Google Calls for New Laws Regulating Government Access to Cloud Data

Today’s topics include Google’s demand for new laws that address government access to cloud data; the continued struggle against  ransomware worm WannaCry; Microsoft’s attempt to combat tech support scams with artificial intelligence, and OnePlus’s unveiling of its latest Android phone, the OnePlus 5.

In a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., last week, Google’s general counsel Kent Walker called for new laws that address government access to cloud data.

Walker dubbed the current laws archaic and slow moving, stating that laws written before the Information Revolution are “due for a fundamental realignment in light of the rapid growth of technology that  relies on the cloud [and] the very real security threats that face people and communities."

Rather than enabling the flow of information to law enforcement, current laws hinder the process and jeopardize user privacy in the process, he noted.

Walker proposed a new framework that Google has developed that he said strikes a better balance between privacy and the government's legitimate need to obtain information from Internet providers for law enforcement purposes.

More than a month after it first emerged, the WannaCry ransomware worm is still having an impact on organizations around the world.

The cyber virus exploits unpatched Server Message Block services on Microsoft operating systems to gain access to and then encrypt data, holding it for ransom until the victim pays up.

WannaCry’s most recent victims include Honda Motor Co. in Japan and traffic cameras in Australia. According to a Reuters report released on June 21, Honda had to shut down production at its Sayama plant on June 19th. However, normal operations were restored by the next day.

Although security firms continue to track the ransomware worm, Gavin Millard, technical director at security vendor Tenable Network Security, says he expects that it will remain an active threat for some time to come.

Microsoft is attempting to combat tech support scams with its growing cloud-based artificial intelligence toolkit.

Typically, these scams attempt to trick Internet users into spending money on dubious software via pops-up ads that are seemingly from an official-looking organization that claims to have detected malicious software or performance issues on a would-be victim's PC.

Last October, Microsoft's Digital Crimes unit warned that two-thirds of consumers had experienced, but not necessarily fallen victim to, a tech support scam in the preceding 12 months. In response, the tech giant’s security researchers devised an AI system that detects scam sites and the tech tricks they use. 

China-based smartphone maker OnePlus unveiled its latest Android phone, the OnePlus 5, in a June 20 announcement.

Pricing for the phone, which features a 5.5-inch full HD AMOLED touch-screen display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor,  starts at $479 for a version with 6GB of memory and 64GB of onboard storage, and $539 for a version with 8GB of memory and 128GB of onboard storage. There are no expandable storage provisions on the new phones.

The OnePlus 5 is an unlocked 4G LTE phone that can be used with GSM or CDMA networks around the world. It also features Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi and Near-Field Communications connectivity.