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Struan Robertson

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Hasty legislation will make a mess of Europe's 'right to be forgotten'

Opinion The European Commission proposal to include a 'right to be forgotten' in data protection laws risks causing legal, technical and ethical mayhem if it is not thought through more thoroughly. While it might seem like a good idea to give people the right to force organisations to delete their personal data, legislators should stop …
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Google's Street View could be unlawful in Europe

Analysis Like a trigger-happy tourist, Google has shot almost every street in five US cities and added its pics to what might be the world's biggest holiday album. But if Google ever starts shooting the streets of Europe, courts here could fight back. Google Maps Street View is the latest service from the search giant. Vehicles with …
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Wireless insecurity: do not use the cheerleader defence

Comment The message boards are alive with misguided advice about wireless networks. Switch off your security, they say: you’ll get away with murder. It follows the news that the music industry has dropped a lawsuit against Tammie Marson of Palm Desert, California. Marson argued that the fact that her computer contained illegal music …
globalisation

Is Google legal?

Analysis A Belgian court ruled against Google’s use of newspaper stories in early September. If you believe Google, it did nothing wrong and failed to defend itself because it was unaware of the publishers’ lawsuit. If you believe the publishers, Google is lying and infringes copyright on a colossal scale. The parties return to court on …
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Why Google is right to rebuke brand abuse

Opinion Google has been accused of lacking a sense of humour after setting its brand police on publishers who used its name as a verb. But the company has to protect its name. When the Washington Post reported that "Google" had entered the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, it observed that the word has become a descriptor for its …
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Cybersquatters must be punished

Comment The .eu domain name has been hailed a success because 1.5m variants were snapped-up within a week of the public launch – which is rather like saying that people love cough medicine because it sells well in winter. As a consequence of Britain's 300,000 .eu registrations at the time of writing, how many .co.uk or .com names will …
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Adventures with a Nigerian email fraudster

Book review We've all had an email from the nephew of a recently-murdered diamond mine owner. Or the daughter of an imprisoned army general. Or anyone else in west Africa with access to a vast fortune – if only we can help them release the cash. Most of us recognise the Nigerian email scam and delete the messages. A few poor souls get …
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Never email a job reference

Comment The UK's privacy chief issued guidance recently that, between the lines, revealed a strange quirk of data protection law: if you don't want an employee to see what you've told another boss about him, send the reference by post, not email. The Information Commissioner's Office issued its latest Good Practice Note in the spirit …