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German Minister Advises Facebook to Become More Transparent

Several publications in Germany participating in the "Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland" (RND) editorial network cited the letter on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

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The minister argued that the commercial sale of user data by Facebook directly affected key rights enjoyed by the citizens.
Katarina Barley, German Minister of Justice- wikimedia commons
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With the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealing massive misuse of Facebook users data, Germany’s justice minster has said that the social network must bring changes and become more transparent with users.

In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Katarina Barley also said that the social network needs to give its users “real control” over their data and set up new internal supervisory mechanisms to ensure that formal guidelines are upheld in Facebook’s dealings with third party advertising clients.

Several publications in Germany participating in the “Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland” (RND) editorial network cited the letter on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

While the minister welcomed certain changes the social site had brought about to protect user privacy, Barley wrote that Facebook had so far failed to assume responsibility for its inappropriate corporate behaviour and criticised plans to transfer the storage of some user data from the European Union (EU) to the US.

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealing massive misuse of Facebook users data, Germany's justice minster has said that the social network must bring changes and become more transparent with users.
Facebook. Pixabay

European users of the service currently benefited from enhanced online privacy protection enshrined in EU law.

The minister argued that the commercial sale of user data by Facebook directly affected key rights enjoyed by the citizens.

She described the use of such sensitive data to politically influence or manipulate voters as unacceptable.

Facebook admitted that the data of up to 87 million users was passed on illegally to Cambridge Analytica.

The information was used in an attempt to support the election campaign of US President Donald Trump. Up to 310,000 Germans were affected by the scandal as well.

In its F8 developers’ conference in San Jose on Tuesday, Zuckerberg said the company was taking a broader view of its responsibility by not only giving people powerful tools, but also making sure those tools are used for good.

Also Read: New NASA Mission to Take First Look Deep Inside Mars  

Among the biggest announcements made in the conference was Facebook’s plans to build a “Clear History” privacy tool which will enable users to see the websites and apps that send information to Facebook when they use them.

The tool, Facebook said, will also enable the users to delete this information from their account, and turn off Facebook’s ability to store it.

In her letter, Barley, however, warned that she will keep a close eye on the further measures taken by Facebook. (IANS)

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Tech Giants to join Data Transfer Project (DTP) To Help Users Manage Data

The Data Transfer Project uses services' existing APIs and authorisation mechanisms to access data. It then uses service specific adapters to transfer that data into a common format, and then back into the new service's API.

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According to Google, the project will let users "transfer data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and re-upload it". (Wikimedia Commons)

To help billions of users manage their data and help them transfer that into and out of online services without privacy issues, four tech giants — Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter — on Friday announced to join the open source initiative called Data Transfer Project (DTP).

In the early stages at the moment, the Data Transfer Project will help users of one service to use their data to sign up for another service with encryption.

“Using your data from one service when you sign up for another still isn’t as easy as it should be. Today we’re excited to announce that we’re participating in the Data Transfer Project,” said Steve Satterfield, Privacy and Public Policy Director at Facebook in a statement.

The initiative comes at a time when data-sharing is making headlines — be it the massive Cambridge Analytica data scandal or third-party apps accessing users’ data at various platforms — amid countries announcing new data-protection laws like the European General Data Regulation Protection (GDPR).

Moving data between any two services can be complicated because every service is built differently and uses different types of data that may require unique privacy controls and settings.

“For example, you might use an app where you share photos publicly, a social networking app where you share updates with friends, and a fitness app for tracking your workouts,” said Satterfield.

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Moving data between any two services can be complicated because every service is built differently. Pixabay

“These are the kinds of issues the Data Transfer Project will tackle. The Project is in its early stages, and we hope more organisations and experts will get involved,” he added.

The Data Transfer Project uses services’ existing APIs and authorisation mechanisms to access data. It then uses service specific adapters to transfer that data into a common format, and then back into the new service’s API.

According to Google, the project will let users “transfer data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and re-upload it”.

The tech giants also released a white paper on this project.

“The future of portability will need to be more inclusive, flexible, and open. Our hope for this project is that it will enable a connection between any two public-facing product interfaces for importing and exporting data directly,” read the white paper.

According to Damien Kieran, Data Protection Officer at Twitter, right now, much of the online products and services we use do not interact with each other in a coherent and intuitive fashion.

“Information that is housed on one platform cannot be easily and securely transferred to other services. This is not a positive collective experience for the people who use our services and we are keen to work through some of the challenges as an industry,” Twitter said.

Also Read-Google, Facebook Have Been Using “Dark Patterns”: Report

The Data Transfer Project was formed in 2017 to create an open-source, service-to-service data portability platform so that all individuals across the web could easily move their data between online service providers whenever they want. (IANS)