News Roundup: The EU Votes Down Controversial Copyright Law
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News Roundup: The EU Votes Down Controversial Copyright Law

A roundup of the week’s technology news including EU copyright law, a Samsung phone glitch and the latest security news.

 

EU copyright law

MEPs this week voted down a somewhat controversial piece of copyright legislation that many argued would align the EU more closely with the principles of the digital age. The proposal would have put the onus on websites to check for cases of copyright infringement and pay when they link to a news story and was largely supported by musicians who argued that websites are exploiting their content and causing them to lose out on royalties.

Opponents of the bill complained that it would stifle creativity and freedom on the internet and said that charging websites like Facebook and Google to host news stories would ultimately lead to a ‘link tax’ and cause issues when embedded links are included within the body of an article. Those against the legislation also claim that enforcing the use copyright filters similar to those that already exist on websites such as YouTube would not only be expensive but could cause things that are created using repurposed content, like memes or remixes for example, to effectively be banned.

The proposal was voted down 318-278, but a number of amendments have been tabled and the bill is expected to be debated by the European Parliament again in September.

 

ZTE update

Another week, another ZTE update. The big news this week is that ZTE have appointed a new CEO and complied with Trump’s order to replace their board of directors; bringing in eight new faces to replace the previously serving 14. Xu Ziyang, former head of the company’s German business department has been given the top job and it’s been rumored that there’s also been a shuffle amongst a number of the other c-suite roles. As a result, the US has agreed to allow the Chinese telecoms company to temporarily restart business while they continue to debate lifting the seven-year ban the government placed on the company earlier in the year.

However, Chinese companies shouldn’t start celebrating just yet. Trump has now moved to block China Mobile from operating in the country due to the apparent national security risk the posed by the company.

 

Samsung messaging glitch

Samsung are having to investigate reports that the default messaging app on their S8 and S9 phones has been sending photos from the phone’s gallery to random contacts without permission from users. Furthermore, the Samsung messaging app shows no record of the picture messages being sent meaning many users could be unaware they’ve been affected by the glitch. Samsung has released a statement saying their technical teams are looking into the issue. In the meantime, users can switch to a different messaging app or ensure they’ve deleted any potentially incriminating photos they might have in their gallery.

 

California privacy legislation 

California decided to jump on the GDPR bandwagon this week, passing a data privacy law that gives their 40 million citizens the right to view the data that companies hold about them, request its deletion and prohibit it from being sold on to third parties. Violations are punished by fines, although they’re not quite as hefty as those set to be doled out by the EU. The privacy bill has been in the works since 2016 but very few people outside the tech bubble had heard anything about it until this week. Unsurprisingly, a number of big technology companies were all lined up to fight the legislation but a recent increase in public awareness around the importance of data privacy meant that they had little chance of successfully opposing the measure. Much like with GDPR, all that’s left to do now is sit back and wait for the fines to start rolling out.

 

Security news

Bad news for fans of data protection this week. Ticketmaster, Whitbread – the owners of Premier Inn and Costa Coffee – and Fortnum & Mason have all announced data breaches, with each company suffering the losses at the hands of third parties. Australian recruitment company PageUp is responsible for the exposure of Whitbread employee data whilst survey company Typeform have been held responsible for failing to protect the data of 23,000 customers who voted in F&M’s TV Personality of the Year poll. Ticketmaster were hit by a cyberattack late last week which was reportedly caused by malicious software that had made its way onto a third-party customer support product, Inbenta Technologies. Repeat after me everyone: Don’t forget about your subcontractors!

Meanwhile, the Ugandan government has made good on their threat of introducing a tax on social media use. The new daily levy has resulted from complaints made by President Museveni who claimed that ‘idle chat’ on social media was costing the country both time and money. Unsurprisingly, those with the know-how have already turned to VPNs in an attempt to dodge the $0.05 a day tax, however, activists are arguing this fund-raising exercise has a more sinister side; especially given the country’s history of prosecuting those who express criticism about the government on social media.

 

M&A

Reliance has acquired Radisys, Lyft has confirmed the purchase of bike sharing firm Motivate. Plantronics has snapped up Polycom Insight, Facebook has reportedly got its hands-on UK AI company Bloomsbury. Facebook has announced it’s shutting down three apps, ‘Hello’, ‘Move’ and ‘tbh’ due to low usage. They’ve released a statement saying all user data will deleted within 90 days.

Dell EMC is planning to go public again, five years after founder Michael Dell decided to turn the company into a private enterprise.  

 

Fooling facial recognition software

Finally, for those of you looking to fool facial recognition technology, it’s your lucky day. According to a computer science blogger that goes by the name TAHKION, the make-up style adopted by hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse and their fans (affectionally known as Juggalos and Juggalettes) distorts the features of the face rendering machine learning algorithms powerless to identify the wearer.

If the musical stylings of two middle aged men in clown make up aren’t your thing, you can always become a fan of Black Metal and start wearing so-called ‘corpse paint’ in an effort to confuse most facial recognition systems.

Welcome to the resistance, we’ve got facepaint…

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Charlotte Trueman

Charlotte is Staff Writer at IDG Connect

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