Late last year, Facebook announced a tool to let users easily migrate their uploaded photos to Google Photos. The tool was initially available in Ireland, with plans to expand to more countries in the first half of this year. The social network has made good on those plans by expanding the rollout to the US and Canada in April, and now reaching a global rollout today.
The internet in China is different from the internet in the rest of the world. Services are heavily censored by the state, making it impossible to discuss unsanctioned political topics on the web openly. WeChat, in particular, is known to monitor and censor its platform in China. However, an investigation by The Citizen Lab shows that WeChat doesn't only monitor Chinese citizens, but also extends this activity to people all over the world using the app. It does that to feed its censorship algorithms, which helps filter out certain content proactively. WeChat essentially crowd-sources international users' data.
Just when you think the post-Brexit situation can't get any worse for us poor sods in the UK, another depressing tidbit rears its ugly head. This time, it's news that Google users in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland will no longer be protected by GDPR and will instead be at the mercy of the privacy regulations of the United States.
Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is more than a scheme to add another pop-up to every site you visit. It's a framework of regulations that govern how companies can use the data collected about people online. As perhaps the largest handler of personal data online, Google would inevitably face GDPR inquiries. Today, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has initiated the first GDPR investigation of Google, probing whether or not it misused data in order to target advertising.
It's easy to get confused with all the decimal numbers phones coming out of HMD lately—the Nokia 7.1, 6.1, 3.2, 9, and so on. Even HMD might be getting a little turned around. Finnish media reports that some Nokia 7 Plus handsets in Europe have been beaming data to China even though they aren't Chinese phones. This could be a violation of Europe's GDPR legislation. Oops.
According to a recent report by The Guardian based on internal documents leaked from a court case in California, Facebook has been lobbying and pressuring representatives and politicians from over 35 countries in its attempts to fight privacy laws. That much would seem pretty obvious, but the details revealed by these documents imply a greater degree of collaboration than you may expect, and potential quid pro quo actions by politicians.
Facebook doesn't exactly have a pristine reputation, but on a certain level it's surprising nonetheless when a new scandal concerning the social media giant breaks out - after all, just how many more surprises can it manage? The answer, it turns out, is many. A new report put out by campaign group Privacy International found that 20 out of 34 popular Android apps send data to Facebook without asking for permission. This echoes the findings of a previous report on health and dating apps.
It's been a tough year for Google in Europe, and it doesn't look to be getting any better. The Mountain View company was slapped with a record $5 billion antitrust fine by the EU Commission this summer, and now it could be in hot water once again due to its location and online activity tracking practices.
Facebook has been an omnipresent part of American news for what seems like all of 2018, and rarelywith apositiveconnotation. Based on the company's recent second-quarter financials, Facebook has a more conservative outlook on the future, expecting revenue growth to decline in the coming years. The company is quick to externalize blame for this, pinning its expectations for the decrease on currency markets projections and pesky privacy-enhancing regulations like GDPR.
In an understandable development at the announcement, Facebook's stock has taken a tremendous nosedive, down nearly 20% at peak.
The new GDPR rules have barely been in effect for more than a few hours, but Google and Facebook are already being hit with a complaint for failing to comply with the regulation's requirements. According to privacy group noyb.eu, both companies are engaging in so-called "forced consent," which is the practice of bundling consent into an all-or-nothing package instead of the granular approach to consent required by the GDPR.