Brown a bully?

February 22, 2010

“Some have downloaded information; some have actually called our helpline directly and I have spoken to staff in his office.” – Caroline Pratt

This is a serious situation if it actually is happening. Unfortunately you just can’t tell from a statement like this.

Always be wary of words like ‘some’. Three sets of some can be the same one. In particular, the inference that some have downloaded info from the website – how do they trace that, or figure that its a unique contact? By host ? It seems to me that especially could be the same person who called.  You cannot infer context from an HTTP request. Frankly, I was just on their website there, but I’m not being bullied. I hope they wouldn’t say ‘some have contacted us from the physics department of university X’.

I go on the website of the BNP from time to time. I happen to think its an awful party, I hope someone wouldn’t infer from my visit to their website that I was considering voting for them. I might have simply gone on for research purposes. Its a dangerous world we’re creating if we infer context on an HTTP connection.

This is a really serious topic and I fear that Caroline Pratt has been fairly careless in how she’s dealt with this. The counter argument is that the civil service were not contacted by the helpline (which is not to say they were never contacted) and therefore these cases, if there are more than one, were not properly weighed and investigated. I really think that, given the seriousness of this, we do need more information, whilst also respecting the privacy of those involved.

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