Feb 122010
 
 February 12, 2010  Breaches, Non-U.S., Online

Christian Falvey reports:

The ministry’s has just unveiled a tool for internet users to report illegal material on the internet. In the four days it has been in operation though, the Red Button, as it’s called, may itself have come afoul of the law, reporting also its users’ personal data. Christian Falvey reports.

The Human Rights Ministry’s Red Button is not apparently lacking in popularity; it has been downloaded 5,000 times since it was released for a public trial period on Tuesday. The idea is, you come across something worrisome on the internet – child pornography or extremism for example – you anonymously push the button on your browser, and the police are notified and check it out. What happened in practice though was that the button was sending not only the site in question but your recent browsing history as well, it was going not to the police but to a private company which checked it for the police, and it was not entirely anonymous, as Hana Štěpánková of the Office for the Protection of Personal Data told me earlier today:

“The office has received complaints suspecting a violation of the Act on the Protection of Personal Data, and it also received a request from the provider for consultation. We will deal will all of these and make an inspection if there is a serious breach of the law. We cannot make any conclusions before that. What we can say outright is the provider is wrong in claiming that an Internet Protocol, or IP, address, is not personal data. Under certain circumstances an IP address does indeed constitute personal data.”

Read more on Radio Prague.

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