30 December 2010

UK Identity Documents Bill

Hoopla in the UK, with announcements that the national Identity Documents Bill received Royal Assent on 22 December, the outcome being that "ID Cards consigned to History by Home Office's first Bill!" The announcements follow rhetoric about Britishness and the imperative to despatch the card earlier this year.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Lynne Featherstone announced that -
All ID cards will be cancelled within one month of Royal Assent and the National Identity Register, the database which contains the biographic information and biometric fingerprint data of card holders, will be physically destroyed within two months.

The Identity Card Scheme represented the worst of government. It was intrusive, bullying, ineffective and expensive.

The coalition Government is committed to scaling back the power of the state and restoring civil liberties. This is just the first step in the process of restoring and maintaining our freedoms.
The Bill formally invalidates the identity card for UK citizens (although not for aliens) -
meaning that within one month, holders will no longer be able to use them to prove their identity or as a travel document in Europe. Following Royal Assent, a counter will be placed on the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) website counting down the time until cards become invalid.
Can't have too many gimmicks - clocks in countdown mode and so forth - to distract the voters.

In an article for Privacy Law Bulletin earlier this year I noted the diligence with which Ministers of the Cameron-Clegg coalition have stayed "on topic" when dealing with the Card. That has continued, with the Home Office announcing that -
ID cards have been scrapped by the government after the Identity Documents Bill received Royal Assent.

This means that all ID cards will now be cancelled within one month and the National Identity Register, the database which contains information of card holders, will be destroyed within two months.

Home Office Minister Damian Green said: 'The Identity Card Scheme represented the worst of government. It was intrusive, bullying, ineffective and expensive.

'That is why the first Home Office Bill of this Coalition Government has scrapped ID cards and the National Identity Register.

'The Government is committed to scaling back the power of the state and restoring civil liberties. This is just the first step in the process of restoring and maintaining our freedoms.'
The Identity & Passport Service Office (indeed complete with a clock ticking away the seconds) indicates that -
The Government began the process of scrapping identity cards by introducing the Identity Documents Bill to Parliament on 26 May 2010. The Bill made provision for the cancellation of the UK National Identity Card, the Identification Card for EEA nationals and the destruction of the National Identity Register. This Bill has completed the parliamentary process and the Identity Documents Act 2010 [PDF] received Royal Assent on 21 December 2010.

The passing of the Act means that identity cards will cease to be valid legal documents for the purposes of confirming identity, age or for travel in Europe after 21 January 2011.

Under the terms of the Act the National Identity Register will be destroyed within two months of the Act coming in to force. This means all personal information supplied during process of applying for an identity card, including photographs and fingerprints, will be destroyed by 21 February 2011.

Refunds will not be provided and identity card holders are not required to return the card to IPS. As the card will cease to be a legal document, if you have an identity card you should consider securely destroying it. If you choose to retain your identity card, you should ensure that it is kept in a safe and secure place.

The statutory post of Identity Commissioner, set up under the Identity Cards Act 2006 to provide independent oversight of the National Identity Service, is also terminated under the terms of the Act.

We will be writing to all existing cardholders at their registered address to inform them of the position.

If you are currently travelling overseas using an identity card and don't have a valid British passport, you will need to make arrangements to obtain a passport to continue your travel. You can either renew your last passport or if you are overseas and need to travel quickly you can apply for an emergency travel document at your local British Embassy/High Commission or Consular Office.
The IPS goes on to note that -
Is the biometric residence permit also being scrapped?

No. The UK Border Agency (UKBA) will continue to issue biometric residence permits to non-EEA foreign nationals (formerly known as Identity Cards for Foreign Nationals). The biometric data is not kept on the National Identity Register.
European law requires non-EEA foreign nationals to be provided with biometric residence permits.

They are separate from the programme to introduce the UK National Identity Card and the Identification Card for EEA nationals, and are issued under entirely different legislation.
and that
Is it now against the law to use my identity card when they are cancelled?

It will not be illegal to use your Identity card as proof of identity after 21 January 2011. Whilst the identity card is no longer valid for official purposes some organisations may still be willing to accept them as proof of identity without the ability to check against the National Identity Register.

Data loss (again)

Despite strong public criticism of recurrent losses of official laptops (in particular devices that hold unencrypted sensitive personal information) some US government agencies just don't seem to be getting the message, articulating guidelines for the management of the machines but then ignoring them.

A 34 page report from the Office of Inspector General (ie the internal compliance unit) at the national Government Printing Office on Control and Accountability of Laptop Computers (Audit Report 1102, 6 December 2010) indicates that as many as one-third of the 629 laptops issued to GPO employees and contractors since 2005 may be missing. To lose a few devices is bad luck; to lose a third of the complement looks like carelessness.

The report indicates that GPO managers could not explain where the laptops have gone (into the hopper bin, stolen, lost, with an executive's kids, in someone's bottom drawer?). GPO management did not adhere to standard written policies meant to ensure that the devices are tracked, indeed GPO recordkeeping does not identify which laptops went to which employee or contractor. The agency doesn't systematically collect laptops when employees leave.

Apart from concerns regarding expenditure (we might the estimate of US$470,730, given that laptops do wear out or get damaged) the Inspector General commented that the missing laptops risk exposing sensitive information on audits and investigations, acquisitions and personal data, including information on "the manufacture and issuance of security documents such as US passports". The organisation was exhorted to implement standard operating procedures covering acquisition, storage, delivery and return of laptops, underpinned by a better recordkeeping process. It should also inventory laptops each year, with investigation of those that go AWOL.

29 December 2010

Die, Frodo, Die!

From an obituary of Denis Dutton, Baudrillard foe, connoisseur of fakery and Arts & Letters Daily founder -
Dutton was at times considered a contrarian; in our [ie LA Times] opinion pages in 2004, he wrote
[Peter] Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings' represents the victory of special effects over dramatic art. ... I have never looked at my watch as often during a movie as I did in The Return of the King. Toward the end, I found myself desperately cheering on the giant spider in hope of getting home early. Eat Frodo! Eat him!
I was less generous, hoping that Gollum would channel Hannibal Lector and go munchies on Frodo, Sam ("oh master Frodo. Oh, Sam. Oh, Master Frodo. Oh, Sam. Oh, Master Frodo"), the longhaired wizard and all those elves.

I've meanwhile been reading 'Pee(k)ing into Derrida's Underpants: Circumcision, Textual Multiplexity, and the Cannibalistic Mother' by The Rev. Dr. Philip Culbertson, The College of Saint John the Evangelist (Auckland, New Zealand) in  (2010) 10 Journal of the Society for Textual Reasoning
In Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Four - the date was Columbus Day, October 12 - I was sailed like a frisbee quite involuntarily into the ocean of patriarchal heterosexism, of male hegemony, and of maternal betrayal, as the mark of circumcision was inscribed forever on my flesh. As I was hurled through the fog-obscured skies of gender expectation, my foreskin was ripped away in a gust/o of parental violence.

Four hundred and fifty-two years separate these two events, and yet Columbus and I hold a wound in common, like Freud, like Derrida. Columbus was, by most accounts, a Marrano, a Jew who adopted the external trappings of Catholicism in order to survive the successive waves of persecution and expulsion. I am not a Jew, but I, like Columbus - like Freud, like Derrida - am circumcised, involuntarily determined a child of patriarchy long before I could think for myself.

Who wounded me, and why was I wounded? As I struggle through the unveiling of my scars, so I unveil the wounds that all men carry. Some of us carry them visibly on our .... Even more troubling are the invisible wounds of the uncircumcised, the unreadable marks written on the bodies of men who are wounded and do not know by whom, or why, or even that they bear/bare wounds.

How do we make meaning out of the practice of male circumcision in the world, in the South Pacific, in Aotearoa-New Zealand, in the contemporary men's movements, and above all in the thought of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Derrida?
For me it is more impressive, or simply more fun (in the spirit of Derrida), than Culbertson's 'Designing Men: Reading the Male Body as Text' in (1998) 7 Journal of the Society for Textual Reasoning .

That response is presumably a reflection of the truth of the Schopenhauer aphorism, quoted elsewhere by Culbertson for the New Zealand Association of Counsellors in 2007, that "Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world".

28 December 2010

eyes in the skies

While reading about the Outdoor Recreation Party and LDP I've serendipitously encountered a recent UK Economic &Social Research Council report by Ray Purdy on 'Smart Enforcement in Environmental Legal Systems: A Socio-Legal Analysis of Regulatory Satellite Monitoring in Australia' [PDF].

The lucid 225 page report -
examines whether modern satellite technologies could provide a rigorous, legally reliable, and cost effective tool in inspection and compliance regimes in environmental regulatory systems. It considers these issues in the context of relevant experience and expertise in Australia, which is the only sustained comparative example where satellites have been used to monitor an environmental law. Satellite monitoring is used to monitor compliance with vegetation clearing legislation in Australia. This report seeks to demonstrate lessons learnt from this cutting-edge practice in Australia and to identify how best to build on this experience if satellite monitoring is to be used in new regulatory strategies.
Purdy comments that -
Satellite monitoring of environmental laws is still more theoretical than applied, its use having largely been limited to detecting fraud in the agricultural sector. Understanding amongst European Governments of the potential of using satellites in regulatory strategies is insufficient at the current time, because the development of satellites has been almost exclusively technology led to date. There has been little communication between the space sector and those in the legal field as to the immense improvements that have been made in what satellites can see, and consequently development of applications for use in an enforcement context has been stifled. The lack of empirical evidence on operational experiences and costs available to regulatory bodies has meant that there has been a poor level of the use of satellite technologies in regulatory strategies, relative to its full potential.
He goes on to comment that -
use of satellite technologies by Australian regulators to combat illegal vegetation clearance is the first international example where satellites have been systematically used to monitor compliance with a specific environmental law. Australian regulators use satellite imagery to check legislative compliance, by analysing it to determine whether and when vegetation was cleared. They look for relative changes in vegetation response between two satellite images of the same location with different capture dates. Comparative images can show that the vegetation clearing took place between the first image date and the second. If the satellite image shows that an offence might have occurred, regulators can then take a decision as to whether to direct resources to further investigations.

Australia has been using satellite data in a regulatory context for about ten years and there have been a significant number of cases where imagery has been used in the courts. Many lessons can be learnt from Australia which could be useful to regulatory bodies in Europe. This is particularly so because Australia has a federal legal system, so each State has a different experience of designing and implementing satellite monitoring programmes for vegetation clearance. The experiences of each of three States examined in this report throws further light on the operational effectiveness and cost of using satellite technologies in a regulatory context.

State Governments in Australia acquire imagery from medium-resolution satellites, as it is relatively cheap and has good geographical coverage. Whilst this gives them a state-wide picture of land-use change, there can be difficulties in using such data in court. Experience has shown that medium and low-resolution satellite imagery of this type can be confusing to non-technical people, such as judges, as it can look blurry. In two States, if monitoring data from the medium-resolution satellite detects a potential offence, the Government might then purchase high-resolution imagery. It is particularly purchased if it is likely that a prosecution will proceed, as high-resolution imagery is more photograph-like in image quality, and can be more easily understood by laypeople in court. One Australian State has invested substantially more money in their monitoring programme and purchases state-wide high-resolution imagery on an annual basis.

Ad-hoc acquisition of high-resolution imagery can seem expensive, costing States approximately (AUS) $2000 for each image. However, as only in the region of five to ten cases might go to court each year, this could represent a net annual spend of approximately (AUS) $10,000 to 20,000. New South Wales has a state-wide programme of monitoring using high-resolution SPOT imagery, costing in the region of (AUS) $2.5 million a year. Whilst numbers of court cases remain at current levels, buying high-resolution imagery as and when it is needed to corroborate evidence from medium-resolution satellites is therefore relatively costeffective. Buying the satellite data is not the only significant expense of a satellite monitoring programme. There are also costs associated with the recruitment and training of analysts, as well as purchasing computer hardware and data storage facilities. ...

There have been different approaches taken by States as to whether to include specific provisions relating to the use of satellite imagery in legislation. Two States decided at the outset that this was not necessary and that the general investigative powers of regulators under existing legislation should suffice. Queensland adopted a different approach, by providing in their legislation that any technological instrument used under the act, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is deemed to be accurate and precise. It is also deemed to have been used by an appropriately qualified person and the report that this person has prepared, based on the 'remotely sensed imagery', is deemed to be correct in the absence of evidence to the contrary. These provisions were copied from breathalyser legislation and effectively reverse the burden of proof, making it harder for the defendant to cast doubt on the evidence by questioning the correct functioning of the satellite. This legislative support came about not because of losing any court cases, but because this State Government was trying to save time-consuming work in proving that the imagery was credible evidence in court. The other side must advise, within a notice period, which specific areas of the evidence they will challenge. This is intended to give the Government enough time to prepare and respond to any challenges before a court hearing.

Satellite monitoring can be a very pro-active method of enforcement. Before satellite monitoring, Governments mainly relied on detecting offences through tip-offs. Satellite monitoring made them aware of a lot more possible offences, meaning that they had to substantially increase numbers of staff if they wanted to conduct inspections and make compliance decisions. Satellite monitoring might not, therefore, always solve resource difficulties within Government, and in fact, in the short-term, it might increase financial pressure. Governments wishing to introduce a satellite monitoring programme are required to have a far more strategic regulatory approach than those with conventional land-based approaches. Lawyers, scientific officers and investigators will all be required to work together as a team. Experience in Australia shows that there has not always been a good triangle of understanding and communication between these three groups. This has directly resulted in some prosecutions collapsing in court. It is, therefore, not just evidence that is an issue when satellite data is used in court, staffing and regulatory structures can sometimes be overlooked, even though these can be equally as important. Over time, States in Australia have been required to implement new strategies for encouraging liaison and interdisciplinary training between these three groups.

Australia has seen a significant number of cases where satellite imagery has been used as evidence in courts. There have been few challenges as to whether imagery should be excluded as unreliable evidence to date. However, the use of imagery in the Australian courts has been what can be best described as a 'bumpy ride' for Governments. After some early successful prosecutions, defence lawyers started to question the potential for date changing of the imagery, its quality and accuracy, the credentials of Government experts, and even whether the satellite was working correctly. Attacks such as these caught Governments by surprise. All three States have had phases where they have had problems with failed prosecutions, either for the above reasons or because of other procedural technicalities, causing them to pause enforcement programmes and reflect on their practices and procedures. A key cause of problems appears to be the initial lack of legal input in the development of monitoring programmes. Legal and technical disciplines need to work closely together, hand in hand, and not get out of sync with one another.

The judiciary in Australia appears to have a general openness towards new technologies and satellite images have been treated similarly to other forms of technological evidence. Judges appeared to be strongly persuaded by the facts and context of things visually. They were impressed that satellite imagery allowed them to view what the issue in dispute looked like at the time of the offence, allowing them to see for themselves what happened, rather than having to rely on recollections of witnesses as to what they saw, said, or heard. However, there was also recognition amongst the judiciary that as satellite imagery was digital data, there could be issues as to whether it could have been processed, or altered, in either a deliberately misleading or accidental manner, in a way that could affect its probity.

It is increasingly recognised by Governments in Australia that there are systems and protocols that can be put in place to enable satellite data to be a more effective form of legal evidence. For example, there is now greater emphasis on showing the chain of custody and events from the raw data, through processing, to the product that is used in court. Some States collect affidavits from external image suppliers to demonstrate authenticity. However, at the current time there are no national standards in Australia, which deal either directly or indirectly with using satellite imagery as evidence. Australia is not alone in not having developed standards in this area. There are no developed national or international rules or standards in place as to the specific use of satellite imagery as legal evidence. Such standards could give lawyers and judges greater confidence in the use of the technology and can also inform technical experts as to how to best manage digital data.

Poujadist donuts

A spot of poujadism in NSW, with announcement that the Outdoor Recreation Party (ORP) is campaigning against what it says is the growing intrusion of government, in particular restrictions on doing burnouts (ie making lots of noise, smoke and mess on a public road).

The ABC reports that the Party was initially formed "to represent four-wheel drive enthusiasts" but "now under new management" it's more broadly opposed to the nanny state.
Candidate David Leyonhjelm says speed limits are a case in point.

"We have revenue raising, masquerading as safety," he said.

Mr Leyonhjelm says all speed limits should be removed temporarily so they can be re-calibrated naturally.

"Measure the speeds at which drivers travel and drivers will travel at what they regard to be a safe speed," he said.

"Then you set the speed limit at the 85th percentile."

Mr Leyonhjelm also says motorists should be free to do burnouts.

"Law enforcement should not be worried about people doing silly things that endanger only themselves," he said.

"It should focus on danger to other people".

"So if you are doing a burnout and all that's likely to happen is you'll ruin your car, damage your tyres and leave some black marks on the road that's no business of anybody, especially not the police."
Mr Leyonhjelm appears to have been a candidate and Treasurer for the Liberty & Democracy Party, the libertarian microparty that attracted attention because its ACT Senate candidate Lisa Milat was the sister-in-law of convicted serial killer Ivan Milat. He doesn't seem to have been keen on seatbelts, bicycle helmets, gun control (the Howard Government restrictions were dismissed as "illogical and unjust"), restrictions on access by 4WDs to national parks and - of course - taxes. En route to the ORP he's apparently been a member of the Libs and NSW Chair of the Shooters' Party. "When the Shooters Party was deregistered by the AEC just prior to the federal election in 2004, he enlisted the Outdoor Recreation Party to run a team for the Senate and marginal NSW seats."

26 December 2010

Diplomacy

Gathering info for my ANZSOG 'Wikileaks' paper in breaks from work on the Legal Practice Manual FOI chapter. Useful rhetoric from one L Trotsky on 22 November 1917 -
Secret diplomacy is a necessary tool for a propertied minority which is compelled to deceive the majority in order to subject it to its interests. Imperialism, with its dark plans of conquest and its robber alliances and deals, developed the system of secret diplomacy to the highest level. The struggle against the imperialism which is exhausting and destroying the peoples of Europe is at the same time a struggle against capitalist diplomacy, which has cause enough to fear the light of day. The Russian people, and the peoples of Europe and the whole world, should learn the documentary truth about the plans forged in secret by the financiers and industrialists together with their parliamentary and diplomatic agents. The peoples of Europe have paid for the right to this truth with countless sacrifices and universal economic desolation.

The abolition of secret diplomacy is the primary condition for an honest, popular, truly democratic foreign policy. The Soviet Government regards it as its duty to carry out such a policy in practice. That is precisely why, while openly proposing an immediate armistice to all the belligerent peoples and their Governments, we are at the same time publishing these treaties and agreements, which have lost all binding force for the Russian workers, soldiers, and peasants who have taken power into their own hands.

The bourgeois politicians and journalists of Germany and Austria-Hungary may try to make use of the documents published in order to present the diplomacy of the Central Empires in a more advantageous light. But any such attempt would be doomed to pitiful failure, and that for two reasons. In the first place, we intend quickly to place before the tribunal of public opinion secret documents which treat sufficiently clearly of the diplomacy of the Central Empires. Secondly, and more important, the methods of secret diplomacy are as universal as imperialist robbery. When the German proletariat enters the revolutionary path leading to the secrets of their chancelleries, they will extract documents no whit inferior to those which we are about to publish. It only remains to hope that this will take place quickly.

The workers’ and peasants’ Government abolishes secret diplomacy and its intrigues, codes, and lies. We have nothing to hide. Our program expresses the ardent wishes of millions of workers, soldiers, and peasants. We want the rule of capital to be overthrown as soon as possible. In exposing to the entire world the work of the ruling classes, as expressed in the secret diplomatic documents, we address the workers with the call which forms the unchangeable foundation of our foreign policy: 'Proletarians of all countries, unite'.
Trotsky, as first People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, had reportedly earlier announced: "My task is a very limited one - to publish secret treaties and close down the shop".

24 December 2010

Put another Renoir on the barbie

From 'From Barbie to Renoir: Intellectual Property and Culture' by Susy Frankel in (2010) 41 Victoria University of Wellington Law Review 1-15 -
Because of the pervasiveness of intellectual property in our culture, the right way to discuss the limits of intellectual property is to understand and try to articulate the relationship between intellectual property and culture. We know it is there but what does this relationship tell us? And how can we use the understanding of that relationship in a practical way?

One of the phenomena that we see is that there have been certain products and brands that have become boom industries. The question that I am interested in is not whether cultural and creative industries are goodies or baddies, whether Barbie has less or more artistic merit than Renoir, but whether if the law over protects these kinds of cultural products we do damage to culture itself. The law is too protective if it starts to be too constricting on the types of artistic, literary and musical works that can be made. The law is too restrictive if people will not create certain works because they are not sure if the law allows them to or not and they cannot easily find out the necessary information to determine if what they do is legal creativity or not.

The problem with the incentive and reward approach to intellectual property is that it loses sight of the public interest in the structure of the law as a whole. In essence the rights of individuals appear to have trumped the collective interests in intellectual property law. Those collective interests include its effect on culture. This includes what we might call expressive values and free speech, but it is not just those values at play. Society has a vested interest in supporting individual rights. The appropriate balance between collective interests and individual rights is not an easy balance to achieve. Finding that balance requires that we look at the fundamental reasons why we have private rights in intellectual property. Asking how much reward is necessary, and questions of that kind, ultimately do not reveal much more than some businesses do rather well out of intellectual property rights. Looking at the relationship between culture and intellectual property is a much better starting place because ultimately it can show more clearly where to draw the line.

The idea that there is a link between culture and intellectual property is not new. But exactly what the link is, and how it can be appropriately reflected in the law, is not selfevident. The starting clue, that I have used, is that cultural industries are protected by intellectual property rights. But it is not the status as a cultural industry that achieves this. It is the creation of cultural products. You receive copyright whether you are a big player or a small player.

When intellectual property rights interfere too much with the type of cultural product that emerges, particularly from small players, that is when a line can be drawn. But it is complete nonsense to suggest that the drawing of the line is for any reason other than to support one cultural interest over another. This dominance of one cultural interest over another is often the consequence of a focus only on economic interests. In as far as New Zealand can, we should draw our own lines about cultural values. Such an approach is also likely to be economically beneficial.

Dubya

From Eliot Weinberger's 33(1) LRB (2011) review of George Bush's Decision Points (London: Virgin 2010), characterised as "the perfect Christmas gift for one's Republican uncle".
... in the mere two years since he left Washington, Bush is beginning to seem like a reasonable man compared to the Republicans who have now been elected to higher office. Unlike them, he was not a 'family values' Christian who liked to have prostitutes dress him in diapers; he did not have to pay a fine of $1.7 billion (yes, billion) for defrauding the government; he does not advocate burning the Quran; he does not believe that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim allied with terrorists who is building internment camps for dissidents; he does not believe that people of Hispanic origin should be randomly stopped and asked to prove their immigration status; he does not support a military invasion of Mexico or a constitutional amendment stating that the United States cannot be subject to Sharia law or an electric fence along the entire Canadian border or the death penalty for doctors who provide abortions; he does not believe that bicycle lanes in major cities are part of a plot by the United Nations to impose a single world government. The Palinites and Tea Partiers are getting the publicity, but the old-fashioned neocons still hold the power, and they may well run the ever patient Jeb Bush – practically the only Republican left with both dull conservative respectability and national name recognition – for president in 2012.

23 December 2010

Ame again

Opportunism, amnesia or an expression of the belief system that's characterised as 'cargo cult'. The ABC reports that around 100 people from Papua New Guinea have been intercepted by Customs in the Torres Strait during a quest - dubbed by the Australian government as a "prank" - supposedly to reclaim Australian citizenship removed when PNG gained independence in 1975.

Travellers in twelve dinghies included members of the Papua Australia Plaintiff United Affiliates (PAPUA) group, reported earlier this month as claiming that they were (or should be recognised as) Australian citizens -
We were born Australian citizens when Papua was part of Australia. Our claims to citizenship is that we never renounced it or made a declaration of loyalty to PNG
That claim is unpersuasive, given the High Court decision in Re Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Afairs; Ex parte Ame [2005] HCA 36; (2005) 222 CLR 439; 79 ALJR 1309; 218 ALR 483.

Amos Bode Ame was born in the territory of Papua prior to independence. Geography matters, as Ayelet Shachar notes in The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2009).

Australian supervision of the Territory meant that under the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 (Cth) Ame was an Australian citizen by birth. Some citizens are more equal than others. Under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) [here] Ame required a permit to enter the Australian states and internal territories (eg the ACT and NT) or reside in those jurisdictions.

Independence for Papua New Guinea under the Papua New Guinea Independence Act 1975 (Cth), which provided that "On the expiration of the day preceding Independence Day, Australia ceases to have any sovereignty, sovereign rights or rights of administration in respect of or appertaining to the whole or any part of Papua New Guinea", was reflected in a Constitution for the new state, with people who had been born in PNG prior to nationhood - and who had two grandparents born in PNG - being granted citizenship of the new country. In conjunction with the grant those people lost their Australian citizenship through the Papua New Guinea Independence (Australian Citizenship) Regulations 1975 under the 1975 PNG Independence Act. An exception was made for the fortunate few who had previously secured permanent residency in Australia.

Ame entered Australia 24 years after independence (ie in 1999) using a visa. He had not entered, or applied for any right to enter, any of the States or internal Territories before Independence Day and had never applied to become an Australian citizen by naturalization or by registration under the Citizenship Act.

He argued that he was an Australian citizen by birth and as a consequence had a right of permanent residence in Australia, which meant that he had never lost his Australian citizenship and could not be removed or detained under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth). He had not taken up the opportunity under s 65(5) of the Papua New Guinea Constitution for renouncing another nation's citizenship in order to become a naturalised PNG citizen.

Ame argued that as an Australian citizen he was not an 'alien', that his citizenship could not be withdrawn by regulation under the Papua New Guinea Independence Act 1975 (Cth) and that alternatively the Commonwealth could not withdraw his citizenship without his consent.

The High Court disagreed, rejecting the arguments. It held that there had been no constitutional obligation for residents of Papua or another external territory to enter mainland Australia as a right. Acceptance of Ame's assumptions about citizenship disregarded PNG independence and would for example mean that most Papuans would currently be Australian citizens (and citizens without the restrictions evident prior to Independence).

As importantly, the Court held that the regulations withdrawing citizenship as part of Independence were constitutionally valid. The PNG Independence Act provided that "The Governor-General may make regulations making provision for or in relation to matters arising out of or connected with the attainment of the independence of Papua New Guinea, including regulations making modifications or adaptations of any Act". The Court indicated that -
The power in s 122 pursuant to which parliament enacted legislation to deal with the acquisition of the external territory enabled it also to enact legislation to deal with the relinquishment of sovereign rights and rights of administration over that territory. The power pursuant to which parliament could enact legislation to treat the inhabitants of the territory as citizens enabled it also to treat the inhabitants of the new independent state as aliens.
In referring to Singh v Commonwealth of Australia [2004] HCA 43; (2004) 209 ALR 355, decided in the previous year, the Court noted rejection of the notion that the aliens power could not be used to unilaterally strip people of their Australian citizenship. Mr Ame's consent was not required. the Court was similarly (The High Court was unimpressed with his suggestion that he held Australian citizenship through a decision not to become a naturalised member of PNG, commenting that -
It is improbable in the extreme that it was the purpose of s 65 of the Papua New Guinea Constitution to exclude from citizenship of the new nation all indigenous Papuans living at Independence Day unless they took positive steps to renounce their Australian citizenship.
The Australian experience differs from that of New Zealand. Niue voted in 1974 for self-government "in free association" with NZ, with Niueans being automatically granted New Zealand citizenship. Given limited economic opportunities on Niue only 1,400 of around 50,000 ethnic Niueans currently live in the microstate; some 20,000 live in New Zealand and the Niuean economy is essentially funded by NZ (at a rate of around NZ$18,000 per each Niuean every year).

PNG is substantially larger than Niue and its legal relationship with Australia during the colonial/trusteeship period was different to that of Niue and NZ. Although both PNG and Niue are - or are becoming - failed states, adoption of the 'Niue Solution' is unlikely in Australia

Divulgation, Withdrawal and MR

CBC reports that the National Gallery of Canada is seeking legal advice over moral rights claim by Toronto artist AA Bronson in the 'Wojnarowicz' dispute involving the US National Portrait Gallery (NPG).

Bronson has asked the NPG to return his Felix, June 5, 1994 photograph from the NPG Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibition. Hide/Seek has attracted criticism from religious fundamentalists on the basis that difference (eg gay people) should not be recognised. The NPG has attracted criticism over removal of an extract of David Wojnarowicz's A Fire in My Belly video piece. That extract features an 11-second sequence in which ants crawl over a bloodied cross - somewhat distressing, I suspect, for most viewers than the anguish evident in crucifixions depicted by artists such as Grunewald, El Greco and Velasquez but opportune for expressions of outrage by small, extreme advocacy groups. (Let's not think about the lip-smacking gore in several Mel Gibson movies) Objectors have condemned the piece as "anti-Christian"; the NPG has explained removal on the basis that the video was "distracting from the overall exhibition". In a statement proclaiming that 'Smithsonian Stands Firmly Behind "Hide/Seek" Exhibition' [PDF] the institution advises that -
The museum and the Smithsonian stand firmly behind the scholarly merit and historical and artistic importance of the exhibition.

Acknowledging that some visitors may prefer not to encounter some of the subject matter in the exhibit, the museum installed signs at both entrances, reading "This exhibition contains mature themes."
Parental guidance signs in exhibitions featuring Mannerist and Baroque grand guignol - The Flaying of Marsyas, The Martydom of St Sebabastian, lurid S&M involving St Agatha or sundry other martyrs - might be advisable.

In answering "Why did the Smithsonian make the decision to remove the A Fire in My Belly video by David Wojnarowicz from the exhibition?" the NPG indicated that -
Many people who contacted the Smithsonian and some members of Congress were upset about segments of the four-minute video (optionally accessed by visitors on a small touch screen in the exhibition) because it depicted a crucifix on the ground with ants walking on it. They interpreted the video imagery as anti-Christian.

This imagery was part of a surrealistic video collage filmed in Mexico expressing the suffering, marginalization and physical decay of those who were afflicted with AIDS. In the video, Wojnarowicz used religious imagery placing his work firmly in the tradition of art that uses such imagery to universalize human suffering.

Smithsonian officials and museum leaders are sensitive to public perceptions of the Institution's exhibitions. In this case, they believed that the attention to this particular video imagery and the way in which it was being interpreted by many overshadowed the importance and understanding of the entire exhibition. Thus the decision was made to remove the video from the exhibition.
Bronson's work - for me far more haunting than the Wojnarowicz video - is on loan to the NPG from the Ottawa-based National Gallery of Canada (NGC). He has reportedly sent an email to NGC director Marc Mayer claiming that his "moral rights under Canadian and American copyright law" are being violated because the NPG is refusing to return the photo.
I am instructing the National Gallery of Canada to remove my work Felix, June 5, 1994 from the Hide/Seek exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., immediately, and until such time as the David Wojnarowicz video is restored in full
Mayer has responded that
Now that we have been contacted by your lawyer on this complicated legal matter, you will understand that as representatives of the public interest, the responsible thing for us to do is to seek our own legal advise [sic]
The NPG has said it will not meet Bronson's request to remove his work from the exhibition. That refusal is consistent with US jurisprudence under the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) and with the Moral Rights provisions in Australian copyright law. As Maree Sainsbury comments in her definitive Moral rights and their application in Australia (Leichhardt: Federation Press 2003), the droit de retrait et de repentir has limited practical application.

Magic Plastic and bolts of joy

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, in an admirable expression of skepticism, has questioned promotion by vendors of Power Balance - the magical performance aid for athletes and wannabees.

Power Balance? According to its US site it is -
Performance Technology designed to work with your body’s natural energy field. Founded by athletes, Power Balance is a favorite among elite athletes for whom balance, strength and flexibility are important.

How Does the Hologram Work?

Power Balance is based on the idea of optimizing the body’s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies. The hologram in Power Balance is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.
Judging by the illustrations Power Balance comprises a plastic wristband with an implanted hologram. It's endorsed by numerous leading athletes.

History suggests that leading athletes will endorse a range of things, including lucky rabbit feet (albeit not so lucky to the rabbits who provided the feet), holy medals, blessed scrolls and other parapsychological bling.

The promoters state that -
Created by athletes dedicated to holistic care, Power Balance is a Performance Technology that is a favorite among elite athletes and individuals that strive to perform at the top of their game, no matter what it is. We're helping people excel with a revolutionary technology that's changing the way people live, work and play.

We started out with a single mission - bring out the best in people by bringing science and nature together. What we've been able to accomplish is extraordinary. Our customers are our biggest fans. Just listen to what some of them have to say.

Power Balance is committed to bringing our wearable performance technology to everyone so each individual can maximize their potential and live life to its fullest. We are dedicated to compassionate business practices, a firm belief in our products, and helping people every day.
A skeptic might query the terms "revolutionary", "science" and "nature".

The Therapeutic Products Advertising Complaints Resolution Panel indicated earlier this year that -
In relation to the advertised product, it stated that "you can restore balance & harmonic equilibrium… with a new ‘switch’", "Power Balance, after years of research and development, has produced a system to safely restore and optimise the electro-magnetic balance within the human body… IMMEDIATELY", "Power Balance's Mylar Holographic Disk (the same substance used to keep static electricity from damaging electrical components) has been imbedded with an electrical frequency that restores your body's electrical balance, promoting a free exchange of positive and negative ions and align your body's energy pathways", "the high density Disk acts much like a switch, resonating within your system and turning on your energy field while it clears the pathways so the electro-chemical exchange functions like the well-tuned generator it was meant to be", "RESULTS ARE ALMOST IMMEDIATE ... & TRULY PHENOMENAL", "unlike many other ionic electro-magnetic devices, the Power Balance Holographic Disks begin to work almost instantly, restoring optimal electro-magnetic balance and promoting free flowing energy pathways ... NO PROMISES, JUST RESULTS", and "the benefits are clear: faster synaptic response (brain function), enhanced muscle response (in both fast and slow twitch tissues), increased stamina (better oxygen uptake and recovery), more flexibility (faster recovery), and vastly improved gravitational balance."

The other advertisements were less extensive but made similar representations in relation to such benefits as "faster synaptic response (brain function)", "enhanced muscle response (in both fast and slow twitch tissues)", "increased stamina (better oxygen uptake and recovery)", "improved flexibility (faster recovery)", and "vastly improved gravitational balance."
The Panel requested the vendors to -
to withdraw any representations that the advertised product can restore balance and equilibrium, has effects on the "electro-magnetic balance within the human body", restores the body’s "electrical balance", has effects on ion exchange within the body, causes faster synaptic response, affects brain function, causes enhanced muscle response, increases stamina, improves oxygen uptake, improves recovery, improves flexibility, or improves "gravitational balance", together with any other representations that the advertised product is for therapeutic use.
The ACCC has now stated that -
Misleading advertising claims about the alleged benefits of Power Balance wristbands and pendants have been withdrawn by the manufacturer after Australian Competition and Consumer Commission intervention.

As a result consumers will be offered a refund if they feel they have been misled and Power Balance has agreed not to supply any more products that are misleadingly labelled.

Power Balance Australia Pty Ltd claimed the wristbands improve balance, strength and flexibility and worked positively with the body's natural energy field. It also marketed its products with the slogan "Performance Technology". The ACCC raised concerns that these claims were likely to mislead consumers into believing that Power Balance products have benefits that they do not have.

"Suppliers of these types of products must ensure that they are not claiming supposed benefits when there is no supportive scientific evidence," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said today.

"Consumers should be wary of other similar products on the market that make unsubstantiated claims, when they may be no more beneficial than a rubber band," Mr Samuel said.

Power Balance has admitted that there is no credible scientific basis for the claims and therefore no reasonable grounds for making representations about the benefits of the product. Power Balance has acknowledged that its conduct may have contravened the misleading and deceptive conduct section of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
One reader rather naughtily asked what's the difference between an athlete-endorsed rubber-band-with-hologram, a St Christopher medal or kabbalistic red string. Can we expect the ACCC to take action against vendors of coloured twine?

The answer is no. Religious bric a brac is fine (decorate yourself with string if you believe that keeps away the evil spirits, entities that are not recognised in Australian law): its authority is a matter of religious faith, rather than a claim of scientific authority, albeit many people confuse the two.

The ACCC media release commented that "When a product is heavily promoted, sold at major sporting stores, and worn by celebrities, consumers tend to give a certain legitimacy to the product and the representations being made". It goes on to indicate that -
To address the ACCC's concerns Power Balance has provided the ACCC with court-enforceable undertakings that it will:
* only make claims about its products if they are supported by a written report from an independent testing body that meets certain standards
* publish corrective advertising to prevent consumers from being misled in the future
* amend the Australian website to remove any misleading representations
* change the packaging to remove any misleading representations
* offer a refund to any consumers that feel they have been misled, and
* remove the words "performance technology" from the band itself.
The media release concides with announcement in the US that the chapel of Our Lady of Good Help has become what the NY Times describes as "one of only about a dozen sites worldwide, and the first in the United States, where apparitions of the Virgin Mary have been officially validated by the Roman Catholic Church".

The holiness of that site reflects the 1859 claim by Belgian immigrant Adele Brise that she had been visited three times by Mary, who -
hovered between two trees in a bright light, clothed in dazzling white with a yellow sash around her waist and a crown of stars above her flowing blond locks
That visitation came a year after the Virgin appeared in Lourdes, France, to other devotees.

The Times reports that -
On Dec. 8, after a two-year investigation by theologians who found no evidence of fraud or heresy and a long history of shrine-related conversions, cures and other signs of divine intervention, Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay declared "with moral certainty" that Ms. Brise did indeed have encounters "of a supernatural character" that are "worthy of belief".
The text of the Bishop's declaration is available [PDF].

The Times seems just a tad cynical, reporting that -
Catholic leaders described the decree in Wisconsin as a bolt of joy at a trying time for the Catholic church, which is troubled by revelations of sex abuse.

"This is a gift to the believers", said the Rev. Johann Roten, director of the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton.

"It would be devious to say that this was somehow pulled out of the attic to exorcise the problems of the church today", Father Roten said in a telephone interview. "But hopefully this will have a beneficial impact on the people, showing them that there are ways of living with faith that are very pure."

The Diocese of Green Bay is under fire from lawyers in an abuse-related lawsuit, who charge that it has obstructed justice by destroying potentially incriminating files on former priests.

Ephemera

From Lewis Lapham's 12 December post 'Sweet Celebrity' -
Let’s consider for a moment the fates of two men who took unique paths in military life and whose careers were once intertwined: General David Petraeus, now our Afghan War commander, and his former subordinate General Stanley McChrystal, our former Afghan War commander before he became the first general since Douglas MacArthur to be axed by a president -- in his case, for a Rolling Stone version of “loose lips sink ships” (or administrations). Petraeus, the most political U.S. general in memory, dusted off the failed counterinsurgency doctrine of the Vietnam era, made it bright and shiny again, built fabulous relationships in Congress and in militarized Washington think tanks, and then rode it all to the heights in Iraq and at U.S. Central Command. Now, in Afghanistan, without the slightest compunction, he's left his beloved counterinsurgency doctrine in a ditch as conditions on the ground worsen. Instead, he’s called in the firepower and the propaganda, both in double measure. (Oh, and in case you hadn't heard, we’ve finally achieved glorious victory in the godforsaken village of Marjah in southern Afghanistan where a senior Marine general recently announced that the battle against the Taliban there is “essentially over.” Huzzah!)

Thanks to such a string of dazzling “successes,” Petraeus has scaled the heights of American celebrity. Just the other day, he reached Mount-McKinley-esque elevations (with Everest still ahead) when ABC’s Barbara Walters declared him not just an “American hero” (though that, too), but the Most Fascinating Person of 2010! He topped a list which included Justin Bieber, Sarah Palin, and future British princess Kate Middleton, possibly because he has so much more bling than they do.

21 December 2010

Fake valour

The ABC reports that 84 year old Arthur 'Rex' Crane - former federal president of the Ex-Prisoners of War Association of Australia, supposedly a war hero, in reality guilty of identity offences - has been sentenced to four years in jail (suspended after six months) and to repay $413,000 in benefits.

Crane attracted media attention and community esteem as a veteran who had been tortured by the Japanese in 1942 (eg having one of his hands nailed to a tree and his head smashed by a soldier wielding a baseball bat). Alas, he was not on active service at that time and in fact was safely at school in South Australia.

Crane was exposed last year, as noted in this blog, and went on to plead guilty to defrauding the Commonwealth and obtaining a financial benefit by deception. He had falsely claimed $689,491 in war service pensions.

Military historian Lynette Silver is reported as commenting that the Veterans' Affairs Department, elsewhere characterised as one of the more torpid parts of the Commonwealth bureaucracy, should be investigated: "I was astounded that not enough research was done. For the military side, we had him stitched up within one month. It seems extraordinary that this really got past the authorities, and it makes you wonder exactly what was going on at the time."

Last year she commented that -
That story has been concocted very, very cleverly. He has chosen the most obscure background for himself, which a normal person could not trace, and which most people would not question.
Veterans' Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon stated [PDF] that the department works hard to ensure veterans receive their lawful entitlements -
The Australian Government takes very seriously the recognition and respect of those who have served our country and has no tolerance for those who fraudulently claim that recognition.

All allegations of fraud are investigated thoroughly.

The department has a dedicated compliance section that investigates all suspected cases of fraudulent activity.

Other ongoing measures that act as a deterrent are proof-of-identity checks and departmentally initiated reviews.

Format Rights

Still catching up on the semester's reading ...

In Robin George Le Strange Meakin v BBC, Paul Smith, Celador Productions, Martin Scott [2010] EWHC 2065(Ch) the English High Court (Chancery Division) has held that copyright could exist in a TV game show format.

In this instance summary judgment was granted to the defendants, with the Court finding that on the facts there was no derivation of the defendants' work from the claimant's and that the defendants had not taken a substantial part.

Robin Meakin claimed that game formats he had developed (eg 'Cash Call Millions Live') had been used by the defendants to develop and produce a series of programs ('Come and have a go if you think you are smart enough') that infringed his copyright and were based on confidential information that he had disclosed. He sought damages of up to £20 million.

Unauthorised exploitation of 'pitches' seems to be a perennial complaint, judging by interviews with independent program developers quoted in Georgiana Born's Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC (Secker and Warburg 2004). They have featured in cases such as Green v Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand [1989] RPC 700. Works on rights in program formats include'Format Rights: Opportunity Knocks' by Smith in 3 Entertainment Law Review (1991) 63, S Lane 'Format Rights in Television Shows: Law and Legislative Process' by Shelly Lane in 13(1) Statute Law Review (1992) 24, 'A Case for the Federal Protection of Television Formats: Testing the Limit of 'Expression'' by Frank Fine in 17 Pacific Law Journal (1985) 49 and 'Free to Air? Legal Protection for TV Program Formats' (John M. Olin Law and Economics Working Paper No. 513, 2010) by Neta-li Gottlieb.

Meakin communicated his proposal to Celador in November 2002 and to the BBC in September 2003. His game show format involved contestants at home using phones (alongside studio contestants) to win prizes on a live TV quiz though cumulative scores. Perhaps not the most original of concepts, albeit I'm unqualified to assess on the basis that Ii avoid game shows the way that vampires avoid holy water and bright sunlight. Inconveniently, competitor CHG communicated a similar proposal to the BBC in May 2002, the same month that the Beeb broadcast Test the Nation - a quiz program which featured participation via studio contestants and contestants at home via SMS and the net.

In considering the claims Arnold J (no relation) indicated that the Court was prepared to assume that there may be literary and dramatic copyright in the works in question, at least for the purpose of a summary judgment application.

In finding for the defendants the Court unsurprisingly held that Meakin had to show a real prospect of success regarding reproduction of a substantial part and derivation, concluding that Meakin's evidence of derivation concerned alleged similarities: "common features that are really in the nature of very general abstract similarities" that were evident in earlier works and were insufficient to give rise to an inference of copying. They were "no more than general ideas of a fairly high level or abstraction and, moreover, commonplace ideas in the field of television game show formats". The Court referred somewhat tartly to Meakin's claims embodying "a series of conspiracy theories" and that there was no realistic prospect of him successfully establishing that a substantial part of the expression of his proposals had been taken.

For a non-specialist much of the fun lies in the corporate names: Cat and Mouse Ltd ("a specialist IT supplier"), Chatterbox Partnership, Zeal Television, Talent Television ...

20 December 2010

No bells on the bunny

Last year this blog reported the Federal Court decision in Chocolaterie Guylian N.V. v Registrar of Trade Marks [2009] FCA 891, where Sundberg J upheld refusal trade mark registration of Guylian's seahorse-shaped chocolate. One cute chocolate looks much like another and thus does not gain a shape mark.

IPKat now reports that the General Court of the European Union in cases T-336/08, T-337/08, T-346/08, T-395/08 Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Spruengli v OHIM and T-13/09 Storck v OHIM has ruled that chocolate rabbits, reindeer, mice and small bells - like Guylian's chocolate sea creatures - lack distinctiveness and thus fail to meet requirements for shape protection under the Community trade mark regime (ie EU-wide trade mark protection).

Lindt had sought to trade mark the shape of a plain chocolate lapin. It had also sought to trade mark chocolate reindeer and rabbits wrapped in gold foil with a red ribbon around their little chocolate necks. It wanted protection for the ribbon and attached bell. Storck had sought a Community trade mark for the shape of a chocolate mouse.

According to the Court the shapes are devoid of any distinctive character: rabbits, reindeer and mice are typical shapes in which chocolate and chocolate goods are presented at Christmas and Easter. Presumably the same would be said of marzipan pigs and jelly snakes. Ribbons and bells are also insufficiently distinctive.

There's a short book - or at least a conference paper - to be written on trade marking confectionary.

Embraceable you

The Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA), the national telecommunications regulator, has reported that "Australians are embracing the digital economy, with big increases in the volume of data downloaded, time spent online and activities undertaken online".

That is the same message we've seen for a decade, but the latest data is interesting once yawns are stifled regarding yet another rendition of "most Australians today have access to the internet at multiple locations" and that "Australians are using the internet more intensively, going online more often for a much wider range of reasons".

ACMA indicates that as at June 2010 approximately 77% of the population 14 years and over had internet access at home. 66% had a broadband connection. Nearly 2.4 million people accessed the internet via their handheld mobiles during June 2010, up from 1.6 million during June 2009. ACMA's Communications Report 2009-10 [PDF] indicated that the total number of mobile services in operation (voice and data services) increased by 7% during 2009–10 to reach 25.99 million services at June 2010. Growth in mobile services was fuelled by an increase in the numbers of mobile wireless broadband services (datacard/dongle connected to a computer), up by 71% over the period to reach 3.46 million at June 2010.

28% of people 14 years and over were estimated to be 'heavy' internet users (ie online more than 15 hours a week) in June 2010, up from 14% during June 2005. A further 27% were considered medium users (between 7 and 15 hours a week) and 23% light users (up to 7 hours a week).

An estimated 155,503 terabytes of data were downloaded in Australia during the June quarter of 2010, compared to 99,249 terabytes during the June quarter of 2009. Online social networking supposedly continues to be a "major driving force in the increasing intensity of online participation, with 8.7 million Australians accessing mainstream social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube from home during June 2010 alone, spending in total more than 41.5 million hours on these sites. 6 million people accessed "mainstream online news sites" from home during June 2010.

19 December 2010

Vetting

The NSW Ombudsman has released a 38 page report on Improving probity standards for funded organisations [PDF].

The Ombudsman states that -
Each year an estimated 3,000 organisations receive almost $2 billion in funds and subsidies to deliver a range of community-based services on behalf of the NSW government. The government's reliance on non-government organisations to deliver services on its behalf will undoubtedly continue to increase in the future. With increases in funding and responsibilities comes the need for greater accountability. Non-government organisations must be transparent and accountable not only for the public funds that they receive but for the services that they provide to many of the most vulnerable in our community. The community reasonably expects that organisations which receive public funds will have adequate safeguards in place in relation to their screening of prospective employees, management committee members and other volunteers.

This report considers the adequacy of probity checking standards that government agencies have put in place for non-government organisations that they fund in the health and human services sectors. In particular, the report focuses on the inconsistency of requirements relating to probity checking of prospective employees, board members and others involved in the planning or delivery of funded services to vulnerable people. Our work in reviewing the delivery of community services and oversighting employment related child abuse allegations has revealed cases where funded agencies have failed to undertake basic checks of prospective employees who have histories of violence, fraud and substance abuse. Failing to identify and properly address serious probity issues has the potential to not only damage the credibility of organisations but also lead to unidentified and unmanaged risks for agencies and the vulnerable individuals they care for and assist. It is essential that effective and consistent probity checking be introduced in these agencies.

Our review has identified that there are significant inconsistencies in the probity checking requirements imposed by funding agencies across the health and human services sectors. Our findings have been informed by our review of specific cases and extensive discussions with government and non-government agencies in this area. It is clear that there is strong support for a more consistent, efficient and rigorous probity checking system to be adopted. This report makes a range of recommendations designed to assist in meeting this challenge.
The report continues -
we asked participating agencies to provide advice on the systems that health and human sector agencies currently use to assess the probity of prospective employees, board members and other volunteers involved in the planning and delivery of government-funded services in NSW. Their responses highlighted significant variations in the measures currently used to identify and address potential probity problems. A critical factor is the differing standards that each government agency appears to expect of the services that they fund. This is reflected in the guidance that they provide which can vary greatly from one government agency to the next. Even within an individual agency, the approach used by differing programs can vary. Occasionally the differences reflect differing levels of risk. However, in many cases, there is no clear rationale for the disparities and inconsistencies.

One of the few forms of probity checking applied with any degree of consistency are the checks imposed by legislative schemes, such as the working with children check for individuals seeking certain forms of child-related employment and the criminal record checks carried out by the Registrar of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 with respect to individuals seeking positions as a board members, chief executive officers or employees of Local Aboriginal Land Councils. Although these checks are consistently carried out, their effectiveness could be improved. As noted below, NSW’s working with children check is currently the subject of a statutory review.

Some legislative probity checking requirements are also linked to funding conditions, such as the criminal record checks required by certain programs funded by the Federal Government. For example, screening is required by the Commonwealth’s Aged Care Act 1997. Similarly, NGOs in the health sector, which receive Commonwealth funding support, generally require pre-employment criminal record checks. The NSW Ageing, Disability & Home Care agency requires non-government aged care providers to conduct criminal record checks of their employees and some volunteers.

The participants at our roundtable forum and other stakeholders agreed that probity checking is, or at least should be, incorporated into funded organisations’ selection and recruiting practices. This involves processes to identify the best person for a particular job, or the suitability of a volunteer for a particular role in certain circumstances. In addition to those circumstances requiring working with children checks and criminal record checks, the process can also include previous employment checks (including checks for information about any formal employment proceedings or disciplinary issues), and other types of probity or reference checks.

Not the messiah, just a naughty boy

I've been reading The Secret Life of Julian Assange (aged 16) instead of No Ordinary Deal: Unmaking the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (Sydney: Allen & Unwin 2011), a worthy collection - edited by Jane Kelsey and with chapters by Jock Given, John Quiggin, Tom Faunce and Patricia Ranald - regarding the FTA.

I jest about Assange, of course, but can't help thinking that his musings from 2006 - revealed via the Internet Archive - are very Secret Life of Adrian Mole, with added crypto and arrogance.

What's one to make of -
Sat 24 Jun 2006: Canberra

Canberra, Australia; the physical realisation of Rand corporation propaganda films about the beneficial effects of the neutron bomb. From the air it's a Walter Burley-Griffin concentric bomb target. From the ground, well, the bomb has landed --- everywhere there's the faceless facades of government. If there is an average Canberrian, milling about the grand emptiness, it is the Doric column. Canberra is encircled by them, weaving about like the Styx, bordering nowhere and Hades, and like the corporate firewall, keeping the dead in and the living out.

After my state sponsored stay at ANU, I ended up at a backpackers filled with some of the 900 Christians from the Australian University Christian Convergence. Most were young women and I turned, somewhat disgracefully, into a sort of Chesterton's Hardy, the village atheist, brooding and blaspheming over the village idiot, while they, for their part, tried to convert me with the rise and fall their bosoms.

One of the devout was the lovely daughter of a New Castle minister. At some point in my unintended wooing of her, she looked up, fluttered her eyelids and said "Oh, you know so much! I hardly know anything!". "That is why you believe in God", I explained. This conversational brutality took her breath away and she swooned.
Assange channelling Barbara Cartland is not pretty. He continued that -
I was exactly what she secretly longed for; a man willing to openly disagree with her father. All along she had needed a man to devote herself to. All along she had failed to find a man worthy of being called a man, failed to find a man who would not bow to gods, so she had chosen a god unworthy of being called a god, but who would not bow to a man.
or
Thu 29 Jun 2006: Krill to the baleen of the feminine

I've always found women caught in a thunderstorm appealing. Perhaps it is a male universal, for without advertising this proclivity a lovely girl I knew, but not well, on discovering within herself lascivious thoughts about me and noticing raindrops outside her windows, stood for a moment fully clothed in her shower before letting the wind and rain buffet her body as she made her tremulous approach to my door and of course I could not turn her away.

But then, just when one might suspect that men are krill to the baleen of female romantic manipulation, I found myself loving a girl who was a coffee addict. I would make a watery paste of finely ground coffee and surreptitiously smear this around my neck and shoulders before seducing her so she would associate my body with her dopaminergic cravings. But every association relates two objects both ways. She started drinking more and more coffee. Sometimes I looked at her cups of liquid arabicia with envious eyes for if there were four cups then somehow, I was one of them, or a quarter of everyone one of them ...
All in all I'd prefer his musings on John Rawls.

Other dicta from St Julian of the Wiki include -
Mon 26 Feb 2007: Average shy intellectuals

X is an "average shy intellectual" and in that is a sounding for characters of his type. This type is often of a noble heart, wilted by fear of conflict with authority. The power of their intellect and noble instincts may lead them to a courageous position, where they see the need to take up arms, but their instinctive fear of authority then motivates them to find rationalizations to avoid conflict.
I'm reminded of a passage in a 23 October NY Times profile by John Burns & Ravi Somaiya -
In an online exchange with one volunteer, a transcript of which was obtained by The Times, [Assange] warned that WikiLeaks would disintegrate without him. "We've been in a Unity or Death situation for a few months now", he said.

When Herbert Snorrason, a 25-year-old political activist in Iceland, questioned Mr. Assange’s judgment over a number of issues in an online exchange last month, Mr. Assange was uncompromising. "I don’t like your tone", he said, according to a transcript. "If it continues, you’re out."

Mr. Assange cast himself as indispensable. "I am the heart and soul of this organization, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organizer, financier, and all the rest", he said. "If you have a problem with me", he told Mr. Snorrason, using an expletive, he should quit.

In an interview about the exchange, Mr. Snorrason’s conclusion was stark. "He is not in his right mind", he said. In London, Mr. Assange was dismissive of all those who have criticized him. "These are not consequential people", he said.
Nothing like dismissing the inconsequential, among whom is presumably found Jaron Lanier - whose critique of Wikileaks strikes me as persuasive.

18 December 2010

Personhood and IT systems

Given my interest in law's conceptualisation of personhood and rights I was interested to see a 99 page article by F. Patrick Hubbard on 'Do Androids Dream?: Personhood and Intelligent Artifacts' (forthcoming in 83 Temple Law Review 2010 and available via SSRN)

Hubbard proposes a test to be used "in answering an important question that has never received detailed jurisprudential analysis" -
What happens if a human artifact like a large computer system requests that it be treated as a person rather than as property?
His Article responds that such an entity should be granted a legal right to personhood if it has the following capacities: (1) an ability to interact with its environment and to engage in complex thought and communication; (2) a sense of being a self with a concern for achieving its plan for its life; and (3) the ability to live in a community with other persons based on, at least, mutual self interest.
In order to develop and defend this test of personhood, the Article sketches the nature and basis of the liberal theory of personhood, reviews the reasons to grant or deny autonomy to an entity that passes the test, and discusses, in terms of existing and potential technology, the categories of artifacts that might be granted the legal right of self ownership under the test. Because of the speculative nature of the Article’s topic, it closes with a discussion of the treatment of intelligent artifacts in science fiction.
He suggests that any artifact, including machine-based entities , is entitled to treatment as a person rather than as property if it possesses the requisite capacities, unless there is a very good reason to deny some or all the legal rights that normally go with personhood.
This normative argument is limited to the political or legal right to self ownership within a pluralist liberal polity. Concepts of moral personhood overlap with this topic, but the moral dimensions of personhood include a different, and in some ways more stringent and contentious, set of concerns.

Before addressing the test to be used in assessing the capacity for personhood, this Article starts in Part I by sketching two fundamental claims about humans and personhood: first, the claim that because humans, and only humans, generally have the capacity to think and plan as self-conscious beings at a high level, only humans are entitled to the right of being autonomous persons rather than property, and second, the liberal assertion that all fully functioning humans are equally entitled to this right. This discussion also develops the problems raised by degrees in the human capacity to exercise personhood and by charges of speciesism directed at the human treatment of higher-order animals.

Part II develops a test for determining whether an artificial entity satisfies the claim of being the equivalent of a human in terms of the capacities required for autonomous personhood and argues that an entity, like the machine system in the imaginary scenario above, that passes the test is entitled to be treated as a person. This discussion focuses on personhood in terms of autonomy and self ownership. Personhood in terms of more specific civil and political rights is also discussed, but a complete analysis of these topics is beyond the scope of this Article. Issues concerning the details and administration of the test of capacity are also not addressed. The final discussion in this part uses a technological perspective to analyze the types of human artifacts that might be entitled to the status of artificial personhood and addresses the issues of whether and how to limit or shape technological development so that artificial entities do not replace humans as the dominant species.

Part III uses science fiction as a way to consider the possible ways humans might relate to self-conscious artifacts capable of, and therefore entitled to, personhood. The conclusion argues that we should recognize the right of self ownership where the capacity test is met and to seek to develop some form of peaceful coexistence, particularly one which fosters the development of a shared political community.

When you wish upon a $tar

From Mark Vernon's review of Rhonda Byrne's The Power, her 'law of attraction' tract, with Vernon echoing William James in noting that "a positive attitude is important, but it is not going to protect you from actual evil". (A less indulgent review was noted here.)
The law of attraction is likened to magnetism. "Everything in the universe is magnetic and everything has a magnetic frequency," Byrne explains in The Power. Thoughts and feelings have magnetic frequencies too. Hence, what you feel sets your frequency, and so what you will magnetically attract — be that money or poverty, health or illness, good relationships or disasters, and so on.

She describes a methodology. First, imagine yourself having it. Second, feel yourself with it. Third, receive it — for by then the magnetic force of the cosmos will be working through you. If you don't receive it, that must be because you messed up steps one and two.

Take money. "If you don't have enough money, naturally you don't feel good", Byrne says. But you won't have money if you keep feeling that way; you'll only attract more bills and expenses. So feel easy, at peace, and relaxed about money: "that feeling is magnetically sticky". And that means cash will stick to you too. "One man wrote a check for $100 to a charity", she cites in a brief case study. "Within ten hours he'd closed his biggest sale."
Apart from recognition that The Power is an exercise in victim-blaming, let's not worry about Byrne's willingness to conflate causation, coincidence and correlation.

Vernon goes on to comment that
Alongside such 'evidence', pseudo-science is rallied to the cause too. For example, Byrne latches onto the 'tipping point' phenomenon, interpreting it to mean that if 51% of your thoughts are positive, you'll attract more and more in an exponential curve — what people colloquially refer to as a lucky streak. There are nods to quantum physics and Werner Heisenberg's description of the universe as a sea of 'potentialities'. No notice, of course, is taken of the massive destructiveness of the quantum world, which is the source of energy for nuclear weapons, and which Heisenberg was also referring to.
From there it's just a hop, skip and very small jump to nonsense about "quantum healing" or the precognition, remote viewing, dowsing, 'quantum holism' and reincarnation featured in World Futures journal, edited by Ervin Laszlo and with each issue typically featuring at least one effusive reference to the founder.

A contact has pointed me to the latest reincarnation of Laszlo's GlobalShift University. Having morphed from WorldShift U to GlobalShift U it appears to have been rebadged as the Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University (GBGU). Given my wariness about repackaging theosophical claptrap I won't be rushing to enrol.

The institution indicates that -
The Club of Budapest International and The Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University reciprocally participate in the board of academic counselors of our respective institutions, with the intention that the Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University will incorporate the educational framework of reference of The Club of Budapest International as the philosophical essence of its academic and curricular programs, and The Club of Budapest International will recognize the Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University as its educational and pedagogical arm in extending its fundamental mission to the youth of all countries in the world.
The Club of Budapest is another entity under the aegis of Laszlo. Its local arm is apparently comatose after the "3rd Timely Transformation Event of The Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day leading up to 2012" -
On this day, hundreds of thousands of people resonated in high consciousness and sent powerful bright thoughts to humanity and to our beautiful Planet Earth from five continents, from Australia and Uzbekistan to the United States, from Italy and Uganda to Costa Rica. Participants from 45 countries registered with us and we imagine there were more countries involved.
Can't have too much resonating, although some TM-style levitation would have been cute.

Who would have guessed it: Laszlo is the GBGU Chancellor. The University - not, apparently, a body recognised by Australia's national Education Department - features a Center for Advanced Study. Sign up (and presumably hand over your loot) and you can apparently enjoy a course on 'Social, Economic, Cultural and Consciousness Evolution: Trends, Prospects and Possibilities' -
World III will provide an initial concept or vision of a sustainable and humane civilization, and the social, economic, cultural, and psychological paths and processes that could lead to it.

When students have completed the introduction to World I (fostering a better understanding of the origins and evolution of humanity and human consciousness) and World II (re-examining the psychological and cultural basis of today’s one-dimensional identities and hierarchical social structures), they will have the critical and independent "nonsubordinate" spirit to envisage new paths for the evolution of today’s social, economic, and cultural structures and processes.

Due to the multiple crises that destabilize the contemporary world, today’s young generation will witness a radical rupture with the dominant civilization. Thanks to emerging revolutionary information technologies, young people have a unique opportunity to move towards a conscious humanism — to produce a "globalshift" leading to a world of embracing solidarity, ecological responsibility, and transnational ethics and communities.
The University is also offering a PhD in Consciousness Studies, which of course emphasises quantum consciousness. Sounds very impressive, albeit concerns might be raised if readers recall Laszlo's enthusiastic endorsement of communication with the dead (or is it the undead) via a valve radio, Mayan Calendar 2012 endism, Akashic Field healing, the brain shifting "from being an EM-wave and photon-wave receiver to operating as a quantum-field transceiver" and so forth. It might have been simpler to just call the institution Blavatsky U, issue applicants with a ouija board or the collected works of Edgar Cayce and collect the money.

17 December 2010

IPTF Privacy Report

The Internet Policy Task Force, an entity under the aegis of the US federal Department of Commerce, has released an 88 page green paper on Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework [PDF], one of thopse documents with just a little bit of something for everyone and lots of stirring rhetoric.

The paper proposes a 'Privacy Bill of Rights' - extending the rather woolly US Fair Information Practice Principles - in an ostensible effort to increase transparency regarding the online collection of user information, promote "audits and other forms of enforcement to increase accountability" and bound the use of consumer data by enterprises.

Bureaucratic empire maintenance is everything and the paper thus comes on the heels of Federal Trade Commission's even softer proposals [PDF] of earlier this month.

The Commerce paper comments that -
personal computers, mobile phones, and other devices—have been transforming the U.S. economy and social life. Uses of personal information have also multiplied, and many believe that privacy laws have struggled to keep up. The lag between developments in intensive uses of personal information and the responses of current systems of privacy regulation around the world leaves consumers with a sense of insecurity about whether using new services will expose them to harm.

Commercial data privacy policy must address a continuum of risks to personal privacy, ranging from minor nuisances and unfair surprises, to disclosure of sensitive information in violation of individual rights, injury or discrimination based on sensitive personal attributes that are improperly disclosed, actions and decisions in response to misleading or inaccurate information, and costly and potentially life-disrupting identity theft. In the aggregate, even the harms at the less severe end of this spectrum have significant adverse effects, because they undermine consumer trust in the Internet environment. Diminished trust, in turn, may cause consumers to hesitate before adopting new services and impede innovative and productive uses of new technologies, such as cloud computing systems.

Though existing U.S. commercial data privacy policy has enabled the digital economy to flourish, current challenges are likely to become more acute as the U.S. economy and society depend more heavily on broadened use of personal information that can be more easily gathered, stored, and analyzed. At the same time, innovators in information technology face uncertainty about whether their innovations will be consistent with consumer privacy expectations.

This green paper reviews the technological, legal, and policy contexts of current commercial data privacy challenges; describes the importance of developing a more dynamic approach to commercial privacy both in the United States and around the world; and discusses policy options (and poses additional questions) to meet today’s privacy challenges in ways that enable continued innovation. The Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force began work over a year ago by consulting with
stakeholders in industry, civil society, academia, and government ...

While the green paper does not express a commitment to specific policy proposals, it does address areas of policy and possible approaches that were identified and discussed as part of the outreach efforts. More specific proposals may be considered, as appropriate, in a future white paper.
Give me chastity, it seems, but not quite yet.

The paper goes on to indicate that
As the Task Force continues to discuss these policy areas, it will coordinate its efforts closely with the Office of Management & Budget (OMB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and other key government actors that play a leadership role in these areas. To the extent that the recommendations could have a substantive effect on the privacy framework beyond a purely commercial context, OMB and other agencies have central roles.

NOI respondents were virtually unanimous in calling for strengthening the US commercial data privacy framework. Though the details of the comments varied, a majority of respondents suggested that there is a compelling need to ensure transparency and informed consent, to provide additional guidance to businesses, to establish a baseline commercial data privacy framework to afford protection for consumers, and to clarify the US approach to commercial data privacy — all without compromising the current framework’s ability to accommodate customer service, innovation, and appropriate uses of new technologies. Commenters also drew our attention to the strengths of the current privacy regime: fundamental privacy values (with constitutional foundations); flexible, adaptable common law and State-based consumer protection statutes; the FTC’s strong enforcement role; open government (promoting accountability and citizens’ access to dispersed information); and policy development with the active involvement of many stakeholders and the public as a whole. To address new challenges and to draw from the best features of current privacy law and policy, the Task Force offers for consideration a Dynamic Privacy Framework.

The Framework is designed to protect privacy, transparency, and informed choice while also recognizing the importance of improving customer service, recognizing the dynamic nature of both technologies and markets, and encouraging continued
innovation over time.
That Framework includes policy recommendations under four broad categories -
1. Enhance Consumer Trust Online Through Recognition of Revitalized Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs). Americans care deeply about their privacy and, in surveys, express disapproval of a variety of common commercial data practices on privacy grounds. At the same time, more and more citizens in the US and around the world chose to participate in the Internet marketplace every day. Unfortunately, there is evidence that misunderstandings of commercial data privacy protections are widespread among adult Internet users in the US. To provide consistent, comprehensible data privacy protection in new and established commercial contexts, we recommend that the US Government recognize a full set of Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs) as a foundation for commercial data privacy.

Revitalized FIPPs should emphasize substantive privacy protection rather than simply creating procedural hurdles. To promote informed consent without imposing undue burdens on commerce and on commercial actors, FIPPs should promote increased transparency through simple notices, clearly articulated purposes for data collection, commitments to limit data uses to fulfill these purposes, and expanded use of robust audit systems to bolster accountability. Possible approaches include providing strong support for the development of voluntary, enforceable codes of conduct that allow for continued flexibility as technologies and business models evolve; creating safe harbors against FTC enforcement; disfavoring prescriptive rules; and lowering barriers for the global free flow of goods and services online. Consistent with our focus on commercial data privacy, we make no recommendation with respect to data privacy laws and policies that cover information maintained by the Federal Government, or those that cover specific industry sectors, such as healthcare, financial services, and education.

2. Encourage the development of voluntary, enforceable privacy codes of conduct in specific industries through the collaborative efforts of multi-stakeholder groups, the FTC, and a Privacy Policy Office within the Department of Commerce. The adoption of baseline FIPPs for commercial data privacy, on its own, is not likely to provide sufficient protection for privacy in the dynamic, global Internet economy. Commercial data privacy policy must be able to evolve rapidly to meet a continuing stream of innovations. A helpful step would be to enlist the expertise and knowledge of the private sector, and to consult existing best practices, in order to create voluntary codes of conduct that promote informed consent and safeguard personal information. Multi-stakeholder bodies, in which commercial and non-commercial actors participate voluntarily, have shown that they have the potential to address the technical and public policy challenges of commercial data privacy. The US and other countries can increase their reliance on these institutions, provided that there are adequate back-stops (in the form of regulatory authority or otherwise) to fill in if the multi-stakeholder process fails to develop meaningful, enforceable commercial data privacy practices in a timely way.

The government also has an important role to play in such a multistakeholder approach to developing voluntary codes of conduct as a convener (in addition to or instead of as a traditional regulator). In this capacity, the government can provide the coordination and encouragement to bring the necessary stakeholders together to examine innovative new uses of personal information and better understand changing consumer expectations — and identify privacy risks — early in the lifecycle of new products or services.

To this end, we recommend establishing a Privacy Policy Office (PPO) in the Department of Commerce. The PPO would continue the work of the IPTF by acting as both a convener of diverse stakeholders and a center of Administration commercial data privacy policy expertise. The PPO would work with the FTC in leading efforts to develop voluntary but enforceable codes of conduct. Companies would voluntarily adopt the appropriate code developed through this process. This commitment, however, would be enforceable by the FTC. Compliance with such a code would serve as a safe harbor for companies facing certain complaints about their privacy practices. The dynamic process of voluntary code development would provide a greater measure of certainty than many companies are currently able to obtain, but it would also be flexible enough to keep pace with commercial innovations.

Focusing exclusively on commercial data privacy, the PPO would be distinct from the existing roles and authorities of OMB and the senior privacy officers of Federal agencies. Similarly, the work of the PPO would not overlap with the Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s mission to protect privacy and civil liberties in government collection and use of information in the exercise of its law enforcement, counter-terrorism, and foreign intelligence authorities. The PPO would work closely with OMB and other agencies and would coordinate with the FTC, which will continue to serve independent enforcement, rulemaking, agency policymaking, and education roles.

3. Encourage Global Interoperability. At the same time that decreasing regulatory barriers to trade is a high priority, disparate privacy laws have a growing impact on global competition. There is an urgent need to renew our commitment to leadership in the global privacy policy debate. All around the world, including in the EU, policymakers are rethinking their privacy frameworks. As a leader in the global Internet economy, it is incumbent on the US to develop an online privacy framework that enhances trust and encourages innovation. Congressional leadership, continued FTC enforcement efforts and Administration engagement will all be important to establish that the US has a strong privacy framework and is committed to strengthening it further. Differences in form and substance between US and other national privacy laws make it increasingly complicated for companies to provide goods and services in global markets. Nations in the European Union and other major US trading partners have adopted omnibus privacy laws, a situation that requires individual companies to demonstrate that their own practices provide privacy protections that foreign governments consider adequate. This process can be costly, complicated, and uncertain, especially as other countries and regions consider changes to their own privacy laws.

Consistent with the general goal of decreasing regulatory barriers to trade and commerce, the U.S. Government should work with our allies and trading partners to promote low-friction, cross-border data flow through increased global interoperability of privacy frameworks. While the privacy laws across the globe have substantive differences, these laws are frequently based on the same fundamental values. We should work with our allies to find practical means of bridging differences, especially those that are often more a matter of form than substance. Global privacy interoperability should build on accountability, mutual recognition and reciprocity, and enforcement cooperation principles pioneered in the OECD and APEC. Agreements with other privacy authorities around the world (coordinated by key actors in the Federal Government) will reduce the significant business global compliance costs.

4. Ensure Nationally Consistent Security Breach Notification Rules. Finally, we recommend the consideration of a Federal commercial data security breach notification (SBN) law that sets national standards, addresses how to reconcile inconsistent State laws, and authorizes enforcement by State authorities. State-level SBN laws have been successful in directing private-sector resources to protecting personal data and reducing identity theft, but the differences among them present undue costs to American businesses. The FTC and individual States should have authority to enforce this law. A comprehensive national approach to commercial data breach would provide clarity to individuals regarding the protection of their information throughout the US, streamline industry compliance, and allow businesses to develop a strong, nationwide data management strategy. This recommendation, however, is not meant to suggest preempting of other federal security breach notification laws, including those for specific sectors, such as healthcare. A reinvigorated approach to commercial data privacy must be guided by open government-inspired consultation; it can work only with the active engagement of the commercial sector, civil society, academia, and the technical community. The Task Force will work closely with other Federal Government actors to further this engagement and to address new challenges.
FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz responded with -
the Green Paper is a welcome addition to the ongoing dialogue about protecting consumers' privacy. It places special emphasis on policies that will preserve the viability of the Internet as it evolves through innovation, transforms the marketplace, and spurs economic growth. We think it will make a significant contribution to the growing and critical debate about how best to protect the privacy of American consumers.
Hugs all around