Eurobites: UK personal data at risk post-Brexit, warns privacy activist

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: new CEO for MTN's Liberian unit; telecom engineers honored for pandemic efforts; Vodafone brings Wix on board for SMEs.

  • Can the UK be trusted with European citizens' data once the Brexit process is complete? Not according to Johnny Ryan, a senior fellow at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, who has written a letter to the European Commission claiming that the UK lacks proper oversight of data transfers. As Bloomberg reports, Ryan accuses the UK of lacking "an effective independent supervisory authority that is capable of enforcing compliance with data protection law and vindicating data subjects' rights." Refuting this, however, is the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), an agency which maintains it is "already equipped for its new role as UK data-protection supervisory authority both during transition and beyond." And this isn't just some arcane technical discussion: According to the report, if a so-called "adequacy decision" isn't forthcoming from the European Commission by the end of the year, companies would be "thrown into legal limbo," unable to safely transfer citizens' data safely from mainland Europe to the UK.

  • South Africa's MTN Group has appointed Rahul De as the new CEO of its Liberian unit, Lonestar Cell MTN. De, currently chief marketing officer at MTN Nigeria and an MTN company man since 2011, will take up his new role on November 1. He succeeds Uche Ofodile, who departed Lonestar Cell MTN in July to become the CEO of MTN Benin.

  • Three telecom engineers have been recognized in the British Queen's Birthday Honours List for their efforts to keep organizations and communities connected during the coronavirus pandemic. Openreach's Scott McPartlin and Pete Martin both received MBE awards for their work, with Scott restoring service to a vulnerable remote resident on the far-flung island of Coll and Pete using innovative techniques to help the National Health Service stay connected. Adam Gordon, head of field services organization for Ericsson, also received an MBE for his role in keep the UK's mobile networks up and running during the pandemic. Congratulations to them all.

  • Vodafone is to start offering Wix, a US-based website development platform, to its business customers via the Vodafone Business Marketplace at a cost of at least £10.50 (US$13.66) per month. According to Vodafone, Wix has more than 180 million registered users worldwide.

  • Sky and BT have incurred the wrath of Brit soccer fans by announcing, in conjunction with the UK's Premier League organization, a plan to launch a £14.95-per-match ($19.45) pay-per-view service for matches that aren't included in customers' core subscriptions. As the Daily Mail reports, even Sky's very own soccer pundit, Gary Neville, took to Twitter to condemn the plan, describing it as "a really bad move."

  • A British politician who played a leading role in persuading his government to backtrack on its decision to allow Huawei into the country's 5G networks has broadened his concern, claiming that Chinese ownership of any British business should be subject to a national security review. As the Guardian reports, Iain Duncan Smith highlighted the case of BPL Group, the UK's leading supplier of blood plasma involved in COVID-19 drug trials, which was acquired by Creat Group, a Chinese investment firm, in 2016. "What's going on is the insertion of Chinese influence in all sorts of areas," Duncan Smith warned. (See Writing on UK wall for Huawei and Huawei banned from UK's 5G market.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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