Category: digital rights

May 28, 2019 Off

EU-US Privacy Shield complaint to be heard by Europe’s top court in July

By Jill T Frey

A legal challenge to the EU-US Privacy Shield, a mechanism used by thousands of companies to authorize data transfers from the European Union to the US, will be heard by Europe’s top court this summer.

The General Court of the EU has set a date of July 1 and 2 to hear the complaint brought by French digital rights group, La Quadrature du Net, against the European Commission’s renegotiated data transfer agreement which argues the arrangement is still incompatible with EU law on account of US government mass surveillance practices.

Privacy Shield was only adopted three years ago after its forerunner, Safe Harbor, was struck down by the European Court of Justice in 2015 following the 2013 exposé of US intelligence agencies’ access to personal data, revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The renegotiated arrangement tightened some elements, and made the mechanism subject to annual reviews by the Commission to … Read the rest

May 23, 2019 Off

Indian PM Narendra Modi’s reelection spells more frustration for US tech giants

By Jill T Frey

Amazon and Walmart’s problems in India look set to continue after Narendra Modi, the biggest force to embrace the country’s politics in decades, led his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to a historic landslide re-election on Thursday, reaffirming his popularity in the eyes of the world’s largest democracy.

The re-election, which gives Modi’s government another five years in power, will in many ways chart the path of India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem, as well as the local play of Silicon Valley companies that have grown increasingly wary of recent policy changes.

At stake is also the future of India’s internet, the second largest in the world. With more than 550 million internet users, the nation has emerged as one of the last great growth markets for Silicon Valley companies. Google, Facebook, and Amazon count India as one of their largest and fastest growing markets. And until late 2016, they enjoyed great … Read the rest

May 20, 2019 Off

GDPR adtech complaints keep stacking up in Europe

By Jill T Frey

It’s a year since Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force and leaky adtech is now facing privacy complaints in four more European Union markets. This ups the tally to seven markets where data protection authorities have been urged to investigate a core function of behavioral advertising.

The latest clutch of GDPR complaints aimed at the real-time bidding (RTB) system have been filed in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain.

All the complaints argue that RTB entails “wide-scale and systemic” breaches of Europe’s data protection regime, as personal date harvested to profile Internet users for ad-targeting purposes is broadcast widely to bidders in the adtech chain. The complaints have implications for key adtech players, Google and the Internet Advertising Bureau, which set RTB standards used by other in the online adverting pipeline.

We’ve reached out to Google and IAB Europe for comment on the latest complaints. … Read the rest

May 10, 2019 Off

UK tax office ordered to delete millions of unlawful biometric voiceprints

By Jill T Frey

The U.K.’s data protection watchdog has issued the government department responsible for collecting taxes with a final enforcement notice, after an investigation found HMRC had collected biometric data from millions of citizens without obtaining proper consent.

HMRC has 28 days from the May 9 notice to delete any Voice ID records where it did not obtain explicit consent to record and create a unique biometric voiceprint linked to the individual’s identity. 

The Voice ID system was introduced in January 2017, with HMRC instructing callers to a helpline to record a phrase to use their voiceprint as a password. The system soon attracted criticism for failing to make it clear that people did not have to agree to their biometric data being recorded by the tax office.

In total, some 7 million U.K. citizens have had voiceprints recorded via the system. HMRC will now have to delete the majority of … Read the rest

May 3, 2019 Off

Why carriers keep your data longer

By Jill T Frey

Your wireless carrier knows where you are as you read this on your phone — otherwise, it couldn’t connect your phone in the first place.

But your wireless carrier also has a memory. It knows where you took your phone in the last hour, the last week, the last month, the last year — and maybe even the last five years.

That gives it an enormous warehouse of data on your whereabouts that can help your wireless carrier fix coverage gaps while revealing much more. Depending on the density of cell sites around you at any one point, the location data triangulated from them can not only highlight your home and office, but also point to the bars you frequented, the houses at which you spent the night and the offices of therapists you visited.

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