Wednesday

21st Oct 2020

Opinion

To beat cancer, Commission must first beat chemicals lobby

The EU Commission wants to reduce cancer rates in Europe. So it's imperative this week's chemicals strategy properly regulates substances that can cause cancer - despite the efforts of the chemicals lobby, which has spent years successfully preventing tough action.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland first EU state to re-impose full lockdown
  2. EU countries agree farm policy reform
  3. EU corona-bonds attracted huge demand
  4. France seeks Putin's help on counter-terrorism
  5. Cyber attacks 'targeted health system during pandemic'
  6. Greece asks EU countries to halt military exports to Turkey
  7. Covid-19: Spain considers curfews in hardest-hit areas
  8. Study: Air pollution costs Europeans €1,276 per year

Opinion

Why am I not seeing this ad?

The micro-targeting of narrow, homogenous groups of people with very specific messages that exploit their vulnerabilities, makes it easier than ever to distort political debate, pushing people deeper into their echo chambers and stimulating single-issue voting.

EU warns tech giants 'time to go beyond self-reguation'

The European Commission has concluded that code of practice to fight disinformation fails to guarantee enough transparency and accountability from tech platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter - saying it is time to go beyond this self-regulatory mechanism.

US firms ignoring EU court ruling on data, Schrems warns

Facebook and other big US firms have no intention of respecting the landmark ruling by the EU's highest court on data transfers to the US. The court in July dramatically scrapped Privacy Shield, citing US surveillance concerns.

Coronavirus

How EU aims - hopefully - to secure vaccine by end of 2020

The European Commission hopes to have 30m doses of AstraZeneca's potential coronavirus vaccine before the end of this year, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis among the 27 EU countries - until the 300m doses negotiated arrive.

Concerned UK lawmakers push for faster Huawei 5G ban

A crossparty group of British MPs urged the government to consider removing Huawei from the country's 5G networks as soon as 2025 saying there is "clear evidence of collusion" between Huawei and the Chinese state.

Opinion

Amazon's spying on EU workers just tip of iceberg

Amazon is leading an assault on workers' rights in Europe, using big data and surveillance to crush efforts by workers to improve their conditions. It's symptomatic of a climate of impunity around breaches of privacy that benefit corporations over workers.

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ECJ to clarify power of Belgian watchdog on Facebook cookies

The European Court of Justice is due to decide whether the Belgian data protection watchdog can pursue legal action against Facebook - after the social media network was found guilty of breaching Belgian privacy legislation some five years ago.

Facebook cries foul on EU request for internal documents

Facebook, a US tech giant known for abusing its users' private data, has filed a complaint at the EU court in Luxembourg, saying the EU Commission's data request was too broad and would affect its employees' medical and financial information.

Opinion

Why EU must limit political micro-targeting

In contrast to campaign posters on the street or ads on TV, other voters have no way of knowing what paid political messaging their fellow citizens are seeing. People become siphoned off from each other and societal divides might harden.

EU top court bins 'Privacy Shield' in Schrems privacy case

The EU's top court ruled that the EU-US data-transfer pact fails to protect EU citizens' rights to privacy - following a legal challenge from Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems against Facebook. Washington said it was "deeply disappointed" with the ruling.

Column

Four tweets broke Facebook - good news for EU regulators

Facebook PR chief Nick Clegg tried to make us believe that it is comparable to a phone company. Nothing could be further from the truth. His company decides which messages users see. It literally "ranks" content.

Facial-recognition moratorium back on EU agenda

Members of the committee on civil liberties widely supported a moratorium on facial recognition for law enforcement purposes, just after the EU data watchdog backed earlier this week the ban on this technology in public spaces.

EU's landmark GDPR failing to live up to full potential

The commission's two-year review also indicates that the authorities based in Ireland and Luxembourg - European headquarters to Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon - need a substantial boost in resources.

Opinion

And now some questions for China's TikTok

At the height of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests last fall, for example, hashtags relating to the protests appeared abundantly on platforms like Twitter. On TikTok, however, the same hashtags yielded scant results and almost no signs of unrest.

Coronavirus

EU wants to pay in advance for promising vaccines

EU health ministers will discuss on Friday plans to have the Commission negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of EU countries, make advaced payments and secure enough vaccines for Europeans.

Coronavirus

Commission plans strategy to 'maximise' vaccine access

The EU Commission plans a vaccine stategy to make sure all citizens have access to it once it is ready, while it is also seeking to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on securing the vaccine.

Feature

Why developing countries may be last to get the vaccine

'The current standard for vaccines is to be kept at two to eight degrees and that is really tough in many developing countries when it can be up to 50 degrees outside,' warn experts on the challenges facing low-income countries.

EU data protection rules abused to censor media

This week the EU's data protection rules (known as the GDPR) are two-years old. While the controversial GDPR was intended to offer greater privacy rights, it has also been abused by some authorities to muzzle a free press.

Opinion

China's cat-and mouse game blocking web content no model for EU

The angriest citizens can turn to protests or violence, leading governments to increase control and monitoring of platforms, reinforcing the problem. This painful point has to be made to stop the EU repeating China's mistake of top-down internet regulation.

Coronavirus

New warning on virus apps' digital privacy safeguards

Authorities have already released or plan to roll out contact-tracing apps across the EU. However, the coronavirus pandemic has brought into focus the risks of these surveillance technologies - and their potential negative impact on human rights.

Coronavirus

Tech giants must stop Covid-19 'infodemic', say doctors

Doctors and nurses around the world are asking tech giants to correct the record on health misinformation and tweak their algorithms which decide what people get to see on social media platforms.

Opinion

The Dutch tracing app 'soap opera' - lessons for Europe

The app would need to be paired with more than 100,000 daily tests in order to have effect. And far more than 60 percent of the population will need to use the app in order for it to be effective.

Investigation

China suspected of bio-espionage in 'heart of EU'

Chinese spies have targeted Belgian biological warfare experts, vaccine-maker GSK, and other high-tech firms in the country, Belgium's intelligence service suspects.

Coronavirus

EU's virus-alert agency says more funds needed

The EU's disease prevention agency says more funds will be needed to shore up surveillance of infectious diseases, which it wants to make less reliant on humans.

Coronavirus

Vestager pushes tracing apps as key for summer holidays

The commissioner for the digital portfolio, Margrethe Vestager, warned that "without the technology, it will be very difficult to open [society] to the degree that we all want" - since new outbreaks might surge back until there is a vaccine.