Ghostie’s weekly digest: the Germany Facebook ban and more

You win some, you lose some, they say. Well, this could sum up the week just perfectly on the online privacy front, since we had both a victory when Germany ordered Facebook to stop collecting data from WhatsApp users and an important step back, when Swiss voters decided to give new surveillance powers to authorities.

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German privacy regulator orders Facebook to stop collecting data from users; Facebook to appeal

The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information said Facebook was infringing the data protection law and had not obtained effective approval from WhatsApp’s 35 million users in Germany, according to Reuters.

“After the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook two years ago, both parties have publicly assured that data will not be shared between them,” commissioner Johannes Caspar said in a statement.

Facebook is however not pleased with this decision and said it would appeal it.

Surveillance law gets green light from Swiss voters

On September 25th, 65 percent of Swiss voters approved a new surveillance law granting their national intelligence service greater powers to spy on “terrorist” suspects and cyber criminals.

Thus, authorities will be allowed to tap phones, snoop on email and deploy hidden cameras and bugs, thus monitoring any potential suspects.

Read more about the impact this could have on Switzerland and not only from our article and join the conversation in our comments section.

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US Police Department offers online safety program

On October 12th, the Purcellville Police Department will hold a town hall meeting about online safety for children in support of October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

This program will provide parents with an understanding of online vulnerabilities to children’s safety. The event is facilitated by Matt Foosaner, a member of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Law Enforcement Committee. Read more on the topic here.

Although a small initiative in appearance, this is an important step in moving things in the right direction.

Online security, a top concern for Asia Pacific

According to a survey that polled almost 2,000 end-users from across the Asia Pacific on their attitudes towards current Internet policy issues, online security is an area that warrants most urgent attention from policymakers.

Access is still the primary concern for stakeholders, but Internet security has become top of mind.

Get the full story here.

Google’s Allo keeps messages forever

Although this is not exactly from this week, we still considered it relevant for sharing.

Google’s Allo gives users a messaging app with Google Assistant built in, offering automatically generated responses called Smart Replies and other computer-generated suggestions for everyday life. However, instead of keeping messages on company servers for a short period of time, the company will keep them indefinitely, or at least until users manually delete them.

The reason Google wasn’t trying to offer a messaging service with default end-to-end encryption is that it needs to read messages for its Smart Reply technology to work.

Read further on the topic at this link.

About the author

Corina Dobre
Corina Dobre

A professional wordsmith, Corina has improved her writing skills through extensive experiences in journalism, advertising and marketing. Curious by nature, she enjoys learning foreign languages and discovering everything, as well as everyone around her.

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