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Big Data

Eurobites: Facebook Backs Out of Ireland as GDPR Jeopardy Looms

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Red Hat, Adtran join Spanish 5G R&D initiative; Sky powers on; Orange pals up with Siemens for IoT; DT's Open Telekom goes hybrid.

  • Facebook is planning to alter its terms-of-service arrangements so that 1.5 billion of its users in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America will not fall under the ambit of EU's forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As Reuters reports, the current set-up has Facebook users outside the US and Canada governed by terms of service agreed with Facebook's Irish subsidiary. As Ireland is part of the European Union, this means that those users and their data would in theory fall under the protection of GDPR when it comes into force on May 25. To avoid this situation, says Reuters, those 1.5 billion users will, as from next month, have terms of service agreed with Facebook in the US, where the privacy laws will remain comparatively lenient. This means that the social network giant will have a better chance of avoiding massive potential fines -- up to 4% of global annual revenue -- to be introduced under GDPR. (See Top 4 GDPR Misconceptions and Europe's GDPR: Don't Get Lost in Translation.)

  • Open source solutions specialist Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) and R&D services specialist Altran are the latest companies to join 5TONIC, a Madrid-based 5G R&D initiative set up a few years ago and spearheaded by Telefónica . The initiative, hosted by IMDEA Networks Institute, a co-founder alongside Telefónica, aims to "provide a vehicle for member companies to 'co-create' and test breakthrough 5G services and solutions," with a focus on "collaborating with other industries." The new members bring the total to 11: The others involved are Ericsson, Intel, CommScope, Madrid's Carlos III University, Cohere Technologies, Artesyn Embedded Technologies and InterDigital.

  • Sky , the UK-based pay-TV broadcaster that is currently at the center of much takeover speculation, has had a strong first fiscal three quarters, with EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) up 10% year-on-year to £1.7 billion (US$2.4 billion) and like-for-like revenue up 5% to £10.1 billion ($14.3 billion). Its top-of-the-range Sky Q set-top box now reaches 2.5 million homes across the UK, Ireland and Italy, and will begin to be rolled out in Germany and Austria next month. And, as from next week, music streaming service Spotify will be arriving on Sky Q. But as to who will own Sky this time next year, well, that's anyone's guess. (See Comcast Bids $31B to Steal Sky From Fox, Disney and 21st Century Fox Confirms $14.6B Bid for Sky.)

  • Orange Business Services is cozying up with Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) to deliver IoT offerings for the industrial sector. The alliance will be centered on Siemens' MindSphere IoT operating system in combination with Datavenue, Orange's IoT and analytics product. The partnership will initially focus on Europe, starting in Germany and Austria.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is offering its OpenStack-based Open Telekom cloud in hybrid form, meaning it is a part-public and part-private affair. The public element can be located either on isolated infrastructure at DT's data centers or on the customer's own premises.

  • Activist investor Elliott has had another dig at Vivendi for the way it has controlled Telecom Italia (TIM) . As Reuters reports, Elliott said that since the French conglomerate has effectively been ruling the roost, TIM has suffered "profound and persistent share price underperformance." (See Telecom Italia Molders as Shareholders Feud.)

  • In line with plans announced last October, today sees Maximo Ibarra succeeding Eelco Blok as CEO of Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN). Ibarra was most recently CEO of Italy's Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA .

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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