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News Roundup: Data protection officers, Villa to Oracle, and the new Carnegie

A roundup of the week’s tech news including We Chat Enterprise, the year of the third party, and police iPads

GDPR = 28,000 DPOs?

Last week the European Parliament finally approved the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) data privacy rules. Part of the rules require organisations dealing with certain types of data to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO), and the rules may lead to more than 28,000 being hired between now and 2018, according to the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Best get staffing if you deal with data monitoring or special categories of data.

Hilary or McAfee

Did Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt “guarantee” that Hilary Clinton would be the next President of the United States? According to InfoWars, yes. So we might as well give up now. If that’s not proof enough that the election is a sham, a new survey from AirBNB says most people would prefer to host Hilary in their home over the likes of Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump.

Despite such bad news, however John McAfee remains undeterred. As the decision over who will lead the Libertarian Party in this year’s elections gets closer, the maverick McAfee has been predicting big things for himself and his party. “I believe this is the year of the third party,” he told CNN, before telling another Libertarian site: “The only reason you are not Libertarian on paper, or you’re not following the libertarian banner, is because you either did not know it existed or did not know the name for your fundamental self. End of story.”

As well as bigging up his party’s chances at the polls, McAfee thought it would be a good idea to put his phone number on the internet. “Yesterday a troll was annoying my wife on Facebook and I gently stepped in to prove a point,” he wrote on Business Insider. “I posted my private phone number for all the world to see then I invited the troll to call me.” He apparently never did, but hundreds of others did, giving him what he believes will be “200 or so extra votes.”

He also reaffirmed his cyber-heavy stance. “I cannot conceive of how more than 1% of us could possibly survive a cyberwar,” he warned.

Oracle to acquire Aston Villa?

There’s no shortage of English football clubs with American owners. There’s also no shortage of technology moguls owning sports clubs. So why not combine the two? Oracle founder Larry Ellison is reportedly in advanced talks with Aston Villa’s owner Randy Lerner to take over the beleaguered club. However, while the idea of one of the richest men in the US sitting in the away stand during a cold night in Preston might be an entertaining one, SkySports suggests Lerner has snubbed Ellison & Co. for a consortium of confirmed Villa-fan businessmen.

Smart is killing Swiss

Figures from February showed the number of smartwatches sold overtook sales of Swiss timepieces for the first time. The industry suffered more bad news this week after the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said sales in March had dropped to their lowest levels for that month in five years. There may be more hard times ahead for Switzerland, good job the country is trying to position itself as a safe haven for your data centers.

Don’t forget we published a report looking at how the Swiss watch industry views smartwatches last year.

PoliciPads

The UK government doesn’t always have the best luck when it comes to IT projects. In 2014 the government actually changed the rules to ban IT projects costing more than £100 million ($144 million) due to the fact they usually fail. But its ok, the government just has to find more lower-priced IT projects to waste time and money on. The latest? A £6 million ($9 million) iPad scheme for the London Metropolitan Police Force. Of the original 15,000-20,000 due to be given out to officers, just 641 have been rolled out, at a cost of £9,360 ($13,400) per iPad.

According to V3 via a Freedom of Information Request, the Met spent “£1.2m on hardware (including iPads, supporting servers and accessories), £4.1m on custom software development (including databases to support mobile operations), £600,000 on business and management activities, and £100,000 on licences. Despite the fact the iPads have been “well-received”, according to a Met spokesperson, the trial is unlikely to result in a wider roll-out.

M&A

Magic Leap has reportedly acquired Israeli security startup NorthBit, Alibaba has followed up its Lazada buy by splashing out for Chinese food delivery startup Ele.me, Oracle has bought Israeli Big Data startup Crosswise, AOL has snapped up VR content studio Ryot, OpenText has bought parts of Interwoven and Aurasma from HP Inc, a Chinese consortium has snaffled Lexmark, Autodesk has got its hands on Solid Angle, and IoT security startup Device Authority now owns Cryptosoft.

The new web browser on the block, Vivaldi, needs five million monthly users to become profitable, according to founder and CEO Jon von Tetzchner.

Amazon is reportedly shutting down flash-sale site MyHabit, according to Re/Code.

NSA

-          The FBI reportedly paid over $1 million to hack the San Bernardino iPhone

-          Ed Snowden is swapping whistle-blowing for electronic dance music

-          The hacker who hacked the Hacking Team has explained how he did it

-          BlackBerry CEO John Chen has defended giving Canadian Police decryption keys

-          DJI may soon start giving the Chinese government access to the data it collects from drones

-          Ethiopia has criminalised mass spam emails

Apple this week released its latest transparency report. The Cupertino Company released data to the US Government in around 80% of cases. 

FB at Work vs. WeSlack

Last week it was reported Facebook’s move into the enterprise, FB at Work, was still months away from a wider release, but in the meantime, China’s We Chat has decided it wants a piece of the Enterprise Social Network space. We Chat Enterprise is free, but only available in China at the moment.

As well as waiting on FB at Work, we might be a while off seeing a wide release of the company’s M Virtual Assistant. “We have two goals with this one. One is building the product into something awesome,” Facebook's David Marcus told the Verge. “[And] that’s going to take years for everyone to have access to it.”

Time, work and money

Lots of depressing work-related news of late. Over the last 12 months, the technology industry has shed over 72,000 jobs – a workforce equivalent to all of Google. Nearly half of the workers left are being forced to look elsewhere for jobs to a lack of visible career progression, while a third of workers haven’t had any professional training through their employers over the last three years.

Obviously all this grim news is worse for women, since you’re almost certainly getting paid less for all this lack of training and career progression.

No BMW iCar

There’s no shortage of rumours about Apple’s (possibly) forthcoming iCar. BMW has long be linked to the project, but a new report suggests the German car giant has said “nein” to getting involved. Handelsblatt reports that both BMW and Daimler are no longer in talks with Apple about the car project due to questions over leadership and data ownership. The paper also suggests the current favourite to help produce the car is now Magna, a Canadian-Austrian specialty electric vehicle maker.

Meanwhile, Chinese phone maker LeEco pulled a surprise out of its hat this week. After revealing a few new phones at a press conference, the company showed off its driverless LeSEE concept car. It might be a company known for arriving late to a party, but Apple is seriously falling behind if upper-middle tier hardware companies are showing off such sophisticated hardware.

Zuckerberg the new Carnegie

Given the increasingly large sums of money technology companies spend lobbying governments, it’s fair to say the age of Big Oil and Pharma is giving way to Big Tech.

“[Andrew] Carnegie could never have imagined the kind of power Zuckerberg has. Politics today is less relevant than it has ever been in our entire history,” NYC University history Professor David Nasaw told the Guardian this week. “These CEOs are more powerful than they’ve ever been. The driving force of social change today is no longer government at all.”

Nightdrone

If you thought you were safe from the world of autonomous technology at night, you were wrong. Hot on the heels of Ford testing its self-driving cars at night, the Federal Aviation Administration has granted approval for small commercial drones to conduct night flights. Nightdrone sounds a bit like a UAV-based reboot of Knight Rider, doesn’t it?

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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