Tech World: $3.7bn acquisition by Cisco, WhatsApp’s security issues and more

Hello, I’m Emily, welcome to Tech World,
your quick round up of the top technology news from across the globe. For this episode’s
hot topic interview, we spoke with Ian Williamson from EY about data protection and data ethics.
First though, here are your top international stories. Chinese Uber-rival Didi Chuxing invested more
than $100m in Brazil-based on-demand taxi service 99. 99 said it plans to use the
money to expand its service into other countries in South America. Research revealed WhatsApp may not be as secure
as previously thought. A study found Facebook, which owns the service, can read some messages
due to the way WhatsApp has implemented its end-to-end encryption protocol. France announced its intentions to launch
a French Tech Visa to encourage technology entrepreneurs, startups, angels and investors
to move to the country. Once granted, it’s valid for four years, on a renewable basis.
The visa is only necessary for those from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland. Cisco announced its intention to acquire
AppDynamics for a whopping $3.7bn. AppDynamics, which helps companies monitor application
performance, is headquartered in San Francisco and has raised $314.5m to date. Verizon’s acquisition of American search
giant Yahoo has been delayed. The $4.8bn deal faltered last year after Yahoo revealed two
vast data security breaches. Yahoo says its sale will be completed in the second quarter
this year, rather than the first. That’s it for our top global tech news roundup, but keep watching to see this episode’s Hot Topics interview. We spoke with Ian Williamson from EY about data protection and data ethics. Ian, thank you very much for joining us today. So today we’re going to talk about data ethics. EY recently put together a whitepaper on data ethics, can you tell us a bit about what data ethics is? Data ethics relates to the ethical decisions that companies can apply to their collection, use and exploitation of data. It can act as a moral compass in terms of what the companies wish to do in relation to data. And our white paper gives guidance to organisations, both large and small, in terms of how they could use data ethics in relation to their data decision making. There are already a lot of laws around the use of data, so isn’t it enough for companies to just stick to those laws? Data ethics is about more than just compliance with the law. You’re correct to identify that, within the EU and within the UK in particular, We have very mature data protection, data privacy and cybersecurity laws However, whilst a law may specify a particular line that companies can’t cross, in terms of their behaviour Not every behaviour which is classed as legal could necessarily considered to be ethical. And there are a number of real world examples, where companies have conducted activities which whilst perfectly legal by the black letter of the law, have then resulted in certain backlashes from consumer groups, for example, about their ethical standpoint. So what can companies gain from creating a long-term ethical data strategy? We believe that companies can gain a competitive edge and ultimately long-term growth by having a mature data ethics policy, and that’s fed by a number of factors. One is around trust for stakeholders. And by stakeholders I mean employees, customers and indeed investors, that companies have taken data ethics into consideration. The second factor of that is around reputational risk and actually managing how a company wishes to be perceived in the market. Also companies can look to factor data ethics into their overall corporate, social and responsibility considerations. CSR, as we’re all familiar with is actually key to a number of organisations, but actually, how they wish to use and exploit data can be factored into that. And finally, we think it can be important in terms of the long-term growth of the company. Data ethics is often about balancing short-term monetary gains from using and exploiting data compared with a long-term strategy about where the company wishes to be and where it wishes to be perceived in the marketplace. So what’s the best way of companies going about creating such a strategy? The key point here is that companies consider data ethics in relation to their use and exploitation of data. The first stage would be understanding the legal landscape in relation to the use of data. And that’s particularly important as the legal landscape within the EU and particularly post-Brexit is going to be affected by the General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into effect in May 2018 But once companies are familiar with the lines that are actually set by the law, it’s worth then considering themselves whether or not there are any other red lines that they’d wish to set down in relation to their data usage. We think that that should really be conducted at board level, so that that is then fed throughout an organisation so there’s then a consistent approach. And the final point about data ethics is it’s not a one-time consideration. Companies should continually revisit their data ethics policy, particularly in light of new technologies that they may be using, for example a company may be moving into a space where there’s suddenly a lot more data that they’ll be collecting, for example in relation to the Internet of Things. Or actually they’re going to be processing data in a different manner, such as using artificial intelligence, and all of these things throw up ethical considerations that should at least be considered by a board. Fantastic, thanks for joining us Ian. You’re very welcome, thank you. That’s all for this episode, for more technology news straight to your inbox, head to

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