Monday, 31 January 2011

IM & chat privacy - deletion of logs or accounts

Deleting your IM account or chat logs seems tough or impossible with most popular IM services. So Matija Šuklje discovered in looking at popular instant messaging or chat clients / systems, where he reported as follows -

  • AIM - almost impossible to delete account - he didn't mention what happens to logs.
  • ICQ - can't delete account, and yes indeedy it seems all copyright / intellectual property in everything you post using ICQ are thereby belong to them!
    • By the way the link he gave on his blog was to different terms. The extract he quoted was in fact from ICQ's acceptable use policy, and it sez what he sed. At least today it does:

        You agree that by posting any material or information anywhere on the ICQ Services and Information you surrender your copyright and any other proprietary right in the posted material or information. You further agree that ICQ LLC. is entitled to use at its own discretion any of the posted material or information in any manner it deems fit, including, but not limited to, publishing the material or distributing it.

  • MSN / WLM - logs kept forever, he says, but it's easy to delete the account.
  • YIM - account can be deleted, again that doesn't mean logs are deleted. 

(Most people already know about Gtalk / Gmail chats being spied on by a Google employee. You can have off the record chats which, one hopes, can't be monitored.)

He says he's moving over to XMPP (Jabber) only, on Gabbler, away from proprietary IM protocols, perhaps understandably.

See also, for anyone interested in this area, Google's data retention periods for some of their services.

EU legislators and privacy regulators are, as previously presaged, now considering introducing a "right to be forgotten", or right of oblivion, into EU data protection law. If they do no doubt it is likely to give people the right to delete their accounts and to insist that their logs are deleted once they cancel or terminate their accounts. Not just IM or chat, but probably other types of online accounts too.

This area is pretty topical right now - there's even an entire book, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age (summary) by Oxford University Prof Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, which for anyone who's not come across it yet "looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget".

Aka - "Your compromising or embarrassing pics on Facebook or videos on YouTube could scupper forever your chances of being hired, promoted, elected etc forever, so what should we do about it"? Introduce self-destructing text eg using Vanish, or expiration dates for digital photos?

©WH. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike England 2.0 Licence. Please attribute to WH, Tech and Law, and link to the original blog post page. Moral rights asserted.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A theory of privacy? Free talk, London

Thurs 3 Feb A Quest for a Theory of Privacy 6-7pm, by Prof Michael Birnhack. Register for a free place, form's at the bottom of the page - again at the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies.

From the blurb:

…too many (in legal, policy-making, technological and popular circles) have given up searching for a privacy theory. This talk would make the case that a privacy theory is much needed… that can best explain what is going on [with new technologies - RFIDs, biometrics, location tools, airport body scans etc] and more importantly, can guide us as to what should—or should not—be done. The talk will discuss these issues, as well as some of the existing theories and their shortcomings. I shall argue that the best understanding of privacy is a reinvigorated theory of privacy as human control over oneself.

©WH. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike England 2.0 Licence. Please attribute to WH, Tech and Law, and link to the original blog post page. Moral rights asserted.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Open source software & third party IP

Free talk on Management of Open Source Software and Third Party Intellectual Property by Sean Egan, CTO, CM-Logic at the British Computer Society's offices, Tues 25 Jan 2011, London 1800-2100.

You have to register but it seems to be open to all.

From the blurb it's mainly about managing the risks of incorporating open source code into proprietary software or reusing other code in proprietary software, which "can compromise intellectual property rights, create unknown royalty obligations, and introduce hidden security risks", as well as licensing risks of course. CM-Logic's involvement in this area is that they provide solutions to "help organisations detect, track and manage the use of mixed-origin code".

©WH. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike England 2.0 Licence. Please attribute to WH, Tech and Law, and link to the original blog post page. Moral rights asserted.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Privacy - what's 'in' or 'out'?

The Future of Privacy Forum's first annual list of privacy ins and outs, for 2011.

Very US-centric, not surprisingly, but interesting. Has anyone got suggestions for EU privacy ins and outs?

©WH. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike England 2.0 Licence. Please attribute to WH, Tech and Law, and link to the original blog post page. Moral rights asserted.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Privacy: data protection myths & misses

Misconceptions about EU laws on data protection, in ORGzine, published recently. I based it on work for my presentation at BarCampLondon8.

The final version edited out some things, including my side note, which I hereby reinstate, that the title is a tribute to that well known kid's blooper, "A myth is a female moth"!

And please note my caveat that the article was meant to be mainly about the UK, rather than other EU Member States.

©WH. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike England 2.0 Licence. Please attribute to WH, Tech and Law, and link to the original blog post page. Moral rights asserted.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Find ECJ (European Court Justice) cases quickly from the case reference

Form to find ECJ (European Court of Justice) cases from the case number and year on the Eur-Lex site, which has judgments in much more user-friendly format than the more commonly-used Curia site.

Had to host it on a blogspot.com domain to get it to work, so it's on a different blog. No time to sort out the CSS, yet so apologies for the poor alignment.

Have also added to that blog, in much more usable format, my previously-blogged but now improved form to find PDFs on the sites of the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and Article 29 Working Party, from their old links.

If you'd saved or bookmarked links before their recent site changes, that form may save you some time trying to find the new links that replaced the broken ones.

Please feel free pass on the form links to lawyers / law librarians / anyone else you think may find them helpful.

©WH. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike England 2.0 Licence. Please attribute to WH, Tech and Law, and link to the original blog post page. Moral rights asserted.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Privacy and intellectual property: how far should the law reach to protect copyright

Talk at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London next Monday 17 January 2011, 18:00 - 19:00 - http://www.sas.ac.uk/events/view/8049 - by James Michael, Associate Senior Research Fellow, IALS; Editor, 'Privacy Laws & Business International'. Looks interesting and certainly very topical.

Free, but you have to register.

According to the site, the speech is going to be on "what copyright holders can do in tracing those suspected of breaching copyright by file-sharing music and other products", including

Those interested might also be interested these blogs about studies on online copyright enforcement vs data protection/privacy in UK, Netherlands and Poland and in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

©WH. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike England 2.0 Licence. Please attribute to WH, Tech and Law, and link to the original blog post page. Moral rights asserted.