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Articles about Privacy

NSA, GCHQ and even Donald Trump are all after your data

Comment As production and usage of data keeps growing globally, it’s worth remembering that the US government wants access to your information and will use warrants, decryption or hacking to get to it. That’s not news and the US government has many tools in its box. Many had already heard of the Uniting and Strengthening America by …
Frank Jennings, 20 Oct 2016

US government wants Microsoft 'Irish email' case reopened

The United States Department of Justice has asked the nation's Second Circuit Court of Appeals to re-open its three-year-old case attempt to have Microsoft hand over e-mails stored on servers in the Republic of Ireland. At the same time, the Department has dropped more than a hint that Google's in the cross-hairs. In July, …

Personal info on more than 58 million people spills onto the web from data slurp biz

A US-based data aggregator that trades people's personal information with the automotive industry and real estate companies has seemingly spilled the private information of more than 58 million people online. A large MongoDB file – which belongs to Modern Business Solutions and containing tens of millions of records – was …
John Leyden, 13 Oct 2016
Grain silos by Scott Davis

Data-updater CTERA gets IBM reselling approval stamp

IBM is becoming a CTERA reseller to ship enterprise file services integrated with its SoftLayer, Cleversafe-based, object storage, and fully support it. CTERA provides a cloud storage gateway for file sync and share, and data protection, plus a NAS appliance. It has just gained $25m in a funding round; no doubt the VCs were …
Chris Mellor, 13 Oct 2016
red shoes. Photo by shutterstock

Cisco president: We've lost to AWS et al on the public cloud

Canalys Channels Forum 2016 Cisco may have conceded defeat to Amazon in the mass market for public cloud consumption, but there are a raft of niche areas that are ripe for the plucking, starting with, er, footwear. The vendor's European, Middle East, Africa and Russia president Edwin Paalvast told an audience of resellers and distributors at the Canalys …
Paul Kunert, 11 Oct 2016

Internet of Things botnets: You ain’t seen nothing yet

Internet of Things (IoT) botnet "Mirai" is the shape of things to come and future assaults could be even more severe, a leading security research firm warns. Mirai powered the largest ever DDoS attack ever, spawning a 620Gbps DDoS against KrebsOnSecurity. Source code for the malware was released on hacker forums last week. …
John Leyden, 10 Oct 2016
Pot calling the kettle black

Salesforce asks Europe to stop Microsoft buying LinkedIn after itself trying to buy LinkedIn

Salesforce has called on the European Commission to block Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn. A widely circulated statement from Salesforce Chief Legal Officer Burke Norton says “By gaining ownership of LinkedIn's unique dataset of over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries, Microsoft will be able to deny …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Sep 2016

Google, Dropbox the latest US tech giants to sign up to the Privacy Shield

Internet giant Google has signed up to the Privacy Shield, a framework designed to facilitate the transfer of personal data between the EU and US by businesses. Data storage and software provider Dropbox has also self-certified under the Privacy Shield. The companies are the latest major US technology businesses to sign up to …
OUT-LAW.COM, 28 Sep 2016

Microsoft hails pointless Privacy Shield status for its cloud services

Microsoft has issued a missive congratulating itself as the first global cloud service provider to get with the new EU Privacy Shield Framework agreed with the US, which must mean your data is safe in its hands, right? Sadly, the Privacy Shield Framework, like the Safe Harbor agreement that preceded it, relies on US companies …
Dan Robinson, 28 Sep 2016
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Brexit will happen. The EU GDPR will happen. You can't avoid either

Article 50, the process for Britain’s formal withdrawal from the European Union, is looming. Upon the conclusion of Article 50, data centres resident in Britain will no longer be subject to EU data protection rules. Today, UK data centres are bound by the EU Data Protection Directive (95/46/C), which was in turn based on the …
Danny Bradbury, 16 Sep 2016
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Exploding public cloud just getting bigger, will be worth $200bn in 2016 – Gartner

The global public cloud services market is set to grow by more than 17 per cent in 2016. According to Gartner, cloud services were worth $178bn in 2015. This is set to increase to $208.6bn in 2016, higher than the nominal GDP of Portugal. This growth will be driven by cloud system infrastructure services, which are projected …

McAfee's back! Intel flogs security software biz, pockets $3.1bn

Intel is selling off a majority stake in its security software arm – formerly known as McAfee – to private equity firm TPG, which will rename itself to, er, McAfee. Chipzilla absorbed McAfee Inc in 2010 for $7.68bn, and in 2014 it phased out the McAfee brand name. According to Intel, that software division is today valued at …
Iain Thomson, 07 Sep 2016
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Intel adds vision to its AI vision with computer vision firm buyout

Intel is not just content to build the silicon brains that will power the Rise of the Machines – it is bidding to own their eyes too, with the acquisition of computer vision developer Movidius. Movidius is 11 years old, having been founded in Dublin and transplanted to San Mateo. No price was disclosed, but the 140-strong firm …
Joe Fay, 06 Sep 2016

Spinning that Brexit wheel: Regulation lotto for tech startups

The reality of running a new business or doing something innovative is that you're hunting for cracks and niches that others have not yet filled – spaces too small for the big girls and boys already in the market. And many of those niches are fragile, formed in part by chance, opportunistic spaces in the current markets and …

Healthcare and local gov are most likely UK bodies to suffer infosec breaches

The number of security incidents reported to UK data privacy watchdogs nearly doubled in the past year, with organisations increasingly becoming overwhelmed with security problems. Data disclosed in error and security breaches were the two primary reasons for an 88 per cent rise in self-reported data protection breaches …
John Leyden, 01 Sep 2016

French, German ministers demand new encryption backdoor law

A meeting this week between the interior ministers of France and Germany has focused on the issue of encryption and its potential impact on security. In the lead-up to the meeting and in subsequent public comments from the ministers, they both made repeated mention of the issue of data encryption, even calling out the app …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Aug 2016
Image by Maksim Kabakou

SAP whacks application cracks, shutters baker's dozen of potential hacks

SAP has issued a baker's dozen of high, medium, and low-severity patches. The fixes cover four denial of service vulnerabilities, two sets of directory traversal and missing authorisation holes, a cross-site scripting and a SQL Injection flaw, and four miscellaneous security shortcomings. SAP does not include any detail about …
Darren Pauli, 10 Aug 2016

Microsoft adds new 'Enterprise Products' section to privacy policy

Microsoft has updated its privacy policy and, for the first time, added a section devoted to “Enterprise Products.” The new section is the listed last in Microsoft's privacy policy and covers “those Microsoft products and related offerings that that are offered or designed primarily for use by organizations and developers.” …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2016

Europe gives Privacy Shield one year to work

Europe's data protection authorities will hold fire for one year on the new Privacy Shield agreement, withholding any potential legal challenges until mid-2017. In a statement [PDF] by the Article 29 Working Party (WP29), the influential body noted it was still unhappy with the final text of the agreement – which replaces the …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Jul 2016
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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 Leyden, 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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

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


Frank Jennings

What do you do? Use manual typwriters or live in a Scottish croft? Our man advises
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

Trevor Pott

Among other things, Active Directory needs an overhaul
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


League of gentlemen poster - Tubbs and Edward at the local shop. Copyright BBC
One reselling man tells his tale of woe