Spy on them?


Apparently today is the day we fight back, with the launch of Don’t Spy On Us in the UK.

lynsey_wells83-slow-down

It’s puzzling why digital interactions are somehow viewed differently to other aspects of everyday life. I suspect the economics of getting away with mass surveillance online vs. offline has a lot to do with it. Whatever the reason, making it explicit that our offline rights extend online is well overdue. The six proposed principles don’t seem all that unreasonable:

1. No surveillance without suspicion
Mass surveillance must end. Surveillance is only legitimate when it is targeted, authorised by a warrant, and is necessary and proportionate.

2. Transparent laws, not secret laws
The Government is using secret agreements and abusing archaic laws. We need a clear legal framework governing surveillance to protect our rights.

3. Judicial not political authorisation
Ministers should not have the power to authorise surveillance. All surveillance should be sanctioned by an independent judge on a case-by-case basis.

4. Effective democratic oversight
Parliament has failed to hold the intelligence agencies to account. Parliamentary oversight must be independent, properly resourced, and able to command public confidence through regular reporting and public sessions.

5. The right to redress
Innocent people have had their rights violated. Everyone should have the right to challenge surveillance in an open court.

6. A secure web for all
Weakening the general security and privacy of communications systems erodes protections for everyone, and undermines trust in digital services. Secret operations by government agencies should be targeted, and not attack widely used technologies, protocols and standards.

If we miss this opportunity, there’s a real risk to democracy. How is oversight possible if the people you’re overseeing know things about you that you’d rather keep private. My last MP, a candidate for the Lib Dem leadership, certainly had things to hide. Perhaps we need to know more about MPs. A lot more.

Photo © Veronica Aguilar (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Unfiltered


According to BT its parental controls are ‘completely customisable’ and apparently it is possible to add specific sites to allow or block which, unless you’re Claire Perry, is obviously essential. Even so I’ve experienced just how pointless internet filters are before, so I’m keen to avoid ‘porn’ filters on my home broadband connection for as long as possible.

CoffeeGeek-filter

I don’t know how filtering works on other ISPs but these are just a few of the problems with BT’s implementation which contributed to an upcoming switch to a completely unfiltered broadband provider:

  • Applies same filtering to every device… hopefully there aren’t actually any homes without adults around. Apparently they do allow you to schedule when the filter is active but that seems like a solution from the last century.
  • There’s no way for me to find out if a site would be blocked by the filter. There are sites I might want to make certain are blocked but I obviously wouldn’t want to have to visit them to find out!
  • There’s no way for site owners to find out if their own site would be blocked by the filter.
  • The standard filtering has a couple of glaring omissions which I would be interested in: I want to block adverts targeted at children, and I want to block any form of tracking.

There are more details of BT’s filtering in the Open Rights Group blog post, BT answers our questions about parental controls.

Photo © Mark (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

2013 in review


[Cheating, just in case I don't finish a real post in January!]

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Getting a handle on social MDM


Since this is the first work related post for a while, it’s probably a good idea to drop in the usual disclaimer as a reminder: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”

Anyway, I recently spotted an MDM enhancement request, Improve Better support for social handle support, and it seemed odd that there wasn’t already something in the data model that could do a better job than using misc values. There are probably several options but I think this is what I’d do…

Add a new “Social Network” contact method category, and associated contact method types, for example: “Twitter”, “LinkedIn”, etc. Here’s what those look like in the Business Admin UI:

cdcontmethcat

cdcontmethtp

Now you can just add social network contact methods in the same way as you would for telephone numbers and email addresses, which means you get all the standard functionality you’re likely to need.

For example, here’s what an example getPerson response looks like with my Twitter and LinkedIn details:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<TCRMService xmlns="http://www.ibm.com/mdm/schema" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.ibm.com/mdm/schema MDMDomains.xsd">
    <ResponseControl>
        <ResultCode>SUCCESS</ResultCode>
        <ServiceTime>17</ServiceTime>
        <DWLControl>
            <requesterName>mdmadmin</requesterName>
            <requesterLanguage>100</requesterLanguage>
            <requesterLocale>en</requesterLocale>
            <userRole>mdm_admin</userRole>
            <requesterTimeZone>EST5EDT</requesterTimeZone>
            <requestID>247353</requestID>
        </DWLControl>
    </ResponseControl>
    <TxResponse>
        <RequestType>getPerson</RequestType>
        <TxResult>
            <ResultCode>SUCCESS</ResultCode>
        </TxResult>
        <ResponseObject>
            <TCRMPersonBObj>
                <PartyId>531938348064117624</PartyId>
                <DisplayName>James Taylor</DisplayName>
                <PartyType>P</PartyType>
                <CreatedDate>2013-11-03 07:10:40.909</CreatedDate>
                <PartyLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:10:41.175</PartyLastUpdateDate>
                <PartyLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</PartyLastUpdateUser>
                <PartyLastUpdateTxId>153838348064091041</PartyLastUpdateTxId>
                <PersonPartyId>531938348064117624</PersonPartyId>
                <PartyActiveIndicator>Y</PartyActiveIndicator>
                <PersonLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:10:41.767</PersonLastUpdateDate>
                <PersonLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</PersonLastUpdateUser>
                <PersonLastUpdateTxId>153838348064091041</PersonLastUpdateTxId>
                <TCRMPartyAddressBObj>
                    <PartyAddressIdPK>537638348082796792</PartyAddressIdPK>
                    <PartyId>531938348064117624</PartyId>
                    <AddressId>539338348085784022</AddressId>
                    <AddressUsageType>3</AddressUsageType>
                    <AddressUsageValue>Business</AddressUsageValue>
                    <StartDate>2013-11-03 07:13:47.966</StartDate>
                    <PreferredAddressIndicator>Y</PreferredAddressIndicator>
                    <AddressGroupLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:14:17.854</AddressGroupLastUpdateDate>
                    <AddressGroupLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</AddressGroupLastUpdateUser>
                    <AddressGroupLastUpdateTxId>537038348085749779</AddressGroupLastUpdateTxId>
                    <LocationGroupLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:14:17.839</LocationGroupLastUpdateDate>
                    <LocationGroupLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</LocationGroupLastUpdateUser>
                    <LocationGroupLastUpdateTxId>537038348085749779</LocationGroupLastUpdateTxId>
                    <TCRMAddressBObj>
                        <AddressIdPK>539338348085784022</AddressIdPK>
                        <ResidenceType>11</ResidenceType>
                        <ResidenceValue>Office</ResidenceValue>
                        <AddressLineOne>IBM UK Ltd</AddressLineOne>
                        <AddressLineTwo>Hursley Park</AddressLineTwo>
                        <City>Winchester</City>
                        <ZipPostalCode>SO21 2JN</ZipPostalCode>
                        <CountryType>183</CountryType>
                        <CountryValue>Great Britain and N Ireland</CountryValue>
                        <AddressLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:14:17.839</AddressLastUpdateDate>
                        <AddressLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</AddressLastUpdateUser>
                        <AddressLastUpdateTxId>537038348085749779</AddressLastUpdateTxId>
                    </TCRMAddressBObj>
                </TCRMPartyAddressBObj>
                <TCRMPartyContactMethodBObj>
                    <PartyContactMethodIdPK>533238348104476375</PartyContactMethodIdPK>
                    <PartyId>531938348064117624</PartyId>
                    <ContactMethodId>534438348104476393</ContactMethodId>
                    <ContactMethodUsageType>10</ContactMethodUsageType>
                    <ContactMethodUsageValue>LinkedIn</ContactMethodUsageValue>
                    <SolicitationIndicator>N</SolicitationIndicator>
                    <StartDate>2013-11-03 07:17:24.762</StartDate>
                    <ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:17:24.778</ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateDate>
                    <ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateUser>
                    <ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateTxId>535838348104476350</ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateTxId>
                    <LocationGroupLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:17:24.762</LocationGroupLastUpdateDate>
                    <LocationGroupLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</LocationGroupLastUpdateUser>
                    <LocationGroupLastUpdateTxId>535838348104476350</LocationGroupLastUpdateTxId>
                    <TCRMContactMethodBObj>
                        <ContactMethodIdPK>534438348104476393</ContactMethodIdPK>
                        <ReferenceNumber>http://www.linkedin.com/in/taylorjm</ReferenceNumber>
                        <ContactMethodType>3</ContactMethodType>
                        <ContactMethodValue>Social Network</ContactMethodValue>
                        <ContactMethodLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:17:24.762</ContactMethodLastUpdateDate>
                        <ContactMethodLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</ContactMethodLastUpdateUser>
                        <ContactMethodLastUpdateTxId>535838348104476350</ContactMethodLastUpdateTxId>
                    </TCRMContactMethodBObj>
                </TCRMPartyContactMethodBObj>
                <TCRMPartyContactMethodBObj>
                    <PartyContactMethodIdPK>539138348072352465</PartyContactMethodIdPK>
                    <PartyId>531938348064117624</PartyId>
                    <ContactMethodId>532838348072329035</ContactMethodId>
                    <ContactMethodUsageType>9</ContactMethodUsageType>
                    <ContactMethodUsageValue>Twitter</ContactMethodUsageValue>
                    <PreferredContactMethodIndicator>Y</PreferredContactMethodIndicator>
                    <StartDate>2013-11-03 07:12:03.523</StartDate>
                    <ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:12:03.57</ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateDate>
                    <ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateUser>
                    <ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateTxId>536538348072325964</ContactMethodGroupLastUpdateTxId>
                    <LocationGroupLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:12:03.523</LocationGroupLastUpdateDate>
                    <LocationGroupLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</LocationGroupLastUpdateUser>
                    <LocationGroupLastUpdateTxId>536538348072325964</LocationGroupLastUpdateTxId>
                    <TCRMContactMethodBObj>
                        <ContactMethodIdPK>532838348072329035</ContactMethodIdPK>
                        <ReferenceNumber>@jtonline</ReferenceNumber>
                        <ContactMethodType>3</ContactMethodType>
                        <ContactMethodValue>Social Network</ContactMethodValue>
                        <ContactMethodLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:12:03.289</ContactMethodLastUpdateDate>
                        <ContactMethodLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</ContactMethodLastUpdateUser>
                        <ContactMethodLastUpdateTxId>536538348072325964</ContactMethodLastUpdateTxId>
                    </TCRMContactMethodBObj>
                </TCRMPartyContactMethodBObj>
                <TCRMPersonNameBObj>
                    <PersonNameIdPK>533538348064198718</PersonNameIdPK>
                    <NameUsageType>7</NameUsageType>
                    <NameUsageValue>Preferred</NameUsageValue>
                    <PrefixType>14</PrefixType>
                    <PrefixValue>Mr.</PrefixValue>
                    <GivenNameOne>James</GivenNameOne>
                    <StdGivenNameOne>JAMES</StdGivenNameOne>
                    <LastName>Taylor</LastName>
                    <StdLastName>TAYLOR</StdLastName>
                    <PersonPartyId>531938348064117624</PersonPartyId>
                    <StartDate>2013-11-03 07:10:41.986</StartDate>
                    <PersonNameLastUpdateDate>2013-11-03 07:10:41.986</PersonNameLastUpdateDate>
                    <PersonNameLastUpdateUser>mdmadmin</PersonNameLastUpdateUser>
                    <PersonNameLastUpdateTxId>153838348064091041</PersonNameLastUpdateTxId>
                    <LastUpdatedBy>mdmadmin</LastUpdatedBy>
                    <LastUpdatedDate>2013-11-03 07:10:41.986</LastUpdatedDate>
                </TCRMPersonNameBObj>
                <DWLStatus>
                    <Status>0</Status>
                </DWLStatus>
            </TCRMPersonBObj>
        </ResponseObject>
    </TxResponse>
</TCRMService>

Does that sounds sensible? Are there any enhancements? For example, I wonder about standardization: I put an ‘@’ on my Twitter ID, but I can easily imagine several variations ending up in there. I’ll leave that as an exercise for another day!

Check out the MDM Developers community for much more useful MDM related posts, forums and other resources.

Heritage Open Days 2013


Three years on from discovering that Clayton Tunnel was open to visitors for the Heritage Open Days event, we finally managed to book a tour. No mean feat as this was the first time we’d been away from home with a baby! It was such a hot day, I’m glad we left the baby with the grandparents…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

…ok, there may have been a spot of rain. Very pleased I had a human shield to take the worst of the bus-induced puddle tidal wave!

Fortunately the tour was well worth the wait, and the drenching. The current resident knows a thing or two about the cottage and its history, and the view out of the window is certainly unique, if not a little disconcerting.

I’ve lived right next to a railway before and, while not quite as calm as our host described (it’s amazing what you can tune out!), this was much much quieter.

There are some much better photos, and contact details, on the Clayton Tunnel webpage.

August


A month seems to have vanished since the last post so I thought it was about time I checked in. I’ve mostly been being a parent, and it’s pretty likely it will take several days just to jot down a few sentences between trying to entertain, feed, clean, and generally run around after a baby.

(First break due to waking up with an attack of hiccups!)

I actually squeezed in a tiny amount of DIY last weekend. Top of the list have been a few outdoor jobs to make the most of the weather, and minimise any disruption on what counts as a routine. Don’t think the hammer drill was popular there, especially after it turned out one of the holes wasn’t quite where it should have been. In my defense, I did measure everything; I just didn’t take in to account how wonky the house was! Still need to finish off putting the new house number up… in the right place… sometime!

(Burping duty!)

Wifey very kindly got me a new gadget this month too. I hate reading documents on computer monitors, so I’m definitely looking forward to the e ink experience instead. I’m rather mystified by the idea of a screen saver given the screen, but since it has one I now have a personalised baby calendar, which is nice. Much quieter than the real thing! Mind you, getting time to read anything might be tricky- I still haven’t finished Stasiland in traditional book form, which I started before I was a dad! In case of miracles, I already have a couple of free books, some epub Redbooks, and a guide to creating epub books on there.

(Trying to convince sleeping baby to sleep.)

(It’s asleep! Collapsing in a heap!)

I’ll be avoiding DRM content on principle, except maybe books from the library, which could be very handy for children’s stories! So far I’ve found a couple of tools which look promising for grabbing web sites for offline reading later:

I’m also tempted to try and convert my old internal blog to epub since Blog Central got archived, although I seriously doubt I’ll actually get around to that!

(Cleanup to aisle two!)

Well that was a longer gap than expected (a couple of days) partly due to preparing for a customer briefing as well as baby duties. That did give me the chance to do a bit more with calibre: as an experiment I created a simple eBook for presentation notes just by converting a .odt file to epub. The conversion worked really well without any effort, and it was quite useful to highlight things I needed to remember, and make notes before and after the presentation. Could be something I’ll do again in the future.

(It’s asleep again! Food break!)

The other reason for the lack of any posts recently is that they would have mainly been rants! I expect there’ll be plenty more rants in the future though, so don’t panic :)

EV Ready


Thanks to a tip off from Grant during my week long Leaf test drive, I now have a shinny new Homecharge-i station:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mainly due to a strange lack of Tesla loan offers to try it out, I don’t actually have anything to plug in to it yet! I suppose it might be slightly more realistic to get one of the IBM Leaf drivers round for a quick charge. (Not that I wouldn’t accept any Tesla, i8, i3, etc. loans! Or another Leaf would be great too!)

Charging is definitely the Achilles’ heal of electric cars, so there’s now one less barrier to getting one. Just need to convince other people to get chargers for the return journey next!