German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for unified European data protection laws, following the Prism scandal. In an interview, Merkel spoke strongly about the need for change, giving the clearest indication yet that the US government's spying breached German rules, saying, "I expect a clear commitment from the US government that in future they will stick to German law." Merkel proposed two methods of tightening up online data security. Firstly, she wants all Internet service providers to disclose the personal information they have collected and reveal who has access to it. "Germany will make it clear that we want Internet firms to tell us in Europe who they are giving data to," she said. She also called on other European nations, like the UK and Ireland, to adopt Europe-wide policies in regards to the issue, asking them to support stricter regulations which would clamp down on the activities of multinationals like Facebook and Google. "We have a great data protection law," said Merkel. "But if Facebook is registered in Ireland, then Irish law is valid, and therefore we need unified European rules."
Apple is investigating reports that a 23-year-old Chinese woman died from an electric shock while using an iPhone 5 smartphone. Media reports in China say that Ma Ailun, a resident of the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang, died when using the phone while it was being charged. She is said to have answered a call while the device was plugged in. Apple has issued a statement expressing condolences to the woman's family over the reported incident. It has promised to investigate and cooperate with Chinese authorities over the matter. Local police have confirmed Ma Ailun died of electrocution. There is always a slim chance of harm from using any electrical device while it is being charged, so the authorities will have to find out whether there was anything intrinsically wrong with the specific iPhone, before confirming the exact cause. Ma Ailun's family has said the phone was purchased last December and that it was still under warranty.
If you don't think that Apple is actively working on a wearable iDevice, well, you're probably wrong. Not only has the tech giant already filed for a trademark for the name, "iWatch" in Japan, but a new report from the Financial Times suggests that Apple's also looking to ramp up the number of employees working on the company's still-just-a-rumour device. According to unnamed people "familiar with Apple's plans," the company has allegedly started "aggressively" hiring new employees for the "iWatch" project over the past few weeks. While the exact make-up of the kinds of employees that Apple's looking for is unknown, it's been said – by one of the unnamed sources – that Apple has apparently encountered some engineering problems that it hasn't been able to overcome on its own. That's bad news for the nearly one-in-five people who are interested in purchasing an iWatch, as described in an April poll of 1,713 American consumers by ChangeWave. As the Financial Times reports, the hiring spree is likely to coincide with a pushback of the device's eventual release date – which many were hoping would end in a "2013." It's now more likely that Apple's wearable device will enjoy a spot on the shelves of Apple's many stores at some point in 2014, perhaps even the latter half of the year.
The extent to which the government wishes to dictate new child Internet safety functions used by the UK's four biggest ISPs has been revealed through a leaked letter. Sent by the Department of Education but including demands from Downing Street, the letter urges companies to act quickly so the Prime Minister can make a snap announcement. As a part of the requests, the government wants BT, Virgin, Sky and TalkTalk to announce that they will be forcing every household with a broadband connection to "opt-out" of installing parental filters by the end of the year. A system which meets Downing Street's criteria is soon to be trialled by TalkTalk's "browser intercept". Under the system, broadband users will be made to choose between selecting the pre-ticked option of activating parental controls, configuring their own settings, or turning filters off completely. The first demand is nothing new. However, the companies are particularly upset by the appearance that some of the requests are geared towards allowing David Cameron to announce the changes using the language of Downing Street's choice. To find out more, follow the link above.