Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Facebook charged with misleading EU over $22 billion WhatsApp takeover | Ars Technica

Facebook charged with misleading EU over $22 billion WhatsApp takeover | Ars Technica: "Brussels' competition officials issued a charge sheet against Facebook on Tuesday, in which it is alleged that the free content ad network failed to disclose that "the technical possibility of automatically matching Facebook users' IDs with WhatsApp users' IDs already existed" at the time of the merger.

 Antitrust chief Margerthe Vestager said that companies must provide "accurate information" during routine competition probes into planned acquisitions.

"They must take this obligation seriously," she said. "In this specific case, the commission's preliminary view is that Facebook gave us incorrect or misleading information during the investigation into its acquisition of WhatsApp. Facebook now has the opportunity to respond."

 Facebook has been slapped with a so-called Statement of Objections by the commission, which claims that the multinational "intentionally, or negligently, submitted incorrect or misleading information" to the competition wing of the EC, thereby allegedly breaching its obligations under the EU Merger Regulation." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 9 December 2016

Predictions 2017: the Impact of Communications Law

Predictions 2017: "Although it is highly likely that the various parts of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 will be brought in in a phased manner, we can expect to see changes to the data retention framework imminently, given the sunset provision in DRIPA. Even though the legislation will be in final, enacted form, there will be plenty of work to do on the codes of practice, as well as ensuring that systems and processes meet the new legal requirements.

The Act will permit a broader range of obligations to be imposed on providers of private telecommunication systems than has been the case to date," 'via Blog this'

Monday, 28 November 2016

Open letter in the Daily Telegraph: Concerns with ‘information sharing’ provisions in the Digital Economy Bill

Open letter in the Daily Telegraph: Concerns with ‘information sharing’ provisions in the Digital Economy Bill | Information Law & Policy Centre: "The Bill puts government ministers in control of citizens’ personal data, a significant change in the relationship between citizen and state. It means that personal data provided to one part of government can be shared with other parts of government and private‑sector companies without citizens’ knowledge or consent.

 Government should be strengthening, not weakening, the protection of sensitive information, particularly given the almost daily reports of hacks and leaks of personal data. Legal and technical safeguards need to be embedded within the Bill to ensure citizens’ trust. There must be clear guidance for officials, and mechanisms by which they and the organisations with whom they share information can be held to account." 'via Blog this'

Has the internet become a failed state? John Naughton

Has the internet become a failed state? | Technology | The Guardian: "So we’re left with two real possibilities – some blend of Balkanisation and inter-state conflict, both extrapolations of trends that we can already observe.

 If this is indeed how things pan out, I know one scholar, a distinguished professor of international relations, who won’t be in the least surprised. Sixteen years ago, in a conversation about the internet, he asked me if I really believed that the internet represented a fundamental challenge to established power structures.

I replied vehemently in the affirmative – because, in my techno-utopian fervour, I did believe. He smiled but said nothing, and so eventually I asked him what he thought. “We’ll see, dear boy,” he replied. “We’ll see.”" 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

127 days in the job and preparing for GDPR: Information Commissioner

127 days in the job and preparing for GDPR | ICO: "GDPR brings a more 21st century approach – the right of consumers to data portability is new, as is mandatory data breach reporting, higher standards of consent, and significantly larger fines for when companies get things wrong.

 But the big change is about giving consumers control over their data. I believe this is a positive development. Consumers get that they sometimes have to share some of their personal data to get the best service from organisations, or where there are pressing public policy needs that must be met like fighting crime and protecting the vulnerable. But they’re right to expect that information be kept safe, be used transparently and for organisations to demonstrate their accountability for their compliance.

 We know now that the government has confirmed the UK will implement GDPR. And the ICO is committed to assisting businesses and public bodies to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Mark Zuckerberg Is in Denial - NYTimes

Mark Zuckerberg Is in Denial - The New York Times: "In Myanmar, for example, misinformation on Facebook has reportedly helped fuel ethnic cleansing, creating an enormous refugee crisis.

 Facebook may want to claim that it is remaining neutral, but that is a false and dangerous stance. The company’s business model, algorithms and policies entrench echo chambers and fuel the spread of misinformation.

Letting this stand is not neutrality; it amplifies the dangerous currents roiling the world.

When Facebook is discussed in tomorrow’s history books, it will probably not be about its quarterly earnings reports and stock options." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Information Commissioner updates on WhatsApp/Facebook investigation

Information Commissioner updates on WhatsApp / Facebook investigation | ICO Blog: "We have now asked Facebook and WhatsApp to sign an undertaking committing to better explaining to customers how their data will be used, and to giving users ongoing control over that information. We also want individuals to have the opportunity to be given an unambiguous choice before Facebook start using that information and to be given the opportunity to change that decision at any point in the future.

We think consumers deserve a greater level of information and protection, but so far Facebook and WhatsApp haven’t agreed. If Facebook starts using the data without valid consent, it may face enforcement action from my office.

 We’ll keep pushing on this, both from our office and alongside other data protection authorities across Europe, notably the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, where Facebook’s EU headquarters are based." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Lost in the splinternet | The Economist

Lost in the splinternet | The Economist: "The court will hear the case on December 2nd and may hand down a verdict by January.

The spread of the right to be forgotten is part of a wider trend towards the fragmentation of the internet. Courts and governments have embarked on what some call a “legal arms race” to impose a maze of national or regional rules, often conflicting, in the digital realm. Left unchecked, the trend towards a “splinternet” will cause economic damage, hamper digital innovation, restrict free speech—and, according to a recent report for the World Economic Forum, a conference organiser-cum-think-tank, ruin the “internet’s enormous capacity to facilitate human progress”.

The internet has always been something of a subversive undertaking. As a ubiquitous, cross-border commons, it often defies notions of state sovereignty. A country might decide to outlaw a certain kind of service—a porn site or digital currency, say—only to see it continue to operate from other, more tolerant jurisdictions." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Draper Lecture - The Rise of the Cyber Judge

Draper Lecture - The Rise of the Cyber Judge : News and events : School of Law, Politics and Sociology : Schools and services : University of Sussex: "We are delighted and honoured to have Lord Justice Fulford as our speaker for our 8th annual lecture on human rights.

The Rt Hon. Lord Justice Fulford is a Lord Justice of Appeal and as of 1 January 2016 is the Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales. Previously, he was a judge of the International Criminal Court in The Hague from 2003-12. Venue: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL" 'via Blog this'

R (Miller) -V- Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | R (Miller) -V- Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union: "Neutral Citation Number: [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin)

Case No. CO/3809/2016 and CO/3281/2016

Date: 03/11/2016

In the High Court of Justice
Queen’s Bench Division
Divisional Court

Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
The Master of the Rolls
Lord Justice Sales

The Queen on the application of (1) Gina Miller & (2) Deir Tozetti Dos Santos – Claimants


The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union – Defendant" 'via Blog this'

Big data rights: Let’s get together - European Data protection Supervisor

Big data rights: Let’s get together: "The EU has the expertise and resources to support the development of the next generation of services, to shape the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, in a sustainable way that respects and reinforces the values expressed in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and which are shared - though expressed differently - around the world.  It was pointed out that the pioneers of the internet never intended such a concentration of personal information in a few hands.

The take-it-or leave-it approach to online terms and conditions is well past its sell-by date. Privacy policies, unfortunately, serve the controllers' interests rather than the individuals.

It’s time to redress the unfairness the black box phenomenon where companies aiming to know everything possible about the consumer shielding its own internal processes and decision making.  

The sad truth remains that the market isn’t delivering the privacy enhancing services which people are entitled to choose." 'via Blog this'

Inside Google’s Internet Justice League and Its AI-Powered War on Trolls: WIRED

Inside Google’s Internet Justice League and Its AI-Powered War on Trolls | WIRED: "One of the moon-shot goals he’s set for Jigsaw is to end censorship within a decade, whether it comes in the form of politically motivated cyberattacks on opposition websites or government strangleholds on Internet service providers.

And if that task isn’t daunting enough, Jigsaw is about to unleash Conversation AI on the murky challenge of harassment, where the only way to protect some of the web’s most repressed voices may be to selectively shut up others.

If it can find a path through that free-speech paradox, Jigsaw will have pulled off an unlikely coup: applying artificial intelligence to solve the very human problem of making people be nicer on the Internet." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Belgium bans end-to-end encryption for VoIP · GitHub

Belgium bans end-to-end encryption for VoIP · GitHub: "Skype (a Microsoft subsidiary) has been fined 30.000 euro in Belgium, for not being able to provide information about conversations in a police investigation.

 Authorities demanded that Skype provide information about conversations between certain users, but the company said that this was a technical impossibility.

 Skype also felt that they were not bound by Belgian law, because their European headquarters are located in Luxembourg. The court disagreed, and De Standaard reports that they were fined 30.000 euro on Thursday.

The investigation took place in 2012. Skype was able to provide information about the users in question like e-mail addresses, history and IP addresses. However, they were unable to provide anything regarding the contents of conversations.

 According to the company, this was impossible because conversations are encrypted. Skype itself does not have access to their contents.

 According to the court, this is irrelevant. Because Skype is active on the Belgian market, it has to comply with local legislation that requires them to support wiretapping. "It was clear that there was no intention to cooperate with the investigation," writes the court in its verdict." 'via Blog this'

Proceedings served on State in Digital Rights challenge

Proceedings served on State in Digital Rights challenge: "DRI’s case is that Ireland has failed to properly implement EU data protection law, or to follow the requirements of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by failing to ensure the commissioner is genuinely independent from the Government.

The proceedings cite case law in a number of infringement proceedings taken by the European Commission against other countries for failure to fulfil an obligation under the EU treaties.

They include proceedings in the Commission v Hungary, Commission v Germany and Commission v Austria.
In those cases, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that data protection authorities must act impartially and must remain free from any external influence, including that of the state." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 31 October 2016

London event: Restricted and Redacted: Where now for human rights and digital information control?

The Information Law and Policy Centre annual workshop and evening lecture . For both events, attendance will be free of charge thanks to the support of the IALS and our sponsor, Bloomsbury’s Communications Law journal. Registration will still be required as places are limited.
To register for the afternoon workshop please visit Eventbrite.evening lecture Eventbrite Page.
11am – 5pm (lunch and refreshments provided)
For the afternoon part of this event we have an excellent set of presentations lined up that consider information law and policy in the context of human rights. Speakers will offer an original perspective on the way in which information and data interact with legal rights and principles relating to free expression, privacy, data protection, reputation, copyright, national security, anti-discrimination and open justice.
Speakers include, among many others: Professor Ellen P. Goodman, Rutgers Law School, on freedom of information; Dr Vigjilenca Abazi, Maastricht University, on whistleblowing protection in Europe; Professor Ewan Sutherland, Wits University, on wire-tapping in the regulatory state; Dr David Rolph, University of Sydney, on the liability of search engines in defamation; and Professor Gavin Phillipson, University of Durham, on online privacy cases.
We will be considering topics such as internet intermediary liability, investigatory and surveillance powers, media regulation, freedom of information, defamation and privacy, the EU General Data Protection Regulation, and whistleblower protection.
6pm-7.30pm EVENING LECTURE BY ROSEMARY JAY, HUNTON & WILLIAMS - Heads and shoulders, knees and toes (eyes and ears and mouth and nose…):  the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation on use of biometrics (followed by reception)
Biometrics are touted as one of the next big things in the connected world.  Specific reference to biometrics and genetic data has been included  for the first time in the General Data Protection Regulation.  How does this affect existing provisions? Will  the impact of the Regulation be to encourage or to restrict the development of biometric technology?

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

£15 student offer: SCL Tech Law Futures Conference: "Advising in a time of technological change" 10 November

SCL Tech Law Futures Conference: "Advising in a time of technological change" - Thursday 10 November 2016, London: Looking beyond tomorrow and giving tech lawyers an insight into the tech and law issues that will shape the next decade. Hosted and sponsored by Bird & Bird LLP

Venue: Bird & Bird LLP, 12 New Fetter Lane, EC4A 1JP. 9.45 am - 6.15 pm (Registration from 9.15 am)
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Google Has Quietly Dropped Ban on Personally Identifiable Web Tracking - ProPublica

Google Has Quietly Dropped Ban on Personally Identifiable Web Tracking - ProPublica: "When Google bought the advertising network DoubleClick in 2007, Google founder Sergey Brin said that privacy would be the company’s “number one priority when we contemplate new kinds of advertising products.” 

And, for nearly a decade, Google did in fact keep DoubleClick’s massive database of web-browsing records separate by default from the names and other personally identifiable information Google has collected from Gmail and its other login accounts.

 But this summer, Google quietly erased that last privacy line in the sand – literally crossing out the lines in its privacy policy that promised to keep the two pots of data separate by default. In its place, Google substituted new language that says browsing habits “may be” combined with what the company learns from the use Gmail and other tools." 'via Blog this'

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace - Episode 1 - Love and Power on Vimeo

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace - Episode 1 - Love and Power on VimeoDocumentary by Adam Curtis en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Watched_Over_by_Machines_of_Loving_Grace_(TV_series) 'via Blog this'

Saturday, 22 October 2016

What Is DNS and Why Does It Make the Internet Break?

What Is DNS and Why Does It Make the Internet Break?: "Domain Name Servers (DNS) act as the internet’s phone book and facilitate requests to specific webpages. They make sure you end up in the right place every time you type a website into your browser. Hackers will occasionally attack DNS providers in order to bring down the sites they are serving. Today, that happened to be Twitter, Reddit, PayPal and more.

 That’s a really basic overview. But if you really want to understand how DNS works at a deeper level, you have to follow the complete order of operations. A typical internet user starts at one of many computers in a large network connected through underground cables (such as your laptop). The individual nodes on these networks communicate by referring to each other with numbers known as IP addresses. DNS is used to translate a request like a URL into an IP address.

When you enter a URL—such as www.Gizmodo.com—your browser starts trying to figure out where that website is by pinging a series of servers. It’s very detailed, and we won’t bore you with the complete chain of events. There are resolving name servers, authoritative name servers, domain registrars, and so on. The system is precisely configured to get you from browser bar to website seamlessly.

The process is a little crazy, but perhaps the most insane part is that it all happens almost instantly. Anytime you’re browsing the web, opening dozens of tabs, requesting a bunch of different websites, your computer is pinging servers around the world to get you the right info. And it just works—until it doesn’t." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Trump campaign rocked by new wave of sexual harassment allegations, treatens to sue- Guardian

Trump campaign rocked by new wave of sexual harassment allegations | US news | The Guardian: "The New York Times wouldn’t be the first outlet to face litigation from Trump. The Republican nominee’s wife, Melania, is currently suing the Daily Mail and he has long pledged to “open up” libel laws in the United States. Trump has previously threatened to sue the New York Times in a September tweet.

 The Trump campaign sent out a retraction demand to the New York Times early on Thursday from the lawyers Kasowitz, Benson, Torres and Friedman.

“Your article is reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se. It is apparent from, among other things, the timing of the article, that it is nothing more than a politically motivated effort to defeat Mr. Trump’s candidacy,” wrote Marc Kasowitz, a prominent securities lawyer also advises the Republican nominee on Israel policy.

 Under American libel law as defined in the 1964 case of New York Times v Sullivan, any public figure suing for libel must prove a defamatory statement was made with actual malice, “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not”." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Transparency, trust and progressive data protection (GDPR) ICO

Transparency, trust and progressive data protection | ICO: "Brexit and the GDPR

 You’ll probably be asking me which law exactly I want you to be following, particularly in two years’ time.

And make no mistake – Brexit makes the job I accepted earlier this year, more challenging…but we’re well prepared.

 You may not realise but we’ve had data protection law in the UK for the last thirty years. The current Data Protection Act, may have been based on an EU directive since 1995, but the UK had already introduced the concept of data protection law ten years before the European Union.. With the changes in technology and the growing intolerance for data misuse we’ve known for a long time the law needs reform, it needs modernisation.

 The General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR replaces the 1995 directive and brings the law into the 21st century. Countries who are part of the EU are now preparing to adopt the new law in 2018. The Referendum result has thrown our data protection plans into a state of flux.

What hasn’t changed are the strong data protection rules the UK already has. We need those rules to ensure cross-border commerce, not to mention the privacy protections citizens and consumers expect.

So where do we go from here? What happens in May 2018? And how does UK data protection law look beyond that? We’ve been asking ourselves the same questions.

Let’s start with the known knowns. It is extremely likely that GDPR will be live before the UK leaves the European Union. Remember that the GDPR is actually already in force, it is just that Member States are not obligated to apply it until 25 May 2018.

 The digital world is a smaller world. Copenhagen consumers are closer, Sofia’s citizens aren’t so far away. For most people in this room, the GDPR will be something you’ll have to follow, to do business where you want to.
GDPR brings in new elements – and a more 21st century approach – the right of consumers to data portability is new, as is mandatory data breach reporting, higher standards of consent, and significantly larger fines for when companies get things wrong.

But the major shift in the law is about giving consumers control over their data. It ties in with building trust and is also part of the ICO’s philosophy.

We are helping you to get ready for the new law – and we will continue to provide advice and guidance around GDPR, whether you’re a business with 400 customers or 40 million.

 What about the known unknown territory? That’s those of you who only operate in the UK. We know it’s up to government what happens here, both in that middle period from May 2018 to whenever the UK formally leaves the EU, and beyond.

 The fact is, no matter what the future legal relationship between the UK and Europe, personal information will need to flow. It is fundamental to the digital economy. In a global economy we need consistency of law and standards – the GDPR is a strong law, and once we are out of Europe, we will still need to be deemed adequate or essentially equivalent. For those of you who are not lawyers out there, this means there would be a legal basis for data to flow between Europe and the UK." 'via Blog this'

Digital Golems. Copyright and Lex Electronica - Dr Melanie de Rosnay 1 Nov 2pm

Digital Golems. Copyright and Lex Electronica - Institut des sciences de la communication: "The book offers a techno-legal model of regulation for the sharing of culture. Following research on “lex informatica”, it is based on the mutual influence between law and code. It proposes a reconception of copyright categories to facilitate creative usages and non-market sharing, and an improved technical expression of those rights built on the systematic analysis of licenses and ontologies. As foreword author Lawrence Lessig summarizes: "The law could infect code, carrying its values"." 'via Blog this'

Grace Hopper - Mathematician, Computer Programmer - as discussed by Prof Matwyshyn yesterday

Grace Hopper - Military Leader, Mathematician, Computer Programmer - Biography.com: "Computer programmer Grace Hopper helped develop a compiler that was a precursor to the widely used COBOL language and became a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy." 'via Blog this'

Friday, 7 October 2016


Professor Andrea Matwyshyn: The Internet of Bodies: introduces the (already happening) progression of the Internet of Things or “IoT” into the Internet of Bodies or “IoB”. It explains how IoB presents a “legacy code” problem – the need to combine the legal challenges of the Internet of Things with older doctrinal and theoretical legal battles.  This “legacy code” problem will present itself not only in scholars’ and lawmakers’ struggle to reconcile conflicting legal paradigms, but also in our norms and values as a society.  Unlike our experience with the Internet of Things, as human flesh becomes permanently entwined with and part of technological hardware, the process of social integration of IoB will be obviously disruptive to physical spaces. It will present a polarizing set of value-laden social and legal determinations about the human body.  It will also cause us to evolve the definition of what it means to be “human.”

European Court rules on open wifi – TechnoLlama

European Court rules on open wifi – TechnoLlama: "While the court considers that the concept of an ‘information society service’ covers any service normally provided for remuneration, ” it does not follow that a service of an economic nature performed free of charge may under no circumstances constitute an ‘information society service’’. This means that under some circumstances, free services could be considered as covered by the E-commerce, particularly because it is a promotional offer, the prize of the service is included in the price of the other goods sold.

 Secondly, the court decided that a service provider of an open wifi can be a mere conduit in the sense of the E-Commerce Directive.

 But the most eye-opening part of the ruling, and the one that has been criticised the most, is that the court seems to make it an obligation to protect open networks, as these can be used easily to infringe copyright. The court muses three possible measures to secure a network, namely, “examining all communications passing through an internet connection, terminating that connection or password-protecting it.” " 'via Blog this'

How Bulk Interception Works – Privacy International – Medium

How Bulk Interception Works – Privacy International – Medium: "All internet communications are broken down into smaller fragments, called “packets.” Every packet contains a piece of the content of the actual communication, as well as metadata. Metadata is information about a communication, such as the sender and recipient, the date and location from where it was sent, and the subject line.
Packets that make up a single communication not only take different paths to reach their destination, they can also take any viable route. Distance is not a determinative factor. A communication between two individuals in the same city might therefore travel around the world before it reaches its recipient. The dispersion of packets across the internet means that our communications and data are more vulnerable to interception by foreign governments, who may capture them as they bounce around the world.
The capture of packets, particularly because of the metadata they contain, is intrusive." 'via Blog this'

Once Celebrated in Russia, the Programmer Pavel Durov Chooses Exile - The New York Times

Once Celebrated in Russia, the Programmer Pavel Durov Chooses Exile - The New York Times: "Not long ago, Mr. Durov, 30, was seen as Russia’s Mark Zuckerberg. He founded a social network, VKontakte, which is more popular in Russia than Facebook, and made a splash by publicly offering Edward Snowden a job.

Then the Kremlin tightened its grip over the Internet and President Vladimir V. Putin’s allies took control of VKontakte. Mr. Durov eventually sold his remaining stake for millions and fled Russia in April, after resisting government pressure to release the data of Ukrainian protest leaders.

Continue reading the main story

Mr. Durov, known for his subversive wit and an all-black wardrobe that evokes Neo from the “Matrix” movies, is now a little-seen nomad, moving from country to country every few weeks with a small band of computer programmers. One day he is in Paris, another in Singapore."

RELATED COVERAGE Mail.ru Takes Full Ownership of VKontakte, Russia’s Largest Social Network SEPT. 16, 2014 Russia Quietly Tightens Reins on Web With ‘Bloggers Law’ MAY 6, 2014  'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

A Grand Bargain to Make Tech Companies Trustworthy - The Atlantic

A Grand Bargain to Make Tech Companies Trustworthy - The Atlantic: "Congress could respond with a “Digital Millennium Privacy Act” that offers a parallel trade-off to that of the DMCA: accept the federal government’s rules of fair dealing and gain a safe harbor from uncertain legal liability, or stand pat with the status quo.

 The DMPA would provide a predictable level of federal immunity for those companies willing to subscribe to the duties of an information fiduciary and accept a corresponding process to disclose and redress privacy and security violations. As with the DMCA, those companies unwilling to take the leap would be left no worse off than they are today—subject to the tender mercies of state and local governments. " 'via Blog this'

Friday, 16 September 2016

C‑484/14 Tobias McFadden v Sony

CURIA - Documents: "Having regard to the requirements deriving from the protection of fundamental rights and to the rules laid down in Directives 2001/29 and 2004/48, Article 12(1) of Directive 2000/31, read in conjunction with Article 12(3) of that directive, must be interpreted as, in principle, not precluding the grant of an injunction such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which requires, on pain of payment of a fine, a provider of access to a communication network allowing the public to connect to the internet to prevent third parties from making a particular copyright-protected work or parts thereof available to the general public from an online (peer-to-peer) exchange platform via an internet connection, where that provider may choose which technical measures to take in order to comply with the injunction even if such a choice is limited to a single measure consisting in password-protecting the internet connection, provided that those users are required to reveal their identity in order to obtain the required password and may not therefore act anonymously, a matter which it is for the referring court to ascertain." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Spying, the seaside, sub-sea cables – and Rudyard Kipling @C4News

Spying, the seaside, sub-sea cables – and Rudyard Kipling | Tom Clarke on Science: "What’s very clear as soon as you get there is that GCHQ Bude is nothing new. The dishes of the satellite listening station on the cliff top have loomed over the town for years. That GCHQ snoops on phone and internet traffic in the interests of national security is also accepted by pretty much everyone.

 But what has come as a surprise are the revelations about how GCHQ, with its US partner the NSA, may have the ability to capture and store all of the data traffic coming across undersea cables crossing the Atlantic through a programme called Tempora.

While the satellite dishes have long pointed at the shiny communications platforms orbiting the earth, it now appears that with the growth of the internet and mobile phones, GCHQ Bude has actually been paying far more attention to the cable that connects Europe with north America, that runs practically right beneath it.

 TAT-14 is the main fibre-optic communications link between the US and the rest of the world and it makes landfall at Bude. Snowden’s leaks suggest GCHQ, with the help of the NSA, can gobble up all the data travelling along it, then filter it for information they are interested in." 'via Blog this'

How Russia and the UN are actually planning to take over the Internet | TheHill

How Russia and the UN are actually planning to take over the Internet | TheHill: "Only the academic publishing industry has enthusiastically adopted DOA in the form of its digital object identifier standard. Since 2000, journal articles are assigned permanent identifiers that point to digital versions of the articles. Metadata associated with journal article objects usually point to a traditional URL where the article can be accessed.

In a more advanced DOA environment, the system might use the permanent identifier associated with your laptop to determine whether you had the right to access the article.

 As it turns out, Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia all really like the idea of baking information management directly into next-generation protocols. These governments all believe that information flows a bit too freely on today’s Internet. Wouldn’t it be great, they reason, if tomorrow’s Internet allowed us to track all devices online as well as withhold access to any content we did not want to disseminate?

Authoritarian regimes missed the boat on influencing existing Internet standards, but so-called “next-generation networks” provide a new opportunity.

The U.N.’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an agency that, among other activities, hosts standards meetings between governments and telecom companies. Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia have used this forum to advance their vision for next-generation networks, including DOA.

The main point of attack is the ITU telecom sector’s Study Group 20, which focuses on the so-called “Internet of Things.”

The authoritarian regimes have banded together to ensure that DOA is adopted as the overarching standard for IoT devices, ostensibly in the name of protecting against “device counterfeiting.” In reality, DOA will allow IoT devices to be pervasively and persistently tracked. Next-generation networks could deny access to any device without a valid identifier. And by requiring registration at the point of purchase, tracking will extend to people, not just the devices.

In the long run, these next-generation networks open the door to rethinking the Internet on territorial lines. Suppose the Russian government, as is likely, runs the authoritative DOA server for everyone in Russia. In addition to tracking activity online, they could control the flow of information into the country and censor information at the border." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

James Madison on regulation by the state

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Review of Curran, Fenton and Freedman’s Misunderstanding the Internet

Review of Curran, Fenton and Freedman’s Misunderstanding the Internet | Simon Dawes: "Ultimately, Curran’s objective is to demonstrate that both market censorship (corporate concentration, commercial surveillance and strengthened intellectual property law) and state censorship (restrictive licensing, state surveillance and the ability to pull the plug) are now undermining the freedom many celebratory accounts promised of the internet (59), while the commonsensical distinction between state and market may not be as clear-cut or as epistemologically useful as it may at first seem." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Privacy Scandal Haunts Pokemon Go’s CEO: The Intercept

Privacy Scandal Haunts Pokemon Go’s CEO: "Today, given the spread of Pokemon Go and sensitivity of the data it accesses, it’s less important that Hanke now blames the mobile team for the Wi-Spy scandal than that his division, unwittingly or not, became the vehicle — or vehicles, to be precise — through which one engineer was able to collect massive amounts of hugely sensitive data, while managers and engineers from Hanke’s division repeatedly ignored explicit warnings, written and verbal, about what was going on from that engineer, according to the most thorough published investigation of the matter by a U.S. government entity." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Why Tim Berners-Lee is no friend of Facebook: John Naughton, Guardian

Why Tim Berners-Lee is no friend of Facebook | John Naughton | Opinion | The Guardian: "The thing that makes the web distinctive is also what made the internet special, namely that it was designed as an open platform. It was designed to facilitate “permissionless innovation”. If you had a good idea that could be realised using data packets, and possessed the programming skills to write the necessary software, then the internet – and the web – would do it for you, no questions asked. And you didn’t need much in the way of financial resources – or to ask anyone for permission – in order to realise your dream.

 An open platform is one on which anyone can build whatever they like. It’s what enabled a young Harvard sophomore, name of Zuckerberg, to take an idea lifted from two nice-but-dim oarsmen, translate it into computer code and launch it on an unsuspecting world. And in the process create an empire of 1.7 billion subjects with apparently limitless revenues. That’s what permissionless innovation is like.

 The open web enabled Zuckerberg to do this. But – guess what? – the Facebook founder has no intention of allowing anyone to build anything on his platform that does not have his express approval. " 'via Blog this'

How panics about pictures of naked women shaped the Web as we know it - The Washington Post

How panics about pictures of naked women shaped the Web as we know it - The Washington Post: "All attempts at Internet regulation raise the same question: What is the ideal level of responsibility for the companies, platforms and websites that make up the Web? It’s not a coincidence that female nudity is so frequently the catalyst for these policy battles. Our convoluted, twisted and ever-evolving social attitudes about sexuality create a perfect flash point for issues of censorship and responsibility." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 25 August 2016

BBC will ‘retain your viewing history’ • The Register

BBC will ‘retain your viewing history’ • The Register: "A BBC Spokesperson told us:

“Users can provide personal information for some of our services to get a better, more personal experience. If a user deletes their account all personal data is deleted. It’s as though they never created one. The only data of any kind that we retain is the same basic and anonymous traffic data that we, or any other website, would receive when you visit it. This data is not linked to any individual and simply tells us that an article has been viewed or that a programme has been watched.”" 'via Blog this'

Stealing bitcoins with badges: How Silk Road’s dirty cops got caught | Ars Technica

Stealing bitcoins with badges: How Silk Road’s dirty cops got caught | Ars Technica: "Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Jared Der-Yeghiayan testified at trial that there was at least one other federal agent operating on the Silk Road, under the handle "Mr. Wonderful." Ulbricht’s own files show that another user named "alpacino," whom he believed to be from DEA, was leaking info to him. This could have been Force, or it might have been another agent.

George Frost, the Bitstamp lawyer who kicked off this whole saga, remains convinced there are more suspects at large.

"It looks like there are still people out there that are involved," he said." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Privacy: MI5 staff repeatedly overrode data surveillance rules

MI5 staff repeatedly overrode data surveillance rules: "Documents reveal that security service investigators requested and authorised access of its database of bulk communications data verbally rather than in writing, overriding the agency’s own code of practice.

 MI5 reported the failure to the interception of communications commissioner, Stanley Burnton, in May 2016. He subsequently revealed there had been 210 “clear contraventions of the handling arrangements and the security service’s internal policies”.

 According to evidence given by an anonymous deputy director of MI5, staff generally filled in a form later, but admitted: “In a very small number of cases there is no record of written authorisation.”

 The evidence was disclosed at Privacy International’s hearing against the security and intelligence agencies at the investigatory powers tribunal in July 2016." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, 14 August 2016

US District Court Dismisses Olympian Katinka Hosszu Defamation Action

United States District Court Dismisses Katinka Hosszu Defamation Action: "Hours before Katinka Hosszu raced to a fourth medal, a silver in the 200m backstroke, for Hungary at the Rio Aquatics Centre yesterday, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona dismissed a defamation action filed by the swimmer against Swimming World’s parent company, Sports Publications Inc, and the writer Casey Barrett.

 In May last year, the niche website ran a story under the headline “Is It Fair To Suspect That Katinka Hosszu’s Performances Are Being Aided?” 

 The court’s judgement has been made public today.

Hosszu’s suit, filed in November 2015, alleged commentaries published by SPI and Barrett accused her of using performance enhancing drugs.

In its order, the court found that the May 2015 commentary that was the focus of her complaint was a non-actionable opinion protected by the First Amendment." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 8 August 2016

"Upgrading Justice" - SCL Annual Lecture 2016 6 October 2016, London

"Upgrading Justice" - SCL Annual Lecture 2016 to be given by Professor Richard Susskind OBE FRSE - Thursday 6 October 2016, London: ""Upgrading Justice" - SCL Annual Lecture 2016 to be given by Professor Richard Susskind OBE FRSE - Thursday 6 October 2016, London

The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, The Right Honourable The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd

Professor Richard Susskind OBE FRSE, President, SCL

Vote of thanks:
Mark O'Conor, Partner, DLA Piper UK LLP, Chair, SCL

The lecture will be followed by a panel session and Q&A.

Venue: Royal College Of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PE.

Registration: 5.30 pm
Lecture: 6 - 7.30 pm
Drinks reception: from 7.30 pm" 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Negative energy – 2040 information law blog

Negative energy – 2040 information law blog: "The ICO is too close to their stakeholders. I’ve written before about the uncritical, supportive relationship between ICO and NHS England / HSCIC over Care.data.  In the past few weeks, Ian Bourne, Group Manager in the ICO’s Policy Delivery team was bemoaning the future at a seminar organised by Privacy Laws and Business: “the ICO’s traditional ability to be flexible and business savvy will be under much more scrutiny from other DPAs“.

In other words, the GDPR’s consistency mechanism will stop the ICO telling organisations what they want to hear, and force them to take action on principles other than the Seventh." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Why Turkey issued a social media ban during a coup attempt—and promptly lifted it | The Daily Dot

Why Turkey issued a social media ban during a coup attempt—and promptly lifted it | The Daily Dot: "A source within Turkey’s censorship mechanism, who would like to remain anonymous due to government pressure, confirmed to the Daily Dot that Turkish ISPs received an email from the government’s internet authority (TİB) at 1:35am asking them to “urgently” lift the ban on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

This unprecedented turnaround can be explained by Erdoğan’s need to mobilize his supporters quickly against the coup attempt. Technology proved pivotal in getting his message across. 

 As an information security researcher known by the Twitter handle @thegrugq explains, Erdoğan had to use FaceTime to broadcast his message as his plane circled in the air away from the danger of pro-coup fighter jets bombing security structure in Turkey’s capital Ankara.

 Later, tweets from his personal account and presidential account were further broadcast by tweets from official news agency and even from the national police force. All called for the nation to march towards city squares and defy the coup—which countless citizens did." 'via Blog this'

Brazil prosecutor freezes $11.7 million of Facebook funds due to WhatsApp case | Reuters

Brazil prosecutor freezes $11.7 million of Facebook funds due to WhatsApp case | Reuters: "In the most recent decision, the court rejected Facebook's defense that the data of users was the responsibility of telephone and internet service operators in the United States and Ireland, which would require international cooperation.

Prosecutor Alexandre Jabur, author of the order, said Facebook has shown enormous disregard for Brazilian institutions, especially the courts, prosecutors and police in not meeting court orders.

 Brazilian courts have shut down the popular WhatsApp messaging service nationwide three times since December.

In the most recent case last week, a judge in Rio de Janeiro ordered local operators to suspend service to WhatsApp across the country until Facebook complied with an order to turn over information regarding a criminal process in the greater Rio area.

On the same day, Supreme Court President Ricardo Lewandowski ordered the service re-established." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

OPINION OF ADVOCATE GENERAL SAUGMANDSGAARD ØE delivered on 19 July 2016 (1) Joined Cases C‑203/15 and C‑698/15

CURIA - Documents: " Tele2 Sverige AB
Post- och telestyrelsen (C‑203/15)


Secretary of State for the Home Department
Tom Watson,
Peter Brice,
Geoffrey Lewis (C‑698/15)" 'via Blog this'

TeleFrieden: Preliminary Summary of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Network Neutrality Decision

TeleFrieden: Preliminary Summary of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Network Neutrality Decision: "By a 2-1 vote, reflecting vastly different legal philosophies and regulator expectations, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected all challenges to the FCC’s Open Internet Order. [1] The majority deemed limited its review function and opted to apply ample case precedent that defers to regulatory agencies on both procedural and substantive areas. [2] In a nutshell, the majority opted not to second guess the FCC and expressed support for the Commission’s interpretation of law and its assessment of how consumers access the Internet and what they expect from service providers. [3] This decision supports a rare instance where the FCC substantially expands its regulatory wingspan, despite the general trend toward less government oversight. [4]" 'via Blog this'

EU watchdogs permit Privacy Shield to run for one year - BBC News

EU watchdogs permit Privacy Shield to run for one year - BBC News: "The new EU-US data-sharing agreement will be able to run for at least a year, European regulators have announced.
The Privacy Shield allows companies to transfer personal data from the EU to the United States.

EU governments approved the pact earlier this month, but 28 data protection authorities had yet to comment. They have now said they will not challenge the deal for at least a year.
This means that no legal objection to the framework will be launched until it has had time to go through its first annual review next summer.

The Privacy Shield replaces an arrangement known as Safe Harbour, which was struck down in October 2015 after leaks showed data was subject to US surveillance." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Government must build on digital economy success, say MPs

Government must build on digital economy success, say MPs - News from Parliament - UK Parliament: "The report describes the UK as a "digital leader" with "significant growth in the digital economy". However, the Committee calls on the Government to set out in its forthcoming Digital Strategy the implications of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Issues that need addressing include the impact on UK tech firms employing digitally-skilled EU migrants and access to the European single digital market for British-based companies, the Committee says.


The report also urges the Government to clarify regulation for disruptive technologies, such as Uber and Airbnb, so as to promote productivity, innovation and customer choice and protection, while safeguarding workers and ensuring fairness.

The report highlights how so-called digital disruptor businesses can get a competitive advantage because they often do not have to comply with the same regulations as the businesses they are disrupting. Airbnb providers are not bound by the health and safety regulations of hotels, for example." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Crime rate set to double after extent of online offences is laid bare: ONS via The Guardian

Crime rate set to double after extent of online offences is laid bare | UK news | The Guardian: "The ONS says one in 10 adults have been victims of cybercrime in the past year. The chance of being a victim is the same regardless of social class or whether someone lives in a deprived or affluent, urban or rural area.

The 5.8m offences were made up of 3.8m fraud offences, including 2.5m incidents of bank and credit card fraud, and 2m computer misuse offences, including 1.4m virus attacks.

The remaining 600,000 estimated offences related to unauthorised access to personal information, such as hacking of email, social media or other online accounts.

The latest overall figures, excluding online crime, in the 12 months to March 2015 show there were an estimated 6.3m offences – 6% fewer than in the previous year." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 16 June 2016

UK Court Forces Big Broadband ISPs to Block 8 Internet Video Piracy Sites - ISPreview UK

UK Court Forces Big Broadband ISPs to Block 8 Internet Video Piracy Sites - ISPreview UK: "So far well over 100 websites have been blocked from the view of broadband subscribers via this approach, which isn’t even counting the many proxy clones and mirrors that are also covered by the rulings.

However such blocking does not come cheap and Wiggin LLP last year revealed that an unopposed application tends to cost around £14,000 per site.

On top of that the additional admin required to maintain the block and keep ISPs up-to-date with related IP changes and new URLs (Proxy Servers) comes to around £3,600 per site per year.

Meanwhile ISPs also incur on-going costs as part of their work to introduce the blocks. EE previously suggested that a “near four figure sum” was involved with each update, while Sky Broadband hinted at a “mid three figure sum” and then roughly half that for future updates. Similarly Virgin Media pegged their own annual costs at a “low five figure sum“.

 On the flip side such blocks don’t always stop the targeted websites and indeed they may even help to advertise their existence. But those who engage in Internet Piracy will easily be able to circumvent the restrictions by using all sorts of different approaches, such as DNS changes, HTTPS, Proxy Servers or Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections." 'via Blog this'

Lord Lucas Scalds UK ISP Internet Piracy Threat Letters in Key Debate - ISPreview UK

Lord Lucas Scalds UK ISP Internet Piracy Threat Letters in Key Debate - ISPreview UK: "If anybody comes across the names of Hatton and Berkeley, Ranger Bay, Golden Eye International, Mircom International, TCYK—all of them well known in the correspondence about what is going on—I urge them to put this thing in the bin.

The current scammers are not pursuing anyone: they are just after threats and extortion and shaking people down. If you really feel you need to talk to a solicitor, there is a firm called Lawdit which has hundreds of these cases on its books and is consolidating them.

 I applaud the Government for helping our businesses avoid unjustified threats but I would like to know what they intend to do to help the granny in the Clapham nursing home who is being threatened by their smaller, nastier cousins with allegations that she has been downloading pornography illegally. Surely it is not acceptable.”" 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 14 June 2016


Argued December 4, 2015 Decided June 14, 2016 No. 15-1063
"Called “one of the most significant technological advancements of the 20th century,” [Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Report on Online Personal Privacy Act, Sen. Rep. No. 107-240, at 7 (2002)], the internet has four major participants: end users, broadband
providers, backbone networks, and edge providers.
Most end users connect to the internet through a broadband provider, which delivers high-speed internet access using technologies such as cable modem service, digital subscriber line (DSL) service, and fiber optics. See In re Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet (“2015 Open Internet Order” or “the Order”), 30 FCC Rcd. 5601, 5682–83 ¶ 188, 5751 ¶ 346.
Broadband providers interconnect with backbone networks— “long-haul fiber-optic links and high-speed routers capable of transmitting vast amounts of data.” Verizon, 740 F.3d at 628 (citing In re Verizon Communications Inc. and MCI, Inc. Applications for Approval of Transfer of Control, 20 FCC Rcd. 18,433, 18,493 ¶ 110 (2005)).
Edge providers, like Netflix, Google, and Amazon, “provide content, services, and applications over the Internet.” Id. at 629 (citing In re Preserving the Open Internet (“2010 Open Internet Order”), 25 FCC Rcd. 17,905, 17,910 ¶ 13 (2010))."

Thursday, 9 June 2016

C‑360/13 Public Relations Consultants Association Ltd v Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd

CURIA - Documents: "the referring court asks, in essence, whether Article 5 of Directive 2001/29 must be interpreted as meaning that the on-screen copies and the cached copies made by an end-user in the course of viewing a website satisfy the conditions that those copies must be temporary, that they must be transient or incidental in nature and that they must constitute an integral and essential part of a technological process, and, if so, whether those copies may be made without the authorisation of the copyright holders." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Is the West giving up on freedom of speech? Terror, Hate and the EU Internet Forum |

Is the West giving up on freedom of speech? Terror, Hate and the EU Internet Forum |: "The European Commission recently concluded its “EU Internet Forum,” a code of conduct for regulating speech on the internet. The code was negotiated among law enforcement agencies and the major global social media providers. The Code of Conduct targets terrorist recruiting and so-called ‘hate speech.’ It encouraged the platform providers to suspend accounts, messages or postings that violate their terms of service which are now being re-engineered to ban forms of expression the EC considers undesirable. The European Digital Rights Initiative (EDRI) and Access Now are protesting the Code because in this arrangement, the contractual terms of service of the private platform providers actually have more bearing on what can be published than the law." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 12 May 2016

SCL Student Prize: Computer Program Functionality and Copyright

Computer Program Functionality and Copyright: "Lucie Audibert won the SCL Student Essay Prize 2016 with this piece addressing the question: To what extent should the functionality, as opposed to the source code, of computer programs be protected by copyright." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

EUR-Lex - L:2016:119:TOC - EN - EUR-Lex

EUR-Lex - L:2016:119:TOC - EN - EUR-Lex: "Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)" 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Prof. Yu Delivers Annual Information Law Seminar at Sussex Law School

Prof. Yu Delivers Annual Information Law Seminar at Sussex Law School: "Titled "Towards the Seamless Global Distribution of Cloud Content," Yu's seminar focused on the considerable challenges cloud platforms have posed to copyright protection as well as the geographical restrictions that rights holders have introduced in response to these challenges.
The presentation called for greater adjustments to the copyright system to promote global content distribution and development of cloud technology." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 2 May 2016

Leveraging Technology in Civil Justice ODR

Leveraging Technology in Civil Justice ODR: "it is preferable to involve key justice system administrators in the implementation of an ODR system. The creation of silos between an ODR implementation project team and the people who manage the existing system will create an endless number of reasons for the initiative to fail.

 Senior judges and justice officials can participate in project governance boards or advisory boards in a directive capacity or in a less formal consultative role. Judges and civil servants can also participate in workshops and specialized consultative working groups.

In addition to gaining a range of operational insights from these stakeholders, these efforts will also help 'normalize' new ideas and processes associated with ODR, foster greater knowledge of ODR and share the 'ownership' in the newly created system.

Wider acceptance and ownership should help to support a more successful system shift into a new era of technological acceptance that will be necessary to make civil justice ODR a reality. " 'via Blog this'

Alternative dispute resolution: ODR

Alternative dispute resolution | Business Companion:

"Alternative dispute resolution can take place in various ways, including face-to-face, by telephone, in writing or online. To encourage the use of online dispute resolution (ODR) there is a European ODR platform, which allows consumers, traders and ADR providers to file, respond to, and handle disputes (including disputes where the trader and consumer are in different countries within the EU) online. 

Where a trader does business online, whether through a website or other electronic means, it must provide a link to the ODR platform website (once it is online).

In addition, all online traders must state their email address on their website (a online contact form that does not show the email address is not sufficient to meet this requirement).

Where a trader is required to use an approved ADR provider (whether by law, by scheme membership or by contract) they must give additional information to consumers. Not only must they link to the ODR platform on their website, they must also inform consumers of the existence of the ODR platform and the possibility of using the platform to resolve disputes, and they must include this information in any standard terms and conditions of business.

If an offer is made to a consumer by email, the email must contain a link to the ODR platform." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Telecommunications Act 1984 s.94

Telecommunications Act 1984: "The Secretary of State shall lay before each House of Parliament a copy of every direction given under this section unless he is of opinion that disclosure of the direction is against the interests of national security or relations with the government of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom, or the commercial interests of any person." 'via Blog this'

TRILCon 2016 - Winchester, as discussed by Dr Townend

TRILCon 2016: "“Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.”

The flow of information can be fundamental to building trust, assessing risks, understanding rights and enforcing law.

Information (Big and small) can enable consumers to understand how their personal data will be shared: a social worker to identify a child at risk of abuse; the police to make a connection between a terrorist and a ‘clean skin’.

There are those who would argue that all information, including personal and even sensitive data, should be shared more freely and openly, and that risks of doing so are overstated.

However, an aspect of power is control, an ability to decide when, how and with whom information should be disclosed. Technology has given power to some and taken it away from others, yet could technology contribute to restoring an information balance? And how does the law need to change in order to address the power of information in this technological age?

We are delighted that both the Information Commissioner’s Office and the UK’s Digital Catapult will be working with the 2016 TRILCon organisers to oversee and chair workshops/breakout sessions." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

2016/2007(INI) 23.2.2016 DRAFT REPORT on virtual currencies

2016/2007(INI) 23.2.2016 DRAFT REPORT on virtual currencies (2016/2007(INI)) Committee on Economic and Monetary AffairsRapporteur: Jakob von Weizsäcker

Theresa May Wants Us To Leave The European Convention On Human Rights

Theresa May Wants Us To Leave The European Convention On Human Rights - RightsInfo:

"I also know that others will say there is little point in leaving the ECHR if we remain members of the EU, with its Charter of Fundamental Rights and its Court of Justice.  And I am no fan of the Charter or of many of the rulings made by the Court.

But there are several problems that do apply to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, yet do not apply to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg.  Strasbourg is in effect a final appeals court; Luxembourg has no such role.  Strasbourg can issue orders preventing the deportation of foreign nationals; Luxembourg has no such power.  Unlike the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Treaties are clear: “national security,” they say, “remains the sole responsibility of each Member State.” " 'via Blog this'

Arch-rivals Microsoft & Google call truce and agree to end lawsuits

Arch-rivals Microsoft & Google call truce and agree to end lawsuits - Computer Business Review: "In September 2015, Microsoft and Google agreed to end their patent dispute over phones and Xboxes. With this arrangement, around 20 lawsuits in the United States and Germany were dropped.

 Another major issue that Microsoft charged Google with was the way in which the search giant allegedly favoured its own search engine results, ranking down the results of competitors in vertical search results.

Not just Microsoft was involved in the 2010 European Commission lawsuit, with other companies such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, Expedia and Nokia also complaining against Google's Android operating system for deceptively locking out competition.

 Microsoft was a member of two groups, ICOMP and FairSearch, which were fighting against Google Android for its antitrust actions over its search business. It withdrew its membership from these groups before sorting issues with Google." 'via Blog this'

Monday, 25 April 2016

Privacy International v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs et al. Case No. IPT/15/110/CH

Bulk Personal Datasets Challenge | Privacy International: "Privacy International v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs et al. 

Reference: Case No. IPT/15/110/CH 

Venue: Investigatory Powers Tribunal 

Commenced: 08.06.2015

Hearing date: July 2016 Investigatory Powers Tribunal" 'via Blog this'

Friday, 22 April 2016

European Commission Press release - Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook

European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook: "The Commission’s investigation focused on three areas: (i) consumer communications services, (ii) social networking services, and (iii) online advertising services.

 As regards consumer communications services, the Commission focussed its assessment on apps for smartphones, as WhatsApp is not available for other devices. The Commission found that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are not close competitors. Indeed, despite the fact that Facebook Messenger is a standalone app, the user experience is specific given its integration with the Facebook social network. For WhatsApp, access to the service is provided through phone numbers while for Facebook Messenger, a Facebook profile is required. Users seem to use the two apps in different ways and many of them use the two apps simultaneously on the same mobile handset. Furthermore, this is a very dynamic market with several competing apps available on the market, such as Line, Viber, iMessage, Telegram, WeChat and Google Hangouts.

 The consumer communications apps market is characterised by network effects, that is to say the value of the service to its users increases with the number of other users. Network effects may allow the entity which enjoys a large network to keep its competitors out of the market. Given their popularity, both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger already have large customer bases. However, a number of factors mitigate the network effects in this particular case. Indeed, the Commission found that the consumer communications apps market is fast growing and characterised by short innovation cycles in which market positions are often reshuffled. Moreover, launching a new app is fairly easy and does not require significant time and investment. Finally, customers can and do use multiple apps at the same time and can easily switch from one to another.

 As regards social networking services, the market investigation showed that their boundaries are continuously evolving. Some third parties suggested that WhatsApp is already a social network which competes with Facebook. However, the Commission found that the parties are, if anything, distant competitors in this area, in particular given a substantially richer experience offered by Facebook. Moreover, there is a large number of alternative service providers, including other consumer communications apps, such as Line and WeChat. Further, even in the event of an integration between WhatsApp and Facebook such that Facebook's position in social networking services could be strengthened, the net gain in terms of new members of the social network would be limited, since the user base of WhatsApp already overlaps to a significant extent with that of Facebook. Hence, no matter what the precise boundaries of the market for social networking services are and whether or not WhatsApp is considered a social network, competition is unlikely to be negatively affected by the merger for such services." 'via Blog this'

ICOMP on Statement of Objections against Google Android

“ICOMP is confident competition authorities everywhere are catching on how Google works. The Android strategy to lock in consumers is similar to other Alphabet Google products under investigation: undercut competitors by dumping Android free of charge to make it dominant, tie and bundle Google products with Android, block the best screen space with Google apps.”
Michael Weber, Chairman of ICOMP the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace
Smartphones and tablets have become part of the lives of most Europeans. Google dominates this market through its ownership or control of the Android operating system as well as a range of apps and online products. Android devices are central to millions of EU citizens’ daily movements, their planning, and decision making. These devices collect masses of personal data. Where you go, what you look for online and what you are interested in is all tracked and stored. Data about these things is only valuable in context. Google probably has more context relevant data than any company on the planet. Android provides the platform, Google search then tracks internet searching and browsing, and use of Google apps follows your daily needs and captures your data. All are valuable sources of information for advertising. It’s a very successful strategy. With a market cap over $547 bn Google earlier this year overtook Apple as the biggest company in the world, bar none.
Overall, from its position of unrivalled market power, Google controls and manipulates users’ demands. Android is a cornerstone of the Google edifice. However, Android ceased to be a truly open source platform some time ago. Google’s agreements with phone manufacturers mean that Google apps are always on the home screen of Android devices, in front of the customer, straight out of the box. Exclusivity agreements and the Android Compatibility Program is used as a club to make phone manufacturers do what Google wants. Top positioning and display of Google products is used to steer consumers towards Google’s own products and services. Google’s control and manipulation of demand bolsters its position in markets for apps and what they are used for.
In short Google rigs the system so that Google apps, not necessarily the best apps for consumers’ needs, are put in front of people ahead of those of its competitors.
Commissioner Vestager’s latest measure, to send a Statement of Objections (SO) to Google about its Android platform, is a significant step in the long running formal investigations. An SO cannot be dismissed as a mere preliminary matter – it is the product of considerable investigation, and detailed analysis of large amounts of factual evidence. An SO almost always leads to a considerable fine and, we hope more importantly, to significant changes in the defendant’s business practices.
The EC’s mission is a public interest one. It is required to safeguard consumers and make sure that markets are open and competition takes place on the merits of the products people may need. The Commission’s step in taking formal proceedings, by issuing a further SO, recognizes the high stakes involved at the present time as more and more people become digitally dependent.
As the main player in the digital world Google has embedded itself in an increasingly interconnected EU industry. It has already extended its dominance in online search to mobile. Absent vigilant EU competition enforcement, Google has swiftly monopolised access to many markets and, looking forward, is on path to monopolise an ever larger slice of the European economy.
All sorts of devices are increasingly interconnected over the web. Smartphone and Smart TV media and entertainment are early examples. Google News is promoted over more popular news rivals. Google is a broadcaster and through YouTube provides a channel that can be accessed on smart devices everywhere. It can be expected to promote its own products in its own interests to smartphone users over other broadcast and film content. It has recently supported the US FCC moves to replace the set top box. Its system could well become the navigation system for users’ decisions over their choice of programs and films on any smart device. We currently regulate electronic program guides in the EU, in the public interest to ensure cultural diversity and support the public service missions of our national broadcasters. Imagine the Digital Single Market where all national telecoms companies and broadcasters are beholden to Google’s decisions over their visibility. At the top of the Commssion’s Digital Single Market policy proposals are issues over geo-blocking and access to programmes, football and films from different member states. Our cultural diversity rules and policies about media ownership and control also need to be understood in terms of the new digital reality.
Google’s central position on smartphones and smart devices also allows it to affect user choices over many other industries. The economy is shifting to industrial use of the Internet, known as the Internet of Things. For example, Google is a short step away from becoming central to peoples’ decisions over their choice not only of mobile services and media and telecoms suppliers, but of payments systems and products controlled by, accessed from and bought through smart devices. This may affect our choices for everyday essentials in addition to telecoms, such as groceries and energy, in fact anything where the smart device is the interface to the web.
The Commission has recognised that a truly Digital Single Market is at the heart of the European economy. A healthy economy needs a healthy heart. This means one that functions effectively for users, and industry, alike. We believe that Google is close to the heart of the economy and restricts its proper functioning. The entire system needs to be robust and the body of the economy needs to be competitive. For this to happen, Google needs to operate openly, transparently and in a non discriminatory way, in the wider public interest.

ICOMP’s members represent a wide range of interests in the digital sphere, and seeks to promote a healthy and vibrant EU economy. Our membership not only welcomes this SO but the Commission’s on-going investigation and potential extension of the Statement of Objections in the context of the EU economy and its policies to ensure its effective functioning in the future.

Why Yahoo could sell for less than its cash on hand

Why Yahoo could sell for less than its cash on hand: "
Simon Webb and Duncan Nicholls | Getty Images
Wall Street looked for clues on the future of Yahoo Tuesday as the internet company reported earnings that could influence its potential sale. But earnings left at least one important question unanswered: What's the floor of a bid for Yahoo?

 Although pressure mounts for Yahoo to sell itself to the highest bidder, the plan is far from final, experts told CNBC. Indeed, Yahoo hasn't committed to either a reverse-spin-off of its Asian assets nor a sale of its core business — and it's a mystery what's up for auction. 

Despite declining revenues, Yahoo announced Tuesday it had $7.1 billion in cash. But media outlets like Re/code and The Wall Street Journal have sources that say bids are likely to come in a range of $4 billion to $8 billion dollars.

Yahoo's Mayer: We know what the 'top priority' is

Yahoo team may not be capable of sale: Starboard's Smith

So if Yahoo has $7.1 billion in cash on hand, why would a potential buyer think they could get $3 billion less?
"It is still not clear what is being offered in the auction, but I can almost guarantee you that it does not include cash on hand," said Aswath Damodaran, finance professor at the Stern School of Business, who has owned shares of Yahoo.
Damodaran initially valued Yahoo in 2014, calling the company "a puzzle, a mystery and an enigma." He found the core business was worth $4.6 billion and has declined in value since." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, 21 April 2016

REVEALED: Privacy International Releases Trove of Documents That Proves Staggering Reach of Surveillance Agencies | Privacy International

REVEALED: Privacy International Releases Trove of Documents That Proves Staggering Reach of Surveillance Agencies | Privacy International:

"Since March 2016 Privacy International has received over 1000 pages of disclosure from the intelligence agencies.

On 12 March 2015, the Intelligence and Security Committee published its report “Privacy and Security: A modern and accountable legal framework” (“the ISC Report”). The ISC report disclosed, for the first time, the existence of Bulk Personal Datasets:

The publication of this Report is an important first step in bringing the agencies ‘out of the shadows’. It has set out in detail the full range of the agencies’ intrusive capabilities, as well as the internal policy arrangements that regulate their use. It has also, for the first time, avowed Bulk Personal Datasets as an agency capability” (underlining indicates emphasis added)." 'via Blog this'

5 things to know about Margrethe Vestager’s Google probe

5 things to know about Margrethe Vestager’s Google probe – POLITICO: "European antitrust enforcers can extract fines of up to 10 percent of a company’s global revenues. In Alphabet’s case, that would work out as several billion, although European antitrust enforcers have yet to top the €1 billion fine they imposed on chipmaker Intel in 2009.

But it doesn’t have to come to that.

 “FairSearch believes that the effects of Google’s anti-competitive behavior can be resolved through remedies,” said the organization in a statement Monday, arguing Android should stop forcing phonemakers to install a suite of apps if their want to get the Play Store.

 Yet such negotiations can be difficult to close: Google and the Commission spent years trying to settle a 2010 probe into Google’s search engine. That fight continues, and now the Commission is opening a second front." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Reflection on the Review of the ePrivacy Directive workshop

Reflection on the Review of the ePrivacy Directive workshop — Medium: "Gwendal Legrand from CNIL (the French data protection authority) shifted the debate to other forms of measures that can be done on the browsers level (for example, privacy as default settings) and mentioned Do-Not-Track (DNT) as a possible technical measure.

Frederik Borgesius a researcher at Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam, suggested that the scope of the Directive needs be wider and include over-the-top services (OTT), such as Whatsapp and Skype, and pointed that the ePrivacy also deals with another fundamental right which is the freedom of expression.

Estelle Masse from Access Now an NGO advocating for digital rights, argued that the Directive does not differentiate between different kind of cookies, specifically first and third parties, while other types such as super-cookies already exist and are resilient to users’ control mechanisms as they come back again after deletion. Masse mentioned their research on privacy concerns over cellphone tracking headers and pointed to the risks it involves. " 'via Blog this'

How Europe Is Going After Google, Amazon and Other U.S. Tech Giants

How Europe Is Going After Google, Amazon and Other U.S. Tech Giants - The New York Times: "In February, European officials agreed to a new so-called safe-harbor deal with the United States that would govern how American tech giants and thousands of other businesses move people’s digital data, including social media posts and financial information, back and forth across the Atlantic.

The agreement aims to address privacy concerns by including written guarantees by the United States — to be reviewed annually — that American intelligence agencies would not have indiscriminate access to Europeans’ digital data when it is sent across the Atlantic.

Europe’s highest court in October 2015 had struck down an earlier safe-harbor agreement, saying it was flawed because it allowed American government authorities to gain routine access to Europeans’ online information.

That ruling, by the European Court of Justice, empowered regulators of data privacy in each of the bloc’s nations to evaluate how data is moved from their countries to the United States, and it will permit national authorities to impose tougher restrictions on specific data transfers.

In April, Europe’s national privacy regulators said the safe-harbor deal did not go far enough to safeguard the personal information of Internet users in Europe, serving notice that American companies could face protracted country-by-country legal battles even if the safe-harbor agreement is ratified. 

Separately, American technology companies are facing many regulatory challenges over taxation, antitrust and privacy matters.

On taxation, European Union officials are intent on imposing a blocwide standard for taxation and clawing back what they consider improper tax breaks granted by national governments to multinational companies, including the technology giants." 'via Blog this'

Europe Tried to Rein In Google. It Backfired

Europe Tried to Rein In Google. It Backfired. - The New York Times: "In the almost two years since Europeans gained the “right to be forgotten” on the Internet, Google has passed judgment in over 418,000 cases — roughly 572 a day — from people wanting links of certain search results to be removed, according to the company's records. It has approved fewer than half of those requests, all behind closed doors.

Google’s total number of privacy-related judgments is double those of most of Europe’s biggest individual national authorities over the same period, even though these public agencies address a wider range of data protection complaints.

 Despite a history of animosity toward the company, national regulators have handed over the review powers to Google with few complaints, saying they are merely following Europe’s complex data protection rules. Other search companies, including Microsoft, have been given the same authority, though their number of judgments pales by comparison.

Some consumer groups and privacy experts are not satisfied with that arrangement. They have sounded alarm bells over a for-profit company — one that relies on tapping into people’s digital lives to make billions of dollars and that is the subject of multiple privacy and antitrust investigations — playing such a central role in protecting individuals’ data, and doing so in such a secretive manner.

 Google has not responded to requests, including an open letter last year from primarily European and American academics, to explain how its review process works. And since 2014, when “right to be forgotten” was enshrined, the company has declined to give any journalists access to its team of fewer than 50 employees — mostly lawyers and paralegals based at its Dublin offices — who review the demands. Google also did not respond to questions for this article about the decision process." 'via Blog this'