Italy Ponders a New Role for Draghi. Let the Politicking Begin.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi is in the running to be the next president, a powerful but often-ceremonial role that could take his hand off day-to-day affairs.

#berlusconi-silvio, #democratic-party-italy, #draghi-mario, #italy, #legislatures-and-parliaments, #mattarella-sergio, #politics-and-government

The Omicron Shift in Europe: Pandemic or Endemic?

A number of governments have changed their approaches to the coronavirus to one that is more like how we treat the flu. Public health experts say it’s too soon to make that call.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #england, #epidemics, #europe, #great-britain, #italy, #politics-and-government, #spain, #world-health-organization

How the Wreck of the Costa Concordia Changed an Italian Island

Ten years ago the Costa Concordia ran aground off the Tuscan island of Giglio, killing 32 people and entwining the lives of others forever.

#costa-condordia, #cruises, #giglio-island-italy, #italy, #maritime-accidents-and-safety, #rescues

David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, Dies at 65

No cause of death was immediately available. He had been hospitalized in Italy because his immune system was not functioning normally.

#david-sassoli, #deaths-fatalities, #european-parliament, #italy, #politics-and-government

Italian Mafia Fugitive Caught In Spain Thanks to Google Maps

Investigators had tracked the man to a town in Spain, and an image found online confirmed that the police were on the right track.

#computers-and-the-internet, #fugitives, #google-street-view, #google-maps, #italy, #organized-crime, #spain

Italy Proposal to Add Female Statue to Square of Men Stirs Debate

In Padua, Italy, a proposal to include a female philosopher in a monument whose 78 sculptures are all men has spurred debate.

#cancel-culture, #cornaro-piscopia-elena-lucrezia-1646-84, #discrimination, #italy, #monuments-and-memorials-structures, #padua-italy, #prato-della-valle-padua-italy

Venice to Replace Glass on Santiago Calatrava’s Slippery Bridge

The city will replace the glass on Santiago Calatrava’s footbridge across the Grand Canal with stone after too many pedestrians fell.

#architecture, #bridges-and-tunnels, #calatrava-santiago, #italy, #venice-italy

An Italian Town Hopes Its Basketball Patron Advances to National Status

Porretta Terme, in central Italy, is passionate about basketball, and is pressing the Vatican to officially recognize its local saint as Italy’s patron of the sport.

#basketball, #francis, #italy, #madonna, #mary-mother-of-jesus

‘Bless and Protect My Team’: An Italian Town Hopes Its Basketball Patron Advances to National Status

Porretta Terme, in central Italy, is passionate about basketball, and is pressing the Vatican to officially recognize its local saint as Italy’s patron of the sport.

#basketball, #francis, #italy, #madonna, #mary-mother-of-jesus

A Janitor’s Colleagues Put Him on the Fast Track to Retirement

An Italian factory worker was dealing with a lifelong impairment that made it hard to work, but he wasn’t in a position to retire. Then his co-workers gave him 20 months’ worth of vacation days.

#graffignana-italy, #italy

Europeans Ponder Living With, Not Defeating, Covid

On the eve of the biggest holidays in Europe, exhaustion with the pandemic is rising. So is resignation that the virus is endemic.

#christmas, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #europe, #italy, #madrid-spain, #quarantines, #vaccination-and-immunization

Pope Says High Number of Domestic Violence Cases is ‘Almost Satanic’

Francis once again decried the scourge of domestic abuse, which has increased during the months of pandemic lockdown.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #domestic-violence, #francis, #italy, #roman-catholic-church

In Italy’s Alps, Traditional Medicine Flourishes, as Does Covid

The province of Bolzano has the country’s highest level of coronavirus infection and lowest vaccination rate, as many people there prefer to rely on the pure air and herbal remedies.

#alternative-and-complementary-medicine, #bolzano-italy, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #italy, #vaccination-and-immunization

Italian Bishop Gives Children Harsh News: There Is No Santa Claus

You’ve been lied to, children heard from a bishop, the latest Catholic clergyman to try to take down Santa Claus and consumerism. Many Italians were not pleased.

#christmas, #european-union, #francis, #italy, #roman-catholic-church, #santa-claus

Do You Know Where Your Sweater Came From?

Loro Piana makes some of the world’s most luxurious cashmere. Now you can trace every step of its journey from Mongolia to Madison Avenue.

#china, #fashion-and-apparel, #italy, #knitting-and-knit-goods, #loro-piana, #luxury-goods-and-services, #mongolia, #sustainable-living, #textiles, #wool-and-woolen-goods, #your-feed-fashion, #your-feed-photojournalism

Lina Wertmüller, Italian Director of Provocative Films, Dies at 93

She established an idiosyncratic reputation for blending tragedy, farce, politics and sex. She was the first woman nominated for a best director Oscar.

#academy-awards-oscars, #deaths-obituaries, #giannini-giancarlo, #italy, #movies, #seven-beauties-movie, #wertmuller-lina, #women-and-girls

Amazon fined €1.1 billion by Italy for antitrust abuse

Amazon fined €1.1 billion by Italy for antitrust abuse

Enlarge (credit: NurPhoto | Amazon)

Amazon said it would appeal a €1.1 billion fine from Italy after antitrust investigators found the online shopping giant had given unfair preference to sellers who also ship their goods through Amazon’s logistics service.

Amazon had previously tried to halt the case in Italy on the grounds that it is facing a parallel investigation in Brussels covering the same ground. Its attempt was dismissed in November by the European General Court in Luxembourg.

On Thursday, Italy’s competition regulator said Amazon had been more lenient in applying performance criteria, which can lead in extreme cases to merchants being suspended, if sellers were also paying for Amazon to ship their parcels.

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#amazon, #antitrust, #eu, #european-commission, #italy, #monopoly, #policy

On Syria’s Ruins, a Drug Empire Flourishes

Powerful associates of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, are making and selling captagon, an illegal amphetamine, creating a new narcostate on the Mediterranean.

#amphetamines, #assad-bashar-al, #assad-maher-al, #bekaa-valley-lebanon, #damascus-syria, #defense-and-military-forces, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #drug-cartels, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #greece, #hezbollah, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #italy, #jordan, #latakia-syria, #lebanon, #malaysia, #mediterranean-sea, #methamphetamines, #middle-east, #politics-and-government, #ports, #saudi-arabia, #ships-and-shipping, #smuggling, #syria-report-the, #war-and-armed-conflicts

Eitan Biran Returns to Italy From Israel in Custody Dispute

Eitan Biran, who lost his parents in a cable car crash in Italy this year, had been taken to Israel by his grandfather, who is under investigation for abduction.

#biran-eitan, #cable-cars-and-trams, #israel, #italy, #kidnapping-and-hostages

Eitan Biran Is Expected to Return to Italy

Eitan Biran, who lost his parents in a cable car crash in Italy this year, had been taken to Israel by his grandfather.

#biran-eitan, #israel, #italy, #kidnapping-and-hostages

Vesuvius Victim May Shed Light on Ancient Rome

Archaeologists found the remains of a person buried at Herculaneum in the eruption of 79 A.D., and hope that with modern technology it will yield fresh insights.

#archaeology-and-anthropology, #herculaneum-italy, #herculaneum-conservation-project, #italy, #mount-vesuvius-italy, #petrone-pier-paolo, #roman-civilization

Italy Frees Convicted Killer of U.K. Student Meredith Kercher

Rudy Guede had served 13 years of a 16-year sentence for the 2007 murder. Another student, Amanda Knox, was eventually exonerated in what became a polarizing case.

#guede-rudy-hermann, #italy, #kercher-meredith, #knox-amanda, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides

It’s Never Too Late to Pick Up Your Life and Move to Italy

Holly Herrmann vowed to move to Italy when she was 20. Her dream came true 38 years later.

#bolzano-italy, #classical-music, #italian-language, #italy, #lecce-italy, #nevertoolate2021, #orvieto-italy, #padua-italy, #retirement, #travel-and-vacations

In Central Italy, a Dance Party by the Sea

Last month at La Posta Vecchia, the hotelier Marie-Louise Sciò threw a rollicking reunion for friends and family.

#cooking-and-cookbooks, #hotels-and-travel-lodgings, #italy, #parties-social, #scio-marie-louise, #travel-and-vacations

Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated: Europe’s Covid Culture War

In pockets of Europe, vaccine resistance has become the long tail of the populist nationalist movements that shook up European politics for a decade.

#alps-mountains, #alternative-and-complementary-medicine, #alternative-for-germany, #austria, #bolzano-italy, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #disease-rates, #draghi-mario, #eastern-europe, #europe, #federal-state-relations-us, #france, #germany, #italy, #macron-emmanuel-1977, #politics-and-government, #right-wing-extremism-and-alt-right, #rumors-and-misinformation, #saxony-germany, #vaccination-and-immunization

Italian Police Break Up Drug Smuggling Ring Tied to Calabria Mob

Over 100 people were arrested in Italy as members of a mafia ring that smuggled drugs from Latin America and infiltrated businesses in southern and northern Italy.

#ndrangheta, #calabria-italy, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #italy, #organized-crime

Europe Toughens Rules for Unvaccinated as Fourth Covid Wave Swells

Austria took the hardest line yet on Monday, beginning a lockdown aimed exclusively at those who are not inoculated, part of a pattern to make life harder for resisters.

#austria, #bulgaria, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #di-maio-luigi, #disease-rates, #eastern-europe, #europe, #france, #germany, #great-britain, #greece, #italy, #johnson-boris, #latvia, #politics-and-government, #portugal, #quarantines, #romania, #rumors-and-misinformation, #russia, #schallenberg-alexander-1969, #slovenia, #spain, #ukraine, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

Wonking Out: How Global Is Inflation?

And Queen Victoria as a differential equation. 

#france, #germany, #inflation-economics, #internal-sub-only, #italy, #united-states

The Show Goes On, Even After China Tried to Shut It Down

An Italian city rejected a request from the Chinese Embassy in Rome to cancel an exhibition by Badiucao, an artist who has been described as the Chinese Banksy.

#art, #badiucao-artist, #censorship, #china, #freedom-of-speech-and-expression, #italy, #santa-giulia-museum

The Joy of Fly Fishing in Italy

Italy is not often mentioned as a fly fishing destination, but the wonder of Italian alpine fishing is now making itself known.

#dolomite-mountains-italy, #fishing-sport, #italy, #travel-and-vacations

Little Amal, a Refugee Puppet, Looks for Home

In “The Walk,” a 12-foot tall, 9-year-old Syrian girl named Amal trekked from Turkey to Britain to find her mother. In a politically divided continent, were any minds changed?

#athens-greece, #calais-france, #europe, #france, #gaziantep-turkey, #greece, #immigration-and-emigration, #italy, #lan-david, #london-england, #puppets, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #rome-italy, #syria, #theater, #turkey, #zuabi-amir-nizar

Center of Italy’s Anti-Vaccine Protests Is Now a Covid Hot Spot

After leading the resistance to the government’s new health pass, the northeastern port city of Trieste is home to a worrying spike in cases.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #disease-rates, #draghi-mario, #forza-nuova-italian-political-party, #italy, #labor-and-jobs, #league-italian-political-party, #politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization, #vaccination-proof-and-immunization-records

Eitan Biran Custody Ruling Issued by Israeli Court

Eitan Biran, the 6-year-old survivor of a cable car accident in Italy, should live there with his aunt, not his grandfather in Israel, ruled a judge in Tel Aviv.

#biran-eitan, #cable-cars-and-trams, #child-custody-and-support, #deaths-fatalities, #decisions-and-verdicts, #israel, #italy, #pavia-italy

An Italian Politician’s Quest for Attention Gets a Boost From Richard Gere

The actor may testify against Matteo Salvini, Italy’s former interior minister, in a case involving the treatment of migrants.

#draghi-mario, #europe, #gere-richard, #immigration-and-emigration, #italy, #nationalism-theory-and-philosophy, #salvini-matteo

Renato Casaro’s Posters Capture Films’ Essential Moments

Renato Casaro’s hand-drawn art has hooked movie audiences around the world since the 1950s. Tarantino and Stallone are big fans. One secret to his success? “You can’t cheat.”

#art, #casaro-renato, #content-type-personal-profile, #de-laurentiis-dino, #italy, #movies, #once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood-movie, #posters, #rambo-movie, #rome-italy, #schwarzenegger-arnold, #tarantino-quentin, #treviso-italy

Amanda Knox Was Exonerated. That Doesn’t Mean She’s Free.

Ten years after being cleared of a heinous crime, she is still trying to tell her story on her own terms.

#burleigh-nina, #content-type-personal-profile, #false-arrests-convictions-and-imprisonments, #guede-rudy-hermann, #italy, #knox-amanda, #lewinsky-monica-s, #perugia-italy, #pregnancy-and-childbirth, #puget-sound, #seattle-wash, #vashon-island-wash

Italy’s Car Museums Offer More Than Just Ferrari And Lamborghini

There’s more to see than Ferrari and Lamborghini, and three museums in the country’s automotive heartland offer a deeper look.

#alfa-romeo-automobiles, #automobiles, #fiat-chrysler-automobiles-nv, #italy, #marchionne-sergio, #museo-nazionale-dellautomobile, #museums, #pirelli-spa, #stellantis-nv

Italy Puts in Force Tough New Law Requiring Workers to Test or Vaccinate

The rollout went more or less smoothly, with only scattered protests, as the majority of citizens accepted the ‘Green Pass’ as a tolerable sacrifice to stem the Covid pandemic.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #draghi-mario, #european-union, #five-star-movement-italy, #italy, #labor-and-jobs, #macron-emmanuel-1977, #politics-and-government, #tests-medical, #vaccination-and-immunization, #vaccination-proof-and-immunization-records

Italy’s New Law Requires Workers to Get Covid Vaccine or Testing

The rollout went more or less smoothly, with only scattered protests, as the majority of citizens accepted the ‘Green Pass’ as a tolerable sacrifice to stem the Covid pandemic.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #draghi-mario, #european-union, #five-star-movement-italy, #italy, #labor-and-jobs, #macron-emmanuel-1977, #politics-and-government, #tests-medical, #vaccination-and-immunization, #vaccination-proof-and-immunization-records

Italy’s Lamont Jacobs: a Surprise Hero After Olympics Gold

Lamont Marcell Jacobs, a mixed-race Italian athlete, was not well known heading into the Olympics but he emerged as the world’s top sprinter, with two gold medals.

#content-type-personal-profile, #italy, #jacobs-marcell-1994, #olympic-games-2020, #race-and-ethnicity, #tokyo-japan, #track-and-field

Rome Mayor Loses Re-election Bid, a Defeat for Five Star Movement

In five years in office, Virginia Raggi failed to stem the dysfunction of Italy’s capital, where voters will choose between two of her rivals in a runoff.

#elections-mayors, #five-star-movement-italy, #italy, #politics-and-government, #raggi-virginia-1978, #rome-italy

Stanley Tucci’s Passion Was Acting. Now, It’s Food.

The actor’s new memoir “Taste” explains how a bout with cancer took his passion for ragù and risotto, but also Cuban-Chinese stews and minke whale, to new heights.

#books-and-literature, #cancer, #celebrities, #content-type-personal-profile, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #food, #italian-food-cuisine, #italy, #movies, #taste, #taste-my-life-through-food-book, #tucci-stanley, #writing-and-writers

War and Strife Have Come to Prosecco Country

A Croatian wine, Prosek, seeks an official designation, and Prosecco makers are up in arms. But they also can’t agree on what, exactly, should be called Prosecco.

#croatia, #italy, #prosecco-wine, #veneto-italy, #wines

Carles Puigdemont, Catalan Separatist, Dodges Spain’s Bid to Prosecute Him

After briefly holding Carles Puigdemont on a Spanish arrest warrant, Italian authorities released him and he left the country on Monday.

#catalonia-spain, #italy, #politics-and-government, #secession-and-independence-movements

Italy Frees Catalan Separatist Leader From Jail. Here’s How the Case Has Gone.

Carles Puigdemont, a former leader of Catalonia, faces trial in Spain and was detained briefly in Italy. It is not clear if he will appear when the court considers whether to return him to Spain.

#barcelona-spain, #catalonia-spain, #courts-and-the-judiciary, #decisions-and-verdicts, #europe, #european-parliament, #extradition, #fugitives, #italy, #legislatures-and-parliaments, #madrid-spain, #politics-and-government, #puigdemont-carles-1962, #sardinia-italy, #secession-and-independence-movements, #spain, #territorial-disputes, #treason-and-sedition

International Battle Over 6-Year-Old Cable-Car Survivor Goes to Court

The fate of Eitan Biran, whose parents were killed at an Italian mountain resort in May, has become an international cause pitting relatives in Israel against those in Italy.

#child-custody-and-support, #deaths-fatalities, #family-courts, #israel, #italy, #pavia-italy, #tel-aviv-israel, #university-of-pavia

Pandemic Pushes Rome to Address Housing in Sicily Slums

After a 1908 earthquake in Messina, the displaced were moved into temporary shacks. Thousands still live in squalor, but the pandemic has pushed Rome to take action at last.

#affordable-housing, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #earthquakes, #italy, #sicily-italy

In Sicily Slums, a 113-Year Wait for Housing May Be Over

After a 1908 earthquake in Messina, the displaced were moved into temporary shacks. Thousands still live in squalor, but the pandemic has pushed Rome to take action at last.

#affordable-housing, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #earthquakes, #italy, #sicily-italy

Facebook warned over ‘very small’ indicator LED on smart glasses, as EU DPAs flag privacy concerns

Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe has raised concerns about a pair of ‘smart’ Ray-Ban sunglasses the tech giant is now selling. The glasses include a face-mounted camera which can be used to take pictures and short videos with a verbal cue.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) said Friday that it’s asked the tech giant to demonstrate that an LED indicator light also mounted on the specs — which lights up when the user is taking a video — is an effective way of putting other people on notice that they are being recorded by the wearer.

Italy’s privacy watchdog, the Garante, already raised concerns about Facebook’s smart glasses — but Ireland has an outsized role as a regulator for the tech giant owing to where the company’s regional base is located.

Facebook announced what it couched as the “next step” on the road to making a pair of augmented reality ‘smart’ glasses a full year ago — saying initial specs would not include any AR but announcing a multi-year partnership luxury eyewear giant Luxottica, as it seemingly planned for a pipeline of increasingly feature-loaded ‘smart’ eyewear.

The first Facebook Ray-Ban-branded specs went on sale earlier this month — looking mostly like a standard pair of sunglasses but containing two 5 MP cameras mounted on the front that enable the user to take video of whatever they’re looking at and upload it to a new Facebook app called View. (The sunglasses also contain in-frame speakers so the user can listen to music and take phone calls.)

The specs also include a front mounted LED light which is supposed to switch on to indicate when a video is being recorded. However European regulators are concerned that what the DPC describes as a “very small” indicator is an inadequate mechanism for alerting people to the risk they are being recorded.

Facebook has not demonstrated it conducted comprehensive field testing of the device with a view to assessing the privacy risk it may pose, it added.

“While it is accepted that many devices including smart phones can record third party individuals, it is generally the case that the camera or the phone is visible as the device by which recording is happening, thereby putting those captured in the recordings on notice. With the glasses, there is a very small indicator light that comes on when recording is occurring. It has not been demonstrated to the DPC and Garante that comprehensive testing in the field was done by Facebook or Ray-Ban to ensure the indicator LED light is an effective means of giving notice,” the DPC wrote.

Facebook’s lead EU data protection regulator goes on to say it is calling on the tech giant to “confirm and demonstrate that the LED indicator light is effective for its purpose and to run an information campaign to alert the public as to how this new consumer product may give rise to less obvious recording of their images”.

Facebook has been contacted with questions.

It is not clear whether Facebook engaged with any EU privacy regulators during the design of the smart glasses.

Nor whether or when they might launch in Europe.

The specs sent on sale in the US earlier this month — costing $299. The price to Americans’ privacy is tbc.

Over the years, Facebook has delayed (or even halted) some of its product launches in Europe following regulatory concerns — including a facial tagging feature (which it later reintroduced in another form).

The launch of Facebook’s dating service in Europe was also delayed for more than nine months — and arrived with some claimed changes after an intervention by the DPC.

There are also ongoing limits on how the Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp can share data with Facebook itself in Europe, again owing to regulatory push back. Although plenty of data does still flow from WhatsApp to Facebook in the EU and — zooming out — scores of privacy complaints against the tech giant remain under investigation in the region, meaning these issues are undecided and unenforced.

Earlier this month Ireland’s DPC did announce its first decision against a Facebook company (under the EU’s GDPR)  — hitting WhatsApp with a $267 penalty related to transparency failures. However the DPC has multiple unresolved complaints against Facebook or Facebook-owned businesses still on its desk.

In January the Irish regulator also agreed to “swiftly” resolve a (pre-GDPR) 2013 complaint against Facebook’s data transfers out of the EU to the US. That decision is still pending too.

#data-protection-commission, #europe, #european-union, #eyewear, #facebook, #gadgets, #gdpr, #glasses, #ireland, #italy, #luxottica, #privacy, #ray-ban, #smartglasses, #sunglasses, #united-states, #whatsapp

Ireland probes TikTok’s handling of kids’ data and transfers to China

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has yet another ‘Big Tech’ GDPR probe to add to its pile: The regulator said yesterday it has opened two investigations into video sharing platform TikTok.

The first covers how TikTok handles children’s data, and whether it complies with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation.

The DPC also said it will examine TikTok’s transfers of personal data to China, where its parent entity is based — looking to see if the company meets requirements set out in the regulation covering personal data transfers to third countries.

TikTok was contacted for comment on the DPC’s investigation.

A spokesperson told us:

“The privacy and safety of the TikTok community, particularly our youngest members, is a top priority. We’ve implemented extensive policies and controls to safeguard user data and rely on approved methods for data being transferred from Europe, such as standard contractual clauses. We intend to fully cooperate with the DPC.”

The Irish regulator’s announcement of two “own volition” enquiries follows pressure from other EU data protection authorities and consumers protection groups which have raised concerns about how TikTok handles’ user data generally and children’s information specifically.

In Italy this January, TikTok was ordered to recheck the age of every user in the country after the data protection watchdog instigated an emergency procedure, using GDPR powers, following child safety concerns.

TikTok went on to comply with the order — removing more than half a million accounts where it could not verify the users were not children.

This year European consumer protection groups have also raised a number of child safety and privacy concerns about the platform. And, in May, EU lawmakers said they would review the company’s terms of service.

On children’s data, the GDPR sets limits on how kids’ information can be processed, putting an age cap on the ability of children to consent to their data being used. The age limit varies per EU Member State but there’s a hard cap for kids’ ability to consent at 13 years old (some EU countries set the age limit at 16).

In response to the announcement of the DPC’s enquiry, TikTok pointed to its use of age gating technology and other strategies it said it uses to detect and remove underage users from its platform.

It also flagged a number of recent changes it’s made around children’s accounts and data — such as flipping the default settings to make their accounts privacy by default and limiting their exposure to certain features that intentionally encourage interaction with other TikTok users if those users are over 16.

While on international data transfers it claims to use “approved methods”. However the picture is rather more complicated than TikTok’s statement implies. Transfers of Europeans’ data to China are complicated by there being no EU data adequacy agreement in place with China.

In TikTok’s case, that means, for any personal data transfers to China to be lawful, it needs to have additional “appropriate safeguards” in place to protect the information to the required EU standard.

When there is no adequacy arrangement in place, data controllers can, potentially, rely on mechanisms like Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) or binding corporate rules (BCRs) — and TikTok’s statement notes it uses SCCs.

But — crucially — personal data transfers out of the EU to third countries have faced significant legal uncertainty and added scrutiny since a landmark ruling by the CJEU last year which invalidated a flagship data transfer arrangement between the US and the EU and made it clear that DPAs (such as Ireland’s DPC) have a duty to step in and suspend transfers if they suspect people’s data is flowing to a third country where it might be at risk.

So while the CJEU did not invalidate mechanisms like SCCs entirely they essentially said all international transfers to third countries must be assessed on a case-by-case basis and, where a DPA has concerns, it must step in and suspend those non-secure data flows.

The CJEU ruling means just the fact of using a mechanism like SCCs doesn’t mean anything on its own re: the legality of a particular data transfer. It also amps up the pressure on EU agencies like Ireland’s DPC to be pro-active about assessing risky data flows.

Final guidance put out by the European Data Protection Board, earlier this year, provides details on the so-called ‘special measures’ that a data controller may be able to apply in order to increase the level of protection around their specific transfer so the information can be legally taken to a third country.

But these steps can include technical measures like strong encryption — and it’s not clear how a social media company like TikTok would be able to apply such a fix, given how its platform and algorithms are continuously mining users’ data to customize the content they see and in order to keep them engaged with TikTok’s ad platform.

In another recent development, China has just passed its first data protection law.

But, again, this is unlikely to change much for EU transfers. The Communist Party regime’s ongoing appropriation of personal data, through the application of sweeping digital surveillance laws, means it would be all but impossible for China to meet the EU’s stringent requirements for data adequacy. (And if the US can’t get EU adequacy it would be ‘interesting’ geopolitical optics, to put it politely, were the coveted status to be granted to China…)

One factor TikTok can take heart from is that it does likely have time on its side when it comes to the’s EU enforcement of its data protection rules.

The Irish DPC has a huge backlog of cross-border GDPR investigations into a number of tech giants.

It was only earlier this month that Irish regulator finally issued its first decision against a Facebook-owned company — announcing a $267M fine against WhatsApp for breaching GDPR transparency rules (but only doing so years after the first complaints had been lodged).

The DPC’s first decision in a cross-border GDPR case pertaining to Big Tech came at the end of last year — when it fined Twitter $550k over a data breach dating back to 2018, the year GDPR technically begun applying.

The Irish regulator still has scores of undecided cases on its desk — against tech giants including Apple and Facebook. That means that the new TikTok probes join the back of a much criticized bottleneck. And a decision on these probes isn’t likely for years.

On children’s data, TikTok may face swifter scrutiny elsewhere in Europe: The UK added some ‘gold-plaiting’ to its version of the EU GDPR in the area of children’s data — and, from this month, has said it expects platforms meet its recommended standards.

It has warned that platforms that don’t fully engage with its Age Appropriate Design Code could face penalties under the UK’s GDPR. The UK’s code has been credited with encouraging a number of recent changes by social media platforms over how they handle kids’ data and accounts.

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