Author: James Kinsella


Europe is about to rule on whether the US is data trustworthy

The EU Court of Justice has said it will decide on Tuesday, 06 October, whether Cloud data outside the EU – specifically, in the US or in the hands of US-domiciled companies – is safe. Last week, a Court of Justice Advocate General, Yves Bot, gave his unequivocal advice to the court: the US is no safe harbour for EU data.

If the Court agrees, a tidal wave could swamp US tech companies that currently rule the Cloud.

My previous blog - 

The EU Court of Justice today joined a list of others questioning whether Cloud data outside the EU – specifically, in the US or in the hands...

Picture by Shutterstock, featured on 'Safe Harbour ‘invalid’ in Europe v Facebook case — ECJ advisor' by Gordon Hunt, accessible via ''
No Safe Harbor? 23 Sep 2015
Author: James Kinsella
The storm that is about to hit the US tech industry

The EU Court of Justice today joined a list of others questioning whether Cloud data outside the EU – specifically, in the US or in the hands of US-domiciled companies – is safe. The Court of Justice Advocate General Yves Bot thinks not. His advice to the court, if heeded, could be a tidal wave swamping US tech companies that currently rule the Cloud.


On the surface, this case is about an Austrian law student, Max Schrem, taking on Master of the Universe, Facebook. Schrem contends his data, even though it is sitting on the company’s servers in Europe, is nonetheless still not safe from unwarranted US government...

51% of data is stored in the US, whilst 30% is stored in Europe!
Author: James Kinsella
Where's your data?

If your answer is, “in the Cloud,” more than likely what you really mean to say is, “my company’s and customers’ data is in the US.” Because that’s where the majority of Europeans’ data ends up, whether they know or not.

The Cloud is a powerful and money-saving tool for business.  Today, you can store, share and collaborate at a fraction of the cost and with hugely greater functionality than possible in a classic IT environment. But those savings and efficiencies have actually made many enterprises ignorant of where their data resides.

And consider this: much of a modern, Internet-connected enterprise trades in data, including their customers’...

Photo courtesy of Dado Ruvic, Reuters - appearing on 'US tech and oil companies spent the most money lobbying the EU', accessible by
Author: James Kinsella
What we lose if they win

A lobbying group that includes some of America’s leading tech and telecom companies want to edit out what they say are the nasty bits of the proposed General Data Protection Regulationbefore it becomes law. Their main gripe is with the mandates in the document aimed at keeping European citizens’ private data out of the reach of non-EU member nation states’ invasive government oversight.

Here’s what the lobbying effort is really about: ever since NSA systems admin Edward Snowden decamped to Moscow with his embarrassing digital archive detailing the US government data surveillance program, Europeans have begun to wake up to the reality of American over-reach...

Picture courtesy of Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images, featured on "Digital Privacy: Microsoft, US Justice Department Will Argue Over Whether A US Warrant Can Access Customer Data Stored Abroad" by Angelo Young, accessible at
Author: James Kinsella
It was a drug deal gone bad by Microsoft.

This story begins two years ago, when the US government thought it had a handy way of gaining evidence against an alleged drug dealer: gather up his emails. So far, so usual.

Turns out, though, that the American drug dealer had a Microsoft Hotmail account based in Ireland, sitting on Irish servers. And Microsoft, feeling the pain of Europeans questioning whether their data was safe on Microsoft’s servers ANYWHERE in the world, decided to push back.

Admittedly, Microsoft didn’t choose the most noble of cases with which to make their point. But, well, the case kind of chose Microsoft. It was a decent test of whether sovereign...

Author: James Kinsella
What the migrant crisis means for tech startups

t’s better in Europe. We started a pan-European company on this premise. And it is the singular truth that is drawing hundreds of thousands of immigrants fleeing war-ravaged regions to seek a better life in the European Union.

We all have the horrible tableau of the migrant crisis front in our minds: the bodies of Aylan and Galib Kurdi, the two Syrian boys washed ashore in Turkey.

Now we have another image, as well: the "refugeeconvoy", a line of cars driven by private Austrians and Germans to chauffeur the immigrants from Hungary to safety. I didn’t do anything to help the effort, but my heart filled with pride to see...

Author: James Kinsella

Our main software development offices are in Prague, which attracts the world’s young talent like Paris did in the 1950s and 60s. It’s a beautiful and inspiring place to work. But Czechs don’t let it go to their heads. They have some of the most self-deprecating and cheekiest humour in the world.

Here’s my most recent favorite, which I stumbled upon while stopping off for a coffee on my way to work: good King Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech Republic, floats into battle high above us on a noble steed – that appears to be dead.

The statue hangs from the ceiling of the Art Nouveau building Lucerna Palace, just meters away from a Costa...

Author: James Kinsella
Can the EU help the sweet innocents of Ashley Madison?

The internet is the greatest thing that ever happened, and it’s as risky as a communicable disease. Kind of like love, isn’t it? That’s what the estimated 40 million users of Ashley Madison must be thinking at the moment. The website’s pitch is, “Life is short. Have an affair.” And why not trust a site like that – after all, they include a banner at the bottom of the homepage that declares it is a “100% discreet service.”

But, OUCH, it turns out Ashley Madison’s 40 million users – their presumably “real” names, and presumably more verifiable mobile and credit card numbers -- have all been efficiently sucked up and now...

Author: James Kinsella
How your Facebook data just got a LOT more social

I bought underwear online recently. For days, a swarm of men’s underpants filled up the marginalia of every browser page, until I finally flushed the cache. So when Facebook asked me to give them my mobile number, well, I paused.

They said providing this information was for my own good – it made everything much more secure.

This is, literally, what Facebook says to get you to hand over your mobile number:


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