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Are Most Data Flows Out of Europe Now Illegal?

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Sara Kurfeß

American businesses are facing another data privacy headache. In July, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield framework, a mechanism that more than 5,000 US companies used to legally transfer data from the EU to the US under EU data protection rules. As with prior rulings, the foundation of the decision is that US government surveillance for national security purposes jeopardizes the security of EU citizens’ data. Companies who relied on Privacy Shield are scrambling to find alternate ways to move data, despite the fact that those that were certified under the framework are still required to uphold their Privacy Shield commitments. But the fact that organizations can no longer rely on Privacy Shield is the less important part of the ruling. Yes, it’s frustrating to have spent time, money and effort on compliance only to have the rug ripped out from under you. Let’s focus on the most pressing outcome of the ruling, which is CJEU’s assertion that when using the EU Standard Contractual Clauses, and therefore other mechanisms for transfer, there is “an obligation on a data exporter and the recipient of the data to verify, prior …

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Cable Appointed Chief of New Data Privacy and Security Division in Mass. AG’s Office

cable appointed chief of new data privacy and security division in mass. ag’s office

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Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has announced the creation of the Data Privacy and Security Division within her office to protect consumers from threats to the privacy and security of their data.
Healey has also named Sara Cable as chief of the new Data Privacy and Security Division.

“The Data Privacy and Security Division will build on our office’s commitment to empowering Massachusetts consumers in the digital economy, ensuring that companies are protecting personal data, and promoting equal and open access to the internet,” Healey said in a press release issued by her office. “Sara has spearheaded these efforts within our office for years, and we are excited to have her leading this new division.”
As division chief, Cable will expand the office’s work protecting consumers’ data privacy and empower consumers in the digital economy while also promoting equal and open access to the internet.
Cable has served as the director of Data Privacy and Security within the AG’s Consumer Protection Division since 2016. In this position, she has spearheaded the office’s cybersecurity and data privacy protection efforts, including bringing an enforcement action against Equifax Inc. over its 2017 data breach that resulted in an $18.2 million …

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Consumer privacy group files privacy breach court case against Oracle and Salesforce – DutchNews.nl

consumer privacy group files privacy breach court case against oracle and salesforce – dutchnews.nl

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Photo: Depositphotos.comA Dutch consumer privacy group has brought a class action claim against tech giants Oracle and Salesforce, alleging that their involvement in placing third party cookies to help track and target internet users with adverts breaches privacy laws.The Privacy Collective, a non-for-profit foundation, claims that the tech giants are effectively using Dutch customer data without their explicit consent and has taken them to court, claiming at least €10bn in damages. A similar case, also fully funded by Innsworth litigation funder, is set to be filed in England and Wales.Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, co-founder of Bureau Brandeis, is representing the claimants in what he said is ‘one of the largest cases of unlawful use of personal data in the history of the internet’, affecting most of the Dutch population.‘This is a huge claim,’ he told DutchNews.nl. ‘There’s a lot of conduct going on behind the scenes that the average internet user has no knowledge of. It all starts with the cookie being placed on your hard drive, with a unique id. Then you are surfing the net, looking at information about health issues, political items, they might track your location on your phone and know …

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Surveillance on students raise privacy concerns on Online Education Platforms

surveillance on students raise privacy concerns on online education platforms

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The author examines the day-to-day aspects of surveillance in a simulated classroom environment and how pupils, teachers, administrators and other members of the school community observe and interpret them. The article discusses e-learning and content management systems as methods of dataveillance, a type of surveillance that has come to define surveillance functions in the age of big data
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COVID-19 has accelerated the process of digital learning since schools are left with no option apart from delivering remote instructions via e-learning. The government is coming up with schemes to make digital classrooms accessible even in far-flung places. Owing to this immediate need, educational institutions are openly adopting easy to use technology without addressing the privacy concerns that they entail.

There are several government initiatives, e.g. SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds), Diksha, e-pathshala, National Repository of Open Educational Resources, NIOS, and IT initiatives like e-yantra, Free/Libre and Open Source Software for Education, virtual labs and spoken learning programmes. The usage of these platforms is not limited to only communication between teachers and students (recording of which is equally privacy-invasive), but also student assessment, test results, attendance, class participation, chat-box and other educational activities. 

These platforms …

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Almost 70% of APAC consumers willing to trade privacy for better UX

almost 70% of apac consumers willing to trade privacy for better ux

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As more and more consumers wise up to the realities of the privacy (or lack thereof) of their personal data, expectations that such data should be protected has steadily risen over the years.43% of APAC consumers expect businesses to protect their data, while a further 32% think that it should be up to the government to safeguard the citizenry’s personal data, according to new research from F5.

The study, which took place between March and April this year, surveyed over 4,000 respondents from eight countries in the APAC region: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan.

The research also found that, on average, 69% of APAC users choose a better user experience (UX) over greater privacy.

Respondents from China (82%), India (79%) and Indonesia (79%) are the most willing to share their data, with respondents from Japan (43%), Australia (50%) and Singapore (58%) being the least likely to trade data for more seamless experiences.

Researchers found that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the limitations and flaws of many systems and functions that safeguard data, leading to a reckoning over the regulation of corporate handling of this data.

Governments and businesses alike have fielded renewed and increased pressure to fortify their security frameworks and tighten compliance and …

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Hearings on Quebec contact tracing app raise privacy concerns

hearings on quebec contact tracing app raise privacy concerns

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Montreal restaurant owner Alain Creton sees the value in contact tracing, but he’s reluctant to ask his customers for their personal information.“It’s very uncomfortable to ask people, ‘Will you please give me your name and your address?’” said the owner of Chez Alexandre.Privacy and confidentiality are at the heart of National Assembly hearings this week on contact tracing apps for smartphones.
Read more:
Making coronavirus contact-tracing app user-friendly caused delay, Hajdu says

Liberal MNA Marwah Rizqy, then Quebec Solidaire MNA Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois launched into a heated debate with cybersecurity expert Mourad Debbabi after he said the risks associated with bluetooth technology are minimal.Earlier in the day, other experts had raised flags about the technology, especially considering an app would require users to keep their Bluetooth on all day. Story continues below advertisement

UQAM professor Sébastien Gambs, who is also the Canadian research chair in privacy preservation, noted recent flaws with it in Android phones. [ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]
“Last week there was a vulnerability in Bluetooth on android smartphone that could be exploited to download your SMS and contacts,” he said.
Read more:
Alberta’s COVID-19 …

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Online COVID-19 symptom tracking tool ensures a person’s confidentiality and privacy

online covid-19 symptom tracking tool ensures a person’s confidentiality and privacy

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Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.Aug 13 2020
An online COVID-19 symptom tracking tool developed by researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center ensures a person’s confidentiality while being able to actively monitor their symptoms. The tool is not proprietary and can be used by entities that are not able to develop their own tracking systems.

Identifying and monitoring people infected with COVID-19, or exposed to people with infection, is critical to preventing widespread transmission of the disease. Details of the COVID19 Symptom Tracker and a pilot study were published August 13, 2020, in the Journal of Medical Information Research (JMIR).


One of the major impediments to tracking people with, or at risk of, COVID-19 has been an assurance of privacy and confidentiality. Our online system provides a method for efficient, active monitoring of large numbers of individuals under quarantine or home isolation, while maintaining privacy.”

Seble G. Kassaye, MD, MS, infectious disease expert, lead author and associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center


The Georgetown internet tool assigns a unique identifier as people enter their symptoms and other relevant demographic data. One function in the system allows institutions to generate reports about items on which people can act, such as symptoms …

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Amazon’s Alexa had serious privacy flaws, researchers say

amazon’s alexa had serious privacy flaws, researchers say

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Flaws in Amazon’s Alexa were serious enough that a user “in just one-click” could have handed over their voice history, home address and control of their Alexa account, cybersecurity firm Check Point said in a recent report.An attacker could have also silently installed, viewed and removed Alexa skills, Check Point said, referring to voice-driven Alexa apps. A hacker could have also accessed a victim’s personal information, such as banking data history and usernames.“Given Alexa’s popularity and ubiquity, Check Point researchers began to speculate that the AI assistant device is an ‘entry point’ for hackers into a person’s household,” the cybersecurity company said in the report.
File photo: The updated Amazon Alexa Plus,is on display in Amazon’s Day 1 building in Seattle on September 20, 2018. (Credit: GRANT HINDSLEY/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty Images)ONLINE FRAUD IS SURGING: FIVE FACTS YOU PROBABLY DON’T KNOWMore than 200 million devices worldwide have shipped with Alexa, according to CNet.In one scenario described by Check Point, an Alexa user clicks on a malicious link, then the attacker gets a list of all installed apps on the Alexa account. The attacker then deletes one or more of the apps and subsequently installs …

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EU court ruling complicates U.S. firms’ data privacy plans – NH Business Review

eu court ruling complicates u.s. firms’ data privacy plans – nh business review

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Douglas VergeA recent decision from Europe interpreting the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) significantly changes the way businesses in the United States can access and share the personal information of individuals located in the European Union and European Economic Area.
The GDPR is designed to protect the rights and freedoms, including the important privacy right, of individuals, located in the EU/EEA. One of the protections is a requirement that transfer of an individual’s personal information outside of the EU/EEA may only take place upon compliance with at least one of the lawful bases for such transfer identified in the GDPR.

One such basis is where the appropriate European authority has determined that transfer of personal information to a country or organization/business within that country is safe because there are laws in place in that country that afford protection to data subjects comparable to the protections afforded them under the GDPR.
Until recently, the United States was the recipient of such an adequacy decision as a result of the agreed upon EU-US Privacy Shield framework, which allowed participants to self-certify compliance with the Privacy Shield requirements.
However, on July 16, the Court of Justice of the …

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