BBC v HarperCollins – The Stig to be Unmasked?

The IPKAT reported recently that the BBC is preparing to take the publishing company HarperCollins to court over a book that reveals the identity of the Stig from Top Gear. The Stig never removes his helmet on the show, concealing his identity. The identity of the Stig’s character has been kept a secret for the past eight years, since 2003. Confidentiality agreements were signed to stop those involved leaking this secret to the public and ruin the air of mystery that surrounds the character of the Stig. Revealing who the Stig was could spoil the viewer’s enjoyment of the BBC2 program. Only Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May and a few of the show’s presenters are said to know who the Stig is.

HarperCollins has expressed its disappointment that the BBC has “chosen to spend licence fee payers’ money to suppress this book” and says it will vigorously defend the perfectly legitimate right of this individual to tell his story“. In a blog post on the Top Gear website by Andy Wilman, he argues against this, saying the corporation “has the right to spend money on protecting the intellectual property it created, because the truth is that all that stuff – the Stig, the Tardis, the Blue Peter dog – does belong to the licence payer, and not to some opportunists who think they can come along and take a slice when they feel like it”.

Before now there has been a fair amount of speculation over who the Stig really was, and several newspapers conjectured recently that his identity might be the former Formula Three driver Ben Collins. This came about after he decided to publish an autobiography about his life. However, the BBC still claims that the identity of the Stig remains a secret. The first Stig left the show after his identity had been revealed as the Formula One driver Perry Macarthy. Since then there have been numerous different racing drivers speculated as being the Stig and it has been claimed that the character is played by four different drivers. However, aside from these guesses, the true identity of the Stig remains unknown, and the BBC feel it is necessary to protect their harmless secret.

A BBC spokesman stated “This situation has come about as a result of an attempt by an external party to profit from unauthorised use of the Top Gear brand, one of the BBC’s biggest and most watched shows in the UK and around the world. As a result, it is important the BBC does all it can to uphold confidentiality clauses that have been agreed to in relation to the show.” By fighting against the publication of a book revealing the Stig’s identity the BBC is trying to protect the brand they have created which rests in part on the mystery surrounding the character of the Stig.

Azrights IP Brands blog – from the team at Azrights Intellectual Property and Technology Solicitors

Rio Schedule and FOEonline Meeting

The IGF Secretariat has presented the schedule for the 2007 IGF in Rio from 12-15 November (MS Excel file).

The FOEonline Coalition will have a meeting on the opening day of the IGF, Monday 12 November at 17:30 in the Imperial Meeting Room.

Speakers include Nicholas Dearden (amnesty international) and Julien Pein (former internet desk of Reporters without Borders).

Dynamic Coalition on Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Media on the Internet

DuckDuckGo Search Engine Erects Tor Hidden Service

DuckDuckGo Search Engine Erects Tor Hidden Service: Via Slashdot.

An anonymous reader writes “Viewable with Tor installed, search engine DuckDuckGo has erected a hidden service for secure, encrypted searches through the Tor network. While past attempts at hidden service search engines failed due to uptime or quality issues, DuckDuckGo marks the first time a real company operating a public search engine has offered a solid search engine as a hidden service for Tor users.”

Read Original Article (Via Slashdot.)

Advertisement: [ Read more ... ]

Privacy Digest

Fiji coup-within-coup rumour mill – the price of censorship

By Crosbie WalshPACIFIC SCOOP has a well earned reputation for solid journalism. When it publishes opinions they are invariably reasoned and supported with evidence and insight. Until two days ago. When it published a purely speculative article (supported by not a shred of evidence or any indication of the reliability of unnamed sources) about a supposedly looming Fiji coup-within-the-coup.The
Café Pacific | Media freedom and transparency

India continues move towards surveillance state

India to Monitor Google and Skype –

As an extension of their policy of pushing for access to encrypted communications on RIM BlackBerry devices, they are now demanding access to data from both Google and Skype. India is demanding that Skype and Google install servers within India so the government can access the information on Indian users.

Obviously bad guys can trivially bypass this through the use of VPNs and by taking care to use servers located outside of India. The real impact will be to open all legitimate Internet users to universal surveillance.

The Privacy Blog


Obama was warned in his first week in office that the housing and job issues had to be addressed prior to anything else. He and Congress chose to go after the democrats pet project of 20 years, health care.

Over a year working on nothing but that bill producing a piece of trash legislation that has already gone past the trillion dollar cap by 4 trillion and climbing as the bits and pieces emerge from the bill.

You elected a person [not us] who has no leadership abilities and let the Congress dictate priorities.

Millions out of work and Pelosi grants millions to a mouse, turtle walks and shuts down farms in California for a fish, killing even more jobs.

The Obama White House made lots of claims about stimulus, including up to 3.6 million private sector jobs. So far they are 3.5 million jobs short.

Of some one out there soon can’t figure out how to manufacture, sell and buy US goods this country is screwed no matter what happens.

Nothing this administration has done for the public has any teeth in it or a real direction out of the recession.

Home modification loans are a farse, the banks will not lend they will make it because they lose money if they for close and write it off they get more back from our tax dollars.

Come November remember who caused this and who got all the help and who gave it to them!

So, how’s that “hope and change” workin for ya?


Workspace Impressions

Whether it’s a private corner office or a shared cubicle, personalizing your own space makes sense since you spend a lot of time at your desk. Just like your clothes and body language, your workspace gives coworkers and clients a distinct impression about you.

According to experts, everything in your office sends a message, whether you want it to or not. Things on your space transmit clues about your efficiency, sociability and competence.

So what might they be thinking when they see your desk? Let’s find out!

1. A full candy fish, aspirin in the drawer, well-tended plants, pictures of children and babies: People can hang around at your workplace. An open door, candy, a comfortable guest chair and photos of people tell that you have an extroverted workspace that others will feel free to linger in.

2. Desk faces away from guests, flimsy guest chair or chair covered in files or no guest chair and minimal or no decoration: People shouldn’t hang around. Pictures of objects can make an assumption you’re more introverted and might not want people to linger.

3. Pictures and artifacts from your hobby on every surface: You’d rather be fishing, skiing, skydiving or building birdhouses. According to Barbara Pachter, author of “New Rules at Work”, “Pictures of your hobby are good conversation starters, but if you have too many of them, it makes people wonder whether you’re really daydreaming about fly-fishing.”

4. The plaque on your desk says your full name and title, and lists your advanced degrees. Multiple degrees on the wall, awards on the shelf, pictures of you and important people, magazines featuring articles about you: You demand respect. Name plaques form a strong impression and if it says just your first name, they assume you’re friendly and approachable but if it has a formal title, they will think that you want to be respected for your rank.

5. Ironic bumper stickers, toys, humorous posters and whimsical images: You don’t take the whole “work thing” too seriously.

6. No decorations, books, pictures, name plaque and files in boxes: You’ve just been hired, fired or you’d like to leave soon or you’d rather be temping.

7. Carpet stains. Half-eaten donuts atop teetering stacks of binders. Messy piles of papers on every surface: People should avoid doing business with you. Messy office can seriously damage your reputation as a conscientious person. It is hard to function in a messy office and people assume your office chaos will spill over their project and their files will be lost in your mess.

One Minute Blog

Facebook: privacy vs advertising

The kerfuffle over Facebook’s privacy policy continues.

PC World magazine has a good summary of the whole saga, along with interviews with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, who was about to lodge a formal 25-page complaint with the Federal Trade Commission before Facebook said it would revert to its old terms. Excecutive director Marc Rotenberg said: “We’ve been in this situation before with other companies that have really dug in their heels and tried to fight it out in the courts and the media. I think Facebook did the right thing.”

Another interesting point from Rotenberg is how Facebook is meant to make money. Of course, it’s with our data.

One new concern already on the horizon comes with Facebook’s updated advertising models. The site is now utilizing APIs [application program interfaces] to pull user data off of status updates, Rotenberg says, then use it within ads placed on the page.

“People … who care about privacy on Facebook typically don’t install applications, because they know that applications are pulling down a lot of their data. But if you’re not installing applications and you learn that the information that you’re putting in your status updates is being provided for advertising, you might be a little upset,” Rotenberg says.

Source: PC World

Couple that with the column from Reuters; where the author discusses how Facebook, a private company, needs to make money through advertising, which is possibly at odds with people’s privacy expectations. MySpace is not as popular these days as Facebook, but its garish straight-up advertising (which it does not need to spell out) – and its profitability – make it a good model for social networks.

Facebook Privacy Watch


On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, Hoosier voters will decide in a referendum whether or not they want the property tax caps placed in the Indiana Constitution.

The referendum requires a majority to make the caps permanent and place them in the Constitution.

If voters approve the referendum, property tax rates would be capped at 1 % for owner-occupied homes, 2 % for rental properties and farmland and 3% for business and industrial properties.

Property taxes have impacted most Hoosiers throughout the state; some counties have been hit harder than others. It should be up to the voters to decide whether or not the caps should be made permanent and just how much local government they can live with and live without.

Vote Yes!!!


The Red Surge is Coming to Town

Carabella Online Comic Chapter 8- episode 7

When you have a transwarp dimesional product made by the Kirby Korporation bad guys can just come pouring through.

Episode 7 of Chapter 8 of Carabella’s Online Comic is here!

Written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Mark Badger

Buy itfrom NBM here

Privacy Activism