Quoting Blogzilla. A blog well worth reading.

Blogzilla is an excellent blog on privacy technology and law, I was hoping to catch up with Ian again at GIKIII but I will be in San Francisco instead of Oxford.  Normally he posts on privacy law stuff, but today’s post caught my eye.

Here it is.

The complicity of the American Psychological Association in torture at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere has been deeply disturbing. Particularly repellent has been the CIA’s perversion of Martin Seligman’s work on learned helplessness. Finally, the APA has rejected this disgusting conduct, with a (small) majority of members voting in favour of the following petition:

Whereas torture is an abhorrent practice in every way contrary to the APA’s stated mission of advancing psychology as a science, as a profession, and as a means of promoting human welfare.
Whereas the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Mental Health and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture have determined that treatment equivalent to torture has been taking place at the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. [1]
Whereas this torture took place in the context of interrogations under the direction and supervision of Behavioral Science Consultation Teams (BSCTs) that included psychologists. [2, 3]
Whereas the Council of Europe has determined that persons held in CIA black sites are subject to interrogation techniques that are also equivalent to torture [4], and because psychologists helped develop abusive interrogation techniques used at these sites. [3, 5]
Whereas the International Committee of the Red Cross determined in 2003 that the conditions in the US detention facility in Guantánamo Bay are themselves tantamount to torture [6], and therefore by their presence psychologists are playing a role in maintaining these conditions.
Be it resolved that psychologists may not work in settings where persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the US Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independe


Better late than never.


George Clooney,David Beckham and the software demo

I’m in the middle of doing a Magic Quadrant at the moment.  It is a lot more work than I imagined, even if Jim is doing the lion’s share of it.  By the end of the process we will have had in depth presentations from nearly 30 vendors, and interviewed many of their customers. But this post isn’t about the details of employee performance management software.

Copyright is a big deal in the software industry. It is the basis on which  most software is sold or  licensed.  licence v sale is another can of worms, and not for a friday evening post.

Software IP is  considered to be a fascinating subject by a very small segment of the population, but it is the foundation upon which our industry is built.  Folks such as Geeklawyer make fortunes out figuring software IP law out.  Software companies around the world pounce aggressively on abuse of  copyright and other IP forms. This is their right, and they are pretty good at exercising it.

Celebrities also make use of copyright and other laws  to protect their image, and to earn their crust(s). When David Beckham advertises a razor, or a pair of sunglasses, the company using that image has coughed up big money for the pleasure thereof. Mr Beckham’s advisors think long and hard whether a particular product fits with his image. 

Nestle paid handsomely for Mr Clooney to sip Nespresso.  And there is a mass of law, and troops of lawyers to defend Mr Beckham’s and Mr Clooney’s  rights to their images. Joe citizen has certain rights, but celebrity image rights is big business. California, home to many celebrities and software companies has strong laws to provide additional rights to celebrities.

Celebrities, athletes, and artists have certain rights in regard to the commercial use of their image, voice, or persona. Under sections 3344 and 3344.1 of the California Civil Code, reproducing or using the image, voice, or persona of someone without their permission constitutes a violation of their privacy rights.

Privacy rights extend to the celebrity status of deceased persons as well. Permission for the reproduction of photographs, movie stills, or other depictions of a deceased celebrity requires permission from the person or corporation who owns the rights to them. thanks to Fergus law office for the info .

Under UK law, the law of passing off can sometimes be used to prevent a celebrity’s image being used overtly to promote a commercial product. Have a look here at this case. more details here.  For those interested in comparative rights to one’s own image, see this paper on SSRN.

Why is it then, that so many software demos include images and data of Mr Beckham, Brad Pitt,  Cameron Diaz, James Bond and Matt Damon?

I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that using their names and images without their permission infringes the self same copyright laws that enable software companies to charge money for software. Never mind the more complex and messy issue of privacy and reputation.  

When you demo enterprise software, don’t promote George Clooney to Deputy Vice President,  make jokes about David Beckham being on the bench because he is a bit slow or change Ms Zeta-Jones’ family dental benefit plans. Unless of course, you have permission from the said celeb.  I’ve not even started on the data protection law implications of processing their personal data…

I’m not a lawyer, so if you don’t believe me, have a chat with your in-house legal counsel. You might think it is cool to have a bunch of celebrities in your demo system, but I’m not sure that it is such a good idea. 

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Eighth day’s ride

The final day. 25th August. (sorry for the delay in posting, but today is the first time I’ve had consistent email access in weeks)

My friend Sig joined us for the final day. He blogged an excellent  account of the ride here.  I’ll keep my account short, as Sig covered the details.

His wife Tittin kindly drove him up to the start. (This must have cost many domestic airmiles)

As with every single day on the tour, the sun shone brightly. I drove the support car for the only nasty climb of the day, up above the lake. The view was spectacular.



Richard and Sig comparing gadgets.

Isabel and Sig cresting the climb.


We rode down through beautiful gorges and valleys, finishing the stage about 140kms later at Vence, just inland from Nice.

Things got a little frantic towards the end, as Isabel needed to make the airport, she had to go back work the next day.  Not only did she drop me  on many of the  hills, but she can lead a mean chain gang.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Richard for all his efforts in organising the event. From planning the route, booking hotels and hiring the car, he managed everything. Thanks!

I also wish George a speedy recovery. (he is now back home in SA)

To all that donated to the charity, a special thanks.

And finally to my  family, thank you for the time off to do this.

Seventh day’s ride

Today included two major climbs, both with over 1300 metres of climbing, and finishing at over 2000 metres. We would also need to ride about 150 kms.

The first part of the ride was dogged by cars and the Italian curse, motorbikes. It seems that most of Italy owns a motorbike and chose this day to see how close they could ride to this merry band of cyclists. We also had to ride through a couple of long tunnels. The scenery though, was beautiful and dramatic. Richard drove up the hill, and then rode down to meet us near the bottom.



We had lunch at the top of the first climb, fighting with leather clad biker types to get served. Sweaty lycra tends to win out in the scrum for the Panini.

The top of the first climb , the Maddalena, was also the border with France.


It is quite historically significant. It is believed this where Hannibal crossed the alps. He was probably quicker on a elephant than I was on a bike.

The descent was excellent; a lovely fresh french road.

We rode past the sign for Pra Loup, where the MTB world championships are to be held. Our thoughts were with George.


Isabel was driving, and Geoff and I were also feeling tired, but we decided that we ought to ride the last major climb of the tour. It would be bad form to have 3 in the car!

The next climb, Coll D Allos, was much quieter, and we rode up through a beautiful gorge. The french thoughtfully document details of the climb on the milestones. Name, current altitude, distance to the top, and average gradient for the next kilometre. This is about as much information as I can take in. (There is some software design message here somewhere, but I’m on holiday.)


Here is Geoff, attacking the climb with gusto.


The coll never really got steep, and there was good shade for most of it. But it was long. I used the soundtrack on the ipod, and I really pushed the last bit, surprising everyone with a nifty turn of speed, even if I say so myself. The climb peaked at 2250 metres. The descent was super, lovely road with some nice straight bits.

I attached my N95 to the handlebars with cable ties and filmed part of the descent. Heath Robinson would have loved cable ties. The noise makes it seem a bit faster than it is. I think the top speed I reached in the video was about 65 km/h. I’ve not edited the video, so there is a almost stationary parking near miss crash and a pause while I do up my helmet. Quentin Tarantino can rest easy.

(I tried loading to youtube first, but it fell over, hence the google video)

The 50 kms to the finish along the valley was into the wind. Richard did almost all the work on the front, Geoff and I clinging on his wheel with increasingly 6 year old in a car whining are we there yet sentiments. There wasn’t much left in my legs by the end.

We finished the day at the lovely, if slightly worn Hotel Lac & Foret in St Andre Les Alps. Recovery food was a beer and a plate of chips, later followed by a smart dinner. The hotel had wireless, but I was too tired to post.

4102 Kcals, 149 KMs, 2915 metres of climbing.

As with most days, thanks to Geoff for the pictures.

Sixth Day’s ride.

We were determined to continue with the tour. It might sound a bit corny, but I felt I was going ride up Morti for George. 

Today was  the toughest day of the tour, the Könnigsetape as the Germans say. Climbing well over 3000 metres, including one of the alps’ toughest climbs, the Colle Dei Morti.  (also called Colle della Fauniera)

The full route can be viewed here.

Before we reached the major climb, there was the small matter of about 1800 metres of climbing.  Geoff cleverly bagged the car. Isabel, Richard and I headed out.


Isabel, Geoff and I  decided to cut out a bit of the flat stage before Monti, as we were worried about it getting dark before we could finish the day. Richard rode the flat bit, as he is a) fast and b) slightly nuts.

Colle dei Monti is famous in cycling circles, partly because of the memorial to Marco Pantani, the pirate. He won the Tour de France and the Giro, but was banned for drug use. He died, alone, of a drug overdose, in a hotel.  There is a good piece in the Observer about him here.

For the cycling types, the climb begins at 824 metres above sea level. It ends at 2481 metres above sea level, 20,9 kms later.  This is a climb of 1657 metres.  This means an average gradient of 7,9. Problem is the first 4 kms have a really easy gradient, you pay for this later.



thanks to this site for the image.

The middle section is especially brutal, from the 7 km mark to about 13 km, as it has an average gradient over 10% and sections reach over 14%.

The climb was tougher than Mont Ventoux. It took me nearly 25 minutes longer than Ventoux did, and it seemed to hurt more.  (Maybe this is also an age thing)

The soundtrack helped a bit.

Richard and Isabel rode up together, and Geoff and I plodded up at the back, Geoff finishing just ahead of me. The last few kms were all about staying on the bike.  Thank goodness for the the 29 cassette.

Geoff took this picture quite near the top, by holding the camera behind his back.


The monument on top of the mountain, like the Simpson memorial on Ventoux, is not beautiful.  but it  fits the flawed and brittle brilliance of  Il Piratti. I decided to don my pink outfit for the climb, as Pantani wore the magna rosa.  Geoff  named me Il Pinko.








Richard descending back down to the car.

We reached our hotel in Demonte, exhausted but elated. We also heard that George’s operation had gone ahead and seemed to be a success. All in all a good day. We found an excellent restaurant in Demonte and demolished a steak and bottle of barollo.

note: donations to the Zimbabwe Benefit Foundation still open here.

KCal  4483,  Climbed 3710, max HR 180

Fifth day’s ride

22nd August.

I decided to drive the car for the first part of today’s ride, as I was tired. For the first few days we didn’t need the car, as we had  hugged the coast  we could use the train to fetch the car at the end of the stage.  Today though, we were heading inland to Garessio.

Geoff and George, Aka the men in black.





About 50 kms into the ride, disaster struck. George crashed.  Badly.  With the help of a local Italian cyclist, we called the ambulance. 

Richard reckoned that the brakes had locked due to a faulty cable. George hit the road hard. He had broken his leg, badly.  His tour was over, and so was his World Championship participation. 

Eventually George was loaded into the ambulance and taken to Savonna hospital.  Geoff went with the Ambulance, and we took the bikes to the hotel and then headed to see George in the hospital.  Geoff was able to get on the phone to George’s medical aid, and make all the arrangements.  He also spoke with some surgeon friends back in South Africa to try and understand the implications of the injury.  The language gap made it doubly tough in the hospital.

After a while at the hospital  we headed back, subdued.   George, we wish you a safe and rapid recovery.

Anyone wishing to pass on good wishes to George can of course do so here and I’ll pass them on,  or drop me an email and I will send you his SMS contacts.



Fourth Day’s Ride

21st August, Isabel, Richard’s girlfriend, and demon climber joined us on the fourth day. Geoff decided to rest his knee.  

We headed off from Nervi, and began climbing.  It was really hot,  but the views were fabulous. 



The demon climbing couple.

George’s technology woes continued, his bike puncturing again. His rims needed new rim tape,  as he had changed from tubeless  mtb tyres to slicks. He decided to head back early and get to the bike shop, supporting the Italian economy.


We finished at the town of  Varazze,  north of Genova. A busy holiday spot. the last few kms really hurt. By the end of the ride I was pretty shattered. We had ridden over 100 kms, and climbed 2070  metres. 3602 kcals.

At the hotel I ate a pizza as big as a mountain bike wheel without really noticing.

Third day’s ride

20th August. Geoff, Richard, George  and I headed out.

The ride started at Chivari, but finished at Nervi, 97 kms or so.  Again, a route involving two biggish  climbs.  George and Richard charged up the hills, leaving Geoff and I to plod up behind.  Geoff mentioned his knee on several occasions. I had no excuses other than genetics.



Here are Richard and George asking what had taken Geoff and I so long.



The final climb was especially lovely, it had the feel of a proper mountain.



With a spectacular view down to Genova and the sea.



The descent was a bit hairy, and George’s bike woes continued. His tyre punctured. George and Richard went to fetch the car and tend to George’s bike, while Geoff and I investigated recovery supplements in Nervi Harbour.





1880 climbing, 97 kms, 3025 kcals.

Second day’s ride

(19th  August) Geoff’s bike finally arrived.  As per day one we were based at Chiavara, and again Richard had planned ride that took us up into the Genovese  Apennines.  Richard changed the route slightly to avoid the coastal road and the tunnels.

George was plagued with a nasty head cold, so he took a rest.

We began climbing almost straight away. It was hot. Geoff’s large chainring was playing up, and we discovered that KLM had managed to buckle it. No small feat. After some running repairs we pressed on.


The day involved two significant climbs,  being Passo del Bocco, at 956m, and Passo del Biscia at 895m. Small compared to the alps to come, but from sea level, hard work.


Here is Geoff looking slightly tired and rather smug.

We had a fabulous lunch half way up Passo del Bocco. The  tiny trattoria served excellent pasta. We ate in outside in the shade.

The scenery is lovely, lots of trees, and no flat bits! Gradients though, are bearable, with few climbs over 10%.


On our return Geoff also had his titanium chain ring straightened with a few blows of a big hammer. He wasn’t able to watch, but since then the chainring has been in fine form.

1875 ascent,  3001 cals,  roughly 95  kms (speedo was playing up a bit)