Thursday, September 22, 2005

NO2ID cartoon

Apparently the ID card protestors picked up by the police on their way to protest outside the EU Justice Ministers' meeting on the 8th of September, were held in custody until the following day. They'll find out in about six weeks whether any charges are to be brought against them.

Meanwhile the NO2ID campaign have been ridiculing the government's roadshow and "charm offensive" to sell the idea of the cards to the public:

and protesting at each of the venues on the roadshow. Shame on them. :-)

MP prepared to go to jail over ID cards

Liberal Democrat MP, Simon Hughes is reported as saying he would be prepared to go to jail over ID cards.

British Columbia assert NY jurisdiction

The Court of Appeal for Ontario's recent ruling declaring that an Ontario court had no jurisdiction over the Washington Post, a Supreme Court judge in British Columbia has, nevertheless ruled that a man can sue the New York Post for libel in Vancouver.

Open University top of the tree!

The Open University has been rated the best in the UK by the folks who know - the final year students.

Whereas that is extremely gratifying for those of us who work for that auspicious institution, we need to be careful about getting carried away with narrow measures of the performance of complex systems.

Brenda Gourley, the vice-chancellor of the Open University, said she was delighted with the outcome of the survey but :

"Listening to what students have to say is very important. But on the wider point you have got to be very careful not to find yourself trapped in some kind of crass consumerism culture.

I do worry about popularity parades and celebrity professors creeping into the higher education system in a way which doesn't value scholarly rigour."

Oxford, Cambridge and Warwick boycotted the survey but lest you think "Ah... they would have come out on top," just remember that the OU has out-performed all of those prestigious institutions in a range of subject areas (not least my own Technology Faculty, which received a maximum score of 24 out of 24 in recent years) in quality assessment audits carried out by the Higher Education Funding Council.

Caveats of simplistic measurements in mind, it is still nice to be able to bask in plaudits once in a while!

Latest EDRi-gram published

The latest EDRI-gram has been released, with a heavy focus on data protection. I wonder if they knew in advance of today's front page Guardian story? David Mery, a computing and telecoms professional, got caught up in the anti-terrorism efforts of the metropolitan police and outlines his experience of detention under the Terrorism Act.

The Met's police officers are under heavy pressure at the moment to be vigilant in their anti-terrorism efforts but this particular detention will have used valuable and scarce investigative resources without achieving anything.

And presumably Mr Mery, under the EU data retention proposals now becomes:

"- a person who is suspected of having committed or having taken part in a criminal offence or who has been convicted of such an offence, – a person who there are serious grounds for believing will commit a criminal offence, – a person who might be called on to testify in investigations in connection with criminal offences or subsequent criminal proceedings, – a person who has been the victim of a criminal offence or with regard to whom certain facts give reasons for believing that they could be the victims of a criminal offence, – a person who can provide information on criminal offences, and – a contact or associate to one of the persons mentioned above," (art.4.4)

Come to think of it we all fall into the

"– a person who might be called on to testify in investigations in connection with criminal offences or subsequent criminal proceedings, – a person who has been the victim of a criminal offence or with regard to whom certain facts give reasons for believing that they could be the victims of a criminal offence"

if we witness or are the victims of a crime...

There's no doubt that the police and security services need the best available technology and people trained to exploit it effectively in their fight against crime but the deployment of broad regulations, such as the data retention details proposed, with no feel for the reality of day to day policing or the people like Mr Mery who are unfortunate enough to get caught up in the metaphorical cross fire, helps neither the police nor the public.


I've been getting multiple enquiries regarding when my Open University course, Law, the Internet and Society: technology and the future of ideas will be made available again. The answer, I'm afraid, remains the same that the University is currently reviewing its policy on the licensing of its teaching materials. This is taking some time to complete and the site will remain offline until it is done. I understand that is frustrating but greatly appreciate everyone's patience.

I am thinking about including one of my favorite stories from the course in a short conference talk on open content tomorrow, though.

Groucho Marx, when preparing to produce the Marx brothers film "A Night in Casablanca", got a letter from Warner Brothers' lawyers warning that the name 'Casablanca' belonged to Warner Brothers, since they had created the famous Bogart-Bergman film "Casablanca" five years previously. Groucho wrote back 'You claim you own Casablanca and that no one else can use that name without your permission. What about Warner Brothers - do you own that, too? You probably have the right to use the name Warner, but what about Brothers? Professionally, we were brothers long before you were.' The whole letter is well worth a read and can be found in The Groucho Letters by Groucho Marx published and re-printed by various companies (including Warner Books!) numerous times.

Update: Apologies to early readers - there were technical problems with a cartoon of Groucho I uploaded in the original entry, so I've removed it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Google response to lawsuit

Google's reponse to the Authors Guild lawsuit is:

"Google Print and the Authors Guild

9/20/2005 09:04:00 PM
Posted by Susan Wojcicki, Vice President, Product Management

Today we learned that the Authors Guild filed a lawsuit to try to stop Google Print. We regret that this group chose to sue us over a program that will make millions of books more discoverable to the world -- especially since any copyright holder can exclude their books from the program. What’s more, many of Google Print’s chief beneficiaries will be authors whose backlist, out of print and lightly marketed new titles will be suggested to countless readers who wouldn’t have found them otherwise.

Let's be clear: Google doesn’t show even a single page to users who find copyrighted books through this program (unless the copyright holder gives us permission to show more). At most we show only a brief snippet of text where their search term appears, along with basic bibliographic information and several links to online booksellers and libraries. Here’s what an in-copyright book scanned from a library looks like on Google Print:

Google respects copyright. The use we make of all the books we scan through the Library Project is fully consistent with both the fair use doctrine under U.S. copyright law and the principles underlying copyright law itself, which allow everything from parodies to excerpts in book reviews. (Here's an article by one of the many legal scholars who have weighed in on Google Print.)

Just as Google helps you find sites you might not have found any other way by indexing the full text of web pages, Google Print, like an electronic card catalog, indexes book content to help users find, and perhaps buy, books. This ability to introduce millions of users to millions of titles can only expand the market for authors’ books, which is precisely what copyright law is intended to foster."

Google Print compromise?

One question we didn't ask about the Google Print project - wouldn't it be possible for Google to distribute some of the earnings they generate from the Google Print project amongst the authors (or other copyright holders)? They'll know from the traffic stats how often each book gets used, though there are potentially significant direct and administrative costs associated with such a scheme. And Google is a business - an externalizing machine in the same way that the shark is a killing machine...

That needs a lot more thought on the practicalities.

Google sued by authors

Mark Rogers and I recently asked a number of hypothetical questions about a possible copyright infringement case against Google. Yesterday, a group of authors plus the Authors Guild sued Google. Looks like we may be getting some real answers to those questions as this works its way through the US courts. The BBC and the NYT have early reports.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Anderson, Thomas and ID cards

I had reason to re-visit today the wonderful testimony, regarding ID cards, of Professors Ross Anderson and Martyn Thomas to the Select Committee on Home Affairs (June 2004).

It is hugely informative and at times very entertaining. At one point Prof Thomas, in answer to question 373, "do you see the public procurement difficulties as insuperable?" says:

"Yes, I do. I would like to tell you something that you will not believe but which I think it is important that you hear, and that is that almost every IT supplier in the world today is incompetent. I have worked in the IT industry almost all my working life for large and small organisations, and I know of what I speak. For example, the typical rate of delivered faults after full user acceptance testing from the maker suppliers in the industry over many years has been steady at around 20 faults per thousand lines of code. We know how to deliver software with a fault rate that is down around 0.1 faults per thousand lines of code and the industry does not adopt these techniques. We are as an industry very much in the early stages. The industry is only 50 years old. If you compare that with civil engineering, which is several thousand years old, we are tackling some of the most complex engineering designs and building some of the most complex engineering systems that the world has ever seen, essentially using craft technology. If you looked at the methods that are employed in most companies you would come to the conclusion that actually IT system development is a fashion business, not an engineering business, because they jump from one methodology to another year after year so long as it has a whizzy name, "Agile this" or "Intensive that". The underlying engineering disciplines that every mature engineering discipline has learnt it needs to use in order to be able to show that the system it is building has the required properties have not yet been employed in software and systems engineering, and that is at the heart of why these things do not work."

Spot on!

Webcasts, WIPO and the public domain

Donna is concerned about the latest machinations of the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

"Copyright may be the 800-pound gorilla of the Internet, but there’s a brand-new pseudo copyright in the works capable of swallowing massive chunks of the public domain, bones and all.

As I understand it, the new right — or rather, set of rights — would give companies fresh exclusive rights on top of any existing rights for anything they “webcast” (that is, transmit by web servers over the Internet and other networks). In other words, a company could take a movie that’s fallen into the public domain, webcast it, and keep the general public, to whom it belongs, from recording it...

If you’ve been following the goings-on at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), you won’t be surprised to learn that this new right is being negotiated behind closed doors at the urging of Yahoo and a handful of other companies, without any public debate and over the repeated protests of public interest groups and webcasters who have specifically rejected this new “protection.” As CPTech points out in a new letter to members of Congress, this is a prime example US trade policy completely captured by a small group of corporate lobbyists. After all, how else could a set of rights this powerful slip under the radar — especially when there has been, as CPTech notes,

1. No analysis of how US law would have to change in the treaty passed.
2. No analysis of the unintended consequences of creating a new right of transmission for the Internet.
3. No analysis of the impact of the new right on copyright owners.
4. No analysis or concern about how the new IPR right would affect the orphan works problem.
5. No analysis of the impact of the webcasting treaty on podcasting.
6. No analysis of whether the treaty language would unwittingly create a property right to persons operating peer-to-peer networks or search engines...

Two quick recommendations before I go: When the treaty was released in draft form last year, Ernie Miller wrote an exhaustive analysis/critique that helps explain why these additional rights are “bad, bad, bad” — check it out here. And don’t miss Cory’s post from last week, WIPO wants to give webcasters the right to steal from public domain, Creative Commons and GPL."

Tesco profiling

The Guardian is getting worked up about Tesco's consumer profiling again. Nothing new in the report but it's worth reading. Tesco is criticised for putting a great effort into circumventing the data protection act. Whereas that might not be in the best interests of their customers, Tesco is a business and as Robert Kennedy said on Saturday, businesses are amoral. They exist purely to make money for their shareholders. So we should bare this in mind when we do business with them.

Peter Barnes has a nice essay on the negative externalties (such as invasions of privacy, which he doesn't explicitly mention) generated by business.

The biggest defect of modern capitalism can be expressed in a single word: externalities (or illth if you prefer John Ruskin’s prose). Either term refers to the harmful side-effects that accompany current economic activity: pollution, congestion, noise, cancer, stress, extreme inequality, loss of biologic and cultural diversity, and so on.

One way to evaluate the performance of an economic system is to look at the ratio of well-being to illth it produces. This is akin to the way engineers measure the efficiency of an engine: for every unit of energy an engine consumes, it performs some useful work and wastes some heat. The higher the ratio of work to wasted heat, the greater the engine’s efficiency.

It includes a razor sharp (excuse the pun) quote from an investment manager called Robert Monks: "The corporation is an externalizing machine in the same way a shark is a killing machine. There isn't any question of malevolence or of will. The enterprise has within it, as the shark has within it, those characteristics that enable it to do that for which it is designed."

Or to put it another way if we put the fox in charge of the chickens, who exactly is responsible for the death of the chickens?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Robert Kennedy made a passionate speech on Saturday at the Sierra Summit about protecting the environment and his belief that the current Bush administration are failing on a whole range of measures. Extract (transcript at Truthout):

"I have three sons who have asthma. One out of every four black children in America’s cities now has asthma. We know that asthma attacks are triggered primary by bad air, by ozone and particulates and we know that the principle source of those materials in our atmosphere are 1,100 coal burning power plants that are burning coal illegally. It’s been illegal for 17 years. President Clinton’s administration was prosecuting the worst

75 of those plants but that’s an industry that donated $48 million to this president during the 2000 cycle and have given $58 million since.

One of the first things that Bush did when he came into office was to order the Justice Department and EPA to drop all those lawsuits. The top three enforcers at EPA, Sylvia Lowrance, Bruce Buckheit, Eric Schaeffer, all resigned their jobs in protest. These weren’t Democrats, these were people who had served through the Reagan and Bush administrations, the earlier Bush administration.

A top Justice Department official said that this had never happened in American history before where a presidential candidate accepts money, contributions from criminals under indictment or targeted for indictment and then orders those indictments and investigations dropped when he achieves office.

Immediately after dropping those lawsuits, the White House went and abolished the New Source Rule which was the heart and soul, the central provision of the Clean Air Act. That rule is the rule that required those plants to clean up 17 years ago and it’s the fundamental compromise that allowed the passage of the Clean Air Act.

If you go to EPA’s website today, you will see that that decision alone, that single decision, this is EPA’s website, kills 18,000 Americans every single year. Six times the number of people that were killed by the World Trade Center attack. This should be on the front page of every newspaper in this country every single day and yet you’re not reading about it in the American press.

A couple of months ago EPA announced that in 19 states it is now unsafe to eat any freshwater fish in the state for mercury contamination. We know where the mercury is coming from, those same coal burning power plants. In 48 states at least some of the fish are unsafe to eat. In fact, the only two states where all of the fish are still safe to eat are Alaska and Wyoming where republican controlled legislatures have refused to appropriate the money to test the fish. In all of the other states at least some, most or all of the fish are unsafe to eat.

We know a lot about mercury we didn’t know a few years ago. We know for example, that one out of every six, now one out of every three American women have so much mercury in her womb that her children are at risk for a grim inventory of diseases, autism, blindness, mental retardation, heart, liver, kidney disease.

I have so much mercury in my body, I had my levels tested recently and Waterkeeper will test your levels, you can send them a hair sample. Mine are about double what the EPA considers safe. I was told by Dr. David Carpenter who is the national authority on mercury contamination that a woman with my levels of mercury in her blood would have children with impairment. I said to him, "You mean she might have" and he said, "No, the science is very certain today. Her children would have some kind of permanent brain damage." He estimated an IQ loss in those kids of about five to seven points...

Today there are only 11,000 miners left in the state and almost none of them are unionized because the strip industry isn’t. Using these giant machines and 25 tons of dynamite that they explode in West Virginia every day, a Hiroshima bomb every week. They are blowing the tops off the mountains and then they take these giant machines and they scrape the rubble and debris into the adjacent river valley.

Well, it’s all illegal.

You cannot dump rock and debris and rubble into a waterway in the United States of America without a Clean Water Act permit. So Joe Lovitz sued them and he won in front of a great crusty old West Virginia judge, Judge Charles Hayden who recently died. Charles Hayden said the same thing I said, he said, "It’s all illegal, all of it" and he enjoined all mountain top mining.

Two days from when we got that decision, Peabody Coal and Massey Coal who had given millions of dollars to this White House met in the White House and the White House rewrote one word of the Clean Water Act. The definition of the word fill that changed 30 years of statutory interpretation to make it legal today as it is in every state in the United States to dump rock, debris, rubble, construction debris, garbage, any kind of solid waste into any water way in this country without a Clean Water Act permit. All you need is a rubber stamp permit from the Corps of Engineers that in many cases you can get through the mail. It has none of the safeguards that the Clean Water Act provides...

One of the things I’ve done over the past seven, eight years, since 1994, since this whole movement, the anti-environmental movement got a foothold, a beach head in Congress, is to constantly go around and confront this argument that an investment in our environment is a diminishment of our nation’s wealth. It doesn’t diminish our wealth, it’s an investment in infrastructure, the same as investing in telecommunications and road construction. It’s an investment we have to make if we’re going to insure the economic vitality of our generation and the next generation. I want to say this, there is no stronger advocate for free market capitalism than myself.

I believe that the free market is the most efficient and democratic way to distribute the goods of the land and that the best thing that could happen to the environment is if we had true free market capitalism in this country because the free market promotes efficiency and efficiency means the elimination of waste and pollution of course is waste. The free market also would encourage us to properly value our natural resources and it’s the under valuation of those resources that causes us to use them wastefully. But in a true free market economy you can’t make yourself rich without making your neighbors rich and without enriching your community.

But what polluters do is they make themselves rich by making everybody else poor. They raise standards of living for themselves by lowering quality of life for everybody else and they do that by evading the discipline of the free market.

You show me a polluter; I’ll show you a subsidiary. I’ll show you a fat cat using political clout to escape the discipline of the free market. And force the public to pay his production costs. That’s what all pollution is, it’s always a subsidy, it’s always a guy trying to cheat the free market.

Corporations are externalizing machines. They’re constantly figuring out ways to get somebody else to pay their costs of production, that’s their nature. One of the best ways to do that and the most common way for a polluter is through pollution...

A corporation does not want democracy. It does not want free markets, it wants profits and the best way for them to get profits is to use our campaign finance system which is just a system of legalized bribery to get their stakes, their hooks into a public official and then use that public official to dismantle the market place to give them a competitive advantage and then to privatize the common, to steal the commonwealth, to liquidate public assets for cash, to plunder, to steal from the rest of us. That’s why. From the beginning of our national history our most visionary political leaders.

And that doesn’t mean corporations are a bad thing. It just means they’re amoral and we have to recognize that and not let them into the political process.

Let them do their thing but they should not be participating in our political process because a corporation cannot do something genuinely philanthropic.

Its against the law in this country because their shareholders can sue them for wasting corporate resources. They cannot legally do anything that will not increase their profit margins and that’s the way the law works and we have to recognize that and understand that they are toxic for the political process and they have to be fenced off and kept out of the political process...

We’re not protecting the environment for the sake of the fishes and the birds.

We’re protecting it for our own sake because we recognize that nature enriches us. It enriches us economically, yes, the base of our economy. And we ignore that at our peril.

The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment but it also enriches us esthetically and recreationally and culturally and historically and spiritually. Human beings have other appetites besides money and if we don’t feed them we’re not going to grow up. We’re not going to become the kind of beings our creator intended us to become.

When we destroy nature we diminish ourselves. We impoverish our children."

eBay, Skype and free speech

From the Economist:

The acquisition by eBay of Skype is a helpful reminder to the world's trillion-dollar telecoms industry that all phone calls will eventually be free.

RIAA now go after P2P cos

The RIAA have sent cease and desist letters to seven p2p companies, emboldened by the US Supreme Court's ruling in the Grokster case in June...

and P2P traffic continues to flourish.

Banguora libel case overturned

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has overturned an Internet libel ruling in Bangoura v Washington Post, that had greatly concerned many of the world's prominent media companies. Saying the original judge had erred in the application of precedent, the appeal judge, Robert P. Armstrong J.A., concluded
"there is simply no real and substantial connection between this action and Ontario and that it is not appropriate for the courts of Ontario to assume jurisdiction."

The courts of Ontario have no jurisdiction over the Washington Post. Seems simple when you put it like that but when you get into the messy details of Internet libel cases things are rarely simple.

Latest Script-ed published

The latest edition of the excellent Script-ed open law journal has just been published. Of particular note to an Irishman abroad is Dr. Matthew Rimmer's article Bloomsday: Copyright Estates and Cultural Festivals in which he criticises the trustees of the James Joyce's Estate for arguing that "the James Joyce and Ulysses exhibition staged by the National Library of Ireland could breach copyright by displaying manuscripts and draft notebooks by James Joyce" and for taking other aggressive copyright actions, such as threatening to sue the Irish government over a festival to celebrate the centenary of Bloomsday (16 June 1904, the day on which Ulysses was set). Dr Rimmer concludes:
I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using my defence the only arms I allow myself to use - silence, exile, and cunning.
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

The controversy over "Rejoyce Dublin 2004" provides a cautionary tale about copyright law and cultural institutions. The Joyce Estate has brought an array of legal actions to control the publication and communication of the works of James Joyce. Such litigation has had a chilling effect upon literary scholarship, anthologies, music compositions, public performances, and cultural exhibitions. As Robert Spoo observes:

Extremely long copyrights have given artificial voice and weight to the personal predilections of one who, in the absence of such rights, would be an ordinary participant in the life of art and letters like most of the rest of us. These protracted monopolies create, or permit, peculiar and unaccustomed distortions of the public sphere; they encourage attempts to re-privatize that space, to reclaim it in the interests of family privacy or personal taste. They allow a mere right-holder to become a privileged and arbitrary custodian of culture. And all of this would be exactly as it should be were these monopolies confined to one generation or two. But to see this capricious veto power being exercised at a period so startlingly remote from the cultural and historical origins of the work in question is dispiriting.

The case of the Joyce Estate is not an isolated one. There have been a spate of similar incidents involving the custodians of the work of JD Salinger, Sylvia Plath, TS Eliot, Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, to name a few. The trend towards copyright term extension has invested copyright estates with a great deal of power. There will be increasing conflict with scholars, biographers, artists, and performers who wish to use such copyright work before the expiry of the life of the author plus seventy years.

There is a need to revise and design copyright law in order to protect the interests of libraries, archives, galleries, and cultural institutions. As Brendan Howlin observed in the Irish Parliament:

Libraries are an extraordinary community resource. There has been an extraordinary development in the State-wide library network in the past five to ten years. Libraries are not just repositories of books which people take out and return within a week or a fortnight. For many communities, libraries are now a historical, cultural and artistic hub. We need to acknowledge that in a way we have not done up to now and allow libraries to develop to their full potential.

There should be stronger mechanisms to guarantee access to copyright works - such as a wide range of exceptions for fair dealing, or better still an open-ended defence of fair use, extensive exemptions for libraries and cultural institutions, and a flexible compulsory licensing scheme. Such revisions would promote the original purpose of copyright law to promote the wider public interest in education, research, and learning.

The ad hoc reforms of the Irish Parliament do not go far enough. The extension of the copyright term should be wound back in Europe and elsewhere, because of its impoverishment of the public domain. There is no need for the relatives of authors to enjoy such extensive post-mortem rights. The work of James Joyce should be allowed to fall into the public domain. As Robert Spoo comments:

When Ulysses finally enters the public domain worldwide, we will witness, just as we did some years ago when copyrights in Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man expired in the United States, an explosion of cheap reprints and new editions of Joyce’s Irish epic. We will also see uninhibited use of the work in streamed Internet performances, public readings, dramatic and cinematic adaptations, and multimedia digital presentations complete with period photographs, Dublin maps, sound clips of Irish songs, and hyperlinks to critical interpretations and manuscript sources. On that red-letter day for the public domain, Ulysses will finally take its place with The Odyssey as raw myth-making material for some future national epic. Indeed, it can be argued that a work does not really become a “classic” until it is unqualifiedly available for cultural exploitation. It would follow that overlong copyright protection is an inhibition on the full organic development of a classic.

The time has come for the work of James Joyce to be emancipated from the private possession of his estate, and become part of the intellectual commons, free to be interpreted, adapted, and performed by scholars and artists alike.

He's right that there is no need for relatives, in most cases, to have such extensive post mortem rights, though I don't hold out a lot of hope in the short to medium term that the term of copyright is going to get reigned in.

Swtichfoot say bypass the copy protection

Tim Foreman of the band Switchfoot (have to admit I've never heard of them)has posted instructions on the net on how to bypass the copy protection that the band's music label are building into their CDs. He introduces the instructions with regrets about the music labels' policy on drm.
Hello friends,
my heart is heavy with this whole copy-protection thing. Many PC users have posted problems that they have had importing the new songs (regular disc only, not the dual disc) into programs such as Itunes. Let me first say that as a musician AND as a music fan, I agree with the frustration that has been expressed. We were horrified when we first heard about the new copy-protection policy that is being implemented by most major labels, including Sony (ours), and immediately looked into all of our options for removing this from our new album. Unfortunately, this is the new policy for all new major releases from these record companies. It is heartbreaking to see our blood, sweat, and tears over the past 2 years blurred by the confusion and frustration surrounding this new technology. It is also unfortunate when bands such as ourselves, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, etc... (just a few of the new releases with copy protection) are the target of this criticism, when there is no possible way to avoid this new industry policy...

I feel like as a band and as listeners, we've all been through a lot together over the past ten years, and we refuse to allow corporate policy to taint the family we've developed together. We deeply regret that there exists the need for any of our listeners to spend more than 30 seconds importing our music, but we're asking as friends and partners in this journey together to spend the extra 10 minutes that it takes to import these songs, which we think you'll agree to be our finest collection of songs yet. As a band, we've always been known for having the best fans in the world and I know that will continue for years to come. A month from now, I hope to be singing these songs together at a show, and the extra time spent importing the music will perhaps be forgotten, or at least forgiven. Thank you for your understanding and the continued kindness that you have always shown for five dreamers from San Diego, we love you guys,

-tim foreman

Privacy Comissioners Montreux Declaration

Privacy commissioners from all over the world meeting in Switzerland have issued a declaration calling for wider imlementation of basic privacy principles and a resolution on the use of biometrics in passports, ID cards and travel documents.

The latter tackles the mass move towards the deployment of biometrics by governments and commerce, which will have "a far-reaching impact on the global society and should therefore be subject to an open worldwide debate." The commissioners therefore call for

"1. effective safeguards to implemented at an early stage to limit the risks inherent in the nature of biometrics,

2. the strict disctinction between biometric data collected and stored for public purposes (e.g. border control) on the basis of legal obligations and for contractual purposes based on consent,

3. the technical restriction of the use of biometrics in passports and identity cards to verification purposes comparing the data in the document with the data provided by the holder when presenting the document."

This makes a lot of sense to me and, not surprisingly, coincides with principles outlined in the LSE report on the UK government's proposed national identity card.

Filesharer challenges music co methods

A woman accused of copyright infringement over peer to peer networks has been given leave by a judge to challenge the methods used by the music industry in threatening to sue thousands of individuals.