EU could give police direct access to cloud data in wake of terror attacks | Technology | The Guardian

The European Union is seeking to make it easier for police and law enforcement agencies to retrieve electronic evidence from US tech firms, including directly from cloud storage.

Fuente: EU could give police direct access to cloud data in wake of terror attacks | Technology | The Guardian


Tres maneras en las que Facebook usa tu información de WhatsApp – El Mostrador

Cuando la red social más popular compró la plataforma de mensajería más usada en todo el mundo dijo que no usaría los datos de los clientes WhatsApp. Pero ahora sí lo hace. Te contamos para qué necesita toda esa información.

Fuente: Tres maneras en las que Facebook usa tu información de WhatsApp – El Mostrador


Alemania demanda a WhatsApp por compartir datos de usuarios – El Mostrador

La intención de la Federación de Consumidores de Alemania es que las instancias judiciales obliguen a la empresa de mensajería a borrar los datos de usuarios que ha compartido con Facebook y que, al mismo tiempo, se abstenga de utilizar un total de ocho cláusulas controvertidas que figuran en las condiciones de uso de la aplicación.

Fuente: Alemania demanda a WhatsApp por compartir datos de usuarios – El Mostrador


In Major Privacy Victory, Top EU Court Rules Against Mass Surveillance

The European Union’s top court has severely undermined the British government’s mass surveillance powers in a new ruling that could rein in police and spy agency investigations.In a judgment handed down in Luxembourg on Wednesday, the European Court of Justice declared that the “general and indiscriminate retention” of data about people’s communications and locations was inconsistent with privacy rights. The court stated that the “highly invasive” bulk storage of private data “exceeds the limits of what is strictly necessary and cannot be considered to be justified, within a democratic society.”

Fuente: In Major Privacy Victory, Top EU Court Rules Against Mass Surveillance


EU charges Facebook with giving ‘misleading’ information over WhatsApp | Technology | The Guardian

The European commission (EC) has filed charges against Facebook for providing “misleading” information in the run-up to the social network’s acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp after its data-sharing change in August.

Fuente: EU charges Facebook with giving ‘misleading’ information over WhatsApp | Technology | The Guardian


Facebook cede ante las presiones de Bruselas y dejará de compartir datos con Whatsapp – El Independiente

arece que las autoridades europeas están muy cerca de ganar otra batalla contra uno de los gigantes tecnológicos estadounidenses. Apenas unas semanas después de recibir una carta de las autoridades europeas de protección de datos, Facebook ha decidido suspender la transferencia de datos personales de sus usuarios con Whatsapp.

Fuente: Facebook cede ante las presiones de Bruselas y dejará de compartir datos con Whatsapp – El Independiente


WhatsApp asked by European regulators to pause sharing user data with Facebook | Technology | The Guardian

The letters come as European nations express concern over WhatsApp’s changes and Yahoo’s mishandling of its hack and the revelations over US intelligence operations.

Fuente: WhatsApp asked by European regulators to pause sharing user data with Facebook | Technology | The Guardian


Europe’s Top Human Rights Court Will Consider Legality of Surveillance Exposed by Edward Snowden

Ten organizations – including Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Amnesty International – are taking up the landmark case against the U.K. government in the European Court of Human Rights (pictured above). In a 115-page complaint released on Thursday, the groups allege that “blanket and indiscriminate” surveillance operations carried out by British spy agencies in collaboration with their U.S. counterparts violate privacy and freedom of expression rights.

Fuente: Europe’s Top Human Rights Court Will Consider Legality of Surveillance Exposed by Edward Snowden


¿Está perdida la lucha por hacer más justo el régimen de derecho de autor? | Derechos Digitales

Mientras el debate siga secuestrado por la óptica comercial, los titulares de derechos y sus intereses, la discusión real en torno a acceso al conocimiento, a la participación en la actividad cultural y la libertad de expresión tienen poco espacio fértil. Y con ello, las posibilidades de una reforma seria y justa son escasas.

Fuente: ¿Está perdida la lucha por hacer más justo el régimen de derecho de autor? | Derechos Digitales


Brussels takes a backward step on digital copyright – FT.com

Its remedies are not novel and reflect complaints from publishers about the way they claim content aggregation sites such as Google misuse their copyright. But they are also unrealistic and unlikely to stick.

Fuente: Brussels takes a backward step on digital copyright – FT.com


Apple ordered to pay up to €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws | Business | The Guardian

European commission says Apple got illegal help with tax breaks but CEO Tim Cook says ruling threatens investment in Europe

Fuente: Apple ordered to pay up to €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws | Business | The Guardian


Luxemburger Wort – US steps up fight against EU tax crackdown on Apple

The US stepped up its fight against the European Commission’s crackdown on tax avoidance by Apple and other multinational companies, accusing the commission of unilateralism and overstepping its mandate.In a white paper, the US Treasury said the EC probe into alleged special tax treatment that certain EU countries gave Apple, Amazon, Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler “undermines the international tax system.”

Fuente: Luxemburger Wort – US steps up fight against EU tax crackdown on Apple


Brussels to tighten grip on web services in telecoms shake-up – FT.com

Brussels will tighten its regulatory grip over online services such as WhatsApp and Skype in a radical overhaul of the EU’s rules on telecoms due out in September. According to internal documents seen by the Financial Times, so-called “over-the-top” services operated by groups such as Facebook, which runs WhatsApp, and Skype owner Microsoft would in future have to abide by “security and confidentiality provisions” demanded by the EU.

Fuente: Brussels to tighten grip on web services in telecoms shake-up – FT.com


Microsoft, en el punto de mira de la AEPD por la dudosa privacidad de Windows 10. Noticias de Tecnología

La Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) tiene a Microsoft en el punto de mira. ¿El motivo? Existe preocupación relacionada con Windows 10 y el tratamiento de los datos de los usuarios. “La AEPD está estudiando el funcionamiento de Windows 10”, explican fuentes de la agencia después de que su homólogo francés, la Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL, en sus siglas en inglés), haya exigido a Redmond en las últimas horas que debe acatar las leyes francesas de protección de datos en un plazo máximo de tres meses.

Fuente: Microsoft, en el punto de mira de la AEPD por la dudosa privacidad de Windows 10. Noticias de Tecnología


Google to be hit by new complaint from Brussels – FT.com

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, is planning to issue two separate “statements of objections” against the company for allegedly abusing its market power in online advertising and shopping, said people familiar with the case.

Fuente: Google to be hit by new complaint from Brussels – FT.com


Brussels shows it cares about disrupters – FT.com

The gig economy. The sharing economy. The collaborative economy. Whatever you prefer to call it, the European Commission is trying to harmonise how countries in the EU regulate it.Brussels issued guidelines on Thursday on how national governments should treat disruptive companies such as Uber and Airbnb.

Fuente: Brussels shows it cares about disrupters – FT.com


LuxLeaks: ¿Revelación de secretos o servicio público?

La última sesión del juicio a los acusados de la filtración de los papeles del escándalo LuxLeaks augura penas de 18 meses de prisión y multasHacemos un repaso de la historia que llevó a dos trabajadores de una consultora encargada de auditar las cuentas de varias empresas a filtrar información

Fuente: LuxLeaks: ¿Revelación de secretos o servicio público?


LuxLeaks prosecutors seek jail term of 18 months for whistleblowers | Business | The Guardian

Prosecutors in Luxembourg have called for two whistleblowers on trial over the so-called LuxLeaks scandal to be jailed for 18 months and for a journalist to be fined.Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet, French former employees of auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), are accused of leaking thousands of documents to journalist Edouard Perrin.The documents revealed the huge tax breaks that Luxembourg offered international firms including Apple, Ikea and Pepsi, saving the companies billions of euros in taxes.

Fuente: LuxLeaks prosecutors seek jail term of 18 months for whistleblowers | Business | The Guardian


Privacy activist launches EU-wide challenge to ‘ad blocker blockers’ — FT.com

Publishers who use “ad blocker blockers” face a range of legal challenges across the EU in the latest fight over the increasingly popular but controversial technology. .Ad blockers, which allow browsing free of pop-ups or pre-roll adverts on videos, have come under attack recently from publishers who rely on advertising to pay the bills.Publishers ranging from The New York Times to the technology magazine Wired have taken the step of introducing pop-ups asking users to switch off their ad blockers, and in some cases blocking those who refuse to do so.

Fuente: Privacy activist launches EU-wide challenge to ‘ad blocker blockers’ — FT.com


Google search engine baffles public, Ofcom study shows — FT.com

Half of adults in Britain are unable to identify which Google search results are paid advertisements, according to a study by communications regulator Ofcom.The findings reveal a widespread lack of understanding about the workings of the world’s most popular search engine. They also come as Google faces increased regulatory scrutiny by European authorities.

Fuente: Google search engine baffles public, Ofcom study shows — FT.com


EU widens battle with Google – FT.com

The EU widened its landmark antitrust battle against Google on Wednesday, accusing the US technology group of abusing its dominance of the smartphone operating system Android.The new charge sheet will deepen US concerns that Margrethe Vestager, competition commissioner, is disproportionately targeting US technology companies with her antitrust and tax avoidance cases against Apple, Google, Amazon and Qualcomm.

Fuente: EU widens battle with Google – FT.com


New Safe Harbor Data “Deal” May Be More Politicking Than Surveillance Reform

European privacy activists criticized a new Safe Harbor data agreement with the U.S. as a superficial political fix that fails to address NSA spying.

Fuente: New Safe Harbor Data “Deal” May Be More Politicking Than Surveillance Reform


EU agrees strict new regime on data protection – FT.com

The European Union agreed strict new rules on data protection on Tuesday, heralding a new era of major fines for companies who break privacy rules. Businesses face sanctions of up to 4 per cent of global turnover under the agreement, meaning that

Fuente: EU agrees strict new regime on data protection – FT.com


US tech groups spawn a fight between Europe’s data regulators – FT.com

US tech groups spawn a fight between Europe’s data regulators – FT.com.

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Google, Facebook, Apple and now Twitter: the list of companies that submit to Ireland’s data protection regime is a long and growing one.

Twitter last week confirmed that any complaints about data protection from its non-US users will be dealt with by Ireland’s increasingly busy data protection agency.

But not everyone is happy. In Brussels and national capitals across the continent, critics have been grumbling that Dublin’s enforcement of European data protection rules is too weak.

The fact that the Irish Data Protection Commission is housed in Canal House, a dingy looking building on Station Road in Portalington, an hour outside Dublin, is regularly brought up as an example of the limited resources given to data protection — much to the chagrin of Dara Murphy, Ireland’s data protection minister.

“I marvel at the fact that people feel that business can’t be conducted over a grocery shop,” he says.

The Irish say they follow the same rules as everyone else and that the criticism is based less on the basis of enforcement but on the fact that companies such as Twitter and LinkedIn opted for Dublin over Paris, Berlin or Amsterdam.

Mr Murphy believes the arrival of the US technology groups in Ireland has created both jobs and jealousy. “I think if they were all based in Paris, you would not be having the debate coming from France,” he says.

Ireland has also doubled funding for the IDPC to €3.65m. It will also soon open a swankier office in Dublin — while maintaining the office above a shop — and hire two dozen more staff, taking its headcount to around 50.

Even then, however, it will still lack the resources of its peers. Despite the fact that the IDPC oversees the regulation for 29 of the 30 biggest technology businesses in Europe, its budget is eight times smaller than the UK’s regulator.

Ireland also has a more low-key approach than other DPAs. There is regular communication between the IDPC and large US technology groups, with an emphasis on collaboration rather than confrontation. This suits the web giants that have made Ireland their European home over the past decade.

 


Google’s dominance faces a challenge at last. Shame it’s too late | Comment is free | The Guardian

Google’s dominance faces a challenge at last. Shame it’s too late | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Denmarks Economy Minister Margrethe Vest Taking on the search giant: EC competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Photograph: Keld Navntoft/AFP/Getty Images

So the European commission has finally decided that Google may have a case to answer in relation to claims that it has been abusing its monopoly position in search. On Thursday, Margrethe Vestager, the competition commissioner, announced that the preliminary findings of the commission’s investigation supported the claim that Google “systematically” gave prominence to its own ads, which amounted to an abuse of its dominant position in search. “I’m concerned,” she said, “that Google has artificially boosted its presence in the comparison shopping market with the result that consumers may not necessarily see what’s most relevant for them or that competitors may not get the commercial opportunity that their innovative services deserve.” Google, which, needless to say, disputes these claims, now has 10 weeks in which to respond.

To those of us who follow these things, the most interesting thing about Thursday’s announcement is the way it highlights the radical differences that are emerging between European and American attitudes to internet giants. The Wall Street Journal recently revealed that the US Federal Trade Commission had investigated similar claims about Google’s abuse of monopoly power in 2012 and that some of the agency’s staff had recommended charging the company with violating antitrust (unfair competition) laws. But in the end, the FTC backed off.

Now it turns out that its staff had been in regular communication with the European commission’s investigators in Brussels, which means that the Europeans knew what the Americans knew about Google’s activities. But the commission has acted, whereas the FTC did not. Why?

Leaving aside conspiracist explanations (eg that the American authorities don’t wish to enfeeble US companies that will ensure continued US economic hegemony in the digital era), the difference may be a reflection of the way in which antitrust law has been gradually infected by neoliberal ideology. Once upon a time, it was taken for granted that industrial monopolies were, by their very nature, intolerable for the simple reason that, as Lord Acton famously observed, power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

But then a radically different idea was injected into the legislative bloodstream by Robert Bork, a distinguished American lawyer, in his 1978 book, The Antitrust Paradox. One implication of Bork’s argument was that overwhelming market dominance was not necessarily a bad thing. Monopoly could be a reflection of a firm’s superior efficiency: we should expect truly exceptional firms to attract the majority of the customers, and so overzealous antitrust prosecutions could effectively punish excellence and thus disadvantage, rather than protect, consumers.


Bruselas acusa a Google y abre una investigación sobre Android | Economía | EL PAÍS

Bruselas acusa a Google y abre una investigación sobre Android | Economía | EL PAÍS.


La Comisión actúa contra el buscador por abuso de posición dominante al favorecer sus productos en las búsquedas

Google

El logo de Google, en su sede de Bruselas. / VIRGINIA MAYO (AP)

Bruselas ha iniciado la mayor ofensiva planteada hasta ahora contra el todopoderoso buscador Google. Tras cinco años de dudas, la Comisión Europea acusó ayer al gigante estadounidense de abuso de posición dominante en el mercado de las búsquedas, una decisión ya anticipada en los últimos días. Las autoridades de Competencia creen que Google discrimina a sus competidores al otorgar siempre, en las búsquedas de Internet, un lugar privilegiado a sus propios servicios especializados. La empresa deberá ahora defenderse y, si sus alegaciones no convencen al Ejecutivo comunitario, este podrá imponer multas de hasta un 10% de la facturación de la compañía (un máximo de 6.200 millones de euros, aunque esa cuantía resulta bastante improbable).

Consciente de que este movimiento abre un enfrentamiento con Estados Unidos, la comisaria de Competencia, Margrethe Vestager, trató de restar importancia a la dimensión territorial de esta batalla: “Ni mis hijos ni yo consideraríamos nunca, al usar Google, si se trata de una compañía estadounidense o europea, sino el hecho de que tenga buenos productos. El problema no es que sea una empresa dominante, sino que dé trato preferencial a sus propios servicios”.

Vestager añadió que uno de cada cuatro denunciantes de Google —hay una veintena que han presentado quejas a la Comisión solo por las supuestas discriminaciones en las búsquedas— son estadounidenses.

Pese a todo, el caso Google ha adquirido un cariz muy político en el que dirigentes alemanes y franceses han protestado abiertamente sobre el poder de la firma estadounidense y el propio presidente Barack Obama ha recelado del proceso europeo. Quizá por eso, la comisaria danesa ha limitado enormemente el alcance de acción contra Google para concentrarla en el caso más claro y sobre el que ha recibido más denuncias de terceros: la infracción de las leyes europeas en las búsquedas que hacen los usuarios para comparar precios de un mismo producto.

El buscador, que tiene una cuota de mercado superior al 90% en casi todos los países europeos —en Estados Unidos es inferior al 80%—, muestra siempre en primer lugar su propia oferta comparativa, de nombre Google Shopping. Independientemente de si lo merece o no, ese servicio obtiene una posición privilegiada desde 2008, lo que resta visibilidad a sus rivales. Bruselas alega que en un principio, cuando Google no empleaba esa conducta, los resultados de su servicio de compras, entonces llamado Froogle, eran muy pobres. Con el trato privilegiado, su cuota comenzó a crecer.


Google rechaza acusación de “abuso de posición dominante” por parte de la Comisión Europea – El Mostrador

Google rechaza acusación de “abuso de posición dominante” por parte de la Comisión Europea – El Mostrador.

La CE cree que el gigante informático “abusó de su posición dominante en los mercados de los servicios generales de búsquedas en internet en el espacio económico europeo, favoreciendo sistemáticamente la comparación de su propio producto de compra en las páginas de resultados de búsquedas generales”.

google

El gigante estadounidense de la tecnología Google se mostró este miércoles en “fuerte desacuerdo” con la decisión de la Comisión Europea (CE) de acusarle formalmente de abusar de su posición de dominio al favorecer sus propios productos en las búsquedas en Internet.

Google afirma en una entrada de su blog europeo titulada “La búsqueda del daño”, que por ello “disiente respetuosa pero enérgicamente” con el envío de un pliego de cargos como ha hecho hoy el Ejecutivo comunitario.

La multinacional de internet recalca en su blog que está deseando explicarse y defender su caso ante la CE en las próximas semanas, indicó el vicepresidente sénior de Google Search (Buscador), Amit Singhal, en el blog europeo de la compañía.

La CE cree que el gigante informático “abusó de su posición dominante en los mercados de los servicios generales de búsquedas en internet en el espacio económico europeo, favoreciendo sistemáticamente la comparación de su propio producto de compra en las páginas de resultados de búsquedas generales”.

En paralelo, la Comisión anunció una investigación sobre “la conducta de Google en relación con el sistema operativo móvil Android”, porque quiere saber si ha impulsado acuerdos “anticompetitivos” o “abusado de una posible posición de dominio” en el campo de los sistemas operativos para móviles inteligentes.


Brussels to investigate Google’s Android platform – FT.com

Brussels to investigate Google’s Android platform – FT.com.

 

An employee views movie titles on the blinkbox website as he demonstrates Tesco Plc's new Hudl tablet handheld device during its launch in London, United Kingdom, on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. Tesco, the U.K.'s biggest retailer, today launched it's own tablet handheld device which will run Google Inc.'s Android operating system. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg©Bloomberg

Brussels will launch a formal investigation into Google’s Android smartphone platform on Wednesday, opening a fresh front in the EU’s antitrust battle with the US group.

As well as accusing Google’s search business of breaking antitrust laws, Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, will unveil a separate probe into whether Google foists uncompetitive terms on smartphone providers using Android.

The European Commission has informally examined Android for almost three years and strongly hinted that it has some concerns in the wake of complaints from companies including Microsoft and Nokia, which make the rival Windows phone range.

According to people familiar with the planned investigation, the commission is to focus on two main areas: the distribution terms for Google’s “suite” of apps, and the compatibility tests to become an official version of Android-carrying Google apps.While widely expected, the formal launch of an investigation will nevertheless be a blow to Google and add a further layer of complication to its regulatory travails in Europe, which touch on everything from privacy policy to alleged search bias.

 


Europe accuses Google of illegally abusing its dominance – FT.com

Europe accuses Google of illegally abusing its dominance – FT.co

 

European Union's competition chief Margrethe Vestager speaks during a media conference regarding Google at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. The European Union's executive hit Google with an official antitrust complaint on Wednesday that alleges the company abuses its dominance in Internet searches and also opened a probe into its Android mobile system. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)©AP

The EU’s antitrust chief has formally accused Google of illegally using its dominance in online search to steer European consumers to its own in-house shopping services in the opening salvo of what is expected to be a defining competition case of the internet era.

Margrethe Vestager also announced the European Commission would open an investigation into Google’s Android mobile platform amid allegations it forces wireless companies into uncompetitive contracts to use its software.

Ms Vestager made clear the move against Google Shopping was potentially just the first step in her case. She said her staff continued to investigate whether other Google services, such as its travel search function, similarly advantaged the company’s in-house service providers. She vowed to widen the case if abuses were found.

“I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules,” Ms Vestager said. “Google now has the opportunity to convince the commission to the contrary.”

In an outline of its so-called statement of objections, the commission said that the US-based tech giant “systematically positions and prominently displays” its own shopping service in search results regardless of its merits, arguing the conduct started in 2008.

The commission said the conduct enabled Google’s service to achieve “higher rates of growth, to the detriment of rival comparison shopping services”.

Shopping was the first area in which the commission received a complaint over Google’s conduct, from the British price comparison site, Foundem. The complaints have since snowballed to include online travel services such as Expedia, as well as large players including Microsoft, and French and German publishers.

Google now has 10 weeks to respond and allay the commission’s concerns. It also has a right to a hearing in the coming months, normally attended by national representatives, in which all the main arguments can be aired.

If Google’s defence is unsuccessful, it faces a large fine, theoretically as much as 10 per cent of the previous year’s turnover, some $66bn in 2014.

 


Reforma al copyright en Europa es demasiado positiva para los ciudadanos: Disney, Elsevier, y otros tienen 2 meses para detenerla | Manzana Mecánica

Reforma al copyright en Europa es demasiado positiva para los ciudadanos: Disney, Elsevier, y otros tienen 2 meses para detenerla | Manzana Mecánica.

Lunes 6 Abr 2015

El Parlamento Europeo está evaluando cambios a la directiva europea sobre copyright, que data del 2001. La propuesta base es la desarrollada por Julia Reda, que basada en una consulta ciudadana, propone un mercado digital único para Europa y una serie de derechos para los ciudadanos, bibliotecas, y instituciones de enseñanza con el objeto de difundir la ciencia y la cultura.

El mercado digital único para Europa significará el fin del mensaje “este vídeo no está disponible en tu país,” al establecer que la licencia de uso de contenido en un país europeo será válida para cualquier otro país europeo.

La respuesta de los dos grupos mayoritarios del parlamento europeo, socialdemócratas y populares, ha sido bastante negativa hasta el momento. En total, se han introducido más de 500 enmiendas. Muchas de ellas pueden resumirse en una sola frase: no queremos que cambie nada.

¿Quiénes están detrás de esta feroz oposición a una reforma? Gracias a medidas de transparencia, conocemos la lista de empresas que han solicitado reuniones con parlamentarios europeos para discutir este proyecto. Estas empresas incluyen a Disney, Elsevier, y Vivendi, además de las sociedades de “derecho de autor” de varios países europeos, las cuales básicamente representan los intereses de los intermediarios culturales como editoriales y discográficas.

En los últimos años el intenso lobby de esta industria ha conseguido avances impensables, extremadamente peligrosos para los propios ciudadanos europeos. Por ejemplo, en Francia compartir archivos por Internet tiene ahora una pena similar a la del homicidio involuntario, y en España mientras que matar a alguien por imprudencia grave (por ejemplo, por jugar con una pistola cargada) tiene una pena máxima de 4 años de cárcel, tener una página de enlaces puede castigarse con 6 años de cárcel.

En contraste, la propuesta de Julia Reda propone armonizar en la Unión Europea las excepciones al copyright, como el derecho a citar y a parodiar, además permitir a las bibliotecas digitalizar libros y prestarlos como e-books, pagando el importe correspondiente. La reforma toca muchos otros aspectos relacionados con los derechos de los usuarios sobre sus propias creaciones digitales, por ejemplo, establece que las fotografías de monumentos en espacios públicos no necesitan pagar derechos a los dueños de estos monumentos.


Facebook admits it tracks non-users, but denies claims it breaches EU privacy law | Technology | The Guardian

Facebook admits it tracks non-users, but denies claims it breaches EU privacy law | Technology | The Guardian.

 facebook app
Facebook claims report stating it breaches EU data privacy law ‘gets it wrong’, but admits to tracking non-users. Photograph: Anatolii Babii / Alamy/Alamy

Facebook has admitted that it tracked users who do not have an account with the social network, but says that the tracking only happened because of a bug that is now being fixed.

The social network hit out at the report commissioned by the Belgian data protection authority, which found Facebook in breach of European data privacy laws, saying that the report “gets it wrong multiple times in asserting how Facebook uses information”.

“The researchers did find a bug that may have sent cookies to some people when they weren’t on Facebook. This was not our intention – a fix for this is already under way,” wrote Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice president of policy for Europe in a rebuttal.

Allan listed and responded to eight claims isolated from the report written by researchers at the Centre of Interdisciplinary Law and ICT (ICRI) and the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography department (Cosic) at the University of Leuven, and the media, information and telecommunication department (Smit) at Vrije Universiteit Brussels.

Some of the claims listed by Facebook are not made in the report, including one that states “there’s no way to opt out of social ads”. The report clearly states that “users can opt-out from appearing in so-called Social Ads”.

“Facebook’s latest press release (entitled “Setting the record straight”) attributes statements to us that we simply did not make,” said authors of the study Brendan Van Alsenoy from the ICRI and Günes Acar from Cosic.


Data privacy: the tide is turning in Europe – but is it too little, too late? | Technology | The Guardian

Data privacy: the tide is turning in Europe – but is it too little, too late? | Technology | The Guardian.

Simultaneous legal cases suggest that the need to assert the digital rights of citizens over corporations and governments is finally being addressed

Max Schrems
Cases such as Max Schrems’ lawsuit against Facebook are asserting fundamental rights of privacy and data protection. Photograph: Max Schrems/Europe-V-Facebook.or/PA

Amazon Dash – the company’s single purpose internet-connected ordering button – may soon be blackening our skies with drones delivering loo rolls and detergent. And so, the relentless march of technology – not to mention cheap labour, unthinking consumerism and scandalous environmental devastation – goes on.

But while more convenient ordering of washing powder might have captured the headlines of late, Europe has been in the midst of a technological step change; a pivot in the world of data privacy.

Several notable events at the end of March, in Luxembourg, London and Geneva, show a glimmer of hope that those frail, beaten rights – privacy and data protection – might yet see their true worth in the digital age.

A moment, first, in defence of privacy – reports of whose death are, I hope, greatly exaggerated.

Privacy is a right for all – not just the filthy rich

Many fall into the trap of seeing privacy in an overly atomistic, individualistic, selfish way; the preserve of the filthy rich. And it is, if we see it as separable from collective freedom, or as absolute over other rights – of freedom of expression, opinion and association; freedom to protest; freedom to resist. But this is not privacy’s ask.

Privacy is about having decisional power, control, over which acts and events of our lives are disclosed and to whom, free from the prying eyes of states, corporations and neighbours. Privacy affords us the freedom to develop ourselves in the world.

The crux of the issue with digital technology is that our ability to make decisions and to control our personal information – the links and traces of our lives – is all but lost. Mostly without our knowledge, and certainly without informed consent, nation states sweep our data alleging ‘national security’ interests, whether legitimate or not. Corporations sweep our data, because they have powerful economic incentives to do so – and, with the capitalist lurch, no reason not to.

So what can be done to reclaim this systematic erosion; to reinstate rights over the long echo of our digital whispers and wanderings? In Europe, there are some rumblings of resistance. They are the rumblings of citizens, of regulators, of courts. And they are starting to find their voice.