Privacy, public interest – and why privacy advocates make hopeless biographers

By Simon Davies As readers will know all too well, a fiercely complex tension has existed for decades at the core of the privacy realm. It involves a constantly changing equation that determines the relationship between public interest and privacy rights. Put simplistically, it’s the line between my right to own or control my information, …

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August 21, 2016

Confused about the privacy policies of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? Here’s our analysis

    By Simon Davies As loathsome as Donald Trump’s policies (rabid prejudices) may appear to be, it would be wrong to sanctify Hilary Clinton by default. The bottom line is that both leading candidates have a terrible track record on privacy. This should come as no surprise. Anyone who has lived through the inaugurations …

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August 19, 2016

Rant: A new style of online news headline has emerged – and it’ll make you so angry you’ll explode.

By Simon Davies Astute readers will have noted – probably with dismay – the rise of a new genre of online news headline. It’s a style that has the potential to become even more infuriating than the syntactic ambiguity of the “red top” tabloids (e.g. “Headless Body in Topless Bar“). These emergent headlines are maddening …

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August 18, 2016

Why making a call-centre worker say “poopsy-poo” will strengthen your security

By Simon Davies I spent nearly twenty years as a university lecturer unsuccessfully trying to figure a way to make authentication a fun and popular topic, and only now have I cracked the problem. It’s all about “pull” and “push” and making people in call centres read out hilariously stupid words from their screen. I …

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August 18, 2016

The twenty privacy principles translated into Spanish

With huge thanks to our friend and Privacy Surgeon collaborator Gemma Galdon Clavell for this translation Los 20 principios sobre la privacidad que no te enseñarán en la escuela Por Simon Davies PRINCIPIOS GENERALES 1.    Las organizaciones responsables describen la privacidad como un ‘derecho’, las que no se enteran hablan de ella como un ‘valor’ …

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August 17, 2016

The twenty privacy principles they never taught you at school

By Simon Davies GENERAL PRINCIPLES 1. Responsible organisations describe privacy as a “right”, unaware ones talk of it as a “value” and bad players lambast it as an “interest”. 2. Most people in power only support privacy rights when they’re about to get dumped into a scandal. 3. Claims of a conflict between privacy and …

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August 16, 2016

Should privacy advocates justify surveillance by measuring its benefits?

By Simon Davies A controversy has been slipping increasingly into the privacy realm over the past couple of years. It concerns the question of whether intrusive surveillance can be justified through its results. That’s to say, if surveillance can be shown to – even marginally – benefit public safety, should we accept it? It’s the …

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August 15, 2016

Why I’ve stopped caring about what the public thinks about privacy

public opinion graph

 By Simon Davies There’s no elegant way to express the following idea, but here goes anyway. To put it bluntly, I’ve stopped worrying about whether the public cares about privacy – and I believe privacy advocates should stop worrying about it too. I’ll go even further. Unless human rights activists and their philanthropic backers abandon …

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August 10, 2016

Why the terrorist attacks I’ve endured have strengthened my commitment to privacy

The Privacy Surgeon’s Simon Davies recalls his brushes with terrorist attacks across the world, the friends he has lost – and explains why he believes the fight for individual liberties is more important now than ever. Like many of my fellow Londoners, I remember, with vivid clarity the morning of 7th July 2005. More than …

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August 9, 2016

Why the fake “migration crisis” is bad news for European privacy and rights

By Simon Davies I’m starting to believe the so-called “migration crisis” facing Europe is little more than a tragic confidence trick. Worryingly, however, it involves dangerous consequences for the rights of every EU resident. I’m not being heartless. Yes, thousands of refugees have lost their lives in the struggle to reach EU borders. Many more …

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August 9, 2016

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