INM data investigation saga continues as DPC responds

10 Dec 2018

Image: © Orlando Bellini/

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner is examining some voluntary disclosures relating to alleged data breaches at Independent News and Media.

Last week, after rumours circulated about Microsoft moving its Edge browser to Chromium, the company made the change official and outlined what alterations are coming down the line.

In Australia, a controversial bill passed that would give law enforcement the power to ask tech firms to create vulnerabilities to break encryption protocols. Many experts trashed the document, saying that it placed encryption’s integrity at risk.

Meanwhile, game publisher Bethesda is dealing with numerous headaches surrounding Fallout 76, the latest addition to the video game series.

Read on for a selection of this week’s need-to-know enterprise stories.

ODPC says INM investigation is still unfolding

Reports of data issues at Independent News and Media (INM) have been on the radar for some time and now there may be even more to this growing story.

Head of communications at the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC), Graham Doyle, last night stated that a number of disclosures had been made to the ODPC. He added: “It is very much an evolving picture in which we cannot comment specifically now. As matters are evolving, it is also difficult to put a timeline on conclusion.”

On Sunday (9 December), The Sunday Business Post reported allegations that the former CEO of INM ordered an email and hard drive search of up to six editors after a note from his PA was leaked to political magazine The Phoenix.

The ODPC could not comment on the specifics of the report, but Seamus Dooley of the National Union of Journalists described the claims as “deeply disturbing”.

Your ‘anonymous’ location data may not be so private

An extensive report from The New York Times has shone a light on how easy it is to use ‘anonymous’ location data that is captured, shared and retained by mobile apps to identify users.

Investigators were able to identify specific people from some location patterns and found one iOS app was passing precise location data to 40 separate companies.

While location data is supposed to be anonymous and difficult to link back to an individual, The New York Times found it was able to unearth an alarming amount about people using their location movements.

Europol claims victory over cash counterfeit scammers

Europol says it has successfully cracked down on people suspected of making counterfeit €10, €20 and €50 banknotes and selling them via the dark web.

According to Infosecurity magazine, the unveiling of the operation stemmed from the arrest of a print shop owner in Austria this summer, leading to 235 suspects detained who were either involved in the buying or selling of fake cash.

Law enforcement officials are also said to have seized cryptomining hardware, weapons, drugs and computers.

Botnet of 20,000 WordPress sites on the loose

According to ZDNet, a network of more than 20,000 infected WordPress websites is being used to launch attacks on others.

Security provider Defiant says its Wordfence firewall system for WordPress sites has detected more than 5m login attempts in the last month from infected sites against clean ones.

The attacks are known as ‘dictionary attacks’, or repeated login attempts during which hackers test a variety of username and password combinations in the hope of getting one right. Law enforcement agencies have been notified.

Microsoft issues stark warning about facial recognition

President of Microsoft, Brad Smith, has called for stronger government regulation of AI facial recognition technology because of the risk it poses when it comes to discrimination against women and people of colour.

Smith said that regulation would help avoid “a commercial race to the bottom, with tech companies forced to choose between social responsibility and market success”.

His comments came as a report from a multi-company research group, AI Now, was published, which also called for greater regulation of the technology.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects