Friday, 23 February 2018

Digital Currencies Inquiry Launched

The Treasury Committee has launched a new inquiry into digital currencies and distributed ledger technology. The inquiry will cover the role of digital currencies in the UK, including the opportunities and risks that digital currencies may bring to consumers, businesses, and the Government

It will examine the potential impact of distributed ledger technology - such as blockchain - on financial institutions, including the central bank, and financial infrastructure.

It will also scrutinise the regulatory response to digital currencies from the Government, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the Bank of England, and how regulation could be balanced to provide adequate protection for consumers and businesses without stifling innovation.

Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said: "People are becoming increasingly aware of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but they may not be aware that they are currently unregulated in the UK, and that there is no protection for individual investors.

The Treasury Committee will look at the potential risks that digital currencies could generate for consumers, businesses, and Governments, including those relating to volatility, money laundering, and cyber-crime.

They will also examine the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies and the technology underpinning them, how they can create innovative opportunities, and to what extent they could disrupt the economy and replace traditional means of payment.

The distributed ledger technology that supports digital currencies is said to have significant transformative potential, not least within the financial services sector.

Striking the right balance between regulating digital currencies to provide adequate protection for consumers and businesses, whilst not stifling innovation, is crucial. As part of the inquiry, we will explore how this can be achieved."

Visa Brings CyberSource Token Management Service to Clients Globally

Visa introduces Token Management Service, a solution designed to unify management and secure customer payment data. Token Management Service enables an integrated view of payment preferences and behaviours across a merchant's commerce platforms, processing environments, geographies, payment types and card brands.

Seventy percent of the world, or more than 5 billion people, will be connected via mobile device by 2020, creating the need for merchants to provide consumers with seamless digital payments that work securely, anywhere and on any device.

"Our clients are seeking to create new integrated commerce experiences that unify their digital and physical operations to gain a comprehensive 360-degree view of their customer interactions," said Andre Machicao, senior vice president, digital merchant products, Visa. "Today's launch of Token Management Service brings merchants a vital capability to better service their customers by enabling them to embrace and create new, frictionless and secure payment experiences and maintain their competitive edge."

Former Council Worker Fined for Sharing Personal Information about Schoolchildren and Parents

A former local authority education worker who illegally shared personal information about schoolchildren and their parents has been prosecuted.

Samira Bouzkraoui, 24, took a screenshot of a council spreadsheet concerning children and their eligibility for free school meals before sending it to the estranged parent of one of the pupils via Snapchat.

The image included the names, addresses, dates of birth and National Insurance numbers of 37 pupils and their parents. She also sent a copy of a school admission record relating to another child.

The defendant was at the time employed as an apprentice in the schools admissions department of Southwark Council and had received training in data protection. She declined to answer any questions when interviewed by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Bouzkraoui, of Scovell Road, London, appeared before Westminster magistrates and admitted three offences of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing personal data, in breach of s55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. She was fined GBP 850 and was also ordered to pay GBP 713 costs.

ICO Criminal Enforcement Manager Mike Shaw said: "This is yet another example of how people whose jobs give them access to personal data can end up in serious trouble after allowing temptation to get the better of them. Parents have the right to know that their personal information, and that of their children, is being treated with respect and in accordance with the law. Anybody who ignores that right and that law has to accept the consequences."

Arm Delivers Integrated SIM Identity to Secure Next Wave of Cellular IoT Devices

Arm is launching new technologies compliant with GSMA Embedded SIM Specifications to offer secure identity in cellular IoT applications for both device makers and service providers. In combination with an on-chip security enclave for enhanced hardware security, this will allow the integration of a microcontroller unit (MCU), cellular modem and SIM identity into a single IoT system on a chip (SoC) to significantly reduce device costs.

For years, SIM cards have provided a robust, trusted and highly tested mechanism for secure identity for mobile phones and other cellular connected devices. However, traditional SIMs cannot change ownership after they are deployed in a device, and require physical access to change mobile network operator (MNO). In addition to the issue of physical handling of SIMs, cost and size are barriers to integrating this technology into smaller form factor IoT devices for large scale, cost sensitive deployments. Simplification and cost efficiency are necessary to ensure that as the IoT grows, the management of credentials is transparent and interoperable. The evolution of embedded SIM (eSIM) and more recently integrated SIM (iSIM) form factors is essential for providing secure identity to cellular IoT devices.

"Secure identity is a critical principle of Platform Security Architecture (PSA) from Arm, the first common industry framework for building secure connected devices, which we launched in late 2017. PSA is a robust system architecture covering both hardware and firmware, pulling these common security principles into a set of system requirements and interfaces. The Kigen product family adheres to the security and immutable identity principles outlined by PSA".

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