Data Protection News Roundup – 21st May 2019

Who’s getting it wrong?

Instagram says it is trying to find out how contact details of almost 50 million of its users were stored online in an unguarded database. TechCrunch, which broke the story, said it included personal information such as email and phone numbers of high profile users known as “influencers”. The database has been traced to a Mumbai-based company called Chtrbox. Read more here.


Other News

Prince Harry has won a legal dispute with Splash News, a photo agency which used a helicopter to take pictures on his property. In addition to arguing that the agency invaded his privacy, the Duke of Sussex also based his case on the photographers having mishandled his personal data under the GDPR. Read more here.

A mum has been charged with data protection offences after exposing a paedophile neighbour. She used Sarah’s Law, the child sex offender disclosure scheme, after growing suspicious about a man living in her street. Using the scheme, she was able to find out from police if the man had any previous convictions. However, as part of the conditions she also had to sign a non-disclosure form vowing not to tell other neighbours. Once she had discovered that the man had been jailed for having child abuse images on his computer, she told other parents on the streets so they could protect their children. As a result, she was charged. She has since had the charges dropped. Read more here.

Leading technology firms based in Ireland are “lawyering up” and behaving in a “more combative” manner ahead of expected multimillion euro fines for data breaches, the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon has said. Read more here.

The ICO issued a statement about the recent incident involving a spyware vulnerability on WhatsApp. The ICO said: “We are currently liaising with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner to determine whether any UK users have been affected.” The ICO has advised anyone concerned about using WhatsApp the advice is to update your apps using standard updates from the app store as a precaution. Read more here.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has told Parliament that MI5 bungled the security of “certain technology environments used to store and analyse data,” including that of ordinary Britons spied on by the agency. In a lengthy Parliamentary statement, Mr Javid obliquely admitted that spies had allowed more people to help themselves to its treasure troves of data on British citizens than was legally permitted. Read more here.

The first major legal challenge to police use of automated facial recognition surveillance has begun in Cardiff. Ed Bridges, whose image was taken while he was shopping, says weak regulation means AFR breaches human rights. The civil rights group Liberty says current use of the tool is equivalent to the unregulated taking of DNA or fingerprints without consent. Read more here.

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