Google must pay €50 million for GDPR violations, France says

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 21 January 2019
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CNIL explained that Google had violated two provisions of the law: first by not making its data-collection policies easily accessible enough and second by not obtaining sufficient and specific user consent for ad personalization across each of Google’s numerous services, including YouTube, Google Maps, and more.

Noyb, an English acronym for "None of your business," has also filed related complaints against Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook, which remain pending.

Good to see that courts are taking privacy serious and fine the big companies too.

German police ask router owners for help in identifying a bomber's MAC address

Found on ZD Net on Sunday, 13 January 2019
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In a press release published yesterday, police from the German state of Brandenburg, where the city of Berlin is located, is now asking router owners to comb through their logs for a specific MAC address.

The suspect demanded large sums of money from DHL and threatened to detonate bombs across Germany, at DHL courier stations, private companies, and in public spaces.

Unfortunately, the MAC address is considered as personally identifiable information so it would be covered by the DSGVO/GDPR. So router owners are legally not allowed to store this information, especially not for more than a year.

Amazon Dash Buttons Ruled Illegal in Germany

Found on Gizmodo on Saturday, 12 January 2019
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The watchdog organization complained that Amazon’s terms enable the company to switch out an ordered product with something else, and the buttons break laws protecting shoppers from buying things they are not fully informed about, according to Reuters.

“The decision is not only against innovation, it also prevents customers from making an informed choice for themselves about whether a service like Dash Button is a convenient way for them to shop,” the spokesperson said.

Of course Amazon thinks the ruling is bad. On the other hand, ordering a specific product and instead getting some replacement without notification isn't what the majority of consumers would like. Same for price changes. Generally, shopping everyday products via Amazon is pretty retarded anyway; and even if you have to order them, looking at the seller's own, non-Amazon shop can be a really good idea because more often than not, the identical product is sold for less there.

The Feds Cracked El Chapo's Encrypted Comms Network by Flipping His System Admin

Found on Gizmodo on Thursday, 10 January 2019
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On Tuesday it was revealed that the FBI had lured Rodriguez into a meeting with an agent posing as a potential customer much earlier, in February 2010, according to a report in the New York Times. Later, they flipped Rodriguez, having him transfer servers from Canada to the Netherlands in a move masked as an upgrade. During that process, Rodriguez slipped investigators the network’s encryption keys.

Rodriguez won't have much chance to turn into an old man. Cartels are not very nice to people who play tricks on them.

A Grindr harassment suit could change the legal landscape for tech — and free speech

Found on NBC News on Sunday, 06 January 2019
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Matthew Herrick, a restaurant worker and aspiring actor in New York, claimed that for months an ex-boyfriend used the dating app Grindr to harass him.

Herrick is pursuing an unusual legal theory as he continues to push back against Grindr, arguing that tech companies should face greater accountability for what happens on their platforms. His lawsuit alleges that the software developers who write code for Grindr have been negligent, producing an app that’s defective in its design and that is “fundamentally unsafe” and “unreasonably dangerous” — echoing language that’s more typically used in lawsuits about, say, a faulty kitchen appliance or a defective car part.

So, Herrick knew who created the fake profiles to harrass him and instead of pushing with all legal options against his ex, he also pulls a platform into the boat? As long as Grindr deactivated the fake profiles as soon as they were pointed out, there's no reason to sue them.

Domain Registrar Can be Held Liable for Pirate Site, Court Rules

Found on Torrentfreak on Monday, 24 December 2018
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The Higher Regional Court of Saarbrücken has confirmed that domain registrars can be held liable for the infringements of pirate sites. Even a single link can require a registrar to take a domain offline.

Lawyer Mirko Brüß notes that, in this case, the court clarified that registrars not only have to take a domain offline, they should also prevent it from being transferred to another company.

Please, everybody, post links to copyrighted material at Facebook.

Apple yanks iPhone from sale in Germany – and maybe China soon, too – amid Qualcomm spat

Found on The Register on Thursday, 20 December 2018
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The iGiant acknowledged that its flagship product had been taken off the shelves in all its stores in Germany, although it will still be available through third parties.

Qualcomm claims that as soon as it posts bonds "which will be completed within a few days" the injunction in Germany will be effective and "immediately enforceable."

Sometimes, lawsuits can be pretty good.

Facebook spooked after MPs seize documents for privacy breach probe

Found on The Register on Monday, 26 November 2018
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The cache allegedly shows internal messages – including from Mark Zuckerberg – that demonstrate the social network actively exploited a loophole in its policies on access to users' friends' data that allowed Cambridge Analytica to walk away with info on 87 million people.

The decision to seize the documents marks a major escalation in what was, until now, mostly a war of words between the parties. Zuck has flatly refused MPs' requests that he give evidence in their inquiry.

"Zuckerberg weaponised the data of one-third of the planet's population in order to cover up his failure to transition Facebook's business from desktop computers to mobile ads," The Guardian reported the document as saying.

Go directly to Jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info

Found on The Register on Saturday, 17 November 2018
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The dossier's authors found that the Windows goliath was collecting telemetry and other content from its Office applications, including email titles and sentences where translation or spellchecker was used, and secretly storing the data on systems in the United States. That's a no-no.

The investigation was jumpstarted by the fact that Microsoft doesn't publicly reveal what information it gathers on users and doesn't provide an option for turning off diagnostic and telemetry data sent by its Office software to the company as a way of monitoring how well it is functioning and identifying any software issues.

One example: if you use the backspace key several times in a row – suggesting you aren’t sure of the spelling of a particular word – or look up or translate a word through its system, then Microsoft stores the sentence before and after that event.

Sweet. Microsoft consequently ignored requests and inquiries from users about its extensive data collection habits. Even if they replied, it was only to downplay and sugarcoat everything. Now Microsoft will hopefully get a very hefty bill for violating the privacy of the users and for not giving them an option to truly opt-out. Let's hope for a penalty of 4 percent of the company's total worldwide annual sales.

Facebook fined £500,000 for Cambridge Analytica scandal

Found on BBC News on Thursday, 25 October 2018
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The fine is the maximum allowed under the old data protection rules that applied before GDPR took effect in May.

"Facebook also failed to keep the personal information secure because it failed to make suitable checks on apps and developers using its platform."

Sadly, that's just pocket change for Zuckerberg.