Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Canada Facebook Government Privacy Social Networks Your Rights Online

The Woman Who's Making Your Privacy Her Business 120

Posted by samzenpus
from the never-disobey-mother dept.
davecb writes "The woman who faced down Facebook and was dissed by Silicon Valley business boys as 'an old-fashioned scold' is really one of the early advocates for using the internet for access to information, and to open up government. The Globe and Mail has an interview with Jennifer Stoddart, the privacy commissioner of Canada, who went up against Facebook for all of us, and made them back down."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Woman Who's Making Your Privacy Her Business

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 12, 2010 @12:31PM (#34529380)

    My mom?

  • In TFA she is quoted as saying,

    “Governments shouldn’t hoard information. The information is there and it belongs to the people,” she says. “Information and the manipulation of information is the key to power. Those who can control the information can influence society enormously. The more accurate the flow of information the more productive we can be.”

    By her own logic, governments should hoard information, at least in the traditional sense, to keep it hidden from other nati

    • Re:Idealist (Score:5, Insightful)

      by twidarkling (1537077) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @01:09PM (#34529564)

      Except she doesn't want the government to have the power, she wants the people to have the power, since the government is supposed to receive power from the people. And this is Canada, we go for security through co-operation and support, rather than intimidation and manipulation.

      • Re:Idealist (Score:4, Funny)

        by SIR_Taco (467460) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @01:15PM (#34529596) Homepage

        Eh-men my fellow Canadian!

        (couldn't resist)

        • fellow Canadian!

          Looks like you outed yourself.
          I just watched "How I met your mother" and they had a long section about canadian sexacts.

          You people are sick!
          I admit, I love toolgirl. But maple syrup? come on!

      • by RichMan (8097) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @01:17PM (#34529606)

        rather than intimidation and manipulation.

        But how do the big multinational arms conglomerates make money off co-operation? Where are the backscatter-xray machine sales in that?

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        And this is Canada, we go for security through co-operation and support, rather than intimidation and manipulation.

        No. What you're describing isn't security. Sure, you can feel "secure" by being Little Miss Popular, liked and admired by everyone. You won't have to worry about random bullies stuffing you in a locker, or stealing your lunch. But when the players on the football team say "bend over", there's dick all you can do to stop them. That's why here in Canada - much like they do in the US - we take the two-prong approach. Use cooperation and support when possible, while not hesitating to use force and manipul

      • by Shark (78448)

        As a Canadian, I have to say I can only agree on the surface. Our underbelly is just as dark if not darker than that of the US. We just seem to have better PR and a population so hooked on government-provided goodies that its general view of the government is that of benevolent (if childish) provider.

        • Yes, I agree. I like our happy, maple-syrup-loving face but there's plenty of back-room politics going on here, too. Our current government has plenty of problems. Canadian border security can be pretty arsey, too.

        • It is probably darker because it is less exposed to light than the US underbelly.

      • by fyoder (857358)

        And this is Canada, we go for security through co-operation and support, rather than intimidation and manipulation.

        I would have agreed with you prior to the G20 in Toronto in June. But Canada is becoming just as fascist as any other western state, maybe more so, complete with intimidation, beatings, and groundless mass arrest. You may be thinking of the old Canada, where if they wanted to abrogate rights, they had to do so legally through an act like the War Measures Act. Now they don't even bother with the legal niceties.

        How I Got Arrested and Abused at the G20 in Toronto, Canada [backofthebook.ca]

        • s/Canada/Ontario

          • by fyoder (857358)

            I don't think it would have been different in any other Canadian city. Say Calgary, for example. They sent their cops to the G20 in Toronto to help out:

            The officers, who are from the Calgary police public safety unit, said the Toronto event was a chance for them to practise their crowd-control training.

            "We just never have had to use those tactics to that degree in Calgary. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to test them out and show that yeah they really do work," said Pecksen.

            http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2010/06/28/g20-calgary-g8-police-security-protest.html [www.cbc.ca]

            I think it would have played out pretty much the same in any Canadian city. The times they are a-changin'.

        • by anyGould (1295481)

          Now they don't even bother with the legal niceties.

          On the upside, it looks like we might see some change come from it - it didn't take long for the police to give up the "mystery cop" who beat up Adam Nobody, for instance.

          Sadly, Harper's Conservatives do like stealing the worst pages of the Republican playbook. And until Alberta stops being their bitch-monkeys we won't be rid of them...

    • Re:I, deal list (Score:5, Informative)

      by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Sunday December 12, 2010 @01:25PM (#34529650)

      governments should hoard information, at least in the traditional sense, to keep it hidden from other national governments. Unless you think every nation in the word should have the same information as every other

      Nah, Governments shouldn't hoard information at all.

      They should only keep "vital" information under wraps for at most 2 years, then make it all public (not hording, hording = "never gonna give you up")

      The only exception I can see is for long term military planning. Do we really need to use deceit in our diplomatic affairs? What's wrong with stating our goals and working to those ends? (It's not like we're really confounding our "enemies" by keeping diplomatic secrets).

      Unfortunately, under such an "idealist" information policy, everything will just get categorized as "military planning."

      You know... Just like nearly everything currently finds its way under the "national security" umbrella, even though most info is not. Hint: ACTA was held under the "national security" umbrella, now it's not; Guess it wasn't a matter of "national security" was it?

      Corrupt governments will always hide under the "national security" blanket, even if you rename it to "military planning" or "diplomatic privacy".

      • From Dictionary.com:
        "hoard"
        –verb (used without object)
        3.
        to accumulate money, food, or the like, in a hidden or carefully guarded place for preservation, future use, etc.

        To hoard does not imply to never use.

        And of course there are exceptions. This is the reason I called her an idealist in the first place. Idealists see no room for exceptions. They don't live in the real world where perfection is defined not as something with no flaws but as something with as few flaws as we can practicably
      • . Just like nearly everything currently finds its way under the "national security" umbrella

        National security [wikipedia.org], in particular how it is viewed in the US (and similarly throughout the "Western" world), economic stability and prosperity plays a key role in the modern definition. That is because money, i.e. economic influence and power is the most global resource, that knows and respects basically no boundaries, whereas a foreign military occupation / control is less tolerated in many countries around the world.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      By her own logic, governments should hoard information, at least in the traditional sense, to keep it hidden from other national governments. Unless you think every nation in the word should have the same information as every other, then you agree with the general concept here.

      You seem to have misunderstood what she was saying.
      Try reading it this way: "Those who can control the [flow of] information can influence society enormously."

      If everyone has access to the same information, no one [entity] can use it to manipulate the public.
      Like how frequently [government agency] will prepare a report that gets buried because it conflicts with [other entity]'s agenda.

      • For certain kinds of information, perhaps mostly of the civil kind, I would agree wholeheartedly. But we cannot simply say "information" like we intend to mean all information. We must qualify the statement, define the scope, or we're simply being too ambiguous...

        Four-Star General John Example has just learned of some vital strategic or tactical information in an ongoing conflict. He has two obvious choices: He can keep this information secure and not tell everyone, for however long it takes, or, he
        • Military information already has a very short lifespan. Famously, "Flash" messages are sent UNCLAS, because it's more important they arrive now than be kept from the enemy.

          Field Marshal Example already makes his information known to the enemy the moment he acts on it. That's why it was such a terrible decision for Winston Churchill to (putatively) consider keeping secret the German plans to bomb Coventry.

          Unit war diaries are released a few years after the war is over, and even the anal British unclassif

    • by davecb (6526)

      No, by her logic we all should have the same information, and have the same ability to manipulate and resist manipulation.

      I'd class it along with normal business assumption of "a level playing field", rather than an idealist assumption.

      To be fair, it can be arbitrarily hard to level a playing field, especially when one side owns a bulldozer, but one does try.

      --dave

    • by angus77 (1520151)
      Most of the information the government hoards has nothing to do with national security. Most of the information the Canadian government has would be pretty boring stuff to anyone who's not Canadian.
  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @12:56PM (#34529504)

    They start out looking good, until some entity comes along and starts wringing profit or control (one & the same?) out of a new 'utopian innovation'.

    That is what happened for a long time with Windows where Microsoft essentially dictated a lot of what and how things were done in personal computing or how FAST they progressed.

    Level playing fields are hard to maintain in anarchistic society. The same can be said for all powerful central government or dictators.

    Competition on a 'level playing field' seems to be one of the best antidotes to monopolies. But is isn't easy to decide what is fair. Luckily we have some solid heads in government that realize they have the responsibility to do the right thing for the average citizen rather than the labor unions and powerful corp. lobbies.

  • by Ozlanthos (1172125) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @01:02PM (#34529534)
    I'm starting to hate the internet. More and more it seems like the internet is turning into one big bug in the ass. I have to specifically opt out of fucking invasive bullshit toolbars that I didn't ask for, had no interest in, and no desire to have corrupting my machine. I got an idea for all you assholes who think that is the way to make money....HOWS ABOUT YOU WORK ON PROJECTS THAT MAKE US FREER RATHER THAN FURTHER CONFINE OR TRACK US??? Is it really so much to ask to be able to scan, upload, download, chat, skype, mud, "be on the web" without fear of being constantly surveiled? I'm not a tree. My psychological profile, shopping habits, surfing habits, political interests, are not "fruit" to be picked and sold on the market, and as such ARE NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS!!! If I want your shit, I will use the most powerful investigatory tool humankind has ever invented, find it myself, and possibly even buy it! If what you had to offer was worth having I might even buy it again. But, until that point, LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!

    -Oz
    • by Anonymous Coward

      "I'm starting to hate the internet. More and more it seems like the internet is turning into one big bug in the ass. I have to specifically opt out of fucking invasive bullshit toolbars that I didn't ask for, had no interest in, and no desire to have corrupting my machine. I got an idea for all you assholes who think that is the way to make money....HOWS ABOUT YOU WORK ON PROJECTS THAT MAKE US FREER RATHER THAN FURTHER CONFINE OR TRACK US??? Is it really so much to ask to be able to scan, upload, download, chat, skype, mud, "be on the web" without fear of being constantly surveiled? I'm not a tree. My psychological profile, shopping habits, surfing habits, political interests, are not "fruit" to be picked and sold on the market, and as such ARE NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS!!! If I want your shit, I will use the most powerful investigatory tool humankind has ever invented, find it myself, and possibly even buy it! If what you had to offer was worth having I might even buy it again. But, until that point, LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!

      -Oz" -

      Ok, then YOU of all people, want to read this (not selling anything here, HOSTS files free & you already have one (you just have to fill your OS' copy of your HOSTS file w/ the right data to stop a lot of the problems you complain of online, & reputable + reliable sources for currently updated HOSTS files are below)):

      16++ ADVANTAGES OF HOSTS FILES OVER DNS SERVERS &/or ADBLOCK ALONE for added layered security:

      1.) Adblock blocks ads in only 1 browser family (Disclaimer: Opera now has an AdBlock

      • ... and of course, one good rant deserves another.

        Albeit an interesting and informative rant.

        And long. With emphasis.

        Good-o!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        you see this time your host file trick was posted at the right place and it got modded up. There is no conspirator against you, you just suck at choosing the right post to reply to

      • by Tacvek (948259)

        12.) You don't have the sourcecode to Adblock.

        That's absurd. If you are running Adblock, then you do have the source to Adblock. The by design the XPI format is just a form of a zip file (specifically it is based on the jar specification, in that it has a META-INF folder with metadata, much like the ODF format).

        Inside an XPI file is almost always[1] a collection of HTML, XML, and JavaScript files, along with a few images, and maybe a DTD or two. That is the source code of the extension[2]. Adblock is no exception to that.

        Footnotes:
        [1] It is possible to

    • Yeah I think for the Average Joe, using something running iOS or a barely-maintained copy of Windows instead of a tightly secured OS and browser, the negatives of using the Internet at all will soon only be slightly overshadowed by the positives, enough to keep them surfing and buying.

      It's what happens in any oligopolistic industry, and look at what's happened in the affected areas - there are one or two big players and a bunch of little also-rans. Google for search and advertising, Facebook for social netw

    • by shadowofwind (1209890) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @02:12PM (#34529906)

      I think the problem is a lot bigger than the internet. It looks to me that the whole cultural vision that started with the European enlightenment has largely run its course, at least in North America. I can't comment on Europe, since I haven't been there recently. Its not that we don't have freedom - in many ways we have more now than ever. Its that the fire has gone out somehow, and its just momentum that's carrying us forward. The ideal of freedom was always pretty corrupt, a matter of freedom to enslave other people or steal their land. Now that corruption has overtaken it.

      Not to be all gloom and doom: there will be another enlightenment. But I don't see it happening immediately. In America, the most ambitious and talented people seem to be recent immigrants from Asia and Eastern Europe. And it doesn't seem that most of the Asians think or care very much about freedom, at least not yet.

    • So then you would like to pay for the free services you use instead?
      You know, people need money to survive.

      • by anyGould (1295481)

        So then you would like to pay for the free services you use instead? You know, people need money to survive.

        The sad thing is, it's not that expensive to get the "free" services these days. If you're online, your ISP probably already provides you with email accounts. I spend ~10 a month for external hosting, and that gives me all the email addresses, webspace, and other net-goodies I'll ever need.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Hows about you work on projects that make use freer rather than further confine or track us???

      There's not as much easy money in our freedom and privacy.

      (Decapitalized to get around the stupid filter...)

    • by Nyder (754090)

      I'm starting to hate the internet. More and more it seems like the internet is turning into one big bug in the ass. I have to specifically opt out of fucking invasive bullshit toolbars that I didn't ask for, had no interest in, and no desire to have corrupting my machine. I got an idea for all you assholes who think that is the way to make money....HOWS ABOUT YOU WORK ON PROJECTS THAT MAKE US FREER RATHER THAN FURTHER CONFINE OR TRACK US??? Is it really so much to ask to be able to scan, upload, download, chat, skype, mud, "be on the web" without fear of being constantly surveiled? I'm not a tree. My psychological profile, shopping habits, surfing habits, political interests, are not "fruit" to be picked and sold on the market, and as such ARE NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS!!! If I want your shit, I will use the most powerful investigatory tool humankind has ever invented, find it myself, and possibly even buy it! If what you had to offer was worth having I might even buy it again. But, until that point, LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!
      -Oz

      Wow.

      You do understand, the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. Pandora's box was opened. There is no going back.

      You don't have privacy online. Stop treating the internet like you do.

      You can guard yourself against stuff, using ad blockers, etc. But that won't give you privacy back.

      Why? Because it's gone. Online privacy said "so long, thanks for all the fish".

      I supposed before the internet, you thought you had privacy when you used your credit card? guess what, you didn't. While your actions aren

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've always thought that our privacy commisioner's identity should be unknown. Maybe he/she could appear on TV in a hood, speaking through a voice scrambler.

  • The woman who faced down Facebook and was dissed by Silicon Valley business boys as 'an old-fashioned scold'

    What's with the cheap ad hominem that wasn't in the original article? Unless they were under 18, they're not boys, just like she's not a "girl".

    Also, why does it matter that she's a woman, and they're men? Again, it wasn't in the article.

    • by garcia (6573)

      Unless they were under 18, they're not boys, just like she's not a "girl".

      Regardless of the coaching Zuck has received recently on how to act in an interview, based on his actions in public he is most definitely a "boy" even if his age is over 18.

    • What's with the poor reading comprehension?

      Paragraph 9, words 20 through 23.

    • by davecb (6526)
      "biz boy" is an derogatory term for MBA students, who are roughly 50% female these days. I typo'd and wrote "business boy", and inadvertently insulted fellow members of my sex instead of the people I meant to insult (;-)) --dave
      • by alvinrod (889928)
        I didn't even notice it until someone called attention to it. Even before reading your reply I just figured it for a little alliteration and not some sexist attack. Hell, there are plenty of other colloquialisms such as "boys' night out" or "boy toy" that aren't considered offensive for their use of the word boy. The second might offend a person, but not for the reason's SuperBanana pointed out.

        There's malicious intent and there's loose English. Unless there's some reason to suspect that the wording is i
    • Funny how our cultural blinders obscure facts from us. Such as, only in America is a woman considered such when she attains the age of 18. Hint: different countries have different standards. But go ahead and say that 18 is a "universal" standard, because God forbid anyone think differently from us, the good people.
  • This isn't an interview, it's a publicity piece for Ms. Stoddart. Ick.
  • - for Jennifer Government. :)

Business is a good game -- lots of competition and minimum of rules. You keep score with money. -- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari

Working...