Brightspark has a post about being bugged at the Netvisonary Awards. Bernie also mentions it on his blog here.
I called out Bernie on his comments and he responded to them, my reply to that has not been allowed through or comments from others I would guess but instead there is a comment from Brightspark, part of which states:
There has been quite a lot of interest in this post. However, the comments are tending towards the personal, between old rivalries with particular axes to grind. Thank you for your interest in this post, but I think that Brightspark’s blog is not the forum for continuing with this discussion
What old rivalaries are they on about? Who has an axe to grind? It seems from the reading of the post that people could come to the wrong conclusion. Guys, once you start any kind of controversial discussion, you can’t really decide to end it when you want it to end. It doesn’t work that way with blogs.
I wonder are things like this covered in the growing number of blog training courses? How does one try and stop a shitstorm once it starts, though this is far from a shit storm. I guess you could also include that in the guides for viral marketing. You can’t stop the virus once it gets out.
If the discussion about the rudeness of recording someone without their permission wants to continue over here, I am happy to facilitate it. Naturally anything deemed libelous will be removed.
Mary apparently doesn’t like the title of this post and says: I don’t like the title, it smacks of someone who’s been blogging a very long time and thinks they know it all. I would point out that I’ve been blogging 1 month longer than Damo, so I don’t need lessons in how to manage my blog
(Her highlighting of that particular sentence, not mine)
I left a comment on this latest post but I’ll echo it here. Mary keeps suggesting her blog is about running a business yet the discussion about being bugged at a table was started by her on her blog. Was it an error in judgement to blog about it on her blog? Next, I want clarification about the original comment I highlighted above and here: the comments are tending towards the personal, between old rivalries with particular axes to grind
Can she clarify was it me or Adam she is referring to, or does she mean both of us?
A comment of mine was also blocked, for whatever reason (again, axe to grind? News to me).
If I recall correctly I was giving my opinion on recording someone without their knowledge or permission… to me it’s unprofessional, immoral, wrong, devious, sly and probably dangerous too…
If a podcaster or journalist or whatever wants to gain a good reputation, they’d be well advised to avoid the practice, because if you record and/or publish without someone’s permission you’ll never be trusted by them again; nor will you be trusted by anyone who hears about what happened… it’s the same with protecting sources and taking the phrase ‘off the record’ to mean just that… cross that line and you’ll suffer in the long term, even if you prosper in the short term.
As far as I’m aware it’s also illegal, but I’m open to correction on this one… the way I see it someone would be able to at least sue to have the offending recording destroyed, even if they can’t demand money for it… I would be interested to know if an incriminating comment made off the record (which was then published) could lead to a lawsuit over damages (ie you incriminated me by publishing that, not by me saying it… the way the Irish system works I’d not be surprised if that was possible).
I also wonder how Bernie, who’s so heavily involved in DRI doesn’t know the legal situation in terms of unwarrented recordings. We all know they don’t stand up as evidence in court, but what else is there around the issue?
I think the blog owner should be able to set the temperature of the discussion. What’s “lively” and “robust” to some is “intimidating” or “personal” to another. Same in meatspace.
There’s good discussion needed about recording with roaming bugs. It’s happening all around 21st century Ireland. The practise among Irish bloggers is to label surreptious recordings as “unprofessional, immoral, wrong, devious, sly and probably dangerous too.” Like the Lea’s Cross recordings in RTE’s case, I imagine.
Like RTE has discovoered, once you run a story with digital content gathered via hidden technology, you lose your ability to work that source for follow-up. Some would say the public good is served when you’re in pursuit of a societal interest, however. In fact, rather than being distrusted by its viewers, most who pay their licence fees in Ireland admire RTE for its undercover tactics.
Those are issues I want to spotlight for readers.
I’m no lawyer, even though I’m affiliated with legal experts on Digital Rights Ireland’s initiatives. I don’t know the legality of recording your own space nor do I know the legality of recording your own movements with the GPS that’s running in your shirt pocket, the OnStar system that’s uplinking in your car, the CCTV your estate has commissioned or the open mic that’s switched on in the cockpit.
I think there is legal recourse when information is disclosed in contravention of a contract for services but I don’t know the claw-back that a private citizen has when personal information or personal likeness goes public in a noncommercial space.
If possible, I recommend Damien edit this post with links pointing at DRI, Tuppenceworth, Eire, and TJ McIntyre. The cavalry will ride up with much more lucid comments within a few days.
mmm I thought the discussion in the comments on Brighspark was very tempered in comparison to some others on similar topics (I seem to remember a very heated one on publishing photographs way back at the blog awards ;). But this is back to the policy of the blogger – if it’s “my” blog then I can close down whatever I want in terms of dialogue – it doesn’t stop the conversation, it merely limits the location…In terms of recording I think it’s downright bad manners to assume that because you are a photographer, blogger, podcaster or other that someone you are sitting with is comfortable with you recording any of what passes between you. Seek permission first – it should be “opt in” for the blogger, not “opt out” for someone else. Likening an investigative report on Leas Cross on RTE which is subject to fact checking and other rigorous processes is hardly akin to recording conversations with private citizens in public spaces and publishing them in a public space where the context is not available or transparent to the public in the first place. There’s a difference between legality and ethics – perhaps this should form part of the discourse.
Woah, so now you’re comparing bugging of conversations as being for the good of society? Do you consider everyone you meet and accidently record as being on a par with those that abused defenseless old people? Jesus.
As Bernie alludes to, it’s possible to Martini record – any time, any place anywhere. Preventing that is getting harder and harder, though, no doubt technology may have counter-measures up its future sleeve.
But how apt the journalistic concept of ‘off the record’ has become from the days of pen and paper. Pen and paper has deniability, not so with a recording.
Does that mean we should do it?
I suppose this is yet another example of where the tectonic plates of blogging and journalism (and I don’t exclusively mean card-carrying) are colliding.
Journalism grapples with concepts like ‘public interest’ over and above the mere capacity to secretly Martini record.
As for me, I consider material recorded without people’s knowledge or permission as ‘off the record’ and therefore unusable without their consent.
Abandoning the notion of ‘off the record’ or giving two fingers to the public interest has nothing to do with technology.
We’re entering into a whole new ball game here, that’s for sure.
Good to be back.
Thereâ€™s good discussion needed about recording with roaming bugs. Itâ€™s happening all around 21st century Ireland. The practise among Irish bloggers is to label surreptious recordings as â€œunprofessional, immoral, wrong, devious, sly and probably dangerous too.â€? Like the Leaâ€™s Cross recordings in RTEâ€™s case, I imagine.
Like RTE has discovoered, once you run a story with digital content gathered via hidden technology, you lose your ability to work that source for follow-up. Some would say the public good is served when youâ€™re in pursuit of a societal interest, however. In fact, rather than being distrusted by its viewers, most who pay their licence fees in Ireland admire RTE for its undercover tactics.
And do you think RTE got people to work as staff and covertly record in various care homes until they found one that was negligent, or do you think they were acting on a tip off, some information or a lead?
If you’re going to justify the sporadic, covert recording of conversations in the pursuit of stumbling across a topic that’s of the public’s interest, then you must surely see the justification in the Government’s retention of data as, after all, monitoring phone calls and emails might help them catch a criminal every once in a while.
I simply see it as an invasion of privacy; what were the podcasters mentioned by brightspark if it wasn’t a piece of audio to publish? If they’re just looking for a good, off the record comment that they can bring to someone else to create a story then surely they’ve got some kind of memory capabilities?
Also, I can bet you that plenty of dodgy care-homes became very suspicious of their staff after the Leas Cross prime time, because they no longer trusted them to not record the mistreatment of their victims…
Bernie et al.
Infringe privacy, you play with fire and you deserve what you get as far as I am concerned.
Glad you’ve admitted your not a lawyer. The cavalry you need will work in general with citations in protection of privacy and digital rights in the state.
I am following this DRI battle exceptionally closely and believe that there is merit to what they pursuing.
Let’s have DRI views on Kennedy & Arnold v. Ireland, Von Hannover v. Germany, DPP v. Braddish, DPP v Dunne and on the facts you’ll find weak enough basis for your arguments. The later two are re: CCTV evidence.
The above are more seminal cases, but I really have a massive problem with people or companies purporting to undertake business or pleasure/leisure whilst recording for any purpose, frankly its inadmissible [unless notified], disrespectful, and displays a distinct lack of respect for others as well confidence in ones own ability to communicate.
POINT ONE. Method of gathering information.
If you accept it’s alright for an investigative reporter to gather information surreptitiously, then you understand how some mainstream publications and national channels work. What RTE did in Lea’s Cross is what 60 Minutes does routinely. The reporters often have a lot of corroborating evidence that they gathered in ways that would break acceptable chains of evidence in courts of law. Some would argue that no matter the private authority gathering the information, the method used is at best disrespectful and at worst illegal.
So if I read this line of discussion correctly, I guess it’s okay for a reporter with paid-up union dues to get the story undercover and publish it in the mainstream press but not okay for a reporter with paid-up union dues to publish similar facts gathered with similar methods for publishing on a personal blog or a low-brow podcast.
POINT TWO. Roaming bugs.
It sounds like no one in this discussion enjoys being recorded without permission when a low-life blogger or upstart podcaster has the digital recorder running. Fair enough.
But it sounds like most people in this discussion would accept blanket societal surveillance as a matter of course. I know that’s not true because I’ve read the opinions of several people who have commented here in other spaces and they feel queasy about the steady erosion of digital freedoms. It seems that the discussion here doesn’t want to go down that path.
Why not confront the real demon–the casual way people are being recorded in many more ways than they want to acknowledge?
It’s up to readers to decide whether Bernie Goldbach is a roaming bug. I know what I carry and I know what’s always-on. On most occasions, anyone with a smart phone can see me at 10m since I emit two Bluetooth signals. On all occasions, the Minister for Justice can call up an O2 network map and find me within 10km as I move from cell to cell in County Tipperary. No one begrudges his police force that power. A private investigator can get CCTV footage that shows me on my daily paper run through Clonmel, all the way from entering the centre of town through roaming the aisles to the cash till. I have seen that footage.
I spent 18 months working in a space where my every print-out was a target of an electronic wave gun across the road in a white van funded by the Russian embassy. Until I tossed aside my uniform, I was chipped for access to COSMIC control centres. And that was in the 80s. The technology is way more advanced today.
Recalling those behaviours is relevant because I know I have willingly and unwillingly submitted to State and private surveillance. One pattern of that surveillance went distressingly wrong and led me into a very dark space.
Seeing a red light on a device placed on a table after hearing the words, “For the record?” is a minor thing but one that’s kicked up a lot of cross-talk and well-deserved venom spit my way. Unfortunately, as the comments whiz by–on three separate blogs now–the community judgment has been rendered. People despise the hidden act of recording, except when it meets with community acclamation after the fact (i.e., Lea’s Cross or 60 Minutes). People wrongly assume I record without due regard, missing the wind-up that kicked off all this discussion.
There’s a lot to mull over here. That’s the nature of Mulley.net, isn’t it? It’s good to know these thoughts are being permanently cached for review and analysis by people inside the windowless office where I once worked. Because I know that, I rarely leave online comments bearing my proper name. I haven’t figured out how to change the pitch of my voice nor do I wear my tinfoil hat, frequency blocker or reflectorised spectacles when socialising. If Damien allowed AdWords here, you’d see the companies willing to assist in procuring those kinds of protective gear.
If I was hosting a party and some of my guests were being made to feel uncomfortable because a few aggressive loud-mouths entered the room, I would intervene. I would politely tell them to leave or shut up.
The stated purpose of my blog is about running an internet business in Dublin. It is not about digital rights or privacy, and it is certainly not a place to slag off Bernie Goldbach. Referring to perceived slights in the past is not what it’s about.
We are passionate about encouraging our clients to blog – where they have something to say and dedication to saying it. I would hate to think that anyone considering starting a blog in 2007 would be put off due to the heated remarks they could set themselves up for.
Don’t go slagging me off now as a prude, or a prim madam who wants to control the flow. In real life I’m known to throw a good party – and that’s because everyone is made to feel welcome and at home. I”d like to think that’s the case online as well.
Mary, it’s wonderful that you are known to throw a good party, but if you start a discussion at a party and then in the middle of it tell everyone to shut up and won’t let it to go on, is it still a good party for everyone, or just for you?
The fact is my blog is about running an internet business. It’s not about digital privacy rights. You’ve very kindly taken over this conversation. (Do you do that at parties also? 😉 ) Good luck to you. I’m going back to running my business.
Bernie you seem to be missing the point. There is a world of difference from a journalist (paid up or otherwise) starts from a position of getting a tip, finding facts etc and THEN initiates hidden recording from you, sat at a friendly bash, hiding your recorder under the bread rolls.
The first is working from a supposition that a particular person or persons are doing something worth engaging in hidden recording. The supposition is supported by some facts or information. Whatâ€™s the justification for the second?
Your second point is saying what? That because big brother has you under surveillance is it ok for Joe soap in the street to do the same? Or is it that if people are so up in arms about Joe Soap surveillance then shouldnâ€™t they be equally up in arms about big brother. Last time I looked the authorities are controlled by elected people. Who elected you? Having to check my phone for Bluetooth signals before sitting near youâ€¦.that is possibly the most farcical thing you have said to date.
As for doing sensitive work, so what? Join the club. In many instances the resulting security dossier has resulted in me being able to work in installations with minimal clearance time. When I signed the official secrets act it was explained to me what the possibilities were. I also read the bits where I could be put in jail for an indeterminate length of time pending a decision to prosecute with the option to detain me indefinitely without a prosecution.
Itâ€™s the norm and if you donâ€™t like it donâ€™t sign the documents.
I think what amazes me the most about this whole topic is the ego involved. Comparing yourself to investigative journalists. Comparing yourself to government surveillance.
Youâ€™re a bloke with a recorder who likes to record other people unawares with the hope of catching them saying something news worthy.
If you did it with a video camera what would we call you then.
If I may just comment:
Bernie – I’ve just asked myself the following two questions:
1) Would I mind if someone recorded my conversation at dinner? and
2) Would I mind if someone took my picture at that dinner?
Leaving aside the following criteria of where the dinner takes place, or with what group (obviously I might not want the world to know that in fact, I hang out with, say the North Dublin Association of Allotment Gardeners, Cabbage specialists) the relatively simple answers are
1) Yes, damn right I would mind if somone recorded my conversation. I’d consider it the height of rudeness; and
2) No, particularly if it was a nice photograph.
It would take an essay for me to explain why I don’t mind photographs but do mind recording devices.
Moving swiftly onwards – I don’t think that it’s a viable argument in favour of what you tend to do in terms of recording stuff to suggest we should worry more about what the state does. It’s a strawman. What the state does will not abdicate you of any responsibility here.
It’s also not justifiable by saying “lots of people did it to me in a previous job”.
Put simply, if you are out socially with people, even if there is some semi-business aspect of it (say an awards dinner) it is still impolite to tape record proceedings without asking if anyone minds. Actually I think it’s rude to do it anyway (put simply people like looking at photographs but have no great interest in listening to recordings of conversation).
Having read quite a lot of your pieces on the subject over the past couple of years, I’d venture to say that I’d be reluctant to sit at a table with you for the reason that I’m not entirely sure that you wouldn’t be recording proceedings. I hate having to admit it, but there you have it.
Mary – regarding what your blog is about doesn’t change the fact that up front, you felt strongly enough about this matter to write about it on that blog. Damien’s point is fairly clear here – if you open a can of worms, which excites people’s concern, it is difficult to put a lid on it. If it was so irrelevant to the blog, why bring it up? The point is few verbal discussions stay limited in scope – online discussions are little different in that respect and they do spill onto other blogs (QED we’re now on mulley.net) and they bring your blog’s name with them.
I think Damiens quote “Mary, itâ€™s wonderful that you are known to throw a good party, but if you start a discussion at a party and then in the middle of it tell everyone to shut up and wonâ€™t let it to go on, is it still a good party for everyone, or just for you? ” stands up pretty well.
Damien, having read the posts, I’m curious as to why Mary says “old rivalries with particular axes to grind”
It appears strongly, to me, that this comment is directed at you and as such, it is potentially quite a damaging comment.
Maybe I’m mis-reading it and the comment isn’t aimed at you. Still, I’d try to get it clarified because, as it stands, it makes you look bad.
Can I second what Tom said there? The remark (which seems a bit inexplicable) certainly seems to be directed at you – if it’s not, why won’t the author clarify that?
If it is, it – as Tom says – makes you look bad. Would you consider seeking legal advice if you believe your character has been damaged?
I think Damien may be a character but he’s not damaged. I went to an event that Damien opted not to attend and I’m soiled. Not a bother!
One thing I’ve learned during five years of blogging is the dirt never sticks in the mudpit of blog commentary.
Some of those reading these comments miss an important point–at the IIA Net Visionary Awards, I did not record any conversations. I recorded the announcements of the awards ceremony by placing a recorder with its red light on next to my plate in full view. Behind the scenes, the IIA also recorded the entire event from the front of the audience. The IIA has used its recording for public release without asking anyone in the room and I think that’s alright. I’ve used my recording to cull 45 seconds of applause. I think that’s alright.
When Maryrose was asked a question by another person at the table who requested a comment for record with a mic extended, she first started with a reply and then reconsidered. That celebratory moment has been made into me bugging the Net Visionary Awards.
I don’t mind this outcome because as Treasa suggests, it gives me plenty of elbow room at tables.
On my own blog, I kicked off a wind-up exercise that no one has noticed until Damien fanned the fires of awareness. Here’s the wind-up: I record the daily passing of events all the time around myself in all public places. Here’s the reality: I wouldn’t have the time or inclination to deal with all that sound.
In another life, I was a professional aircraft accident investigator. My findings, forensic and material, were as rigourously gathered as those gleaned by investigative journalism. I gathered cockpit tapes, interviewed aircrew, and dug into the personal lives of those directly associated with major mishaps. I carried a CSI toolbox because I was an investigator with a purpose.
In the same decade, I requested, analysed and gathered electronic intelligence for use by compartments of the US government. When I arrived here 10 years ago, I knew no one in Ireland had my experience. I believe the Irish government would be concerned if someone with my three colours of passports were detached on Irish soil because the temperatures rise with simpler things like CIA planes landing to refuel.
I don’t mind being categorised as the “bloke with a recorder who likes to record other people unawares with the hope of catching them saying something news worthy” because that’s more complimentary than what you could say about analysts who track, gather and catalog your life with impunity.
I think that’s the real issue–who is watching the watchers watch you?
Although there’s probably more closure pointing fingers at me for something that never happened.
I’d wager Bernie doesn’t need recording devices anyway. He can read your thoughts, people. The dictaphone is just a front.
Mary, if “the stated purpose of [your] blog is about running an internet business”, perhaps you should stick to blogging about running an internet business? It’s a stretch I know, but maybe you could give it a shot?
(BTW, if I caught someone recording me in that way, I’d go further than Damien’s stated course of action. I’d consider it an infringement of my personal space and I’d act accordingly.)
[…] Damien noted that I didn’t publish his post and very kindly took the whole debate over to his blog. He titled it “Blogging Lesson for Brightspark”. I don’t like the title, it smacks of someone who’s been blogging a very long time and thinks they know it all. I would point out that I’ve been blogging 1 month longer than Damo, so I don’t need lessons in how to manage my blog. You can read on here. […]