ISPAI responds to TD Patrick O'Donovan's bizarre comments regarding "open source browsers"
january 2014 by jm
ispai open-source patrick-o-donovan fine-gael press-releases tor darknet crime
ISPAI is rather dismayed and somewhat confused by the recent press release issued by Deputy Patrick O’Donovan (FG). He appears to be asking the Oireachtas Communications Committee (of which he is a member) to investigate: “the matter of tougher controls on the use of open source internet browsers and payment systems” which he claims “allow users to remain anonymous for illegal trade of drugs weapons and pornography.”
Deputy O’Donovan would do well to ask the advice of industry experts on these matters given that legislating to curtail the use of such legitimate software or services, which may be misused by some, is neither practical nor logical. Whether or not a browser is open source bears no relevance to its ability to be the subject of anonymous use. Indeed, Deputy O’Donovan must surely be confusing and conflating different technical concepts? In tracing illegal activities, Law Enforcement Agencies and co-operating parties will use IP addresses – users’ choice of browser has little relevance to an investigation of criminal activity.
Equally, it may be that the Deputy is uncomfortable with the concept of electronic payment systems but these underpin the digital economy which is bringing enormous benefit to Ireland. Yes, these may be misused by criminals but so are cash and traditional banking services. Restricting the growth of innovative financial services is not the solution to tackling cyber criminals who might be operating what he describes as “online supermarkets for illegal goods.”
Tackling international cybercrime requires more specialist Law Enforcement resources at national level and improved international police cooperation supported by revision of EU legislation relating to obtaining server log evidence existing in other jurisdictions.
january 2014 by jm
My email to Irish Times Editor, sent 25th June
june 2013 by jm
Daragh O'Brien noting 3 stories on 3 consecutive days voicing dangerously skewed misinformation about data protection and privacy law in Ireland:daragh-obrien irish-times iab bias advertising newspapers press-releases journalism data-protection privacy ireland
There is a worrying pattern in these stories. The first two decry the Data Protection legislation (current and future) as being dangerous to children and damaging to the genealogy trade. The third sets up an industry “self-regulation” straw man and heralds it as progress (when it is decidedly not, serving only to further confuse consumers about their rights).
If I was a cynical person I would find it hard not to draw the conclusion that the Irish Times, the “paper of record” has been stooged by organisations who are resistant to the defence of and validation of fundamental rights to privacy as enshrined in the Data Protection Acts and EU Treaties, and in the embryonic Data Protection Regulation. That these stories emerge hot on the heels of the pendulum swing towards privacy concerns that the NSA/Prism revelations have triggered is, I must assume, a co-incidence. It cannot be the case that the Irish Times blindly publishes press releases without conducting cursory fact checking on the stories contained therein?
Three stories over three days is insufficient data to plot a definitive trend, but the emphasis is disconcerting. Is it the Irish Times’ editorial position that Data Protection legislation and the protection of fundamental rights is a bad thing and that industry self-regulation that operates in ignorance of legislation is the appropriate model for the future? It surely cannot be that press releases are regurgitated as balanced fact and news by the Irish Times without fact checking and verification? If I was to predict a “Data Protection killed my Puppy” type headline for tomorrow’s edition or another later this week would I be proved correct?
june 2013 by jm
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