Half a nation’s records lost? How convenient…

November 21, 2007

Let’s face it plans for a national ID card, a national ID register, an NHS database and several children’s databases aren’t exactly popular just now. So what does Gordon Brown need to get rabid Sun readers and moronic Mail readers all clamoring for a biometric database? Well, of course, a major security breach. Then he can assure us that once our biometric details are safely uploaded to the national identity register, it won’t matter if the odd CD goes missing along the way because our identities are tied to our biometric data, which is identity theft proof – right? And the Mail and the Sun readers will be hailing the biometric database as a damn good idea and promoting Gordon Brown to God.

Whenever governments are determined to get their way, there’s nothing like a major crisis to get Joe Dumbass public into a right old panic and get them right behind whatever it is Government wants to do. You know the usual stuff like going to war, silencing political dissent, putting innocent people under house arrest and forgetting about them, creating cradle to grave surveillance databases. All the kind of things that we citizens don’t go for unless we can be persuaded that someone’s about to blow us up, steal our identity, did blow us up, etc etc. It worked for Bush and Blair, so why not Brown?

It’s just that it has that Ricin feel to it. I remember when the Ricin plot was gleefully announced, I turned to my colleague and said “oh yeah, like who are they kidding?” And guess what, there never was any Ricin or any plot (not that you’d necessarily know that yet, if you read the Sun) but it got everyone suitably rattled and made the population much more acquiescent in the dismantling of civil liberties and the rule of law. So when something like the loss of the personal data of 25 million people is announced I just think back to Ricin and wonder “what are they really up to?”

Unless of course some nobody clerical officer in the Inland Revenue forgot to post the disks at all and, when reminded by the NAO, trotted out that time honored and well worn excuse, “Well I did send them, they must have got lost in the post”, never imagining the furore her lame excuse would cause…

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Who the hell are Altilab anyway?

November 19, 2007

It seems Altilab took heed of my last post and removed my material from the linked URL…only to put it up in two new places here and here along with the Creative Commons license that requires them to attribute my work to the original author – me! Only they don’t. Clearly they’re just taking the piss. So I did a quick who-is look up to discover, surprise, surprise that their identity is hidden behind privacyprotect.org – an outfit that doesn’t accept postal mail and who’s webforms don’t work. I’ve submitted a copyright infringement notice by email but I won’t hold my breath in case their email address doesn’t accept emails either. Lets face it, if I was going to rip off people’s stuff, I’d probably want to hide away too!

PS – Yup contact@privacyprotect.org just said

Thank you for contacting PrivacyProtect.org.
This is an automated reply from contact@privacyprotect.org. If you retrieved this email address by performing a WHOIS lookup, then it is likely that this domain name has enabled Privacy Protection Service.
Note that:
* PrivacyProtect.org provides a WHOIS privacy service for domain name owners that do not wish to be contacted directly.
* We are NOT the actual owner of the domain name.
* However, you can get in touch with the owner (registrant), admin, technical and billing contact of the domain name by visiting the following link:
* Using the above link is the ONLY way to get in touch with the domain name owner.
* We DO NOT accept any postal mail on behalf of the domain name owner and all mails sent to our address will be rejected. Any telephone calls received at the PrivacyProtect.org Telephone Number, would be greeted with an electronic answering machine requesting the caller to visit this website.
* Privacy Protection Service is not meant to be used for spam, abuse or any illegal/unlawful activities. If you come across domains names that are using Privacy Protection to aide in such activities, you can use the following link to lodge your complaint and appropriate action will be taken to either make the domain name owner information public or provide you with the necessary details:

Only one slight problem, I can’t get the webform to work. How very convenient for you. Don’t worry though, I’m gonna get you ‘cos you’ve pissed me off now. Anyone out there with any proper contact details for Altilab?

Altilab seem to be connected with IMSGlobalwho at least are open about their contact details

Share and share alike

November 7, 2007

Having just discovered that my content has been ripped off by
another blogsite I’m less than impressed. Come on guys, link back to me and acknowledge your source. I’m happy to share my stuff but only if you acknowledge your source.

“Welsh Not” for English bright spark kids?

October 31, 2007

I’ll start with this little gem which I discovered tucked away on the Families Link website.

According to court expert Mr Woodhouse, only intelligent parents (whatever that may mean) are capable of home educating their children and even intelligent parents can be expected to fall short of what’s needed to provide suitable education for a secondary school aged child. One would hope that experts called in to advise and assist in Family Courts might be expected to actually have some relevant expertise to offer. Would it be unreasonable to expect that an expert making pronouncements about home education might have even the briefest acquaintance with relevant research? Paula Rothermel’s research clearly states “parental level of education did not limit the children’s attainment”.

Lack of any relevant knowledge of the field, however, does not appear to deter this “expert”. Whilst freely admitting “I’m not an expert in Welsh medium schools”, Mr Woodhouse also claims that Welsh medium education could be expected to result in “retardation” of intelligent English pupils. It is deeply worrying indeed when the court engages an expert whose research appears to be 150 years out of date . Then again, perhaps Mr Woodhouse simply felt more comfortable with the views of fellow mis-informed mono-glot “experts” than with the Welsh Assembly Government’s bold vision for a bilingual Wales.

Relevant research that might have better informed Mr Woodhouse would include the work of Prof Colin Baker, University of Wales which refers to the benefits of bilingualism as:

* Communication with the whole family and community
* Access to two cultures
* Security in identity
* Tolerance of other languages and cultures
* Benefits for the brain
o Creative thinking
o Sensitivity
o IQ
o Reading
* Educational benefits
* Third languages easier
* Employment advantages
* Raised self-esteem

Strangely, there does not appear to be any reference in Professor Baker’s work to “retardation”. Perhaps Mr Woodhouse would care to put the Prof. straight on that score?

One might also expect that an expert would trouble himself to interview a child he is commenting upon in his role as expert advisor to the court – yet Mr Woodhouse admits he has never even met the child he proclaims too intelligent to be educated either in Welsh medium education or through elective home education. One can only hope that District Judge Godwin threw this patently incompetent buffoon out on his ear. Sadly, I rather suspect not.

If this transcript is at all indicative of the levels of competence of experts advising family courts in Wales then there are clearly grounds for much concern about the safety and appropriateness of the decisions courts are making.

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