Google targeted as GDPR hits one year

May 23 15:06 2019 Print This Article

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Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the introduction of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, where hundred of thousands of cases have been raised so far, but no mega-fines have been imposed, the big fear of Big Tech. An official report on the first nine months showed 206,000 cases recorded, which included 95,000 complaints and 65,000 data security breach notifications. National data protection agencies in 11 countries had levied €56m in fines. Companies can be fined up to 4 per cent of global annual turnover under the landmark legislation and Ireland’s data protection commissioner, Helen Dixon, has been particularly active against tech companies. She has opened inquiries into Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram units, three inquiries into Twitter, two at Apple and one at LinkedIn. Overnight we reported on her first investigation into Google, regarding its ad exchange. The browser Brave had made a complaint, accusing Google of a “massive and ongoing data breach” in which it leaked intimate user data to “thousands of companies every day”. According to Brave, Google’s ad exchange broadcasts personal information about users to “tens or hundreds” of potential advertisers every time they visit a website, with no limits placed on how the data are used, making it the “most massive leakage of personal data recorded so far”. GDPR sharply limits how companies can use information that touches on someone’s race, ethnicity, political opinions, religious beliefs, trade union membership or sexual orientation. Google has maintained that its adverts are targeted based on the type of content on a web page, rather than internet users’ personal circumstances. A year on, surveys suggest users still feel in the dark about how their data are being used. A study conducted by Ogury, covering 280,000 consumers across the UK, US, France, Italy, Germany and Spain found only 8 per cent felt their understanding of how companies use their data had improved since GDPR came into effect. For global companies, there are uncertainties about what standards they should aim for as other countries and US states look to adopt data protection measures similar to GDPR.  “Do I adopt California[‘s standards] or GDPR for my compliance? Or do I look at the different options, and choose the one that is more flexible, that is a dilemma for companies,” says IBM’s data protection officer Cristina Cabella. “We are taking, as much as possible, a more global approach, because for us it is a competitive advantage to be considered as taking the highest standards, but this is not so easy for small and medium companies to do.” #techFT takeaway: GDPR and global data privacy regulations are still works in progress and companies need to establish their own versions of standards and constantly monitor their systems for compliance and possible security breaches. For individuals, after that initial flurry of unsubscribing from unwanted emails and opting out of cookies, the challenge is to remain vigilant about what concessions we make on use of our personal data.  The Internet of (Five) Things 1. Qualcomm has 5G lock and five ways to strangle More on the San Diego strangler. Richard Waters’ Inside Business column says Judge Koh’s ruling may have opened the door to more competition, but time is on Qualcomm’s side. Legal appeals will drag on, while the company already has a clear head start in 5G modems. We’ve also gone through the 233-page judgment to highlight five ways Qualcomm strangled competition. It’s probably too late, but Samsung has filed an emergency motion to redact “highly sensitive and confidential” details of its own settlement with Qualcomm “inadvertently” made public in the document. Lex senses some inconsistent policy in how the Trump administration views Qualcomm and the proposed Sprint-T-Mobile merger. 2. When chips turn to kryptonite for Huawei Good and bad news on the supply front today for Huawei. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said it would continue to ship to HiSilicon, Huawei’s chip design affiliate, but Japan’s Panasonic said it was halting shipments of some components under the US export restrictions. TSMC’s news was critical to Huawei — as Lex explains, chip sanctions are kryptonite to Chinese tech ambitions. 3. Amazon shareholders lose facial face-off Amazon shareholders rejected a proposal at its annual meeting to stop selling its facial recognition technology to governments. Amazon answered human rights concerns, saying there were strict rules for using Rekognition, which was a “critical” tool for “business, government and law enforcement”. In other privacy news, Hikvision, the Chinese surveillance equipment maker, is bracing for Donald Trump to place it on a US export blacklist, the defence in the case against South Wales police’s use of facial recognition technology has heard data are deleted “in milliseconds” if faces don’t match watch lists, and London Underground is set to track passengers as they move through its stations by collecting Wi-Fi signals from their smartphones.

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4. Amazon will let you wear your heart on your wrist gadget  Amazon is developing a voice-activated wearable device that can recognise human emotions. The wrist-worn gadget is described as a health and wellness product in internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg. It’s a collaboration between Lab126, the hardware development group behind Amazon’s Fire phone and Echo smart speaker, and the Alexa voice software team. 5. Inside the UK’s GCHQ intelligence service Our Defence correspondent David Bond has spent six days inside GCHQ for FT Magazine. As the centenary of its creation approaches, the UK’s largest intelligence service is having to rethink the way it recruits the spies of tomorrow. This year it is looking to add between 600 and 800 new people, driven mainly by the expansion of its National Cyber Security Centre. Sifted — the week in European start-ups Hundreds of millions of people across Europe are set to cast their vote over the coming days in the European elections, which run from Thursday to Sunday. Many of them will use an online “questionnaire”, such as YourVoteMatters in the UK and several others elsewhere, to find the party most closely aligned with their views. But what if there was an artificial intelligence that could tell people how to vote instead? That’s the dream of one Swedish start-up Mavenoid. But is it pushing voters to the political fringes? Sifted also looks at Europe’s skeleton tech start-ups 3D printing real bones, meets the woman behind a new Finnish deep tech start-up, and eats guacamole with grasshoppers with Antoine Hubert, the founder of Ynsect, the French company that is building factories that will farm mealworm beetle larvae at industrial scale. Tech tools — Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2

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It’s still not for consumers, but a new $999 version of Google Glass announced this week strengthens its case with business. Enterprise Edition 2 has a significantly more powerful processor and artificial intelligence engine. “This enables significant power savings, enhanced performance and support for computer vision and advanced machine learning capabilities.” Google has also partnered with Smith Optics to make Glass-compatible safety frames for different types of demanding work environments. There is improved camera performance and quality for better video streaming, faster charging and increased overall battery life. That business case?: “Workers can use Glass to access checklists, view instructions or send inspection photos or videos, and our enterprise customers have reported faster production times, improved quality, and reduced costs after using Glass.” Meanwhile, Apple has come up with some new ideas for smart glasses.

This article was originally posted here: https://www.ft.com/content/7683e3e4-7d6b-11e9-81d2-f785092ab560

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