FRANKFURT: Big companies are used to harvesting vast amounts of data from customers to find out what makes them tick. Now, as Europe's new data protection law comes into effect this week, activists are looking to turn the tables.In what is seen as a test case, freedom of information activists are requesting masses of data from German personal credit rating agency SCHUFA in a bid to unearth the secret algorithm it uses to decide who is a bad risk.While laws in Germany and some other European countries already allowed individuals to see what data companies held about them, the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming in on May 25 has more teeth.The law requires firms doing business in the EU's 28 member states to provide personal data in an understandable form for free and carries stiff fines of up to 4 percent of a company's annual turnover if it fails to comply.The OpenSCHUFA has recruited more than 20,000 volunteers to ask SCHUFA for their personal data. A team of data … [Read more...] about Activists turn tables on companies as EU privacy law comes in
U s data privacy laws
FRANKFURT/BRUSSELS/PARIS: Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been billed as the biggest shake-up of data privacy laws since the birth of the web.There's one problem: many of the regulators who will police it say they aren't ready yet.The pan-EU law comes into effect this month and will cover companies that collect large amounts of customer data including Facebook and Google. It won't be overseen by a single authority but instead by a patchwork of national and regional watchdogs across the 28-nation bloc.Seventeen of 24 authorities who responded to a Reuters survey said they did not yet have the necessary funding, or would initially lack the powers, to fulfill their GDPR duties."We've realized that our resources were insufficient to cope with the new missions given by the GDPR," Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, president of France's CNIL data privacy watchdog, said in an interview.She, like some other regulators, was pressing her government for a substantial increase in … [Read more...] about European regulators: We’re not ready for new privacy law
By Frank Bajak The Associated Press Wed., April 4, 2018 For the first time, the U.S. government has publicly acknowledged the existence in Washington of what appear to be rogue devices that foreign spies and criminals could be using to track individual cellphones and intercept calls and messages. The use of what are known as cellphone-site simulators by foreign powers has long been a concern, but American intelligence and law enforcement agencies — which use such eavesdropping equipment themselves — have been silent on the issue until now. In a March 26 letter to Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that last year it identified suspected unauthorized cell-site simulators in the nation’s capital. The agency said it had not determined the type of devices in use or who might have been operating them. Nor did it say how many it detected or where. Read more: Two years after they said they didn’t, Toronto police … [Read more...] about U.S. says it suspects Stingray cellphone spying devices have been used in Washington D.C.
The White House is asking Congress to pass new privacy laws that would add more safeguards for Americans’ data and provide more protections for emails sought in the course of a law enforcement investigation. The recommendations are among six offered by President Barack Obama’s counselor John Podesta in a report released Thursday. While large sets of data make Americans’ lives easier and can help save lives, the report noted, they also could be used to discriminate against Americans in areas such as housing and employment. “Big data” is everywhere. It allows mapping apps to ping cellphones anonymously and determine, in real time, what roads are the most congested. It enables intelligence agencies to amass large amounts of emails and phone records to help root out terrorists. And it could be used to target economically vulnerable people. At Obama’s request, Podesta and the president’s top economic and science advisers conducted a 90-day review … [Read more...] about White House Report Calls for Better Data Privacy Laws
OTTAWA—Canada’s secretive electronic spying agency realized in 2013 it was breaking domestic privacy rules by transferring Canadians’ data to allied countries, but the government kept the mistake under wraps for two years. The transfers were discovered by the spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment, at a time when the questionable practices of national security agencies were being revealed by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. The agency said it quickly informed the defence minister at the time, as well as the watchdog that reviews its operations. Rob Nicholson, who was Conservative defence minister when the transfers were discovered, could not be reached for comment Thursday. But in April 2014, at a parliamentary committee on defence issues, Nicholson said all CSE activities are conducted within the parameters of Canadian law. “Were the commissioner ever to conclude that the agency is acting outside the law, he would be required to report … [Read more...] about Canada’s electronic spy agency broke privacy laws, watchdog says