damning. 2 things come to mind, I think that at the very least they should be forced to report which of the 2 guidelines used to test a prosecution these cases failed on.

  1. Is it in the public interest to prosecute
  2. Is there reasonable chance of a successful prosecution (enough evidence)

My second thought is that the victims have a right to know if their privacy has been breached, I don’t even think these 2 abusers mentioned articles are connected, the scale of these breaches of privacy are really unknown.

Continually holes are being found our communications systems, only last week we learn one in eight Sim cards is easily hackable, of course we will find solutions, and the sooner we adopt end to end encrypted technologies that don’t offer backdoors to any agencies the better, Hemlis (secret in Swedish) is looking like a hopeful alternative.

I have consulted with a couple of model agencies recently about the implications of NSA & PRISM on the impact on any future IT infrastructure and they are feel it’s not a consideration, but 2 lawyers I work with are concerned and looking for answers, one though is resigned to the fact he has no privacy and can do little about it.