Policy Observatory

Dutch data protection authority: Facebook violates privacy law

Tue, 2017-06-13 00:52

Facebook Group violates Dutch data protection law. That is the conclusion of the Dutch Data Protection Authority (Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens; hereinafter: DPA) after its investigation into the processing of personal data of 9.6 million Facebook users in the Netherlands. The company breaches Dutch data protection law including by giving users insufficient information about the use of their personal data. The Dutch DPA has also found that the Facebook Group uses sensitive personal data from users without their explicit consent. For example, data relating to sexual preferences were used to show targeted advertisements. The Facebook Group has made changes to end the use of this type of data for this latter purpose. The Dutch DPA currently assesses whether the other violations have stopped. If that is not the case, the Dutch DPA may decide to issue a sanction.


YouTube clarifies “hate speech” definition and which videos won’t be monetised

Mon, 2017-06-12 19:34

In a blog post, YouTube outlined more specific definitions of hate speech and what kinds of incendiary content wouldn't be eligible for monetization.

EU judges may be asked to rule on legality of UK surveillance powers

Mon, 2017-06-12 19:34

In a fresh challenge that could impact the Investigatory Powers Act, the campaign group Privacy International has argued in court on Monday that interception of social media that is not targeted and subject to sufficient safeguards is forbidden by a previous European judgment.

German court rejects parents' access to dead teenager's Facebook account

Mon, 2017-06-12 19:03

A court in Germany has ruled that the parents of a dead teenage girl have no right to access their daughter's Facebook account. They had sought access to her chat messages and posts in order to find out whether she had been bullied.

A first court in Berlin had ruled in favour of the family, saying that the contents of the girl's account could be seen as similar to letters and diaries, which "can be inherited regardless of their content". But an appeals court has now ruled in favour of Facebook, saying that a contract existed between the girl and the social media company and that it ended with her death.

Irish police phone tapping undermines citizens’ rights

Mon, 2017-06-12 18:52

An investigation by the Irish Independent newspaper has found that members of the public had their phones tapped without proper justification.

The widespread phone tapping was revealed after a senior officer tried to highlight his concerns about the legality of the covert surveillance. According to this account, he was put under pressure to listen in on private conversations of citizens without a necessary court order.

While EU discusses the future of data retention, Germany is committed to make it mandatory

Mon, 2017-06-12 18:47

The German government is maintaining its unswerving commitment to make communications data retention obligatory from July 2017 onwards. Meanwhile, different EU level groups and institutions are discussing if or how data retention measures are compatible with EU law.

UK government pushes for companies to weaken encryption

Mon, 2017-06-12 18:39

The terrorist attack in Manchester on 22 May has led to a relaunch of the encryption debate in the UK.

In December 2016, the UK parliament passed the Investigatory Powers Act. This wide-ranging surveillance law gives government ministers the power to issue Technical Capability Notices (TCNs), which can force companies to modify their products.

Consumer Committee rejects upload filter but fails on “link tax”

Mon, 2017-06-12 18:16

On 8 June, the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) voted on the European Commission’s proposal for a Copyright Directive. The IMCO Committee failed to adopt any amendments to Article 11, basically giving up its opportunity to have an influence on the process of fixing the Commission’s absurd proposal.

Irish court reviews U.S. surveillance developments

Mon, 2017-06-12 16:17

The Irish High Court has reviewed recent decisions by the U.S. surveillance court and a federal appeals court for a case on the legality of Facebook's transfers of personal data from the EU to the United States.

What will the UK election mean for online privacy?

Mon, 2017-06-05 13:56

In the aftermath of the recent Manchester attacks, this article tries to map how are the main UK-wide political parties propose to tackle online security and privacy after the 2017 general election.

Regulating Ethereum? EU Parliament weighs blockchain's big issues

Thu, 2017-06-01 19:08

MEP Jakob von Weizsäcker stressed the desire of the European Union to monitor, not suffocate [blockchain technology], and pointed out that its role is to respond to the needs of constituents. To this end, the EP wants to get a feel for the sector, since "there is a public interest in what's going on".

Last EP Committee opinion on copyright reform balances civil liberties with political reality

Thu, 2017-06-01 19:02

This articles reflects whether the LIBE amendments would meet the goal of respecting fundamental rights of users while also regulating agreements between platforms and rightholders.

Just 9 days left to reject the worst version of EU copyright expansion plans yet

Thu, 2017-06-01 14:57

On June 8, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee will decide its standpoint. The IMCO committee is jointly responsible for the Parliament position on one of the most controversial parts of the reform: the introduction of mandatory censorship filters on online services such as social media.

Today it was revealed that MEP Pascal Arimont from the European People’s Party (EPP) is trying to sabotage the Parliamentary process, going behind the negotiators of the political groups and pushing a text that would make the Commission’s original bad proposal look tame in comparison. If he succeeds again, the result would once more do the opposite of what the Committee is tasked to do: Protecting European consumers.


U.S. top court tightens patent suit rules to counteract 'patent trolls'

Thu, 2017-05-25 13:16

The U.S. Supreme Court on May 22nd, 2017 tightened rules for where patent lawsuits can be filed in a decision that may make it harder for so-called patent "trolls" to launch sometimes dodgy patent cases in friendly courts. The justices ruled 8-0 that patent suits can be filed only in courts located in the jurisdiction where the targeted company is incorporated.

Domain name holders' personal data remain protected

Fri, 2017-05-19 23:42

The Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament has rejected the project for domain name owners personal data to be publicly made available without their consent. The project has been rejected after the Romanian Government showed that this would violate European Union norms.

EU fines Facebook 110 million euros over WhatsApp deal

Fri, 2017-05-19 23:33

European Union antitrust regulators fined Facebook 110 million euros ($122 million) on Thursday for giving misleading information during a vetting of its deal to acquire messaging service WhatsApp in 2014.

Calling it a "proportionate and deterrent fine", the European Commission, which acts as the EU's competition watchdog, said Facebook had said it could not automatically match user accounts on its namesake platform and WhatsApp but two years later launched a service that did exactly that.

EU data protection watchdogs support stronger ePrivacy legislation

Tue, 2017-05-09 23:51

On 10 January 2017, the European Commission published its long-awaited proposal for an e-Privacy Regulation (ePR) to replace the 2002 e-Privacy Directive (ePD). In April 2017, two Opinions were issued to provide comments and recommendations on how to better safeguard the right to privacy, confidentiality of communications, and the protection of personal data in the proposed ePR; one by the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (WP29), and another one by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS).


CJEU to rule on enforceability of German press publishers' right

Tue, 2017-05-09 23:47

In 2013, Germany adopted a new neighbouring right over news content and in favour of press publishers (Leistungsschutzrecht für Presseverlege, LSR). The newly created sections 87f, 87g and 87h of the German Copyright Act provide for the exclusive right of press publishers to exploit their contents commercially for one year, thus preventing search engines and news aggregators from displaying excerpts from newspaper articles without paying a fee.

This article discusses the latest development in relation to the neighbouring right in favour of press publishers is today's decision of the Landgericht Berlin to make a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the context of litigation between the collecting society responsible to collect royalties in favour of publishers and Google, to receiving guidance on the actual enforceability of the German press publishers' right.







German court blocks Facebook's efforts to obtain WhatsApp user data

Tue, 2017-05-09 23:39

A German court has upheld an order requiring Facebook to suspend the import of users' personal data from WhatsApp. Following Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, WhatsApp announced that it would transfer users' personal data to Facebook, violating the company's privacy promises. A Data Protection Commissioner in Germany ordered Facebook to halt the data transfer. This week a German court refused Facebook's attempt to block the order, ruling that Facebook had no legal basis for the transfer and no effective consent from WhatsApp users. The transfer is also under investigation by the Article 29 Working party, a group of European privacy officials.