Displaying items by tag: privacy

Apple under-fire from politicians following FaceTime glitch

Written on Wednesday, 30 January 2019 13:25

US technology behemoth Apple is under-fire following the stunning revelation that its FaceTime app was allowing users to listen to audio from the phone of the person they’re calling even if the recipient hadn’t picked it up.

Published in Apps

Data flows between the EU and Japan are now ‘safe’

Written on Thursday, 24 January 2019 09:29

The European Union and Japan finalized common rules to protect personal information, and launched what they called the “world's largest areas of safe data flows”. Firms can transfer data now that the executive European Commission finds that Japanese law offers “a comparable level of protection of personal data,” the commission said.

“This adequacy decision creates the world's largest area of safe data flows,” EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova said, referring to an area of more than 600 million people. “Europeans' data will benefit from high privacy standards when their data is transferred to Japan,” the Czech commissioner said. “Our companies will also benefit from a privileged access to a 127 million consumers' market,” she added.

Jourova said the arrangement "will serve as an example for future partnerships" on data flows and set global standards.

The two sides cleared the final hurdle by agreeing on supplementary rules. These cover the protection of sensitive data, the exercise of individual rights and the conditions under which EU data can be further transferred from Japan to another third country.

Japan's independent data protection authority (PPC) and courts can enforce these rules covering Japanese firms that import data from EU.

Tokyo gave Brussels assurances that any use of personal data for law enforcement and national security purposes would be “limited to what is necessary and proportionate.” Access by public authorities for these reasons would be “subject to independent oversight and effective redress mechanisms,” the EU executive said.

The two sides agreed to a mechanism to investigate and resolve complaints from Europeans over data access that Japan's independent data protection authority will run and supervise. The decision complements the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which takes effect in February to become the world's biggest trade deal.

Published in Government

France's data watchdog (CNIL) announced a fine of 50 million euros ($57 million) for US search giant Google, using the EU's strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for the first time.

Google was handed the record fine from the CNIL regulator for failing to provide transparent and easily accessible information on its data consent policies, a statement said. The CNIL said Google made it too difficult for users to understand and manage preferences on how their personal information is used, in particular with regards to targeted advertising.

“People expect high standards of transparency and control from us. We're deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “We're studying the decision to determine our next steps.”

The ruling follows complaints lodged by two advocacy groups last May, shortly after the landmark GDPR directive came into effect. One was filed on behalf of some 10,000 signatories by France's Quadrature du Net group, while the other was by None Of Your Business, created by the Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems.

Schrems had accused Google of securing “forced consent” through the use of pop-up boxes online or on its apps which imply that its services will not be available unless people accept its conditions of use.

“Also, the information provided is not sufficiently clear for the user to understand the legal basis for targeted advertising is consent, and not Google's legitimate business interests,” the CNIL said.

Published in Government

A Turkish inventor claims to have created a phone with a screen that can only be seen when using a specific special pair of smart glasses. It’s the perfect privacy solution for anyone storing sensitive information on their device, in an age where people carry around smartphones and tablets everywhere they go, making it increasingly difficult to keep things private.

The inventor, 40-year-old Celal Göger from Diyarbakir, Turkey, is said to have come up with the idea for the private smartphone screen while he was traveling on crowded public transport in the bustling city of Istanbul. He became frustrated when he noticed that other passengers were slyly peering over his shoulder to look at what he was doing on his phone.

“Someone’s phone is a very personal item and I think it’s extremely disrespectful when other people stare at it,” he said.

Following his discomfort on public transport, Göger took it upon himself to create a way for other people to no longer be able to see what was on his smartphone screen. He worked in a small workshop behind his store to invent the new technology. According to the Mirror, it took Göger fourth months to come up with his ingenious ‘Ghost Phone’ concept which he is planning to call C.COGER I.

The concept works by using a chip that makes the screen appear white to anyone who looks at the screen with the naked eye. In order to see the screen normally, a second chip in the glasses connects to the phone, making it visible to the wearer.

“When I finished my invention I started telling people about it, but nobody believed me,” said Göger. “They thought it must be some kind of magic trick until they saw my invention which left them absolutely gobsmacked!”

Göger is still said to be looking for funding to further develop his project. No further details about it have been released. He believes that if he resided in a different country it would be easier for him to proceed with it.

“I think I was born in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said. “If I had been born in the UK, I think I would have gotten a lot more support to move this project forward and start mass production of my invention. If I can get funding I am planning to take this project further and install an on/off button on the phone which means that the user decides whether to activate the function.”

Published in Gadget