Global Roundup 360: 26th January

Bosses can now read employees’ WhatsApp messages
Companies now have the right to monitor their employees’ private communications on WhatsApp, Yahoo and other messaging services, after a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
This ruling follows the case of Bogdan Mihai Barbulescu, a Romanian engineer who was fired in 2007 after using a Yahoo account he had created to communicate with clients to message his brother and fiancée.

Last week, the court dismissed Barbulescu’s claims that his right to privacy had been breached, and judged that it was “not unreasonable that an employer would want to verify that employees were completing their professional tasks during working hours”.

As of yet, it is unclear whether this will have a blanket effect on all forms of online messaging services used during the working day, or specifically those forms of online communication that are intended for work use. However, this ruling is still significant. It comes from the ECHR, so it is binding to all countries that have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, including the UK, and concerns have been raised that it may result in a breakdown of the division between private and company correspondence.
Meg Bradbury

Terrorist attack at Pakistan university
Security forces intervenes after a bomb attack at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, north west Pakistan on January 20th left 19 people dead and more than 50 people injured. Four suspected attackers also died during the three hour assault on the institution.

There are conflicting reports regarding who is responsible for the attack. However, overwhelming opinion suggests that this is the work of the Pakistani Taliban, the same group responsible for the murder of 130 school students in Peshawar, just 30 miles from Bacha Khan University, in December 2014.

The attack was launched at approximately 09:30 local time, as militants apparently climbed over a back wall, covered by a thick layer of fog as the approximately 3,000 students were beginning classes.

Many people have drawn comparisons between this attack and the 2014 attack in Peshawar. However, the final death toll is expected to be significantly smaller than the previous attack, given the swift response from the emergency services.
Caitlin Doherty

Palin backs Trump’s presidential bid
Sarah Palin announced her endorsement of Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s presidential bid at a campaign rally in Iowa last Tuesday. The controversial former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee joined the equally provocative candidate on stage to give a glowing recommendation of Trump’s “private sector” skills in an official endorsement.

In a statement on his campaign website, Trump described the announcement as a “coveted and influential endorsement”. He expressed his respect for Palin and his pride at receiving her support, stating that: “I am greatly honoured to receive Sarah’s endorsement. She is a friend, and a high-quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support”.

Palin served as John McCain’s running mate in 2008 ahead of the Republican Party’s loss to Barack Obama – an impressive victory for the Democrats that missed the official ranking of an electoral landslide by just 1.3% of the vote.

Since then, Palin, despite retiring from politics to pursue her media career, has remained an influential conservative talking head. While she lost relevance with mainstream media outlets, in right-wing circles she has stayed a prominent figure and her endorsement could upset other Republicans vying for the nomination.
Jessica Frank-Keyes


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February 2021
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