Tuesday, September 15, 2009

HADOPI 3 strikes resurected by French government

The 3 strikes legislation thrown out by the highest constitutional court in France was ressurected by the French Senate yesterday.

Soham detective on the CRB check paranoia

the detective who solved the Soham murders and put Ian Huntley behind bars, has spoken out in this morning's Times about the government's latest child safety database initiative.
"In 2002 I was a senior detective with Cambridgeshire police. That August two ten-year-old girls disappeared, and I took over the investigation. Two days later I set up the surveillance operation that led to the arrest of Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr a few hours later.

Huntley has not been a free man since. He was convicted of the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in December 2003.

Last weekend my actions came back to haunt me. My wife and I went to Benson, Oxfordshire, to celebrate the birthday of my nine-year-old grandson. We went off to see him play as goalkeeper for his village under-10s football team. Mum and dad, sisters, uncles and both grandparents were there to cheer him on.

One of my hobbies is photography, so I took my camera to take a few “action shots” of my grandson. Ten minutes later I was approached by the manager, who said: “Can I ask you not to take photographs, it’s against the regulations. You have to get permission in writing from every parent of every child.”

I felt humbled. I am now a suspected paedophile — along, I fear, with millions of other parents and grandparents. I looked at the pictures I had taken. They were of my grandson making saves as his team came under pressure. I am sure he would have liked to look back on them in the future... I deleted the photographs."

The former (now retired) detective chief superintendent explains in the body of the article that it was an unfortunate chance that brought the two girls into contact with their murderer. A lot has been made about Huntley being a school caretaker and given his history he should not have held such a position but he was at a different school to the two girls. Huntley's partner Maxine Carr had been a classroom assistant in Holly and Jessica's school and it was her the two girls were seeking out when they found Huntley, unfortunately, home alone.

To treat every adult in the country as if they are likely to have the same mentality as the thankfully rare Huntley mindset is less than sensible and as the former detective chief superintendent says, it is not going to stop another tragedy. And despite the reported ministerial climbdown on the 'solve it with another database' approach to child safety, they're continuing to press on and claim that their scheme has "got the balance about right". When the headlines have passed we can therefore expect the system to merrily continue its primary function of ensuring the government has been seen to have done something in response to the tragic events at Soham. That the something is big, costly, affects everyone and involves computers is presumably a bonus from the government's perspective. That it is big, costly, turns every adult in the country into a suspected paedophile and will get in the way of protecting children who really are at risk, is shameful.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Appeals court favours Alcatel-Lucent v Microsoft

From CNet news:
"A federal appeals court on Friday affirmed a lower court ruling that Microsoft infringed on a patent owned by Alcatel-Lucent, but said the jury award of $358 million in damages was excessive...

The patent, whose application was originally filed by engineers at AT&T, covers a method of entering information into fields on a computer screen without using a keyboard."

Apple lock Palm out of iTunes again

The tit for tat wars between Apple and Palm are continuing as Apple has again locked Palm Pre users out of iTunes.

Obama's health reforms and risk psychology

Andrew American Journal of Medicinewere caused by medical costs.