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Category: law and society (page 1 of 12)

Obscuring our Digital Identity

For many people there is a pervasive image of a VPN user, it’s something like a young person wearing a hoodie, hunched up in a coffee shop with their laptop. They’re probably trying to hack into some government computers and are on the run from the authorities. As a VPN hides your location and your internet traffic there’s a natural idea that the person is up to no good and indeed has something to hide.

The reality is actually a long way from this perception and although many hackers do indeed use VPNs routinely so do an awful lot of ordinary people. Indeed most large corporations have been using VPNs for decades to support inbound connections from remote users. For example if a salesman needs access to the product database on the company’s network it’s much simpler to allow them to connect through the internet and view the latest version. This is much more secure than travelling around with DVDs and of course ensures that he or she has the latest versions.

If you make any sort of normal connection over the internet, all your traffic is pretty much visible, i.e anyone with a mind can intercept and read it. If you’re logging and connecting to a protected share then this would include usernames and passwords. So in order to secure these connections, you would commonly install a VPN client on the laptop and ensure it’s used to encrypt the connection back to the company network. It’s completely legitimate and indeed smart business practice.

Ordinary home users will use VPNs for very similar reasons. Basically the internet is insecure and there is little provision for security built in automatically. Sure you can access secure sites through things like SSL when you need to enter a credit card or payment information. However this is the exception not the rule and most sites are not secure and the vast majority of data flies across the wires in clear text.

In addition to the general insecurity of the internet, there’s the other issue of privacy. Your browsing data is easily accessible via a variety of sources. For a start, there’s a complete list in your ISP of everything you do online and depending on where you live this can be routinely and easily accessed. Using a VPN stops this, turning your web activity into an encrypted list which is unreadable without your permission. Are they used by cyber criminals and terrorists? Sure but also by millions of people who think that what they do online shouldn’t be part of public records.

The VPN systems are becoming more and more sophisticated simply driven by demand and the risks of detection. There are all sorts of variants including allowing different configurations and ports to evade detection. You can even get them to use home based IP addresses through certain residential IP providers – such as this – http://www.theninjaproxy.org/security/residential-ip-provider/

In most countries VPNs are not illegal but just a simple business and personal security tool. However in some countries this is not the case and you can get into trouble if caught using them. Countries that actually ban the use of VPN include places like China, Iraq, Belarus and Turkey. Other countries only allow approved services which usually mean those that can be compromised if required. People still use VPNs in most of these countries indeed in Turkey almost all expats use one to watch things like British and American TV online. Fortunately it’s actually quite difficult to detect a VPN in use however that doesn’t stop it technically being illegal in those locations.

Source: Rotating and Residential Proxies

Update Planned to Scottish Football Act

SCOTTISH Labour stated they’ll draw up a fresh anti sectarianism strategy after SMEs voted to repeal the law aimed at solving the problem. James Kelly MSP stated that the legislation wasn’t the answer, and he’d bring together charities, campaign groups, faith leaders, locals authorities, soccer clubs and police to develop a fresh strategy. His Bill to scrap the Offensive Behaviour in Football and Threatening Communications Law passed its first parliamentary hurdle in Holyrood a week ago after opposition parties combined to back it. The law was introduced in the last parliament by the then bulk SNP authorities. There are fears that repealing the action could impact on communities.

Kelly said Labour could assess SNP Government activity on handling the matter and examine the financing available for anti sectarian programs in order to perhaps calculate a figure for next year’s budget. The party will probably look at the uptake of recommendations made in 2015 from the Independent Advisory Group for Combating Sectarianism headed by Dr Duncan Morrow. It’ll also consider the function of clubs, fans teams and the police in tackling sectarianism and the new challenges posed by online bigotry. Kelly stated: There should be no doubt that Labour is dedicated scooting Scotland of sectarianism. Religious bigotry existed long prior to the Football Act and it’s an issue we’re still shamed by today.

This has been a huge problem in Scottish football for years and it’s sometimes difficult for those outside to understand. When you watch the Premiership on Match of the Day which you can see online, then it’s difficult to understand the sectarian conflicts that exist in Scottish football. They have existed for years though and although violence is thankfully rare it does happen outside the stadiums all too frequently.

Nonetheless, it isn’t restricted on the terraces of football stadiums and can’t be combated through broken legislation. Rather than unworkable legislation, we must change our focus to communities into attack the root causes of bigotry, such as through community groups and education, as recommended by experts at the Justice Commission. Kelly continues that he was deadly serious about utilizing his role as a member of the Scottish Parliament to handle this present day shame.

“This is why I’ll be developing an anti sectarianism strategy match for 2018, which I hope every party, including the SNP, will I am hoping that the whole Parliament will get behind”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: Ministers have been consistently clear that tackling the scourge of sectarianism takes a broad assortment of actions, such as education and wider community based projects backed by unprecedented Scottish Authorities investment of over 13 million pounds because 2012 alongside the work of the justice system in enforcing the law. This is an important initiative and it’s been compared with the work on increasing unit prices of alcohol in Scotland. This is another important area for the Scottish government to reduce the impact of alcohol abuse by pricing deterrents and making drugs like Selincro more available for individuals.

In latest days the Minister for Community Safety has also underlined the need for all parties to work together to build consensus on how we may mitigate the possible adverse impacts that repeal of the 2012 Act might have on communities that are vulnerable a threat that was increased by an assortment of organizations in evidence to Parliament. Ministers remain resolute in their determination to fight religious bigotry, alongside broader hate crimes like those between homophobia and racism, which is why they’ve commissioned a wider overview of the legislation in this region, to report later this year.”.

Guidance on Blogging and Social Networking

This is a short summary document which provides an introduction for organisations with a general awareness of the associated risks of blogging and social networking that may potentially affect the effectiveness of local services.

Terms used: Blogging is using a public website to write an on-line diary (known as a biog) sharing thoughts and opinions on various subjects. The word blog is derived from the phrase weB LOG. Examples of blogging websites include Twitter.com and Blogging.com. Social networking is the use of interactive web based sites that mimic some of the interactions that occur between people in life. Examples include Facebook and Linkedin.

Why are Blogging and Social networking an Information Governance issue? The use of blogging and social networking websites by an NHS organisation’s employees can expose that organisation to information risks, even where these sites are not accessed directly from work. Whilst there is nothing new about the information risks, what has changed is the availability of high capacity broadband, the popularity of Web2.0 sites and the rapid growth of internet enabled devices such as mobile phones, blackberries etc.

This has resulted in significant awareness and uptake of these websites from home, from work and when mobile. What are the potential dangers to the organisation of using blogging and social networking? A range of potential threats exist that organisations should be aware of: Unauthorised disclosure of business information and potential confidentiality breach.  Additionally users can access unauthorised websites which may have little risk but can hugely effect productivity.  For example accessing sites like BBC iPlayer using the company VPN from Ireland like this may not have any risks but it can’t waste time and effect  the company network.  Blogging and social networking sites provide an easy means for information to leak from an organisation, either maliciously or otherwise.

Once loaded to a site, organisational information enters the public domain and may be processed and stored anywhere globally. In short, organisational control is lost and reputational damage can occur. Malicious attack associated with identity theft.   People often place a large amount of personal information on social networking sites, including details about their nationality, ethnic origin, religion, addresses, date of birth, telephone contact numbers and interests. This information may be of use to criminals who are seeking to steal identities or who may use the information for social engineering purposes.

Another important risk from allowing employees to use social media and public forms is from the possibility of defamatory postings by their employees. Take for example a public forum, most of these enforce a user to accept some terms and conditions before they are allowed to post. These can often be quite substantial and are intended to both protect the web/forum and enforce any rights such as copyright.   This is important in any site which allows people to express their views even large corporations like the BBC use them.  The problem is that any infringement by a company employee using company hardware and on their time could be considered as a liability against the company not the individual.

There are numerous risks online, and one of the problems is that many organisations have little experience in dealing with these issue. Most companies have probably only allowed large scale internet access for a decade or so and may still only be developing internal policies and procedures in order to mitigate these risks.

Development of UK Computer Crime Law

Obviously computer crime is a relatively modern phenomena, however it has taken some time for legislation to catch up with the real world.  In fact even today cyber criminals exploit weaknesses in such legislation by basing themselves in areas where there is little criminal law developed around computer crime.    In fact there has been more legislation regarding copyright issues in some countries, you can get fined for watching UK TV abroad like this or downloading software than actually cases of cyber crime.

Before 1990, the UK criminal law often struggled to deal with computer misuse. relying instead on other traditional‘ offences that were sometimes ill-equipped to deal with the nature of the technology itself. in particular the offences of criminal damage, abstracting electricity and forgery and counterfeiting were applied to deal with such cases.  In reality many were also applied to other issues although none were successful, activities like downloading from the BBC iPlayer abroad like this have never been a criminal offence. However, the two main loopholes then thought to require attention were: ~

– the failure of forgery legislation to deal with misuse of passwords
– that ‘data’ on disk was not ‘property’ or ‘tangible’ for the purposes of criminal damage legislation, so that if you trashed the contents of a hard disk you appeared not to be committing an offence.

For relevant legislation and some case law in this check out the reports on the case of R v Gold and Schifree/M1988] 1 AC 1963, including the Court of Appeal and House of Lords rulings.

It is clear that, by 1990, there were cracks appearing in the ability of the existing criminal law to deal with some manifestations of computer misuse, in articular those resulting from the intangible nature of the subject matter. The Report of the Law Commission of England and Wales (1989) recommended that three new offences of computer misuse be created.

The ensuing Computer Misuse Bill prompted much debate based around a number of key issues: the impact of computer misuse on industry and commerce; the inadequacy of the pre-existing criminal law; and the prevailing media reporting of the dangers posed by hackers at the time. it was envisaged that the new Bill would ease the difficulties associated with bringing a successful prosecution for computer misuse. it received royal assent on 29 June 1999 and became the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

In total the Computer Misuse Act 1990 created three main offences concerning unauthorised access to computer material. unauthorised access to computer material with intent to commit or facilitate further offences and unauthorised modification of computer material. The Police and Justice Act 2006 introduced three amendments to the 1990 Computer Misuse Act and came into force on i October 2008. The Computer Misuse Act 1990 now has four main sections:

Section 1 : unauthorised access to computer material
Section 2 1 unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences
Section 3 (as amended): unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, operation of computer, etc.
Section 3A: making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in offence under section i or 3.

Human Rights and the USA Immigration Laws

Alex Tizon was an award winning Pullitzer prize journalist, who wrote a damning story about the US immigration laws. The book recounts the life of Eudocia “Lola” Pulido, a Filipino immigrant who worked for more than half a century without pay for Tizon’s family. There is much detail in the book about him, specific circumstances which help explain why the old US immigration system actually encouraged the abuse of such people. By tying immigrant employees to a specific employer, the U.S.’s immigration system enables contemporary slavery.
He was simply given as a gift to the mother of Tizon by his grandfather, Pulido started working in the Philippines for the Tizons. He actually came through a visa tied into the employment of the Tizon.

His parents refused to allow her return and with no visa, she would had trouble obtaining employment elsewhere. Like lots of the immigrant employees that I reflect at the legal services non-profit I work for in LA, Pulido’s legal status in the U.S. Was inextricably tied to her employer.

This feature of U.S. Immigration law provides a tool to control their employees, whose lack of understanding of regulations and customs of the US render them vulnerable to companies that are exploitative. If employees threaten to seek help or complain, they’re told that leaving their employer might result in deportation. For many immigrant employees, who could have borrowed substantial amounts of money to visit America, leaving the U.S. Early might mean financial ruin at home. U.S. Immigration policy, simply put, leaves them no choice, but to endure their employers abuse. This power imbalance between immigrant employees and their companies figures prominently in the U.S.

Immigration system. Evidence indicates a link between specific and trafficking visa categories. All six classes make it hard, if not impossible, for employees to leave agency or the employer that sponsored their visa request. A separate study by the Urban Institute, a think tank, found whom over 70 percent of the 122 trafficking victims it analyzed arrived at the U.S. With legitimate visas, particularly with 3 of the visa classes flagged by Polaris. According into both studies, trafficking victims reported whom their companies threatened into report them into immigration authorities into discourage them from going or seeking help. Such studies also make clear whom domestic employees like Pulido aren’t the only targets of such practices.

Hotel housekeepers and construction employees on H-2B visas, nurses also teachers on H-1B visas, also others are susceptible as well. In case the U.S. Government wanted to end labor trafficking and contemporary slavery, a good start will be reforming the country’s immigration laws. Even though it’d likely be unpalatable to Americans who’re opponents of immigration, immigration law would need into be amended in order to alter an immigrant worker’s status at the U.S. It is essential that the person isn’t bound to a certain employer or agency, because that instantly puts them at certain risk.

There’s no doubt that immigration laws in the USA are extremely complex and many people have had their lives influenced greatly by them. If you’re involved in them, you should ideally ensure that you consult with a properly qualified lawyer. You can access and indeed make certain stages of the application online using various web sites. However it should be remembered that some of these are limited to US only residents so you may need a VPN to hide your real location. Check out the following article which explains how to use a VPN to access the BBC – Info on BBC Live VPN.

In addition to whom, immigration law ideally would ensure whom all immigrant employees not only select visa categories are eligible for obtain legal permanent residence. So long as immigrant employees are legally bound to their employers, they’ll remain susceptible to trafficking also abuse, also will remain reluctant to find help.

More Information:

James Brieres – Watching UK TV Channels Online

Polish Problems with the Venice Commission Unit

The recent comments of Prof. Kamil Zaradkiewicz about the Venice Commission were right on the mark. The Venice Commission was considered and created by Andrzej Rzeplinski under his direction to act as the final lifeline for the Constitutional Tribunal. This is supported by the place of the Venice Commission declared on section 14, however it has been updated and elucidated from the draft phase after some feedback from the relevant authorities. In its light, it appears that there is no denying the Constitutional Tribunal’s President could trust the help of the Venice Commission. Its couriers from Venice would regard the protests into the Constitutional Tribunal. The place of the Venice Commission concerning the Constitutional legislation repeats the errors of the opinion in addition, it lacks any kind of independence.


Based on the situation represented by Beata Szydlo’s authorities concerning the place of the Venice Commission, it might be reasoned which this body is trying into exert pressure on this Polish direction, so that it accepts all the unlawful actions of the Tribunal, those made previously and also those planned for the future, especially those about the way the chairman of the Constitutional Tribunal is selected. The Commission has accepted not requiring the belief which the Constitutional Tribunal is the last arbiter and final decisions from the system.

The second important factor of the state which has judicial power is exercised from Poland by courts and tribunals, but this Constitutional Tribunal isn’t alone in this role since there’s also the State Tribunal. Ignoring this State Tribunal with regards into constitutional issues violates this standards which the Venice Commission draws upon, that’s liberty of this judiciary and this division of powers in constitutional Issues between this Constitutional Court and this Court of State.

Access to the documentation is available on the specific legislative sites and on the European Unions main documentation repository. However you might find there’s problem accessing from outside the EU nations. This is determined by the physical location of your connecting IP address however this can be changed. If you use a VPN like many use to watch UK TV like this post, you can hide your real IP address and access the documentation.

The Venice Commission is totally ignoring that the Polish constitution doesn’t recognize this Constitutional Tribunal since a Total and sole body deciding on this constitutionality of all forms of action by public authorities. The Polish authorities has pointed out to this Venice Commission that, even in Issues concerning this powers of hierarchical control compatibility, this Constitutional Tribunal might not examine all legal acts. They have highlighted the fact that the Venice Commission when making such decisions will also completely ignores other bodies protecting this constitution. These powers were previously limited to the President of this Republic of Poland and the Polish State Tribunal. The Venice Commission isn’t justified in whatever way when it states which this Constitutional Tribunal has this power – and which exclusively – to evaluate the government in matters of law enforcement.

Additional Resources:

Information on buying UK and EU proxies – http://www.anonymous-proxies.org/2017/05/buy-uk-proxy-ip-address.html

EU Legislation : the Working Time Directive

There is an important law which has probably effected us all at some point.   It’s called the Working Time Directive and it limits the amount of time any employee can work in a single week.
As part of this legislation there are several specific sections which refer to certain types of job.  For example there are two directives on working time that can impact drivers who spend a lot of time at the wheel.  The first is the horizontal directive, which employed under the Working Time Regulations 2003 August 2003 in the uk on 1 affects everybody in the transportation sector. The provisions under this directive will impact non workers in the road transportation sector. Workers affect. The next directive, usually referred to as that the Road transportation directive 3820\/. The United Kingdom has implemented this from 23 March 2005, however when the country leaves the European Union there will possibly be some alterations. Under this amending directive employees are permitted to opt out from the 48 hour average working week. Mobile workers are eligible for health checks and annual leave.

Most of these are of course only applicable to traditional employers who work in the private or public sector.  All over Europe now there are many millions of people who work for themselves in a self employed capacity.     There are of course millions of people who work from home, perhaps working remotely through a VPN like this who should be covered by the legislation but in reality have little protection.

Working Time Directive

Guidance on the application of the working time regulations, as amended can be obtained from the number or can be found online at both European and Government legislation web sites, To health checks demand and the leave of the Horizontal Amendment Directive, The Road Transport Directive presents security for workers. March 2005 workers in the range will be covered by 23 March 2009, and self should be addressed by 23. Weekly Working time is limited to an average 48 hour week and a 60 hours. There’s no opt out for people wishing to work longer than an average 48 hour week, but break periods of availability don’t count as working time.

Periods of availability include accompanying a vehicle on a ferry crossing and waiting for a vehicle to be loaded \/ unloaded. Drivers need to be informed in advance about these periods, and their approximate length. For mobile employees driving in a team, it includes period spent sitting next to the driver whilst the vehicle is moving. Night employees are restricted to 10 hours work in each 24 hour period. There are some derogations which are effectively exemptions for individual Member States under that the Road Transport Directive. Under certain circumstances, derogations may be permitted in that the 10 hour daily limit for night work, and increase that the reference period for that the 48 hour average week may also be increased from 4 to six months. There’s no derogation in the 60 hour maximum week for any member nation.

Additional references:

BBC iPlayer Block Access to Online VPN Systems

The Various Internet Privacy Laws

While targeted advertising continues to be popular and has been for several years. The launch of the net has allowed people to be tracked so tightly that it’s been boiled down to a specific science, enabling internet entrepreneurs to serve up ads which more closely fit an individual’s interests and purchasing habits. Among the networks that were top websites on the web, Facebook, has announced demographics targeting. Also in addition to its Social Ad program, which can be driven by activities and habits of a Facebook user’s friends. This program has met a great deal of opposition, with adversaries making claims all kinds of privacy laws are breaking up.

When someone posts something online or updates their location, that information is transmitted to Facebook. This could be in the form of a bulletin telling that individual’s friends what the Facebook user has posting and rented ads when a customer rents a movie from Blockbuster Video.     They can even use posts to determine things like entertainment preferences for example if someone has been posting videos from watching UK TV channels online. Facebook allows organizations to buy advertisement space based on demographics, such as submitting ads on all college without giving a list of users aged men homepages. This kind of advertising has gone on for many years, but a lot of are outraged. Laws are applied to advertisements, as they should be. The law as it can be written does not permit advertisements to use anybody’s name, voice, face or likeness to be a symbol of product or a service.

This runs contrary to what a video rental company does each time someone rents a movie. Simply since the company does not receive a list of users, that the Facebook user’s identity is still compromised in a very public manner. Among that the scariest things about Facebook is that the announcement that might use info we gather about you from other sources. Not only does Facebook use the info it collects from its own website, however it goes out and looks for more.   There is some protection mainly common sense and you can use things like this online IP changer to hide your true location.  However remember in the terms and conditions there is a commitment to saying of that not only does it utilize the personal info you provide, but the info accumulated while socializing with the site.

Often times they stress that the point of a personal experience, and that Facebook is about sharing information. While you might opt out of getting and sharing specific info, there’s no big red Leave Me Alone button. Fundamentally, signing up for Facebook implies that you’re consenting to share info with everybody based on your privacy settings. It also claims of that you consent to having your personal data Stored and processed in the US, whatever that means.

EU Take Legal Action in Migrant Crisis

There are increasing signs of a rift across the EU about how to deal with the migrant crisis. The European Commission have resorted to a legal challenge against Hungary, Poland and the Czech republic for their failure in taking in asylum seekers. The issue is likely to escalate as there is no real consensus for dealing with this issue among the 28 nations.

The governments in Poland and Hungary are particularly steadfast in their refusal to follow the migrant agreement. The idea was to help the front line countries like Greece and Italy who are being flooded with asylum seekers.

Similarly the Czech Republic agreed only to take 12 people and then indicated they would take no more. The ex-communist countries seem to be the worst in keeping to these agreements and it’s likely that this will cause increasing ill will among the community.

The EU migration officer, Dimitris Avramopoulos has told a news conference that they have made repeated call to these countries to little response. These have been broadcast throughout Europe but you’ll need an EU based video proxy to access from outside these countries.

The commission has said the legal avenue was related to infringement procedures which is the method to punish countries who don’t meet their obligations.It’s not an easy option for the EU and is liely to lead to years of legal arguments before any penalties or fines can be imposed.

Some countries have been quick to criticise this approach which is likely to lead to increased political tensions and divisions within the community. The Polish government for instance is ready to defend it’s position in the courts. The EU is keen to keep unity among the remaining nations particularly due to the Brexit crisis.

However beyond the EU borders there are also issues with Russia and an problematic relationship with the USA. The problem is that the arguments have continued for nearly two years now with little change. EU leaders feel that legal action is the only way to break the stalemate. Most of the nations involved simply do not agree with the relocation system.

They are particularly concerned with the security issues that it raises, something that terrorist attacks in the UK and France have heightened. The reality is that these nations are benefiting greatly from the economic stability and investment of the European Union, so are likely to back down eventually.

One Little Pill to Help Drinkers

There is a tendency in the US for sticking to certain beliefs, that there’s a single way to solve a problem and that’s it. Such is the case with people who have problems with alcohol, the solution is nearly always quit, go cold turkey, AA meetings and never drink again.

However is that really the only way? There’s problems with this thinking, for a start it groups a whole spectrum of drinking problems together. From the successful professional who has a few too many drinks of an evening to the hopeless alcoholic who wakes up shaking and reaching for the bottle. Is there really only one solution for every scenario like these? Is AA the only route available.

There is a growing understanding that our treatment of alcohol problems is overly simplistic and there is another option to just promoting abstinence. It’s important because alcoholism is a growing problem and the AA approach simply doesn’t work for so many people. For those who do, spend years of their life hopping on and off the wagon.

Other strategies are beginning to be applied in areas of the US and Europe in particular. Different tactic like medical interventions, therapy and even a new range of drugs which can help alcohol disorders. There are a range of new drugs which are reporting exciting results, specifically naltrexone, Selincro and nalmefene. Still not widely known but clinical trial results that are in a different league to traditional measures.

It sounds a bit too good to be true, a little pill to solve your problems but there is really some logic behind it. These drugs tackle the compulsion to drink by removing the pleasure you receive from having another drink. When most people drink their brains produce certain chemicals that make them feel good. Unfortunately in some people this ‘good feeling’ cans oon turn into a dependency.

The drugs block these effects of opioids which make you feel better. In effect the ‘feel good’ part of drinking is subdued which is theory should slow down drinking and reduce the desire to continue. Without the pleasurable part why keep drinking is the logic and it seems to work. The drug has been used in various treatments however this seems to be crucial to it’s success. As as aid to abstinence it’s not been particularly positive, however in studies where patients are urged to use the pill alongside their drinking it’s been spectacularly successful.

John Evans

http://cipec.org/

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