Today’s topics include reports that Intel is preparing for job cuts later in the month, news that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been decrypting BlackBerry Messenger email, the potential renegotiation of the U.S. and EU’s decision to share data across countries and the EU’s preparations to broaden its investigation of Google in regard to Android bundling requirements.
The disruption occurring around Intel over the past several months looks like it could continue as the giant chip maker reportedly is planning to make significant job cuts.
The Oregonian newspaper, citing multiple unnamed sources within the company, said the layoffs will be larger than the 1,100 U.S. jobs lost last year and could hit double-digit percentages in some business units.
The downsizing could begin soon after company executives announce first-quarter financial numbers April 19, though the timing and specifics of the plans are still uncertain, the sources said. Intel had more than 107,000 employees at the end of 2015.
Canada’s federal police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, has been decrypting BlackBerry Messenger emails since 2010, according to papers uncovered in a joint investigation conducted by Vice News and Motherboard following a two-year fight by government lawyers to keep that information from being released.
BlackBerry has long pointed to its supposedly unbreakable encryption for BBM. Now it appears that the company only had one encryption key for most of its individual users, and that it kept the key.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police was able to begin decrypting messages after BlackBerry shared the key with the police agency.
BlackBerry may also have shared its encryption key with governments in India, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia after being threatened with expulsion from the countries involved when the national police couldn’t find a way to break BlackBerry’s encryption.
U.S. business associations criticized an opinion by a European group of privacy experts that expressed concerns about the E.U.-U.S. Privacy Shield, the latest proposed agreement to allow data to be transferred between the European Union and the United States.
The Article 29 Working Party, a committee of data-protection commissioners from European countries, concluded that although the new Privacy Shield agreement between the United States and Europe improves upon an older agreement known as Safe Harbor, it continues to fall short of the necessary privacy protections needed to hold commercial and government entities in check.
The Working Party had “strong concerns” about the adequacy of the draft to protect citizens’ data, the lack of applicability of the agreement to third-party nations and the complexity of the redress process. U.S. industry organizations, however, are wary of any delay in the process that could bring clarity to the legal status of data transfers.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s commissioner for Competition, is reportedly set to broaden her ongoing investigation of Google’s alleged anti-competitive behavior in the EU. The Politico news Website on Friday cited three investigators involved in the case as saying that Vestager’s office is readying charges against Google over the company’s practices with regard to its Android mobile operating system.
The concerns apparently have to do with how Google requires Android handset makers to bundle certain applications like Gmail and Maps on their systems, to the detriment of others with competing software products.
If true, the charges would open another front in Google’s longstanding battle with EU authorities over