February 27th, 2010

The talent

What can I say? Discovered country-woman Janine Jansen a while ago and her performance is exceptional. If you like this, follow some of the youtube suggestions. There are hundreds of clips, some of the publishers.

February 20th, 2010

The fourth premature ending

Local politics: As I wrote earlier, tensions were rising in our administration. This is fueled by the multi-party system we have here where it is always necessary to have more than one party in the administration to have a majority. It also forces compromises. Until something breaks of course.

Tonight something broke, and the connection with you people on the other side of the pond is Afghanistan. Our boys have been fooling around in Uruzgan for a couple of years and in 2007 it was decided enough was enough, and we would start to leave in 2010.  There is no majority, not amongst the people, nor in parliament to drag on there forever. Still, our smart ass right winged minister of foreign affairs (what you call secretary of state) pushed his own agenda and kept on leading to a formal request by NATO to stay. It is an unwritten law that NATO only issues such requests when it is absolutely certain that it will be granted, read, he made promises he couldn’t hold. Mild left wing coalition partner, who was arm-twisted into not criticizing the unlawful entry into Iraq (see that earlier link) decided last night enough was enough and there was no way they could support a longer stay against the earlier decision, parliament and peoples will.

This is the fourth time under this prime minister the administration does not run it’s constitutional four years. Now the common factor is….. oh wait! What will happen next:

  1. The queen has a few options (elections, minority cabinet or try glueing things up). Hard to see what that will be.
  2. We will be kicked out of the G-20 in no time (pushed by the US)
  3. Right wing will probably gain the most out of this, as the one pulling the plug is always blamed, and people stop thinking the moment they enter the voting booth anyway.

This country is quickly becoming the new political Italy of Europe. Insane.

Added: here’s the CNN take on it.

Added 22-02: I’ll add some progress here for those interested. Goes WAY different than in the US!

  • The administration will continue “watching the shop” only. The ministers that left will be replaces by members of the parties that did not resign, effectively leaving a minority cabinet. This needs some formal juggling, but it is what will happen.
  • The Queen has consulted the major political leaders (she must not have been amused, was on skiing holiday in Austria!).
  • Almost certainly new elections will be held, late May, beginning of June.

Oh, and we have municipal elections next week.

February 14th, 2010

Again, photo’s

In 2008 I blogged a bit about photo geotagging. My stance on it has only deepened: 2, 3 years later it’s become way cooler, and I am much deeper concerned on its privacy aspects. Watch this jaw dropping TED video and see what Microsoft is doing with both their and your pictures.

I bet google will follow soon.

February 11th, 2010

The account data (updated)

According to local news outlets secretary Clinton…

…. urged EU parliament by letter to share bank account data of European citizens with American authorities. This data is needed in our “mutual effort to counter terrorism”.

This red flags the hell out of me. What would you guys think if our Secret Service type of guys wanted to browse though your transactions?

Parliament seems to be against sharing, but expect members to fall like domino bricks under US pressure. One member though explained there was not a single concession in Clintons letter to the EU and basically said there was room for ‘discussion’ after legislation to share would have passed. wtf?

Added 2/11: Today, the European parliament, for the first time since it’s power was raised by the Lisbon treaty, rejected above treaty 378 against 196 with the US. Reasoning was

  • Unclear which US authorities would have access to EU bank data
  • Impossible for inhabitants to see what data is shared
  • No appeal procedure if shared data is false

Note: the treaty was approved by the member states one day before the Lisbon treaty came into effect, which was seen by a lot of people as a hasty push-through. Also note that the treaty in itself was deemed “needed” since Swift moved it’s operation from US soil, and thereby falling under US anti-terrorism laws (read: we can see everything we want to see), to the Netherlands. If I find the time I will try to find out why Swift decided to do that.

Added: here is a statement from Swift, give a tiny bit of insight.

February 10th, 2010
February 2nd, 2010

The Electronic Patient File

My country introduced what is called EPD (Electronic Patient File) a while ago by law. It is a huge system where all medical information is to be stored, so that when for instance, somebody is brought into a hospital after a car crash, their medical records can be retrieved. All medical providers are supposed to be be hooked up soon. Sounds pretty state-of-the-art huh? Well, apart from that bratty privacy thingy of course that not many of my countrymen care about, but “that has been taken care of very well”.

Yeah, well, the truth is that all users can get access to all medical records of all people and the only safeguard is hindsight: everything is logged and users can be held accounted for what they retrieve. The statement about that was that “Generally, doctors will use the EPD in an honorable way, and logging will have a dampening effect”. B.T.W., even I fully admit there is some sense in this methodology, as you can never know who will be rolled in where and when.

But then who are the users of the EPD and thus have that access?

  • doctors
  • specialists
  • nurses
  • doctors-assistants
  • physiotherapists
  • MD’s
  • pathologists
  • pharmacists
  • co-assitants
  • medical students
  • biochemists
  • physics
  • paramedics
  • dietists
  • their sub’s
  • ICT staff
  • police and secret service (in “special circumstances”)

Does this suddenly sounds less interesting? Not done yet: the law did not regulate who is responsible for the supervision of the EPD and how it should be done. Nor is there any budget for supervision allotted. Let alone who’s head will roll when the inevitable data leak is discovered. With a widely distributed system as the EPD and the nature of it (spotlight please!) hackers cannot wait to get their hands on it. As there is no such supervision, MD’s see dark clouds rolling in above their heads: they will be in the front line and patients will call on them first.

The responsible administration stated that misuse will be prevented through “the coherency between laws, security, supervision (?), communication and the chain of identification, authenticity, authorization and logging”. Riiiight. So I used the one escape left: send in a form that forbids the use of the EPD for my personal data.

How are things working on your end of the pond?