Another not so new use of drones in the Pilbara

September 1, 2015

The use of drones in the mining sector has moved from the novelty to the mundane.  Drones have been used in mining surveys (amongst other surveys), as methane sniffing devices in fracturing operations and open cast mining. So it is not earth shattering news that Fortesque Metals Group is Read the rest of this entry »

Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act takes effect today

July 1, 2015

The Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015 commences today.  It is legislation which potentially may have significant impact on social media.  It is quite Read the rest of this entry »

Foreign Affairs article on Drones.

April 29, 2015

The most recent edition of Foreign Affairs has an interesting essay on Drone technology, appropriately titled Drone On.  It is something of a Jeremiad on the the US Federal Aviation Authority with the theme being that its regulations are too restrictive for the commercial use of drones.  There is Read the rest of this entry »

Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner issues guidance on use of drones

April 21, 2015

The Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner  replaced its guidance on the use of CCTV surveillance with a guide relating to both CCTV and drones.  It issued Guidance on CCTV Surveillance and Use of Drones on 31 March 2015.  It is found here.

The announcement relevantly Read the rest of this entry »

Information Commissioner’s Office takes action for poor data security which resulted in a hacking attack and fraud

February 26, 2015

The Federal Trade Commission in the United States of America and the Information Commissioner’s Office in the United Kingdom are building up a significant number of enforceable undertakings and fines/monetary penalty notices which gives form and substance to the legislative regimes regulating privacy.  Given the Read the rest of this entry »

UK Information Commissioner obtains undertaking from Google regarding inadequate privacy policy

February 9, 2015

In the United States the Federal Trade Commission has been vigorous in taking action against organisations who mislead and deceive in relation to their privacy policies. In Australia the Privacy Commissioner has issued guidelines regarding privacy policy including What to look for in a privacy policy, Guide to developing an APP privacy policy and  Guide to developing an APP privacy policy — summary. He has not as yet taken enforcement action.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office has recently taken very strong action against Google over its privacy policy with Google entering into an Undertaking under the Data Protection Act.

The media release setting out the facts and Read the rest of this entry »

Another year in review on privacy

January 2, 2015

It is still the season to be reviewing the year that was.  And Wired’s assessment The Year’s Biggest Winners and Losers in Privacy and Security is both positive and negative from a privacy perspective, in America of course. It has been a mixed bag as far as Read the rest of this entry »

Its Christmas time and yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus

December 24, 2014

Every year I publish one of the great editorials of the yuletide season, Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus.  It is a wonderful piece of writing.  There is much more to Christmas but this is a wonderful start.  I never tire of reading it.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

By Francis P. Church, first published in The New York Sun in 1897.

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

About the Exchange

Francis P. Church’s editorial, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” was an immediate sensation, and went on to became one of the most famous editorials ever written. It first appeared in the The New York Sun in 1897 and was reprinted annually until 1949 when the paper went out of business.

Thirty-six years after her letter was printed, Virginia O’Hanlon recalled the events that prompted her letter:

“Quite naturally I believed in Santa Claus, for he had never disappointed me. But when less fortunate little boys and girls said there wasn’t any Santa Claus, I was filled with doubts. I asked my father, and he was a little evasive on the subject.

“It was a habit in our family that whenever any doubts came up as to how to pronounce a word or some question of historical fact was in doubt, we wrote to the Question and Answer column in The Sun. Father would always say, ‘If you see it in the The Sun, it’s so,’ and that settled the matter.

“ ‘Well, I’m just going to write The Sun and find out the real truth,’ I said to father.

“He said, ‘Go ahead, Virginia. I’m sure The Sun will give you the right answer, as it always does.’ ”

And so Virginia sat down and wrote her parents’ favorite newspaper.

Her letter found its way into the hands of a veteran editor, Francis P. Church. Son of a Baptist minister, Church had covered the Civil War for The New York Times and had worked on the The New York Sun for 20 years, more recently as an anonymous editorial writer. Church, a sardonic man, had for his personal motto, “Endeavour to clear your mind of cant.” When controversal subjects had to be tackled on the editorial page, especially those dealing with theology, the assignments were usually given to Church.

Now, he had in his hands a little girl’s letter on a most controversial matter, and he was burdened with the responsibility of answering it.

“Is there a Santa Claus?” the childish scrawl in the letter asked. At once, Church knew that there was no avoiding the question. He must answer, and he must answer truthfully. And so he turned to his desk, and he began his reply which was to become one of the most memorable editorials in newspaper history.

Church married shortly after the editorial appeared. He died in April, 1906, leaving no children.

Virginia O’Hanlon went on to graduate from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts degree at age 21. The following year she received her Master’s from Columbia, and in 1912 she began teaching in the New York City school system, later becoming a principal. After 47 years, she retired as an educator. Throughout her life she received a steady stream of mail about her Santa Claus letter, and to each reply she attached an attractive printed copy of the Church editorial. Virginia O’Hanlon Douglas died on May 13, 1971, at the age of 81, in a nursing home in Valatie, N.Y.

Merry Christmas to one and all.

Verizon issues its insecurity hall of fame…apt in light of the Sony experience

December 19, 2014

Verizon in its  The 2014 Data [In]Security Hall of Fame provides a (slightly) more light hearted look at the security issues over the last 12 months, more to the point the breaches and their consequences.  Given the catastrophic end to the year for Sony Read the rest of this entry »

Canadian Court fines Google for showing a woman’s cleavage on Streetview

November 2, 2014

In Google Loses Lawsuit For Posting Woman’s Cleavage the issue a Canadian Court dealt with was the liability of Google for taking a photograph of a woman sitting on her stoop.  The photograph showed Read the rest of this entry »