February 2012


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Data Protection
Reform of EU Data Protection Norms proposed

The European Commission has proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU’s 1995 data  protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe’s digital economy. The  Commission’s proposals update and modernise the principles enshrined in the 1995 Data  Protection Directive to guarantee privacy rights in the future. Key changes in the reform include:

• A single set of rules on data protection, valid across the EU. This will save businesses around €2.3 billion a year.
• W herever consent is required for data to be processed, it has to be given explicitly, rather than assumed.
• P eople will have easier access to their own data and be able to transfer personal data from one service provider to another more easily (right to data portability).
• A ‘right to be forgotten’ will help people better manage data protection risks online: people will be able to delete their data if there are no legitimate grounds for retaining it.
E U rules must apply if personal data is handled abroad by companies that are active in the EU market and offer their services to EU citizens.
• A new Directive will apply general data protection principles and rules for police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The rules will apply to both domestic and cross-border transfers of data.

The Commission’s proposals will now be passed on to the European Parliament and EU Member States (meeting in the Council of Ministers) for discussion. They will take effect two years after they have been adopted.

Hackers Conference in Berlin plans space satellites to combat censorship

Computer hackers plan to take the internet beyond the reach of censors by putting their own communication satellites into orbit. The scheme was outlined at the recent Chaos  Communication Congress in Berlin.

The project’s organisers said the Hackerspace Global Grid will also involve developing a grid of  ground stations to track and communicate with the satellites. In the long run, a wider  hacker aerospace project aims to put an amateur astronaut onto the moon within the next 23 years.

Experts say the satellite project is feasible, but could be restricted by technical limitations.  Low earth orbit satellites such as have been launched by amateurs so far, do not stay in a  single place but rather orbit, typically every 90 minutes.

Immigration Control
South Korea Extends Biometrics Scanning to all Foreigners

All foreigners entering South Korea will have to undergo biometrics scanning starting from  2012 to combat terrorism and prevent threats to national security. According to the Korea Immigration Service (KIS) , foreigners age 17 or older will undergo fingerprint and facial  scanning upon entering the county starting Jan. 1. The program started scanning those from countries deemed high-risk by the KIS in September 2010, and has since expanded to include all foreigners choosing long-term stay.

The programme excludes minors, diplomatic officials and other foreign government officials. Registered foreigners currently in the country will also be exempt. Biometrics scanning will be conducted in 11 different languages including English, Chinese and Japanese. At the  immigration desk, foreigners entering the country for the first time will have both index  fingers and their faces scanned as part of the Justice Ministry’s Biometric Identification System.

Immigration Control
Airport e-Gates Launched to Speed up Immigration Clearance in Taiwan

Taiwan has launched an e-Gate system, which can be used by citizens 14 years and over with  valid passports and registered biometric data, at international airports in Taoyuan CountyTaipei and Kaohsiung and at the Kinmen Seaport after trial runs. The system allows for faster  immigration services and improved border security.

The e-Gate system, equipped with infrared ray sensors, facial recognition cameras and  passport readers, can clear arriving travelers in 12 seconds by scanning the passenger’s  passport and face or fingerprint. More than 170,000 citizens have registered biometric data,  such as their facial features and fingerprints, at immigration counters at Taiwan’s gateways  during the programme’s trial run this year. Passengers must be at least 140 centimeters in height and must not be under a travel ban in order to register to use the system. Once the  registration is accepted, it will remain valid permanently.

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