Oct. 6 (UPI) — The European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that member states cannot collect mobile and Internet data en masse, saying it’s illegal to gather such “general and indiscriminate information.”
The court ruling answered several cases brought by Privacy International and La Quadrature du Net.
Austrian privacy advocate Max Schrems had filed a lawsuit based on work by whistle-blower Edward Snowden that showed the United States doesn’t offer sufficient protection against surveillance by public authorities. His lawsuit opened the initial inquiry that lead to Tuesday’s decision.
“EU law precludes national legislation requiring a provider of electronic communications services to carry out the general and indiscriminate transmission or retention of traffic data and location data for the purpose of combating crime in general or of safeguarding national security,” the court said in a statement.
The court ruled in recent years that prevailing EU law bars member states from mandating that communications companies keep data and information on citizens.
In its decision Tuesday, however, the court carved out areas where electronic data gathering can still be accessed by law enforcement.
“Institutions where a member state is facing a serious threat to national security that proves to be genuine and present or foreseeable, that member state may derogate from the obligation to ensure the confidentiality of data,” it said.
The EU court has previously restricted how U.S. firms could send European user data to the United States after determining residents in the bloc had little recourse in challenging surveillance by the U.S. government.
In 2015, Microsoft worked with Saber Interactive on a free-to-play Halo game for Russia called Halo Online. It was short-lived, however, as Microsoft canceled it before it even left beta.
The game may get a new lease on life, as Microsoft has teased that maps from Halo Online could be incorporated into Halo: The Master Chief Collection in the future.
Design director Max Szlagor said in a blog post that included among the many, many other new features that are being discussed for MCC are Halo Online maps. “Is there an opportunity to bring over some of the Halo Online maps? There’s a lot of options out there and it’s all dependent on what’s feasible and everything takes time and has to be measured against the bug list, backlog, and feature priorities,” Szlagor said. “All in all, we are definitely looking towards more goodness and continuing with more seasons.”
The original Halo Online ran on a “highly modified” version of the Halo 3 engine, and Microsoft says it was “optimized for smooth performance” on lower-end computers. Its announcement in 2015 was a big deal given that Microsoft hadn’t released a Halo game on PC in years before then. The game was only ever officially released in Russia, where it was published by Innova Systems, but now it appears people around the world may have a chance at experiencing it.
Given that Halo Online ran on a modified version of the Halo 3 engine, it’s not immediately clear how it might be incorporated into MCC. It’s still early days, of course, and Microsoft is only talking about Halo Online maps in an exploratory means for now.
Microsoft might have canceled Halo Online, but the company believes in the free-to-play model, as it’s been announced that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer will be free.
Apple’s iOS 14, which was released last week, offers new privacy controls that limit how different parts of your phone are used to track you. The most impactful feature, the ability to limit how much of your personal data is shared with companies was shelved until early next year after complaints from Facebook — which is saying something and I’ll dive into that a little more in a bit. In a digital marketplace where data is money, this small changes are good for users and potentially bad for advertisers.
Quick Overview of New Features
iOS 14 added several new privacy features that give more information about how apps are using features on the phone and give the user more control. Each of these slight changes can have an impact on advertisers. The other privacy features on the table in iOS 14 include:
● In-depth report on Safari that shows exactly which apps and websites are tracking you, which information they’re tracking, and how many have been blocked through iOS 14
● A type of security “nutrition label” on every app available in the App Store, defining which information the app will collect, be it financial, contact information, browsing history, or online purchases (before the app is even downloaded)
● Password monitoring that alerts users if their password has been involved in a data breach
● Ability to set an “approximate location,” versus a specific location when using apps
● Alert when any app access user’s camera or microphone
● Masking a user’s Wifi address
● Notification when an app is monitoring your clipboard
All of these features eliminate ways that advertisers have been able to target users in the past. They also give users peace of mind about using their phones and if you’ve watched The