London, Oct 25 (AP/UNB) — British regulators on Thursday slapped Facebook with a fine of 500,000 pounds ($644,000) — the maximum possible — for failing to protect the privacy of its users in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The Information Commissioner Office found that between 2007 and 2014, Facebook processed the personal information of users unfairly by giving app developers access to their information without informed consent. The failings meant the data of some 87 million people was used without their knowledge.
"Facebook failed to sufficiently protect the privacy of its users before, during and after the unlawful processing of this data," said Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner. "A company of its size and expertise should have known better and it should have done better."
The ICO said a subset of the data was later shared with other organizations, including SCL Group, the parent company of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. News that the consultancy had used data from tens of millions of Facebook accounts to profile voters and help U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign ignited a global scandal on data rights.
The fine is the maximum allowed under the law at the time the breach occurred. Had the scandal taken place after new EU data protection rules went into effect this year, the amount would have been far higher — including maximum fines of 17 million pounds or 4 percent of global turnover, whichever is higher.
"We are currently reviewing the ICO's decision," Facebook said in a statement. "While we respectfully disagree with some of their findings, we have said before that we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and taken action in 2015. We are grateful that the ICO has acknowledged our full cooperation throughout their investigation."
Facebook also took solace in the fact that the ICO did not definitively assert that U.K. users had their data shared for campaigning. But the commissioner noted in her statement that "even if Facebook's assertion is correct," U.S. residents would have used the site while visiting the U.K.
Brussels, Oct 25 (AP/UNB) — The head of Apple on Wednesday endorsed tough privacy laws for both Europe and the U.S. and renewed the technology giant's commitment to protecting personal data, which he warned was being "weaponized" against users.
Speaking at an international conference on data privacy, Apple CEO Tim Cook applauded European Union authorities for bringing in a strict new data privacy law in May and said the iPhone maker supports a U.S. federal privacy law .
Cook's speech, along with video comments from Google and Facebook top bosses, in the European Union's home base in Brussels, underscores how the U.S. tech giants are jostling to curry favor in the region as regulators tighten their scrutiny.
Data protection has become a major political issue worldwide, and European regulators have led the charge in setting new rules for the big internet companies. The EU's new General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, requires companies to change the way they do business in the region, and a number of headline-grabbing data breaches have raised public awareness of the issue.
"In many jurisdictions, regulators are asking tough questions. It is time for rest of the world, including my home country, to follow your lead," Cook said.
"We at Apple are in full support of a comprehensive federal privacy law in the United States," he said, to applause from hundreds of privacy officials from more than 70 countries.
In the U.S., California is moving to put in regulations similar to the EU's strict rules by 2020 and other states are mulling more aggressive laws. That's rattled the big tech companies, which are pushing for a federal law that would treat them more leniently.
Cook warned that technology's promise to drive breakthroughs that benefit humanity is at risk of being overshadowed by the harm it can cause by deepening division and spreading false information. He said the trade in personal information "has exploded into a data industrial complex."
"Our own information, from the everyday to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency," he said. Scraps of personal data are collected for digital profiles that let businesses know users better than they know themselves and allow companies to offer users "increasingly extreme content" that hardens their convictions, Cook said.
"This is surveillance. And these stockpiles of personal data serve only to enrich the companies that collect them," he said. "This should make us very uncomfortable. It should unsettle us."
Cook's appearance was one-up on his tech rivals and showed off his company's credentials in data privacy, which has become a weak point for both Facebook and Google. That is facilitated also by the fact that Apple makes most of its money by selling hardware like iPhones instead of ads based on user data.
"With the spotlight shining as directly as it is, Apple have the opportunity to show that they are the leading player and they are taking up the mantle," said Ben Robson, a lawyer at Oury Clark specializing in data privacy. Cook's appearance "is going to have good currency," with officials, he added.
His speech comes a week after Apple unveiled expanded privacy protection measures for people in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, including allowing them to download all personal data held by Apple. European users already had access to this feature after GDPR took effect. Apple plans to expand it worldwide.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google head Sundar Pichai sent brief video remarks to the annual meeting of global data privacy chiefs.
Zuckerberg said the social network takes seriously its "basic ethical responsibility" to safeguard personal information but added that "the past year has shown we have a lot more work to do," referring to a big data breach and the scandal over the misuse of data by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
He also said the company is investing in measures to beef up protection, including building a new tool to let users clear their browsing activity and deploying artificial intelligence to detect fake accounts and take down extremist content.
They both said they supported regulation, with Pichai noting Google recently proposed a legislative framework that would build on GDPR and extend many of its principles to users globally.
The International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners , held in a different city every year, normally attracts little attention but its Brussels venue this year takes on symbolic meaning as EU officials ratchet up their tech regulation.
The 28-nation EU took on global leadership of the issue when it launched GDPR. The new rules require companies to justify the collection and use of personal data gleaned from phones, apps and visited websites. They must also give EU users the ability to access and delete data, and to object to data use.
GDPR also allows for big fines benchmarked to revenue, which for big tech companies could amount to billions of dollars.
In the first big test of the new rules, Ireland's data protection commission, which is a lead authority for Europe as many big tech firms are based in the country, is investigating Facebook's data breach, which let hackers access 3 million EU accounts.
Google, meanwhile, shut down its Plus social network this month after revealing it had a flaw that could have exposed personal information of up to half a million people.
Dhaka, Oct 24 (UNB)- Grameenphone (GP) is going to offer Apple’s latest products including iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, the most advanced iPhones ever from November 1.
Customers will be able to pre-order iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max from October 26 at Grameenphone Centers and through Grameenphone Website www.grameenphone.com.
San Francisco, Oct 24 (AP/UNB) — Yahoo has agreed to pay $50 million in damages and provide two years of free credit-monitoring services to 200 million people whose email addresses and other personal information were stolen as part of the biggest security breach in history.
The restitution hinges on federal court approval of a settlement filed late Monday in a 2-year-old lawsuit seeking to hold Yahoo accountable for digital burglaries that occurred in 2013 and 2014, but weren't disclosed until 2016.
It adds to the financial fallout from a security lapse that provided a mortifying end to Yahoo's existence as an independent company and former CEO Marissa Mayer's six-year reign.
Yahoo revealed the problem after it had already negotiated a $4.83 billion deal to sell its digital services to Verizon Communications. It then had to discount that price by $350 million to reflect its tarnished brand and the specter of other potential costs stemming from the breach.
Verizon will now pay for one half of the settlement cost, with the other half paid by Altaba Inc., a company that was set up to hold Yahoo's investments in Asian companies and other assets after the sale. Altaba already paid a $35 million fine imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission for Yahoo's delay in disclosing the breach to investors.
About 3 billion Yahoo accounts were hit by hackers that included some linked to Russia by the FBI . The settlement reached in a San Jose, California, court covers about 1 billion of those accounts held by an estimated 200 million people in the U.S. and Israel from 2012 through 2016.
Claims for a portion of the $50 million fund can be submitted by any eligible Yahoo accountholder who suffered losses resulting from the security breach. The costs can include such things as identity theft, delayed tax refunds or other problems linked to having had personal information pilfered during the Yahoo break-ins.
The fund will compensate Yahoo accountholders at a rate of $25 per hour for time spent dealing with issues triggered by the security breach, according to the preliminary settlement. Those with documented losses can ask for up to 15 hours of lost time, or $375. Those who can't document losses can file claims seeking up to five hours, or $125, for their time spent dealing with the breach.
Yahoo accountholders who paid $20 to $50 annually for a premium email account will be eligible for a 25 percent refund.
The free credit monitoring service from AllClear could end up being the most valuable part of the settlement for most accountholders. The lawyers representing the accountholders pegged the retail value of AllClear's credit-monitoring service at $14.95 per month, or about $359 for two years — but it's unlikely Yahoo will pay that rate. The settlement didn't disclose how much Yahoo had agreed to pay AllClear for covering affected accountholders.
The lawyers for Yahoo's accountholders praised the settlement as a positive outcome, given the uncertainty of what might have happened had the case headed to trial. Estimates of damages caused by security breaches vary widely, with experts asserting the value of personal information held in email accounts can range from $1 to $8 per account. Those figures suggest Yahoo could have faced a bill of more than $1 billion had it lost the case.
But Yahoo had disputed those damages estimates and noted many of its accountholders submitted false information about their birthdates, names and other parts of their lives when they set up their email. The lawyers representing Yahoo accountholders have a big incentive to get the settlement approved. Yahoo will pay them up to $37.5 million in fees and expenses if it goes through.
Oath, the Verizon subsidiary that now oversees Yahoo, declined to comment. A hearing to approve the preliminary settlement is scheduled for Nov. 29 before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose. If approved, notices will be emailed to affected accountholders and published in People and National Geographic magazines.
Milwaukee, Oct 24 (AP/UNB) — Police dogs have always helped their human counterparts through their eyes and nose, and now some of the dogs are getting their own backup — cameras that transmit live video.
The devices generally attach to dogs' backs on a vest and transmit video to a handler watching from a screen, possibly on their wrist or around their necks. It's so the officers can better assess what they are up against before they go into a situation.
"If we have a really close encounter with armed people it doesn't work out well for anyone," said Shawn Gore, Portland, Oregon, police K-9 officer. "If we can gain distance it gives us lots of options to negotiate and de-escalate."
David Ferland, executive director for the United States Police Canine Association, a training program for police dogs, said departments generally use the cameras when dogs go out to look for suspects, missing people or explosives — for the dog's safety and for intelligence gathering.
Ferland doesn't have statistics but he suspects fewer than 5 percent of agencies have the cameras because they are so expensive. Most cost between $6,000 and $20,000, he said.
But some K-9 academies are already training dogs with vests and cameras so they get used to them, Ferland said.
K-9 cameras started gaining traction about a decade ago after departments saw their success in helping dogs in the military, he said.
Law enforcement agencies generally pay for the cameras through donations or use forfeiture or drug seizure money, which is how Portland is paying for its cameras. That police agency has used 10 cameras on its 10 K-9s since about 2012 and is in the process of getting newer cameras, costing about $20,000 each.
Tactical Electronics started making K-9 cameras in 2006 and has sold 5,000 to 6,000 to law enforcement and military around the world, said Addie Ventris, the company's marketing director.
In Wisconsin, the Muskego Police Department recently bought its first camera for its dog, Sirius, said K-9 Officer Shawn Diedrich.
"Being able to get a layout of an area — whether it's out in the woods or in a house or it's in a business, the camera will start to give us that layout so when officers have to go into that environment they can do it more safely," Diedrich said.