The year is starting on a more political note in terms of online privacy and surveillance, mainly because president-elect Donald Trump has only a few days until his White House inauguration. But this of course, is not the only reason why there’s a global turmoil around these matters. The constant threat of terrorism is lurking in the shadows, often calling for irrational or controversial measures.
Here’s what’s been happening in the last week, in a nutshell:
Obama expands surveillance powers during last days of presidency
With mere days left before President-elect Donald Trump takes the White House, current President Barack Obama’s administration just finalized rules to make it easier for the nation’s intelligence agencies to share unfiltered information about US citizens.
Under the new, relaxed rules, the NSA will grant access to the raw streams of data it collects easier to the FBI, the DEA and the Department of Homeland Security, among others. Before, the National Security Agency shared data with these agencies only after it had screened the data, filtering out unnecessary personal information.
Read more on the topic on eff.org.
Potentially tougher privacy rules for WhatsApp, Facebook and Google
Online messaging services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messager and Gmail will face tougher rules on how they can track users under a proposal presented by the European Union executive which could affect companies reliant on advertising.
The digital companies would have to guarantee the confidentiality of their customers’ conversations and get their consent before tracking them online for advertising purposes.
Further details on the subject here.
Rudy Giuliani, cybersecurity adviser to Donald Trump
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has been announced on Thursday to serve as a cybersecurity adviser in an informal capacity to Trump.
This choice has drawn skepticism from critics who question Giuliani’s expertise on the matter. According to The New York Times, Giuliani has spent the last 16 years in private security and heads a dedicated consulting firm, Giuliani Partners.
Giuliani Partners proceeded to earn more than $100 million between 2001 and 2005 and transform Rudy into a veritable multimillionaire. However, given the firm’s secretive nature, it’s not clear how much, if any, cybersecurity-related advising Giuliani Partners actually did.