Tom McGurk hosted an interesting debate on privacy last week with representatives of Digital Rights Ireland and the data protection commissioner last week (shame his show has finished and Ryan Tubridy has returned!).
Bernie has a copy of the discussion and a great synopsis of it.
One thing which disappointed me was the number of respondents to the show who made comments along the lines of “I haven’t done anything wrong, the government are welcome to look over all my records”
Bruce Schneier counters this fallacy very effectively when he says:
Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.
Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? (“Who watches the watchers?”) and “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” Watch someone long enough, and you’ll find something to arrest — or just blackmail — with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies — whoever they happen to be at the time.
Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.
Today’s podcast is an interview I did with TJ McIntyre – TJ is Chairman of Digital Rights Ireland, and is a lecturer in Law in UCD.
The interview was fascinating, and should be compulsory listening for any Irish blogger. TJ informed me that everything published on a blog is automatically considered defamatory in the eyes of the law, if reported as such (guilty until proven innocent anyone?), until the blogger can satisfactorily prove to a jury that it is indeed true!
TJ also spoke about how copying music from legally purchased CDs is against the law, the pointlessness of national ID cards in terms of national security, and the governments position on data retention.
See below a list of the questions I asked TJ and the times in the interview that I asked them:
- What is DRI – what is its raison d’etre? – 0:21
- Why is there such a difference between our rights in the offline and online world? – 0:56
- What sparked you to start this up Digital Rights Ireland? – 1:36
- Digital Rights Ireland isn’t formally launched yet? 2:18
- Who do you represent/speaking on behalf of? – 2:39
- If you copy songs from legally purchased CDs onto your iPod or mp3 player, are you breaking the law? – 4:03
- In terms of blogging and podcasting, where do you see DRI fitting in? – 5:58
- What’s the function of the Press Council going to be? – 7:06
- As a blogger, who do I need protection from? – 7:35
- If I make a post about XYZ co. claiming dodgy practices on their behalf, what is the mechanism of action? – 9:17
- So, they can either try to drag you to court or they can take your site offline? – 10:25
- Of course, if you have a backup, you can get your site up on another host…? – 12:35
- Could you just get a summons without a cease and desist? – 13:29
- If you get a summons, can you put your hands up at that point? – 14:14
- And it doesn’t matter that what you wrote is true? – 14:29
- So, even if you have copied the article from a reputable news source, they will go after you because you are the ‘low hanging fruit’? – 15:16
- In a defamation case, if it goes your way, are the costs always awarded against you? – 16:01
- Is free legal aid available to bloggers? – 17:06
- Is there such a thing as anti-defamation insurance? – 17:53
- It seems that in defamation cases it is the person with the bigger resources who calls the tune… – 19:08
- Why is that? – 20:14
- Why are defamation cases heard by jury? – 21:09
- Why isn’t it the case that the plaintiff must prove that they have been defamed? 21:59
- I assume this is the same for podcasting also? – 23:26
- Does DRI have a position on the passing of data by EU airlines to the US government? – 24:30
- In three years time the government will know where I was today even if I can’t remember because of mobile phone data retention laws? – 26:05
- So, call centre operatives for mobile operators will have access to three years of my data? – 28:53
- Do DRI have a position on biometric passports? – 29:21
- Is it a valid argument that national ID cards give greater security? – 30:28
- Why do governments want to introduce compulsory ID cards then? – 32:02
- What other things are coming down the line that we should be aware of? – 33:30
- When is the launch of Digital Rights Ireland? – 36:09
- Whats the website of Digital Rights Ireland? – 36:29
You can download the full interview here 8.4mb mp3.