3558 posts • joined Wednesday 28th February 2007 21:13 GMT
Pro-forma to BT for anyone wanting to make a DPA request
If any of you are BT customers, feel free to adapt this to your own purposes.
I'm not a lawyer, I'm sure others could do better, but if you're wondering how to start a DPA request here's a start.
It'll help if you have your BT account code. And don't forget you'll need to write a cheque for £10 to cover processing costs.
I'm secretly hoping they say they can't tell me any of the information because then questions are raised how they recruited and kept track of those people in the trial and where that information has gone. All of which should interest the Information Commissioner greatly
Data Protection Manager,
81 Newgate Street,
Dear Sir / Madam,
I am a customer of BT Total Broadband and I am gravely concerned by the revelation that your company may have been illegally intercepting my communications. During 2006 and 2007, BT and a third party, Phorm, held secret trials of targeted advertising software involving many thousands of BT customers.
Please send me the information which I am entitled to under section 7(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998, informing me:
• if I have been unknowingly involved in any trials of Phorm software during 2006 and 2007
• the dates of any trials to which I was subscribed without my permission;
• what data was intercepted during those trials, and;
• to whom this data was transmitted.
Please would you also advise me of the logic involved in any automated decisions taken by you about me pursuant to section 7(1) (d) of the Data Protection Act 1998.
If you are unable to provide the information requested above, I will refer this failure to the Office of the Information Commissioner, so that they may investigate further.
As required under the Data Protection Act I have enclosed a cheque for £10 to cover any processing charges. This should enable you to complete this request within the stated period of 40 days.
If you do not normally handle these requests for your organisation, please pass this letter to the Data Protection Officer for BT Total Broadband or another appropriate officer.
[YOUR NAME HERE]
Just filed a DPA request...
...asking BT to disclose all information they have regarding my involvement (or otherwise) in the Phorm trials.
The following paragraph mentions I won't be satisfied if they say they don't have that information, in which case I will make a formal complaint to the DP Registrar.
The one after that tells them that if they confirm I was in the trial I will consider all legal options under RIPA 2000.
So anyone else DPAing BT's ass?
Money better spent...
...would be for Microsoft to invest some serious money in raising the build quality of this wretched console.
Mine's just back from the all-to-familiar RRoD repair and it's already developed a rattle like a fan is improperly seated or is sticking. So I guess in a few weeks it'll die on me, then it's back to the repair shop.
Get all the kids to put all their information on Facebook. They want to do it and they'll tell you everything you want - and so much more. That's the sharing bit of the equation and the government hasn't had to spend a penny.
But it gets better!
When they get the inevitable 'do you want to see some puppies' IM, the precious little snowflakes can call the Home Office approved paedosquad number at the top of the screen - so that's the child protection bit taken care of, *AND* it shows joined-up government in action!
Mine's the one with £10 million of consultancy fees in the pockets.
Okay did this get held over from yesterday?
'It also found that 34 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds were happy to give out sensitive personal details including their mobile number and, or, email addresses.'
So the New Labour Net Nanny is appalled that millions of people are sending personal information to unaccountable organisations where that data might be misused, lost or stolen?
Imagine Jacqui Smith's reaction if someone suggested that it would soon be compulsory for people to hand personal information to an unaccountable organisation where that data might be misused, lost or stolen!
The graph does *not* show a failing format; it shows a slowing rate of adoption - sales are continuing to grow but at a slower rate. There are a number of reasons, it could have been a technology that matured relatively rapidly and can't grow into a mass-market because the cost of receivers is noticeably higher than that for analogue sets, or it could be failing in the sense no one wants DAB at any price. But that graph proves nothing.
I have plenty of other problems with DAB, but to claim evidence based on that graph is misleading on a scale Alistair Campbell would be proud of.
You just know if this had been a third-rate Italian knock-off sculpture of a sub-par Roman interpretation of a lost Greek original picked up by the syphilitic elder son of an 18th Century nobleman during a wine, poetry and all-you-can-eat shagging tour of Europe [deep breath]; then the know-nothing likes of Tessa Jowell and the great-and-the-good kleptocracy at the top of the arts world would have willingly blown ten million quid of public money to preserve 'an essential bedrock of British culture'.
Perhaps if we can show that a *BRITISH* BBC Micro was used to formulate the first foetid nugget of totalitarian policy at the Home Office, they'd consider computers to be 'an essential bedrock of British culture'?
Sodom and Gomorrah
I love the fact a complete lack of archaeological evidence for either city ever having existed, doesn't get in the way of a media-friendly theory about their destruction. A shame they didn't go so far as to explain the halification of Lot's wife, but perhaps that's a follow up paper.
BTW. We all know about what was meant to be happening in Sodom, but what the hell was going on in Gomorrah?
Don't count a victory just yet
Because if this does defeat current fingerprint readers, the companies will simply wail loudly and apply for more money from the public teat. Biometrics have become so much of an article of faith with the UK government that they can't be seen to lose face - bottomless amounts of taxpayer pounds will be made available to any multibillion pound company who needs the cash.
The security lobby is today's military-industrial complex - not that that's gone away. Hmmmmm Perhaps it's more accurate to say that the security lobby is the bastard child of the military-industrial complex and David Blunkett.
Of course this would never have happened...
...if we had ID cards - oh hold on, something's wrong there.
Credit where credit's due
An American has noticed what can be colloquially called 'the rest of the World'.
And it's thrilling to see commaed geography back in action 'Generva, Switzerland' - bless. The latest in a veritable Whicker of glamorous destinations, 'Paris, France', 'Venice, Italy' and everyone's favourite 'London, England'. Though it really needs a bit of stock footage for full effect - possibly a cuckoo clock or a vault filled with Nazi gold*.
*That's for Generva, Switzerland obviously; not Paris, France or London, England**.
** which can only be summed up by a consumptive Julie Andrews in a bowler hat.
@ Anonymous Coward
'Did Neil Armstrong et al bring their poo poos back with them or leave them behind?'
Worryingly, I know the answer to this one.
After rendezvousing back in orbit, all the trash and dirty nappies were loaded into the lunar module which was then crashed into the Moon for the benefit of geophysicists* and their seismographs.
* Children the lot of them.
We're pretty damned sure there's no life on the Moon, nor has there ever been. The US and USSR both returned samples from the surface and we have a large collection of lunar meteorites, which (amongst many other fascinating bits of geochemistry*) have one thing in common - they're completely anhydrous - there is no water on the Moon, either on the surface or in the minerals***, so no water for life. The killer temperatures and solar radiation would also do for organic chemistry.
And before anyone jumps on the story that bacteria were found on the Moon during the Apollo 12 mission to the Ocean of Storms...
Apollo 12 landed right next to the abandoned Surveyor 3 lander. The two astronauts took samples from Surveyor to see how it had withstood 18 months of radiation, heating, cooling and micrometeorite bombardment. When they were brought back to Earth, spores were found on some of the insulation. These were cultivated and found to belong to Streptococcus. For a long time it was believed that the spores had set when a lab technician assembling Surveyor had sneezed on the instrumentation, and that they had survived their exposure to space.
HOWEVER, this is now disregarded. The samples were not placed in biological isolation on their journey back from the Moon or on their way to the lab and it is far more likely they were contaminated on the way back to NASA. And experiments on the same species where they are exposed to freeze/thaw/dry cycles like those on the lunar surface always results in dead bugs.
* if you're a geochemist**
** guilty as charged
*** there *MAY* be some superficial ice at the Lunar South Pole carried by comets, although the evidence is somewhat patchy.
@The Prevaricator @Slaine
Silverpit is still not confirmed as an impact crater (and probably won't be unless someone stumps up the readies to drill it). There are problems with it being an impact structure because it doesn't resemble anything else on Earth - multiring craters such as those seen on the Moon and the Galilean moons of Jupiter are usually orders of magnitude larger than Silverpit.
There is a plausible alternative hypothesis that it is nothing more than a collapse caused by the withdrawal of the underlying Zechstein salt deposits.
Some of the reports are putting this as a 145 gigatonne explosion, it would have thrown enough crap into the air to darken the skies across the entire Northern Hemisphere, so yes, the good burghers of Inverness would have had plenty to worry about.
Another example of joined up thinking
Hutton being a minister in the government that just flogged off state-owned BNFL's Westinghouse reactor-building business to Toshiba in return for a quick buck. So rather than the taxpayer (finally) getting some money out of BNFL, we're all going to have to pay to import technology we once owned.
Actually it's the pilot's decision whether he or she can fly the plane with a failed system. Some things (such as an inoperative engine) automatically rule out a take-off, but a plane can still be rostered if a suitably redundant component has failed.
If planes were grounded for not being in 100% working order, the airlines would have failed long ago.
The likes of Ruth Kelly and Des Browne were in the Cabinet that voted for war on Iraq and were expected to toe the government line, but when it comes to this all of a sudden their consciences are paramount.
More likely the culprit will be BAA who regard the whole airplane malarkey as getting in the way of turning airports into shopping malls.
Haven't you noticed that the ever-earlier time you need to turn up at the airport and the curious absence of seating in the departure lounge leaves you all the more time to mooch around BAA's crappy, overpriced shops?
How the hell is the BBC allowed to refuse to say how much they pay for people pottering around in motorised fag packets and wankers like Jonathan Ross? We all pay into their budget, it's only reasonable to know where it's going.
It gets better
The BBC article is either a: the funniest thing you've ever read, or b: the raping of your childhood.
Now am I just being unduly cynical or do they all look more than a little like the cast of Scooby Doo?
Anyone else thinking of Thunderbirds the Movie?
In other breaking news;
Kirrin Bay is now Kirrinatoga, California!
They all have superpowers!
Everyone enjoys lashings of Coca Cola at the local McDonalds!
Timmy's a robot!
George's dad is a scientist working for an evil maniac in the secret volcano lair on Kirrin Island!
The American kid saves the day!
Is it some rule in America?
That anything, no matter how small has got to have a flag-waving-salute-the-stars-and-stripes-gorge-rising patriotic theme?
'Osprey's AE1107C "Liberty" turboshafts'
Dear god in heaven above. What will I do when my MkIII "Iwo Jima" bezel gromit fails?
Because American advertising is so popular
If this goes through, buy shares in PVR manufacturers. TiVo took off in the States when customers were told they could skip the adverts.
BTW. These regulations for seven minutes per hour - are they actually enforced? Watching Channel 4 at prime time it seems about double that when you include all the programme trailers, what's coming next, now on Film Four, oooh aren't we great we made Four Weddings and a Funeral half a lifetime ago, if you missed this then catch the repeat of the news on Channel 4 + pi, don't miss tonight's celebrity death shagfest live on E4...
And don't get me started on the cable channels.
It could be used to store a large number of New Labour's backbench zombie army within easy lurching distance of Parliament for when they're needed to vote through a particularly gruesome piece of lorranorder legislation.
There's one lot we haven't heard from yet
Try as I might, I can't find the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to browse free.
BT and Phorm claim there are untold millions of users who bending over, positively gagging to be pimped to the armpits.
But they're like Tony and George's weapons in Iraq - strangely elusive. In fact the harder you look for them, the more insubstantial they seem to be. The BT forums are in meltdown with customers outraged about WebWise; the same story over at Virgin and TalkTalk. Their support staff are being inundated by customers thirsting for the blood of Phorm.
But not a person who wants this on their system.
Has anyone spotted a pimpee in the wild? Perhaps the Reg could offer a prize for the first sighting?
Best be quick, the way things are going, Phorm won't be worth jack by the end of the month - not unless they can salvage their share price by merging with a classier outfit like thailadyboysluts.com
Can but dream
"He also asked for the power to put an immediate stop to data processing by any organisation that he thought was "seriously unlawful""
In breaking news, the British government has been closed down by the Information Commissioner for repeated abuses of information technology, and is not expected to reopen. Reports that the Home Secretary is being dragged by members of Liberty to a small, portable gallows erected on Tower Hill cannot yet be confirmed.
So he's back
I was getting worried because recent BBC IT programmes had started featuring the transatlantic swivel-eyed cyber-nutter Ray Kurzweil. He comes across like a character from the first draft of a Charles Stross novel, but rejected as being a little too extreme.
'How about that, we call Gaza 'Lesotho Palestine' and the West Bank 'Swaziland Palestine'. '
Hmmm I like the idea, but it's not quite accurate - you really want something more like the old bantustans where the Afrikaaners coralled the indigenous people without proper housing, resources or employment.
Since the names Bophuthatswana and QwaQwa are now up for grabs, it's be useful to rebrand the Occupied Territories as such and remind people that apartheid is alive and well in the Middle East.
I see the genius of this plan
Osama bin Laden's credibility will take a tumble when his latest Al-Jazeera blockbuster features him in moth-eaten rags.
It's genius when you think about it.
Okay who's up for creating a start-up?
The pitch is that parents / social workers / the rozzers can send in pictures of kids and we'll use a biometric / neural net / [insert cool tech name here] approach to examine the shape of their skull and categorise the little horrors into one of a number of fields.
Within moments, any child can be tagged for life as a good citizen or criminal scum.
I think we should get a top-notch board of executive directors including Gary Bushell and at least one former Home Secretary. The whole thing can be marketed with a charming animated Artful Dodger 'Oi'd have been on the straight an' narrow if that nice Mister Blunkett had felt me bumps!'
The next stage, a huge Home Office contract under their 'Building an Orwellian Tomorrow' outreach scheme.
So who's in?
Actually of your three options I think I'd rather have my legs chewed off by the mosquitoes than be dragged into the latest Paris freakshow.
Hmmm do you think we could all club together and vote Lester into the show?
Just a thought...
...could this move to televisual perfection be our best hope of finding Osama bin Laden?
After all, if the World's favourite terrorists have suddenly become more professional, then they must be employing qualified media developers. (How the Taliban handle the copious nose candy requirements of these people must remain something of a mystery).
Which means they must have advertised.
And adverts have return addresses for the CVs and application forms.
Ergo, we can close down al Qaeda by reading the Guardian's Media section.
@ Geoff Mackenzie
'Or does this mean all Phorm victims will be asked first? Won't that kill this thing stone dead?'
If BT are any indication you'll get something along the lines 'BT Webwise is a free service for BT Broadband customers which will help protect you against online fraud and provide a more enjoyable experience.
'You're just moments away from a safer Internet, click [OK] to enjoy the wonderful world of BT Webwise; otherwise click [Cancel] if you feel more comfortable in the presence of hucksters and paedophiles.
'Even if you're a weirdo and don't want to use Webwise right now, you can always opt in to our service by calling 0845 KIDY FDLR and choose 'I'm a sinner and I need to be punished' from the menu.'
But on the upside...
...John Lewis is 'never knowingly undersold' so if any of our pork-barrelling representatives find their taxpayer funded lifestyle cheaper elsewhere, JL will refund the difference.
Which is a morsel of comfort isn't it?
Oh, no, it's not.
There should have been a warning at the top of that article
I think it approached a critical mass of business buzzwords.
My mind is bleeding and I still have no idea what they're planning. Does this mean I'll have to be culled?
And how the fsck does this fit in with John Denham's bright idea to kill funding for second degrees - precisely the thing needed if people are going to be re-trained as porters on the innovation platform?
What next for 360?
Oooh I dunno - how about one that works for more than a few months without red-ringing?
Okay, I'm grouchy, my latest one blew up this week and is waiting to go back to Microsoft for yet another brain transplant. Meanwhile the PS3 is starting to look just a little bit smug.
The real joy of this....
...is that it's being proposed by an Italian. If there is one thing reassuringly stereotypical about Italy it's that population's ingrained love of disregarding any legislation which gets in the way of la dolce vitae. I can't wait to see them try to work this proposal in the streets of Naples.
BTW. That's odd, this proposal's been around a few hours now, and still no enthusiastic gushing from the Home Office. You'd have thought the Blunkett Memorial Soviet would have announced a five year plan to ensure Britain was fully Orwell compliant by the time of the 2012 Olympics.
@Anonymous coward re warranties
The UK legal situation is that warranties are IN ADDITION to your statutory rights which are laid out in the invaluable Sale of Goods Act 1979 (mainly Sections 13 and 14). Warranties exist between the manufacturer and the customer, but the contract (enforced by SoGA) is between the retailer and the customer. Your first resort should always to be to deal with the retailer under contract law - NOT the manufacturer with whom your relationship is much less strong.*
Goods out of warranty may still be found wanting under SoGA in that they may be defective or simply not fit for the advertised purpose.
SoGA does not lay down a maximum term for when it can be applied, but IIRC from my law lectures it is something like six years - but on a diminishing scale. Naturally wear and tear and reasonable lifetimes have to be taken into account before any compensation can be awarded. Interestingly, any goods that fail within six months of purchase are considered to have been defective when purchased (this applies from March 2003).
If goods fail after working for a while you are *not* entitled to reject the goods and obtain a refund; but you are entitled to a repair at the retailer's expense or a replacement item (unless the cost of the repair would be disproportionate or a replacement item cannot be obtained in which case you are entitled to a refund).
If goods fail immediately, do not work as advertised, or a reasonable amount of work cannot get them to work, then you are entitled to reject the goods as 'not fit for purpose' and either obtain a replacement or a full refund from the retailer. The retailer may not charge for this.
* Although EC law is strengthening the legal obligations of warranties and this situation may change in the future. Certainly 2 year warranties are becoming much more common as companies harmonise their conditions throughout the EU.
Incredible isn't it?
MPs demand long holidays and expenses as compensation for their stressful job. And yet Patsie can find time for not one, not two, but three executive directorships on top of her taxpayer-funded job.
I really must find out how it's done. I have trouble keeping down just the one job.
Come on Apple, quit mucking around, just dip into the piggy bank and buy TiVo. It can't be worth that much and you'd never notice paying for it.
Of course this is purely selfish on my part. I want Steve Jobs to spend millions simply because my Series 1 isn't going to last forever. I can't get a more modern TiVo because they pulled out of the UK after getting shafted by Sky. I'm damned if I'll get the horror that is Sky+ and there's simply no other PVR out there that has a tenth of the usability and functionality of good old TiVo.
TiVo on a Mac Mini or an Apple TV? You know it makes sense.
TiVo + Apple = the ultimate cult following should that be cultimate???
Will there be a Zune 3???
Zune's biggest problem is that it has never been ahead of the iPod in terms of what the user wanted. Zune 1 had wifi waaay before iPod, but all you could really do with it was 'squirt' - and no one squirted (perhaps we should be grateful for that). There was also the whole brown issue.
Zune 2 looks a bit like the lovechild between the a Zen and an iPod, but compare it to Apple's current offerings it looks cheap and like something from the dark ages.
The people at Zune are good, but they seem to be unable to realise a vision of what the next generation media player should all be about. Lack of vision is a real problem across Microsoft (with the honourable exceptions of XBox and Microsoft Research) - the corporation just doesn't seem to be able to make giant leaps in thinking. So Zune's physical interface looked like an iPod (even though it didn't behave like one), Zune 2 had to have a small flash based player (like the Nano) and there's talk of a Zune Phone - like the iPhone; where are the really radical ideas that will have the folks at Apple going 'what the f---?'?
Whereas you just know Steve Jobs has a whole building of people dreaming stuff up without having to worry how it'll work - that's for another bunch of people to worry about.
Zune 3 *IF* Microsoft lets the designers loose, could be something special. But I suspect it'll be a ZunePhone or be rebranded XBox Music.
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