IT Law in IrelandDigital Rights Ireland is looking for your support (10.2.2006, 12:25 UTC)
On the 6th December, Digital Rights Ireland formally launched. Our stated mission is to protect civil, legal and human rights in a digital age. Now we're asking people who share that aim to help us out by pledging their money to DRI. If you're in a hurry and don't need to know more, here's where you can sign up: Since our launch, and without funding, we've managed to do the following; Focus attention on data retention, by lobbying, use of parliamentary questions a...
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IT Law in IrelandYour personal information is for sale - Mobile Phone Location edition (1.2.2006, 15:44 UTC)
The Guardian has an interesting story by Ben Goldacre entitled"How I stalked my girlfriend":For the past week I've been tracking my girlfriend through her mobile phone. I can see exactly where she is, at any time of day or night, within 150 yards, as long as her phone is on. It has been very interesting to find out about her day. Now I'm going to tell you how I did it. ... First I had to get hold of her phone. It wasn't difficult. We live together and she has no reason not to trust me, so she o...
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IT Law in IrelandDutch biometric passport cracked - personal details vulnerable (30.1.2006, 16:26 UTC)
Biometric identity cards are being sold on the basis that they're supposedly secure. Before this debate comes to Ireland, it's worth noting that the Dutch biometric passport has already been cracked - allowing anyone to intercept your date of birth, facial image and fingerprint. To do this, they don't have to ever see your passport - merely come within 10 metres of a place where it is being used. (via The Register)
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IT Law in IrelandThe innocent have nothing to fear: CCTV edition (16.1.2006, 17:42 UTC)
We're often told that the innocent have nothing to fear. That extraordinary powers of surveillance won't be abused. This lady might disagree. From BBC News:Two council CCTV camera operators have been jailed for spying on a naked woman in her own home. Mark Summerton and Kevin Judge, from Sefton Council, Merseyside, trained a street camera into the woman's flat. [...] The images from the camera, including the woman without her clothes on, were shown on a large plasma screen in the council's CCTV...
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IT Law in IrelandGarda Traffic Surveillance - Privacy Implications for Motorists? (31.12.2005, 14:11 UTC)
The Irish Times reports that the police are proposing to bring Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to Ireland:The computer will be installed in Garda Traffic Corps vehicles and is due to be introduced in the coming months, The Irish Times has learned.The computer and camera system will allow for the instant reading and analysis of registration plates of all traffic passing a Garda car. The system will be linked to the Garda's Pulse computer database.It means any vehicles which are not taxe...
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IT Law in IrelandLast Chance to Fight EU Data Retention (9.12.2005, 13:45 UTC)
Next Tuesday, the 13th of December, the European Parliament will vote on a Data Retention Directive. This proposes to extend data retention to the Internet, and will result in your ISPs logging every email you send, every web page you visit, and everything else you do online and storing that information for several years. We urge you to email, fax or phone your MEPs as soon as possible to express your opposition to this measure, which will introduce mass surveillance of every man, woman and chi...
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IT Law in IrelandDigital Rights Ireland Launches (30.11.2005, 20:23 UTC)
Next Tuesday, December 6th sees the formal launch of Digital Rights Ireland, with a press conference in the Conference Room, Pearse St. Library, Dublin 2 at 11.00am. (Directions). We would like to formally invite to you to come along - we'd welcome your support, and the chance to chat with you about your concerns after the main conference. Please feel free to invite anyone else who you think would be interested in digital rights.
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IT Law in IrelandYour personal information is for sale - Motorists edition (28.11.2005, 15:31 UTC)
The Mail on Sunday headline says it all: "DVLA sells your data to criminals"The Government is selling the names and home addresses of motorists on its drivers' database to convicted criminals, a Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed.The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) tells would-be wheel-clampers there is "no problem" with them buying drivers' home addresses - even if they have a criminal record.Indeed, the two bosses of one clamping firm on the list of companies to whom the DVLA...
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IT Law in IrelandIntroducing Digital Rights Ireland (27.11.2005, 22:27 UTC)
I've been involved recently in helping to set up Digital Rights Ireland, a civil rights group which will focus on issues such as privacy and freedom of expression online. We're now working towards a launch, and as part of the pre-launch publicity I recently did a podcast interview with Tom Raftery. The interview covered how DRI came to form, what are our core beliefs and where we'll be taking the campaign for online civil and human rights. You can listen to the mp3 of the podcast here: http://w...
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IT Law in IrelandYour personal information is for sale - private eye steals information to track down victim of domestic abuse (24.10.2005, 18:18 UTC)
Via The Register A private detective was fined this week for unlawfully obtaining information relating to 'vulnerable women' from medical centres. Ray Pearson, a director of North London-based Pearmac Ltd, was prosecuted by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Pearson also persuaded an employee from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to hand over his Employee Identity Number, and then misrepresented himself in order to find out about a customer of HMRC. The Office of the Inf...
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IT Law in IrelandYour personal information is for sale - Social Welfare edition (26.9.2005, 13:24 UTC)
The Sunday Times reports that civil servants have been caught snooping through the social welfare files of lottery winner Dolores McNamara: Officials at the Department of Social and Family Affairs have discovered there were up to 150 hits on McNamara’s welfare files after she scooped the EuroMillions prize. Departmental managers are now asking civil servants to explain why they opened her
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IT Law in IrelandTackling spam - some freedom of expression problems (14.7.2005, 16:24 UTC)
Wendy McElroy explains that new US anti-spam / child protection laws could criminalise perfectly ordinary email mailing lists, while attempting to comply with the laws will involve handing a list of recipients over to the government for vetting:Both Utah and Michigan have created a 'child protection registry' for email addresses that belong to children or to which children have access. It functions like a 'no call list.' explains, 'Once an email address is on the registry, commercial ...
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IT Law in IrelandLinking as copyright infringement? (14.7.2005, 13:19 UTC)
From ZDNet Australia:It took almost two years but major record labels in Australia have finally won a legal battle against a Queensland man and his Internet Service Provider for alleged music piracy. Stephen Cooper, operator of the mp3s4free Web site, was found guilty of copyright infringement by Federal Court Justice Brian Tamberlin. Although Cooper didn't host pirated recordings per se, the court found he breached the law by creating hyperlinks to sites that had infringing sound recordings.Mo...
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IT Law in IrelandYour personal information is for sale - Mobile phones edition (9.7.2005, 12:17 UTC)
The Washington Post reports on the open sale of mobile phone (cell phone) records in the US. Excerpt:Think your mate is cheating? For $110, will provide you with the outgoing calls from his or her cell phone for the last billing cycle, up to 100 calls. All you need to supply is the name, address and the number for the phone you want to trace. Order online, and get results within hours. Carlos F. Anderson, a licensed private investigator in Florida, offers a similar service for $...
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IT Law in IrelandYour personal information is for sale - Russian edition (7.7.2005, 14:34 UTC)
There's a fascinating story in the Globe and Mail about the sale of personal data in Moscow. Excerpt:"What do you need?" he says. "We have everything." In Moscow these days, among people who deal in stolen information, the category of everything is surprisingly broad. This Gorbushka vendor offers a hard drive with cash transfer records from Russia's central bank for $1,500 (Canadian). The information was reportedly stolen by hackers earlier this year and purchased by companies looking for deta...
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IT Law in IrelandHigh Court to hear application for disclosure of filesharer's identities (6.7.2005, 21:55 UTC)
The application for disclosure will be held this Friday (8th July). The hearing is open to the public, so feel free to come along if you're interested in learning more about the privacy / online anonymity / data protection issues. The case (2005 2014P EMI RECORDS IRELAND LIMITED V EIRCOM LTD) is in the Commercial List so it should be before Mr Justice Kelly in Court 9 (in the main Four Courts building) at 10.30. From the Irish Times (subscription only): The High Court was told yesterday that Ei...
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IT Law in IrelandDigital search and seizure (28.6.2005, 18:43 UTC)
There's a grey area around police powers to compel intermediaries such as ISPs to hand over digital evidence. In both Ireland and the UK, though, the issue seldom arises because most ISPs seem to be happy to give voluntary cooperation, avoiding the need for the police to rely on their compulsory powers. However, this strategy falls down when an intermediary decides not to play ball, and the seizure of Bristol Indymedia servers illustrates the problems that result. An Indymedia press release giv...
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IT Law in Ireland(Yet) Another argument against ID Cards (26.6.2005, 12:25 UTC)
From the Independent:Ministers plan to sell your ID card details to raise cashPersonal details of all 44 million adults living in Britain could be sold to private companies as part of government attempts to arrest spiralling costs for the new national identity card scheme, set to get the go-ahead this week.The Independent on Sunday can today reveal that ministers have opened talks with private firms to pass on personal details of UK citizens for an initial cost of £750 each.[...]The opening...
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IT Law in IrelandYour personal information is for sale - Indian edition (23.6.2005, 12:05 UTC)
BBC News reports: Police are investigating reports an Indian call centre worker sold the bank account details of 1,000 UK customers to an undercover reporter. The Sun claims one of its journalists bought personal details including passwords, addresses and passport data from a Delhi IT worker for £4.25 each. City of London Police is investigating after receiving files from the paper.
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IT Law in IrelandISPs told "Hand over names if you want to license our content" (21.6.2005, 12:54 UTC)
Constitutional Code (Rik Lambers) has an interesting post illustrating the incentives facing ISPs asked to disclose customer names: During a seminar on "online piracy" in the Netherlands last week a representative of Warner Home Entertainment made it clear that Internet Service Providers won't get movie content licensed, unless they provide the identifying information of their customers on demand.
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IT Law in IrelandData Retention Reaches the US - Or Does It? (21.6.2005, 09:10 UTC)
Orin Kerr is skeptical about the reports that the US Department of Justice has decided to push data retention: What is the evidence that times have changed, and that now DOJ is "quietly shopping around" this "explosive" idea? As best I can tell from Declan's story, it is this and only this: A few weeks ago, at a Holiday Inn in Alexandria, Virginia, unnamed Department of Justice employees, apparently from DOJ's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), mentioned the possibility of mandato...
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IT Law in IrelandData Retention Reaches the US (18.6.2005, 21:57 UTC)
Disturbing news from CNET , which reports that the US government has executed an about turn and decided to push data retention: Justice Department officials endorsed the concept at a private meeting with Internet service providers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to interviews with multiple people who were present. The meeting took place on April 27 at the Holiday Inn Select in Alexandria, Va. 'It was raised not once but several times in the meeting, very em...
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IT Law in IrelandThe curious legal status of .uk and .ie (14.6.2005, 17:41 UTC)
From The Register:The company that runs the UK's Internet registry is not officially recognised by the government and as such has no right to decide what should be done with the millions of domains that it sells each year.That at least is the claim of Ben Cohen, former owner of, who lost ownership of the domain to Apple in March after a ruling by an independent expert hired through Nominet's domain resolution process.Cohen has been decrying Nominet since the decision and made a vari...
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IT Law in IrelandMorris Tribunal learns pitfalls of security through obscurity (8.6.2005, 18:27 UTC)
The Sunday Times (free reg. required) has an interesting story illustrating official ignorance of basic information security:Tribunal hacker 'was in press agency building'Stephen O’BrienTHE Press Association of Ireland was threatened with heavy fines and jail sentences by Justice Frederick Morris last week after revealing that it had gained access to his report on garda corruption in Co Donegal before the official launch.The wire service, the Irish arm of the London-based Press Associatio...
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IT Law in IrelandOnline Anonymity - Canadian Edition (1.6.2005, 23:01 UTC)
The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal recently handed down an important decision on online privacy. The case - BMG Canada v. Doe - unsurprisingly involves attempts by the music industry to identify alleged filesharers, using a Norwich Pharmacal analysis.At first instance, disclosure was refused due to deficiencies in the plaintiffs' evidence, in what was seen as a strongly pro-privacy holding. The Court of Appeal, although it allowed the plaintiffs' appeal in part, accepted that the plaintiffs' e...
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IT Law in IrelandGerman Court Refuses to Order ISPs to Disclose User Identities (17.5.2005, 19:23 UTC)
Heise has an article indicating that the Higher Regional Court in Hamburg has declined to order ISPs to disclose the identities of users alleged to be infringing copyright by running FTP servers. The court held that, as ISPs were not joint wrongdoers, their obligations were limited to blocking and removing infringing material: In its highly detailed opinion the court concludes that the obligation in piracy cases to provide information on the creation and/or distribution of pirated items - crea...
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IT Law in IrelandGoogle's Web Accelerator (16.5.2005, 22:22 UTC)
Google's famous motto - "Don't be Evil" - has lost some of its shine lately. A prime target for critics is the new Web Accelerator: a browser add-in that runs all your web browsing - not just your searches - through Google's servers. The pay-off is faster browsing through technical wizardry including lots of caching by Google. The downsides? Privacy problems and dubious legality.Jeff Jarvis doesn't like this from a copyright point of view:It's one matter when the search engine caches a page you ...
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IT Law in IrelandHow much will Irish filesharers end up paying IRMA? (6.5.2005, 15:43 UTC)
Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Irish ISPs will eventually be ordered by the High Court to disclose users' identities to IRMA. If this happens, it's unlikely that any of the cases will proceed to trial - the pattern from the US and UK has been for the overwhelming majority of cases to settle out of court. What sort of payments is IRMA likely to demand? The average settlement in the last round of UK cases was, according to the BPI, around £2,000. At the high end, two defendants...
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IT Law in IrelandOnline Anonymity - edition (29.4.2005, 14:27 UTC)
Two interesting articles in the Irish Times today (subscription only) discuss the implications of, which allows students to give anonymous ratings and comments on their teachers. Needless to say, teachers aren't happy with comments such as "Couldn't teach her way out of a brown paper bag" and "Poor guy couldn't teach. Had it all in his head but just couldn't relate it to the students."John Downes reports that the Joint Managerial Body (representing Irish secondary schools) has ...
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IT Law in IrelandYour personal information is for sale (27.4.2005, 21:23 UTC)
From The Guardian:Two national newspapers paid to receive confidential information from the police national computer, a court heard yesterday.Articles from the Sunday Mirror and the Mail on Sunday were used in evidence against two former police employees and two private investigators charged with offences involving the sale of police information to the press.The court was told that Stephen Whittamore, a 56-year-old private investigator with links to the national press, provided "very personal an...
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