General Data Protection Regulation

UK report urges action to combat AI bias

The need for diverse development teams and truly representational data-sets to avoid biases being baked into AI algorithms is one of the core recommendations in a lengthy Lords committee report looking into the economic, ethical and social implications of artificial intelligence, and published today by the upper House of the UK parliament. “The main ways to address these kinds of biases are to ensure that developers are drawn from diverse gender, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and are aware of, and adhere to, ethical codes of conduct,” the committee writes, chiming with plenty of extant commentary around algorithmic accountability. “It is essential that ethics take centre stage in AI’s development and use,” adds committee chairman, Lord Clement-Jones, in a statement. “The UK has a ...

InfoSum’s first product touts decentralized big data insights

Nick Halstead’s new startup, InfoSum, is launching its first product today — moving one step closer to his founding vision of a data platform that can help businesses and organizations unlock insights from big data silos without compromising user privacy, data security or data protection law. So a pretty high bar then. If the underlying tech lives up to the promises being made for it, the timing for this business looks very good indeed, with the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mere months away from applying across the region — ushering in a new regime of eye-wateringly large penalties to incentivize data handling best practice. InfoSum bills its approach to collaboration around personal data as fully GDPR compliant — because it says it doesn’t rely on sharing...

German court finds fault with Facebook’s default privacy settings

A court in Germany has ruled that Facebook’s default privacy settings and some of its terms and conditions breached local laws. The Berlin court passed judgement late last month but the verdict was only made public this week. The legal challenge, which dates back to 2015, was filed by a local consumer rights association, the vzbv. It successfully argued Facebook’s default privacy settings breach local consent rules by not providing clear enough information for the company to gather ‘informed consent’ from users when they agreed to its T&Cs. “Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy-friendly in its privacy centre and does not provide sufficient information about this when users register,” said Heiko Dünkel, litigation policy officer at vzbv, in a statement. “This does not me...

Unacast bags $17.5M to do more with location data

Location tracking can seem pretty creepy if you’re the consumer being watched. But there’s big and growing business in tracking human movements and behavior, thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones. To wit: Unacast, a location data startup from Norway, has today announced a $17.5 million Series B round — to fuel business expansion, including into his home turf of Europe. The round has been led by White Star Capital, with European telco Telia joining as a strategic investor. Existing investors Open Ocean Capital and the Norwegian government-backed investment company, Investinor, both also participated. Unacast is actually headquartered in New York, with its founders moving to the US early to be close to the initial target market. It has 25+ US clients at this point, says co-founder and CEO Th...

Facebook starts polishing its privacy messaging ahead of GDPR

As the May 25 deadline for compliance with the EU’s updated privacy framework fast approaches Facebook is continuing to PR the changes it’s making to try to meet the new data protection standard — and steer away from the specter of fines that can scale as high as 4% of a company’s global turnover. Today it’s published — for the first time — what it dubs a set of “privacy principles” that it says guide its approach to handling users’ information, making grand claims like: “We give you control of your privacy“, “You own and can delete your information” and “We are accountable“. In truth it’s just cribbing chunks of the GDPR and claiming the regulation’s principles as its own. So full marks for spin there. The EU’s sharply tightening enforcement regime for data protection also explains why Fa...

Facebook to roll out global privacy settings hub — thanks to GDPR

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has said major privacy changes are coming to the platform later this year, as it prepares to comply with the European Union’s incoming data protection regulation. Speaking at a Facebook event in Brussels yesterday, she said the company will be “rolling out a new privacy center globally that will put the core privacy settings for Facebook in one place and make it much easier for people to manage their data” (via Reuters). Last year the company told us it had assembled “the largest cross functional team” in the history of its family of companies to support General Data Protection Regulation (aka: GDPR) compliance. From May 25 this year, the updated privacy framework will apply across the 28 Member State bloc — and any multinationals processing European citizens’ ...

WTF is GDPR?

European Union lawmakers proposed a comprehensive update to the bloc’s data protection and privacy rules in 2012. Their aim: To take account of seismic shifts in the handling of information wrought by the rise of the digital economy in the years since the prior regime was penned — all the way back in 1995 when Yahoo was the cutting edge of online cool and cookies were still just tasty biscuits. Here’s the EU’s executive body, the Commission, summing up the goal: The objective of this new set of rules is to give citizens back control over of their personal data, and to simplify the regulatory environment for business. The data protection reform is a key enabler of the Digital Single Market which the Commission has prioritised. The reform will allow European citizens and businesses to fully ...