CBS News Logo EU: IP Addresses Are Personal Information

Germany's data protection commissioner, Peter Scharr, leads the EU group preparing a report on how well the privacy policies of Internet search engines operated by Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others comply with EU privacy law. He told a European Parliament hearing on online data protection that when someone is identified by an IP, or Internet protocol, address "then it has to be regarded as personal data." His view differs from that of Google, which insists an IP address merely identifies the location of a computer, not who the individual user is - something strictly true but which does not recognize that many people regularly use the same computer terminal and IP address. Scharr acknowledged that IP addresses for a computer may not always be personal or linked to an individual. For example, some computers in Internet cafes or offices are used by several people. But these exceptions have not stopped the emergence of a host of "whois" Internet sites that apply the general rule that typing in an IP address will generate a name for the person or company linked to it. Treating IP addresses as personal information would have implications for how search engines record data. Google led the pack by being the first last year to cut the time it stored search information to 18 months. It also reduced the time limit on the cookies that collect information on how people use the Internet from a default of 30 years to an automatic expiration in two years. But a privacy advocate at the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, said it was "absurd" for Google to claim that stripping out the last two figures from the stored IP address made the address impossible to identify by making it one of 256 possible configurations. "It's one of the things that make computer people giggle," EPIC executive director Marc Rotenberg told The Associated Press. "The more the companies know about you, the more commercial value is obtained." Google's global privacy Continue Reading

Court Seems Unconvinced Of Microsoft’s Argument To Shield Email Data Stored Overseas

Law Court Seems Unconvinced Of Microsoft's Argument To Shield Email Data Stored Overseas Listen · 2:26 2:26 Toggle more options Download Embed Embed <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player"> Transcript Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email Enlarge this image An unidentified man walks in front of the Microsoft logo at an event in New Delhi. Microsoft is at the center of a Supreme Court case on whether it has to turn over emails stored overseas. Altaf Qadri/AP hide caption toggle caption Altaf Qadri/AP An unidentified man walks in front of the Microsoft logo at an event in New Delhi. Microsoft is at the center of a Supreme Court case on whether it has to turn over emails stored overseas. Altaf Qadri/AP Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday about whether emails stored overseas are subject to a U.S. warrant. It all revolved around a 1986 law, five years before the "World Wide Web" even existed. It was the cloud and robots meet Marty McFly. And the justices didn't seem to be buying arguments from Microsoft, an American tech company headquartered in Redmond, Wash., which is trying to protect the data. The question facing the justices didn't exist a few decades ago — does an email provider, faced with a search warrant issued in the United States, have to turn over a customer's email content when those data are stored outside the country? The case The case, United States v. Microsoft, involves a federal drug-trafficking investigation in which law enforcement obtained a warrant for all the data associated with a suspect's Microsoft account. In response, Microsoft turned over the user's account identification information that is stored in Redmond, but refused to disclose the content of the emails, which were stored in a data center in Continue Reading

CBS News Logo Brexit vote: What the U.K. leaving the EU means for tech

The UK voters did it: Britain is now out of the European Union. The debate has been messy over whether Britain should exit the EU, a move nicknamed Brexit. In part that's because of all the unknown outcomes -- each side has had a tough time building a solid case. Those wanting to leave are justifying their position with arguments about British sovereignty, the amount of money the UK sends to the EU, and uncontrolled immigration. Some who are voting to remain are doing so because their ties to Europe run deep, others because they want to avoid another recession. Some just don't want to make what would likely be an irreversible decision about the future of the country in a climate of such uncertainty. Regardless, the remain camp has the clout of the world's leading economists behind it. It's an historic moment: No country has ever left the EU. That makes it impossible to say for sure what will happen now that Brexit is a reality. The ambiguity extends to the effects a leave vote would have on the technology industry, which has generally leaned toward Britain remaining in Europe. Here's a look at the potential implications. What has the EU ever done for tech? British citizens have reason to be grateful to the EU, which prioritized broadband in every home, passed data-protection regulations and recognized the needs for countries to work together on cybersecurity issues. The EU is working toward a digital single market, a seamless online marketplace where digital services can prosper and where industry, employment and the economy all benefit from digitalisation. Issues tackled so far include ensuring people have equal access to Netflix. The Union is also currently in the process of making sure phone users can enjoy movement from member state to member state without having to pay roaming fees. Such policies have proved popular not just with consumers; all the UK's network operators believe EU membership is good for their businesses, and they're firmly on the side of Continue Reading Inc (CRM) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Image source: The Motley Fool., Inc. (NYSE: CRM) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Feb. 28, 2018, 5:00 p.m. ET Contents: Prepared Remarks Questions and Answers Call Participants Prepared Remarks: Operator Good afternoon. My name is Erica and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the CRM Q4 Earnings Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. If you would like to ask a question during this time, simply press * then the number 1 on your telephone keypad. If you would like to withdraw your question, press the # key. Thank you. Mr. John Cummings, you may begin your conference. John Cummings -- Senior Vice President, Investor Relations Thanks, Erica, and good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for joining us for our Fiscal Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2018 Results Conference Call. Our results press release, SEC filings, and a replay of today's call can be found on our IR website at With me on the call today is Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO; Keith Block, Vice Chairman, President and COO; Mark Hawkins, our President and CFO; also joining us today is Bret Taylor, our President and Chief Product Officer. As a reminder, our commentary today will primarily be in non-GAAP terms. Reconciliations between our GAAP and non-GAAP results and guidance can be found in our earnings press release. Additionally, our commentary today and the guidance we provide are under prior accounting standards, ASC 505, pre-revision ASC 340, and ASC 325 and we expect to provide updated guidance under the new accounting standards, including ASC 606, ASC 340-40, and ASU 201601, all of which we adopted on February 1st, 2018 and will do that in the coming weeks. 10 stocks we like better than When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can Continue Reading

Facebook will need to re-register consent from all its users in Europe under the EU’s new privacy laws

Jim Edwards, provided by Published 1:59 am, Thursday, February 15, 2018 REUTERS/Robert Galbraith Facebook will have to re-obtain consent from all its existing users, for all the data it is currently holding on them, according to Europe's new "ePrivacy law" and the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation. "Existing data will risk becoming obsolete," Goldman Sachs says. The law applies to all tech companies that do business in Europe, but Facebook will be especially affected because its business consists entirely of user data. COO Sheryl Sandberg has already told analysts she expects Facebook to see a small decline in daily average users in Europe, but otherwise the company is prepared. You might also like: Now Playing: Buyers will be able to shop online in the EU without being blocked or automatically re-routed Traders will have to treat cross-border shoppers in the same way as local ones, charging them the same prices 63% of websites assessed do not let shoppers buy from another EU country Streaming of music, audiovisual content and games not yet included Online shoppers are to get broader and easier access to products, hotel bookings, car rentals and tickets for events which are sold in another EU country. New rules will ban "geo-blocking" of consumers browsing websites in another EU member state. This will allow them to choose from which website they buy goods or services without being blocked or automatically re-routed to a site linked to their place of residence. Traders will have to treat online shoppers from another EU country in the same way as local ones. They must be granted access to the same prices or terms of sale. Treating shoppers differently based on the place of issuance of a credit or debit card will also be forbidden. While traders remain free to accept whatever payment means they want, they may not discriminate within a specific payment brand based on nationality. The regulation to end unjustified geo-blocking was Continue Reading

Letter: EU acting to protect personal data

Vera Jourova, a European Union commissioner, speaks Jan. 24, 2018, in Brussels about a new EU regulation on data protection. Photo Credit: EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock / OLIVIER HOSLET By Newsday Readers Updated February 6, 2018 9:48 AM Salvadoran refugees need help to stay I would like my representatives in Congress to know that as a U.S. citizen and registered Republican, I support a fast-track path to citizenship for law-abiding people who are here under temporary protected status — specifically those from El Salvador [“The end of our American dream?,” Opinion, Jan. 22]. They came here legally and are stuck without a path to citizenship. Many of those who have been here for long periods have clearly proved to be worthy and productive U.S. residents. Salvadoran friends of mine have been here for 17 years. They have earned the privilege to apply for citizenship. I urge my representatives to create and pass legislation before the administration’s September 2019 deadline to keep them here, safely and legally. Patricia Golden, East Williston 5-cent bag fee could change behavior As a longtime bag reuser and recycler, I laughed out loud at columnist Lane Filler’s piece “Hey, 5-cent bags for the whole store!” [Opinion, Jan. 24]. I’ve been carrying my trunk-residing, E. coli-tainted reusables for at least 10 years. What I notice about people is the most interesting. Younger cashiers seem to have no idea that bags wind up in landfills or wrapped around tree branches; older cashiers smile and tell me how good my habit is and say they wish they could get used to doing the same. I’ve traveled to the other side of town to save 3 cents a gallon on gas. Let’s hope the exorbitant nickel charge for a shopping bag does change people’s ways! Joanne Talbot, Massapequa Park EU acting to protect personal data Regarding “Are devices spying on every breath we take?” by writer Mike Vogel Continue Reading

Facebook to launch privacy center ahead of EU regulations

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook says it will launch a new privacy center to help people understand what it does with their data as the giant social network prepares for sweeping new data protection rules in Europe designed to rein in the growing power of major U.S. technology companies.All privacy settings will be in one place, said Facebook, which also published a set of privacy "principles."Facebook is bracing for new regulations designed to help the 500 million consumers in Europe take back some control over how online businesses use their personal information. But Facebook won't be giving its more than 2 billion users any additional say over what it does with the mountains of personal information Facebook collects to target advertising. Instead Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said last week in a speech in Brussels that the new privacy center would "put the core privacy settings for Facebook in one place, and make it much easier for people to manage their data."According to Sandberg, the changes give Facebook "a very good foundation to meet all the requirements" of the 28-member bloc's new data rules called the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, which apply to any company that keeps data on EU citizens. The GDPR restricts what kind of data companies can use and store and what they can do with the data.Set to take effect May 25, the regulations are so stringent that some have warned that U.S. tech companies may have to dramatically alter how they operate or risk fines of 20 million euros, more than $24 million, or 4% of their annual revenue, whichever is greater, if they violate the rules.Facebook, like other major U.S. tech companies, has deployed dozens of people and spent millions of dollars to figure out how to comply with the new rules. In recent months, the company has held what it calls "design jams" where staffers brainstorm ways people can get a clearer picture of Continue Reading

Months after Equifax data breach, we’re still no closer to privacy protections

This is the year privacy safeguards finally kick in for consumers after outraged lawmakers wasted no time passing legislation in the wake of the Equifax data breach, which exposed the personal information of more than 145 million Americans. I’m just kidding. After lots of huffing and puffing for the cameras, Republican lawmakers have blocked all legislation aimed at improving privacy protections or holding companies more accountable for the loss of people’s info. Contrast this with what’s happening in Europe, where, all kidding aside, this year really will mark a major milestone as sweeping new privacy rules, known as General Data Protection Regulation, are implemented throughout the European Union. Adding insult to injury, U.S. multinationals will spend big bucks complying with the new European rules and watching the backs of EU residents, while their attention to Americans’ privacy will be largely unchanged, which is to say they’ll make as little effort as legally possible keeping our data under wraps. “Are Americans going to be left behind in terms of privacy? You bet,” said Herb Lin, a senior research scholar at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. We found out in September that hackers had penetrated Equifax’s defenses and gained access to the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses of tens of millions of people, which the credit agency’s then chief executive, Richard Smith, called “a disappointing event for our company.” If Equifax was disappointed, consumers were downright mortified, not least because the hacking apparently was discovered by the company in July and it took them more than a month to notify the public. During that month, several senior Equifax executives, including the chief financial officer, sold off nearly $2 million worth of stock. After the breach was revealed, the company’s share price plunged more than 33%. Continue Reading

Web companies should make it easier to make your data portable: FTC’s McSweeny

LISBON— An annual gathering of techies and pundits that often celebrates technology’s possibilities was a little sadder and maybe wiser after a year that’s revealed the weaknesses of many digital institutions to human abuse.Privacy—both its inadequacy and the mischief made possible by a lack of it—figured heavily at Web Summit this year.“I think for a very long time in the U.S., we were prepared to accept innovation without holding it accountable for consequences,” Federal Trade Commission commissioner Terrell McSweeny said on a panel Thursday. “I think that’s changing.”She has some ideas on how to bring more power to consumers. During a brief interview at Washington National Airport Friday, McSweeny, who was appointed to the FTC by President Obama, voiced her hope  for “a serious conversation on privacy." She put in a request for one feature: more data-portability options to take our information out of Web services and take that business elsewhere.“It would make it easier for us to move our data around if we weren’t happy with a service, or if we weren’t happy with how a service was securing our data,” she told USA TODAY.That’s true. But it’s also something that many sites seem in no rush to offer.“For some generations, a certain amount of privacy is, I think, gone,” said Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker in a talk Thursday.But the head of the non-profit behind the Firefox browser suggested that newfound interest in how detailed tracking online can abet large-scale propaganda campaigns could lead to reform of what she called “the attention economy.”Said Baker: “What we’re learning about is how easy the attention economy makes it to manipulate people, that may be the thing that forces us to change.” More: How do Facebook ads target you? More: Russia Continue Reading

Google promises EU better privacy rules

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Google Inc. said Tuesday it will further cut the amount of time it keeps users' data logged on its search engine to meet EU privacy demands. Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy adviser, said the company will reduce the time it stores search information from 18 months to nine. Google introduced an 18-month limit in 2007. "With the new policy today we will anonymize the IP addresses on our server logs after nine months, so that is a significant improvement in privacy terms and it puts us ahead of the rest of the industry," Fleischer told Brussels-based reporters via a telephone link. RELATED: 20 FUN FACTS ABOUT GOOGLE'S EARLY DAYSRELATED: WHAT IT'S REALLY LIKE TO WORK AT GOOGLERELATED: WEB SITES THAT EXIST SOLELY BECAUSE OF GOOGLERELATED: INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT MCCLOUD, ARTIST BEHIND GOOGLE CHROME COMICHe said the change will apply to Google's search Websites worldwide. Fleischer also announced that additional changes are being made to Google's "Suggest" application which allows users to make searches faster when the feature offers suggestions of search items in real-time. He said Google only logs 2 percent of data collected on such searches but said they will all be erased after a 24-hour period starting later this month. The announcements were meant to appease EU data protection officers who have questioned the need for search engines to keep search history data on users. An EU report in April on search engines recommended changes to their practices to meet European data retention and privacy rules. Fleischer said the changes "respond to concerns that have been raised by regulators, advocates and even users in general." A separate 20-page report was submitted to the EU's group of national data privacy officers explaining the changes. It said however, the added privacy given to users will "have costs" for Google's ability to improve search quality and innovation of its services. Officials at the European Commission, the EU's executive, had no Continue Reading