Webometric Thoughts

January 9, 2009

UK ISPs to collect information on every e-mail

Filed under: 1984,ISP,email — admin @ 9:31 am

According to the BBC:

From March all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will by law have to keep information about every e-mail sent or received in the UK for a year

Whilst I have yet to see the annoying cry of “Nineteen-eighty-four” appear all over the blogosphere, I’m sure it will by the end of the day. What intrigues me is how it will work, especially regarding web-mail accounts. Surely if I use a web-based email account somewhere outside the UK (or most probably the EU), and emailed people whose accounts are also outside the UK, then no ISP would be under any obligation to store the data.

Email is increasingly being replaced by other forms of communication, so if you really wanted to contact certain well-known unsavoury characters without the government finding out just instant message them.

May 19, 2008

Crazy Finns, but not quite 1984

Filed under: 1984,Finland,Mashable,piracy — admin @ 3:52 pm

Personally I am a fan of all stories that make the Finns look silly; a justifiable penance for the creation of the Moomins. Last week Mashable reported that the Copyright Information and Anti-piracy Centre had disconnected a Finnish government office for downloading music illegally. I love the idea of disconnecting people who illegally share files, although the problem will always be with those who are downloading on someoneelse’s network. Is this story true? It sounds unlikely, and I could only find a reference to it on Mashable, and TorrentFreak (who they reference) on Google News. Nonetheless it provides the opportunity to have a little rant about the constant mentioning of 1984: the book’s cover accompanies this particular Mashable ‘article’, and it is also mentioned on a previous Mashable article the author references.

Reading the blogospere it often seems that the only book anyone has ever read is 1984. Whilst I am a fan of Orwell’s work, I don’t necessarily think that every occasion any level of surveillance is mentioned it is necessary to compare such surveillance with Orwell’s dystopian vision. Surely there is some Godwin’s law equivalent for the invocation of 1984 whenever a government tries to restrict a technophile’s unfettered use of a technology.

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