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Posts Tagged ‘Data and computer security | The Guardian’

‘Zoom is malware’: why experts worry about the video conferencing platform

The company has seen a 535% rise in daily traffic in the past month, but security researchers say the app is a ‘privacy disaster’

As coronavirus lockdowns have moved many in-person activities online, the use of video conferencing platform Zoom has quickly escalated. So, too, have concerns about its security.

In the last month, there was a 535% rise in daily traffic to the Zoom.us download page, according to an analysis from web analytics firm SimilarWeb. Its app for iPhone has been the most downloaded app in the country for weeks, according to the mobile app market research firm Sensor Tower. Even politicians and other high-profile figures, including the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the former US federal reserve chair Alan Greenspan, use it for conferencing as they work from home.

Related: Coronavirus and app downloads: what you need to know about protecting your privacy

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Why isn’t the government publishing more data about coronavirus deaths? | Jeni Tennison

Studying the past is futile in an unprecedented crisis. Science is the answer – and open-source information is paramount

Coronavirus – latest updates
See all our coronavirus coverage

Wherever we look, there is a demand for data about Covid-19. We devour dashboards, graphs and visualisations. We want to know about the numbers of tests, cases and deaths; how many beds and ventilators are available, how many NHS workers are off sick. When information is missing, we speculate about what the government might be hiding, or fill in the gaps with anecdotes.

Data is a necessary ingredient in day-to-day decision-making – but in this rapidly evolving situation, it’s especially vital. Everything has changed, almost overnight. Demands for food, transport, and energy have been overhauled as more people stop travelling and work from home. Jobs have been lost in some sectors, and workers are desperately needed in others. Historic experience can no longer tell us how our society or economy is working. Past models hold little predictive power in an unprecedented situation. To know what is happening right now, we need up-to-date information.

Related: A public inquiry into the UK’s coronavirus response would find a litany of failures | Anthony Costello

Jeni Tennison is technical director of the Open Data Institute.

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Why isn’t the government publishing more data about coronavirus deaths? | Jeni Tennison

Studying the past is futile in an unprecedented crisis. Science is the answer – and open-source information is paramount

Coronavirus – latest updates
See all our coronavirus coverage

Wherever we look, there is a demand for data about Covid-19. We devour dashboards, graphs and visualisations. We want to know about the numbers of tests, cases and deaths; how many beds and ventilators are available, how many NHS workers are off sick. When information is missing, we speculate about what the government might be hiding, or fill in the gaps with anecdotes.

Data is a necessary ingredient in day-to-day decision-making – but in this rapidly evolving situation, it’s especially vital. Everything has changed, almost overnight. Demands for food, transport, and energy have been overhauled as more people stop travelling and work from home. Jobs have been lost in some sectors, and workers are desperately needed in others. Historic experience can no longer tell us how our society or economy is working. Past models hold little predictive power in an unprecedented situation. To know what is happening right now, we need up-to-date information.

Related: A public inquiry into the UK’s coronavirus response would find a litany of failures | Anthony Costello

Jeni Tennison is technical director of the Open Data Institute.

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Morrisons not liable for massive staff data leak, court rules

UK supreme court says retailer not to blame for actions of employee with grudge

The UK’s highest court has ruled that Morrisons should not be held liable for the criminal act of an employee with a grudge who leaked the payroll data of about 100,000 members of staff.

The supermarket group brought a supreme court challenge in an attempt to overturn previous judgments which gave the go-ahead for compensation claims by thousands of employees whose personal details were posted on the internet.

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Contacts of 1m Virgin Media customers left on unsecured database

At least one person from outside Virgin Media accessed non-financial details

Almost a million Virgin Media customers had their personal details stored on a marketing database that had been left unsecured since last April, the company has admitted.

Records show that the database has been accessed by at least one person from outside the company, Virgin Media said, although it does not yet have any evidence that the information has been used illegally.

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China cracks down on ‘sexual innuendo’ and ‘celebrity gossip’ in new censorship rules

Controls on the ‘online information content ecosystem’ bring heightened concern about freedom of speech

Sweeping new internet censorship rules have gone into effect in China, prompting concerns that authorities will further control information and online debate as the country reels from the coronavirus outbreak.

China’s cybersecurity administration has since Saturday implemented a set of new regulations on the governance of the “online information content ecosystem” that encourage “positive” content while barring material deemed “negative” or illegal.

Related: ‘They’re chasing me’: the journalist who wouldn’t stay quiet on Covid-19

Related: Dramatic fall in China pollution levels ‘partly related’ to coronavirus

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Our personal health history is too valuable to be harvested by the tech giants | Eerke Boiten

February 16, 2020 Leave a comment

Action to prevent deeper access to our private lives and data is more essential than ever

Health data paints a rich picture of our lives. Even if you remove your name, date of birth and NHS number to “anonymise” yourself, a full health history will reveal your age, gender, the places where you have lived, your family relationships and aspects of your lifestyle.

Used in combination with other available information, this may be enough to verify that this medical history relates to you personally and to target you online. Consequently, whenever the NHS shares health data, even if it is anonymised, we need to have confidence in who it goes to and what they can do with it.

When data about us influences a credit rating or a hiring decision, we are unlikely ever to find out

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