Daily Digest (10/7)

Law Enforcement Metadata Retention Schemes Are Illegal, EU Court Rules; GOP Draft Response to Antitrust Report Reveals Plan to Break Up Big Tech Firms; Study: Trump, RNC Duped Traditional Media Into Covering Mail-In Voting Fraud ‘Misinformation’; UN Maritime Organization Discloses Data Breach. Click “Continue reading” below.

Law Enforcement Metadata Retention Schemes Are Illegal, EU Court Rules

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on Tuesday backed the rights group Privacy International in its lawsuit challenging metadata retention efforts by law-enforcement agencies.

The decision came after three years of litigation regarding four cases brought against retention schemes in the U.K., France and Belgium, Vice’s Motherboard site reports.

The CJEU ruled that current E.U. privacy rights barred “providers of electronic communications services to carry out the general and indiscriminate transmission of traffic data and location data” to authorities under the guise of “safeguarding national security.”

Catherine Wilson Palow, Privacy International’s legal director, told Motherboard that the court’s decision “reinforces the rule of law in the EU.”

“In these turbulent times, it serves as a reminder that no government should be above the law,” she wrote in a statement. “Democratic societies must place limits and controls on the surveillance powers of our police and intelligence agencies.” 

Law enforcement agencies in Europe and the U.S. have been engaging in metadata collection and retention from such telecom companies as Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Verizon in the name of national security. 

The court said it would require law enforcement agencies to use alternative methods of data collection and retention, Motherboard reports.

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GOP Draft Response to Antitrust Report Reveals Plan to Break Up Big Tech Firms

The U.S. House of Representatives antitrust report on Big Tech firms contains a “thinly veiled call to break up” the companies, Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., said in a draft GOP response disclosed Tuesday by Reuters.

A House antitrust subcommittee is expected to publish its report this week on Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet Inc.

The panel, chaired by Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, R.I., grilled the companies’ CEOs in a contentious hearing in July.

In the draft, Buck said he shared Democratic concerns about the power of Big Tech firms, with their penchant for “killer acquisitions” to eliminate rivals and self-preferencing in guiding customers to their other products.

However, Buck objected to a Democratic plan to require them to delineate a clear “single line of business.”

Facebook also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, while Google’s businesses include YouTube and Android, and Amazon operates a massive cloud computing unit.

“This proposal is a thinly veiled call to break up Big Tech firms,” Buck wrote in the draft, according to Reuters. “We do not agree with the majority’s approach.”

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Study: Trump, RNC Duped Traditional Media Into Covering Mail-In Voting Fraud ‘Misinformation’

President Donald Trump, the Republican National Committee and Fox News primarily drove U.S. media coverage of mail-in voting fraud, according to a report from the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

The study analyzed 55,000 news reports, five million tweets and 75,000 public Facebook posts. It found that the president “took advantage of ‘three core standard practices of professional journalism’ to drive the disinformation campaign,” according to a report on the center’s study published by Nieman Reports.

The study found the practices to be “elite institutional focus (if the president says it, it’s news); headline-seeking (if it bleeds, it leads); and balance, neutrality, or the avoidance of the appearance of taking a side.”

The Berkman Klein Center’s study found that the mainstream news outlets publishing the stories or linking to tweets included local and cable TV outlets, newspapers, radio stations and online news sources.

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UN Maritime Organization Discloses Data Breach 

The United Nations International Maritime Organization (UNIMO) disclosed a security breach to its secretariat’s office over the weekend after it experienced a “sophisticated cyberattack” against its IT systems.

The agency said Tuesday that the incident was discovered last Thursday and affected the UNIMO’s public website and other web-based services, ZDNet reports.

The breached systems were taken down and then restored by Friday, the agency said.

However, UNIMO’s email systems, virtual conferencing platform and other internal and external collaboration platforms, were not affected, an agency representative told ZDNet.

“The IMO headquarters file servers are located in the U.K., with extensive backup systems in Geneva,” the spokesperson said. “The backup-and-restore system is regularly tested.”

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By DPN Staff