In 2007, I experienced one of those fork-in-the-road moments that seem to occur when you least expect them. It was another day at the office, sifting through e-mails in the Ford Foundation’s glass palace in Manhattan, where I worked as one of the organization’s six directors. As usual, half of my inbox was ﬁlled by advertisements for books, conferences, and consultants promising to solve society’s problems by bringing the magic of the market to nonproﬁts and philanthropy — the masters of the universe, it seemed, also wanted to be saviors of the world — and the other half was ﬁlled by complaints from those experiencing the negative consequences of doing exactly that.
It suddenly struck me that this was more than a simple clash of cultures — it had potentially profound implications for the success of our efforts to transform the world in the image of love and justice. And in the rush to embrace new approaches to philanthropy, some very important older questions were in danger of being buried under hype and adulation — questions of deep social change and social transformation, of democracy versus plutocracy, and of people’s willingness to work together on common problems as full and equal citizens, not as clients or consumers. Continue reading →
Speaking at a House of Lords event to mark the 20th anniversary of the invention of the World Wide Web, Berners-Lee said that deep packet inspection (DPI) was the electronic equivalent of opening people’s mail.
“This is very important to me, as what is at stake is the integrity of the internet as a communications medium,” Berners-Lee said on Wednesday. “Clearly we must not interfere with the internet, and we must not snoop on the internet. If we snoop on clicks and data, we can find out a lot more information about people than if we listen to their conversations.”
DPI involves examining both the data and the header of an information packet as it passes a ‘black box’ on a network, in order to reveal the content of the communication. Targeted advertising services, such as Phorm in the UK, use DPI to monitor anonymised user behaviour and to target adverts at those users. In addition, UK government initiatives such as the Intercept Modernisation Programme have proposed using DPI to perform mass surveillance of the web comunications of the entire UK population.
Speaking to ZDNet UK at the event, Berners-Lee declined to comment about any particular company or government initiative, but said that internet service providers (ISPs) should not perform DPI. Continue reading →
When doing research on the use and abuse of privacy data on the Internet I bumped again on the case of the media corperation Advance. I pointed to it before and I was allowed to re-publish Karin Spaink’s article about it. Wondering how it had developed I discovered that there were no texts about it in English, and that is a pitty, because what Advance is doing is probably done by others on the Net, so I decided to cross the language barrier.
Advance Interactive Media is not only collecting privacy data, it does also hunt these data actively putting all kind of eliciting questionnaires on a range of sites (Je echte leeftijd, Volgens mama, VerjaardagsAlarm). Also the questionnaires are often linked to TV-programs of SBS and RTL, both popular stations in The Netherlands. Ironically, Joop van den Ende’s investment trust owns 30% of Advance. Joop van den Ende was one of the owners of Endemol, the television production company that developed the format of ‘Big Brother’.
Advance says to have an ‘interactive relation’ with 2,2 million Dutch people (of about 15 million). Of 300,000 it possesses more than 100 personal characteristics. Of course Advance collects these data to sell them to other companies. One of the big pharmaceutical corporations who had a contract with Advance was Pfizer. The Dutch Privacy Commission CBP has started an inquiry following an article in the ‘Volkskrant’.