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Posts Tagged ‘data protection’

ECJ says Google, and other search engines, must abide by European data protection laws

May 13, 2014 Leave a comment
European Court of Justice

European Court of Justice

This is going to upset the apple cart – the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has decided in favour of Mario Costeja González in his dispute with Google. Way back in 1998, a Spanish newspaper published reports on certain pecuniary difficulties in which González found himself.

By 2010 those difficulties were long past – but Gonzales found the archived pages on the internet and Google search links to them. He wanted both the pages and the links removed because they are no longer relevant.

The Spanish Data Protection Agency, the AEPD, half agreed. It made no demands against the newspaper because the information was valid when it was written. But it found against Google, requesting that Google Spain and Google Inc remove the links from the Google database.

Google objected, and appealed to the Spanish High Court to have the AEPD’s decision annulled. The High Court referred the matter to the ECJ for an interpretation of the European Data Protection Directive – and the ECJ has today delivered that interpretation.

It finds, in a nutshell, that search engines that operate in Europe are bound by European data protection laws, and that Google is one such search engine.

So far as concerns, next, the extent of the responsibility of the operator of the search engine, the Court holds that the operator is, in certain circumstances, obliged to remove links to web pages that are published by third parties and contain information relating to a person from the list of results displayed following a search made on the basis of that person’s name.
Judgment in Case C-131/12 – Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González

Jan Philipp Albrecht

Jan Philipp Albrecht

Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht is pleased with the outcome, commenting,

The ruling by the European Court of Justice to also hold search engine operators responsible for compliance with data protection law is the right decision. Today’s ruling clarifies that search engine operators are responsible for the processing of personal data even if it comes from public sources. Affected individuals are therefore also entitled to exercise their right to erasure… It is now important that we adopt a uniform and consistent data protection regulation in order to strengthen the enforcement of such rights in all areas of the law and throughout the EU.

But life is never that simple, and the ECJ’s ruling leaves the waters very muddy. While making it clear that as a general principle individuals have the right to demand that personal information is removed from the search engines,

The Court observes in this regard that, whilst it is true that the data subject’s rights also override, as a general rule, that interest of internet users, this balance may however depend, in specific cases, on the nature of the information in question and its sensitivity for the data subject’s private life and on the interest of the public in having that information, an interest which may vary, in particular, according to the role played by the data subject in public life.

If that seems a bit convoluted, it just means that there is a ‘public interest’ loophole. In González’ case it’s pretty straightforward – there is no public interest argument in providing links to long dissatisfied pecuniary difficulties from 1998. Those links must go.

But what about links to the improprieties of celebrities? Those who perhaps dress up as Nazis or attend S&M parties. And will this lead to two separate internets – one for the US where freedom of speech prevails and one for Europe where data protection and privacy prevails?

Categories: All, Politics, Security Issues

If it’s not outright lies, it is downright deceit: the NHS and patient data

March 23, 2014 Leave a comment

I had to visit the hospital the other day. I’m not going to say why, because that’s private, personal and confidential. Suffice it to say that the condition isn’t one that I wouldn’t tell my mother; but it is one that I’d prefer potential employers and insurers know nothing about unless I tell them (it’s probably nothing anyway). I would most certainly not want the pharmaceutical industry to know — the drugs they offer make the (possible) condition much worse, and introduce new ones.

But I don’t need to worry, do I? At the bottom of the hospital appointment letter, in bold type, is the statement:

All personal information about you is kept confidential at all times and is only shared when necessary to support your care and treatment. If we want to use your information for any other purpose, with the exception of when the law requires us to do so, we will talk with you and obtain your consent. If you have any concerns regarding this, please talk to the person providing your care and treatment.
(see grammatical note at the end of this post)

But that’s a lie. While the government wants to start centralizing our GP records in the autumn, it is already doing so with HES (Hospital Episode Statistics). These are already held by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) which is where all of the records will eventually be held. According to the HSCIC website,

HES is a data warehouse containing details of all admissions, outpatient appointments and A&E attendances at NHS hospitals in England.

This data is collected during a patient’s time at hospital and is submitted to allow hospitals to be paid for the care they deliver. HES data is designed to enable secondary use, that is use for non-clinical purposes, of this administrative data.

It is a records-based system that covers all NHS trusts in England, including acute hospitals, primary care trusts and mental health trusts. HES information is stored as a large collection of separate records – one for each period of care – in a secure data warehouse.

We apply a strict statistical disclosure control in accordance with the HES protocol, to all published HES data. This suppresses small numbers to stop people identifying themselves and others, to ensure that patient confidentiality is maintained.

Compare the two statements. It is perfectly clear that the hospital is lying. But the reality is, so is HSCIC.

Back in 2012, the marketing firm PA Consulting bought a copy of the HES data.

So we bought the data and installed it (with certain security restrictions) on our own hardware… [But querying the data took too long.] The alternative was to upload it to the cloud using tools such as Google Storage and use BigQuery to extract data from it… Within two weeks of starting to use the Google tools we were able to produce interactive maps directly from HES queries in seconds.

(That document seems to have been removed from the PA site, or hidden away. Anyway, I can no longer find it, and have to rely on the copy I have. It seems to have been replaced by a press statement from PA here and another from HSCIC here in a coordinated release. Neither of these should satisfy any patient.)

Ask yourself this: how can maps be produced without location data? What is location data if it is not personal identification information? How can data be transferred to a third-party (Google cloud) and stay within the Data Protection Act. Remember that several different data protection regulators in various parts of Europe, including our own, have challenged Google over its privacy policy — and several have already fined Google the maximum possible for being in breach of European data protection laws.

The HES data sold by the government is pseudonymised — but still includes postcode and age (PA denies that it received DOB or address, but doesn’t specify whether that included ‘age’ and ‘postcode’). In other words, standard HES data specifies very clearly exactly who 98% of the patients actually are and where they live.

And then there’s Beacon Dodsworth, a firm that “provides geographical information system (GIS) mapping software and marketing technology to clients in a wide range of industries” including Estee Lauder, Trinity Mirror Group and Boots. It says

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) have now been integrated with our P2 People & Places people classification thanks to some hard work from our clever developers.

This means you can now better understand the health needs of local communities and populations and identify trends and patterns in order to target health improvement more effectively.
http://www.beacon-dodsworth.co.uk/site/data/hospital-episode-statistics

So we seem to have a system that quite readily sells our hospital records to any marketing company that will pay for them, and then allows those marketing firms to advertise the ability to target us on the basis of our health. And at the same time, the NHS itself tells us something completely different: that the data is only seen by those involved in our treatment.

Now Ross Anderson, chair at the Foundation for Information Policy Research; Phil Booth, coordinator at medConfidential; and Nick Pickles, director at Big Brother Watch, have all filed a complaint with the ICO requesting that the issue be examined in relation to the Data Protection Act.

It will be interesting to see how the ICO can reconcile what to everyone else is a clear but hidden breach of confidential patient data — and the Data Protection Act — with this government’s desire to sell and share everything about us to anyone willing to pay for it, irrespective of our own wishes. Because the one thing we can be very sure about in all of this is that the ICO will do all he can to avoid doing anything at all.

grammatical note
The first sentence is a complete statement. The second sentence is also a complete sentence. There is nothing in the second sentence to indicate that it qualifies the first sentence. There is nothing in these two sentences from which a reasonable patient could infer that it really means, “We will not share your personal data with anyone other than the centralised government database operated by HSCIC, with whom we will always provide all of your details all of the time, and over which we have not the slightest control nor responsibility for your personal data.

Categories: All, Politics, Security Issues

Lobbying against data protection reform will now concentrate on national governments

March 13, 2014 1 comment

Well, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of reforming the Data Protection Directive with a new Regulation that ensures standard data protection rules across the entire EU, strengthens people’s privacy, increases sanctions against transgressors, and provides some rights to have personal data removed from databases. It is not yet, however, a done deal since the Council of Ministers (that is the EU’s national governments) must also agree.

Industry lobbying against national governments will now intensify. Here’s an article from PharmaTimes published two days ago:

The multi-stakeholder Healthcare Coalition on Data Protection has stepped up pressure on lawmakers in the EU to preserve, re-instate or clarify research-friendly provisions in the European Commission’s proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation.

Why?

According to the Royal College of Physicians, the net impact of the LIBE amendments has been to introduce much more stringent requirements for explicit consent to use personal data for health or scientific research than under current legislation.

Furthermore, the EU totally irresponsibly demands that personal data used for research purposes (which they want to take without asking us) be “anonymised or, if that is not possible for the research purposes, pseudonymised under the highest technical standards, and all necessary measures shall be taken to prevent re-identification of the data subjects.”

This, according to the Healthcare Coalition on Data Protection “would make much valuable research involving personal data at worst impossible and at best unworkable.”

So why do they need to know who we are? To improve our health (not to mention the pharmaceutical industry’s profits, and indeed, it doesn’t mention them) through data-driven approaches.

These include large disease databases, personalised medicine, medical imaging, eHealth, mHealth, human genome decoding, disease prediction, biobanks, biomarkers and many more.

I’m not sure why they need to know who I am for any of that other than ‘personalised medicine'; and frankly I’d rather get my personalised medicine from my GP than through an advertising campaign delivered to my door by the pharmaceutical industry… who knows who I am, where I live, how old I am, what’s wrong with me, my sexual preferences and any past (or present) STDs, whether I’m pregnant or have had an abortion, and probably (through alignment with other databases) how much I can spend on medicine. All of which they want to know without asking my consent.

Categories: All, Politics, Security Issues

The UK government is simply lying about data protection reform

March 1, 2014 Leave a comment

This coming week the European Justice and Home Affairs Council (ie, national ministers from the individual national governments) will meet in Brussels. There are several items on the agenda.

Top of the list in a memo released by Viviane Redding is reform of the data protection laws. She says,

I am confident we will be able to build on the momentum injected into the negotiations by the Greek Presidency at the last informal Council meeting in January. Seeing the latest progress, I will continue working with Ministers for an adoption of the data protection reform before the end of this year.

Bottom of the list in a ministerial statement from Theresa May is reform of the data protection laws. She says,

There will be a state of play/orientation debate on the Proposal for a General data Protection Regulation. The UK continues to believe that this proposal is far from ready for a general agreement, and that no such agreement can occur until the text as a whole has been approved. The proposal remains burdensome on both public and private sector organisations and the Government would not want to see inflexible rules on transfers outside the European Economic Area which do not reflect the realities of the modern, interconnected world.

And yes, they really are talking about the same thing. Most of Europe has already agreed the data protection reform proposals; but the UK doesn’t like it and won’t play.

The problem is, providing more protection for our personal information is difficult for the UK. It would upset the three most powerful organizations in the country: GCHQ, Google and Facebook. GCHQ would have its ability to collect our private messages, photos, home videos and internet browsing habits severely curtailed — and of course nobody would want to see that.

Google and Facebook would no longer be able to ship our personal information to servers outside of the UK; that is, the US, from where the NSA/FBI could demand access while declining to allow us to be told (assuming they need to since GCHQ will probably have already intercepted the data via its taps on the fibre cables that run between the two continents and simply handed it en masse to the NSA for storage and safe keeping).

Since these negative arguments would not prove popular to the British public, they are being hidden in spurious and frankly false claims that data protection will cost business. Yes there will be some cost in protecting our data (not nearly as much as the government would like us to believe); but that will be more than compensated by the lower cost of doing business with dozens of different data protection regimes. The net effect of reforming data protection will be greater data protection at a lower overall cost.

But Theresa May doesn’t want us to understand that. She and David Cameron would like us to believe that they are protecting us when they are really just protecting vested interests and actually selling us down the river. They are willing to trade our privacy to keep GCHQ and big American business happy.

Categories: All, Politics

Message to Mr Obama: Do not underestimate European anger

February 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Introduction
The United States would be well advised not to dismiss European anger over the NSA — but so far the US doesn’t seem to be taking the EU’s concerns seriously. Consider the safe harbour agreement, and the growing movement to suspend it.

Safe harbour is an official arrangement that allows American companies to circumvent the European data protection laws. These laws prohibit the export of personal European data to any country that does not have comparable data protection laws. The United States does not. On the face of it, then, this would stop companies like Google and Yahoo and Facebook operating in Europe since they ‘export’ their users’ data to servers in the US.

To avoid this, the EU and US developed the Safe Harbour. Provided individual companies are certified to provide a comparable level of data protection to that required in the EU, safe harbour allows US companies to store EU data in the US. That certification can be provided by a qualified third-party, or it can be self-certification. One of the conditions included is that personal EU data will not be passed on to third parties.

But this requirement is clearly being breached by the NSA’s Prism programme. It doesn’t matter whether US cloud companies are giving EU data to the NSA willingly or even knowingly — that it happens is in contravention to safe harbour. So the mood in Europe is simple: if safe harbour isn’t being honoured, it would be better to suspend it. If this were to happen as things stand, companies like Google and Facebook would no longer be able to operate in Europe.

Why I don’t think America is taking this threat seriously
In December 2013, a US think tank called Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) published a report concluding, “It would be unwise at this stage of the Safe Harbor to pull back on this effective program.” It claims that safe harbour is working — when Prism shows it is not.

FPF’s first argument is that “eliminating the Safe Harbor will not prevent the NSA from accessing EU citizens’ data.” Seriously? Is FPF really suggesting that since the NSA will disregard the law, we shouldn’t bother having any laws?

Its second argument is that even US companies that allow their safe harbour certifications to lapse are “still subject to FTC Section 5 enforcement for any substantive violations of
the Safe Harbor principles committed while it claims to be a member.” Luckily, we can test that assertion because the FTC has just made enforcement on 12 US companies for that very infringement.

Following complaints, the FTC took action against the companies which resulted in settlements. The settlement agreements now prohibit the companies from falsely stating to be Safe Harbour certified.
FTC takes safe harbor enforcement action against 12 US corporations

So, the punishment for ignoring safe harbour rules is to agree to stop ignoring safe harbour rules; which can be done via self certification.

This is not the behaviour of a country that is taking Europe seriously.

Is it even possible for Europe to suspend safe harbour?
This is the crux of the problem. America clearly believes that it would be impossible: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo etc, etc are so deeply woven into the social and economic fabric of Europe that it would not dare, in the final analysis, to pull the plug. That, I fear, would be a catastrophic underestimate of European determination.

Consider some of Europe’s recent announcements. It is preparing itself for a life without US tech giants, and even a life without the UK. (Incidentally, David Cameron will rapidly discover how insignificant the UK will be considered by the US if it can no longer influence the EU in favour of the US; and GCHQ, like the NSA, can no longer spy on Europe.)

Firstly, the EU has declared it wishes to be an honest broker between US and UN ownership of internet governance. In other words, the European bloc is no longer in blind support of the US position — it is preparing for, and in doing so it is making inevitable, a time when US control is removed.

Secondly, Angela Merkel has indicated a Franco-German intent to build a European internet outside of the NSA’s reach. US companies will either have to agree to play by European rules, or be excluded from Europe. (That, of course, applies equally to the UK and GCHQ. Nigel Farage of UKIP wants the UK to leave the EU; Cameron, who doesn’t, is close to getting the UK excluded by default.)

Faced with such a decision, the US companies will take a commercial position and play by the rules of what will effectively be a heavily policed virtual internet within and for Europe. Microsoft has already broken ranks and said it will ensure European data remains in servers within Europe. The problem for Microsoft will come when it receives a FISC order demanding EU data from those European servers. The danger for the United States is that under such circumstances, some of those companies will emigrate from America in order to maintain their European presence.

So, as I said at the beginning, the US would be well-advised to take Europe seriously. Europe is older and more patient than America. It can and will take the long view over this issue.

Categories: All, Politics, Security Issues

Care.data. Care what? asked my GP

February 19, 2014 Leave a comment

I had to speak to my GP today. It was a telephone consultation with what is, generally speaking, a pretty good surgery.

When we finished, I said, “While I’ve got you, I’d like to state my objection to inclusion in care.data.”

“In what?” he replied. “Care…?”

I explained. “I want to stress that I must not personally be identifiable with any health data that leaves your premises, nor any data that leaves HSCIC.”

“Oh,” he said. “You’ll have to write to the practice manager about that.” (Well, I have already done that; but the advantage of repeating it here is that I now have a recording of the event. Letters can be lost or denied; a recording in my possession cannot. It’s good, this VoIP thing.)

“No,” I said. “According to the official NHS documentation, all I have to do is tell you.”

“Oh, all right. I’ll pass it on to the practice manager. She’s probably got a form for you to fill in.”

“While we’re at it,” I added, “I’d like a comment added to my notes, please. I object to any of my personal records leaving your care at all. It is my opinion that if that happens, it will be in contravention of the European Union’s Data Protection Directive.”

I’m not a lawyer, obviously — but then neither is he.

But actually I do believe it would contravene the data protection principles for two basic reasons. Despite all the publicity about an explanatory leaflet from the NHS, I have never received one. That means that I have not been informed that my personal data is going to be passed to a third-party, nor have I had the process explained to me; and that while I should have to opt in to this process, I haven’t even been given the opportunity to opt out.

It all just goes to show that the whole thing is a deceitful farce.

Categories: All, Politics, Security Issues

GCHQ has become, quite literally, a law unto itself

February 15, 2014 Leave a comment
GCHQ

GCHQ – more of a crashed alien flying saucer really

The brilliant Hawktalk blog has demonstrated how the UK government has airbrushed the Data Protection Act out of ‘national security’ issues. This leaves GCHQ free to conduct mass surveillance of British citizens (and who cares about foreigners anyway?) without any effective legal oversight — merely a nod and a wink from the government of the day.

The conclusion comes from an analysis of a data protection exemption certificate obtained under freedom of information laws and dating back to 2005 — now probably out of date but equally probably indicative of what is happening today (born out by similarities between an old TfL exemption certificate and a recent one issued by Theresa May).

There are eight data protection principles underpinning the Data Protection Act. Summarized by the Information Commissioners Office (the UK’s data protection regulator), these are that personal data should be:

  1. Fairly and lawfully processed
  2. Processed for limited purposes
  3. Adequate, relevant and not excessive
  4. Accurate and up to date
  5. Not kept for longer than is necessary
  6. Processed in line with your rights
  7. Secure
  8. Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection

In the certificate analysed by Hawktalk, principles 1, 2, and 8 are exempted. Furthermore, principles 3 and 5 are effectively nullified by the exemption to principle 8 — the data can simply be transferred to NSA databases outside of the ICO’s jurisdiction.

Hawktalk’s argument is that these principles are automatically suspended for any statutory body pursuing its statutory purposes. The implication of a certificate specifically issued to completely exempt that body (GCHQ) from any of the principles is that it (GCHQ) wishes to pursue the processing of personal data beyond its (GCHQ’s) statutory purpose — it simply does not need an additional exemption if it sticks to what it was designed to do (ie, national security). In other words, GCHQ wishes to collect and process personal data to an extent that is both beyond its legal remit and the strictures of national law.

GCHQ has become, quite literally, a law unto itself.

Categories: All, Politics, Security Issues

And so the weasel words begin…

June 15, 2013 Leave a comment

On Thursday, on Prism and Verizon, I warned, “We’ll just have to look very closely at the weasel words that will come from both sides of the Atlantic…” But I didn’t expect them to start so soon.

The EC’s Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding met the US Attorney General Eric Holder in Dublin on Thursday and Friday. Reding had some questions ‘on the collection of data from Verizon and about the PRISM programme':

How do these affect EU citizens right? Are they aimed at EU citizens? What is the volume of the data collected? Do the programmes involve bulk collection of data or is the collection targeted? Do the programmes operate under proper oversight of the judiciary? Is the collection of EU citizens’ data authorised by a court?

And these were the answers:

First, on the Verizon question, the information I received today is that it is a U.S. project, directed mainly towards U.S. citizens. It is about metadata, not about content. It is about bulk, not about individuals. And it is based on court orders and congressional oversight.

So, she says, that’s all right then: “I consider that this is mainly an American question…” Let’s not forget that the EU’s own data protection office, the European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx has said that telephone metadata is personal information that should, presumably, be protected by European laws. Nor let us forget that this program does include Europeans when they are talking to an American – and since it is bulk, every time they are talking to an American.

Considering PRISM, she says:

It is about foreign intelligence threats.

PRISM is targeted at non-U.S. citizens under investigation on suspicion of terrorism and cybercrimes. So it is not about bulk data mining, but specific individuals or targeted groups. It is on the basis of a court order, of an American court, and of congressional oversight.

She doesn’t quite say ‘that’s alright then,’ but she is clearly reassured.

Should EU citizens – and anyone, anywhere, be reassured? Absolutely not. The words are ambiguous. I cannot see that specific mining from bulk data is any less worrying overall than ‘bulk data mining’.

But the real joke is that it is based, in both cases on court orders and congressional oversight. That court is a secret court using a secret interpretation of a draconian law. It is almost certainly unconstitutional, but it cannot be challenged because no-one knows what it is. But it would seem that provided it can be described as a ‘court’, that’s alright as far as Viviane Reding is concerned.

Once again, the people of the USA and Europe will need to take action themselves. This dragnet surveillance by the NSA under the aegis of a secret court is most decidedly not OK – and it is people power that will have to force our respective governments to do the right thing. First, of course, we need to see past the weasel words of weasel governments.

Categories: All, Politics, Security Issues

Google bashing in Europe: politics or business?

November 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Later this week Jeff Gould, the president of SafeGov.org, will publish an article titled European privacy ruling has far-reaching implications for Google Apps in Europe. It discusses the recent findings of the Article 29 group (the EU’s data protection working party) led by the French CNIL (equivalent to the UK’s ICO) on Google’s new privacy policy, and argues,

If fully applied, the ruling could effectively shut down deployments of Google Apps by European governments, schools and enterprises, at least until Google makes the changes the EU regulators are seeking.

This raises a number of other questions – for example, is the European Commission’s love affair with the cloud heading for an impasse with its own regulators? Back in September the EC issued a ‘communication’, Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe. It concluded with a call

upon Member States to embrace the potential of cloud computing. Member States should develop public sector cloud use based on common approaches that raise performance and trust, while driving down costs. Active participation in the European Cloud Partnership and deployment of its results will be crucial.

Last week, ENISA published an excellent overview of the Privacy considerations of online behavioural tracking, which I thoroughly recommend. It tries to draw a distinction between behavioural tracking and behavioural advertising; but the reality is that this is probably a technical rather than practical separation. This is likely to become the crux of Europe’s problem: it wants to maximise the cloud, accepts that it must allow commercialisation, but politically needs to ensure privacy – and the two things might simply be incompatible. As Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor said in his Opinion on Friday,

the use of cloud computing services cannot justify a lowering of data protection standards as compared to those applicable to conventional data processing operations.

In other words, as of right now, the EC’s desire to unleash the potential of cloud computing is incompatible with the need to maintain existing data protection standards. But we needn’t worry too much: it will all, as King John might have said, come out in the wash. Big business will give a little, the regulators will give a little, and the EC will twist and squirm a lot – and we’ll all be able to use the cloud happily.

The question is, will it be with Google? That’s the second issue coming from the Article 29 working party: has Europe got it in for Google? In October, Ars Technica commented:

The French seem to have an appetite for regulating the Internet, and for going after Google in particular. A new proposed law would force Google to make payments when French media show up in news searches; but Google has responded, in a letter to French ministers, that it “cannot accept” such a solution and would simply remove French media sites from its searches.

Two weeks later, Le Canard Enchaîné reported that France had made a €1 billion tax claim against Google and was using this as a bargaining chip in the newspaper content dispute. France, of course, with its current socialist government, likes to tax everything that moves – but as one of the key movers and shakers within the EU, you have to wonder if it is merely spearheading a wider European antipathy; and if so, where does this come from?

Well, again back in October, Henrik Alexandersson [a ‘Swedish libertarian, working for the Pirate Party in the European Parliament’] attended a luncheon seminar organized by ICOMP, the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace (funded, it would seem, by Microsoft).

However, already when we received the seminar documents at the entrance – we realized that this really was something else: A Microsoft-funded Google Bashing lunch.

Google Bashing is a very popular sport in the EU, these days.

Alexandersson was so annoyed by the initial talk by “one of Microsoft’s lawyers, Pamela Jones Harbour… speaking about everything that Google does wrong,” that he and his party got up and left. But privacy, he says,

is not what Google Bashing in Brussels is about. Here it is rather a question of a number of Google’s competitors trying to whip up political criticism, for business reasons. They simply don’t like that Google more or less own the search market.

So here’s a thought. Is that anti-Google sentiment in Europe ‘political exploited by business’, or ‘business exploited by politics’? It’s a moot point. Either way, Google should be in no doubt that it has powerful adversaries in Europe.

Categories: All, Politics

Infosecurity Magazine news stories for 10-13 April 2012, and 16-18 April 2012

April 18, 2012 Leave a comment

My news stories on Infosecurity Magazine from Tuesday 10 April until Friday 13 April, and Monday 16 April until Wednesday 18 April

NHS needs a security czar to prevent continuous data walkabout
While the South London Healthcare NHS Trust signs a Data Protection Undertaking, the security industry wonders why we have learnt nothing in the last two years – and calls for a new NHS data protection czar.
18 April 2012

PwC 2012 Information Security Breaches Survey: Preliminary findings report continued mobile insecurity
New statistics show that while many companies appear to understand the business threat from BYOD, many others are taking no precautions whatsoever.
18 April 2012

(ISC)² launches its new EMEA advisory board
In a move designed to offer genuine hands-on security experience to EMEA’s different security initiatives, professional body (ISC)² has launched a new Advisory Board for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EAB).
18 April 2012

Google co-founder worries about the future of the internet
In an interview with the Guardian, the co-founder of Google lists the threats facing the future vitality of the internet.
17 April 2012

Shadowserver uncovers campaign against Vietnam in Hardcore Charlie’s file dump
An analysis of the hacked files dumped by hacker Hardcore Charlie fails to prove Chinese culpability, but finds evidence of ‘yet another cyber espionage campaign against Vietnam.’
17 April 2012

Iranian software manager hacks and dumps card details of 3m Iranians
Khosrow Zarefarid found and reported a flaw in the Iranian POS system. He reported it, but was ignored – so he used it and hacked 3 million Iranian debit card details.
17 April 2012

Dutch Pirate Party forced to take its Pirate Bay proxy off-line
In a move that will be monitored by the UK’s music industry association (BPI), its Dutch equivalent BREIN (translates as ‘Brain’) has obtained a court injunction forcing the political party, the Pirate Party, to take down the proxy site that was allowing users to continue using the blocked Pirate Bay (TPB).
16 April 2012

Is ACTA dead in the water, or is it resurfacing via the G8?
David Martin, European Parliament’s rapporteur on the ACTA treaty, is expected to recommend that parliament should reject ACTA. Does this mean the end for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement?
16 April 2012

Commotion Wireless: an open source censorship buster
The great contradiction in modern techno-politics is the need for democracies to promulgate free speech in other countries while controlling it in their own.
16 April 2012

Boston police release unredacted Facebook data of ‘Craigslist killer’
The complete Facebook account of Philip Markoff, in hard copy and including friend IDs, was given by the Boston Police to the Boston Phoenix newspaper.
13 April 2012

EC asks how we would want the internet of things to be controlled
The European Commission (EC) has issued an online ‘consultation’ document: How would you envisage ‘governance’ of the ‘Internet of Things’?
13 April 2012

City trader fined £450,000 by the FSA
“For the reasons given in this Notice…”, says an FSA Decision Notice, “…the FSA has decided to impose on Mr Ian Charles Hannam a financial penalty of £450,000.”
13 April 2012

MPAA’s attempted takedown of Hotfile gets more and more difficult
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater says Google; and there’s more baby than bathwater suggests Prof. James Boyle.
12 April 2012

UK private members bill designed to censor pornography on the internet
Baroness Howe of Ildicote has introduced the Online Safety Act 2012, designed to force ISPs to install and operate pornography filters.
12 April 2012

Financial services the target in massive DDoS increase
A new analysis from Prolexic shows a huge increase in DDoS attacks, largely sourced in Asia and primarily attacking financial institutions.
12 April 2012

Smartphones are still firmly ‘enterprise-unready’
Research from by Altimeter Group, Bloor Research and Trend Micro shows that the ‘consumer marketing’ legacy of many smartphones makes them ill-equipped to meet enterprise security demands.
11 April 2012

EU trade committee’s draft opinion on ACTA: Don’t ratify
The European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy committee for the Committee on International Trade has published its draft opinion on ACTA. Don’t ratify, it tells parliament.
11 April 2012

DHS gets California company to hack game consoles
In a project that started from law enforcement agencies’ request to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was then farmed out to the US Navy, Obscure Technologies of California has been awarded a contract to find ways of hacking game consoles.
11 April 2012

Real-time data mining comes to Twitter
Twitter is usually described as a micro-blogging social network. To many who monitor its ‘trending topics’ it is also an early warning news service, frequently pointing users to breaking news before the traditional news media reports it.
10 April 2012

Iran bids farewell to the internet; welcomes its own halal intranet
Iran’s answer to ‘criminality’ on the internet is not to fight criminality, but to block the internet. In the future, Iranians will have access to only the official national intranet and a whitelist of acceptable foreign sites.
10 April 2012

What an Englishman does in bed
Companies that monitor the end point behavior of their remote workers will have to start monitoring their (internet) behavior in bed. That at least is the inference to be drawn from a new street survey conducted by Infosecurity Europe.
10 April 2012

Categories: All, Security News
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