Data Retention in the EU

Suw Charman has an excellent summary of forthcoming legislation the UK is attempting to push through the EU, why it should concern you, and what you can do about it.

…and, not coincidentally, she demonstrates why the UK digital (rights|freedoms) organisation mooted at OpenTech last month is very probably a rather good idea. Suw’s post is the first example I’ve seen of the sort of thing such an organisation would and should do. The Pledge is still running – 729 signatories to date.

3 thoughts on “Data Retention in the EU”

  1. Looked at The Pledge – might sign up, might not – am pretty charitable-membership-organisation-standing-ordered-out (about eight on standing order at last count..) what struck me was the gender split of the names. Rounding up for names which were ambiguous, sole initials, ethnically unfamiliar: of the 450 names viewable around 5-6% were women’s names in there.. interesting.

  2. The gender split of the signatories fairly accurately reflects that of the communities which have shown interest in this. We obviously got a lot of signatures from the OpenTech crowd, who were mainly male (I didn’t count how many women were there, but it wasn’t many), and then that big spike you see in the sign up rate graph coincides with a post on Slashdot, which is also a predominantly male community. As signatories have thusfar been drawn prdominantly from geek communities, and geeks tend to be males, I’m not surprised that the signatories are predominantly male.
    However, we’ve got some way cool women lined up as advisors for this new organisation.
    Jonathan, glad you found the post to be useful. It was a bit of a braindump after some late nights spent reading up on the subject. Still a ton of stuff to investigate though.

  3. It wasn’t so much the fact of male>female split – I’ve seen it over the years in my geek incarnation; I just haven’t seen it this extreme in a large sample size. When I did my CS masters degree women were at least 1:5, the undergrad courses seemed a bit worse than but I assumed more women were coming to the field.. Maybe I’m just out of touch with geekworld (in my work place women>men) but 1:20 (F:M) seems extreme. As for why I care/notice? well, I’m revising prevalences of psychiatric disease for professional exams and of course there’s a male>>female split in autism.. googling I find that others have had this thought http://news.zdnet.co.uk/business/employment/0,39020648,2120934,00.htm – in that article I find mention of an IT professional gender split of 1:7 – response to the pledge is still substantially more biased. [Thinks] D’oh! perhaps more women choose anonymity (it occurs to me that I was making the cardinal error of selection bias – I was ignoring around 10% of the ‘last 500 displayed’ who were anonymous) if almost all of those choosing anonymity were women we’d get closer to the expected ratio in geek-world. Perhaps that’s the real observation one can make – more geeky women avoid visibility online. Not perhaps so surprising.. back to the books for me..

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