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ICO

The UK's Information Commissioner's Office has ordered Facebook to pay a penalty (it's not a fine because there has been no criminal prosecution and only the Crown, via the Criminal Courts, can levy fines) of GBP500,000. The amount will not trouble Facebook - it's less than the annual tax the company doesn't pay the UK as a result of its cross-border arrangements. But the principle should send shock waves through the raft of American companies that operate in Europe and think they can do as they please. Four letters are at the heart of the grenade that the ICO just sent across the pond: GDPR. The next fine will hurt - and it will hurt over and over again.

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Editorial Staff

The non-existent board of an imaginary company decide that they won't go to their bank for money, nor their shareholders. Instead, they will do capital raising by an Initial coin offering (ICO) and that, instead of using intermediaries, they will go it alone.

The grand-daddy of the current crop of electronic currencies is, of course, Bitcoin. In recent months, its value has appreciated exponentially until it reached more than 5,000 dollars. But it's just the most famous so-called "cryptocurrency" and now the technology is "in the wild," anyone with the necessary, apparently not very advanced, IT skills can make one. China says "enough is enough" and is taking steps to more or less outlaw cryptocurrencies or, at least, to make their use difficult. China has explained its reasoning - and it makes a huge amount of sense. The questions are whether the horse has already bolted, can access to cryptocurrencies outside China be banned and just how much use is it really for money laundering, a main plank of the Chinese objection.

On several occasions recently, our filters have picked up e-mail from a company promoting itself as "5mins" and, as is common, offering directory services. But this one is a little different. No matter what, the target is in a lose-lose situation, which is odd because on so many levels, the mail appears to be acting both properly and legally. But there is just enough that isn't right to raise suspicions - and the UK's Information Commissioner's Office, which is responsible for the implementation of the new GPDR regime and is already having a hard time handling the scaremongering that's almost as bad as Y2K.

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