This week in your Data Privacy News summary…

France’s data privacy watchdog CNIL said on Tuesday that it was making preliminary investigations into TikTok after it received a complaint in May against the Chinese-owned video-sharing app.

A spokesman for the authority said in written comments sent to Reuters on the case:

The CNIL began investigations into the website and the TikTok application in May 2020. The CNIL had indeed received a complaint at that date, …To date, the CNIL continues its investigations and participates in ongoing European work.

Asked about the CNIL probe, TikTok said: “Protecting TikTok users’ privacy and safety is our top priority. We are aware of the investigation by the CNIL and are fully cooperating with them.”

The investigations concern the level of information provided to TikTok’s users and how they can exercise their rights, the flow of data going out of the European Union and measures taken to protect minors, the CNIL spokesman said.

Source & full story: Reuters

Barclays Plc is being probed by the United Kingdom’s privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), over allegations that the British bank spied on its staff, the agency said on Sunday.

Earlier this year, Barclays said it was changing a system that the bank was piloting, which tracked how employees spent their time at work, after critical media reports accused the bank of spying on its staff.

The ICO said on Sunday a formal probe was ongoing but it could not say when the investigation would conclude.

An ICO spokesman said:

People expect that they can keep their personal lives private and that they are also entitled to a degree of privacy in the workplace, …If organisations wish to monitor their employees, they should be clear about its purpose and that it brings real benefits. Organisations also need to make employees aware of the nature, extent and reasons for any monitoring.

The probe was reported earlier by The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

Source & full story: Reuters

The EU will open a full-scale investigation into Google’s $2.1 billion (€1.8 billion) bid for fitness tracking company Fitbit, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation, in a sign that regulators are unsatisfied with the concessions Google has made so far.

Google has pledged not to use the health data gathered by Fitbit’s tens of millions of users to enhance its ability to target advertising.

But EU officials demanded further concessions, including guarantees that all of Fitbit’s data would be open to third parties on equal terms, and a promise that Google would not use the data to improve its search engine business.

The EU has now decided to open a longer antitrust investigation, delaying the deal further. Australian regulators have also raised concerns about the deal, while US politicians have said it risks entrenching Google’s power online.

Source & full story: Irish Times

The fall of social media giants like Facebook could open the floodgates on data privacy issues, scientists have warned.

Although the tech giant is unlikely to close given its current healthy state, researchers at the University of Oxford have looked at the implications if Facebook did suddenly shut down one day.

A paper published in the Internet Policy Review journal sets out four key recommendations to avoid the serious social and economic consequences of such a hypothetical event.

Study author Carl Ohman, doctoral candidate at the Oxford Internet Institute said:

The potential demise of Facebook might seem highly unlikely, but the implications need to be taken seriously given the platform is home to over 2.6 billion users and their associated data, … Companies regularly fail and shut down, yet existing regulatory frameworks simply don’t answer the question of what happens if a company like Facebook folds. We’ve taken the first steps to map out the legal and ethical landscape at play so we can better manage the fallout. …This is hopefully just the start of a vitally important debate among academics, policymakers, and the tech industry.

Source & full story: Yahoo

Personal information of people who left comments about local planning issues on Flintshire council’s website was hacked, bosses have admitted.

A summary of people’s comments had been made viewable on the website but their personal details were redacted.

However, “a conscious effort has been made to remove that protection by someone accessing our website”, the council said.

Those affected have been contacted, the authority has confirmed.

It said the documents were removed from public view after the breach was spotted within three hours of being published.

A “small number” of records were revealed where people had left comments in its Local Development Plan (LDP), the council said.

Source & full story: BBC News

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