[Humanist] 26.431 public good vs personal data protection?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Oct 28 09:20:23 CET 2012

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 431.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2012 13:49:47 +0200
        From: Miran arnes <miran.hladnik at guest.arnes.si>
        Subject: Public good vs. personal data protection

Dear colleagues, 

I am quite upset about the recent legal decisions in Slovenia to disable the
name search in the national text corpora (e. g.
http://bos.zrc-sazu.si/a_beseda.html), referring to the personal data
protection law. The institutions that host databases followed the scribal
interpretation of the law and prevented the user to find any combination of
the first and the last name in the database. As it is impossible to separate
dead from alive, and exclude public personalities and fictional characters,
the user is handicapped when trying to get concordances concerning literary
heroes, authors of fictional works, or any other Slovene person. 

The same governmental institution stopped Google streetview in Slovene towns
and consistently and vigorously exercies the Nineteen-Eighty-Four-like
control of all possible internet locations that (on purpose or accidentally)
reveal personal data, thus privileging private concerns over public good and
destroying established social services. The academic community protested on
Internet forums, recalling to the common sense, the directors of the
institutions where the databases are hosted had meetings with the
responsible governmental office--with no positive effect. I understand the
reinforcement of legal decisions mentioned as an attack on the information

Do you happen to know of any similar narrowminded occurences and--if you
do--how do you suggest to react to them? 

-- Miran

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