• Tracey Twynham

Data in the news May 2021

Updated: 6 days ago

Welcome to the May round up of some of the top data stories hitting the news so far this month ...



TikTok sued for billions over use of children’s data

Image by Antonebe from PIxabay

It’s been a bad few weeks for social media, TikTok is facing a legal challenge from former children's commissioner for England Anne Longfield over how it collects and uses children's data. The claim is being filed on behalf of millions of children in the UK and EU who have used the hugely popular video-sharing app.


If successful, the children affected could each be owed thousands of pounds. TikTok said the case was without merit and it would fight it.

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Facebook faces mass legal action over data leak

Image by Bartek J from Pixabay

Another social media player also hit the headlines recently when Facebook users, whose data was compromised by a massive data leak, were urged to take legal action against the tech giant. About 530 million people had some personal information leaked, including, in some cases, phone numbers.

A digital privacy group is preparing to take a case to the Irish courts on behalf of EU citizens affected. Facebook denies wrongdoing, saying the data was "scraped" from publicly available information on the site.

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Apple comes out swinging in the duel of the data titans

Photograph: Brooks Kraft/Apple

Read John Naughton’s interesting article on Apple becoming a personal data defender with new technology that blocks apps tracking capabilities: iOS v14.5, the newest version of iOS, the operating system that runs your iPhone has some new features which include: the option to unlock the phone with an Apple Watch while wearing a mask; support for something called the AirTag; separate skintone variations for emojis of couples; and more diverse voice options for Apple’s voice assistant, Siri. John Naughton states that none of these “features” is of much use to him. But version 14.5 does add something that deeply interests him – the ability to control which apps are allowed to track his activity across other companies’ apps and websites.

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6 Steps to Improve Your Data Security and Data Compliance

Data privacy has been a hot topic in the tech world for years now. With every new technology come new regulations that require companies to completely re-examine the way they handle private data.


Most companies already have a basic data privacy policy they constructed alongside lawyers and tech experts to avoid facing serious fines and penalties. However, compliance isn’t just about focusing on current regulations and meeting the bare minimum requirement to avoid legal consequences.


In order to create a long-lasting privacy policy, you need to be more proactive. Instead of focusing on short-term goals, you should focus on implementing some core data protection principles and creating a culture of compliance within your company.

Read on for steps you can take to make sure you’ll remain compliant with any and all data regulations in the long run.

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A Smarter Approach to Data Protection

A smarter approach to data protection, photo by XPS on Unsplash

The rapid rise in remote working under COVID-19 delivered far-reaching changes in how we do business. It has significant implications for CISOs, Compliance and Data Governance Officers. Accessibility, bandwidth, data volumes and usage demands surged under the pandemic. The challenge to keep data safe, whilst facilitating access and usability for multiple external user groups, became a core concern for data leaders. As data from multiple and often external sources continues to grow in volume, issues around data management, control and protection are a priority concern for business.


Forward-thinking companies, with technology development strategies already in place, quickly adapted under the pandemic. They acted on the clear business opportunity to “reinvent” data protection and flexible user access. Those organisations that maintained a fixed mindset on data protection are today finding it more difficult to recover and harder to provide their users with the tools required to do their jobs safely.

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And finally …


NHS app will be used as digital vaccine passport

The NHS app will soon also act as a digital COVID-19 vaccine passport for travelling abroad, transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed.


The MP confirmed long-standing predictions that international movement could soon be regulated by whether or not an individual has received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Shapps specified that the app that will double as a vaccine passport is set to be the standard NHS app, rather than the NHS COVID-19 contact-tracing app that is currently used for checking into venues. "It will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you've had a vaccine or that you've had testing," he told Sky News.

Shapps added that he is “working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised”.

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#dataprivacy #datasecurity #NHSapp #GrantShapps #datacompliance #databreach #personaldata

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