Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dubious Data Practices...

According to this doc from the Data Protection Commissioner the Irish Insurance Federation uses a fairly strange definition of 'you' when deciding whether to give 'you' insurance or not. They have a database which to my mind has a fairly serious design flaw:

The entry in the Registry comprises the first three letters of the applicant's surname, the first five letters of the first name, the date of birth, together with the date and codes for the relevant insurer and the type of policy.

So If my name is "MICHAEL GOLDSMITH" and I share a birthday with a deeply unhealthy "MICKEY GOLDSTEIN " I can be turned down for life insurance because of him or his policy history. Not only that, if I make a data protection act request I will be given his information....

The really bizarre thing is that the Data Protection commissioner is aware of this but doesn't seem to find it odd...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Morgan Kelly and his proposal to default

Sent the following to the Irish Times. Didn't get published. Ho hum...


The Irish State was founded by a group of individuals who believed in demonstrating the reality of Independence by throwing the new nation into a ruinous trade war with Britain and its empire. A happy willingness to antagonize its neighbours and harm its own interests simply to prove the fact of Irish independence continued for more than half a century, with mixed results for people who lived here.

Ireland now appears to have gone to the other extreme and is busy sacrificing the nation to avoid upsetting anyone in Europe. Let us not make the mistake of assuming that our selflessness will be reciprocated by France or Germany, both of whom promoted the concept of the Euro, insisted that their nationals had critical positions in the running of it and are now blaming the users of their currency for the for the terminal problems it now faces.

The government needs to make a conscious shift back towards the self-centred politics of the thirties and forties. At an absolute minimum the it should start publicly making contingency plans to implement the "Kelly Option" and other equally radical scenarios such as approaching the United States and asking to join if a catastrophic loss of sovereignty becomes inevitable. Such plans do not have to be put into action to provide benefits. Their mere existence will strengthen our position and turn us from supplicants into participants in the current process.

David Rolfe