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Microsoft's top legal eagle: US cannot ignore foreign privacy laws

Microsoft's top legal eagle is standing firmly against the US government's attempts to force it to hand over users' data stored outside the US. In a blog post, Microsoft’s general counsel and exec veep Brad Smith said that he believes the law is on the company's side as it resists attempts to force it to turn over a customer’s …
Jennifer Baker, 10 Apr 2015
US Pentagon. Pic: DoD photo by MSgt Ken Hammond, USAF

Respect mah privacy! EU delegation begs US to play nice with data

A delegation of MEPs is in Washington this week to put pressure on the US authorities to respect EU privacy laws. The 11-strong group from the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) is led by British Labour MEP Claude Moraes. He said the Parliament hasn’t forgotten about the National Security Agency (NSA)'s …
Jennifer Baker, 17 Mar 2015

Silicon Valley powers: Let mass spying die in May 2015 – it's bad for privacy (and business)

Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Yahoo! – and many, many others – have appealed to American politicians and g-men to rein in mass digital surveillance this May, and bring the intelligence community under some kind of effective oversight. "It has been nearly two years since the first news stories revealed the scope of the …
Iain Thomson, 26 Mar 2015
Gary Kovacs, CEO of AVG. Pic: World Economic Forum

'Get your privacy policy down to one page': AVG CEO throws glove down

Interview The Register caught up with AVG (and ex Mozilla) CEO Gary Kovacs at Mobile World Congress last week. AVG is talking up its Zen security product – a sort of mobile device management for the home – which Kovacs says is extending to cover Internet of Things (IoT). “You will be able to manage your wearables as well as the key parts …
Tim Anderson, 13 Mar 2015

EU privacy A-Team tells Google: Get a grip and obey OUR laws

The EU's advisory panel on privacy and data protection has warned Google to comply with Europe's laws in an unusually strongly worded statement. The Article 29 Working Party vowed to investigate if Google refused to abide by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling – Google Spain v Gonzalez et al – that decreed Google was not …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jun 2014
management regulation1

Microsoft: Look at our cloudy privacy award. Isn't it so ... meaningful?

Microsoft is in self-licking lollipop mode after its cloudy wares passed the privacy water mark set by the International Organisation for Standardisation, letting it paper over customers’ concerns. Data sovereignty is a major hurdle for global companies trying to sign up customers to the fluffy white stuff, particularly in …
Paul Kunert, 16 Feb 2015

EqualLogic founder Paula Long on privacy, storage sprawl and her new startup

Interview After selling EqualLogic, the company she founded, to Dell in 2007, Paula Long wanted to get back in the storage business with what she considered a game-changing idea: data-aware storage. DataGravity was founded to bring this technology to market, and won the "best of show" award at VMworld 2014 in the new technology category …
Uncov chronicles the failure of Web 2.0

KCOM caught in yet ANOTHER customer privacy snafu

Hull-based telco KCOM has coughed to another privacy clanger - this time admitting to wrongly sharing some of its customers' email addresses with other subscribers. But it's unclear whether the ISP has turned itself into the Information Commissioner's Office to report the latest data protection cockup. The Register has asked …
Kelly Fiveash, 05 Mar 2014
Video camera

Anonymity is the enemy of privacy, says RSA grand fromage

RSA Europe 2013 A dogmatic allegiance to anonymity is threatening privacy, according to Art Coviello, executive chairman of RSA. Coviello cast anonymity as the "enemy of privacy" because it gives "free reign to our networks to adversaries" with "no risk of discovery or prosecution." The head of EMC's security division told delegates at the RSA …
John Leyden, 29 Oct 2013
fingers pointing at man

Data Retention Directive CLASHES with EU citizens' privacy rights, says top lawman

A seven-year-old EU directive that requires telecoms outfits to retain details of phone calls and emails - such as traffic and location - clashes with the 28-member bloc's privacy rights for citizens, a Court of Justice Advocate General has said. Pedro Cruz Villalón believes that the 2006 data retention directive "constitutes a …
Kelly Fiveash, 12 Dec 2013

US to strengthen privacy rights for Euro bods' personal data transfers

The US will take steps before the summer to comprehensively strengthen the "Safe Harbour" framework that helps facilitate some transfers of personal data to the US from the EU. The commitment to improve privacy protections (10-page/445KB PDF) was contained in a joint statement issued on behalf of senior officials from the EU and …
OUT-LAW.COM, 31 Mar 2014

UK data cops to Google: You've got three months to sort out privacy

Google has been ordered by Britain's data watchdog to make changes to its privacy policy within the next three months, or else face a possible fine for failing to comply with the Data Protection Act. The Information Commissioner's Office said late on Thursday: We have today written to Google to confirm our findings relating to …
Kelly Fiveash, 05 Jul 2013

BT: Whew, we've been cleared of major privacy breach. Oh SNAP, another webmail blunder

Exclusive BT has been cleared of a serious data protection violation by the UK's privacy watchdog, The Register has learned. A probe into the one-time national telco's webmail system was carried out by the Information Commissioner's Office after a whistleblower exposed evidence that appeared to show BT's customer email accounts were being …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Jul 2014
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

'I don't trust Microsoft' after NSA disclosures says former privacy chief

Caspar Bowden, who was Microsoft's European chief privacy advisor from 2002 to 2011, has said that he no longer trusts his former employer after the disclosures about its involvement in NSA surveillance schemes. Speaking at the Congress on Privacy and Surveillance in Switzerland on Monday, Bowden said that he wasn't aware of …
Iain Thomson, 01 Oct 2013

RSA boss demands revamp of outdated privacy, security regs

RSA Europe Corporate security policies that simply adopt regulations and obsess over privacy are stuck in the last century, according to senior execs at security biz RSA. Tom Heiser, president of the EMC-owned outfit, told delegates to the RSA Europe conference that efforts to comply with red tape and standards is fruitless as the rules …
John Leyden, 10 Oct 2012

Most UK privacy cock-ups are 'careless' spaffing of personal data - watchdog

Most of the data breach incidents analysed by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in a three-month period earlier this year concerned errors in the way personal information was disclosed, the watchdog has said. The ICO said that it had looked at 335 data breach incidents between 1 April and 30 June 2013 and found that in …
OUT-LAW.COM, 13 Aug 2013
Amazon data center

Amazon's clouds are da bomb, say EU data protection watchdogs

Amazon’s cloud services have been declared safe by Europe’s privacy rights watchdogs. The Article 29 Working Party (a group made up of all Europe’s national data protection authorities), led by the Luxembourgish CNPD, has found that Amazon Web Services’ standard contractual clauses meet all the requirements of EU data protection …
Jennifer Baker, 01 Apr 2015
NSA parody T-shirt

PATRIOT Act axed, NSA spying halted ... wake up, Neo, it's just a dream in the US House of Reps

A law bill introduced in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday seeks to abolish the Patriot Act, ban Uncle Sam from forcing backdoors into technology, and safeguard whistleblowers like Edward Snowden. Ever since Snowden leaked top-secret files detailing the NSA and GCHQ's global surveillance of innocent people, there have …
Iain Thomson, 25 Mar 2015

Microsoft tries to defend Irish servers from US g-men invasion, again

Microsoft is continuing its battle against US demands that it hand over e-mail data stored in Ireland, arguing in its appeal that the US government would resist any demand by a foreign government that it hand over data stored in America. Detailed at Digital Constitution, the Microsoft brief filed on December 8 puts the …
Tubbs from the League of Gentlemen. Illustration by Doeth Gwraig

Warning to those who covet the data of Internet of Precious Things

Data generated by devices in the "internet of things" age should be "regarded and treated as personal data", data protection authorities from across the globe have agreed. The watchdogs said it is "more likely than not" that such data can be attributed to individuals. "Internet of things’ sensor data is high in quantity, …
OUT-LAW.COM, 22 Oct 2014

Dell denies 'insecure autoupdate app' flings open PC backdoor

Dell has denied building backdoors into its kit following a security researcher's discovery of an insecure update assistant app. Tom Forbes alleges that the Dell Service Tag Detector app* is so insecure that it creates a backdoor on machines it is installed upon. More specifically, Forbes alleges that the app caries a Remote …
John Leyden, 24 Mar 2015
snowden SXSW

Snowden tells tech bigwigs: It's up to you to thwart mass surveillance

SXSW 2015 In a quietly arranged Q&A session at South by Southwest (SXSW) on Sunday morning, Edward Snowden told about thirty influential people from the tech world that the onus for thwarting mass surveillance was falling to them. Snowden had previously spoken at SXSW with the American Civil Liberties Union, explaining to attendees the “ …
Sad cloud

Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals

Apple, Microsoft, HP and other cloud giants are begging Europe for help to stop US feds seizing customers’ data from servers on the Continent. A policy paper [PDF] published on Friday by DigitalEurope – which represents the above goliaths – urged the European Commission to wade into an ongoing legal fight between Uncle Sam and …
Jennifer Baker, 14 Nov 2014

Oracle plans German DCs to soothe NSA-ruffled nerves

Oracle has become the latest US IT giant to placate European businesses with extra local data centres. According to V3.co.uk, the company's Loïc le Guisquet, EMEA executive veep, told Oracle's OpenWorld conference on Sunday that there will be two new bit barns opened in Germany in the coming weeks. The Frankfurt and Munich …

Apple's Cook: We have never allowed g-men access to Apple servers

Apple has made some amendments to its privacy policy, and has used the occasion to run an open letter from CEO Tim Cook explaining the changes. Taking a swipe at Google and others, Cook tells the world that since Apple's income is products, not profiles, “we don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing …
Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies

ISPs haul GCHQ into COURT over dragnet interwebs snooping

Britain's eavesdropping nerve centre GCHQ has been accused of unlawfully accessing the private communications of potentially millions of people – and angry internet service providers are dragging the snooping agency to court. ISPs and organisations from the US, UK, Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Korea and Germany have teamed up with …
Kelly Fiveash, 02 Jul 2014

Labour manifesto: Tech Bacc, not-spot zapping and hi-speed interwebs

Election 2015 Labour was the first major party to kick off the round of pre-election pledges this week, releasing its 2015 General Election manifesto. Amid the usual list of vague-sounding promises were a number of familiar platitudes about plans to "build on our strengths as a leader in digital technology". "Labour will ensure that all parts …
Kat Hall, 13 Apr 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook, 2012

Apple CEO Tim Cook: My well-known gayness is 'a gift from GOD'

Apple bossman Tim Cook has come out as gay and has vowed to spend the rest of his life helping to "pave the sunlit path" towards equality and justice. Up until now, Cook's sexuality wasn't so much a secret as an unmentioned truth. He has frequently joined Pride marches and spoken openly about the mistreatment faced by gay people …
Jasper Hamill, 30 Oct 2014

Conservative manifesto: 5G, 'near universal' broadband and free mobes for PC Dixon

Election 2015 Hot on the heels of Labour, the Conservatives today launched their manifesto – which matched their rivals for the sheer lack of detail on tech-related policy. "We will ensure that Britain seizes the chance to be a world leader in the development of 5G, playing a key role in defining industry standards," read the manifesto. No …
Kat Hall, 14 Apr 2015

€2 BILLION: Steelie Neelie wants US to pay for her Big Data splurge

Knowledge is power. That’s the message from Steelie Neelie as the EU Commission throws half a billion at “big data”. Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes announced the EC would contribute €500m to a €2.5bn scheme to leverage the power of big data. The rest will come from industry. According to the Commission, mastering big …
Jennifer Baker, 13 Oct 2014
Adobe Media Server for HDS/HLS streams on HP servers

Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data

Apple, Cisco, Verizon and AT&T are considering joining Microsoft’s battle against the US government to safeguard customers' privacy – but European corps should also take note. Microsoft is embroiled in a legal case to resist US authorities’ efforts to seize emails stored on servers in Ireland. The warrant was issued in December …
Jennifer Baker, 23 Oct 2014

Microsoft makes 'business case' for marriage equality

Microsoft's general counsel Brad Smith has put forward a business case for marriage equality. The “Microsoft on the issues” blog mostly spends most of its time on topics like privacy and education, so tackling marriage equality is a bit of a departure. Smith starts by saying marriage equality is important to Microsoft because …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Feb 2015

Ireland: Hey, you. America. Hands off Microsoft's email cloud servers

The Irish government today supported Microsoft in its ongoing fight against US prosecutors – who appear to want access to server hard drives anywhere in the world. Microsoft has garnered serious backing from the technology industry in its case against American investigators. The Feds believe they have the right to access emails …
Iain Thomson, 24 Dec 2014
dropbox privacy security eye

Dropbox sees rival file-piles merely as dots in rearview mirror

A biz-research report says that cloudy pile-o-files Dropbox is currently walking away with the enterprise sync 'n' share market. The report (451 subscription required) shows a chart depicting Dropbox' dominance. The 451 organisation surveyed 1,000 users and found Dropbox led with circa 44 per cent, followed by Microsoft's …
Chris Mellor, 28 Nov 2014
European Union Flag

Bone up on fresh EU privacy law - or end up in the clink, IT biz warned

McAfee Channel Summit Technology resellers, distributors and service providers need to be ready for the freshly proposed European Data Protection law, IDC has said. The analyst's research director of European security software Kevin Bailey said that end users were already preparing for the new rules of the incoming regulation, but the technology …
Josh and some superheroes at Spiceworld 2013

CloudMask dons cape and sets foot on the mean streets of Blighty

Cloud-based security services firm CloudMask, whose technology offers to protect sensitive information in the cloud, even in the case of a network breach, launched in the UK on Tuesday. CloudMask's technology works on the premise that no one can be trusted with data - including cloud administrators, governments, employees, and …
John Leyden, 09 Sep 2014

If Europe is against US's Irish email grab, it must pipe up now

Analysis The European Commission is running out of time to wade into the battle between US prosecutors and Microsoft over servers in Ireland. Uncle Sam's lawyers want the American company to hand over emails stored in the Emerald Isle, and everyone but the EC is piling in with their 2p. Before Christmas, the Irish authorities filed an …
Jennifer Baker, 07 Jan 2015
management regulation1

Microsoft challenges US gov over attempts to search overseas data

Microsoft has challenged a ruling that would allow US government authorities to search its overseas facilities. The company said in a petition filed to the US District Court for Southern New York that it objects to an order that would allow law enforcement to search all Microsoft-owned facilities worldwide. At the heart of the …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jun 2014

Give us a week to GUT Superfish, begs Lenovo CTO

Lenovo's chief technology officer Peter Hortensius has issued another statement on how the company plans to handle Superfish. The missive explains that Lenovo has worked with anti-virus vendors to get their products flattening Superfish whenever a PC starts up and issued a removal tool. Hortensius says Lenovo is now “in the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2015
Infosec

Lenovo: We SWEAR we're done with bloatware, adware and scumware

Barely a week after the breaking of the Superfish scandal, Lenovo has done a complete reverse ferret on bloatware - promising that by the time Windows 10 comes out its systems will be as pure as they can be. “The events of last week reinforce the principle that customer experience, security and privacy must be our top priorities …
Iain Thomson, 27 Feb 2015

Senate introduces USA FREEDOM Act to curb NSA spying excesses

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has introduced the USA FREEDOM Act to the US Senate and claims, that, if passed, the legislation will severely curtail the amount of mass surveillance that can be carried out by the NSA and others – provided you're a citizen of the land of the free. "This is a debate about Americans' fundamental …
Iain Thomson, 29 Jul 2014

Angela Merkel: Let US spies keep their internet. The EU will build its own

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has lent her support to the idea of building out new European data networks to help keep Europeans' email and other data out of the hands of US spies. In the latest edition of her weekly podcast on Saturday, Merkel said she planned to raise the issue among other topics in a meeting with French …
Neil McAllister, 17 Feb 2014

British data cops: We need greater powers and more money

The UK's data privacy watchdog is lobbying for greater powers and funding after reporting a bumper workload. The latest annual report from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) (PDF) reveals that the bureau responded to a record number of data protection and freedom of information complaints in the year to April 2014. The …
John Leyden, 15 Jul 2014

Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers

Microsoft has lost the first round in its fight to stop the US authorities from seizing customer data stored inside its overseas data centers. Following a two-hour hearing before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, District Judge Loretta Preska ruled that a US warrant ordering Microsoft to …
Neil McAllister, 31 Jul 2014

HP emails personal data of 1,000 CDS workers to 3rd party

Personal data linked to 1,000 Customer Delivery Services staff at HP was accidentally emailed to an external third party yesterday. Insiders told us that HP CDS sent the entire employee payroll's info – which contained National Insurance numbers, addresses and salaries – to an unknown party yesterday by accident. An HP …
Paul Kunert, 07 Nov 2014

Microsoft, rivals together fight US govt's cloud data snatch

Microsoft has drummed up an impressive amount of support in its fight against the American government – which is demanding access to the US giant's servers in Ireland. Stateside prosecutors are trying to extract emails from systems on non-US soil using a search warrant obtained in a US court, and Microsoft is having none of it. …
Iain Thomson, 15 Dec 2014

NSA spying will shatter the internet, Silicon Valley bosses warn

Top Silicon Valley execs have warned that the NSA's continued surveillance of innocent people will rupture the internet – which is bad news for business. Oh, and bad news for hundreds of thousands of workers, and America's moral authority, too. The suits were speaking at a roundtable organized by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in …
Iain Thomson, 09 Oct 2014
Microsoft 'Scroogled' mug

Leaked MS ad video parodies Chrome as surveillance tech

A leaked Microsoft ad, meant only for internal consumption, parodies a Google campaign as it portrays Google Chrome as a data-snaffling privacy-stealing parasite. Chrome is depicted as a surveillance technology to make money from private information for the benefit of Google. Redmond's slick propaganda video is a dig at Google …
John Leyden, 25 Nov 2013
Files

Crap employers banned from enforcing backdoor crim records checks

Employers who force potential workers to request a criminal record check on themselves face prosecution after a change in UK law that comes into effect on Tuesday, 10 March. New regulations – to be enforced by data privacy watchdogs at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) – will outlaw so-called "back door" criminal …
John Leyden, 10 Mar 2015
Old Bailey Lady Justice

Microsoft vs US.gov, Internet of Stuff, Big Data: Some of 2015's legal cloudy issues

Cloud, Big Data, the Internet of Things are among the hottest topics that vendors are driving in 2015, but there are five legal developments in each that are worth tracking. 1. Microsoft and US government go to court Again, Microsoft is resisting attempts by the US government to get access to the user data it is holding outside …
Frank Jennings, 15 Jan 2015

Opinion

Alexandre Mesguich

Change is order of day as tech giants shift strategy gears
Partnership

Frank Jennings

Confused? No problem, we have 5, no 6, no 7... lots of standards

Chris Mellor

VC sequence could end not with a bang, but a whimper
Sad man stares glumly over boxed contents of desk. Image via shutterstock (Baranq)

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