Last updated: 
2 months 3 weeks ago
Blog Manager

One of Jisc’s activities is to monitor and, where possible, influence regulatory developments that affect us and our customer universities, colleges and schools as operators of large computer networks. Since Janet and its customer networks are classified by Ofcom as private networks, postings here are likely to concentrate on the regulation of those networks.

Postings here are, to the best of our knowledge, accurate on the date they are made, but may well become out of date or unreliable at unpredictable times thereafter. Before taking action that may have legal consequences, you should talk to your own lawyers.

NEW: To help navigate the many posts on the General Data Protection Regulation, I've classified them as most relevant to developing a GDPR compliance process, GDPR's effect on specific topics, or how the GDPR is being developed. Or you can just use my free GDPR project plan.

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The General Data Protection Regulation's Article 4(1) establishes six principles for any processing of personal data. It's interesting to compare how federated authentication – where a student authenticates to their university/college, which then provides relevant assurances to the website they want to access – performs against those principles when compared with traditional direct logins to websites.

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The European Council of Ministers have now published a proposed text for the General Data Protection Regulation. This still needs to be edited by the Commission's "lawyer-linguists" to check for inconsistencies, sort out the numbering of recitals and articles etc. But the working parties of both the Parliament and the Council have recommended that the resulting text should be adopted by the respective full bodies at meetings in the next couple of months.

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A helpful comment on page 3 of the Information Commissioner’s discussion of the latest (Council) draft of the General Data Protection Regulation:

We reiterate our view that there must be realistic alternatives to consent – for example 'legitimate interests' where the data processing is necessary to provide the goods or services that an individual has requested.

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A question that comes up from time to time when discussing federated access management is "how can I rely on another organisation to manage accounts for me?". Federation saves services the trouble of managing user accounts by instead delegating the job to an external identity provider, but it's entirely reasonable to think carefully about that. Why should any service trust someone else to manage the keys to its valuable content?

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Last week the European Commission published their proposed new Data Protection legislation. This will now be discussed and probably amended by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers before it becomes law, a process that most commentators expect to take at least two years. There's a lot in the proposal so this post will just cover the general themes.

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A recent discussion got me thinking about what might be the right number of passwords. There are plenty of references that still say you should have a different password for every service, and breaches such as Adobe’s last year show why. If you use the same password on two different websites and one of those gets compromised, either by phishing or loss and cracking of a password file, then both accounts are put at risk.

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