Monthly Archives: December 2008

A Victory for Local Oddballs Everywhere

December 19, 2008

The news that Rachel Nickell’s killer, Robert Napper, has been convicted of the crime, will doubtless bring relief to Ms. Nickell’s long-suffering loved ones. But perhaps no-one will be more relieved than Colin Stagg, the eccentric but completely innocent man whom the police decided had dunnit, and who, despite having had his trial for the crime thrown out of court, has lived under a cloud of “no smoke without fire” suspicion for sixteen years. Stagg was the victim of an erroneous psychological profile, which mistook his lonely, squalid lifestyle for... More

A raga of Tata, Land Rover and Jaguar, as British as Tetley’s Tea

December 18, 2008

Margaret Thatcher privatised Jaguar in 1984 to howls of protest from people who liked big rusty cars that broke down a lot. Ford bought the brand for $2.5 billion in 1990, to more howls from Bufton Tufton (67) stalwart of the Enoch Powell Golf Club, Jaguar’s only customer. Sales fell to around 15,000 units a year, 75 per cent of these to the USA, in the teeth of the 1992 recession. Rework – the percentage of cars requiring repair at the end of the assembly line – was running at... More

FIPR Paper indicates it is illegal to profile web users with Adware

December 14, 2008

I still think Google is getting away with large scale profiling that is slipping under the regulatory radar, an would like to hear more about it (the process of removing your search history, for example, is deliberately far from transparent) but here’s a definitive paper on the legal status of adware such as Phorm’s Webwise from Nicholas Boem and Joel Harrison: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Can targeted online advertising reduce the waste identified in this pithy and... More