Monthly Archives: December 2016

Data Protection law is changing in the United Kingdom.


The European Union passed a directive in May 2016 requiring all member states to update their Data Protection laws. Members of the EU have two years to do this.

The United Kingdom is leaving the EU but when? 2017, 2018 or later? What sort of deal will the United Kingdom agree with the EU? That is a ball in the air. In the meantime the Data Protection changes will certainly impact on the UK. No matter what sort of agreement the UK thrashes out with the EU it is very probable that at least some of these Data Protection changes will remain in British law.

The EU has created a Digital Single Market. The EU says it aims to give citizens greater privacy. However, the EU recognises that the police and other state agencies sometimes need to have access to data about people. The police and other public bodies will sometimes be permitted to view and hold data about people. The Data Protection Directive is the legislation which empowers the police and certain other bodies to look at and retain data information in people.

The General Data Protection Regulation is the key part of this overhaul. This is to be enforced in all EU member states as is. There is no wiggle room here. The G D P R is supposed to be an expression of article 8 of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. The G D P R is supposed to make the law uniform across all European Union countries. There has already been EU legislation on data protection since 1995.

With regard to the D P D (Data Protection Regulation) member states will transpose this into their national law. They can do it in their own way so long as the objectives mandated by the EU are sufficiently achieved within the specified time period.

The law is supposed to be streamlined and simplified which should make it easier for businesses to be within the law.




Individuals are supposed to get control of their data. This is why you often have to agree to let people store your name and address. You have to agree to let companies record what you are viewing if you want to use your phone to surf the internet in their premises. This helps them target ads at you.

Consent is to be a core principle. Generally speaking people are only to have data about them captured and transmitted with their say so. Often this is by ticking a box on an app. There may be a lot of small print that people very seldom read. Nevertheless the formality must be adhered to.

The right to be forgotten will be enhanced. This is developed from a Spanish landmark ruling. People can demand that information about them be deleted. Unless there is an overriding reason why this should not be done then the request must be acceded to.

People must be informed if they have been hacked. This notification must be prompt.

People must be informed what data on them is being stored. This must be explained to them in lucid language. You must also make it easy for them to send this data to another organisation.

Data protection must be put into the design stage of future products.

Companies can be fined up to 4% of their global turnover. Note that is turnover not to profit. Furthermore that is the GLOBAL figure – not just for your country or for turnover in the entire EU.  It is unlikely that a company will be fined as much as 4%. That would have to be for many very grave breaches of the law.

Parents have responsibility for their children’s data until the age of at least 13. This could be up to the age of 16. It is up to member states to decided at what age a child is responsible for his or her own legislation. So a member state can set the age at 13, 14, 15 or 16 as the state sees fit. This creates some inconsistency. What happens if the age of 13 in one country and 16 in another and someone in the latter country is aged 13 and sends info to the other country? That is imponderable and we have to wait for courts to rule in test cases.

The EU allowing member states to set the age of data adulthood as low as 13 is a recognition of how much teenagers use the internet. Moreover, it also indicates that children often know more than their parents about technology.

There will be a single supervisory authority for the new legislation.

Small companies will be more competitive. Customers can switch over from large companies and transfer all their data. Previously this was laborious and made it difficult for new companies to get into the market.

Small and medium size enterprises no longer need to employ a data protection officer unless their business is mainly about data.

SMEs only have to tell people about data breaches unless these are high risk. High risk would involve a significant chance of theft for example.

Anonymisation is the way forward. Remove any identfitying info from people. Use pseudonyms when possible.


Encrypt messages so that only the intended recipient can read it.


Freedom of expression is not to be unduly curtailed.

Historical research is still permitted as before. Scientific research is still allowed. This does not mean that using confidential medical information without permission is allowed.

These rights only apply to the living! You cannot take legal action if someone accesses data about a dead relative.

The police can send and receive personal details pursuant to criminal investigations. They can also do this with law enforcement bodies outside the EU.

Data is only to be stored and sent for a specific purpose. It cannot be a general trawl through or amassing information for its own sake.


Much of this depends on what courts decided. There will no doubt be test cases in future.

Legislation will kick in on 6 May 2018. However, you are of course entitled to bring yourself into line with it early.

Get Israel out of Palestine.


The UN Security Council has voted that the Israeli settlements in Palestine have no legal validity. Finally the United States has withdrawn its veto. Previously the USA was the only UN Security Council member to vote against a resolution condemning Israel for this illegal occupation.

Israel would not accept its land being taken over by Palestine. Why should Palestine tolerate Israel grabbing its territory? The flagrantly illegal seizure of Palestinian land is an affront to the conscience of the world. Theft leads to graver crimes. It provokes resistance. The Israeli military seeks to suppress resistance. The IDF goes much further than it needs to in order to defeat irregular fighters. Civilians are killed on a huge scale by the IDF.

Many US politicians hate illegal immigrants. But if these illegals are Israeli illegal immigrants in Palestine then these same US politicians give unstinting support.

Some like the incoming US ambassador to Israel seek to deny Palestine its very name.

Barak Obama has shown valour and morality in withdrawing the US block on a UN resolution against illegal settlements.

The foetus double standard.


Zara Philips has had a miscarriage. Two in three pregnancies end this way. That usually occurs in the first trimester. In that case the pregnancy is usually not announced. In case you do not know Zara Philips – Mrs Tindall – is the granddaughter of Elizabeth II. That is the only reason that her pregnancy is news.

As Mrs Zara Tindall’s foetus died in her womb she will receive commiserations. These expressions of sympathy are commendable and doubtless appreciated. Yet had this woman chosen to terminate her foetus’ existence people would not have felt sorry for her. Ho hum it is her choice. There was no baby anyway. Nothing to be sad about. This demonstrates what nonsense pro Choice rhetoric is. If there was no baby why would not feel sorry for her that he foetus died. Died. Oops = that admits that the foetus was alive in the first instance and therefore was a baby.

There are warning to pregnant women not to drink too much? Why her body her choice? The foetus is not human and merits no consideration at all. If she killed her baby that is up to her and there is no moral aspect to that at all – according to the pro Choicers. The children are not permitted to kill their parents. WHy the other way around. People seldom face up to the horror and hideousness of abortion.


Trump is viciously anti Palestinian.


Trump has named his ambassador to Israel. He has chosen a vicious Zionist. This man was Trump’s adviser on Jewish affairs. Did he have a counsellor on Muslim affairs? I suspect not.

Donald Trump has made incendiary anti Muslim remarks before. This malicious rhetoric has contributed to the murder of Muslims in the United States. It has also been used by ISIS as a recruiting tool. Trump agrees with ISIS on the fundamental question. He believes that Islam is necessarily inimical to the rest of the world.

Trump’s appointee supports the existence of illegal settlements in Palestine. He is so dishonest that he will not use the world Palestine. The lawyer supports crime. He should be struck off. He advocates crimes against humanity so long as these are committed against Palestinians. His racism is flagrantly vile.

This man has called moderate Zionists ‘worse than Kapos’/ A kapo was  Jew in a concentration camp who worked for the SS. This was a disgusting slur. He diminished the Holocaust. It was a very cruel insult against those who seek peace. It shows what a malevolent and intemperate man he is. He insists that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. No country believes this. This man’s loyalties are entirely with Israel and not at all with tHE United States. He wants the USA to pursue and illegal and unjust policy that will make the USA even more detested abroad. The United States will be more likely to face terrorists attacks as a result.

I am horrified by not surprised that Trump should select such a revolting bigot for this post. It will inflame opinion in the Muslim world. It makes peace less likely. It underlines Trump’s stupidity and malice.

Putin’s dangerous militarism.


Russia already has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. This is not enough for V V Putin. He wants to be able to blow up the whole world even more times. He has announced plans to expand the nuclear arsenal even further. This is insane and extremely costly. The Russian economy faces headwinds with permanently low oil and gas prices. The Rouble has recovered only a little of the ground it lost in the last two years. Russia has spent huge amounts on the Olympics and on the conflicts in the Ukraine and Syria. The last thing this nation needs is yet more arms.

Which nuclear power is going to attack Russia? It is daft. This is puerile posturing. I have more nukes than you have got. It is true that the United States engages in the same game.

The Kremlin provokes NATO by attacking the Ukraine. Though Moscow denies its soldiers are in eastern Ukraine it admits volunteers are there. The Kremlin lied about these so called volunteers. The evidence was so indisputable that even the Russian Government was compelled to tell the truth about this in order to retain a shred of credibility. Putin’s junta provokes NATO by annexing the Crimea – again Moscow denied its troops were there for a long time. Moscow was then obliged to come clean and say that is soldiers were there. Admittedly the Ukraine is not a NATO country but was in accession talks. It is easy to see why the Ukraine would wish to join since it was in jeopardy from Russia and has indeed been attacked by its neighbour.

Cyber attacks on the Baltic states and a statement that these countries’ independence may be illegal and must be reviewed were also provocations of NATO. NATO Has not attacked Russia with even cyberattacks.

The FBI and the CIA say that Russian hackers broke into the Democrat National Committee’s emails.The aim was to tip the election towards Trump. No one doubts the authenticity of the information leaked by these hackers. Putin says there were no Russian hackers. I do not know if the hackers were Russian. It was certainly to Russia’s advantage that the United States elect a disreputable fool like Trump. Moreover, he says he is a huge admirer of Putin. Trump is so fickle that he could totally change his tune. If so then Moscow has ample material to embarrass Trump. Trump is a self-proclaimed sex criminal. He is a pathological liar and a race baiter. If there is any contretemps with Russian then the Kremlin can easily remind the world what a fiend Trump is.

The United States cancelled the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 2001. This was an error and has exacerbated the situation.

The USA tried to be conciliatory. Obama cancelled the planned missile shield for eastern Europe in 2009. He tried to press the reset button on relations with Russia. This did not mollify Putin.

Putin plays a long game. His aims are consistent – to rebuild Russian hegemony in the former USSR. In this he has been semi successful. He has been able to do so partly because the Russian media is entirely compliant. The press corps act as cheerleaders for the government. They never question discretionary wars in the Ukraine or Syria. Government spokespeople are not asked awkward questions. They never doubt the veracity of official statements. The government is not troubled by legal or ethical constraints. The countless very well attested atrocities by the Syrian Government are denied as NATO atrocity propaganda. The many horrific crimes of ISIS are fully reported and perhaps even exaggerated. The Russian media operates as a Kremlin mouthpiece. Pesky journalists know what fate awaits them.

Russia does not need such a huge military. Neither does the United States. Russia needs to diversify its economy and improve is public services. Tackling corruption, tax evasion and the demographic death spiral should all be priorities. Propping up a horrific oppressor in Syria should not be a priority. It is true that ISIS is even worse than the Ba’athists. Syria does not border Russia. The Russian bases in Syria are not that valuable. So much of this is an ego trip for both the USA and Russia. They both want to feel they are mighty and can project power. It is the ordinary people who suffer by having their resources squandered on wars that would easily be avoided.

In the USA people at least question what their government is doing. Do we really need to fight these foreign wars? There are people who dissent and call for disengagement. There is no comparable anti-war movement in Russia. The anti war demonstrators are not necessarily right. The important thing is that they exist and are free to voice their opinions free from any state interference.

Dream of being a POW


I was a prisoner in the seocnd world war. Only days ago I learnt the Russian word for POW.

There wwre German and Socier soldiers. I was German. The men were covered in mud and blood. Because uniforms were os filthy it was hard to distinguish one side form the other. The Soviets had been victorious. German prisoners were being hanged but not with much zeal. The Societs did is slowly. The German was so jaded that they wee resigned to their fates – no frightened or even glum. Just wearily accepting. The platormf eas v low the men were to strangle. They used bailaers; twine.

I did not wiah to be one of these. I ran off. They did no notice me at first. No one shot. I saw a gun that had been discarded and peicked it up. Then I was nude. Then U saw a riderless white horse – life to me. Means of escaoe

Wht can it signidy. eSCAPE from Russians? Danger? Fear of exposure>

Whither Syria?


Aleppo has fallen. This is a step forward for the Ba’athists. This is more of a psychological gain than a strategic one. ISIS, the FSA and others will fight on in the countryside.

The Ba’athists have slaughtered many civilians since they took over as attested to by the UN. Russia is blocking a French proposal to send UN observers to Aleppo. WHy? It can only be because Moscow does not want even more incontrovertible evidence that their client Assad is presiding over the mass murder of civilians.

I have said this for over 5 years. The Ba’athists will prevail. They now control the largest city in Syria. It may be years before they run the whole country. ISIS will be master of some of the eastern desert. Turcoman militias may run certain enclaves. The Kurdish separatists may rule their bailiwick.

The Russian ambassador to Turkey has been shot dead. The murder of a diplomat is never acceptable. International law has forbade it for centuries. Diplomats are there to negotiate and we cannot do this if diplomats are not safe to parley. Putin will go ape and send more men to Syria. No doubt he will accuse some on the Turkish Government of being in cahoots with the terrorists. This makes no sense since Turkey is being bombed by ISIS and Ankara;s policy towards Russia is one of rapprochement. But logic is never part of Putin’s explanation for things.

Russia, China, Iraq and Iran are all deeply committed to the Ba’athists. They do not give a damn about international law or human rights. They will back Dr Al Assad to the hilt. Western countries care about international law and human rights somewhat. They sometimes downplay wrongdoing by their allies. They are discomfited because they people they would like to win find themselves co operating with ISIS. This conflict will continue as long as outside forces fund and arm the belligerents. The protagonists on the rebel side receive succour from Saudi Arabia and other SUnni governments such as Qatar.

The Lebanese Civil War lasted 15 years. This conflict could rage on for that long too. The country could empty out more. Israel may back one side or other. I reckon this war will drag on for a further two years but not have a definite end. It will fizzle out rather than end with a formal agreement or surrender.

This blog would like to see a free Syria. That means on where every man and woman has the right to free expression, to vote in fair elections and to live free from fear. THE problem is all this is very unlikely to come about. It would be better if neither the Ba’athists nor ISIS existed. That being so the Ba’athists are the lesser of two evils. The word evil here is not used in a metaphorical sense or unthinkingly as part of a figure of speech. The Ba’ath Party really is hugely evil. I detest Assad bigly. His regime is so foul that it drove people of moderate opinion into the arms of ISIS. There are decent people on both sides. If they could negotiate a settlement that would be ideal. That shall not occur. Even if an agreement were reached ISIS would never accept it. Assad is forked tongued. He has broken every promise he ever made. There were countless vows to provide real reform. There were many broken ceasefires. His government lies endlessly about holding political prisoners, about holding free elections, about using torture on an industrial scale about the murder of civilians. Therefore he cannot be trusted. It is lugubrious to reflect that this thoroughly wicked and disingenuous man represents the better of the options open to Syria.

Zsa Zsa Gabor: good riddance.


Zsa Zsa Gabor has died. The self-proclaimed socialite was a post girl for vapidity, egomania and avarice. The world has far too much of these vices already. She will not be missed. What did she ever contribute to the world? She had many husbands. I do not disapprove of her promiscuity. Readers of this blog will know this. I am glad that she enjoyed herself whilst she could. So many divorces suggests that she and her husbands went into these marriages less than committed. There were many very foolish men who wed her. It was blatant that she was acquisitive and heartless.

Vanity, self-centredness, image obsession, attention seeking and an insatiable lust for jewels are all detestable characteristics. She had these in spades.

As it customary on a person’s decease I shall look at her positive attributes. Her qualities were her linguistic gifts and her adaptability. This Hungarian woman spent most of her life outside of her homeland. She was fluent in a few languages and blended into other cultures. She spent decades in the United States. Zsa Zsa was droll and her one liners provided mirth for many including your humble servant.

Miss Gabor was one of the first to epitomise that saying – famous for being famous. She was a notorious gold digger.

(Note that her name is pronounced ‘za za’ in case the ‘zs’ consonant cluster flummoxed you.)

Gentle reader, you will not profit but her example except perhaps in the strictly pecuniary sense.