Hammond details scope of email surveillance in UK
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed that British authorities collect private emails and social media messages sent to or from countries outside of the UK. Hammond said that although the collection of this data was without ministerial sign off, none of the messages are individually examined without a signed warrant from him granting permission. Hammond added that the public should have confidence as Britain lacked the resources to analyse mass data.
New European Data Protection Supervisor nominated
Giovanni Buttarelli was voted for the post of European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) last week by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Referred to as the “privacy watchdog”, the EDPS’ main objective is ensuring that the European institutions, bodies, agencies and offices respect the privacy of citizen data. The Committee’s nominations will be voted on by the Parliament’s plenary session, and subsequently by the EU Council.
Alarming HIPAA results
In the phase one audits under the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), in which organisations were randomly selected to be audited, only 11% of those investigated came back with a clean bill of health. The most common cause for a violation was listed as “entity unaware of the requirement”. Those entities covered by HIPAA should ensure that they are familiar with the requirements as the second phase of audits is scheduled to begin at the end of this year and it is reported that it will carry financial penalties for the first time.
FCC intends to fine carriers that breach consumer privacy
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intends to fine TerraCom, Inc. and YourTel America, Inc. USD 10 million for several violations of laws protecting the privacy of phone customers’ personal information. According to the FCC’s investigation the two companies apparently stored sensitive information belonging to their customers on unprotected servers that anyone could have gained access to. This is reportedly the FCC’s first data security case and the largest privacy action in the FCC’s history.
Japan’s “Right to be Forgotten Case”
Earlier this month, a judge in Tokyo’s District Court granted a provisional injunction against Google ordering the search engine to delete a particular set of search results. The plaintiff claimed his privacy rights had been violated by the inclusion of news articles containing information over 10 years old suggesting that he had a criminal past. The plaintiff alleged that his claim for damages was “immediate and actual” as he had received death threats because of the articles. The court’s written opinion has not been made public and it is as yet unclear whether the Japanese courts will recognise the “right to be forgotten” as the European Court of Justice did in May.
India’s Air Force asked not to use Xiaomi phones
India’s Air Force (IAF) has asked its personnel and their families not to use Xiaomi Redmi1s phones due to fears that they are transferring data to their servers in China. Xiaomi is the world’s fifth largest, and China’s number one, smartphone maker and is reported to be trying to make inroads into India’s booming mobile phone market. Stressing that it does not collect any user data without permission, Xiaomi said on Sunday that it will engage with Indian authorities to address the concerns.