Bodily Privacy


Come on now, innocent is innocent. These DNA profiles should be deleted, nothing less!
And anonymity does not guarantee that the DNA profiles cannot be linked back to the original person. There is some more posting on this somewhere on virtual shadows. Examples of how easy it can be.

What am raving on about here? Read more at guardian government computing.

I must take my hat of to the German’s and their protest the use of the so-called “nacktscanner” (naked scanners). Members of the Pirate Party stripped down to their skivvies last Sunday and converged on the Berlin-Tegal airport. They posted a video of their protest to YouTube, with soundtrack provided by Muse’s song “Uprising.” The lyrics articulated their protest: “They will not force us. They will stop degrading us. They will not control us. We will be victorious!” Read more at Wired.

Further to a posting I made some time ago on the removal of DNA from one of the law enforcement databases… that is for those of you that are proved innocent. Here is more posting from ARCH Rights on the dubious collection of DNA by Britain’s law enforcement, and a link to resources to help you in getting DNA removed.

Following a previous post on the use of body scans at airports, I have come across the PI statement on proposed deployments of these body scanners in airports.

This is taken from their website….

    PI feels that the technology raises a number of troubling issues:
    First, the scanners produce strikingly graphic images of passengers’ bodies. Those images reveal not only our private body parts, but also intimate medical details such as colostomy bags. That degree of examination amounts to a significant – and for some people humiliating – assault on the essential dignity of passengers that citizens in a free nation should not have to tolerate. Deployment of the technology was recently halted at Manchester Airport in Britain in part because the scanners violated child protection laws by electronically strip searching children and young people. There have also been calls in the European Parliament for a Europe-wide ban on the technology.

    Second, Privacy International is skeptical about the privacy safeguards that the US Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is touting. The TSA say that the technology is capable of obscuring faces, but this claimed protection is just a software fix that can be undone as easily as it is applied. And obscuring faces does not hide the fact that rest of the body will be vividly displayed. This is the equivalent of asking passengers to parade their bodies in front of the screeners, but with bags over their heads.


Read more at Privacy International…

I have been watching with some interest the activity on body scanning at the airports that basically creates images as you pass through of your naked body… all in the name of security. Jack made a posting on this and has linked through a video describing what it is.. also I saw that bbc news have something today.

I guess when it comes to security at airports we are all a little jumpy, wanting safety over everything else, even at the cost of our time and inconvenience. However to know that you will be seen naked at airport barriers …..

Will be interesting to see what rules are created concerning their use. Terri Dowty has something to say here on the potential abuse of these images, i.e. child pornography. These and all images need to be removed as soon as they are deemed as not dangerous to national security… i.e. some minutes or specified time after the scan.

There is some good insights at archrights blog into the Marper judgement in the U.K., i.e. the decision to remove DNA of innocents from law enforcement databases. Check it out. Is your DNA stored somewhere, have you tried to have it removed?

You know today is a pretty special day. It is exactly one month since my daughter Ivy checked-out and joined us, pappa and myself in this exciting world. Exciting because it feels today as though we have come over a challenging and most beautiful month and feel a real achievement. We are learning how Ivy likes things and Ivy is getting quite at home with the way we run things.

Other things linked to privacy have been interesting since Ivy’s birth.

1. I have during the pregnancy and afterwards needed to provide blood tests on many occasions and each time need to remember to ‘opt-out’ of them holding my blood in a blood bank somewhere. I am sure I forgot to do the opt-out once, and I need to check this. This was quite annoying.

2. In my book Virtual Shadows I said that all new-borns in Sweden provide a ‘blood-spot’ that is used in research for PKU. My experience now shows that this is the case although what I didn’t know before is that you can opt-out. This is what we did with Ivy.

3. Ivy got a personal ID number assigned which arosed a conflict of emotions both as a parent and privacy avocate. As a parent a sense of pride that my Ivy really existed as a Swedish citizen in the system, as a privacy avocate.. well no explanation needed there.

4. We bought a ‘child-alarm’ as we live in a big house and we could chose between audio or audio/video. I am dismayed that I chose the latter option. My need for Ivy’s safety in the case of Ivy seems to have overriden her need for privacy. Having said that the video stores nothing, and in practice I think it was a waste of money, we normally hear her crying before the video switches itself on anyhow triggered by the noise. I still think an audio version is a good choice. The video just gives a false sense of security.

5. Sweden has centralised their health records a little like what the U.K. has been trying to do against massive public resistance. I am in principle against this, but it does have its benefits so long as you trust the data holding authorities. The benefits became apparent when access to my medical records were needed urgently when I became very ill (that led to an early arrival for my daughter :-)). Again I am faced with the conflict of my safety vs. the right for privacy, and the need to trust those holding my private information. I have no choice but to trust the Swedish authorities, but I am not sure I would trust the British authorities centralisation efforts. Here we are looking at consolidation of 64m (living) health records not just 9 million as in Sweden. Even if you did trust the British authorities to have the right intentions, in practice if the business processes are not working today, how can technologies applied to flawed business processes be expected to protect the confidentality and integrity of your personal data?

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