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It's 2016 and your passwords can still be sniffed from wireless keyboards

Millions of low-cost wireless keyboards are susceptible to a vulnerability that reveals private data to hackers in clear text. The vulnerability – dubbed KeySniffer – creates a means for hackers to remotely “sniff” all the keystrokes of wireless keyboards from eight manufacturers from distances up to 100 metres away. “When we …
John Watkinson, 26 Jul 2016
STRASBOURG, JUNE 29, 2016: The seat of the European Parliament. by Marco Aprile for shutterstock. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

UK membership of Council of Europe has implications for data protection after Brexit

Comment There are whispers circulating in the aether that if PrivacyShield is deemed adequate for transfers of personal data from the European Union(EU) to the USA, then in a post-Brexit Britain, something akin to PrivacyShield can allow for adequate transfers of personal data to the UK. Such an “adequacy” determination would mean …

Microsoft ordered to fix 'excessively intrusive, insecure' Windows 10

Updated A French regulator has issued Microsoft a formal warning over Windows 10, saying the operating system collects excessive amounts of personal data, ships that information illegally out of the EU, and has lousy security. The warning comes from the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), an independent data …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jul 2016
European commission photo via Shutterstock

UK 'emergency' bulk data slurp permissible in pursuit of 'serious crime'

Bulk collection of data from phone calls and emails by carriers acting under government orders could be permissible in the pursuit of “serious crime”. That’s the preliminary ruling in a case brought by Brexit chief minister David Davis against PM Theresa May before the European Union’s highest court. The ruling suggests bulk …
Gavin Clarke, 19 Jul 2016

Governments Googling Google about you more than ever says Google

Google has published its latest “Transparency Report”, the disclosure in which it reveals how many times governments asked it to cough data on users. And this time around there's mixed news. In the “yikes!” column is the fact that governments asked Google for data 40,677 times between July 1 and December 31 of 2015, and asked …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jul 2016
Privacy image

Cloud giants demand overhaul of America's privacy rules on overseas servers

Technology trade organizations have urged the US Congress to replace the country's antique privacy protection laws – after a New York court stopped American prosectors from seizing emails from servers offshore in Ireland. A Second Circuit Court in the so-called "Irish Warrant" case, brought by Microsoft against the US …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2016

Microsoft wins landmark Irish data slurp warrant case against the US

Updated Microsoft has won a landmark legal action against the US government over protecting the privacy of non-US citizens on non-US servers. The appeals court decision invalidates a key legal tool the US government uses to apply extraterritorially. The software company voluntarily put itself in contempt of court by challenging Uncle …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2016

UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption

IPBill During a committee stage debate in the UK's House of Lords yesterday, the government revealed that the Investigatory Powers Bill will provide any Secretary of State with the ability to force communication service providers (CSPs) to remove or disable end-to-end encryption. Earl Howe, a minister of state for defence and deputy …
Man in helmet looks uncertain, holds up shield. Photo by Shutterstock

European Commission straps on Privacy Shield

The European Commission has this morning adopted the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement, which will enter into force as soon as all member states are notified of the adequacy decision (PDF). Privacy Shield, which has been adopted after months of negotiations, is an agreement between the EU and the US which ostensibly ensures that …

Don't doubt it, Privacy Shield is going to be challenged in court

Analysis The European Union's attempts to make data transfers to the United States compliant with privacy laws are an opaque exercise, so much is obvious, but will they work? It's clear that it is necessary to retain the Transatlantic data trade – in economic terms, but also as a means of preventing the Balkanization of the internet. …

Avast woos AVG shareholders with $1.3bn buyout offer

Avast is offering to buy anti-virus rival AVG for $1.3bn. AVG shareholders are being offered $25.00 per share in cash, a 33 per cent mark-up on the closing share price on Wednesday. AVG, Avast and rival Avira are the three main players in the market for freebie anti-virus scanners for Windows. All make their money by offering …
John Leyden, 07 Jul 2016

ICO slapped data blabbers with £2m in fines last year

The Information Commissioner's Office doubled the amount of fines it dished out to organisations in breach of data protection rules last year, issuing £2m in penalties, according to its annual report. The hike in fines was mainly due to changes in the rules on nuisance marketing. For the previous year 2014/15, the commission …
Kat Hall, 28 Jun 2016

EU GDPR compliance still a thing for UK firms even after Brexit

BREXIT Many UK businesses will still face the burden of complying with recently introduced EU data protection rules even after Thursday's historic Brexit vote. UK businesses will be subject to the upcoming GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which comes into effect in April 2018, regardless of the EU Referendum result, …
John Leyden, 24 Jun 2016

Vendors suspend tech orders as Brexit slaps Brit pound

BREXIT If there is one thing the IT industry despises it is uncertainty and there was lashing of the stuff poured across the UK following the Brexit vote. Most major vendors already came out in favour of the Remain camp - including Microsoft, IBM, HPE, SAP, EMC, Cisco and many others - the result was so unexpected for the community …
Paul Kunert, 24 Jun 2016
EU egg timer, photo via Shutterstock

Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies

Comment I like this tweet: History of Europe: War War War War War War War Arguments about bananas. To be honest, I'll probably go with banana arguments. #remain — Pavilion Opinions (@pavilionopinion) 29 April 2016 Never mind any arguments about the UK being sucked into a superstate and whether that's a good thing or the …
Ireland and Great Britain map, image via Shutterstock

Breach-tastic Irish civil service payroll system facing audit

The data-haemorrhaging payroll system for Ireland's civil service is to be audited by the nation's Data Protection Commissioner. According to the Irish Times, almost 2,000 civil service staff were victims to a data breach back in April when their details were sent on a spreadsheet to a human resources manager in a government …

Fresh hell for TalkTalk customers: TeamView trap unleashed

TalkTalk customers are getting caught up in the TeamViewer remote-control PC seizure storm. Customers of the ISP with TeamViewer accounts say they are being hit by opportunists trying to seize control of their PCs. Faced with this fresh assault on their long-suffering customers’ privacy, TalkTalk’s board will discuss the …
Gavin Clarke, 13 Jun 2016

Post-Safe Harbor: Adobe fined for shipping personal info to the US 'without any legal basis'

A German regulator has fined three companies for failing to change the way they share people's personal information following the invalidation of the Safe Harbor agreement last year. The Hamburg Data Commissioner fined Adobe €8,000 ($9,084), Pepsi subsidiary Punica €9,000 ($10,220) and Unilever €11,000 ($12,491) because they …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Jun 2016
The inflatable approaches a swell-lashed Rockall in 2003

Top EU data cop slams Safe Harbor replacement as inadequate

The EU's independent data protection supervisor has said that the proposed US-EU data sharing agreement, Privacy Shield, "is not robust enough to withstand future legal scrutiny" and has refused to endorse it. "Significant improvements are needed should the European Commission wish to adopt an adequacy decision, to respect the …

Former Sun CEO Scott McNealy has data on 1/14th of humanity

Former Sun CEO Scott McNealy has data on one in 14 humans, wants to get that down to one in seven, but at heart what he really wants is the thin client that Oracle killed when it acquired Sun. McNealy gathered the data in his role as co-founder and executive chairman of Wayin, a software-as-a-service outfit that aims to give …
Simon Sharwood, 25 May 2016
Frustrated accountant puts head in hands. Photo by Shutterstock

Insure against a cyberwhat now? How the heck do we crunch those numbers?

The head of a UK industry insurance organisation has called for the government to create a database where companies would be obliged to “record details of cyber attacks”. Insurers are struggling to assess premiums for newly introduced cyber insurance policies in the absence of background info, according to the head of the …
John Leyden, 24 May 2016
Privacy image

Committees: Wait! Don't strap on the Privacy Shield yet

The revelations by rogue NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden in 2013 caused indignant EU politicians to open a dialogue with the US government to update the data transfer regime to safeguard personal data. The Privacy Shield is the culmination of those discussions. The US's hands-off approach has always differed from the EU's …
Frank Jennings, 24 May 2016
Teen argues with her father. Photo by Shutterstock

Half of EU members sidle up to EC: About the data-sharing rules. C'mon. Chill out

Ministers from half of the European Union's 28 member states have signed a letter asking the EU Commission to drop its “barriers to the free flow of data”. The letter was sent to the EU's digitally focused folk ahead of Wednesday, when the commission will publish the findings of its inquiry into online platforms (“search …
European Union Flag

EMC, Cisco and pals nail colours to the EU Remain mast

American storage seller EMC is the latest tech tanker to tell the good burghers of Britain it wants the country to remain in the EU, and it even did so without mentioning Hitler or ISIS. Outgoing CEO Big Joe Tucci and execs at other big businesses including Cisco, Ford of Europe, Airbus, Mars, IBM UK and Microsoft UK signed a …
Paul Kunert, 20 May 2016
Woman pays for something online with her credit card. Photo by Shutterstock

Experian Audience Engine knows almost as much about you as Google

We have grown so used to credit reference giants like Experian knowing almost as much about us as Google, but unlike Google, they put this information up for sale. This is perhaps why we have forgotten that Experian could form the basis of one of the most powerful personal intelligence systems in the world. And that it is a …
Faultline, 09 May 2016

How 'flexible' can the UK actually be on EU data protection law?

If EU member states can, by law, exercise legislative “flexibility” when implementing 50+ Articles of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), how can the regulation ever become harmonised across European Union? Pose this important question another way: given that the UK government intends to use legislative flexibility …

Tweak Privacy Shield rules to make people happy? Nah – US govt

The US government has poured cold water on the idea of making changes to the new Privacy Shield agreement that will cover transfers of people's private data between the US and Europe, potentially putting the entire agreement at risk. Under secretary of commerce for international trade, Stefan Selig, told Reuters that the US …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Apr 2016
Man on bicycle talks on mobile on busy Brussels street. Photo by Alredo Cerra via Shutterstock

Europe's new privacy safeguards are finally approved, must invade EU nations by 2018

Analysis The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been ratified by the European Parliament. The final seal of approval follows successful passage through the EU Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Following four years of discussions and amendments, the GDPR is now officially EU law and will …
John Leyden, 14 Apr 2016
FAIL scrabble by https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffdjevdet/ CC 2.0 attribution generic

Euro watchdogs give America's data-sharing Privacy Shield an 'F'

Europe's data protection authorities have graded the new Privacy Shield agreement that covers data sharing between the US and Europe a fail. In a formal response [PDF] published Wednesday by the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, the influential group outlined a number of serious concerns about the agreement, including …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Apr 2016
hacker

What exactly is it that infosec miscreants get up to? A quick overview

If corporate IT infrastructures are a battlefield, then the cybercriminals are putting up a good fight. Last year saw some nasty breaches. Anthem Insurance, which lost nearly 80 million records, and the US Office of Personnel Management, which lost 21 million records after failing to encrypt its records. Cybercriminals are …
Danny Bradbury, 13 Apr 2016
London - Iconic Red telephone box with Big Ben at the background and blue sky - UK, England. Photo by Shutterstock

Spear phishers target gullible Brits more than anyone else – survey

There’s been a sharp (35 per cent) increase in crypto ransomware attacks, with the UK ranked as the nation third most targeted with ransomware. The UK is also ranked as the most targeted nation for spear phishing attacks and the second most hit-upon country with social media scams, according to other findings from Symantec's …
John Leyden, 12 Apr 2016

Brexit: Time to make your plans, UK IT biz

Analysis The Brexit debate continues and, with the Leave and Remain camps neck and neck, it looks likely that the undecided few will carry the result. It seems that we can expect more headline-grabbing soundbites until the vote on June 23. The polarised nature of this debate is throwing up some interesting oddities, so you might be …
Frank Jennings, 31 Mar 2016

Microsoft's Brad Smith on encryption: Let the politicians decide

Microsoft's president and chief legal officer Brad Smith wants to let the politicians decide, when it comes to the tricky balance between privacy, security and technology. Speaking at the opening ceremony of RightsCon in San Francisco, Smith trod a careful line in front of the audience of digital rights activists, praising …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Mar 2016

Tech's big dogs snarl at UK.gov over Snoopers' Charter

IPB The biggest internet businesses in the free world have written to the British government to politely urge that its Investigatory Powers Bill is improved. Written evidence submitted to the committee looking over the Investigatory Powers Bill, from Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo!, has been published today …

How a Brexit could stop UK biz and Europe swapping personal data

Analysis If the UK decides later this year to leave Europe – the so-called "Brexit" – it would have a severe knock-on impact on sharing people's personal data between Blighty and Euro nations. So warns internet governance expert Emily Taylor in a piece for London-based international affairs think tank Chatham House. Taylor warns that …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Mar 2016
Woman reads book, sips tea on couch. Photo by Shutterstock

Data protection: Don't be an emotional knee jerk. When it comes to the law, RTFM

How many times have you spoken to someone in a call centre who refused to give you information on the basis that the "Data Protection Act" prevents them? Any potential customers in Germany who told you they can’t buy your IT or cloud service because their law prohibits data transfers outside Germany? Has anyone told you that a …
Frank Jennings, 10 Mar 2016
Snooping image via Shutterstock

Investigatory Powers Bill: Spooks willingly entering the light?

IPB The redrafted Investigatory Powers bill is about to return to Parliament, accompanied by complaints that the government is trying to rush it through, threats of Conservative backbench rebellions and a withdrawal of Labour support. It could almost be the European Union referendum. Arguments over process and party splits are not …
SA Mathieson, 01 Mar 2016

Microsoft urges law rewrite to keep US govt's mitts off overseas data

Microsoft today badgered the US House Judiciary Committee for changes to the law following Europe's safe harbor collapse and Redmond's data center search warrant battle. Microsoft wants legislation governing America's ability to seize data on overseas servers modernized. It's resisted a US Department of Justice (DoJ) warrant …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2016
Sparta

Safe Harbor ripped and replaced with Privacy Shield in last-minute US-Europe deal

European and US legislators have hammered out a last-minute deal to allow data flows across the Atlantic to continue without breaking the law. "For the first time ever, the United States has given the EU binding assurances that the access of public authorities for national security purposes will be subject to clear limitations …
Iain Thomson, 02 Feb 2016

Microsoft vs US.gov, Internet of Stuff, etc: What's up with 2015's legal cloudy issues?

Last year, I highlighted five legal issues for cloud firms and consumers to watch out for in 2015. Here’s a quick recap of how those topics developed during the year. 1. Microsoft and the US government go back to court Microsoft is taking a stand against the ability of US law to reach into its Dublin data centres and, against …
Frank Jennings, 02 Feb 2016
networking plugs

Safe Harbor crunch time: Today's the day to hammer out privacy deal

US and EC (European Commission) officials have until the end of the day today to reach a new Safe Harbor agreement or risk a breakdown of transatlantic e-commerce. Despite furious efforts over three months and, for the past few weeks, daily meetings between officials, the two sides are still reportedly at loggerheads over two …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Feb 2016
Theresa May

UK Home Sec wants Minority Report-style policing – using your slurped data

UK Home Secretary Theresa May has called on police forces to use predictive analytics in crime prevention as a way of mining the "vast quantities of data" the public now generates. Speaking at the Police ICT Suppliers Summit, she said: "Forces have not yet begun to explore the crime prevention opportunities that data offers …
Kat Hall, 27 Jan 2016
Doomsday clock

Safe Harbor 2.0: US-Europe talks on privacy go down to the wire

United States and European Commission officials have promised they are doing everything possible to reach agreement over transatlantic data-sharing before a critical deadline at the end of this week. After the Safe Harbor agreement – put in place in 2000 – was struck down by Europe's highest court back in October due to NSA …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Jan 2016
Sony Xperia Go rugged Android smartphone

Inside Intel's CPU-level multi-factor auth (and why we've got deja vu)

Analysis Intel has baked multi-factor authentication defenses into its sixth-generation Core processors. On Tuesday, the California chip giant sprung this news on the world, revealing what it seemed to be saying was a really big secret: all this time, the sixth-gen Core family, launched in September, has had brand-spanking new multi- …
Chris Williams, 20 Jan 2016

Bigger than Safe Harbor: Microsoft prez vows to take down US gov in data protection lawsuit

Europeans should sit up and take more notice of Microsoft’s lawsuit against the US government over secret access to their data. Why? Because it affects much more of their data than the Safe Harbour case, according to Microsoft president and lead counsel Brad Smith. “The Department of Justice does not need to wait for data to …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jan 2016
Surveillance graffiti image via shutterstock

Investigatory Powers Bill: A force for good – if done right?

To its credit the draft Investigatory Powers Bill seeks to substantially increase transparency around the powers that the authorities have to intercept our communications and hoover up everyone’s private data. To some extent, the current draft of the Bill achieves that laudable goal. The bad news is that this process has …
iot_internet_of_things

We're all really excited about new smartphones, laptops, tablets – said no one ever

We are all perfectly happy with our existing high-end technologies and aren't planning to upgrade any time soon. That's according to Accenture, which carried out a survey of 28,000 people across 28 countries, and found "sluggish demand" for the most popular consumer electronics. Not that we've stopped buying them: "just" 48 …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Jan 2016
woman binoculars photo via Shutterstock

Missed our Christmas crackers? Top stories from the break were...

Things might have slowed down for Christmas and New Year in your workplace but the news did not take a break. Whether you were away for the Christmas and New Year period or logged on but not exactly present, here are the biggest stories you may have missed from The Reg. The death of Debian GNU/Linux daddy Ian Murdock aged …
Gavin Clarke, 04 Jan 2016
The Azure Portal: Microsoft is betting on cloud for its future business

Microsoft in 2015: Mobile disasters, Windows 10 and heads in the clouds

The last twelve months have been pivotal for Microsoft, the company which once promised to put a PC on every desk but now settles for a vague mission statement about “achieve more”. The new mission statement was announced by CEO Satya Nadella in June, replacing Ballmer’s 2013 commitment to “a family of devices and services". …
Tim Anderson, 25 Dec 2015

Strict new EU data protection rules formally adopted by MEPs

Strict new rules forcing companies to pay four per cent of their global turnover in fines if they breach the European Union's data protection regulations have today been formally agreed. The legislation will create a uniform set of rules across the EU "fit for the digital era," said the EU in a press release. It said they …
Kat Hall, 17 Dec 2015

Opinion

Baby looks taken aback/shocked/affronted. Photo by Shutterstock

Kat Hall

Plans for 2 million FTTP connections in next four years 'not enough'
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Stranded_ships

Chris Mellor

Thousands of layoffs announced as spinning rust enters its death spiral

Features

STRASBOURG, JUNE 29, 2016: The seat of the European Parliament. by Marco Aprile for shutterstock. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Plan b, image via Shutterstock
EU workers, new markets: post-Brexit pressure on May & Co
Tough question, pic via Shutterstock
Honest mistake with your licensing? Audit police look at it on a 'case by case basis'