Facebook needs to offer adequate data protection for European users, as required by GDPR. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP

Tech giant’s threat to walk away from European market is a ridiculous tantrum

Ireland remains one of the few countries without a national public genomics programme. Image: iStock

Consent issue in Beaumont brain tissue study highlights need for national genomics programme

‘The tech industry has overwhelmingly supported many of those most sharply proposing its regulation and break-up.’  File photo. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Anti-big tech rhetoric from the candidates hasn’t proven an obstacle to fundraising

What was the reasoning behind the downgrades? No one seemed able or willing to explain. Photograph: Getty Images

Unconscious bias a risk as coders are more often white, male and from higher income backgrounds

McGovern first turned his mind to larger environmental issues when activists in Ireland organised to oppose some data centres here. Photograph: iStock

Net Results: Web pioneer Gerry McGovern warns about digital’s burden on the planet

Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sundar Pichai of Google and Tim Cook of Apple are sworn in. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/ Pool/EPA

Chief executives fail in their one job during the video call on antitrust: damage limitation

Facebook was at the centre of both of Max Schrems’ Irish-originating complaints that have now produced decisive and far-reaching judgements from Europe’s highest court. Photograph: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

Schrems ruling: Subset of smaller groups in adtech industry may also be affected

‘Our data, which is grabbed in these obscured ways, traded for “free” services we get as hooked on as nicotine, has given companies such as Facebook and Google their vast valuations and extraordinary power.’

Karlin Lillington: ECJ ruling has essentially invalidated business model of digital giants

This decision poses a shattering challenge to the data-centric business models of many companies, from social media platforms to advertising giants, which make their money by exploiting users’ personal data.

Court in effect ruled that personal data is not, as US companies generally view it, an asset

‘What do those numbers that just popped up mean? Why does the scanty manual not explain?’ Photograph: iStock

Net Results: There’s nowhere to hide my ineptitude in world of Zoom conference calls

Privacy activist Max Schrems: Only the most myopic could argue the Trump administration has provided any ironclad assurances on protection for EU data. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Karlin Lillington: ECJ highly unlikely to accept US claim of adequate protection of data

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly launching the CovidTracker App in Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

There is scant evidence that apps are effective, but mounting evidence masks are

Danger zone: most of us, even in older, less tech-flashy cars, have paired a mobile phone to our car using Bluetooth or a USB connection. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Karlin Lillington: New survey underlines risks in our increasingly connected world

 The Metropolitan Opera’s free nightly opera recording stream is overwhelming. File photograph: Richard Hubert Smith

Net Results: Online performances have been welcome but could undermine industry

Survey responses indicate a lack of awareness as to what is easily and routinely gathered by online companies. Photograph: iStock

EU-wide survey shows a varying degree of concern about sharing private information

Another GMI proposal modifies consent requirements to enable the creation of a potentially commercial DNA database from up to 6,000 Irish individuals with Alzheimer’s. Photograph: iStock

Net Results: There is a lack of transparency over consent for usage of brain tissue DNA

 Facebook’s   Mark Zuckerberg. Against Twitter’s modest gestures,  Facebook and Zuckerberg look increasingly immoral and thoughtless.  Photograph:  Getty Images

Net Results: How much longer do we let monolithic speech arbiters like Facebook and Twitter operate with little limitation?

The GDPR came into force on May 25th, 2018, providing a range of data safeguards and rights for individuals.

Only two years in, landmark EU regulation on data protection needs rebuilding to deliver on objectives

The HSE’s national coronavirus tracing app remains mysterious, even as we inch closer to the end of May or early June point, at which it is supposed to go on limited trial. Photograph: iStock

Approach to data disclosure will not reassure anyone that data ethics is being prioritised

‘Today’s home and work tech capabilities have begun to create a clear coronavirus divide.’ File photograph: Getty Images

Karlin Lillington: Our current use of tech is further eroding division between work and home

SpaceX founder Elon Musk:   suggested the lockdown was “fascist”. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski

Net Results: Those choosing Mammon over staff health are not those exposed

Only six national data protection authorities have more than 10 specialist tech investigation staff, and seven EU states have just one or two, according to the report from privacy-focused web browser company Brave

Key legal requirement of GDPR is that states supply resources needed to enforce this important piece of legislation

Australia announced this week that it will produce a regulatory framework requiring Facebook and Google to directly pay media companies more of the revenue the tech giants make monetising their content.  Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP via Getty Images

Surveillance giants such as Google now control 60% of the global advertising market

A handy resource listing many corona-focused initiatives around the world is at https://civictech.guide/coronavirus/. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

Net Results: Web volunteerism and crowdsourced missions offer humanitarian outlets

German soldiers testing the use of a tracking app aiming to fight the spread of coronavirus. If put into use the app would track and record people’s interactions via Bluetooth for two weeks. Photograph: Ismael Akbar/Bundeswehr/AFP via Getty Images

Net Results: Far greater transparency and evidence required for public to hand over data

Government staff demonstrate Singapore’s contact-tracing smarthphone app. Photograph: Catherine Lai/AFP via Getty

Two types of very revealing data – location and health information – will be gathered

A screen relaying a Zoom video conference with UK prime minister Boris Johnson chairing a remote session with cabinet ministers while self-isolating. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty

UK prime minister scores own-goal with proof of worryingly lax approach to security

Right now the majority of such data is gathered, owned and sold on by private companies, with minimal oversight. Photograph: Orlando Barria/EPA

Net Results: ‘Decisions made in haste are typically disastrous policymaking’

An American policeman wearing a flu mask in 1918 to protect himself from Spanish flu:  we are all looking for our own comforting Mixture. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty

Net Results: My great-grandparents and early 20th-century experience of ills and cures

The sprawl of Silicon Valley. Photograph: David McNew/Newsmakers

Net Results: Wider working from home would have obvious benefits for quality of life

‘We are in a fast-advancing global epidemic.’ File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Karlin Lillington: Insecurity of gig economy creates perfect storm for a Covid-19 epidemic

The Graham Dwyer challenge contends that metadata obtained by the Garda in the case was gathered unlawfully. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Karlin Lillington: State has never addressed data retention in a timely way, in 20 years

 Facebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg  in Brussels. Photograph: Reuters/Yves Herman/File Photo

Playing the free speech card, Zuckerberg wants his own idea of beneficial-to-Facebook ‘regulation’

When I investigated my  choices for a journey to San Francisco airport, app services like Uber were significantly more expensive  than my past costs for a shared shuttle. Photograph: Getty Images

The likes of Uber and Lyft have created major congestion headaches for airports

 Apple chief executive Tim Cook speaking at The Philosophical Society at Trinity College Dublin in 2015. File photograph: Eric Luke

Net Results: Tech giant is major employer but it has benefitted plenty from 40 years in Ireland

A view of  a public services card. File  photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Net Results: Department’s legal challenge to enforcement order on the card is crass

US whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks to European officials by video during a parliamentary hearing on improving the protection of whistleblowers, at the Council of Europe in 2014. File photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

Karlin Lillington: Tech companies now face greater legal and regulatory opposition

The ECJ case arose from a complaint against Facebook made by Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Maximilian Schrems to the Irish Data Protection Commission.

Analysis: Companies on either side of Atlantic will find little comfort in ECJ opinion

One large German study indicates that city planners there are not yet thinking extensively about the changed transport landscape that driverless cars will bring.

Do we really need four new lanes blasting through quiet villages or city centres?

With the acquisition of the Treasury Building, Google, alongside other Silicon Docks companies, needs to do more than passively benefit from nearby city centre luxury apartment developments that few other workers can afford. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Challenges mount for tech giant as buying Treasury Building pushes staff count to 10,000

An entire population can be profiled from just 2 per cent of a nation’s DNA. Photograph: Getty

Net Results: When will Government listen to the numerous experts alarmed at situation?

Google may have hit its Cambridge Analytica moment with the shock exposure of Project Nightingale by an internal whistleblower. Photograph: Ben Quinton/New York Times

Google is at the head of ‘surveillance capital’, harvesting our data and monetising it

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. Photograph: Eric Thayer/The New York Times

Net Results: An Oireachtas committee heard that the current social media model should be banned

Last year’s Late Late Toy Show. RTÉ guarantees Irish children hear Irish voices on programming designed for them. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Public service broadcaster requires income stability to do the job we need it to do

 Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee  in Washington.  Twitter is to stop accepting political advertising globally on its platform. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Online advertising ‘an almost completely unregulated environment’ with no transparency

  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg needs to stop disguising a defence of revenue streams as a defence of democracy rather than the serious threat to it that Facebook is. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Zuckerberg has been starring in his own special theatre of the absurd

Rick Osterloh, senior vice-president of devices and services at Google, discusses the new Google Pixel Buds ear pods during a Google launch event  in New York City. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Company’s smart devices chief says we should tell visitors about gadgets in our houses

Multinationals worry about these optics. Photograph: iStock

Net Results: Multinationals worry about perception of petty vengeance over public services card

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai at St Patrick’s Girls National School, Cambridge Road, Ringsend, Dublin, recently. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Last month’s $170 million fine was a paltry sum for a company the size of Google

Discarded camping equipment at an Electric Picnic campsite on the Monday after this year’s festival. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Net Results: The Galway Jazz Festival is hoping to become a blueprint for other major events

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager: her re-appointment this week will rattle Silicon Valley. Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Net Results: EU has issued fines now US public’s anti-tech mood spurs official action

Public Service Card: in recent years the project has bloated into a cross-department identification card

Ireland has been here before, and it seems the State took nothing from the lesson

I loved the range of discussion on writing, comics, film, theatre, illustration and performance at WorldCon.

Science fiction convention in Dublin zapped visitors with lively and intense intelligence

Public Services Card: Pascal Donohoe and Regina Doherty had preliminary copies of the damning Data Protection Commission report a year ago.

Net Results: Apart from data abuse, card cost €60m but detected just €2m in welfare fraud

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan  passing through the new electronic gates for passport control in Dublin Airport. Photograph: Alan Betson

Net Results: The common defence that scans are optional is disingenuous

Makeshift memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas: law enforcement doesn’t necessarily wish to have platforms or social media sites excluding all offensive content or users. Photograph: Larry W Smith

Net Results: We are wrong to make internet corporations society’s de facto censors

Public Services Card: the public has been given no indication of how their data is stored and protected

Net Results: A report on this discriminatory card needs to be made public

The gig economy ‘effectively removes all the liabilities of a company and shifts them on to the public sector’. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty

Net Results: A theological perspective at a recent conference was surprisingly illuminating

A family watches as US astronaut Neil Armstrong sets his foot on the moon July 20th, 1969. Photograph:  STR / AFP/Getty Images

Karlin Lillington: Watching this historic moment as child was wondrous and inspiring

Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems. The case before the Court of Justice of the European Union focuses on data transfer template agreements, known as standard contractual clauses (SCCs). Photograph: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

Net Results: US has made wrong assumptions about European data protection laws

Construction in the Grand Canal Basin of Dublin Docklands. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Net Results: We need to talk about the kind of city we want before more tech firms arrive

 Remotely controlled robots: How will life change as AIs take over human labour?   Photograph: Reuters/Issei Kato/File Photo

At the Kultursumposium in Weimar, many fascinating questions were explored about robots and their impact on human relationships

Libra promises huge financial gain for Facebook at a time when future revenue growth has appeared uncertain. Photograph: EPA/Julien de Rosa

Net Results: Cryptocurrency is strongest argument yet for enforcing antitrust laws

Close to two decades later, we are facing a mess that never had to be. Photograph: Michael Smith/Getty

Net Results: State ultimately failed to fund the excellent proposals of Mary O’Rourke

Nest users on Twitter  revealed homeowners couldn’t unlock a property for guests, or turn on air conditioning. Also down were G Suite services, such as Google calendars, docs, and Gmail. YouTube, Instagram and other services were also cut. Photograph: Getty Images (

Thermostats, air conditioning, baby monitors and door locks all disabled

Pegasus spyware can be uploaded via WhatsApp  hack and can spy on calls and chats, and remotely control the device’s microphone and camera. Photograph: Reuters/Dado Ruvic/File

Net Results: Developer of Pegasus spyware says its clients are governments and state agencies

The number of offerings from Amazon itself, plus its massive cohort of third party sellers, is mind-boggling. Photograph: PA

Net Results: Consumers are being duped and the practice is helping Amazon’s bottom line

Appetite for disruption: ‘The language has become more violent/martial over time.’ Photograph: iStock

Net Results: The term has taken on an ever more aggressive meaning for monopolistic firms

The front page of a Sri Lankan newspaper, showing coverage of the Easter Sunday blasts. Photograph: by Ishara S. Kodikara / AFP

Net Results: Terrorism is no excuse for shutting down social media

European  competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager in Brussels in July 2018. Photograph:  Getty Images

Data interoperability and portability could level the digital playing field for smaller firms

Private DNA research, especially on national populations, remains highly controversial

Private Irish genome research company GMI wants to gather DNA from 400,000 Irish people

Big Bird speaks during an Apple launch event at the Steve Jobs Theatre in the Apple Park in California, the US. Photograph: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Karlin Lillington: Tech firm’s new ventures show the relentless overreach of the Big Five

EU public sector sites are  unintentionally serving as platforms for online commercial surveillance, a new report states. File photograph: Getty Images

Karlin Lillington: Public sector sites are unintentionally allowing firms to track our data

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook. Documents seen by the Observer reveal how she and others in Facebook lobbied then-taoiseach Enda Kenny and government representatives on GDPR, taxation policy and the pending appointment of a data protection commissioner. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Net Results: Irish politicians need to be above board in the face of huge lobbying power

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has defended the controversial contracts. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Net Results: Firm has been an ethics leader in big tech, but has some soul-searching to do

Amazon will pay zero US tax this year on 2018 profits of $11.2 billion, according to a report by the US Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Karlin Lillington: Loopholes in legislation mean firms pay fraction of Trump’s 21% rate

Decision by Bundeskartellamt pairs privacy and antitrust legislation. If upheld, it will be far-reaching. Photograph: Epa/Sascha Steinbach

Net Results: Ruling would give power to users to opt out of invisible mega-harvest of data

Philipp Justus, vice-president of Google Central Europe, and Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google. Photograph: Carsten Koall/Getty Images

Zuboff: surveillance by private firms is a crisis as serious as climate change

The entire operating systems of the first Apple Macintosh computers were on floppy disks that you had to insert into the computers to enable them to do anything. Photograph: Kris Connor/ Getty Images

Karlin Lillington: Remember command lines, floppy disks and dial-up modems?

Senior vice-president of Samsung Electronics America Dave Das showcases the QLED 8K smart television during CES in Las Vegas. Photograph: David McNew/AFP/Getty Images

Net Results: There’s a reason why modern, feature-packed smart TVs are so cheap

Example of Public Services Card: Not ‘mandatory’ – but ‘necessary’

Illogical, confusing: PSC may serve the State’s data acquisition whims, but it fails the citizen

We are more cynical about tech company claims, less inclined to believe their excuses or tolerate their repeated apologies. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Net Results: The public is wising up to data gathering abuses, but that’s just the start

Tech companies’  products offer enticements, and many benefits but their potential encroachments and real costs go unrecognised (at best) or more despicably, are hidden (NB Google and Facebook). Photograph: Getty Images

While EU now has GDPR, little has changed in US on data privacy and data protection

Douglas Engelbart: Imagine being able to look at some bits of wood and wire, metal and silicon, at existing copper wire phone networks, at early video, and being able to conceptualise the foundations for the future of mass business and personal computing, and the connectivity of the internet

Net Results: Five decades after Douglas Englebart clicked the first mouse, it is still a gobsmacking thing of wonder

A sign at the entrance to the Facebook World Headquarters in Menlo Park. Photograph: iStock

Net Results: For many years Palo Alto natives relished being tech’s ground zero. No longer

DNA results could be used for denial of health insurance coverage, for example. Photograph: iStock

Net Results: The sale of DNA databases for private research is of huge ethical concern

Microsoft’s  Brad Smith: “It’s impossible to uphold the integrity or public confidence in a democracy if people don’t have confidence in the counts of the votes.” Photograph: Reuters

‘What we’re seeing is technology tools that some people . . . are turning into weapons’

In the dark? Facebook’s chief operating office Sheryl Sandberg. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Net Results: The State says it intends to regulate Facebook as needed. Sigh. Go on, try

We are currently at the stage of being flabbergasted by the easy manipulation of social media networks by bad actors. Eventually, they could be inside your head, not just your Facebook news feed. Photograph: iStock

Experts believe the start of mind and physical enhancements is a matter of years away

Worldwide web founder Tim Berners-Lee. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Reuters

Tim Berners-Lee may feel he created a monster, but there are grounds for optimism

Shahzad Ahmed of the anti-online censorship organisation Bytes For All: “Front Line Defenders have been on top not only to save many threatened lives, but also safeguarding critical human rights movements in Pakistan.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Net Results: UN award for Irish human rights group Front Line Defenders is well-deserved

Anyone who visits San Francisco inevitably remarks with some shock about the bayside city’s homeless problem. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Karlin Lillington: Billionaires are opposing taxation to help those they have displaced

Paul Allen   speaks  in New York, US, in April 2011. File photograph: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg

Karlin Lillington: Microsoft co-founder was part of the firm’s nerdish yin and yang

IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty in the Constitution Room at the Shelbourne Hotel, where the company  established its Irish business. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The head of IBM challenges people to judge her by her actions, which are many

Once your data is breached – even just a single login and password – it leaves you vulnerable in ways you might never imagine. Photograph: iStock

Karlin Lillington: Although I knew the specific threat was a bluff, I had wider worries

Photograph:   Lionel Bonaventure, Getty

Massive data breach made headlines but Facebook’s trade in user data is as scandalous

Individuals have the right to request delistings, but Google refuses more than they approve (56 per cent), according to Google’s published reports. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Net Results: Dispute has arisen over search engines linking to factually correct data

Karlin Lillington, who received her  Irish citizenship at the Citizenship ceremony held at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.

Karlin Lillington: At a time of global exclusions, what we heard was warm and embracing

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter,  and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook: Lawmakers are upping pressure on technology companies over election meddling, alleged anti-conservative bias and antitrust questions. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Trump’s self-googling ego set for bruising with Bill to curb internet service providers

More articles