Thursday, December 23, 2010

Quite well thought out.

UK: ICO welcomes Scottish Government’s new privacy principles

December 23, 2010 by Dissent

A statement from the Information Commissioner’s Office:

The Scottish Government has today published Identity Management and Privacy Principles for public service organisations. The new guidance is designed to help organisations achieve privacy-friendly public services, encouraging good practice and ensuring personal data is always handled with respect. They have been devised by an expert group – including the ICO’s Assistant Information Commissioner for Scotland and Registrar General – and subject to full public consultation. Welcoming today’s announcement Ken Macdonald, Assistant Commissioner for Scotland at the ICO, said:

“Public bodies can no longer afford to get it wrong on protecting people’s personal information. Not only could the organisation’s reputation suffer but so will their bank balance – as the Information Commissioner can now issue a monetary penalty of up to £500,000.

“The new principles that have been developed for the Scottish Government are tailored to help public bodies to get it right first time and I would urge all authorities to ensure they are being put into practice. It needn’t be an arduous task and the pay-off is immeasurable as it will help to maintain the public’s trust in how their information is handled by Scotland’s public services.”

The full guidance – Identity Management and Privacy Principles – can be viewed on the Scottish Government website at:

For more information see:

This answers a couple of questions I had, but leaves others unanswered. What rights/responsibilities do teachers and school administrators have?

Student Punished Over Facebook Rant Settles Lawsuit

December 23, 2010 by Dissent

Matthew Heller writes:

A former Florida high-school student is officially no longer a cyberbully after winning a settlement in her free-speech lawsuit against a principal who disciplined her for venting about a teacher on a Facebook page.

The settlement provides, among other things, that Pembroke Pines Charter High School will expunge Katherine “Katie” Evans’s three-day suspension from her disciplinary record. The principal, Peter Bayer, suspended her for cyberbullying after she used her home computer to write “Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever met!” in a Facebook posting. [

Read more on OnPoint. While Heller focuses mainly on the protected speech aspects, he notes that challenges concerning speech occurring outside of school and whether the schools have a right to discipline for it is a matter that is before several courts at this point.

The expansion of school’s authority to punish or discipline students for behavior that occurs off-campus is an issue I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog. What types of extra-curricular conduct should schools have some authority over in terms of suspending or expelling students? To the extent that extra-curricular activity may create a hostile or dangerous environment in the school building, what should schools be able to do or be responsible for doing? Is this another “balancing” situation? In my opinion, schools have been too quick to suspend or expel students for speech and sadly, the courts have occasionally backed them in some important cases. But apart from speech, there are other concerns that we could probably agree could pose safety risks in schools that start or occur outside of school. What then? I see this as one of the most important student privacy issues of the next decade and beyond.

[From the OnPoint article:

Bayer argued that Evans's online rant was not protected speech in part because of its “potentially defamatory content.” But a judge denied his motion to dismiss in February, finding that Evans expressed an opinion about a teacher that “was published off-campus, did not cause any disruption on-campus, and was not lewd, vulgar, threatening, or advocating illegal or dangerous behavior.

[But, was it true? Could the school point to a worse teacher she had met? Bob]


The Future of Reputation? Vigilante group wrongly names man as serial killer on Facebook

December 23, 2010 by Dissent

Georgina Robinson reports:

A man who feared for his safety had to be escorted from his home by police after he was wrongly named on Facebook as a wanted serial killer in the United States.

A vigilante group posted the man’s name and photograph on Facebook and labelled him the “Kensington Strangler”, who is wanted in connection with at least three murders and several sexual assaults in Philadelphia, ABC America reported.

The Associated Press reported that residents of Kensington, who once severely beat a suspected rapist based on a police photo, posted hundreds of comments and theories about the case on a Facebook page titled “Catch the Kensington Strangler, before he catches someone you love.”

Read the full article in The Age.

The article also contains some other examples about how reputations are being destroyed on the internet. While the vigilante case above is downright scary, a site that encourages children to post rumors about peers is scary in its own way.

As Daniel Solove wrote in the The Future of Reputation (2007), reputations can be destroyed quickly on the internet. Recent examples such as the posting of nude photos involving the St Kilda players by an upset teenager, the Tyler Clementi case, and other cases in Robinson’s article serve as timely reminders that private individuals can have their reputations and lives destroyed in a heartbeat on the internet. Ideas that Dan proposed in The Future of Reputation were all good ideas, but we are seeing more and more kids or teens as privacy violators or sources of reputational harm. While schools have started to address cyberbullying, where are the programs that really educate children about privacy and the responsibilities that come with free speech?

For my Business Continuity students. “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Murphy

Skype Outage Hits Users Worldwide

"The LA Times reports that millions of Skype phone users worldwide couldn't make calls or were dropped in mid-conversation, because of a network connection failure that began about 9 a.m. Wednesday PST. 'For a communications system this large to go down, it's almost unheard of,' says Charles S. Golvin, a Forrester Research analyst. 'Usually when phone lines are disrupted, the blackout is confined to a specific geographical area. This is worldwide.' In theory, Skype, which is based on peer-to-peer networking technology shouldn't see an outage but that is not really the case — the company has a massive infrastructure that it uses for purposes such as authentication and linking to the traditional phone networks. 'The outage comes at a time when Skype is starting to ask larger corporations for their business,' writes Om Malik. 'If I am a big business, I would be extremely cautious about adopting Skype for business, especially in the light of this current outage.'"

(Related) Accidental

The Year In Downtime

"Lightning, floods, car crashes and coding snafus had starring roles in major Internet outages of 2010. Data Center Knowledge reviews the year's business downtime, including outages for banking and e-commerce sites and several incidents that knocked state government services offline. Meanwhile, Pingdom focuses on downtime for major social media sites and Wikileaks. Then there's the guy who got drunk and shot up a server."

(Related) Deliberate

December 22, 2010

Report: Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is pleased to share a new report, Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites by Ethan Zuckerman, Hal Roberts, Ryan McGrady, Jillian York, John Palfrey

  • "Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is an increasingly common Internet phenomenon capable of silencing Internet speech, usually for a brief interval but occasionally for longer. In this paper, we explore the specific phenomenon of DDoS attacks on independent media and human rights organizations, seeking to understand the nature and frequency of these attacks, their efficacy, and the responses available to sites under attack. Our report offers advice to independent media and human rights sites likely to be targeted by DDoS but comes to the uncomfortable conclusion that there is no easy solution to these attacks for many of these sites, particularly for attacks that exhaust network bandwidth."

For my Swiss Army folder...

Simplebooklet: Easily Create, Share & Print Booklets Online

The way the site works is very simple: you place objects on the provided canvas, resize the objects to match your needs, and once a page is done you move on the next page in the booklet. The objects you can add include images, any type of files, a background image, text, video, embeddable code, a webpage, and audio. Once you are done with your booklet you can publish it online as a webpage or share it via email or on an online social network.

If the booklet comprises of text and images only you can print it out; this way you can use SimpleBooklet to create actually booklets and not only virtual ones.

Similar tool: PrintableFlyerTemplates, Band-Flyers, MyBrochureMaker, BookletCreator and Pocketmod.

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