Latest Posts

Kristen Bates Aylward appointed Canton law director

On Tuesday, Democratic Central Committee members of Canton appointed her for the remainder of recently retired law director Joseph Martuccio’s elected term

CANTON It’s official. Kristen Bates Aylward is Canton’s new law director.

She was appointed acting law director by Mayor Thomas Bernabei earlier this month and has been the city’s chief deputy counsel since 2006.

On Tuesday, Democratic Central Committee members of Canton appointed her for the remainder of recently retired law director Joseph Martuccio’s elected term, which runs through 2019. Phil Giavasis, chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party, said there were 26 committee members present and Bates Aylward was the only applicant.

Bates Aylward thanked the voting members and invited her “mentor,” Martuccio, to swear her in.

“Without your vote, I would not have my dream job, and without my boss, I wouldn’t have my dream job,” she told those gathered at City Hall.

Martuccio, Canton’s longest-serving law director, then administered the oath of office to Bates Aylward while her husband, son and her son’s girlfriend stood by. Martuccio praised his successor’s work ethic and qualifications, emphasizing how her appointment will make the people of Canton proud.

“We never had to mention it because Kris is so exceptionally qualified and so deserving of this position in every way,” Martuccio added, “but you have just appointed the first female law director in the city of Canton.”

As chief deputy counsel, Bates Aylward has represented Canton in state and federal courts, and during labor negotiations. She also drafted city ordinances and helped the former law director manage a roughly $1 million department budget, according to her resume.

Prior to joining the city Law Department in 2006, Bates Aylward spent nearly 20 years in the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office. She served as an assistant prosecutor in the civil and criminal divisions and then as chief of the juvenile and civil divisions.

She also spent some time at private law firms in the late ’80s and mid-’90s.

Bates Aylward obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science and business from Muskingum University and graduated from University of Akron School of Law. She’s been a member of the Stark County Bar Association, local Democratic political groups and other nonpartisan community organizations.

During a speech after her swearing-in, Bates Aylward thanked family members, including her father and youngest son who could not attend. She also recognized the influence her deceased mother had on her life.

“She didn’t have opportunities as a young woman to go to college or do those things,” Bates Aylward said. “She always told me I could do it, and she always encouraged me.”

Bates Aylward later noted that the three largest cities in Stark County — Canton, Masillon and Alliance — now have women law directors.

Her first order of business as Canton’s law director, Bates Aylward said, will be meeting with office staff to review operations. She has some ideas about how best to organize the department but said she wants to lead a collaborative effort.

“I want to get their ideas about how we can improve,” Bates Aylward said.

Reach Kelly at 330-580-8323

or kelly.byer@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @kbyerREP

Go to Source

Nkonki network firms sever all links with Nkonki Inc

Cape Town – Auditing firms within the Nkonki network have passed a resolution terminating their “network agreement and affiliation with Nkonki Inc”. 

On Monday evening, a week after the auditor general announced the termination of public auditing contracts with KMPG and Nkonki Inc (Sunninghill), lawyers for Nkonki Inc announced the auditing firm would undergo voluntary liquidation. 

In a statement the Nkonki national executive said firms in Alberton, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Pretoria terminated their links to Nkonki Inc (Sunninghill) on April 19.  

The national executive appears to be worried over brand reputation damage from the Nkonki Inc liquidation. The leadership said these other network firms are separate from Nkonki Inc (Sunninghill). 

“The Nkonki network firms are firms within the Nkonki brand, but are separate legal entities to Nkonki Inc (Sunninghill office). We emphasise again that there is no cross-ownership or cross-directorship between the separate legal entities within the network,” read the statement.

“The allegations were made against Mr Mitesh Patel and Nkonki Inc (Sunninghill office) only. The allegations relate to a share transaction within the Sunninghill office.”

Law firm Nicqui Galaktiou said earlier in a statement that Nkonki Inc (Sunninghill) had no option but to voluntarily wind up after 25 years in business.

“The 180 employees including the executives, management, divisional heads and the minority shareholder … are victims who had no involvement nor knowledge in the shareholding and loan transactions, the funding thereof nor the due diligence processes that were conducted,” read the lawyers statement. 

Auditor General Kimi Makwetu’s decision last week followed the resignation of Nkonki Inc’s CEO Mitesh Patel earlier in April. Patel resigned after investigative journalism centre amaBhungane revealed in a series of articles that his R107m “management buyout” of the auditing firm was funded by Gupta associate Salim Essa through Trillian Capital.

Nkonki’s national executive said individual network firms had “no link or connection to any Gupta-linked company or person”.

“Individual network firms distance themselves from any actions by Nkonki Inc (Sunninghill office) and or Mr Patel pertaining to the allegations made against them,” it stated. 

* Sign up to Fin24’s top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER

Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. 24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

NEXT ON FIN24X

Go to Source

‘Beautiful girls are needed:’ Chinese firms under fire for sexist job ads; Lenovo not included, Tencent is (+ video)

HONG KONG – China’s biggest tech companies are promising to make changes after being named in a report detailing discrimination against women in job advertising in the country. Lenovo, which is largely based in China with one of its two headquarters in Morrisville, N.C., is not cited in the report from Human Rights Watch.

However, Tencent, a conglomerate that owns a substantial minority stake in Cary-based Epic Games, is included.

[embedded content]

“Human Rights Watch has sent letters to the [government of China’s] Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Public Security and to companies including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Huawei, Meituan, Zhilian Zhaopin, and 58.com,” the report says.

Other than Lenovo, China’s biggest tech companies are promising to make changes after being named in a report detailing discrimination against women in job advertising in the country.

Entitled “Only Men Need Apply,” the report published Monday by Human Rights Watch says that discrimination in hiring by Chinese government authorities and private companies is contributing to a widening gender gap in the world’s second largest economy.

[A photo from an ad cited in the report is included above with this post.]


Lenovo on diversity

In 2014, Lenovo provided to WRAL TechWire the following statistics about company diversity and attitude toward equality:

  • Our 54,000 employees speak more than 40 languages and live in more than 50 countries.Nearly 40% of our workforce is female; very high for the traditionally male-dominated IT industry.
  • Over 20% of our leaders are women.
  • Only about 5% of our total workforce is located in the US.  Our representation of women is at 31% and is very competitive with similar high-tech industries. Our representation of minorities is at 23%, which is also good.
  • We continue to proactively recruit, develop and retain talented women and minorities.
  • And, we have a strong culture to support all our Diversity globally. That is the Lenovo Way.

“Nearly one in five job ads for China’s 2018 national civil service called for ‘men only’ or ‘men preferred,’ while major companies like Alibaba have published recruitment ads promising applicants ‘beautiful girls’ as co-workers,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.

The group said it analyzed more than 36,000 jobs ads. Besides Alibaba, the report highlights sexist ads from other top Chinese tech firms, including Baidu, Huawei and Tencent.

Alibaba

Human Rights Watch said that its review of Alibaba’s job ads found “a troubling pattern of gender discrimination, including ads that openly state a preference for male applicants, use female employees’ appearances to attract male applicants, or highlight only males as examples of high-performing employees.”

Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, said that its recruitment policies “have clear and well-defined guidelines on providing equal opportunity regardless of gender” and that it “will conduct stricter reviews of the recruiting advertisements to ensure compliance with our policy.”

The company argued that it “exemplifies one of the best practices in our industry when it comes to gender equality,” noting that women account for one-third of its management positions.

Tencent

Human Rights Watch also called attention to posts by Tencent, which runs China’s biggest messaging app.

It cited an October 2016 social media post by Tencent promoting the company’s recruitment fairs in the United States in which an employee was quoted as saying, “The reason I joined Tencent originated from a primal impulse. It was mainly because the ladies at human resources and that interviewed me were very pretty.”

A Tencent spokesperson said the cases highlighted by Human Rights Watch “clearly do not reflect our values.”

“We have investigated these incidents and are making immediate changes,” the spokesperson said. “We are sorry they occurred and we will take swift action to ensure they do not happen again.”

Baidu

Baidu, which runs China’s biggest search engine, was criticized for several ads. They include a video posted on an official Baidu social media account in September 2016 in which a male company employee said that one of the reasons that he was “so happy every day” was because he could “go to work with beautiful girls.”

The report also mentioned a March 2017 job ad for content reviewers at Baidu that said applicants should be “men” and have “strong ability to work under pressure, able to work on weekends, holidays and night shifts.”

A Baidu spokesperson said, “We value the important work that our female employees do across the organization, and deeply regret the instances where our job postings did not align with Baidu’s values.”

The company identified and removed the offending job postings before the release of the Human Rights Watch report, the spokesperson said, describing them as “isolated instances that in no way reflect our company’s dedication to workplace equality.”

Baidu said that 45% of its employees are women and that the ratio “is also reflected in mid and senior positions.”

Huawei

According to the report, Huawei posted a message on social media promoting a job fair in 2015 that asked, “Do you want your wages to increase at a rate faster than housing prices, and to marry a fair-skinned, rich, and beautiful [woman] and enter the peak of your life?”

A December 2013 post encouraging prospective applicants to tour the company’s campus said, “No matter how beautiful the scenery [on Huawei’s campus] is, beautiful girls are needed.”

Huawei, one of the world’s biggest smartphone makers, said that it “respects gender equality and it is a company policy.”

“We will review the allegations brought to our attention in the report and also work to ensure that in all recruitment publicity material is fully sensitive of gender equality,” a spokesperson said.

Call for change

Human Rights Watch said the current legal framework in China isn’t up to the job of dealing with sexist ads.

“Although Chinese laws ban gender discrimination in hiring and gender discriminatory content in advertising, the laws lack a clear definition of what constitutes gender discrimination, and provide few effective enforcement mechanisms,” the report said. “As a result, the level of enforcement is low and Chinese authorities rarely proactively investigate companies that repeatedly violate relevant laws.”

Human Rights Watch is calling for the Chinese government to carry out a series of changes to improve the situation, including a new comprehensive employment anti-discrimination law. It’s also urging companies to “adopt and enforce company policies prohibiting all forms of gender-based discriminatory job ads.”

Go to Source

‘Beautiful girls are needed:’ Chinese firms under fire for sexist job ads

HONG KONG – China’s biggest tech companies are promising to make changes after being named in a report detailing discrimination against women in job advertising in the country. Lenovo, which is largely based in China with one of its two headquarters in Morrisville, N.C., is not cited in the report from Human Rights Watch.

However, Tencent, a conglomerate that owns a substantial minority stake in Cary-based Epic Games, is included.

[embedded content]

“Human Rights Watch has sent letters to the [government of China’s] Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Public Security and to companies including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Huawei, Meituan, Zhilian Zhaopin, and 58.com,” the report says.

Other than Lenovo, China’s biggest tech companies are promising to make changes after being named in a report detailing discrimination against women in job advertising in the country.

Entitled “Only Men Need Apply,” the report published Monday by Human Rights Watch says that discrimination in hiring by Chinese government authorities and private companies is contributing to a widening gender gap in the world’s second largest economy.

[A photo from an ad cited in the report is included above with this post.]


Lenovo on diversity

In 2014, Lenovo provided to WRAL TechWire the following statistics about company diversity and attitude toward equality:

  • Our 54,000 employees speak more than 40 languages and live in more than 50 countries.Nearly 40% of our workforce is female; very high for the traditionally male-dominated IT industry.
  • Over 20% of our leaders are women.
  • Only about 5% of our total workforce is located in the US.  Our representation of women is at 31% and is very competitive with similar high-tech industries. Our representation of minorities is at 23%, which is also good.
  • We continue to proactively recruit, develop and retain talented women and minorities.
  • And, we have a strong culture to support all our Diversity globally. That is the Lenovo Way.

“Nearly one in five job ads for China’s 2018 national civil service called for ‘men only’ or ‘men preferred,’ while major companies like Alibaba have published recruitment ads promising applicants ‘beautiful girls’ as co-workers,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.

The group said it analyzed more than 36,000 jobs ads. Besides Alibaba, the report highlights sexist ads from other top Chinese tech firms, including Baidu, Huawei and Tencent.

Alibaba

Human Rights Watch said that its review of Alibaba’s job ads found “a troubling pattern of gender discrimination, including ads that openly state a preference for male applicants, use female employees’ appearances to attract male applicants, or highlight only males as examples of high-performing employees.”

Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, said that its recruitment policies “have clear and well-defined guidelines on providing equal opportunity regardless of gender” and that it “will conduct stricter reviews of the recruiting advertisements to ensure compliance with our policy.”

The company argued that it “exemplifies one of the best practices in our industry when it comes to gender equality,” noting that women account for one-third of its management positions.

Tencent

Human Rights Watch also called attention to posts by Tencent, which runs China’s biggest messaging app.

It cited an October 2016 social media post by Tencent promoting the company’s recruitment fairs in the United States in which an employee was quoted as saying, “The reason I joined Tencent originated from a primal impulse. It was mainly because the ladies at human resources and that interviewed me were very pretty.”

A Tencent spokesperson said the cases highlighted by Human Rights Watch “clearly do not reflect our values.”

“We have investigated these incidents and are making immediate changes,” the spokesperson said. “We are sorry they occurred and we will take swift action to ensure they do not happen again.”

Baidu

Baidu, which runs China’s biggest search engine, was criticized for several ads. They include a video posted on an official Baidu social media account in September 2016 in which a male company employee said that one of the reasons that he was “so happy every day” was because he could “go to work with beautiful girls.”

The report also mentioned a March 2017 job ad for content reviewers at Baidu that said applicants should be “men” and have “strong ability to work under pressure, able to work on weekends, holidays and night shifts.”

A Baidu spokesperson said, “We value the important work that our female employees do across the organization, and deeply regret the instances where our job postings did not align with Baidu’s values.”

The company identified and removed the offending job postings before the release of the Human Rights Watch report, the spokesperson said, describing them as “isolated instances that in no way reflect our company’s dedication to workplace equality.”

Baidu said that 45% of its employees are women and that the ratio “is also reflected in mid and senior positions.”

Huawei

According to the report, Huawei posted a message on social media promoting a job fair in 2015 that asked, “Do you want your wages to increase at a rate faster than housing prices, and to marry a fair-skinned, rich, and beautiful [woman] and enter the peak of your life?”

A December 2013 post encouraging prospective applicants to tour the company’s campus said, “No matter how beautiful the scenery [on Huawei’s campus] is, beautiful girls are needed.”

Huawei, one of the world’s biggest smartphone makers, said that it “respects gender equality and it is a company policy.”

“We will review the allegations brought to our attention in the report and also work to ensure that in all recruitment publicity material is fully sensitive of gender equality,” a spokesperson said.

Call for change

Human Rights Watch said the current legal framework in China isn’t up to the job of dealing with sexist ads.

“Although Chinese laws ban gender discrimination in hiring and gender discriminatory content in advertising, the laws lack a clear definition of what constitutes gender discrimination, and provide few effective enforcement mechanisms,” the report said. “As a result, the level of enforcement is low and Chinese authorities rarely proactively investigate companies that repeatedly violate relevant laws.”

Human Rights Watch is calling for the Chinese government to carry out a series of changes to improve the situation, including a new comprehensive employment anti-discrimination law. It’s also urging companies to “adopt and enforce company policies prohibiting all forms of gender-based discriminatory job ads.”

Go to Source

Tech Firms Like Facebook, Twitter to Be `Held to Account’ by G-7

© Reuters.  Tech Firms Like Facebook, Twitter to Be `Held to Account' by G-7© Reuters. Tech Firms Like Facebook, Twitter to Be `Held to Account’ by G-7

(Bloomberg) — Group of Seven nations are searching for ways to crack down on “disinformation campaigns” that threaten democracies — and suggesting tech giants could face consequences if they don’t cooperate.

Foreign and security ministers met in Toronto this week, discussing a range of issues, including Russian interference in elections. The security ministers are scheduled to meet Tuesday with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, an industry group that includes Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:)., Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc.’s Google, Twitter Inc (NYSE:)., Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:). and others.

While the group’s focus has been on counter-terrorism, Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale suggested it could be expanded to include how governments and companies in the internet and technology sector could work together to thwart attacks against democracy. The U.S. has said Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered a hacking and disinformation campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. election, while the Cambridge Analytica scandal has raised questions about the use of social media to influence campaigns.

“This is a conversation that is just beginning in many ways but it is a very important conversation where the companies will be held to account for their behavior and their responsibilities,” Goodale told reporters during a press conference in Toronto on Monday.

‘Disinformation Campaigns’

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland declined to specify whether countries would consider new penalties for social media platforms that don’t do enough to stop efforts to destabilize democracies, whether in the G-7 or abroad.

The internet and social media have “created new vulnerabilities and new opportunities for actors that wish to pursue disinformation,” Freeland said. Ministers will “prepare some concrete ideas on how to make our democracies more resilient and indeed how to make democracies more resilient around the world.”

Any new measures will respect free speech, political dissent and freedom of expression, she said. “Even as we work to make our democracies more resilient, I think that point is very important to underscore and ministers certainly did,” Freeland said.

The Washington-based Internet Association, a group that represents big technology firms, didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

G-7 Communique

In the U.S., the Democratic National Committee has sued Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks for what it called a “brazen attack on American democracy.” The Cambridge Analytica scandal also has a Canadian link, with a Victoria-based firm alleged to be the technology behind harvesting social media data to help win elections.

U.S. legislators have proposed a bill requiring online political ads to disclose who paid for them.

Foreign ministers issued a joint communique on Monday that criticized a “pattern of irresponsible and destabilizing Russian behavior, including interference in countries’ democratic systems.” And they pledged to fight terrorism “while safeguarding the democratic character of our countries, promoting the rule of law, and upholding established national and international human rights norms and obligations.”

Security ministers will wrap up their meeting Tuesday afternoon. Goodale said Monday the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism is “very useful” and includes all major internet companies.

“The focus is what they and we can and should do together to counter terrorist use of the world wide web,” he told reporters. “When we get into those conversations, it is very obvious that there are other harms that need to be addressed as well, like child sexual exploitation, like human trafficking, and like the use of the internet for disinformation and for purposes that interfere with democracy and freedom.”

Go to Source

WhatsApp raises minimum age in Europe to 16 ahead of data law change

LONDON (Reuters) – WhatsApp, the popular messaging service owned by Facebook Inc (FB.O), is raising its minimum age from 13 to 16 in Europe to help it comply with new data privacy rules coming into force next month.

FILE PHOTO: The WhatsApp app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

WhatsApp will ask European users to confirm they are at least 16 years old when they are prompted to agree new terms of service and a privacy policy provided by a new WhatsApp Ireland Ltd entity in the next few weeks.

It is not clear how or if the age limit will be checked given the limited data requested and held by the service.

Facebook, which has a separate data policy, is taking a different approach to teens aged between 13 and 15 in order to comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law.

It is asking them to nominate a parent or guardian to give permission for them to share information on the platform, otherwise they will not see a fully personalized version of the social media platform.

But WhatsApp, which had more than 1.5 billion users in January according to Facebook, said in a blog post it was not asking for any new rights to collect personal information in the agreement it has created for the European Union.

“Our goal is simply to explain how we use and protect the limited information we have about you,” it said.

WhatsApp, founded in 2009, has come under pressure from some European governments in recent years because of its end-to-end encrypted messaging system and its plan to share more data with its parent, Facebook.

Facebook itself is under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers around the world since disclosing last month that the personal information of millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, setting off wider concerns about how it handles user data.

WhatsApp’s minimum age of use will remain 13 years in the rest of the world, in line with its parent.

GDPR is the biggest overhaul of online privacy since the birth of the internet, giving Europeans the right to know what data is stored on them and the right to have it deleted.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and some other tech firms have said they plan to give people in the United States and elsewhere the same protections and rights that Europeans will gain.

European regulators have already disrupted a move by WhatsApp to change its policies to allow it to share users’ phone numbers and other information with Facebook to help improve the product and more effectively target ads.

WhatsApp suspended the change in Europe after widespread regulatory scrutiny. It said on Tuesday it still wanted to share the data at some point.

“As we have said in the past, we want to work closer with other Facebook companies in the future and we will keep you updated as we develop our plans,” it said.

Other changes announced by WhatsApp on Tuesday include allowing users to download a report detailing the data it holds on them, such as the make and model of the device they used, their contacts and groups and any blocked numbers.

“This feature will be rolling out to all users around the world on the newest version of the app,” it said.

The blog post also points to safety tips on the service, such as the ability to block unwanted users, and delete and report spam.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Adrian Croft

Go to Source

Mulvaney to drop public complaints against firms, change CFPB name

WASHINGTON — Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney vowed to bankers on Tuesday that he would halt the agency’s actions against indirect auto dealers, stop posting consumer complaints online and change the bureau’s name.

Mulvaney, speaking to more than 1,300 bankers at an American Bankers Association conference, addressed two major areas that the industry has long argued was statutory overreach by the prior leadership at the agency.

“We are going to do what the law says, but not what the law doesn’t say,” said Mulvaney, who brought the bureau’s statutory book to point to where the agency had limitations.

Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney

“The CFPB doesn’t exist. The CFPB has never existed,” said acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney.

Bloomberg News

For example, Mulvaney cited a statute in the Dodd-Frank Act that restricted the CFPB from going after auto dealerships. The CFPB, under previous director Richard Cordray, did not cite auto dealers directly but went after a handful of major lenders that partner with dealerships, arguing the lender was responsible for unintentional discriminatory lending at the dealer.

The industry and conservatives have long argued the CFPB overreached in this area. And there are ongoing efforts by Republicans to repeal the CFPB’s 2013 guidance that warned indirect auto lenders of such enforcement. Mulvaney added that the bureau is “going to pay attention to these sorts of limitations” that restricted the CFPB from citing auto dealerships.

“We are going to look at those, we are going to follow those and we’re going to abide by those” limitations, he said.

Another area that Mulvaney plans to rein in is the CFPB’s public consumer complaint portal. The industry has argued the complaints are not fully vetted before being posted online, which can create reputational harm.

Mulvaney in March released a request for public comment on how the agency should handle its consumer complaints. Since then, he has been careful not to detail his plans, but he signaled Tuesday that he intends to make the consumer complaints private.

“I don’t see anything in here that says I have to make all of this public,” he said. “We are going to maintain the consumer database. It is mandated by law,” but “I don’t see anything in here that I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government.”

Mulvaney also said he wants to change the name of the CFPB to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, its official name in the Dodd-Frank Act that created the agency in 2010.

“I’m trying to get in the habit of now saying the ‘BCFP.’ It’s really, really hard to do that when you’ve said the CFPB for so long,” Mulvaney said at the ABA conference. “We do call it the bureau and were hoping that that sticks.”

The agency is in the early stages of this change but has gone so far as to request The Associated Press to change its name entry in the AP stylebook, according to recent media reports.

“The CFPB doesn’t exist. The CFPB has never existed,” said Mulvaney, while waving a book of the agency’s statutes. “I’m not sure who made that decision. I think I can guess; she might be in the Senate.”

Mulvaney was alluding to the bureau’s founder, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who for months has sparred with Mulvaney over his rapid changes to the agency, arguing his ultimate aim is to unwind the agency. It’s not clear who made the agency the CFPB or what that person’s rationale was. But Mulvaney saw it as significant.

“If the very first act that someone does when they’re in the bureau . . . is not follow the statute, that probably doesn’t set a good precedent for what’s going to come afterwards,” Mulvaney said.

More from this Author

Go to Source

WhatsApp Raises EU Minimum Age Ahead of New Data Privacy Law

WhatsApp, the popular messaging service owned by Facebook Inc, is raising its minimum age from 13 to 16 in Europe to help it comply with new data privacy rules coming into force next month.

WhatsApp will ask European users to confirm they are at least 16 years old when they are prompted to agree to new terms of service and a privacy policy provided by a new WhatsApp Ireland Ltd entity in the next few weeks.

It is not clear how or if the age limit will be checked given the limited data requested and held by the service.

Facebook, which has a separate data policy, is taking a different approach to teens aged between 13 and 15 in order to comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law.

It is asking them to nominate a parent or guardian to give permission for them to share information on the platform, otherwise they will not see a fully personalized version of the social media platform.

But WhatsApp, which had more than 1.5 billion users in January according to Facebook, said in a blog post it was not asking for any new rights to collect personal information in the agreement it has created for the European Union.

“Our goal is simply to explain how we use and protect the limited information we have about you,” it said.

WhatsApp, founded in 2009, has come under pressure from some European governments in recent years because of its end-to-end encrypted messaging system and its plan to share more data with its parent, Facebook.

Facebook itself is under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers around the world since disclosing last month that the personal information of millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, setting off wider concerns about how it handles user data.

WhatsApp’s minimum age of use will remain 13 years in the rest of the world, in line with its parent.

GDPR is the biggest overhaul of online privacy since the birth of the internet, giving Europeans the right to know what data is stored on them and the right to have it deleted.

Apple Inc and some other tech firms have said they plan to give people in the United States and elsewhere the same protections and rights that Europeans will gain.

European regulators have already disrupted a move by WhatsApp to change its policies to allow it to share users’ phone numbers and other information with Facebook to help improve the product and more effectively target ads.

WhatsApp suspended the change in Europe after widespread regulatory scrutiny. It said on Tuesday it still wanted to share the data at some point.

“As we have said in the past, we want to work closer with other Facebook companies in the future and we will keep you updated as we develop our plans,” it said.

Other changes announced by WhatsApp on Tuesday include allowing users to download a report detailing the data it holds on them, such as the make and model of the device they used, their contacts and groups and any blocked numbers.

“This feature will be rolling out to all users around the world on the newest version of the app,” it said.

The blog post also points to safety tips on the service, such as the ability to block unwanted users, and delete and report spam.

Go to Source

Leading London law firms relaxed about Brexit effect

More than 90 per cent of London’s 100 largest law firms think that Brexit will have no significant impact on their profitability or staffing levels.

Research by real estate business CBRE showed that 98 per cent of firms thought that Brexit would have no significant effect on employment levels while 95 per cent of firms thought it would have no significant impact on profitability.

Read more: Brexit is just one of the forces that will shape the City’s future

Seventy per cent of firms have no contingency plan in place to deal with Brexit, 16 per cent do have plans in place and 14 per cent are unsure.

Frances Warner-Lacey, senior director in CBRE’s London advisory & transaction team, said: “Overwhelmingly law firms do not think Brexit will have an impact on their business in London.

“If you took that straw poll 12-18 months ago the outcome would have been different.”

The report also showed a strong take-up of artificial intelligence (AI) technology among law firms with 48 per cent of London firms already using AI technology and 89 per cent currently using it or planning to adopt it in the future.

Read more: UK’s top 100 law firms grew by nearly eight per cent in the last quarter

Forty three to 45 per cent of firms though that increasing uptake of AI would have an impact on the number of employees at junior level, while over 30 per cent said they did not know what the impact would be.

Warner-Lacey said: “It is very difficult to formulate a future-proofed real estate strategy when you are trying to second-guess the structure of the firm going forward.”

The report showed that real estate demand among law firms was relatively weak with office take-up by the legal sector in 2017 21 per cent below the 10-year average of 592,100 square feet (sq ft), although slightly higher than in 2016.

This was despite a strong start to 2017 when magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer pre-let 255,000 sq at 100 Bishopsgate.

Go to Source