The Channel logo

Articles about Privacy

Woman slaps man. Pic: Shutterstock

Privacy watchdog ICO slashes its fines in half

The total value of fines issued by the UK Information Commissioner's Office has halved compared with last year – despite the watchdog receiving roughly the same number of complaints about data protection. In 2014/15, the ICO issued £1.1m in so-called civil monetary penalties, £386,000 of which were for companies behind nuisance …
Kat Hall, 02 Jul 2015

Ashley Madison wide open to UK privacy lawsuits, claim lawyers

The Ashley Madison hack could cost the company millions and millions of pounds in compensation and settlements in the UK alone, according to lawyers Pinsent Masons. Around 9.7GB of customer data from the website for people who seemingly can't be trusted, and a sister site, were released by hackers on Tuesday night following …
John Leyden, 21 Aug 2015
US Supreme Court

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

Microsoft creates its own movie moment with fancy privacy manifesto

Microsoft has published what can only be described as a privacy manifesto. The unusual online screed comes complete with interactive graphics, including a recording of the FISA court's voicemail, and appears geared at pitching Microsoft as the protector of people's global data. Written by president and chief legal officer …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Nov 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

Three-way EU Big Data privacy wrestling match kicks off

The EU will take a big step towards finalising measures to protect its citizens' privacy today, as negotiators from member states, the European Commission, and the European Parliament will come together for the first time to thrash out an agreement on the EU’s planned data protection law. The Parliament agreed its position on …
Jennifer Baker, 24 Jun 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 …
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 …
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 …
Kelly Fiveash, 05 Jul 2013
Max Schrems

'Safe Harbor': People in Europe 'can get quite litigious about this'

Both small and large US data centre companies are walking "headlong into a legislative buzzsaw" following a landmark 'Safe Harbor' ruling this week, the founder of database software company NuoDB, Barry Morris, has said. On Tuesday the European Court of Justice struck down the 15-year-old "Safe Harbor" pact, invalidating the …
Kat Hall, 08 Oct 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft chief Satya drops an S bomb in Windows 10, cloud talk

Microsoft claims it really does care about privacy and securing the cloud and Windows 10, promising to build cybersecurity teams and investing in the area. A new Cyber Defense Operations Center will bring together security response experts from across the technology giant in a new “state-of-the-art” facility. The unit will be …
John Leyden, 17 Nov 2015
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

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 …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Jul 2014
Boats storm girl photo via Nikolina Mrakovic

Microsoft's top lawyer: I have a cunning plan ... to rescue sunk safe harbor agreement

Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith has presented a new safe harbor pact to replace the agreement struck down earlier this month by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ ruled that transferring Europeans' private information in and out of America is no longer allowed because America's privacy laws …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2015

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
Brad Smith

Donald Trump? No, it's BRAD SMITH for president (of Microsoft)

Microsoft top legal beagle Brad Smith has been promoted to president of the company, marking the first time Redmond has had a company-wide president since 2002. Smith's expanded role also sees him taking the title of chief legal officer, an upgrade from his previous position as Microsoft's general counsel. In an internal memo …
Neil McAllister, 11 Sep 2015

Understand 'Safe Harbor', Schrems v Facebook in under 300 words

'Safe Harbor' is now defunct because the European Court of Justice found the following: (a) There is no general privacy law or other measures enacted in the US that shows the US offers "an adequate level of protection" for personal data relating to European data subjects; (b) Public law enforcement authorities which obtain …
Padlocks by Simon Cocks Flickr CC2 license

IoT security is RUBBISH says IoT vendor collective

A vendor group whose membership includes Microsoft, Symantec, Verisign, ADT and TRUSTe reckons the Internet of Things (IoT) market is being pushed with no regard to either security or consumer privacy. In what will probably be ignored by the next startup hoping to get absorbed into Google's Alphabet's Nest business, the Online …

Standards body wants standards for IoT. Vendors don't care

The Internet Society (ISOC) has added its name to the growing list of groups concerned that insecurity and a cavalier attitude to privacy pose a risk to the Internet of Things (IoT). In a paper published last Friday, ISOC notes that individual threats and vulnerabilities are, in aggregate, what's going to make-or-break the IoT …

Is Windows 10 slurping too much data? No, says Microsoft. Nuh-uh. Nope

Is Windows 10 spying on you by grabbing all sorts of personally identifying data about you without your permission? Not at all, claims Redmond. On Monday, Microsoft OS boss Terry Myerson let fly a blog post explaining that all the Sturm und Drang on blogs and in the media about Windows 10's data collection policies is …
Neil McAllister, 28 Sep 2015
Fountain pen

Silicon Valley fights European Court of Justice ruling with small print

Robbed of their Safe Harbor protection, US cloud giants are taking shelter behind a new data-export and privacy fig leaf. Microsoft and Salesforce have become the first to publicly invoke “model clauses” – saying customers can continue shipping data outside the EU and onto their servers in the US despite Tuesday's ruling by …
Gavin Clarke, 07 Oct 2015

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 …
OUT-LAW.COM, 13 Aug 2013
symantec CEO mike brown

Symantec's salvation plan is more and better integration. No, really

Symantec divested Veritas because it never quite convinced anyone that an integrated security and data management company made sense, and its security business has struggled in part because it's not linked its protection products. But the company's new CEO Michael Brown nonetheless thinks that integrating the company's range is …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Nov 2015
Breakwater at Portland Harbour

Companies need answer to Safe Harbour worries, says minister

The move to strike down Safe Harbour has created worrying uncertainty for companies, the Conservative minister for intellectual property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, has said. Responding to a Parliamentary question on the European Court of Justice’s judgement last month on the Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner case, Neville- …
Kat Hall, 04 Nov 2015

Silicon Valley now 'illegal' in Europe: Why Schrems vs Facebook is such a biggie

Analysis Today's victory by Austrian privacy advocate Max Schrems in the European Court has massive repercussions for how the superpowers make law, and how Silicon Valley conducts business. And it may only get worse for America's data processing giants, very soon. Microsoft is challenging the notion that the world's data is by default …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Oct 2015

US tries one last time to sway EU court on data-slurping deal

Hear that? It’s the sound of panic, as it dawns on the US that from tomorrow it might not be able to slurp as much data from Europe as it wants... and thousands of multinationals bite their nails over their European client lists. Europe’s top court will decide tomorrow if the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework is sufficient to …
Jennifer Baker, 05 Oct 2015

Silicon Valley freeze-out: EU watchdog tells firms clock is ticking to limit data transfers

Companies have been put on notice by Brussel's top privacy bod, who has warned them that the transfer of EU citizens' data to the US must be limited – and this must happen soon. It comes several weeks after a landmark decision in the European Court of Justice nullified the questionable US-EU Safe Harbour Agreement. "No one …
Kelly Fiveash, 24 Oct 2015

Safe Harbor 2.0: Judges to keep NSA spying in check – EU justice boss

The NSA's blanket surveillance of Europeans will be subject to judicial review, according to EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová. At a committee meeting of the European Parliament this week, Jourová provided details of the replacement to the struck-down safe harbor framework, which until this month allowed people's personal …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Oct 2015
Windows 10 build 10130, showing Microsoft's new Solitaire Collection

Windows 10 PC sales boost? Don't hold your breath, say analysts

Despite this year's release of Windows 10, notebook PC shipments are not going to see an increase over last year. This according to analysts with ABI Research, who project that shipments will be flat compared to 2014. The entire portable market, which includes Chromebooks, ultraportables (such as the MacBook Air), netbooks, …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Aug 2015
Privacy image

It's Gartner Magic Graph of Wonder time! And Google won't be happy

Focus your eyes on this little MQ beauty from Garner’s gnomic gnosticians who have tracked, analysed and rated enterprise information archive suppliers' products and technology. GartnerMQ_IA_2015 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for information archiving. Whoo-hoo, Commvault is a challenger and not a leader. In fact there are …
Chris Mellor, 13 Nov 2015
Bank vault

UK data watchdog: Massive fines won't keep data safe

The UK’s data protection watchdog has said issuing fines "left, right and centre" is not the way to ensure privacy. However, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham added that this doesn’t mean his office shouldn’t have those exact powers at its disposal. “The obligation laid on data protection authorities always to fine …
Jennifer Baker, 22 May 2015
Boats storm girl photo via Nikolina Mrakovic

Don't panic, biz bods: A guide to data in the post-Safe Harbor world

The Safe Harbor agreement this week suddenly became of interest to a lot more IT managers than had previously given a stuff about it. But what is Safe Harbor, exactly? The Safe Harbor agreement between the US and the EEA - which comprises the member states of the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein – dating from 2000, …
Dave Cartwright, 09 Oct 2015

Jail incompetent council folk who leak our data, thunders furious BBW

A report published today by British privacy rights group Big Brother Watch (BBW) says the scale of private data being leaked is so great that those responsible should be jailed. Between April 2011 and April 2014, local councils experienced around four data breaches a day – a total of 4,236 instances – according to figures …
Jennifer Baker, 11 Aug 2015
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 …
Jennifer Baker, 01 Apr 2015
Data Centre

EU steps (marginally, tentatively) towards new data protection law

European ministers are expected to reach some sort of agreement on new data protection laws later today, according to reports and sources, although discussions before a final decision are set to continue for months yet. Justice and Home Affairs ministers from across the EU are meeting Monday in Luxembourg and the main item on …
Jennifer Baker, 15 Jun 2015

Private cloud is NOT dead – and for one good reason: Control of data

Comment Reports that private clouds are dead are greatly exaggerated. Far from being dead, IDC’s latest research shows that private clouds are expected to grow at the same rate as public clouds for the next five years. This will not surprise anyone who has worked in or with an enterprise IT operation. Even public cloud giant AWS is …
Greg Knieriemen, 05 Jun 2015

Q. How much did Google just spend applying political pressure in the US? A. $4.6 million

Moneybags Google has topped the list of tech-giant political lobbyists again, spending $4.62m in the past three months alone in Washington DC and elbowing its way into an enormous range of issues. That's according to a declaration filed by Google that companies are legally obliged to submit to US Congress. The multimillion- …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Jul 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
GCHQ Benhall doughnut aerial view

GCHQ gros fromage stays schtum on Snowden and snooping

Infosec 2015 A top GCHQ official opened the Infosecurity Europe trade show in London with an on-message keynote that focused on promoting best practice rather than dealing with Edward Snowden and the ongoing controversy over the so-called Snoopers’ Charter. Ciaran Martin, director general of cyber-security at GCHQ, gave a broad overview of …
John Leyden, 02 Jun 2015

Cash-happy BlackBerry slurps one-time rival Good for $425m

BlackBerry has dug deep into its lint-filled pockets to buy its one-time legal adversary Good Technology for a cash sum of $425m (£280m). BlackBerry hopes the deal will allow it to beef up its presence in the enterprise mobile management space. John Chen, BlackBerry chief exec, said the acquisition will expand its offering in …
Kat Hall, 04 Sep 2015
Malware image

Masses of Brit IT bods embroiled in leak riddle

Mystery surrounds the origin of a leak on Pastebin containing what looked like the full contact details on tech personnel at hundreds of UK organizations. The leaked document features names of people, the firms they worked for, email addresses, and phone numbers (mobile and landline). It surfaced on Sunday, and purported to …
John Leyden, 15 Sep 2015

VPNs are so insecure you might as well wear a KICK ME sign

A team of five researchers from universities in London and Rome have identified that 14 of the top commercial virtual private networks in the world leak IP data. Vasile C. Perta, Marco V. Barbera, and Alessandro Mei of Sapienza University of Rome, together with Gareth Tyson, and Hamed Haddadi of the Queen Mary University of …
Darren Pauli, 30 Jun 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 …


George Osborne, photo: HM Treasury
shutterstock_183801788_container ship

Chris Mellor

The SAN growth glory days are well and truly over, so where next?

Tom Whipp

Insurance industry insider tells all
Crypto fingers


Michael Dell. Pic by Joi Ito
Cool Texas dude is just your average billionaire
The Seeing Eye by Valerie Everett, Flickr, CC2.0
Follow the money – or, at least, our projections
Boats storm girl photo via Nikolina Mrakovic
The puppets from Team America: World Police gather at a bar for drinks.