Welcome to the November edition of Quick Bytes News. In this edition I cover the recent change in EU law that now restricts the open door of the Safe Harbor Pact set up 15 years ago between the EU and the USA.
Up until last month data in the EU could be transferred over to the USA without any formal process being completed, all that has now changed.
Then I cover the newest intentions of Microsoft to coerce Windows 10 into your PC, beware!
Finally I offer alternatives for your consideration from the well proven Linux stables, Mint and Ubuntu.
European Court of Justice rules ‘Safe Harbor’ Pact invalid
Europe’s highest court has ruled that the 15 year old Safe Harbor pact between the EU and US is no longer valid.
The ruling is likely to mean that personal data should no longer be transferred to US bodies solely on the basis they are Safe Harbor certified.
Organisations will now be required to take additional steps to safeguard personal data that they make available to US companies, including cloud services providers. The decision will likely drive up compliance costs for many organisations.”
There is an article on the issue on the BBC website at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34442618 The relevant part reads:
“Personal data should no longer be transferred to US bodies solely on the basis they are Safe Harbour-certified.
Instead to authorise the “export” of the data, the two bodies involved must draw up and sign what’s referred to as “model contract clauses”
Privacy obligations are described in detail in this document produced by The Information Commissioners Office
Model Contract Clauses – International transfers of personal data
Data Protection Act
“It will involve lots of contracts between lots of parties and it’s going to be a bit of a nightmare administratively,” commented Nicola Fulford, head of data protection at the UK law firm, Kemp Little.
“The model clauses themselves are standard form – what you need to put into them are details of the data involved and the security steps being taken.
“It’s not that we’re going to be negotiating them individually, as the legal terms are mostly fixed, but it does mean a lot more paperwork and they have legal implications.”
All of this will drive up costs and potentially cause delays.”
More perspectives here
Stroud Cloud – Safer Harbour – I think!
A little plug for our own Data Storage is in order because as many of you know our Stroud Cloud Data Storage service will never send your encrypted data anywhere else, it stays in Stroud! Please see here for details.
Windows 10 – Again!
Microsoft Announce they will be sending Windows 10 to you BEFORE they do it (this time, unlike last time).
The ‘option’ of the Windows 10 upgrade window is again being forced open by Microsoft as they try harder to gain the momentum on this skeptically received new OS.
In their own words;
“We will soon be publishing Windows 10 as an “Optional Update” in Windows Update for all Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers. Windows Update is the trusted, logical location for our most important updates, and adding Windows 10 here is another way we will make it easy for you to find your upgrade.
Early next year, we expect to be re-categorizing Windows 10 as a “Recommended Update”. Depending upon your Windows Update settings, this may cause the upgrade process to automatically initiate on your device. Before the upgrade changes the OS of your device, you will be clearly prompted to choose whether or not to continue. And of course, if you choose to upgrade (our recommendation!), then you will have 31 days to roll back to your previous Windows version if you don’t love it”.
So be warned if you don’t like having your choices stolen watch out for their updates as they may be rather huge (last time it was 3.6Gigabytes).
Alternatives do exist and they can be free!
Maybe it really is time to look for a free and non coercive operating system, maybe one like Ubuntu or Mint from Linux and bundled with them you get a free Office compatible suite of programs, Libre Office. In this suite you get a Word processor, Spreadsheet, Database and Presentation programs much like MS Office. I have used the free Windows based version of Libre Office for a year and am very happy with it.
The great offerings from the open source (Linux, Firefox, Thunderbird etc) community are well worth taking a close look at and they offer a much reduced attack profile from malware compared to Microsoft.
As always if I can help you do give me a call
Finally to help you I have published my Charges Tarrif on my website now. I have kept these to a minimum as best as possible. They are here