Yet More Snooping In Britain

Two interesting bits of info this week in the UK, as if privacy actually mattered there. Firstly, spying bins which look for wifi signals from passing mobile phones and use them to target advertising and no doubt other data at causal passers-by. Almost entirely harmless at this point but I am am sure such data will eventually be used by the Government in some way in addition to the many other sources of location-based data that are available. To date 12 such bins have collected more than 530,000 MAC addresses (Source: Sunday Times).

The Sunday Times also reported that a company employed by a subsidiary of the much loved and one-time nearly bankrupt Royal Bank of Scotland had been covertly filming a woman (and her entire family) who was in the process of filing a multi-million pound insurance claim after she was permanently disabled following a car accident. They had been following orders to collect as many details as possible about all aspects of her and her family which included videoing the couple’s seven year old daughter in various stages of undress while bathing. I personally find the overall spying unacceptable (and also disgusting) but to stoop to that level just serves to remind us how underhand the  UK financial services sector is. The incident has apparently traumatised the children, who I should point out should never have been spied on in the first place as they are not one of the parties involved in the case. Indeed, if they will record children like that then I can only imagine what other bits of “relevant” information on people they have collected. Oh wait, other reports this week point to the stealing and blagging of private data of individuals by such companies being on a scale far worse than that undertaken by the much hated British press. Perhaps Mr Murdoch (owner of The Times) was not so evil after all…

 The above article relates to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland plc which is a subsidiary of the United States of America, inc. Both comply with absolutely no known data collection ethics or standards which would be acceptable to any normal person. In both cases the amount of data collected on you may go up as well as down.

About Rod McCall

Rod McCall is a researcher in the field of human-computer interaction in areas such as augmented reality, mobile gaming in-car systems and virtual environments. He works for the University of Luxembourg and has previously worked for Fraunhofer and Runtime Revolution. He is an advocate of new technologies only when they have some practical benefit for individuals or society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>