Author: Seonaid O'Riordan

Cybercriminals are increasingly impersonating WHO and the UN

Research by British security software and hardware company Sophos found that coronavirus email scams tripled in the last week of March, and we can expect the volume to be increasing. Over 3% of global spam is related to coronavirus, with many of these fraudulent emails impersonating the World Health Organisation or even the United Nations.…
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Fighting fake science: the Counter Disinformation Cell’s crackdown on coronavirus lies

Claims that gargling water for 15 seconds can cure COVID-19 symptoms, or that holding your breath for a certain amount of time is a valid test for the virus, have made the rounds on social media – with some organisations emailing their employees or clients statements along these lines. As Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt explained,…
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Be wary: the pandemic offers fraudsters a golden opportunity

For responsible citizens like most of us, washing our hands regularly and observing the lockdown measures will be our primary acts of vigilance against the pandemic. But some people will always find ways to exploit exceptional circumstances, and there is a further complication we should be vigilant against, too: fraud. Coronavirus makes fraud much easier…
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Google’s British service users’ data to get US oversight

Amid perceived (or professed) uncertainty around the UK’s future GDPR adequacy status, Google executives have opted to transfer oversight of their UK data subjects from their EU subsidiary Google Ireland Limited to their American HQ Google LLC. Cited by outlets such as Reuters and The Guardian, Lea Kissner, Google’s former lead for global privacy technology,…
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European Commission publishes “White Paper on Artificial Intelligence”

19th February saw the release of the European Commission’s white paper on AI, which remains open to public consultation until May. While extolling the virtues of AI such as its much anticipated roles in fine-tuning medical diagnostics and mitigating climate breakdown, the white paper ranks intrusion and privacy risks among the four main issues facing…
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Government expands Ofcom’s role to combat ‘Online Harms’

Online harms can take a variety of forms, privacy violations being among the most notorious. Regardless of how we categorise negative internet user experiences, we know from a recent Ofcom study that 61% of adults and 79% of 12-15 year olds have reported at least one potentially harmful online experience in the last 12 months.…
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What does the law say about protecting your health and other sensitive data?

Health data, identity theft and fraud are among the most significant concerns of data protection, especially where sensitive personal data is concerned.  Now the Information Commissioners Office has published detailed guidance on how data controllers should protect and handle this ‘Special Category’ data.  Special category data Known as the most sensitive category of personal data,…
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There Now Follows A Brief Interlude…

This blog, charting the progress of the UK towards Brexit and its impacts from a data protection perspective, has been running for a few months now. It seems that every week there has been a new twist or sudden change in direction. This week, again contrary to many commentators’ predictions, came the news that we…
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The Countdown Clock Stalls

Shortly after he was installed in post, the new Chancellor, Sajid Javid, announced that three million new 50 pence coins celebrating Brexit would be issued on 31st October to mark the UK’s exit from the EU.  Millions more were set to be minted in the following months. The move was supposed to underline the Government’s…
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How to conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) in 8 simple steps

Many business activities these days will entail significant amounts of data processing and transference. It’s not always clear-cut as to what your organisation does that legally requires, or does not legally require, an impact assessment on the use of personal data – i.e. a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA). People may be familiar with Privacy…
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