As some of you will have seen in today's Irish Times a laptop containing 171,324 blood donor records was stolen in New York. " donor records would include details such as name, address, date of birth, gender, blood group and contact phone number. The records on the laptop included any donor details that were updated between July 2nd and October 11th, 2007.
Digital Rights Ireland are represented by McGarr Solicitors (where I hang my scarf of a workday). They're currently in litigation with the Government about the introduction of Data Retention across Europe. Recently, the Irish Times reported that a government order to keep details of internet use by everyone in Ireland was imminent.
As insomniacs will know, a deal has been done amongst member states on the wording on the reheated EU Constitution, now branded more modestly as a Reform Treaty. We don't have the details of exactly what is agreed to hand yet. But reports of some of the novel inclusions which were under discussion (see the EU Observer's Personal data protection under threat in EU treaty draft) are not very heartening.
It was brought to my attention yesterday that the Sunday Times front page (reproduced as pdf here with permission) ran last week with the story that Gardai have been accessing the information held under Data Retention, without oversight, at a rate of 10,000 queries a year. When the measure was brought in, it was described as being intended to be used for investigating serious crime and terrorist offences.
Like Fingerbobs, but made with facts, instead of digits. Factbob1: Speaking in UCC at the student Law Society Law Conference, Seamus Dooley of the NUJ conceeded that standards in newspapers have fallen in recent years. Factbob 2: At the same conference Gary Davis, the Deputy Data Protection Commissioner said that (a) Gardai were accessing telecommunications data at a rate of 10,000 requests a year.
I will be giving a small talk on the Digital Rights Ireland case at Barcamp on Saturday. I hope to briefly outline the basis for the case and then open the floor to questions. I think the quicker you can get to the questions stage of an explanatory talk, the more likely it is that people will hear something that they really wanted answered.
My alter ego at the McGarr Solicitors website has posted up an exchange relating to the Irish Government's relationship to the negotiations currently occuring in Geneva at the WIPO. These are aimed at to bringing about "A Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organisations".
For those who might be interested in such things McGarr Solicitors, where I earn my daily bread, have posted scans of the pleadings to date in the Digital Rights Ireland data retention case. So far these consist of the Plenary Summons and the Appearance entered by the Defendants.