EU Issues Overview – 6 August – 12 August 2016 Thumbnail
Newsletters 15 August 2016

EU Issues Overview – 6 August – 12 August 2016

Data Protection

EU: National enforcers to help organizations comply GDPR

  • Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, Chair of Article 29 Working Party and French privacy watchdog Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL), explained how the main focus is on helping organizations comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • GDPR will enter into force in May 2018 and imposes stricter rules on how businesses handle privacy information in the EU, and will enable enhanced individual control over personal data.

Access and Net Neutrality

India: Facebook testing express Wi-Fi service

  • Facebook has confirmed to be at an early stage of developing a Wi-Fi service together with Indian Internet service providers (ISPs).
  • Express Wi-Fi enables phone owners to purchase data from local Internet service providers; at present, there are 125 Wi-Fi hotspots in place in rural India.
  • In February this year, Facebook’s Free Basics was blocked by India’s telecoms regulator, citing net neutrality concerns.


EU: Copyright safe harbours are outlets for innovation

  • Michael Beckerman, CEO of the Internet Association, published a blog post on 9 August discussing copyright safe harbours. He expressed concerns towards reports suggesting the European Commission is considering a departure from its currently shared position with the US on safe harbours.
  • Safe harbours limit Internet platform liability for content generated by users and have allowed for the Internet to scale.
  • Beckerman referred to the potential negative impact of changes to EU legislation on the ability of US tech companies to operate in the EU and on the level of investment in EU-based Internet companies; he opined that intermediary liability laws are an opportunity for technology innovation to drive global economic growth.


Global: Sophisticated form of malware goes undetected for five years

  • A malware designed to spy on infected computers called Project Sauron seemingly operated for five years within a number of government, scientific, military, telecoms and financial organizations.
  • A state-funded group, not publicly disclosed, was reportedly behind the malware that has affected over 30 entities in Russia, Iran and Rwanda.
  • Experts from US technology firm Symantec claimed to have detected the malware in additional countries, including a Chinese airline and an unnamed embassy in Belgium. Symantec explained how the malware can steal files, log all keystrokes and enable access to a wide range of files.
  • A further report – released by Russian software company Kaspersky – explained how Project Sauron operates in many forms and does not always use the same methods of operating.

Australia: Census victim of overseas cyberattacks

  • Millions of Australians were unable to participate in the national census survey on 9 August as the census website was shut down due to a number of cyberattacks.
  • Beforehand, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) had assured the website was secured as two-thirds of Australians were expected to undertake the survey this year. Following the breach, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed the personal information of participants was not compromised.

EU: Study reveals cost of cyberattacks are difficult to quantify

  • A study published by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) on 5 August assessed the economic impact on economies, business and citizens of incidents affecting critical information infrastructures (CIIs) in the EU.
  • ENISA opined that Cybercrime continues to be on the rise, with the highest economic impact produced by malicious insiders, denial of services and website attacks.
  • While the report found that the cost of cybercrime can reach up to EUR 15 million per organization, ENISA caveated this by noting estimating the implications of a cyberattack is almost impossible.


Global: Smartphone technology reaches banking industry

  • In an effort to secure fair competition, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concluded that new apps should be introduced by banks by the beginning of 2018, with the aim of increasing innovation and competition in the banking sector.
  • Alasdair Smith, Chair of the CMA’s retail banking investigation, noted his intention to reform retail banking and offer a better service for customers and small businesses.


Global: Facebook overrides ad-blockers after finding users wide use of filters to prevent pop-ups

  • Facebook explained it will change its approach to advertising, so that advertisements will appear on the Facebook desktop even for those users currently using ad-blocking software.
  • Having surveyed why its users activate ad-blockers, Facebook stated that Internet users use ad-blockers to prevent the adverts that block content they are aiming to view or that conduct them towards other websites, rather than being opposed to advertisements per se.
  • Facebook’s decision has already triggered a response from AdBlock Plus, a well-known content-filtering service, which declared this approach will be ineffective and will lead to users finding ways to circumvent.
  • On 10 August, Facebook enabled users to change their advert preferences and redesigned its advertisement formats.

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