Industry news

Liz Truss and UK GDPR
A lack of Truss – Why the Government’s plans to replace the UK GDPR are a threat to businesses and data subjects

At the Tory Party conference last week, the UK digital secretary Michelle Donelan announced that the Government planned to replace the UK GDPR with a new data protection legislation. Cutting through the buzz-words and political ‘phrase of the day’, the Government’s plans represent a potentially major change for UK businesses. This change may not be a positive one.

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Deterrent rather than punishment: What does Instagram’s $403m fine mean for children’s data privacy

On 2nd September, Instagram and its parent company Meta were fined $403m for inadequate handling of children’s data under the EU GDPR. The fine was the culmination of a long running investigation by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) into the social media company and is the largest fine that Meta has been issued to date. This fine is the second largest ever issued by a European data protection authority, following the €746m fine issued by the Luxembourg data authority against Amazon last year.

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US anti-abortion protest with a protestor holding a 'keep abortion legal' sign aloft
Roe v Wade and The Erosion of Women’s data privacy

The overturning of Roe v Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court on the 24th June this year (2022) has upended women’s reproductive rights in the USA. It is unlikely to end there. As the ripple effects continue to be felt across the States and beyond, serious questions regarding erosion of women’s privacy are being raised. The answers to these privacy questions posit a deeply unsettling future for women in America and the use of their personal data.

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A large number of surveillence cameras on a wall. All are pointing in the same direction and are looking at two people.
Southern Co-Op face complaints over use of Biometric scanners

This month Big Brother Watch and the data rights firm AWO filed a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) regarding Southern Co-Op’s use of biometric scanning in several of their stores. This system has been implemented in 35 of Southern Co-Op’s 200+ stores, and is used (according to the Co-Op) to protect customers and colleagues in stores where there has been regular crime. Both Big Brother Watch and AWO have raised significant concerns regarding the application of the system, which is sold by the firm Facewatch.

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Grafitti of a surveillance camera on a concrete wall with the text 'for your safety & our curiosity'.
Safeguarding gone wrong? Project Alpha and the accidental weaponisation of personal data

The recently released data protection impact assessment for a Met Police scheme has caused concertation amongst privacy groups and human rights activists as potential large scale profiling of children's data has been further compounded by allegations of racial bias. Entitled 'Project Alpha', this scheme has proven a useful example of how personal data collected for safeguarding can be accidentally or deliberately weaponised.

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Third Time’s the Charm? Why Privacy Professionals are sceptical of ‘Privacy Shield 2.0’

On March 25th 2022, amidst wider discussions on US-EU cooperation, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden announced an ‘agreement in principle’ on a new EU-US data sharing system termed the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework. Yet rather than relief, the announcement has been met with pronounced scepticism by privacy professionals in Europe. The emerging discourse is a product of a difficult relationship between its political ideals and practical realities.

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