The Channel logo

Articles about Privacy

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
container_ship_hamburg_shutterstock_648

After safe harbour: Navigating data sovereignty

Max Schrems has a lot to answer for. The Austrian is single-handedly responsible for bringing down a key transnational data agreement that has left cloud service providers scrabbling for legal counsel. This is either a good thing, if you’re a privacy activist concerned about intrusive US surveillance policies, or a confusing and …
Danny Bradbury, 17 Dec 2015
ansip_648

Mandatory data breach reporting rules finally agreed by EUrocrats

After five hours of negotiations on 7 December, members of the European Parliament and Council finally settled on the wording of the EU's Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive. The directive was first proposed in 2013 as a means of forwarding the European Union's cybersecurity strategy. As it is a directive, rather …
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
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
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

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
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

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

On Planet Oracle, Big Red wasn't a decade late to cloud ... Amazon was just years too early

OpenWorld Earlier this month, Amazon tweaked Oracle's nose at its re:Invent conference. On Tuesday this week, Oracle fired back with a raft of cloud announcements. During the morning's keynote presentation, Thomas Kurian, Oracle's president of product, outlined the new offerings in cloud infrastructure-as-a-service, including an Elastic …
Iain Thomson, 27 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
Boats storm girl photo via Nikolina Mrakovic Shutterstock.com

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
shutterstock_282226826-Internet-of-things

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 …
Boats storm girl photo via Nikolina Mrakovic Shutterstock.com

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

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 …
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
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

Safe harbour ruling: RELAX, Facebook and Google will be FINE!

The European Court of Justice’s decision to rule the EU-US safe harbour agreement invalid is causing panic among some companies dependent on keeping data flows going ... but Google and Facebook are probably prepared for it. Much to the satisfaction of those who have long condemned US data collection policies, the landmark …
Jennifer Baker, 06 Oct 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

Safe Harbour ruled INVALID: Facebook 'n' pals' data slurp at risk

In a landmark ruling that will have far-reaching repercussions, Europe’s highest court has ruled that data sharing between the EU and US under the Safe Harbour framework is invalid. The decision in the Max Schrems case on Tuesday morning has been anticipated for months, but now legal eagles will have to work out how to manage …
Jennifer Baker, 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
emptying_of_a_tank_of_sewage_648_v2

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
Data scientist image via Shutterstock

Let’s hear it for data scientists! Making our lives more and more frictionless

There’s a lot of hype around data scientists. You can blame big data and the cloud. Data scientists are lauded, hunted and positively desired by those wanting to squeeze the most from their information. In accordance with such demand come large salaries – the average is $123,000 in the US. Like the Yanks of WWII, data …
Stuart Burns, 24 Sep 2015

Would you trust Intel, Vodafone, Siemens et al with Internet of Things security? You'll have to

A new non-profit foundation dedicated to improving security in the "internet of things" launched on Wednesday. More than 30 companies including Intel, Vodafone, Siemens, and BT are the founding members of the foundation, whose mission is to "make the Internet of Things secure, to aid its adoption, and maximize its benefits." …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 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
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

Handing over emails in an Irish server to the FBI will spark a global free-for-all, warns Microsoft

Microsoft has warned a US appeals court that forcing it to hand over emails stored on a server in Ireland would demolish internet user privacy worldwide in a “global free-for-all”. At the heart of the matter is a row over whether the Redmond giant should cough up messages held in an Irish data center – messages belonging to …

Opinion

Walking on water, image via Shutterstock

Chris Mellor

IDC stats reveal who's who in the backup appliance bearpit
Carry on Cleo

Gavin Clarke

Infamy, infamy, Amazon and Microsoft have all got it in for me!

Tim Anderson

Also signals stronger cross-platform tools, access to new markets

Features

Shouting match
Single market vs. rest of the world
hacker
Mostly it's financial crime. Here's what all the cool kids' terms mean in English
Apple logo. Pic: Blake Patterson
Plenty of bumps in the 40-year road for Mac makers
single pain of glass