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.
I note it was reported yesterday that Amazon are opening a multi-lingual callcentre in Cork, with the support of IDA Ireland. Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, MicheÃ¡l Martin helps himself to some of the credit, naturally.
Local business development consultant, Donagh Kiernan mentioned it in his blog:
This further copper fastens Irelandâ€™s strength in securing the new economy multinationals.
Also with the recent announcement of Cork company DSIâ€™s partnership with Amazon, Ireland is really showing itâ€™s world class capabilities in the new economy in attracting such commitments.
Congratulations to the IDA, Minister Michael Martin and his team..
Bernie Goldbach has written a bit about this as well and unfortunately I suspect his views are a lot closer to the truth of the matter – specifically Bernie says:
Amazon Cork doesn’t sound as techie as Amazon Dublin, where a Systems and Networks and Operating Centre runs in the Digital Hub in Dublin. Amazon Cork sounds like a call centre and those things are the 21st century’s equivalent of a clothing factory…. I would be curious to see what Amazon thinks is the attraction of Ireland. I still think it’s the friendly tax regime. It’s certainly not a robust teleworking infrastructure, nor is it high-speed road access between Cork and Dublin nor is it low cost of operations.
Bernie has hit the nail on the head here – Amazon have come to Cork despite the poor infrastructure and because of the tax breaks. They located their call centre in Cork – something they can pick up and drop in another location at a moments notice. Call centre jobs are low paying, high churn jobs. Minister Martin, you would be better advised looking for high value jobs for Cork – ones with an R&D component, for example. The Amazon call centre will last here 5 years tops and will you be around to take the credit when they move on?