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Facebook, Apple, Twitter Face EU Probes For Violating GDPR

"The Irish DPC will be very closely scrutinising Facebook's plans as they develop, particularly insofar as they involve the sharing and merging of personal data between different Facebook companies."

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Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook is facing 10 probes for violating the European Union’s (EU) new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) over data breaches and users’ privacy across its platforms.

In its first annual report after GDPR came into practice on May 25, 2018, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) opened 15 statutory inquiries (investigations) in relation to multinational technology companies’ compliance with the GDPR.

Facebook faces seven inquiries while its WhatsApp platform two and Instagram one. Other US tech giants like Apple and Twitter face two statutory inquiries each and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn faces one.

“All these inquiries should reach the decision and adjudication stage later this year.

“It’s our intention that the analysis and conclusions in the context of those inquiries will provide precedents for better implementation of the principles of the GDPR across key aspects of internet and ad tech services,” said the DPC report.

TWitter
The logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. VOA

“There are undoubtedly areas of risk to be examined in sectors beyond the free internet services but initial complaints and breaches have focused the DPC in this area and warrant attention in light of the hundreds of millions of users implicated,” it added.

Ireland’s DPC is the lead regulator for the EU.

Since the application of the GDPR, the DPC has seen a significant increase in the number of complaints received. Between May 25 and December 31, 2018, 2,864 complaints were received by the DPC.

While Facebook is being probed over breach of user data, WhatsApp is under the lens for how it handles user privacy and shares information with Facebook.

While one of the probes against Twitter comes after it self-reported a “large number of breaches”, the micro-blogging platform is also being probed for how much access users have to their own data, reported ABC News.

Apple, smartphone
Customers walk past an Apple logo inside of an Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York, Aug. 1, 2018. VOA

Apple is being investigated for transparency issues while LinkedIn is being probed for profiling its users and targeted ads.

The Irish DPC last month warned Facebook over its planned integration of its chat services –WhatsApp, Messenger and photo-sharing app Instagram — asking the social media giant to provide it with an “urgent briefing” on the proposals.

Also Read- Unlocking Android Phones With ‘Ok Google’ Ends

In a statement, the Dublin-headquartered watchdog said it understood the plan was at a “very early conceptual stage”.

“While we understand that Facebook’s proposal to integrate the Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram platforms is at a very early conceptual stage of development, the Irish DPC has asked Facebook Ireland for an urgent briefing on what is being proposed,” the watchdog said.

“The Irish DPC will be very closely scrutinising Facebook’s plans as they develop, particularly insofar as they involve the sharing and merging of personal data between different Facebook companies.” (IANS)

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Bullish on Preventative Healthcare Technology, AR

I view AR like I view the silicon here in my iPhone, it's not a product per se, it's a core technology," he said

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Tim Cook
Apple CEO Time Cook. Wikimedia Commons

Calling Augmented Reality (AR) the next big thing in technology, Apple CEO Tim Cook has reiterated his commitment towards building more preventive healthcare tools in devices like Apple Watch.

In a conversation with IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan here on Monday, Cook said the company is investigating technology that could help identify health risks at an early stage, reports Silicon Republic.

“I think you can take that simple idea of having preventive things and find many more areas where technology intersects healthcare, and I think all of our lives would probably be better off for it,” Cook said.

The cost of healthcare can “fundamentally be taken down, probably in a dramatic way” by integrating healthcare technologies in consumer devices like Apple Watch, he added.

The medical fraternity has welcomed the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch (Series 4 and 5) that can help identify atrial fibrillation, or AFib which is the most common form of arrhythmia.

The sound-monitoring Noise app and menstrual cycle tracking Cycle app have also been released with watchOS 6.

“Most of the money in healthcare goes to the cases that weren’t identified early enough. It will take some time but things that we are doing now — that I’m not going to talk about today — those give me a lot of cause for hope,” Cook told Shanahan.

Tim Cook
New iPhones worth the cost: Tim Cook. IANS

There have been numerous cases where Apple Watch has saved lives globally.

IDA also presented Cook with the inaugural ‘Special Recognition Award’ for Apple’s 40 years of investment in Ireland.

Calling AR the “next big thing” in tech, Cook said he thinks it’s something that doesn’t isolate people.

“We can use it to enhance our discussion, not substitute it for human connection, which I’ve always deeply worried about in some of the other technologies,” said the Apple CEO.

Also Read: Instagram Removes IGTV Shortcut Button Due to Lack of Use

Cook always compared AR with the ubiquitous smartphones.

“I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone. The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic, or country or vertical market: it’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge,” Cook told The Independent newspaper.

I view AR like I view the silicon here in my iPhone, it’s not a product per se, it’s a core technology,” he said. (IANS)