The European Commission put forward its EU Data Protection Reform in January 2012 to make Europe fit for the digital age (IP/12/46). Today, an agreement was found with the European Parliament and the Council, following final negotiations between the three institutions (so-called 'trilogue' meetings).More than 90% of Europeans say they want the same data protection rights across the EU - and regardless of where their data is processed: this will soon be a reality. The Reform package will put an end to the patchwork of data protection rules that currently exists in the EU.
On a related note, this just happened:
There's no time. They already took it all from you.
Is that good or bad?
All EU passports contain electronic information about facial geometry and fingerprints stored in so-called RFID chip in the passport. The abbreviation stands for "radio frequency identification" and the microchip may send more or less advanced information via radiowaves that can be received from various distances by means of various measuring instruments.[...]"They can pick up your name, fingerprints, facial geometry and, in principle, all other information that is inscribed in the passport and even some control numbers... To manufacture new passports, we have seen it Middle East and also in Russia. The only ones we have managed to trace back officially are Swedish passports made in Israel," says Lars Strömberg [researcher of biometrics at KTH].
Still, I'm surprised this stuff is supposed to work within as much as 10 meters. I'd have figured no more than a meter at most.
This peer-to-peer system was generally perceived as being relatively private; with no central servers the assumption was that there was no central ability to perform wiretaps or other forms of eavesdropping. This belief was in fact mistaken.
As well as addressing certain constraints of the peer-to-peer network, [Skype's] new cloud-based system is used to underpin various other Skype features. For example, on the peer-to-peer network file transfers required the recipient to be present and to accept the transfer (with the file subsequently transported directly between the clients). File transfers on the new network go via the cloud, allowing fire-and-forget transfers, even to recipients that are temporarily away.
The Ed Snowden leaks raised substantial questions about the privacy of services such as Skype and have caused an increasing interest in platforms that offer end-to-end encryption. The ability to intercept or wiretap Skype came as a shock to many, especially given Skype's traditionally peer-to-peer infrastructure. Accordingly, we've seen similar services such as iMessage, WhatsApp, and even Facebook Messenger, start introducing end-to-end encryption.The abandonment of Skype's peer-to-peer system can only raise suspicions here.Microsoft's rationale for the system change is fair enough. The new network topology probably does make sense for the kinds of clients that are proliferating, and it's plausible that it will make building new features and capabilities much easier going forward. I don't personally think the work is being done for any nefarious purpose, not least because I don't think such a thing is even necessary: that nefarious purpose--spying on Skype communications--appears to be adequately addressed by the peer-to-peer network. I'm sure the technical rationale is accurate.But the company's blog post completely ignores these concerns. Ctrl-F that thing for "privacy" or "security" and no results are found. Similarly "encryption." Nor do we see words like "specification" or "protocol." And in this day and age, it's not clear that any of this is really good enough.Microsoft has been consistently silent on this. The Skype protocol remains undocumented and proprietary; we do not authoritatively know where and how encryption is used or what the limits of the system are. ---The entire system is a black box. Much of this Microsoft inherited when it bought Skype; the client application actually contained anti-debugger systems to make it harder to reverse engineer: not only was it a closed network, it actively impeded any efforts to open it up, even slightly. These systems have now been removed, but this change was made only recently. Even with this change, the Skype clients lack any kind of a meaningful API, so we cannot even readily add our own encryption on top of the Skype network; this rules out layered systems, such as Off The Record, that add end-to-end encryption of text networks such as AIM and IRC.
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