Displaying items by tag: Data
Facebook has hired a new lawyer, Jennifer Newstead, a high-ranking US State Department Lawyer, who will oversee Facebook’s global legal functions amid pressure from regulators regarding its privacy policies.
On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British Police at the embassy of Ecuador in London.
Facebook revealed that it has kept a record of hundreds of millions of user passwords in plain text.
The social media giant’s Vice President of Engineering, Security and Privacy, Pedro Canahuati, wrote in a blog post that hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users will be notified about this and so will the millions of Facebook and Instagram users.
Facebook Lite is a version of Facebook which is used in areas with weak connectivity.
According to Canahuati the mistake they made was noticed in January but did failed to comment on why an announcement wasn’t made about the issue at the time. Instead, the announcement came over two months later.
“As part of a routine security review in January, we found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems,” said Canahuati.
He also stated that the passwords which were stored were never visible to anyone outside Facebook and that they were not abused or improperly used by any of the staff.
“This caught our attention because our login systems are designed to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable.
We have fixed these issues and as a precaution we will be notifying everyone whose passwords we have found were stored in this way.”
The 28 EU members have been asked to share some data to assess any risks involved with the rollout of 5G technology in Europe, according to Reuters.
The Reuters report stated that Andrus Ansip, head of the European Commission, is set to make the recommendations on Tuesday.
Ansip plans to use the processes which are outlined in the directive on network and information systems from 2016 and has also very recently passed the Cyber Security Act.
For the past couple of years, the US has been trying to dissuade its allies from benefitting Chinese businesses, namely Huawei. The US and Huawei have been at odds recently with regards to 5G deployment. Washington has claimed that Huawei’s products could be used to spy on other countries by the Chinese government which they have no solid proof of. Huawei sued the US on 7 March.
Many countries have not reacted to the claim. However, Australia and New Zealand have barred the use of Huawei gear.
With the UK leaving the EU soon, it is still uncertain whether they will follow the European Commission’s suggestion. Last month at a conference in Brussels, the head of the UK’s National Cybersecurity Centre, Ciaran Martin, said that any threat posed by Huawei was manageable.
“Because of our 15 years of dealing with the company and 10 years f a formally agreed mitigation strategy which involves detailed provision of information, we have a wealth of understanding of the company,” said Martin.
He continued, “We also have strict controls for how Huawei is deployed. It is not in any sensitive networks, including those of the government. Its kit is part of a balanced supply chain with other suppliers. Our regime is arguably the toughest and most rigorous oversight regime in the world for Huawei.”
On 9 April, an EU-China summit will take place where discussions surrounding this topic will be held alongside other relevant topics pertaining to the Chinese economy.
Security researcher Victor Gevers has uncovered a database of 1.8 million women in China who have their names, addresses, marital status, education levels, and phone numbers listed however the most troubling part of this database is the fact that women of a certain age group were also categorized as “breed ready”.
Gevers has said that anyone with an IP address has access to this database. This comes after his discovery of the Chinese database that leaked 300 million private messages last week.
“We don’t know who is behind this database and what the intention was… that is the part that worries us the most,” said Gevers. Most of the women in the database were located in Beijing.
Gevers reported the database on Twitter and had it closed down by 4am ET on Monday.
Some of the women are linked to their Facebook profiles and as Facebook is banned in China, they must have accessed it through the use of a VPN.
“In China, they have a shortage of women. So an organization started to build a database to start registering over 1.8 million women with all kinds of details like phone numbers, addresses, education, location, ID number, marital status, and a “BreedReady” status?” he tweeted.
Also, around 90 per cent of the women on that list were listed as single and were between the ages of 15 and 95. The “BreedReady” women were categorized, the youngest status was given to 18 year olds and the oldest with the status was 39.
The purpose of this database still remains uncertain however, many internet users said that it may have been the Chinese government’s effort to track the fertility of Chinese women as China’s birth rate has hit an all-time low.
China’s National Statistics Bureau found that only 15 million children were born in 2018 which was 2 million less than the previous year.
The House of Lords has called for a new central digital super-regulator to be created in order to inspect the different bodies protecting the internet and to replace the ‘clearly failing’ system of self regulation in place.
The Lords’ communications committee report has recommended a new Digital Authority. The report warns that the contribution of several regulators for the digital realm can be more problematic than helpful as it creates overlaps and gaps.
The report also states that large tech companies have failed to tackle cybersecurity issues and Ofcom should, in the future, expand their services to involve implementing a duty of care on those companies.
Lord Gilbert of Panteg, Chair of the committee, stated: “The government should not just be responding to news headlines but looking ahead so that the services that constitute the digital world can be held accountable to an agreed set of principles.”
He continued: “Self-regulation by online platforms is clearly failing and the current regulatory framework is out of date. The evidence we heard made a compelling and urgent case for a new approach to regulation. Without intervention, the largest tech companies are likely to gain ever more control of technologies which extract personal data and make decisions affecting people’s lives.”
The Lords said that the new Digital Authority should be guided by 10 guiding principles pertaining to online regulation. Some of these basic principles include: transparency, parity, recognition of childhood, accountability, privacy and human rights.
Last month, a Digital Culture, Media and Sport committee held Facebook responsible for being run by “digital gangsters” and as a result, recommending that tech and social media companies could regulate themselves independently under a ‘code of ethics’ which could be overseen by Ofcom.
The report by the Lords echoed this sentiment. It stated that self-regulation from internet behemoths from the likes of Google and Facebook were “clearly failing”.
Lord Panteg wrote: “Policy makers across different sectors have not responded adequately to changes in the digital world.”
He added: "The Digital Authority should be empowered to instruct regulators to address specific problems or areas. In cases where this is not possible because problems are not within the remit of any regulator, the Digital Authority should advise the Government and Parliament that new or strengthened legal powers are needed.”
The report recommends many changes to already existing regulations whether the Digital Authority is created or not. An example of these proposed changes is the public interest test for mergers and acquisitions which would protect peoples’ data from being bought and sold with no prior consent from the individual.
Additionally, the report recognizes the power which this new Digital Authority would hold and justified it by stating: “This is necessary because of the magnitude of urgent social and political problems caused by regulatory fragmentation in the digital world. These problems are less likely to become more complex as technology develops.”
Internet giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook were not held in high regard amongst the Lords, especially in the report.
It concluded, “Major platforms have failed to invest in their moderation systems, leaving moderators overstretched and inadequately trained. Online platforms should make community standards clearer through a new classification framework akin to that of the British Board of Film Classification.”
New York regulators are investigating Facebook’s gathering of intimate data about consumers’ menstrual cycles and body weight through smartphone applications.
Facebook has confirmed that New York’s Department of Financial Services set them a letter about the data sharing issue.
The New York based regulator asked the social media giant to provide a list of all the companies that were involved in sending them the data over the past three years.
According to the source, requests to provide information on agreements with Facebook were sent to a number of application developers.
A Wall Street Journal report from February 22 showed that after testing over 70 smartphone apps, approximately 11 were disclosing ‘highly sensitive’ information to Facebook to use for target ads. These ads would be able to reach users who are not Facebook members.
The intimate data that was collected by the apps showed personal information with regards to body weight, height, ovulation cycles, heart rate, pregnancy status and home shopping.
It was found that around 6 of the 15 most popular health and fitness apps shared personal information with Facebook.
A Facebook spokesperson stated:
"It's common for developers to share information with a wide range of platforms for advertising and analytics.
"We require the other app developers to be clear with their users about the information they are sharing with us, and we prohibit app developers from sending us sensitive data. We also take steps to detect and remove data that should not be shared with us."
The investigation comes at the peak of the debate over online privacy and at a time when Facebook is still attempting to regain the trust of the masses following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
According to the Journal, the ‘highly sensitive information’ is sent to Facebook immediately after it is entered into the app.
Facebook is able to collect data through the Software Development Kit (SDK), which is a set of programs used to create apps and it often includes a set of open software tools.
These apps have used Facebook’s SDK to build their software in exchange for data which Facebook uses for advertising purposes.
A Facebook spokesperson has said that the data transmission does violate the company’s business agreement and that Facebook has taken measures to stop the apps from disclosing such personal information.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for extra security to be applied to Chinese companies following alleged security concerns that have been raised regarding the practices of telecommunications behemoth Huawei.
Ericsson has launched a new Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based managed services offering for communications service providers – the Ericsson Operations Engine. The solution is an end-to-end managed services operating model that, through Artificial Intelligence, automation, and the power of data, reimagines network and IT operations, network design and optimization, and applications development and maintenance.
The Ericsson Operations Engine directly and proactively addresses service providers’ managed services complexity challenges as the industry moves to the reality of 5G and IoT.
The Ericsson Operations Engine has three building blocks:
- Service-centric business model based on business outcomes: Using AI, automation and data insights, the Ericsson Operations Engine addresses targeted business outcomes for service providers such as enhanced customer experience, revenue growth and efficiency.
- End-to-end capabilities: delivering on business outcomes through AI-based design, planning and optimization, data-driven operations, dynamic deployment, applications development, and collaborative innovation.
- Components: Best-in-class tools and processes that leverage data, AI and automation as well as expertise and investments in the service provider domain.
Peter Laurin, Senior Vice President, Head of Managed Services, Ericsson, said, “Networks are quickly becoming significantly more complex to operate as we introduce IoT and 5G at scale, and virtualize core networks, while aiming to enhance user experience at the same time. The Ericsson Operations Engine enables us to create sustainable differentiation for our managed services customers as it evolves operations from being network-centric to user experience-centric. It fundamentally changes our way of operating networks from reactive to proactive, leveraging data, automation and artificial intelligence.”
Curtis Price, Program Vice President, Infrastructure Services, IDC, commented: “Managed services will play a significant role in the service providers transformation initiatives taking place worldwide. Nearly 65 percent of service providers indicate that managed services will be key in addressing their main operational concerns around customer satisfaction – improving customer experience is the number one factor that will influence service providers use of managed services – revenue growth and cost efficiency. It's also clear that advanced technologies like AI, automation and analytics represent the underlying pillars for supporting and enabling operational transformation through managed services partnerships.”
The Ericsson Operations Engine, as well as the latest trends and future of managed services, will be showcased by Ericsson at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.
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.