11 March 2003

Breaking news from the Irish Times on the FOI debate in the Dail this evening:

Proposed changes to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act shows the Government is smug, arrogant and dishonest, Labour Party leader, Mr Pat Rabbitte, told the Dáil this evening. But the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, said the amendments were not a fundamental change in the public's right to access information.

While the ministers responsible for the proposed changes, Mr Charlie McCreevy and Mr Tom Parlon, were in Cheltenham, the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, was forced to defend the proposals, which he said could increase Government accountability.

But the angry political reaction to the proposals increased today when Fine Gael leader Mr Enda Kenny revealed that the Information Commissioner, Mr Kevin Murphy, whose job is to adjudicate on disputes over FOI requests, had not been consulted about the changes.

11:12:37 PM  #   your two cents []
Hooray! The Apple loot comes tomorrow. They promise.
10:37:32 PM  #   your two cents []
Chips losing some antipiracy support. Plans to hard-wire copy protection into consumer-electronics devices are being shelved as the industry grapples with battles over antipiracy policies, standards and consumer rights. [CNET News.com]
10:35:06 PM  #   your two cents []
Cyber-bullying in the UK. "One in four children in the UK are the victims of cyber-bullying, said John Carr, Associate Director of the children's charity NCH, formerly known as the National Children's Homes." AP and Reuters covered the story, which was also picked up by The Mirror. [onlineblog.com]
10:33:42 PM  #   your two cents []
Why I love reading Halley. You are so right, girl!: "Neo-Macho Man In The Nation. Listen guys, give me a president who just wants a blow job any day, over one who wants to BLOW US ALL TO KINGDOM COME." [Halley's Comment]
9:58:52 PM  #   your two cents []

The SAGE-ie folks (the sys-admins guild, Ireland) held a public meeting tonight to explain some of the technical issues that might arise out of the government's proposals for data retention. I'm afraid I missed it -- this is deadline night for me in the Times, and I couldn't get away -- but look forward to hearing the details of the discussion. There are just so many issues surounding this proposal -- the damaged business environment, the worrisome shift in Ireland's developing pro-privacy climate enshrined in the 2000 e-commerce act, the privacy violations, the shocking secrecy with which the government propsed *mandatory* retention without telling us, our elected representatives, or the judiciary. The current government is so flippant towards its own people that two key ministers  have bolted off to attend the races in Cheltenham rather than guide their own MISguided and controversial bill, limiting the scope of Ireland's ground-breaking Freedom of Information legislation, through the houses of parliamanent. You can't get much more filled with contempt for the electorate than that.

9:56:33 PM  #   your two cents []
There's so much on at the moment -- what's up with the tech world anyway?! [grin] Last week had more events than I could attend, as does this week and some of next. For example, today I could go to an interesting-sounding presentation of ideas and research at MIT's MediaLabEurope in Dublin this morning. Instead, I am already committed to going to the equally-intriguing-sounding OpenApp conference on the use of Open Source software in government environments. This evening has a meeting at Trinity College led by the Irish Sysadmin's Guild, discussing the technical issues surrounding data retention. In between I need to write two to three stories and buy some books at the Irish Times staff book sale. And I HOPE my Apple stuff will arrive in the office, in which case I won;t get anything done at all.
8:35:02 AM  #   your two cents []
Cell phone market surprises even itself. 2002 was supposed to be a flat year, or maybe one with minimal growth, as major cell phone markets ran out of new customers. But--surprise--it wasn't half bad. [CNET News.com]
8:28:23 AM  #   your two cents []
New Legit Napster Service Coming [Slashdot]... I'll believe it when I see it.
8:27:57 AM  #   your two cents []
Universe as Doughnut: New Data, New Debate. A new detailed map has provided a series of hints that the universe may have a more complicated shape than astronomers presumed. [New York Times: Technology]
8:27:10 AM  #   your two cents []
Software Pioneer Quits Board of Groove. Mitchell D. Kapor, a software pioneer, resigned from the board of Groove Networks after learning the company's software was being used by the Pentagon for surveillance. By John Markoff. [New York Times: Technology]
8:26:31 AM  #   your two cents []

Extraordinary. The conservative London Times publishes this article on Bush Sr criticising the actions of his own son towards Iraq in a public speech:

THE first President Bush has told his son that hopes of peace in the Middle East would be ruined if a war with Iraq were not backed by international unity.

Drawing on his own experiences before and after the 1991 Gulf War, Mr Bush Sr said that the brief flowering of hope for Arab-Israeli relations a decade ago would never have happened if America had ignored the will of the United Nations.

He also urged the President to resist his tendency to bear grudges, advising his son to bridge the rift between the United States, France and Germany.

“You’ve got to reach out to the other person. You’ve got to convince them that long-term friendship should trump short-term adversity,” he said.

The former President’s comments reflect unease among the Bush family and its entourage at the way that George W. Bush is ignoring international opinion and overriding the institutions that his father sought to uphold. Mr Bush Sr is a former US Ambassador to the UN and comes from a family steeped in multi-lateralist traditions.

Although not addressed to his son in person, the message, in a speech at Tufts University in Massachusetts, was unmistakeable. Mr Bush Sr even came close to conceding that opponents of his son’s case against President Saddam Hussein, who he himself is on record as loathing, have legitimate cause for concern. [more here (free reg. required)]

8:19:31 AM  #   your two cents []
New Freenet release. Freenet is a "peer to peer" application which offers its users robust anonymity. [kuro5hin.org]
8:10:25 AM  #   your two cents []
G. K. Chesterton. "A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author." [Quotes of the Day]
8:02:35 AM  #   your two cents []