Monday, 19 March 2012

Britain's Crimes of Honour


Honour punishment / killing is supported by young Asians,  a poll reveals.

Two thirds of young British Asians agree that families should live according to the concept of "honour", a poll for BBC Panorama suggests.

Of 500 young Asians questioned, 18% also felt that certain behaviour by women that could affect her family's honour justified physical punishment.

These included disobeying their father, and wanting to leave an exisiting or prearranged marriage.

The results come as women's groups call for action to stop "honour" crimes.

The poll, conducted for the BBC by ComRes, interviewed oung Asians living in Britain between the ages of 16 and 34.

Asked if they agreed that families should live according to "honour", 69% agreed, a figure that rose to 75% among young men, compared with 63% of young women.

Root cause:

They were also asked if they felt there was ever a justification for so-called "honour killings". Only 3% said that it could be justified.

However, when divided by sex, 6% of young Asian men said that honour killings could be justified, compared with just 1% of Asian women surveyed.

Experts interviewed by the programme argue that the root cause of "honour" crime lies in forced marriage.

Jasvinder Sanghera, a campaigner on behalf of Asian women, fled her parents' home after they attempted to force her into an arranged marriage when she was just 14.

She said it was time for Britain's Asian community leaders to speak out about the honour code, also known as "Izzat" in Urdu.

"I've yet to see community leaders, religious leaders, politicians, Asian councillors give real leadership on this. They don't because they know it makes them unpopular."

Ms Sanghera said the reluctance of community figures to speak out was "extremely irresponsible, it's morally wrong and it's morally blind".

A survey of police forces by the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (IKWRO) found there were 2,823 incidences of honour crimes a year, or almost eight a day. But those figures are considered a vast underestimate given that 13 of 52 police forces did not respond to the charity's request for a breakdown in November 2011.

Nazir Afzal of the Crown Prosecution Service said the degree of honour crime in Britain - including murders meant to preserve a family's "honour" within their own community - was unknown.

"We don't know the true figure of honour killings. It's anything between 10 and 12 a year in this country. I don't know how many other unmarked graves there are in this country in our green and pleasant land."

Mr Afzal estimates that there are 10,000 forced marriages in Britain every year, and said a measure of multicultural sensitivity was likely part of the problem.

"Forced marriage is the earthquake and what's followed is a tsunami of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child protection issues, suicide and murder.

"If we can tackle forced marriage then we can prevent all these other things from happening."

Friday, 16 March 2012

Native American legend


I came across this Native American legend recently and thought I'd share it. It would be lovely if this were true. Karma!

According to Native American legend, when a human dies, there is a Bridge he or she must cross in order to enter Heaven. At the head of this Bridge waits every animal that the individual encountered during his or her lifetime. Based upon what they know of this person, the animals will decide which humans may cross the Bridge and which will be turned away.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Privacy betrayed: Twitter sells multi-billion tweet archive


Twitter has sold billions of archived tweets believed to have vanished forever. A privacy row has erupted as hundreds of companies queue up to purchase users’ personal information from the new database.

Every time you use social networks you become mere product – it’s an idea we will all have to get used to. So, should we give up worldly goods and hide in a Tibetan monastery till the end of our days, or start putting up a fight to protect our privacy? In the latest in a long series of scandals over social networks that profit from our private data, the UK-based DataSift firm has announced that is has bought every tweet posted since January 2010. The business intelligence and data-mining platform will be the first company to offer the archive for sale.

DataSift’s Historics is a cloud-computing social data platform that enables businesses to extract insights and trends that relate to brands, news, public opinion and … actually anything you could ever need… from Twitter’s public tweets. Now entrepreneurs will have access to billions of tweets, which literally means they will purchase every Twitter user along with all his secrets, GPS-location included. Thought the law protected you from thieves? No, on the contrary – it actually helps thieves to abuse you and steal your personal data. DataSift now brings to the table what it calls “an invaluable information source” with 250 billion tweets posted in 2010 alone. Historics is available today as a limited release to existing customers and is scheduled to be generally available in April 2012.

Do you agree your tweet is priceless?

The idea that months- or years-old tweets are of no value is a false one. DataSift says almost 1,000 companies have joined a waiting list to access the service. No complicated surveys needed – the firms now have the feedback at their fingertips.

Twitter turned out to be craftier than most users suspected.

“You thought that tweets you posted months ago had vanished, or were simply hidden away so deeply and awkwardly on the Twitter website that they would be too difficult to uncover? Think again,” Graham Cluley from security firm Sophos says, as quoted by The Daily Mail web edition.

It turns out that Twitter had archived every tweet and will now be rewarded for its ingenuity. Datasift, for instance, will charge companies up to £10,000 a month to analyze tweets posted each day for anything said about their products and services.

Outrage over privacy

The question is whether an estimated 300 million Twitter users should be classified as victims whose personal data has been sacrificed on the altar of global marketing. It has been reported that private accounts and tweets that have been deleted will not be indexed by the site. Nevertheless, privacy campaigners are alarmed.

The Daily Mail website quotes Justin Basini of the data privacy company Allow as saying: “Marketers will stop at nothing to get hold of your data. This move shows all those throwaway tweets have suddenly become a rich new revenue stream for Twitter… It has taken a stream of consciousness, analyzed it, bottled it and sold it for a profit. And the worst thing is, you never knew it was going to happen.”

DataSift claims it is planning to tap into another goldmine of information – Facebook – in just a few weeks. The latest data from comScore, an Internet marketing research company, says the average Facebook user spends around 6-7 hours a day using the social network. Now that the relatively laconic Twitter has turned dangerous, just imagine how much riskier it is to post something for six hours a day.