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What is the World Intellectual Property Organisation?



The World Intellectual Property Organisation, (WIPO) is a United Nations agency founded in 1967 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It’s Director General is an Australian national, Francis Gurry, who’s current six year term ends in September 2014. The WIPO currently has 185 member states and promotes the development and understanding of an international Intellectual Property system by providing advice, research, analysis to support the development of a global IP system.

The WIPO also recognises the achievements of inventors, creators and innovative companies around the world, via the WIPO Awards Program which aims to foster a culture in which innovation and creativity are encouraged across all layers of society.

The WIOP works with member states to improve understanding and respect for IP worldwide. and contribute IP-based solutions to help tackle global challenges. The WIPO activities are undertaken to support the achievment of the agency’s nine strategic goals:

WIPO’s nine strategic goals were adopted by our member states in December 2009 in the first phase of a comprehensive strategic realignment process within the Organization. They reflect the evolving challenges for WIPO and for intellectual property in today’s rapidly changing environment:

  • Balanced Evolution of the International Normative Framework for IP
  • Provision of Premier Global IP Services
  • Facilitating the Use of IP for Development
  • Coordination and Development of Global IP Infrastructure
  • World Reference Source for IP Information and Analysis
  • International Cooperation on Building Respect for IP
  • Addressing IP in Relation to Global Policy Issues
  • A Responsive Communications Interface between WIPO, its Member States and All Stakeholders
  • An Efficient Administrative and Financial Support Structure to Enable WIPO to Deliver its Programs

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry on “Movies – A Global Passion”

In this World IP Day 2014 message, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry reflects on IP in the global film industry, and the opportunities and challenges of the digital age. Find out more about IP and movies at Written message: On Facebook:

External links & references

  1. Intellectual Property & Traditional Knowledge : PDF
  2. WIPO Awards Program
  3. Treaties Administered by the WIPO
  4. WIPO Magazine: Art Goes Digital


McAfee’s Digital Divide Survey: Parents in the dark

It’s no surprise to read in McAfee’s Digital Divide survey that teenagers are hoodwinking their parents, that’s unlikely to stop any time soon. The difference for teenagers now though, is the internet never forgets.



Original version of this article published in the Irish Independent, November 7, 2013Irish Independent

It’s no surprise to read in McAfee’s Digital Divide survey that teenagers are hoodwinking their parents, that’s unlikely to stop any time soon. The difference for teenagers now though, is the internet never forgets. The ten percent of teenagers surveyed who posted an embarrassing photo, or the twelve percent who used foul language may have a long time to reflect on their embarrassment. And that embarrassment could follow them to a new school, college or job. Online, the world is watching and you can be judged by your past behaviour for a lifetime.

Digital learning initiatives like tablets in schools and emerging MOOCs, Massive Online Open Courses are transforming education and the potential for learning so it’s disturbing to read in McAfee’s survey that a third of parents have resorted to taking away their teens mobile devices or computers, counter-productive in the extreme. Neither is avoidance the answer. Parents appear to be in denial and exhibiting a trust that was not granted to my generation and platitudes from teenagers should be treated cautiously as half of teenagers are doing things online that their parents would not approve of.

When I was a student Civics was taught to imbue good citizenship but as we transition to a society with a growing population of digital natives there is a greater need for good digital citizenship, I would suggest even a dedicated course, ideally in the Junior Cycle curriculum. We don’t just need to teach children how to write apps and study using digital technology, we need to teach them how to be safe and sensible, and how what they say and do online can impact themselves and others emotionally, socially and even professionally. Parents must accept responsibility for the development of their children as digital citizens by providing supervision and taking an active, but unobtrusive, part in their children’s online lives. I’m not suggesting a digital version of peeking in the teenage diary, but parents generally, are interested in who their children are friends with and where they are after dark, and they should be interested in what their children are doing online. Installing monitoring software on a child’s computer would be a step too far and may even hinder the development of a teenager’s technical ability, but open discussion in the classroom and at home brings a sense of reality to digital life that is often lacking in the consciousness of teenagers who treat so much of online interaction in a way akin to playing a video game, allowing them to dissociate themselves from offensive behavior, sometimes with tragic outcomes.

Good initiatives like McAfee’s Online Safety for Kids are a great start, but there’s some distance to go and the school curriculum and parents must be part of the answer to the development of the teenage digital native. Human nature being what it is, teenagers will behave better when you keep an eye on them, because they know you’re watching, and their parents should be watching, because the rest of the internet is.


External links & references

  1. McAfee launch Online Safety for Kids programme :
  2. McAfee Digital Divide Survey :
  3. Twitter & the trolls :
  4. The school curriculum : don’t me why :
  5. Pilot scheme launched in Wales : BBC News
  6. survey : should Digital Civics be on the school curriculum? 
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Open data, does not mean losing our data. Get it?

Not much time passes between reports of another authority, company or agency losing someone’s data. Spying or intelligence agencies nosing around your data is one thing, I’m referring to how people are losing our data the old fashioned way; laptop, train home, oops. Laptops, tablets and USB keys – all of them it seems appear to be dropping out of sight, and control at an alarming rate the world over. I know we live in the era of open data – but someone needs to explain that means sharing data, not leaving it in a pub lavatory.



Not much time passes between reports of another authority, company or agency losing someone’s data. Spying or intelligence agencies nosing around your data is one thing, I’m referring to how people are losing our data the old fashioned way; laptop, train home, oops. Laptops, tablets and USB keys – all of them, appear to be dropping out of sight, and control at an alarming rate the world over. I know we live in the era of open data – but someone needs to explain that means sharing data, not leaving it in a pub toilet.

Last week I did a radio piece with Will Faulkner on Midlands Radio.  Specifically we were looking at a report by Fiachra O’Cionnaith of The Examiner where following a Freedom of Information request, it was revealed that from January 2009 to Dec 2012,  69 devices owned or controlled by Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) went missing, of which 61 of which have since been deemed stolen, this included 15 laptops presumed stolen in a single incident in the Midlands, in 2009. More than 50 had ‘sensitive’ data and, 20 were not encrypted. That’s a device lost or stolen, every three weeks.

“Somebody needs to be held accountable. Considering the previous assurances given in 2008, this is totally unacceptable.”

— Irish Patients’ Association chairman Stephen McMahon

Given the quote from Stephen McMahon above by I recalled a blog post I’d read a few years ago. So I got to browsing and found the excellent posts from 2008 & 2009 by John Lawlor of Trinity College in Dublin. John made the point contemporaneously that it was time everyone who was in control of:

personal private information, whether in the public or private sectors, took this issue seriously and started taking immediate, practical and effective steps to secure the data they store and control.

Alas, no-one acted on John’s good advice, which even went as far as including some pointers on encryption, from commercial to open-source and the practicalities around data-protection and security. Did anyone share blog posts then? Does anyone say “that makes sense, I’ll raise that at the monthly staff meeting – but I bet we have something in place already”; sad fact is, you don’t. Or if you do, no ones’ bothering to do what they should. Which is worse?

Using Cloud Computing to Build Next-Generation Government Services

In a previous post (regarding a private sector company, PA Consulting, who managed to lose data on thousands of criminals) John Lawlor referred to controlling access to internet storage sites as agency employees could create another vulnerability by using services like Gmail or Hotmail for storing data. Good advice at the time, and a there was indeed  a trend for ‘send it to yourself’, at the time. The gigabtye (and counting…) of storage was new – and huge for its time. Five years on things have changed. Well, the technology landscape has changed, the indifference of employees entrusted with our data appears much the same. Cloud services have evolved radically, and it is now practical and safe to store confidential data using a cloud service.

I’m not suggesting that government agencies upload something like patient data to Dropbox or Skydrive; in fact commercial cloud services vary widely on how they treat our data, for example Skydrive and Apple explicitly reserve the right to scan your data, sometimes with embarassing consequences. as experienced by a German photographer. What I am suggesting is that as we talk up the opportunities of Cloud computing, as a job-creator and cost solver, we also use it to solve some data protection challenges. SpiderOak, a company I particularly like offer personal, business and enterprise cloud services whereby your data is encrypted before you upload to the cloud, so they don’t know what your storing with them.  EMC run the clever and cost effective Mozypro, and Accellion offer FIPS 140-2 compliance services to stat authorities.

If you’ve got mobile devices with sensitive data, using Mobile Device Management software you can ensure important data is encrypted. If it’s stolen or lost the device can be wiped. And if you’re unsure whether it was stolen or lost or just where it is, by using a GPS boundary, you can ensure the device is wiped if it moves more than say, a mile from your office or 50 metres from an employees home. Waheed Qureshi the founder of Zenprise said to me last year, ‘people lose their tablets yes, but there’s no excuse for losing your data.’ Citrix and Good Technology amongst others, make this cost-effective, and more importantly, easy to do.

I’ve been a laptop user for more than a decade – and I’ve never lost one. Not one. I’ve never lost a tablet or a smartphone. Am I remarkably careful, security conscious and St Anthony is watching me? Maybe it’s just because I paid for them, myself. Cost = care. And care for our data, or it will cost, you and us.

External links & references

  1. Litany of HSE data breaches : Irish Examiner
  2. List of UK government data losses : WIkipedia
  3.  Laptop Theft and Data Loss By Irish Healt
  4. h Service Executive : John Lawlor, 2009
  5. Microsoft & Skydrive uploads :
  6. My secret crush on big data :


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Internet companies write: “we need to know” letter to Washington

Today, 60 of the world’s major internet companies like Google and Facebook, advocacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and investors including Y Combinator have written to  Washington urging the administration to allow more transparency following the recent disclosures detailing extensive federal surveillance programs of global internet users.



Yesterday, 60 of the world’s leading internet companies including Google and Facebook, the advocacy organisations ACLU and The Electronic Frontier Foundation and technology investors, including Y Combinator wrote to the US administration urging for more transparency to be allowed, following the recent revelations regarding the PRISM surveillance program first published in The Guardian and Washington Post.

With the existing legislation, Internet Service Providers and other Web companies can be compelled to provide the government with the metadata of customers, yet at the same time they are often prevented from acknowledging those requests. A number of companies have published vague information about these FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Acts) requests in recent months, including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, yet the internet firms are prevented by law from publishing specific details of these requests.

“Basic information about how the government uses its various law enforcement–related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations. We seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government’s national security–related authorities.”

— We Need To Know Transparency Letter: July 18 2013

We Need to Know Transparency Letter

The 63 signatories on the letter sent this week say the US government should ensure that the internet firms entrusted with users security and privacy are allowed to report the statistics illustrating the number of government requests made under the PATRIOT Act and FISA, as well as the number of accounts or individuals impacted and figures reflecting instances in which the contents of phone calls or emails are recovered.

External links & references

  1. Patriot Act : Wikipedia
  2. FISA : Wikipedia
  3. Raytheon predict a RIOT:
  4. Snowdens Message Buried in Mud  
  5. NSA leaks coverage at RT News
  6. Prism: coverage at the Guardian
  7. We Need To Know : Transparency letter
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