Odds and Ends 

With No End in Sight, Europe is Sick of Brexit Bullshit

The divorce from hell, the longest separation ever, trying to live together after breaking uphowever one describes the excruciating uncoupling of the United Kingdom and the European Union, one thing is sure: Europeans are starting to get a little bit tired of the whole bloody affair. On Thursday, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May bought a few more weeks to secure domestic backing for her E.U. compromise, though no one is optimistic that she will get it. French president Emmanuel Macron was so unimpressed with Mays plea he downgraded his prediction…

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Dating apps face questions over age checks after report exposes child abuse

The UK government has said it could legislate to require age verification checks on users of dating apps, following an investigation into underage use of dating apps published by the Sunday Times yesterday. The newspaper found It reports that one 13-year-old boy with a profile on the Grindr app was raped or abused by at least 21 men.  The Sunday Times also found 60 further instances of child sex offences related to the use of online dating services — including grooming, kidnapping and violent assault, according to the BBC, which covered the report.…

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Tech platforms called to support public interest research into mental health impacts

The tech industry has been called on to share data with public sector researchers so the mental health and psychosocial impacts of their service on vulnerable users can be better understood, and also to contribute to funding the necessary independent research over the next ten years. The UK’s chief medical officers have made the call in a document setting out advice and guidance for the government about children’s and young people’s screen use. They have also called for the industry to agree a code of conduct around the issue. Concerns…

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Google You Owe Us claimants arent giving up on UK Safari workaround suit

Lawyers behind a UK class-action style compensation litigation against Google for privacy violations have filed an application requesting permission to appeal against a recent High Court ruling blocking the proceeding. In October Mr Justice Warby ruled the case could not proceed on legal grounds, finding the claimants had not demonstrated a basis for bringing a compensation claim. The case relates to the so called ‘Safari workaround’ Google used between 2011 and 2012 to override iPhone privacy settings and track users without consent. The civil legal action — whose claimants refer to themselves as ‘Google…

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Odds and Ends 

UK parliament seizes cache of internal Facebook documents to further privacy probe

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may yet regret underestimating a UK parliamentary committee that’s been investigating the democracy-denting impact of online disinformation for the best part of this year — and whose repeat requests for facetime he’s just as repeatedly snubbed. In the latest high gear change, reported in yesterday’s Observer, the committee has used parliamentary powers to seize a cache of documents pertaining to a US lawsuit to further its attempt to hold Facebook to account for misuse of user data. Facebook’s oversight — or rather lack of it — where…

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Zuckerberg rejects facetime call for answers from five parliaments

Facebook has declined once again to send its CEO to the UK parliament — this time turning down an invitation to face questions from a grand committee comprised of representatives from five international parliaments. MPs from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the UK have joined forces to try to pile pressure on the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, to answer questions related to his “platform’s malign use in world affairs and democratic process”. The UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, which has been running an enquiry into online disinformation for the best…

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The RNLIs Newest All-Weather Lifeboat is an Engineering Marvel

The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet. She’s the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making her the RNLI’s most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet. Designed entirely in-house by a team of RNLI engineers, The Shannon was designed to be launched and recovered from a beach and is loaded with impressive features and specs. The naming of The Shannon class lifeboat follows an RNLI tradition of naming lifeboats after rivers. But it’s the first time…

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Headlines 

Merkel Vows Full Probe After Van Crashed in Crowd in Muenster

German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised a full investigation after a man killed two people by driving a van into a street cafe in the western city of Muenster, then fatally shot himself on the scene. About 20 people were injured in the incident on Saturday afternoon, which recalled recent terrorist attacks using vehicles, including one on a Christmas market in Berlin in 2016 that killed 12 people. The driver was a German national and there are "no indications" he had extremist Islamic ties, Herbert Reul, the interior minister of the…

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Headlines 

Airlines Draw U.K. Scrutiny Over Extra Fees

Aviation Minister Sugg says passengers need more information Fees can cover passenger details and printing of boarding pass Elizabeth Sugg said in an emailed statement. “When passengers book flights, they can sometimes be hit with additional charges over and above the original quoted flight cost,” Sugg said. “Through our aviation strategy, we will explore ways to improve and enhance the information available, so passengers can make well-informed decisions.” The extra fees represented a large chunk of about $45 billion in ancillary revenue for 66 airlines in 2016, according to a…

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Headlines 

Harvey Weinstein Sued by New York AG Over Sexual Harassment

Embattled movie producer Harvey Weinstein was sued by New York state for creating a hostile work environment at the Weinstein Co. that allegedly featured “pervasive sexual harassment,” intimidation and discrimination. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s lawsuit comes as Weinstein, 65, is seeking to sell his troubled studio to Maria Contreras-Sweet, a former Obama administration official, in a $500 million bid backed by billionaire Ron Burkle. The suit may create a major obstacle for the deal. Schneiderman said in a statement that the company’s sale might leave victims “without adequate redress, including…

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Headlines 

Heres How London House Prices Are Being Battered

London’s housing market is being battered from all sides. A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed a price gauge at its lowest level for seven years, and far below the national average. Real-estate agents are more pessimistic about the market in the capital than any other region, with contributors flagging a potent mix of concerns, including Brexit uncertainty, the Bank of England’s interest-rate hike and the government’s budget later this month. There’s also evidence that the weakness in the capital is spreading — most U.K. regions showed…

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Headlines 

I Think We Got Away With It: Listen to HSBC Trader Phone Calls

Here’s the challenge for U.S. prosecutors: convince a jury former HSBC currency trader Mark Johnson is guilty of front-running a $3.5 billion client order. Their strongest evidence is HSBC’s audio recordings of the phone calls between Johnson, the bank’s former global head of foreign exchange, and traders in London and New York, which take the jury back to re-live events of six years ago. The jury, which on Thursday started weighing the fraud case against Johnson, listened to numerous calls, including one where he said, “I think we got away with…

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Drone registration coming to the UK

The UK government has announced a plan to require drone owners to register their devices. It says the incoming rules are aimed at ensuring safer use of the technology. Under the planned regulations, owners of drones weighing more than 250 grams will, in future, be required to register their devices with the stated aim being to improve accountability and encourage owners to act responsibly. A similar plan in the US to require drone owners register their devices with the Federal Aviation Authority was struck down by an appeals court in…

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UK surveillance law still fuzzy on decryption rules for comms providers

A little moredetail has emerged about howa key componentof theyesterdayby the digital rights organization Open Rights Group. Technical capability notices refer tothe statutory instrumentby which the U.K. government will be able to place obligations on ISPs and communications services providers to ensure government surveillancecapabilitiesset out in the legislation are able tofunction. The draft documentsets out requirements for communications services providers to maintain a capability to be in a position to hand over de-encrypted data in near real time when served a warrant by a government agency, and to have the…

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