#446 February 5, 2016 – US and EU Forge Data-Sharing Pact

This week’s headline story: US and EU Forge Data-Sharing Pact

DataCenterThe European Union and the United States struck a data-sharing deal that will allow companies like Facebook and Apple to continue sending people’s information across the Atlantic. The sides have been working to forge an agreement since October, when Europe’s top court struck down the previous pact — known as Safe Harbor — amid concerns that Europeans’ personal data stored by companies in the U.S. might be exposed to spying by U.S. intelligence agencies. The new deal, once in place, potentially brings an end to a period of uncertainty that had raised the prospect of legal challenges by individuals across the 28-country EU worried about privacy.

Other Headline News…

in Information Security News…

  • Kik Messenger App Scrutinized Following 13-Year-Old’s Death [NewsFactor]
    Kik Messenger is a smartphone app that is popular among younger teens. Kik provides free, easy and instant connections to other users anywhere enabling people to message each other one-on-one or in group chats, and to share photos, videos and other content. By enabling people to identify themselves only by an invented username, it provides more anonymity than competing services. Law enforcement officials say the application is dangerous in part because parents cannot reliably prevent anonymous strangers from contacting their children if they use it. That anonymity appears to be responsible for the stabbing death of a 13-year-old girl in Virginia who told friends she was using Kik to connect with an 18-year-old man. Now the company is on the defensive. “A lot of blame has been placed on Kik in the last two days,” a company spokesman stated, but he noted that many other social media networks operate the same way. “It’s a problem that’s spread around the industry,” he said.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Apple’s iPhone Success May Be Reaching Its Peak [NewsFactor]
    Apple surpassed its own record at the end of 2015 by selling more than 74.5 million iphones in the final quarter. But it appears that iPhone sales in the first three months of 2016 will — for the first time ever — show an abrupt decline from the same period a year earlier. Some are claiming that iPhone sales have finally peaked. Concerns about slowing growth have sent Apple’s stock into a months-long slump, fueling debate about what kind of company Apple will be in the future.
  • Alphabet Comes Before Apple as World’s Most Valuable Company [NewsFactor]
    Alphabet now comes before Apple atop the list of the world’s most valuable companies. The shift occurred in Monday’s extended trading after Alphabet, Google’s new parent company, released a fourth-quarter earnings report that highlighted the robust growth of the digital ad market.
  • Gmail Reaches Billion-User Milestone [NewsFactor]
    Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced that Gmail, Google’s free e-mail service, has joined several other Google products in boasting 1 billion active monthly users.
  • Microsoft Confirms Purchase of AI Company Swiftkey [NewsFactor]
    Microsoft has confirmed that it has acquired London-based Swiftkey, which makes a predictive keyboard powered by artificial intelligence (AI) used on hundreds of millions of smartphones, for a reported $250 million.
  • Microsoft Says It Has Tested Undersea Data Center [NewsFactor]
    Microsoft has revealed that it successfully tested an underwater data center — codename Project Natick — off the Pacific coast for four months last year, and is now planning a larger follow-up deployment. Why an underwater data center? Microsoft envisions several potential benefits. Containerized data centers can be quickly deployed wherever they’re needed, and placing them underwater can significantly reduce the cost of keeping servers cool and efficient.

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