• Mar 19, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments, Surveillance,

As Covid-19 spreads around the globe, so does the idea of using smartphones to track everyone to help contact tracing

It seems extraordinary that it was only a month ago that this blog wrote about the new coronavirus, also called Covid-19. At that time, it was not yet clear whether it would turn into a full-blown pandemic. Now, there is no doubt on the matter. As that blog post reported, Covid-19 began in China, and … Continue reading “As Covid-19 spreads around the globe, so does the idea of using smartphones to track everyone to help contact tracing”

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  • Feb 7, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments,

Why the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) risks turning into a paper tiger

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has just announced two new GDPR inquiries. One of them concerns Tinder, as a result of “concerns raised by individuals both in Ireland and across the EU”. The other inquiry will examine Google’s processing of location data and the transparency surrounding that processing. The issue is whether consent to share … Continue reading “Why the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) risks turning into a paper tiger”

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  • Jan 31, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments, Surveillance,

What can we learn from the Clearview “end of privacy” story?

A couple of weeks ago, a story in the New York Times put facial recognition, and the serious problems it raises, firmly into the mainstream. It concerned the start-up Clearview AI, which, as the headline breathlessly informed us, “might end privacy as we know it.” The reason for this worrying description is not any breakthrough … Continue reading “What can we learn from the Clearview “end of privacy” story?”

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  • Jan 26, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments, Surveillance,

Top EU court’s advisor: bulk surveillance is “disproportionate”, and national security exemptions do not always apply

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the EU’s top court, has played a key role in protecting privacy in the digital age, in Europe and beyond. In 2014, it ruled that a major piece of EU legislation, the Data Retention Directive, was “invalid” – that is, illegal – and should be taken … Continue reading “Top EU court’s advisor: bulk surveillance is “disproportionate”, and national security exemptions do not always apply”

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  • Dec 31, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments, Surveillance,

As public fears mount over online surveillance and lack of control, advertising industry gets privacy religion – sort of…

A new Pew Research Center survey confirms what readers of this blog already know: many people are deeply worried about the routine tracking of their activities online: A majority of Americans believe their online and offline activities are being tracked and monitored by companies and the government with some regularity. It is such a common … Continue reading “As public fears mount over online surveillance and lack of control, advertising industry gets privacy religion – sort of…”

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  • Dec 5, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments, Surveillance,

Roll-out of facial recognition by governments around the world accelerates as privacy experts sound the alarm

A year ago, this blog wrote about the spread of facial recognition systems, and the danger they represent to privacy. Since then, the roll-out has accelerated, as the technology becomes more accurate, and the products on offer become cheaper. Governments in particular see facial recognition as an easy way to check and control their populations. … Continue reading “Roll-out of facial recognition by governments around the world accelerates as privacy experts sound the alarm”

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  • Nov 15, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News,

At last, some good news for privacy: signs that micro-targeted advertising may be on the way out

At the beginning of this year Privacy News Online wrote about how people were waking up to the dangers of micro-targeted advertising. Despite that, nothing much happened – until now. One reason for the shift is the heightened awareness of the role of social media in politics and elections. Twitter has said it will drop … Continue reading “At last, some good news for privacy: signs that micro-targeted advertising may be on the way out”

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  • Oct 23, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments,

ID card scandal deepens: Irish government vows to defy Data Protection Commission’s ruling against Public Services Card

Two years ago, Privacy News Online wrote about Ireland’s plans to introduce an identity card by stealth. The Irish government pretended that its Public Services Card (PSC) was not an identity card and that its use would not be mandatory. As this blog noted back then, that clearly wasn’t true, because the PSC was indispensable … Continue reading “ID card scandal deepens: Irish government vows to defy Data Protection Commission’s ruling against Public Services Card”

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  • Oct 4, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments, Surveillance,

Web sites have a problem after top EU court rules that pre-ticked checkboxes for tracking cookies aren’t valid for consent

Last week we wrote about two important judgments from the EU’s top court – the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It has just released another long-awaited ruling that is likely to have an even bigger impact on privacy and the Internet. It involves the use of pre-ticked checkboxes for allowing cookies. It’s … Continue reading “Web sites have a problem after top EU court rules that pre-ticked checkboxes for tracking cookies aren’t valid for consent”

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  • Jul 8, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments, Surveillance,

The writing is on the wall for ads based on real-time bidding in the EU – and maybe everywhere

Privacy News Online noted back in February a growing disquiet at the huge amounts of personal information that sites like Facebook and Google routinely gather about us, and how it is used for personalized advertising. Of particular concern is real-time bidding (RTB), which sees often extremely private information sent out to hundreds of potential advertisers, … Continue reading “The writing is on the wall for ads based on real-time bidding in the EU – and maybe everywhere”

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  • Jun 7, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments,

General Data Protection Regulation one year on: what next?

A previous post discussed what has happened in the world of the GDPR during its first year. Although only a few rulings have been handed down, there are many legal complaints working their way through the system that could have important implications for the EU. And far beyond, too, as more countries consider bringing in … Continue reading “General Data Protection Regulation one year on: what next?”

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  • Jun 1, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments, Surveillance,

General Data Protection Regulation one year on: what has it done?

A year ago, arguably the most important event in the recent history of privacy occurred: the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) started to be enforced. To mark that anniversary Privacy News Online will look at what the GDPR has achieved in its first 12 months, and what is likely to happen next. The GDPR … Continue reading “General Data Protection Regulation one year on: what has it done?”

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  • Apr 12, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments, Social Media,

Zuck’s back, calling for “new rules” for the Internet, which will entrench Facebook’s power, but do nothing for privacy

Last month, Privacy News Online looked at a 3000-word essay entitled “A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking“, written by Mark Zuckerberg. It’s a measure of the political pressure that Facebook finds itself under that Zuckerberg has published another big “thought piece”, where he is obviously trying to steer public discussions to his company’s advantage. This … Continue reading “Zuck’s back, calling for “new rules” for the Internet, which will entrench Facebook’s power, but do nothing for privacy”

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  • Feb 16, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • General Privacy News, Governments, Social Media,

Facebook may not collect or combine personal data using “forced consent”, says German competition authority

It would be an understatement to say that Facebook is under intense scrutiny at the moment. Mostly this has come from data protection authorities in the EU, using the GDPR as a means for challenging Facebook’s business practices. But the attack has just broadened, with Germany’s competition authority, the Bundeskartellamt, issuing a ruling that strikes … Continue reading “Facebook may not collect or combine personal data using “forced consent”, says German competition authority”

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People and publishers start to turn against micro-targeted advertising and its harms to privacy

Privacy News Online has written a number of articles looking at the threat to privacy posed by the widespread use of micro-targeted ads. At the heart of the idea is that the more online sites and services know about their users, the more they can charge advertisers to reach them. To recoup these higher charges, … Continue reading “People and publishers start to turn against micro-targeted advertising and its harms to privacy”

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