FREE Business Solutions For Remote Working


In the last month we have seen an increase in demand from clients for hosted desktops. With much of the UK being battered with multiple storms leading to widespread flooding and the increasing threat of the coronavirus impacting our lives, an increasing number of businesses have been dusting off their business continuity plans, that’s if they have one at all. Businesses are realising that their plans are not robust enough and that they need to look at remote working as a real option to ensure their people can continue to work even if they can’t access their normal office location.

Whilst COVID-19 is still at a relatively early stage in the UK, we are seeing the impact that it is having in Europe, America and Asia and the next few weeks will be critical in its management to keep its spread low. It is estimated that 20% of the workforce could be off sick at the virus’ peak, as well as significant numbers of employees being in self-isolation, looking after children during potential school closures or caring for ill relatives. Businesses recognise that doing nothing is no longer an option to ensure that they can continue to operate, albeit with lower capacity.

To help our clients ensure survival of their businesses, here are just a few reasons why a remote desktop solution or a simple Globalnet Connect account could be the remote working solutions your business needs.

Keeping Employees Safe and Well – Employers are under a duty of care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all its employees. Providing tools to help reduce travel, face-to-face meetings as well as the ability to work in a safe environment can help keep employees productive and safe.

Keeping your Business Running – If any or all of your employees need to self-isolate, provide childcare or are unable to travel they can continue to access their PC from home and continue working.

Limit Financial Impact By providing remote working solutions for your staff, you can minimise any financial impact on both your business and on your employees.

Ease of Access – With a remote desktop solution, employees can work from anywhere with an internet connection and from most devices. Over 95% of employees have access to superfast broadband from home, meaning that even if their desktop or laptop is at the office, they can access all of their applications from home. (Source: Ofcom, Connected Nations Report).


Globalnet Connect

*UPDATE* WAS £10pm, now FREE for the duration of the crisis!

Fast Set-up – This is a software based solution that allows your team to connect with their office PCs from their home PCs and can be installed relatively quickly, though the more users you have the longer it will take!

Best for Small Companies or a Fast Fix This is suitable for small businesses with fewer than 20 people or larger companies with only a few employees working from home and needing a an emergency solution.

FREE   Low Cost– With a relatively small set up fee and user licence, this is an affordable solution for small businesses or when only a few employees are away. Larger companies may find our remote hosted desktops more cost effective.

Remote Desktop Server

On-site Server – One solution is an on-site server, which can be remotely accessed by your staff working from home.

Best for Larger Companies – This is suitable for larger companies and is more robust than Globalnet Connect.

Permanent Solution Once installed, the server will function for several years and provides a permanent solution moving into the future.

Cloud Hosted Desktops

*UPDATE* First two months FREE!

Off-site – Hosted desktops together with cloud servers and storage move much of the management of desktop computers and servers into the cloud so that any disruption to business use of IT can be minimised if and when the need arises.

Ease of Access – With a hosted desktop, employees can work from anywhere with an internet connection and from most devices. Over 95% of employees have access to superfast broadband from home, meaning that even if their desktop or laptop is at the office, they can access all of their applications from home. (Source: Ofcom, Connected Nations Report).

Keeping Data Safe – Losing data can have a major impact on businesses, in fact some businesses never recover from a large loss of data. With a Globalnet hosted desktop solution we backup all your server data to an offsite location.

Lower Risk – Moving to a hosted desktop solution reduces the risk of an incident leading to a disaster for your customers. Fires, floods and power failures can mean that customer’s IT systems are completely unusable. With a hosted desktop solution from Globalnet you have peace of mind that you can be back up and running almost immediately should the worst happen.


Free Service for 2 months (if you signed up today, we wouldn’t invoice you for the service until June)

Free Set Up

Prioritised Set Up (to get you up and running ASAP)

Free Data Migration


  • Windows 8/10 Style Desktop
  • 5GB Personal Storage
  • 10GB Network Storage (per user)
  • Data Backed Up Across Multiple Sites
  • Webroot
  • 24/7 UK Based Support
  • Application Server (min. 3 users)


We understand how worrying the recent events are for our customers and we have products that suit any business, whatever size and whatever industry, so that if disaster strikes we’ll be here to get you up and running. Our team of experienced engineers is dedicated to ensuring that our service is reliable, monitored and above all secure.

Call us on 0203 005 9650 today for find out more about remote access, whatever size your business!

UK companies may lose .eu domains

The European Commission has announced that it will cancel all 300,000 domains under the .eu top-level domain that have a UK registrant, following Britain’s departure from the European Union.

The document states, “As of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organizations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names, or if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date.”

The EC had also suggested that existing .eu domains might be cancelled the moment Brexit happens in March 2019 with no right of appeal.

“As a result of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, a holder of a domain name does no longer fulfil the general eligibility criteria… the Registry for .eu will be entitled to revoke such domain name on its own initiative and without submitting the dispute to any extrajudicial settlement of conflicts.”

EURid, the company responsible for granting .eu domains has claimed on its website that it was not consulted or informed before the news was made public, “Yesterday afternoon, EURid, the registry manager of the .eu TLD, received the link to the European Commission’s communication concerning Brexit and the .eu TLD.”

It is estimated that there are 317,000 .eu domains registered in the UK – roughly 10% of all registered .eu domains. Cancelling them would have a huge impact on EURid, and on the EU which receives millions of euros every year from the registry.

There is a glimmer of hope for those in the UK that have registered .eu domains, however. The announcement states that its decree is “subject to any transitional arrangement that may be contained in a possible withdrawal agreement” – meaning that it could form part of a large Brexit agreement between the UK government and EU.

Read more about this story on The Register

Globalnet is a managed servicer provider for a wide range of businesses throughout London, Essex, Kent and Herts. Call us today to find out how we can improve your IT infrastructure and increase productivity.

Globalnet aims to be an integral part of your success, providing the best business advice, superior IT support and technology to help you reach your goals. 

Facebook Favours Free Speech Over Fake News Removal

In a recent Facebook media presentation in Manhattan, and despite the threat of social media regulation e.g. from Ofcom, Facebook said that removing fabricated posts, or fake news, would be “contrary to the basic principles of free speech”.

Fake News

The term ‘fake news’ has become synonymous with the 2016 US general election and accusations that Facebook was a platform for fake political news to be spread e.g. by Russia. Also, fake news is a term that has become synonymous with President Trump, who frequently uses the term, often (some would say) to act as a catch-all term to discredit/counter critical stories in the media.

In essence, fake news refers to deliberate misinformation or hoaxes, manipulated to resemble credible journalism and attract maximum attention, and it is spread mainly by social media. Facebook has tried to be seen to flag up and clean up obvious fake news ever since its reputation was tarnished by the election news scandals.

What About InfoWars?

The point was made to Facebook at the media presentation by a CNN reporter that the fact that InfoWars, a site having been known to have published false information and conspiracy theories, has been allowed to remain on the platform may be evidence that Facebook is not tackling fake news as well as it could.

A Matter of Perspective

To counter this and other similar accusations, Facebook has stated that it sees pages on both the left and the right side of politics distributing what they consider to be opinion or analysis but what others, from a different perspective, may call fake news.

Facebook also tweeted that banning those kinds of pages e.g. InfoWars, would be contrary to the basic principles of free speech.

A Matter of Trust

Ofcom research has suggested that people have relatively little trust in what they read in social media content anyway. The research showed that only 39% consider social media to be a trustworthy news source, compared to 63% for newspapers and 70% for TV.

Age Plays A Part

Other research from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, involving more than 7,800 responses from middle school, high school and college students in 12 US states focused on their ability to assess information sources. The results showed a shocking lack of ability to evaluate information at even as basic a level as distinguishing advertisements from articles. When you consider that many young people get their news from social media, this shows that they may be more vulnerable and receptive to fake stories, and their wide networks of friends could mean that fake stories could be quickly and widely spread among other potentially vulnerable recipients.

Although Facebook is known to have an older demographic now, many young people still use it, Facebook has tried to launch a kind of Facebook for children to attract more young users, and Facebook owns Instagram, partly as a means to try and mop up young users who leave Facebook. It could be argued, therefore, that Facebook, and other social media platforms have a responsibility to regulate some content in order to protect users.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Fake news stories are not exclusive to social media platforms as the number of retractions and apologies in newspapers over the years are a testament. The real concern has arisen about social media, and Facebook particularly, because of what appears (allegedly) to have been the ability of actors from a foreign power being able to use fake news on Facebook to actually influence the election of a President. Which party and President is in power in the US can, in turn, have a dramatic effect on businesses and markets around the world, and the opportunities that other foreign powers think they have.

Facebook is also busy fighting another crisis in trust that has arisen from news of its sharing of users’ personal data with Cambridge Analytica, and the company is focusing much of its PR effort not on talking specifically about fake news, but about how Facebook has changed, why we should trust it again, and how much it cares about our privacy.

Meanwhile in the UK, Ofcom chief executive Sharon White, has clearly stated that she believes that media platforms need to be “more accountable” in their policing of content. While this may be understandable, many rights and privacy campaigners would not like the idea that free speech could be influenced and curbed by governments, perhaps to suit their own agenda. The arguments continue. 

Globalnet is a managed servicer provider for a wide range of businesses throughout London, Essex, Kent and Herts. Call us today to find out how we can improve your IT infrastructure and increase productivity.

Globalnet aims to be an integral part of your success, providing the best business advice, superior IT support and technology to help you reach your goals. 

Misleading Broadband Adverts

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has been criticised by CityFibre for a lack of regulation of the use of the term “fibre” in broadband adverts, which has meant that some consumers may have been misled.

Findings of CityFibre Research

The findings of the research, commissioned by network provider CityFibre, appear to show that customers may be confused about the fibre aspect of the broadband service they have.

For example, of the 3,400 broadband customers surveyed, 65% believed that they had already upgraded to a fibre connection and they were no longer on slower copper cables, even though copper is still the most common broadband connection type in the UK.

Also, 24% of the broadband customers surveyed by CityFibre believed they purchased services that used fibre cables running straight to their front door or FTTP (Fibre To The Premises). The reality, however, is that only 3% of the UK population have FTTP connections, as opposed to FFTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) connections, which go to a cabinet in the street, then by copper to the property. Virgin Media offers a slightly different model, using coaxial cable for improved speed between cabinet and premises.

The problem with this, apart from the fact that the UK is still lagging behind in fibre broadband provision, is that almost half of those customers surveyed believed that services advertised as ‘fibre’ delivered internet in this way as standard.

Broadband Providers & ASA To Blame

The report by CityFibre lays the blame for years of apparently misleading advertising information about what “fibre” actually means at the door of broadband providers for how they have used the word in their adverts, and the ASA for appearing to not regulate how the word has been used.

Stop Using The Word Unless…

CityFibre has called upon broadband providers to stop using the word ‘fibre’ unless it is describing a full-fibre connection, and has stated that it plans to take the “backward looking” ASA to court to dispute the ASA’s conclusion that ‘fibre’ is not a misleading term in advertising.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Many critics would say that years of misleading advertising of broadband speeds, as well as spurious use of the word ‘fibre’ without explaining what it really means, have left many domestic and business customers totally confused about what they are paying for. This has undermined trust in the industry.

The sad prevailing fact for UK businesses is that, according to a recent survey, the UK is now at 35th place in the global average broadband speed league tables. This is because it has been too late in embracing a full-fibre solution – FTTP (fibre to the premises). Many critics have pointed to UK infrastructure provider Openreach shying away from FTTP because of the perceived costs and level of difficulty of large-scale rollouts.

All this means that UK businesses still have to rely on the slower FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) alternative, which uses copper wires to carry broadband from street cabinets to their premises. This has put UK businesses at a competitive disadvantage with businesses in many other European countries.

Regardless of advertising claims, and despite government plans and announcements, it looks as though the UK may only actually have 7% full fibre coverage by 2020, with full coverage unlikely for another 15 years.

Globalnet is a managed servicer provider for a wide range of businesses throughout London, Essex, Kent and Herts. Call us on 0203 005 9650 today to find out how we can improve your IT infrastructure and increase productivity.


New System Detects & Warns Of Mobile Phone Use in Cars

Norfolk-based company Westcotec is piloting new technology that can detect whether a handheld mobile phone is in use in a passing vehicle, and then warn the occupants of the vehicle.


In a UK first, the pilot scheme, which is taking place in four locations in Norfolk, uses a directional antenna, with a detector that picks up radio waves emitted from a mobile phone handset. The system measures the signal strength and length of activation of the signal, and if a signal is detected of a duration and signal strength sufficient to activate the system, the detector triggers a warning sign at the roadside.

Driver or Passenger?

Although the technology is advanced, one thing it can’t do yet is to tell the difference between the phone signal from a driver or a passenger in a vehicle. It also doesn’t record any video footage.

The system has also been designed to know whether a phone is being used hands-free or via a vehicle’s Bluetooth system (and if Bluetooth is being used it will not trigger the warning sign).


The system is designed to improve safety on UK roads by acting as a reminder to drivers. Driving while using a handheld mobile phone has been illegal in the UK since December 2003. The results of an RAC survey last year, however, show that 31% of motorists said that they had used a handheld mobile phone while driving. This was an increase on the 8% of those recorded in a survey 2 years previously as still using a handheld mobile phone while driving.

Unaware of Tougher Laws

Another RAC poll found that almost two-thirds of drivers are unaware of the punishment for using mobile phones at the wheel, even though it has been more than 12 months since the introduction of much tougher laws.

The poll showed that only 36% of the 2,000 UK motorists questioned knew that offenders face six penalty points and a £200 fine, and 41% believed more visible law enforcement is needed.

Drivers who receive a ban for offences now have to retake both the theory and practical parts of their driving test to get back on the road.

Prosecution Risk

Under the current UK law, picking up your phone while driving, even if stopped in traffic or at lights, will get you at least six points. If drivers are involved in a collision e.g. as a result of using a handheld device, they could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention, which carries even greater penalties. If someone is killed in such a collision, the driver could be prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving.

New Distractions

Many of the newer communication platforms and devices that could cause distractions in the car have made the news in recent years, such as iPhones (and Facetime), and the new Apple watch.

For example, back in January 2017, a family in Texas sued Apple because they believed that a driver who was allegedly distracted by a FaceTime call on his iPhone while at the wheel was the reason for a road accident which resulted in the death of their five-year-old daughter.

Also, in Canada in June this year, an Apple smartwatch was classified by a court as being the same kind of distraction as a mobile phone as a student was handed a fine for being observed looking at her Apple watch while waiting at traffic lights.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Considering the results of the RAC surveys some 15 years after the ban on handheld mobile phone use while driving, and a year after the doubling of penalties for being caught, it is clear that using technology to provide a friendly reminder to drivers can’t do any harm, and may even contribute to road safety.

If you and your employees drive to and from work and as part of your work it is essential that a hands-free device is used for any calls, or that calls are only made or received when your vehicle is safely parked. Even checking texts is constitutes a distraction.

The results of not heeding the law on this matter are not just the terrible human consequences, but also the potential damage to your business through driving penalties and reputational damage from the local publicity.

Globalnet is a managed servicer provider for a wide range of businesses throughout London, Essex, Kent and Herts. Call us on 0203 005 9650 today to find out how we can improve your IT infrastructure and increase productivity.

UK Slips To 35th Place In Global Broadband Speed Table

A recent comparison of 163 million broadband speed tests across 200 countries shows that the UK has slipped from 31st to 35th place in the global average broadband speed league tables.

Speed Lagging In Europe

This latest result means that, even though average broadband speeds in the UK have risen in the past year and, at 18.5Mbps, are above the global average, the UK is now lagging behind 25 other European countries.

Although the UK’s broadband ranking is now actually above 165 other countries, it is still in the bottom third of EU member states.

Top Speed

Globally, Singapore tops the average broadband speed table with 60 Mbps. In Europe, the Scandinavian countries are top of the broadband league with Sweden at 46Mbps, Denmark at 43.9Mbps, and Norway at 40.1Mbps.

To give some idea of the gulf between broadband speeds at the top and bottom of the table, the lowest average broadband speeds can be found in Yemen (0.3Mbps), East Timor (0.49Mbps), and Turkmenistan (0.56Mbps).

Why The UK Fall In The Broadband Rankings?

It is widely believed that the UK is starting to drop further behind many of its European neighbours in average broadband speeds because it has been too late in embracing a full-fibre solution – FTTP (fibre to the premises). Many critics have pointed to UK broadband infrastructure provider Openreach shying away from FTTP because of the perceived costs and level of difficulty of large-scale rollouts.

At present, many UK homes and businesses, therefore, have to rely on the slower FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) alternative, which uses copper wires to carry broadband from street cabinets to homes.


Back in November 2016, partly because of its slowness to move to super-fast broadband but mainly because of a perceived monopoly, BT-owned Openreach was ordered by Ofcom to become a legally separate entity.


As well as Openreach’s competitors such as Hyperoptic moving forward with plans to offer FTTP to 2 million urban premises by 2022, the UK government has also recently updated its plans to bring FTTC to the UK. For example, the UK government’s National Infrastructure Commission (Nic) is now pushing for FTTC to be deployed around the UK by 2033, and hopefully, to be available to 15 million homes by 2025.

At the end of last year, the UK government announced that six regions of the UK would host trials of full fibre broadband for businesses, schools and hospitals as part of a £200m scheme by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). The regions are Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, West Sussex, Coventry and Warwickshire, Bristol and Bath & North East Somerset, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

This latest drop down the table of average broadband speeds is bad news, but not a surprise for UK businesses. Broadband is now an essential service for business, and businesses know from their own experience that broadband services in the UK can sometimes be slow, patchy, and often expensive. A recent survey by watchdog ‘Which?’, for example, revealed that more than half of UK customers across 12 providers, are having problems with their broadband service or price.

At the moment, better broadband services, particularly for businesses in rural locations, still seem a very long way off as the reality is that the UK ranks only 35th in the world for average broadband speeds, and we may only actually have 7% full fibre coverage by 2020, with full coverage unlikely for another 15 years. This could affect the competitiveness of UK companies compared to their European neighbours and other global competitors for a long time to come.

Globalnet is a managed servicer provider for a wide range of businesses throughout London, Essex, Kent and Herts. Call us on 0203 005 9650 today to find out how we can improve your IT infrastructure and increase productivity.

Globalnet aims to be an integral part of your success, providing the best business advice, superior IT support and technology to help you reach your goals. Find out how we can improve your broadband speed.

GDPR Exemption Sought by Financial Markets

It has been reported that financial market regulators from the US, the UK and Asia are pressing for an exemption from GDPR.

Growing Calls For GDPR Exemption

Even though GDPR only came into force a little over a month ago (May 25th), financial regulators from several countries, most notably the US, have been pressing over several years for an exemption to be built-in, and have hosted multiple meetings about the matter on both sides of the Atlantic.

What’s The Problem?

Before GDPR, financial regulators could use their exemption to share vital information e.g. bank and trading account data, to advance misconduct probes. Now that GDPR is in force, regulators are, therefore, arguing that no exemption means that international probes and enforcement actions in cases involving market manipulation and fraud could be hampered.

Regulators say that they are particularly concerned about the effects on U.S. investigations into crypto-currency fraud and market manipulation (for which many actors are based overseas) could be at risk. Without an exemption, regulators say that cross-border information sharing could be challenged because some countries’ privacy safeguards now fall short of those now offered by the EU under GDPR.

Seeking An “Administrative Arrangement”

The form of exemption that regulators are reported to be seeking is a formal “administrative arrangement” with the Brussels-based European Data Protection Board (EDPB), headed by Andrea Jelinek. The written arrangement would clarify if and how the public interest exemption can be applied to their cross-border information sharing.

Which Regulators?

Reports indicate that the regulators involved in discussions about getting an exemption include the EU’s European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), the Japan Financial Services Agency (FSA), Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

Why Not?

The worry from the EDPB is that granting exemptions could lead to the illegitimate circumventing and watering down of the new GDPR privacy safeguards, now among the toughest in the world. This, in turn, could lead to the harming EU citizens which is exactly the opposite of the reason for the introduction of GDPR.

The matter has, however, been complicated by the fact that regulators’ slow response to the 2007-2009 global financial crisis was partly blamed on poor cross-border coordination, which has since been improved, and better information sharing after the crisis is reported to have lead to billions of dollars in fines for banks e.g. for trying to rig Libor interest rate benchmarks.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

A financial crisis (e.g. involving bad behaviour by banks) can create serious knock-on costs and problems for businesses worldwide, and it is, therefore, possible to see why financial regulators feel they need an exemption so that they can continue to share information which will ultimately be in the interest of business and the public. It is likely, therefore, that discussions will continue for some time yet to try to find a way to grant exemptions in certain circumstances.

The contrary view is that granting exemptions will water down legislation that was designed to offer stronger protection to us all, potentially putting EU citizens at risk, and allowing organisations that we can’t effectively monitor to simply circumvent the new law and behave how they like. This could undermine the privacy and rights of EU citizens.


Globalnet aims to be an integral part of your success, providing the best business advice, superior IT support and technology to help you reach your goals. 

Privacy Calls to Stop Storage of Personal Communications Data

Privacy groups have led calls to halt the blanket collection and storage of personal communications data in the EU area, and the creation and storage of the “audio signatures” of 5.1 million people by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Collection of Personal Communications Data

The privacy groups Privacy International, Liberty, and Open Rights Group, have filed complaints to the European Commission which call for EU governments to stop making companies collect and store all communications data. Their complaints have also been echoed by dozens of community groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and academics.

What’s The Problem?

The main complaint is that communications companies in EU states indiscriminately collect and retain all of our communications data. This includes the details of all calls, texts and so forth (i.e. who with, dates, times etc).

The privacy groups and their supporters argue that not only does this amount to a form of intrusive surveillance, but that the practice was actually ruled unlawful by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in two judgments in 2014 and 2016.

Privacy groups have expressed concern that some companies in some EU states have tried to circumvent the CJEU judgements, and the CJEU have clearly stated that general and indiscriminate retention of communications data is disproportionate and can’t be justified.

In the UK, for example, the intelligence agencies collect details of thousands of calls daily, but under the CJEU judgements, this amounts to breaking the law.

HMRC Collecting Recordings of Voices

Perhaps even more shocking is the news this week that, according to privacy group Big Brother Watch, the UK HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has a Voice ID system that has collected 5.1 million audio signatures.

The accusation is that HMRC is creating biometric ID cards or voiceprints by the back door. These voiceprints could conceivably be used by government agencies to identify UK citizens across other areas of their private lives.

Big Brother Watch has also expressed concern that customers are not given the choice to opt out of the use of this system.

Helpful and Secure

HMRC, which launched the Voice ID scheme last year, asks callers to repeat the phrase “my voice is my password” to register and access their tax details, and says that the system has been very popular with customers. HMRC has also said that the 5 million+ voice recordings that it already has are stored securely.

Privacy campaigners are calling for the deletion of the voiceprints that are currently stored, and for a different system to be implemented, or to at least allow customers to opt out of Voice ID and to be able to use an alternative method.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Businesses may be very aware, after having to adjust their own systems to be compliant to the recently introduced GDPR, that all EU citizens should now have more rights about what happens to their personal data. The term ‘personal data’ in the GDPR sense now covers things like our images on CCTV footage, and should, therefore, cover recordings of our personal conversations and biometric data such as recordings of our voices / voice prints / audio signatures.

While we may accept that there are arguments for monitoring our communications data e.g. fighting terrorism, many people clearly feel that the blanket collection of all communications data, not just that of suspects, is a step too far, is an invasion of privacy, and has echoes of ‘big brother’.

Biometrics e.g. using a fingerprint / face-print to access a phone or as part of security to access a bank account is now becoming more commonplace, and can be a helpful, more secure way of validating / authenticating access. Again, images of our faces, fingerprints, and our audio signatures (in the case of HMRC) are our personal data, and it is right that we would want them to be secure, and as with GDPR, that they are only used for the one purpose that we have given consent for, and not to be passed secretly among states and unknown agencies. Also, the ideas that we can opt in or opt out of systems, and are given a choice of which system we use i.e. not being forced to submit a voice recording, is an important issue, and one that many thought GDPR would address.

As more and more biometric systems come into use in the future, legislation will, no doubt, need to be updated again to take account of the changes.


Globalnet aims to be an integral part of your success, providing the best business advice, superior IT support and technology to help you reach your goals. 

Trump’s Tariffs For Tech Firms With China Links

While Apple Inc has had good news that it will not face traded tariffs on its iPhones assembled in China, Intel Corp may need to shift its assembly work away from China to avoid a big revenue hit.

What Tariffs?

President Donald Trump’s administration’s focus on putting America first, its accusations that China has been unfairly benefiting from a trade imbalance with the US for years, and its plans to impose 25% tariffs on $50bn worth of Chinese goods (with the threat of an additional $200bn / £151bn of tariffs) have caused many companies that have a Chinese link in their production chain to fear being hit with tariffs along the way.

Apple Told Its OK

Tech giant Apple Inc, for example, has its iPhones assembled in China, and has, therefore, feared for some time that its phones would be hit by tariffs when being brought back into the US after assembly. This would, of course, mean a potentially large increase in costs, and possibly the need to re-organise production.

It has been reported, however, that Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook travelled to the White House last month, and was reassured by Mr Trump that US government would not levy tariffs on iPhones assembled in China.

Intel Not So Lucky

Unfortunately for chip maker Intel Corp the news has not been so good. Although chips were not a main target in the initial list of targeted goods released in April, U.S. trade officials have released a new tariff list of 284 products worth $16 billion that includes the processor and memory chips that are the ‘core’ of Intel’s business.

If there is no revision or change of heart by the US government over this new list, Intel may need to seriously consider shifting its production strategies to avoid putting its $12.5 billion revenue from the United States that is at risk. This could mean that, rather than sending chips to China for low-level assembly work and then bringing them back to be put into devices manufactured in the United States (which would attract a tariff), Intel may need to spread all aspects of production and assembly among its US and other tariff-safe plants.

Also, many of Intel’s customers, large computer brands or contract manufacturers who work Intel’s behalf are legally based in China because that is where most electronics are built. A tariff trade war with China would, therefore, be bad news for Intel, which made $14.8 billion from China revenue in 2017.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The tariff-based trade war that seems to be escalating between the US and this has fuelled fears that there could be a significant negative impact on the U.S. technology sector. When news of the tariffs on chips was announced, investor concerns meant that Intel shares dropped 3.4 percent to $53.22. Economists have noted that this kind of tariff war could mean that US consumers will have to pay higher prices for technology products, and this could actually hurt some of the businesses that Mr Trump’s administration says that it is trying to protect.

EU countries have also been hit with US tariffs on steel and aluminium, and have responded by producing a 10-page list of tariffs on US goods as part of a ‘re-balancing action’.

Appeal Dismissed After Asylum Seeker Data Breach

An appeal by the UK Home Office to limit the number of potential claimants from a 2013 data breach has been dismissed on the grounds that an accidentally uploaded spreadsheet exposed the confidential information and personal data of asylum applicants and their family members.

What Happened?

Back in 2013, the Home Office is reported to have uploaded a spreadsheet to their website. The spreadsheet should have simply contained general statistics about the system by which children who have no legal right to remain in the UK are returned to their country of origin (known as ‘the family returns process’).

Unfortunately, this spreadsheet also contained a link to a different downloadable spreadsheet that displayed the actual names of 1,598 lead applicants for asylum or leave to remain. It also contained personal details such as the applicants’ ages, nationality, the stage they had reached in the process and the office that dealt with their case. This information could also potentially be used to infer where they lived.

The spreadsheet is reported to have been available online for almost two weeks during which time the page containing the link was accessed from 22 different IP addresses and the spreadsheet was downloaded at least once. The spreadsheet was also republished to a US website, and from there it was accessed 86 times during a period of almost one month before it was finally taken down.

For those claiming asylum e.g. because of persecution in the home country that they had escaped from, this was clearly a very distressing and worrying situation.


In the court case that followed in June 2016, the Home Office was ordered to pay six claimants a combined total of £39,500 for the misuse of private information and breaches of the Data Protection Act (“DPA”). The defendants conceded that their actions amounted to a misuse of private information (“MPI”) and breaches of the DPA.

The Home Office did, however, lodge an appeal in an apparent attempt to limit the number of other potential claims for damages.

Appeal Dismissed

The appeal by the Home Office was dismissed by the three Appeal Court judges, and meant that both the named applicants and their wives (if proof of ‘distress’ could be shown) could sue for both the common law and statutory torts. This was because the judges said that the processing of data in the name of claimant about his family members was just as much the processing of their personal data as his, therefore, meaning that their personal and confidential information had also been misused.

Not The First Time

The Home Office appears to have been the subject similar incidents in the past. For example, back in January the Home Office paid £15,500 in compensation after admitting handing over sensitive information about an asylum seeker to the government of his Middle East home country, thereby possibly endangering his life and that of his family.

The handling of the ‘Windrush’ cases, which has recently made the headlines, has also raised questions about the quality of decision-making and the processes in place when it comes to matters of immigration.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

In this case, it is possible that those individuals whose personal details were exposed would have experienced distress, and that the safety of them and their families could have been compromised as well as their privacy. This story indicates the importance of organisations and businesses being able to correctly and securely handle the personal data of service users, clients and other stakeholders. This is particularly relevant since the introduction of GDPR.

It is tempting to say that this case illustrates that no organisation is above the law when it comes to data protection. However, it was announced in April that the Home Office will be granted data protection exemptions via a new data protection bill. The exemptions could deprive applicants of a reliable means of obtaining files about themselves from the department through ‘subject access requests’. It has also been claimed that the new bill will mean that data could be shared secretly between public services, such as the NHS, and the Home Office, more easily. Some critics have said that the bill effectively exempts immigration matters from data protection. If this is so, it goes against the principles of accountability and transparency that GDPR is based upon. It remains to be seen how this bill will progress and be challenged.