German Competition Authority Bars Facebook Plan To Streamline Data: Facebook’s move to streamline user data across WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook is being restricted by Germany’s competition authority; Facebook will now have to gain users’ permission before merging data between the applications.
European Commission Recalls Smartwatch That Can Track Children: German firm Enox’s Safe-KID-One watch has been recalled by the European Commission because it does not comply with the Radio Equipment Directive and poses serious security risks; the app that accompanies the watch allows for unencrypted communication with its backend server, making it easy to find and change data on location history, phone numbers, and device serial numbers.
Massachusetts Lawmaker Introduces State Consumer Privacy Bill: If passed, the bill would require that businesses provide consumers with notice before collecting their data, give consumers the right to ask businesses to delete their data, allow consumers to restrict third party access to their data, and grant a private right of action to any consumer whose rights are violated—without requiring a showing of monetary or property loss.
Information Security & Cyberthreats
Houston, We Have A Problem: During the recent federal government shutdown, NASA dealt with near continuous cyber threats targeting information about the Administration’s advance technology while nearly 95% of NASA staff was furloughed; after the shutdown, the Department of Homeland Security assed NASA’s security as having no “external-facing, critical issues.
Franco-German Compromise Pushes Article 13 Forward: France and Germany reached an agreement about which entities should be bound by Article 13, ending the hiatus on negotiations and pushing the EU’s copyright reform plans into the final stages; under the compromise, services that are publicly available for less than three years, have fewer than 5 million unique monthly visitors, and have less than €10 million in annual turnover are excluded from the Article’s scope.
Free Expression and Censorship
EU Has Reduced Internet Hate Speech: After the EU began cracking down on internet hate speech in 2016 through the implementation of an “opt-in code of conduct,” social media companies are analyzing and removing content flagged as hate speech faster than ever; an EU report states that 89 percent of flagged content is analyzed within 24 hours and 72 percent of the content is ultimately removed.
Florida Appeals Court Limits Peer-To-Peer Cryptocurrency Transactions: A unanimous three-judge panel in Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals overruled a trial judge and ruled that selling cryptocurrency directly to another person constitutes a money transmission and therefore requires registration as a payment instrument seller and money transmitter under Florida law; money transmitter rules have also been at issue in other courts with the growing cryptocurrency and blockchain industries.
On The Lighter Side
Instagram Boyfriends Obsolete: The photo app “SomeOne Very Special” helps users get flattering pictures of themselves without a dedicated Instagram boyfriend behind the camera.
Job and Fellowship Opportunities
The German Marshall Fund (GMF) is accepting applications for a Fellow and Policy Manager for the new Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative (DIDI) in Washington D.C.
The Fellow and Policy Manager will report to the Senior Fellow and Director of DIDI to conduct in-depth research and policy development around challenges to industry and policy related developments. The Policy Manager will be a visible spokesperson and representative of GMF and will be expected to develop the formats for high-level meetings and briefings, and track policy developments in the U.S. and Europe. This person will also grow and foster networks and partnerships, representing and presenting the initiative’s work to policy makers, funders and stakeholders at conferences in the U.S. and Europe. The position will involve a mix of research, analysis, writing, management, budgeting and grant writing..
For more information and the online application, click here.