This Week in Data – February 15

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Germany dunks on Facebook’s ad business

And by “dunk on”, we mean “ban”. It’s a pretty crazy ruling: the German Federal Cartel office says Facebook is exploiting users by forcing them to give up data. The big deal though, is that Facebook pointed to other services like Snapchat and YouTube as competitors. The FCO said, “nah, not really – no one competes with you”. In a time when more privacy restrictions are appearing around the world, this is a truly significant decision.


The FCO ruling explains that the harm to users from Facebook’s data collection is not in cost but in “loss of control.” “They are no longer able to control how their personal data are used. They cannot perceive which data from which sources are combined for which purposes with data from Facebook accounts and used e.g. for creating user profiles.””


Google and Amazon want your data for smart homes

Everyone’s getting in on the smart home game, with Google and Amazon at the forefront. Now, the two companies say they want device makers like Logitech to provide them with information. It’s not really juicy stuff – more like when people switch lights on and off. But that data is really valuable when it comes to making profitable products…and these data providers aren’t willing to hand over everything.


Logitech has tried to meet Amazon and Google halfway. Rather than tell smart speakers what each device connected to Logitech’s Harmony remote controls were doing, Crowe says Logitech reports back with broad descriptions, specifying that a user is watching television instead of passing on information about their choice of channel, for instance.”


Australian business pleads government to stop encryption

There’s an election coming up in Australia, and tech companies have one thing in their sights: laws that say the government can make tech companies decrypt data. Now, startups and other businesses say they want that law changed. Companies like Atlassian and Canva are backing the pleas.


Experts have warned the rules, which allow agencies such as ASIO to compel businesses to decrypt data to assist in fighting crime, could mean entrepreneurs face prison time if they refuse to help authorities decrypt data.”


Aussie mechanics win a massive data battle

Speaking of Aussies, the country’s car mechanics have now won a massive victory. Car makers will now have to share more technical information about their vehicles – information they’ve been trying to keep under wraps. The government’s proposed plan says this will create a level playing field for mechanics. Chalk one up for open data sharing.


“What we’ve found over the last five to 10 years is with the advent of more software in the vehicles, they now require access to the software to be able to sufficiently maintain a vehicle or repair them correctly. And now the manufacturers have the ability to withhold this information.”


Singapore reaffirms its commitment to data protection

Singapore hasn’t had a great run on data lately, with a massive leak at SingHealth. But Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran has repeated: the government is held to the same standards as everyone else – if not higher ones. That’s kinda true, though private organisations in Singapore do have slightly different rules. Some room for improvement, maybe.


“We will regularly review the PDPA, the PSGA and other legislation to ensure that they remain relevant and effective in safeguarding personal data in both the public and private sectors,” he said.”

That’s our wrap for this week. Thanks for reading – we hope you found it entertaining and informational. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these articles and anything else data related! Email us anytime at!

Until next week,

Team Data Republic

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