Eurobites: Privacy Champion Slams Web Giants Over GDPR Tactics

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telefónica teams up with Netflix; how Nokia lost its way on devices; French regulator issues first "superfast" wireless license.

  • GDPR is here! Cue dancing in the streets, GDPR-themed cocktail parties and fireworks over Brussels. Well, maybe not. But one thing it has already triggered -- apart from a deluge of unwanted "consent emails" in folks' inboxes -- is a raft of complaints from NOYB (None of Your Business), a pressure group set up by veteran data privacy campaigner Max Schrems. He and his co-conspirators have this morning filed four complaints targeting -- guess who? -- Facebook, Google, Instagram and WhatsApp, drawing data regulators' attention to what they see as the online giants' attempts to impose "forced consent" on their users. In a statement, NOYB says: "The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force today at midnight is supposed to give users a free choice, whether they agree to data usage or not. The opposite feeling spread on the screens of many users: Tons of 'consent boxes' popped up online or in applications, often combined with a threat, that the service cannot longer be used if users do not consent." According to the group, GDPR prohibits such "forced consent" and "any form of bundling a service with the requirement to consent." This is going to get messy… (See Eurobites: Facebook Faces Privacy Class Action, Eurobites: Most EU States Still Not Ready for GDPR and Top 4 GDPR Misconceptions.)

    Spontaneous GDPR Day celebrations broke out in Nether Wallop this morning.
    Spontaneous GDPR Day celebrations broke out in Nether Wallop this morning.

  • Telefónica has done a deal with Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) to integrate the all-conquering video streaming service into its TV and video platforms in Europe and Latin America. The service will launch in Latin America first, with Spain following by the end of 2018.

  • New research in the Harvard Business Review offers some interesting insights into how Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) lost its way in the mobile phone market. According to HBR, some of Nokia's key executives during the period now acknowledge that they were "emotionally attached" to the vendor's Symbian-based strategy. One said: "No one on an emotional level wanted to think about it right away, even though [top managers] knew analytically [that the prevailing strategy should be challenged]. The consequences were emotionally burdening." And as for the ill-fated adoption of Windows: "There was the bias to wanting to be a market leader. […] We believed that with Windows you can influence the game; instead of playing with the same Legos [Android] as everyone else." Forks in the road and all that…

  • French telecom regulator Arcep has issued its first "superfast" (at least 30 Mbit/s) wireless license. The license has been issued to a company called [email protected], in the Seine-et-Marne department. The company will use these frequencies to upgrade the public-initiative wireless Internet access network there.

  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd 's Rotating Chairman (no sniggering at the back!), Ken Hu, has used a speech to the European Business Summit in Brussels to urge Europe's authorities to act quickly in harmonizing and releasing more 5G spectrum, and to offer more support to carriers in rolling out fiber, which will play a vital role in supporting emerging 5G services as well as enabling very high-speed fixed broadband services.

  • Swiss operator Salt SA saw earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) rise 8.5% year-on-year in the first quarter to 112.8 million Swiss francs (US$113.6 million), on revenue that inched up 0.5% to CHF252 million ($253.9 million). During the quarter, Salt launched its fiber offering, which it says has registered "several thousand" subscriptions from various regions of the country.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • Michelle 6/11/2018 | 1:44:07 PM
    Re: Happy GDRP Day! I've seen the same thing. At first, I was excited to remove myself from these services I no longer use. I've gotten so many privacy policy update emails it has been tough to get through any of them. I feel like I should take several days off of work just to handle them all!!!
    kq4ym 6/11/2018 | 9:21:22 AM
    Re: Happy GDRP Day! I was surprised to see how many notifications I was receiving, many I didn't even remember that i had accounts with. It's not surprising though that the attorneys would be getting in some profitable hours with lawsuits beginning right away as well.
    James_B_Crawshaw 5/25/2018 | 4:47:23 PM
    Nokia's emotional intelligence HBR also just published an article arguing that drunk people are better at creative problem solving. Perhaps it was a lack of vodka that sank the mobile phone business in the end. https://hbr.org/2018/05/drunk-people-are-better-at-creative-problem-solving
    Michelle 5/25/2018 | 4:46:12 PM
    Happy GDRP Day! I'm happy to see everyone is getting a gift on this first day of GDPR enforcement...

    I wondered how long it would take for the law suits to begin. The wait was over before it even began!

    The Telefónica + Neftlix deal sounds like a good one for consumers in the countries it will serve.
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