They’re spying me, just like everyone else, including you.

“EXCLUSIVE” screams the headline on the Sydney Morning Herald today. “Political websites plant spy devices” and “browser beware as political websites plant spy devices” appear on the homepage and article title.

The contents of the story gets even more scary:

Politicians are letting foreign-owned companies covertly gather information about voters.

The websites of Barry O’Farrell, Kristina Keneally, Tony Abbott and the Greens plant spying devices on visitors’ computers, which can track them as they browse the internet.

Information gathered about a user’s online behaviour can be used to build detailed profiles to help target advertisements – a practice many believe is a threat to privacy.

So how are these politicians being evil and spying on you? By using tracking cookies to identify user behaviour. The same type of cookies this site and just about every other site on the internet uses. The cookies that provide information that allow web developers to focus on what works and doesn’t on their sites and improves usability and content delivery.

But this logical explanation is far too simple for the SMH to handle. Instead, we have a fantastic media beat up.

Oh and by the way, SMH is spying on me too with five cookies of their own and a multitude of images from six off-site and off-country servers. Pot, Kettle, Black.

Red Bull Flugtag Sydney

Persecuting the innocent to appease the majority #2drinksmax

Over the last two nights Auckland police have been running a drink driving blitz testing 21,000 drivers. 77 people were found to be over the limit. In other words 0.37% of all drivers stopped or 1 in 273 drivers. Yet the NZ Herald continues to run its scare campaign suggesting every second driver on the road is a drunk homicidal maniac on a rampage to kill you.

The logic that the Herald is applying to this campaign is the same as the police used over the last two long weekends to try and stop people from speeding, make the law extremely strict and enforce it with no leeway. The problem with this approach is it doesn’t stop those people who flout the law regardless of what the limit is and instead turns those otherwise mild mannered, considerate and normal drivers into criminals. It is like trying to do keyhole surgery with a jackhammer.

The reality is regardless of the limits and the law a few people will continue to disobey the law and cause problems. This is a fact of society and is not something that can be just wiped out by persecuting the masses.

At least one of the Herald’s own commentators gets the stupidity of the campaign:

The Two Drinks Max thing is nothing more than the latest top-of-mind issue that’s the current thing to bang the drum about.

The absurdity of a two-drink maximum is the people who sign up are already responsible enough to know being half-cut and driving doesn’t mix. I give this campaign about another week or three and it’ll be gone only to be replaced by something along the lines of saving a few more whales or whatever.

I won’t be signing up to this campaign or anything like it. Give me something with some cojones and I’ll be there in a flash. Chest thumping does nothing for me along with a lot of people I have spoken to this past week. We don’t want a flash campaign, we want action and lowering the limit won’t solve a bloody thing.

Banning someone from driving a car for five years after a second offence, and permanently for a third, would do the trick for me. I would have preferred a publication to have a go at why so many recidivist drink-drivers are allowed to keep on getting their licences back. Or maybe a concentrated follow up on why public money is spent on helping disqualified drivers get their licences back as reported in the Sunday Star Times. Now that’s what I call a big worry – you get your licence suspended for a good reason, mostly drink driving but allegedly Work and Income will help pay so you get it back. Go figure.

So instead of fudging around the corners and telling everyone to only have two drinks, get behind something that’ll do some good. Hit the heavy drinkers and tell the PC brigade who reckon “the most important thing for drink-driving is treatment” and having people in work can be “therapeutic” to pull their collective heads in. Not too sure how letting someone who’s been convicted of drink driving go back to driving will stop them drinking.

Have a go at that lot and stop targeting folk who already know better.

Gold Coast + Byron Bay (Take Three)