Category Archives: Law: Privacy

Windows 7/8/8.1 Is Spying on You. This Batch File Will Reduce It.

Concerned by sneaky updates to Windows telemetry on my Win 7 boxes … the object of which seems to be to degrade their privacy to a level equal to Window 10 minus the always-on eavesdropping of Cortana (No Thanks!)…I am running this batch file from an elevated command prompt to clean things up. I adapted it and slimmed it down from the to my eye excessive version at

Text of the key parts of the file below if your system blocks downloads of .bat files, as well it might.
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Posted in ID Cards and Identification, Law: Privacy, Software | 2 Comments


“If you think privacy is unimportant for you because you have nothing to hide, you might as well say free speech is unimportant for you because you have nothing useful to say.” (source)

I have seen this attributed to Edward Snowden but I’ve also seen it said that his original was “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” (Snowden in this reddit interview.) Either way it’s good.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Law: Privacy | 1 Comment Indeed

The new Ashley Madison Hack lookup tool is at

As the site notes, just because an email is in there doesn’t prove the person who uses it signed up. But I would find it at least suggestive once we have some evidence that the DB itself is the real thing. (I suppose this doesn’t suffice.)

Thirty-six million — 36 million! — names in the hacked Ashley Madison database? Perhaps North Americans really are not that different from the French when it comes to affairs, just sneakier.

That said, (unlike some and some more) I don’t look forward to an orgy of outing with much pleasure, and think it likely will hurt more people than it helps. I guess I believe that at least in some cases, although certainly not all, the pig really is happier than Socrates.

Posted in Internet, Law: Privacy | Leave a comment

Time for Your Annual Privacy Checkup

Privacy Checkup – My Account – Google

Posted in Internet, Law: Privacy | 2 Comments

Be Warned

EDRi, Microsoft’s new small print – how your personal data is (ab)used:

Summing up these 45 pages, one can say that Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties. The company appears to be granting itself the right to share your data either with your consent “or as necessary”.

This was particularly ominous:

Also, when device encryption is on, Windows automatically encrypts the drive Windows is installed on and generates a recovery key. The BitLocker recovery key for the user’s device is automatically backed up online in the Microsoft OneDrive account.

That said, there will be a few things you can turn off by deep diving into your computer’s settings and the Privacy Dashboard. And, I suspect, by not having a Microsoft Account or a OneDrive at all.

Microsoft’s new services agreement goes into effect on 1 August 2015, only a couple of days after the launch of the Windows 10 operating system on 29 July.

Posted in Law: Privacy, Software | Leave a comment

Caroline Thinks It’s Creepy (and Ugly)

creepyWhen I got home yesterday, this ad (which is actually just the front of a very involved mailer that opens up to have three more sales sheets inside) was waiting for me in the day’s mail. I’m used to getting ‘personalized’ mail that addresses me by name — often by the wrong name since I haven’t been called by my legal name since birth. But this was the first piece of direct mail that linked my name and my wife’s. Since I spend much of the day reading and thinking about databases, identification, and privacy, I wasn’t terribly creeped out about this, but Caroline clearly was, saying it was “excessively personal.” I don’t think the problem was the knowledge that someone knows we are together, since we haven’t made much secret of it for the last 26 years or so. Caroline also asked me to note that the necklace is very ugly.

The ad does make me wonder how often things like this turn up with the wrong name on it (fortunately, my wife’s name is indeed Caroline). Or just after people die, or break up. Could get ugly. Queue references to the famous Target incident.

Note to marketers: I believe that when we had the insides of our wedding rings engraved with our names we exhausted our demand for personalized jewelry.

Posted in Law: Privacy | 2 Comments

We Robot 2016 Official Logo


Posted in Law: Privacy, Robots, Talks & Conferences | Leave a comment