Category Archive: Data protection

US wiretap case could be the key to Google transparency compliance in Europe

By Simon Davies In one of the most important online privacy developments of recent years, the Italian data protection regulator has issued a ruling that requires Google not only to explicitly inform users of the extent of commercial processing of their data, but to also secure customer consent before that data can be used. It …

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Free Speech hypocrisy is not helping us resolve the Right to be Forgotten

By Simon Davies In his column this week for Britain’s Observer newspaper, the enormously entertaining David Mitchell reflected on a recent shock decision by Google to sever its search links to a blog post authored by the respected UK business journalist Robert Peston. The decision stems – ostensibly – from a recent judgement by the …

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Google takes a dangerous stride from your head to your home

By Simon Davies Odds are that the next big swoon for tech journalists will be the Internet enabled smart home, whose clever interconnected devices could eventually outwit even the most street-smart homeowner. So when market leader Nest Labs this week announced that it was opening up its “conscious home” platform to developers, most media commentators …

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Google’s “commitment” to student privacy unearths some worrying questions

By Simon Davies Quite a few media outlets have excitedly reported on Google’s announcement last week that ads and ad scanning will now be removed from the company’s education apps for schools. If these articles were to be believed, we should all be dancing in the streets with joy over some miraculous U-turn by the …

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Google Glass goes on sale today – but there are relatively few circumstances where you can legally and safely use it

By Simon Davies Google’s controversial Glass technology goes on sale to the public for the first time today amidst a flamboyantly promoted one-day sale across the US – but “buyer beware”. The experience might not be as rich as you imagine. Ignore for a moment the rising tide of public concern about Glass – or …

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Audio interview: Europe’s new privacy supremo criticizes the US and commits to building EU harmonisation

By Simon Davies Europe’s new data protection and privacy supremo has lashed out at the Obama administration, accusing the US of failing to deliver meaningful safeguards in the wake of the Snowden revelations. In a wide-ranging audio interview with the Privacy Surgeon, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin – president of the French privacy watchdog CNIL and also the …

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The Trans-Atlantic divide on privacy just became a little wider

By Simon Davies Over the past three weeks the so-called “Trans-Atlantic Divide” on privacy between the US and Europe has widened significantly. This shift could indicate new dynamics in the global push on America to institute more meaningful privacy safeguards for non-US persons. In this short period the European Parliament and the European courts have …

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European court rules mass surveillance of communications unlawful

By Simon Davies In one of the most significant civil liberties developments of recent years, the European Court of Justice has ruled that the EU Data Retention Directive  – which requires the mass collection of citizen communications data – is incompatible with the Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. The controversial 2006 Directive requires communications providers …

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How to run an administrative denial of service attack on a spy agency

By Simon Davies There are very few informed people left in Britain who don’t worry that there’s something rotten about the national communications spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Some would say only a fool or a blind patriot would believe that the organisation is in any healthy state. GCHQ – a richly resourced …

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Telegram becomes the New Cool of messaging as millions of users abandon WhatsApp over privacy concerns

 By Simon Davies In one of the most persuasive displays ever of the market power of consumer privacy, Facebook’s recent $19BN acquisition of the popular messaging app WhatsApp appears to have been given the thumbs-down by millions of users. While it may be too early to produce a conclusive analysis, there are solid indications that …

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