Google loses UK appeal court battle over 'clandestine' tracking

The Guardian,  Friday, March 27, 2015

Google has failed in its attempt in the court of appeal to prevent British consumers having the right to sue the internet firm in the UK. A group known as Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking wants to take legal action in the English courts over what it says is Google’s tracking of Apple’s Safari internet browser. It has accused Google of bypassing security settings in order to track users’ online browsing and to target them with personalised advertisements. Three judges have dismissed Google’s appeal over a high court decision against it and ruled that claims for damages can be brought over allegations of misuse of private information.

EU to Open Extensive E-Commerce Sector Probe

Tom Fairless, Wall Street Journal,  Thursday, March 26, 2015

The European Union is set to open a sweeping investigation into whether Internet commerce firms like Amazon.com Inc. are violating the bloc’s antitrust laws by restricting cross-border trade. The inquiry, announced Thursday by the EU’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, follows pressure from France and Germany to use EU competition rules and other regulations to better target the business practices of large technology firms. It is part of a broader EU strategy to knit together the bloc’s fragmented online ecosystems into a digital single market. Policy makers hope that will help European Internet firms to build their clout to better compete with U.S. Web giants like Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.

EU Regulators Should Review New Google Evidence, Says Lawmaker

Tom Fairless, Wall Street Journal,  Friday, March 20, 2015

European Union regulators should consider new evidence that the U.S. antitrust case against Google Inc. was stronger than previously thought as they weigh whether to sue the U.S. search giant for violating competition rules, an EU lawmaker, who has previously called for a possible breakup of the company, said Friday. “This new... evidence is crucial and could not come at better time,” said Ramon Tremosa I Balcells, a lawmaker who represents the Spanish region of Catalonia. He is also on the European Parliament’s economic affairs committee.

Europe hints it will back Ireland's Microsoft stance

Adrian Weckler, Independent.ie,  Thursday, March 19, 2015

"The Commission's view is that personal data held by private companies in the EU should not, in principle, be directly accessed by or transferred to foreign enforcement authorities outside of formal channels of co-operation," said Ms Jourova. The EU Commissioner's statement will be seen as support for the Government, which has joined with Microsoft in fighting a 2013 FBI warrant that seeks access to personal data on Microsoft's Irish servers as part of a case being investigated.

France Seeks Power to Sift Phone, Internet Data to Unearth Terrorists

Sam Schechner, Wall Street Journal,  Wednesday, March 18, 2015

France wants telecom and tech firms to inform on potential terrorists. A new surveillance bill to be unveiled on Thursday would give the French government power to force communications companies to sift through mountains of phone and Internet metadata using automated tools to flag potential terrorist behavior to police, government officials say, raising concern among technology firms and civil liberties groups. The proposed law, which was accelerated in the wake of the January shootings in the Paris area, would completely overhaul what officials say is an outdated legal framework for spycraft, echoing efforts in the U.S. to upgrade surveillance powers after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

EU Parliamentarians visit U.S. to talk data protection, mass surveillance

Loek Essers, PCWorld,  Monday, March 16, 2015

Data protection and mass surveillance are high on the agenda for talks between members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and their U.S. counterparts in Washington, D.C., this week. A delegation of 11 MEPs, all members of the Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE), are in Washington to discuss major issues. One of them is the renewal of the so-called Safe Harbor deal that regulates the transfer of personal data of EU citizens to the U.S.

EU ministers OK new cross-border data protection plan, sparking criticism

Loek Essers, PCWorld,  Friday, March 13, 2015

Ministers of European Union countries have agreed on a new plan to deal with cross-border privacy cases. Companies and a variety of critics, though, have called the proposal a mess. The plan, at least originally, was supposed to put in place a “one-stop-shop” mechanism that would make it easier for businesses and citizens to deal with privacy-related complaints. The idea of a streamlined approach to resolving privacy issues is a key pillar of EU data-protection reform and member states agreed on a version of such a plan on Friday, said Vra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice during a press conference.

EU data protection rules shake-up set to rile US tech groups

Murad Ahmed and Duncan Robinson, Financial Times,  Thursday, March 12, 2015

EU member states are expected to back data protection reforms that US technology groups have labelled a “Eurovision Song Contest” for regulators, in the latest transatlantic split on regulation of the sector. Initially, the EU had planned to introduce a “one-stop shop” for data regulation, whereby companies would only have to deal with one national regulator. But under the new proposals, which are likely to be approved by member states this week, regulators in other affected countries would have a say in data protection disputes.

EU Seeks to Tighten Data Privacy Laws

Elizabeth Dwoskin, WSJ Digits,  Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The U.S. and Europe are growing further apart when it comes to data privacy. Rattled by the ongoing Snowden revelations, the European Union is putting finishing touches on a bill that would dramatically change the way U.S. companies that operate in Europe could handle consumer data. The measure would replace an existing patchwork of national data privacy laws. The draft legislation would require individuals to consent explicitly before businesses could share their personal data. It would also broaden the so-called right to be forgotten. The legislation is being negotiated within the E.U. and must pass through several political hurdles before it could take effect.

ENISA Says Government Cloud Essential to the Economic Success of the EU

Cheryl Kemp, The Whir,  Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Although the idea of government cloud has been supported by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) since 2010-2011, agencies have been slow to adopt cloud services. Despite the benefits to government cloud such as savings of up to 30 percent and increased productivity, “not many public administrations are actively procuring Cloud services nor are they launching any test bed projects on Cloud computing (e.g. the European project “Cloud for Europe”),” according to report released by the ENISA last week. The report identifies cloud use as an important economic tool, a fact that should encourage governments to adopt services to facilitate innovation.