Friday, 29 May 2009

Twitter suspended my account!!!

I am publishing here a comment I have posted on a friends and colleague's blog where he had related an incident with a deleted Facebook account :

The problem you pointed to here is a very real one that is worthy of a serious debate. Did FB change my life? Yes. Having had an international life, I was finally able to find many of my old classmates and friends that I had lost through my expatriations over the years. For the rest, I am more active on Twitter where the issues are very similar to FB. Both are the most popular examples of free networking services that allow great networking opportunities with the past and the present and also for making new contacts for the future. I can tell you with great joy that my 'replies' on Twitter and discussions on Linkedin have led to a few contacts with Headhunters. In this difficult economic climate, I should be pleased with this. Nevertheless, I have recently encountered a similar issue with Twitter in which Twitter's liability is more evident. Last weekend again, Twitter was subject to several spam/fishing attacks (see Phish Twice a Day - The Twitter Diet - Maybe this could be related to something that happened to me: on Saturday night my Twitter account was 'suspended' with no prior notice or explanation whatsoever!!! I started using my private/back up account and with the help and support of other Twitterers contesting Twitter's action and asking to
"#putitback", the account was 'liberated' yesterday in the same way as it was suspended, without any explanation from Twitter. What is very regrettable here, and I hope SNSs would admit liability for it, is the damage caused not only because you are cut off from your contacts but also the serious damage to your reputation. The message posted by Twitter when trying to access the account stipulated "Sorry, the account you were headed to has been suspended due to strange activity. Mosey along now, nothing to see here." Is this not enough shame to constitute defamation when untrue, and where the service provider has not notified the account holder in order to allow a defense, nor demonstrated any attempt to verify the allegations? Remember that most SNSs are now indexed and put-up by the Google search engine, which means that any search for the user's name would come out with the above message. This is represents a serious threat to users' integrity, reputation and rights. SNSs give themselves the discretion to act arbitriarily on the basis that the service is offered free of charge!! Users pay the price for access by allowing SNSs to share their private information for the sake of targeted advertisement although in the particular case of Twitter, the business model is kept secret.
Another case mentioned to me by Anne Collier, Director of Kids Safety and Net Family, is evoked in Anne's blog These cases are not rare and there is serious need of reflexion on how to deal with the ISP's liability issues. As you mentioned, under the section 230 US DMCA , the service provider is exempt of immunity for third party content. The ISP immunity under the EU regulations is not so impermeable and if there is an immunity for ISP acting as mere conduit, passively caching or hosting third party content, the shield of protection of the E-commerce immunity for ISP's turns into a stick with which they can be beaten (to use Gavin Sutter's expression). As soon as the ISP has been notified, it has a duty to react 'expeditiously' to remove or block access to the infringing content. If the ISP does not comply, it becomes liable for content under the knowledge based liability of publisher or editor; see 'Mumsnet settles with Gina Ford but queries libel law' ISP's are also subject to a certain number of good practices, such as including clear, direct and immediate means of contact on their webpage in order to allow users to contact them for any complaints or assistance. see 'ECJ says websites need phone numbers or web forms' and ECJ position Now, all this development is based on the EU regulations and most SNSs are US based, are they subject to the EU regulations when targeting EU users? This is a question of jurisdiction to clarify.

Friday, 8 May 2009

“swine flu” alert Influenza A type H1N1

Letter from school :

"I am writing further to my previous communication of 28th April 2009 to update you on the situation regarding swine flu and the action the School is taking.

The Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT), whose responsibility is to manage critical incidents when they arise, is monitoring the situation on a daily basis to ensure that the school is taking the appropriate actions. Monitoring includes external agencies such as WHO, DCSF, HPA,
and internal sources. Assessments are being undertaken on a daily basis on the key issues such as field trips, school events, hygiene and cleaning. Our response takes into account both external advice and our internal assessments. A summary of the actions currently being undertaken is below:

1. Communications
a. Daily internal communications monitoring the situation remain.
b. Regular updates to Parents advising them of the current situation.
2. Campus Access
a. Students, parents and staff who have visited Mexico should wait 7 days after leaving Mexico before returning to campus. This is the advice from the Health Protection Agency (HPA). After this period, they should return to campus provided they are not showing any of the symptoms listed below.
3. Educational delivery
a. Remains as normal.
b. Any students who are restricted because of visiting Mexico to be contacted by the school and home-based study work provided.
4. Extra-curricular programme
a. Remains as normal except see 2 above.
5. Field Trips / sports events off campus
a. Remains restricted. Risk assessments are undertaken for each trip on an individual basis. Trips off campus will only take place where the risk assessments identify the risk as low.
b. Any changes will be notified as soon as possible.
6. Staff issues
a. See 2 above regarding campus access. Otherwise normal working continues.
b. Staff with any symptoms (see below) are instructed to stay at home, seek medical advice and inform the school.
7. Emergency care
a. School and Departments are publicising the need for and encouraging high levels of hygiene, e.g. thorough hand washing, using tissues if coughing or sneezing and disposing of tissues carefully.
b. School nurses are monitoring the situation at campuses.
8. School transport
a. All bus routes run as normal.
b. See 2 above regarding bus drivers' access to campus.
c. Transport Managers have advised all drivers displaying symptoms below that they should not transport students unless they have received medical clearance.
9. School operations/catering etc.
a. Remains as normal, with added emphasis on hygiene, see 7 above.

• If students, parents and staff show any flu symptoms (see below) they should:

o Inform the school
o Stay at home and seek medical advice.

Advice from medical sources indicate symptoms may include:
o High fever
o Extreme fatigue
o Nausea and vomiting
o Headaches and muscle and/or joint pain
o Respiratory problems
o Diarrhea and dehydration.
o (Note, this list is not exhaustive)

• Everyone should continue to take general hygiene measures including:
o Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing
o Disposing of tissues carefully
o Washing hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water
o Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth etc.
o Wash surfaces regularly with disinfectant.

A number of additional steps are being taken as precautionary measures in the event that the response level increases in response to a growing pandemic.

• Should the school decide or be asked to close, the school will provide you with early notification through the telephone number you have registered for the clarion call system.
• This will be followed by an email communication providing further details.
• Ongoing regular updates will be provided.
• Additionally, an emergency educational website has been prepared, as a precaution, in the event of school closure, to provide students work assignments remotely for home learning.

The school will continue to provide regular updates to help the community respond to this situation as it develops. Your attention is also drawn to the advice from the UK Government who is currently undertaking a leaflet door-drop to every home. The leaflet is entitled “important information about swine flu”. This leaflet, together with other information can be found at

We will continue to provide regular updates to help the community respond to this situation as it develops.