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[Fsfe-uk] Standards destroy privacy

From: Andrew Savory
Subject: [Fsfe-uk] Standards destroy privacy
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 11:35:50 +0100 (BST)

Thought this might be more on-topic here ;-)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 10:56:45 +0100
From: Jeremy Quinn <address@hidden>
Reply-To: address@hidden
To: address@hidden
Subject: [off-topic] Standards destroy privacy

Dear All,

Sorry about the off-topic message.

In New Scientist magazine this week, there is an article in the
"Opinion Viewpoint" section by Mike Holderness, entitled "Every
step you take: Making Government databases fit the best
standards of compatibility is what will destroy privacy, not

Date 25 May 2002
Issue 2344
Page 50
It is not on their website yet <http://www.newscientist.com>

The highly amusing (but scary) article presents a future
fictitious scenario where all British Government Department
databases can be cross referenced, because their idealistic
technicians have used the kind of XML-based open standards we
are implementing!

He presents the case that because these databases (Tax, VAT,
Vehicle licenses, TV licenses, Health etc.) are all implemented
using incompatible proprietary systems, information about us
cannot be cross referenced and that this constitutes an
important safeguard to our privacy (we have no constitution in
the UK).

How about adding a clause to the Apache License, "This software
cannot be used to reduce anybody's human rights or civil
liberties". ;)

regards Jeremy

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