Statistically, I’m either gay, diseased, a single parent, living below the poverty line or all of them
Scrolling idly through Ceefax (the BBC’s teletext news service) this evening I came across an item that will change my life: it will turn me into an introverted hermit, or at the very least will ensure I don’t kiss any of my neighbours this Christmas.
You’ll have to check my figures here because I wouldn’t get a pass even in today’s maths exams. However, it’s this: “…it emerged that there were half a million new STI cases in 2009, a 3% rise on the year before.”
OK, here we go, and talking in broad round figures: if 3% = 500,000, then 100% = 16,000,000. That is, there are approximately 16,000,000 STI infections in the UK.
The population of the UK is 61,792,000 (give or take a few recent births, deaths, immigrations, emigrations and deportations). That means that 16,000,000 in 62,000,000 UK residents have an STI; or, to avoid bits of people, one in every four is infected.
There are three people in this house. Next door, to my left is a family of four. And on my right is a single parent with one child. So that’s a total of nine people in the three houses. Statistically, two of those nine people have a sexually transmitted infection. But nobody in my house has an STI. That means there is a high likelihood that I am surrounded by STIs! Like I said, I’m not kissing anyone anymore…
These figures are sacrosanct. I got them from the BBC. That means I must either believe that I am surrounded by sexually transmitted infections, or I must doubt every single statistic I come across. And that would include things like computer virus infections, money lost to online fraud, hours lost through misuse of the internet…
Hmm. I’ll have to think about this one.
France is getting terribly upset. It appears that Google has resumed its Street View filming too soon. According to Reuters (Mon Aug 23)
France’s National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) said it was “premature” for Google to restart its collection of street images, given that its investigation of those activities is still not complete.
After Google admitted on May 14 that its Street View cars had collected not just photos but also communications data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks as they drove around, CNIL ordered Google to stop collecting such data without the knowledge of those concerned. The CNIL said it wanted to make sure Google did not collect such data illegally in future, and to provide CNIL with information about the way it collected such data for use in its Street View service. Google gave CNIL access to the data on June 4.
Now, let me see… Is this the same France that values its citizens’ privacy so much that it appears to be on the verge of installing spyware on their computers? According to EDRI (the European Digital Rights organization)
Hadopi (the French Authority for the implementation of the 3 strikes law) did not make public the document regarding the draft specifications of the security measures for the Internet (part of the three strikes system), although the document should lay at the basis of a public consultation.
However, under the pretext that the document was a preparatory one, the authority decided to treat it as confidential. The website Numerama.com has made the document public on the basis of the right to information and having in view that a public consultation should rely on a public document and not a confidential one.
According to the document, French Internet users could soon be required to install spyware on their PCs tracking down their searching habits and analysing the applications installed on their PCs, in order to prevent “file-sharing piracy”.
See Exclusif : le document secret de l’Hadopi sur les moyens de sécurisation for further information (if you read French).
To be fair, although this comment is specifically about France, just about every government in the world is hypocritical in its attitude towards personal privacy. Except perhaps Britain and China. Neither of those countries make much pretence about caring about their people’s rights at all: and are therefore innocent of hypocrisy.
Back in January I wrote: Jobs’ megalomania: the fatal flaw of a tragic hero. I was wrong. Jobs isn’t a pathological egotist suffering from delusions of grandeur – but I’m afraid I can’t think of the term that describes someone who thinks he is God.
His company, an erstwhile hero of mine, Apple, has applied for a patent for which EFF has had to invent a new word: traitorware.
In other words, Apple will know who you are, where you are, and what you are doing and saying and even how fast your heart is beating. In some embodiments of Apple’s “invention,” this information “can be gathered every time the electronic device is turned on, unlocked, or used.” When an “unauthorized use” is detected, Apple can contact a “responsible party.” A “responsible party” may be the device’s owner, it may also be “proper authorities or the police.”
Apple does not explain what it will do with all of this collected information on its users, how long it will maintain this information, how it will use this information, or if it will share this information with other third parties. We know based on long experience that if Apple collects this information, law enforcement will come for it, and may even order Apple to turn it on for reasons other than simply returning a lost phone to its owner.
This patent is downright creepy and invasive…
Steve Jobs Is Watching You: Apple Seeking to Patent Spyware
No matter. Nietzsche has an answer to the fallacy of God. We must stop believing in Apple. Then we will have killed Apple. I think it is time to fall out of love with Apple, and to return to the secularism of open systems.