Apollo 11 and GDPR Fines

On Episode 455 of the Waves of Tech, we are diving into another week of tech topics that matter to you. This weekend we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the first steps on the moon. British Airways was dealt the heaviest fine in GDPR regulation history which shows European agencies are making a statement of their seriousness. The French government passed a new 3% digital tax on internet companies that many U.S entities are calling unfair, untimely, and unjustified. The inventor of the computer password, Fernando Corbato, has passed at the age of 93 and his influence on the industry cannot be undervalued.  And of course, we touch on the FaceApp craze and debacle that ensued over the last week.

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

In July of 1969, the world was captivated by the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon and the first steps on mankind outside the orbit of the Earth. Neil Armstrong and the NASA team would provide a moment in time that has not yet been surpassed in the modern era of technology. We ask ourselves what is the last thing that total encapsulated the world’s attention.

  • The radio, television, and broadcast audiences were glued to the airways for Apollo 11
  • For the first time in history, nations and people were frozen in anticipation and anxiety
  • The last thing that captures the world’s attention in its entirety was 9-11 in New York
  • Sadly, very little is fascinating and eye catching in today’s modern tech age

British Airways Pays Out $230M

In June 2018, it was reported by the United Kingdom’s largest air traveller British Airways that nearly 500,000 customers personal data was breached. The hack was traced back to a fraudulent website set up to receive redirected customer traffic designed to capture login information, payment card details, names, and addresses.

  • Due to the breach, British Airways is leveraged with a $230M fine for GDPR violations
  • The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office cited “poor security arrangements”
  • Fine is by far the heftiest to result from GDPR regulations across the European Union
  • It does call into question as to where the money goes and whom does it benefit

Controversial French Internet Tax Instituted

In Episode 436, we discussed a French finance minister’s proposal of adding a 3% tax on digital internet giants focused on companies re-selling personal data and targeted digital advertising. Many European companies would be captured under the new tax along with 30+ American based tech companies. The tax measure has passed within French government.

  • U.S. interest groups are investigating claiming it unfairly targets American business
  • Internet giants pay 14% less tax than small-and-medium sized European companies
  • U.S. think tank claims it taxes companies who are too powerful, profitable, and American
  • The French government is adjusting its tax policy to reflect changing business practices

Computer Password Inventor Passes Away

At the age of 93, Fernando Corbato – a famed MIT professor, digital revolutionist, and computer pioneer, passed away after a successful life of changing the computing landscape. As shared computing operating systems were born, Corbato invented the concept of the computer password to protect individual users information and files. He was a true industry pioneer.

  • He enlisted in the Navy as an electronics technician working on radar and sonar systems
  • Shockingly, passwords were not considered in computing for a number of years
  • He was an advocate for increasing access while protecting an individual’s data
  • Corbató earned the Alan M. Turing award from the Association for Computing Machinery

FaceApp Came – They Won, We Lost

We all get it. A fun photo app comes along and we get some goods laughs with friends and family for a few weeks. Then upon looking back, we find out that the app perhaps did not have our best interests at heart in terms of privacy and personal information. We think about, reconsider using apps in the future, and then get back to our usual ways. It’s a broken record.

  • As one tech journalist wrote, “FaceApp was a test. We didn’t pass.” (Ry Kris)
  • App shows our ignorance in terms of our ability to draw lines for our personal data
  • Terms of service on all these apps are not written to favor users, only the company
  • No incentive exists for developers to not collect inform as we keep going back for more

Resources & Links

British Airways Fined for GDPR Violation
French Tax Implemented
Fernando Corbato dies at 93
FaceApp

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