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European datacenter is no solution, recent developments show

NextCloud’s blog has an overview of where things seem to go with US companies storing data on European servers. (Hint: “Trump”).

Many Software-as-a-Service companies from abroad are currently setting up European data centers, often together with European partners. With this, they hope to ease the growing European concerns around privacy, data protection and complying with existing and upcoming regulations like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But recent developments in US courts show this to be a risky proposition: the problem of privacy is far from resolved by ‘just’ putting data in Europe. For companies betting on Privacy Shield, using services from US companies directly or through an intermediary storing data in Europe, all this is very bad news.

Source: European datacenter is no solution, recent developments show – Nextcloud

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Ethereum Hacks

My reservation with block chains and crypto currencies: they disempower the ordinary person (or user)… instead of the Bad Guy On The Corner taking your wallet, now anyone anywhere can steal all your money, and you might not even notice it at first.

The press is reporting a $32M theft of the cryptocurrency Ethereum. Like all such thefts, they’re not a result of a cryptographic failure in the currencies, but instead a software vulnerability in the software surrounding the currency — in this case, digital wallets.

[…]

This is my concern about digital cash. The cryptography can be bulletproof, but the computer security will always be an issue.

Source: Ethereum Hacks

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“Why isn’t tech for accountability working in Africa?”

Policy briefing by the South African Institute of International Affairs about transparency and accountability technology projects:

It seems that civil society organisations (CSOs) and governments often ‘re-invent the flat tyre’: experimenting with new tools without finding out what has been tried (often unsuccessfully) before.

The conclusion includes recommending a shift from project-oriented towards infrastructure-oriented investments:

[…] those with decision-making power in the wider innovation ecosystem, including donors and governments, need to change their models of support. These changes require an understanding that innovation is a long-term process that involves a commitment to learning and improvement within organisations and between organisations. Currently, there appears to be too much focus on a product-based search for inventions.

Source: policy briefing (via Eldis)

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Using Ultrasonic Beacons to Track Users – Schneier on Security

Quoting Schneier:

The idea is for devices like televisions to play ultrasonic codes in advertisements and for nearby smartphones to detect them.

Quoting from the linked article:

We spot ultrasonic beacons in various web media content and detect signals in 4 of 35 stores in two European cities that are used for location tracking. While we do not find ultrasonic beacons in TV streams from 7 countries, we spot 234 Android applications that are constantly listening for ultrasonic beacons in the background without the user’s knowledge.

Source: Using Ultrasonic Beacons to Track Users – Schneier on Security