Facebook and Data Protection (EU)

The Irish Times reports on Europe-vs-Facebook, a campaign group set up by Austrian student Max Schrems and friends. Facebook’s European headquarters are in Dublin, so regulation is by the office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner.

Among the complaints are allegations that Facebook is creating shadow profiles about users and non-users; that direct communications, including chat messages, show up after they have been deleted; and that Facebook is involved in “excessive processing” of data.

The Facebook “like” button has already been removed from official state websites in Schleswig-Holstein, for fear that it could breech data protection guidelines. If you visit a site which has  a Facebook “like” button on it, and you are signed into Facebook at the time, Facebook knows you have visited the site (this is one reason why I always sign out of Facebook, even on my own computer).

My blog posts are imported into Facebook as notes. If you know me on Facebook, you can comment there. Or you can follow the “Show original post” link and comment on my blog, which I would, to be honest, prefer. I like the open Internet.


Half a Hyperbolic Depression

I’ve loved the blog Hyperbole and a Half for a long time. (In fact, you might say that I like it alot.) It’s a blog of articles, often clever and funny, accompanied by rather silly and wonderful cartoons. It’s probably most famous for the post “This is Why I’ll Never be an Adult” (clean all the things). Her most recent post, though, is rather special. It’s about how Allie worked her way through depression.


And that is why I wear a rainbow wristband

Canadian comedian and commentator Rick Mercer responds to Jamie Hubley’s suicide:

He’s right. Public visibility of gay adults helps. People in public life help more, perhaps, but seeing a rainbow wristband on someone you pass on the street also helps. It would have helped me, I know. It’s not much, and it’s not, in itself, “activism”, but it’s something.


Our Love Goes Deeper than This

Duke Special is an Irish musician/comedian I’d never heard of till I chanced across a duet he did with Tim Minchin. (Does the fact that I know the Australian musician/comedian better than the Irish one make me a bad Irishman?) The duet was of Duke’s rather wonderful song “Our Love Goes Deeper than This”.

The song is intended as a duet. The official music video has Neil Hannon singing along with Duke.

I’ve been looking up more Duke Special stuff on YouTube, and shall probably be posting more here in due course.


Rick Perry’s officials censor science (Fuck you, Republicans, part 3)

In yet another example of US Republicans being general dickheads and working to make life worse for … well, everyone, officials in Texas have bowderlised a scientific report to hide the effects of climate change. The authors of the report asked to have their names removed from the paper, as they don’t want to be associated with the pseudoscientific nonsense being published by the lying liars of the state government. The cuts to the paper were purely political in nature.

Mother Jones reports,

[The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality] even deleted a reference to the fact that the bay is currently rising by 3 millimeters a year—five times faster than the long-term average. The edited version that TCEQ sent back also killed a line noting that the bay’s “future will be strongly regulated by the now rising sea,” as well as the factual assertion that the disappearance of the wetlands is “due mainly to direct human intervention.” The officials also cut out the statement that the water level rise “is one of the main impacts of global climate change.”

The Commission is run by people appointed by Perry. Personally, I’m in favour of a non-political civil service.

I seriously don’t get the Republican party. They seem to believe that they can invent their own facts. Perhaps that’s what makes them so often look like some form of surrealist art project. When they aren’t looking scary.


(Fuck You, Republicans: part 1, part 2.)