In the news this week …

ICO Approves Use of UK Phone Data if it Helps in the Fight Against Coronavirus

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has given the UK government the green light to use personal data from people’s mobile phones, in order to track and monitor behaviour, if it helps in the fight against coronavirus.

The government has been talks with UK mobile phone companies to potentially use anonymous location and usage data to create movement maps, with a 12- to 24-hour delay, to discover whether the public are abiding by lockdown rules.

Governments such as China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Israel have gone much further, with active surveillance measures including the use of personal data and making infected people download a smartphone app to reveal their movements and contacts.

Although it has been reported that the goverment is developing a smartphone app, there are no suggestions that it will embrace such measures, the ICO said the severity of the coronavirus outbreak could warrant the use of personal data to help contain it.

The important thing is that data protection is not a barrier to sharing data,” said a ICO spokeswoman, responding to the question of potentially nationwide mobile phone monitoring. “Public bodies may require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health. Data protection law enables the data sharing in the public interest and provides the safeguards for data that the public would expect.

Source & full story: The Guardian

Supreme Court Rules Morrisons Was Not Liable for 2014 Data Breach

The UK Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that retail grocer Morrisons was not liable for the unlawful disclosure of the personal data of thousands of the company’s employees by an employee in 2014.

Originally, the supermarket chain was found to be vicariously liable — as opposed to directly liable — when a disgruntled staff member leaked payroll data of 100,000 of Morrison’s workers six years ago,

The Supreme Court has overruled past decisions after Morrisons lodged an appeal, however, with judges finding the supermarket could not be held responsible for the actions of former auditor Andrew Skelton.

After receiving a verbal warning following disciplinary proceedings in 2013, Skelton was tasked with transmitting payroll data for Morrison’s entire workforce to external auditors, as he had done the previous year. Skelton completed the task, but also made a personal copy of the data.

He uploaded a file containing the data to a publicly accessible filesharing website in 2014, and sent the file anonymously to three UK newspapers, posing as a concerned member of the public.

Morrisons was then alerted and took steps to have the data removed and contact the police, who arrested Skelton following an investigation. He was imprisoned in 2015 for eight years.

Source & full story: ITPro

Zoom App’s Data Security & Privacy Measures Scrutinized

Videoconferencing app Zoom has come under increased scrutiny as its popularity soars during the coronavirus pandemic. New York’s Attorney General has written to the company expressing concerns regarding its ability to cope with the massive rise in the number of users.

Zoom is now being used by millions of people for work and leisure, as lockdowns are imposed in many countries. But its data security and privacy measures have been questioned.

The letter from the office of New York’s AG Letitia James asked Zoom whether it had reviewed its security measures since its popularity surged. It also pointed out that in the past the app had been slow to address issues.

In response to a request from the BBC for comment, a company spokesperson said: “Zoom takes its users’ privacy, security, and trust extremely seriously, adding:

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are working around-the-clock to ensure that hospitals, universities, schools, and other businesses across the world can stay connected and operational. We appreciate the New York Attorney General’s engagement on these issues and are happy to provide her with the requested information,

Source & full story: BBC News

How will Coronavirus change national security?

A senior intelligence officer rushes in to a meeting with the latest report and places it in front of anxious politicians and policymakers.

In the past, it might have contained details about a planned terrorist attack – perhaps a cell in the Middle East looking at a new way of taking down an airline. This would lead to the well-practised national security machine cranking into gear.

But in the future, that report may instead be about an outbreak of a virus in a far-off country which was being concealed by its government.

Since the 9/11 attacks nearly 20 years ago, national security has been dominated by terrorism. But there have been voices over the years who have argued the notion of ‘security’ should be broadened and the coronavirus crisis has raised a significant question about whether global health security should be a more central part of national security.

Under the last review, an international pandemic was classed as a Tier 1 national security risk in the UK – meaning it was judged to be of the highest priority – but that has not been reflected in the resources or the way in which the issue has been tackled when compared with the other three threats at the same level – terrorism, war and cyber-attacks.

But just as in the wake of 9/11, there are people who feel they were not listened to when they warned the lights were blinking red about our health security.

Source & full story: BBC News

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