Friday

10th Jul 2020

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.

News in Brief

  1. Irish finance minister voted in as eurogroup president
  2. Italy's League party opens office near old communist HQ
  3. 'Significant divergences' remain in Brexit talks
  4. Germany identifies 32,000 right-wing extremists
  5. WHO to hold probe of global Covid-19 response
  6. China accuses Australia of 'gross interference' on Hong Kong
  7. EU to let Croatia, Bulgaria take first step to join euro
  8. Rushdie, Fukuyama, Rowling warn against 'intolerance'

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.

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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

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.

Investigation

EU agencies tested monitoring data on refugees

As debate around the issue of contact-tracing grows, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that the new science of predicting and monitoring population movements is already here – and EU agencies have been testing it on refugees and migrants.

Coronavirus

Experts push decentralised Covid19 apps to gain trust

A decentralised approach to coronavirus contact-tracing apps is starting to gain ground in the privacy debate within the EU and beyond - especially after centralised solutions are reported to pose a risk for fundamental rights.

Coronavirus

Will coronavirus change EU's pharma supply chain?

The European Commission vice-president Vera Jourova recognised that the EU's pharmaceutical sector had a 'morbid dependency' on third-country suppliers. But some experts from the pharma field have warned export bans undermine global supply chains.

Coronavirus

EU agrees not to use location data in tracing apps

Member states agreed on Thursday that Covid-19 mobile applications used for contact-tracing should not process location data of individuals, amid rising concerns over privacy.

Analysis

Coronavirus: Are we trading privacy for security?

The response of EU countries to the coronavirus outbreak has prompted unprecedented levels of surveillance, data exploitation, and misinformation. Privacy campaigners, and MEPs, have warned of future adverse side-effects.

Coronavirus

EU science chief who 'quit' had been told to resign

Contested version of events cloud the shock resignation of Mauro Ferrari as president of the European Research Council. Ferrari dramatically tendered his resignation on 7 April. But his colleagues overseeing the council wanted him gone already by late March.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus exposes lack of common data approach

The enormous differences between coronavirus cases reported worldwide raise questions on how countries are tracking their outbreaks - or even deliberately underreporting them.

Coronavirus

Cybercrime rises during coronavirus pandemic

Cybercrime and cyberattacks have increased due to the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, the World Health Organization, hospitals and research centres are being targeted by organised cybercriminals - searching for information, intelligence, and systems access.

Coronavirus

Privacy issues arise as governments track virus

Governments are attempting to track the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across Europe using mobile phone data. When it comes to data protection, exceptions are allowed in times of crisis but must be limited in time and scope, critics warn.

MEPs: 'Mass surveillance' still possible under US privacy deal

A delegation of MEPs from the civil liberties committee have warned of the remaining "deficiencies" of the EU-US 'privacy shield' framework, amid concerns over the efficiency of this mechanism to protect EU citizens' fundamental rights.

EU backtracks on plans to ban facial recognition

The European Commission came under fire on Wednesday for ruling out a moratorium on facial recognition. Instead, it proposed a public debate with stakeholders to determine when this technology might be used.

Opinion

Only EU can tame Zuckerberg's Facebook

When the EU speaks, Silicon Valley listens. The tech titans know that the EU matters. Which is why it's so crucial that following the lobbying from Zuckerberg, on disinformation, the EU gets regulation right.

Zuckerberg lobbies Brussels ahead of new EU rules

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met on Monday three European commissioners in charge of digital policies - Thierry Breton, Margrethe Vestager and Vera Jourová - to discuss upcoming EU rules and the responsibilities of platforms regarding disinformation.