Donald Pleasance and my holiday last year…

By | January 16, 2017
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I’m writing this to you from my under-sea lair, stroking a white cat whilst laughing maniacally and manipulating the entire world to my whims.

Well, not really. I’m writing it whilst drinking a cup of tea (milk, no sugar) from an office in a small warehouse at the edge of Millom in Cumbria. It’s near the sea, to be fair, but definitely not an underwater lair. But I do feel like Donald Pleasance as Blofeld.

Why? Well, it looks like I have manipulated the mighty European Commission into timing their announcement that they’re considering new “Cookie” law to protect privacy, just as I’m launching a book all about Privacy. So the newspapers are publishing articles about privacy just when the book comes out. Perfect manipulation of the entire world.

But the boring truth is it just happened that way. No large brown envelopes full of used fivers passing hands, no “honey-trap” blackmails, no long term “sleepers” I’d placed in their organisation, waiting for the right moment to strike.

And despite the way some newspapers have reported it, this particular piece of news isn’t all that significant anyway. For a start, even if it’s passed (and it might not be) and passed without changes (who knows), it won’t come in until May 2018.

But what actually do the new rules mean, if they do get put into place?

Basically the Commission has spotted that it’s quite annoying that nearly every time you go to a new website, you get a pop up or banner or whatever that says “Like most websites, we use Cookies. If you use this site, we’ll assume you’re fine with that”. Sometimes you have to click on them to get it to go away, sometimes you don’t.

So instead of having a message like this on every website, you’d have the option in each web browser to change your preferences on whether to allow cookies – and the websites would have to use that.

The irony is that the rule that says they have to display these banners or popups was brought in 5 years or so ago – at the insistence of the same Commission that’s now saying it’s annoying. And what they’re suggesting is very similar to what was in place before that, where you could change in your browser what level of cookies you wanted your browser to allow.

What’s that saying: “the more things change, the more they stay the same” Not always true, but it might be here.

So sadly, not only am I not an evil genius bent on ruling the world from my lair in Millom, nor is this particular piece of news that important anyway – certainly until we see how (and if) it gets put into practice.

Who knows what I did on holiday last year?
Here’s something far more significant about privacy: The book I’ve been talking about will be launched at 11am today. Full information about what’s covered then.

You’ll also find out a bit more about what I actually mean by privacy – what kind of thing they actually know (and who they are) and what they use it for.

For example, I was staggered the other day when I discovered that one organisation that you’ll have heard of knew I’d been on holiday last year. (And they were nothing to do with the holiday – not the travel agent or train company or anything.)

They not only knew that, they knew where I stayed. And what places I visited while there – on what days, and what time of day. The irony is one of the places was Bletchley Park, home of the code breaking team that cracked the Enigma code – and this organisation could tell me what time I went there, when I left and even what route I drove back to the cottage we were staying at (and the name of the cottage).

(None of this was because I’m special, either – they may well know the same kind of information about you.)

Curious who knew all that? Well, watch out for my email at 11am and read the full information. You’ll also find out what the book covers – and there’ll probably be one or two surprises about what happens, even just in the information about the book, let alone the book itself.

Watch out for my email at 11am.

2 thoughts on “Donald Pleasance and my holiday last year…

  1. Lillian Freeman

    They are not all that good then, as they didn’t know what you had for lunch, or how many pints you drank. Perhaps they need a few lessons from you, or even buy your book.

    1. Tim Post author

      Very true! Or at least, they don’t know that as far as I know!


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