Tag Archives: data protection

Terms and conditions apply

Update: Irish Times communities editor David Cochrane has pointed out that, while the main @IrishTimes twitter account does not engage with followers, many of the staff who have twitter accounts do engage. I’m happy to clarify that point. Data protection is boring. Obscure activist groups in Austria suing Facebook over their cookie policy, or yet another Guardian powerpoint from Edward Snowden about the NSA, or yet another heavily written European… Read Article →

JobBridge: The Story So Far

Back in March 2012, I sent a Freedom of Information request to FÁS and the Department of Social Protection (DSP) seeking two items: (1) Records maintained by FÁS relating to the number of jobbridge positions accepted by participants, how many jobbridge programmes have been completed, and relating to what happened afterwards to participants. (2) Records relating to the assessment, monitoring, quality control mechanisms etc FÁS is using in relation to… Read Article →

Just A Phone Call Away

Garda John O’Toole needed a favour. Phone records necessary for a criminal inquiry were trapped in bureaucratic hell, and the investigation was going nowhere. He phoned his brother-in-law in Garda HQ, asking if he could speed things up. The chief had signed the authorisations, but nothing was happening at the phone company. DI Nyham said he’d see what he could do. He phoned the GPO, spoke to someone (he couldn’t… Read Article →

Spider Hack

Mention earlier this week of the Morris tribunal reminds me of one of the minor riddles that inquiry left in my mind. In June 2005, the tribunal apparently learned that it’s website had been ‘hacked’. The Sunday Times later reported that ‘rogue computer software known as spyware was attached to the server used to “air” the Morris tribunal website.’ ‘This spyware then uncovered the secret web link to the tribunal’s… Read Article →


The Friday Irish Times front page, which went to press an hour or so ago, has a picture of environment minister John Gormley chatting with some national school children. Gormley’s other official duty today was to announce the scrapping of misguided government plans to introduce evoting. Back in March, Gormley conceded it was ‘inconceivable‘ that the machines, which cost over €50million to buy and millions more in storage, would ever… Read Article →


A few months ago, I bought an electronic toll device. When I entered my car registration number, the NRA webpage updated to show me the make, model, colour and country of registration of my car. A quick test showed I could also look up any other car details simply by entering a registration number. When I phoned to point out the obvious risk of putting this information online, I was… Read Article →