shutterstock_99397655You be the judge: Coincidence or something more?

The highest court in the European Union (EU) ruled the Data Retention Directive “invalid” on the basis that it interfered with citizens’ right to privacy. Under the law, which was adopted in 2006, telecoms companies in the 28-nation EU had to retain users’ data for up to two years. The law was meant to help thwart criminal acts by making communications via landline telephone, cell phone and the Internet available to authorities upon their request.

“Furthermore, the fact that data are retained and subsequently used without the subscriber or registered user being informed is likely to generate in the persons concerned a feeling that their private lives are the subject of constant surveillance,” the Court of Justice explained in a statement.

Sound familiar? Edward Snowden, an ex-contractor for the U.S. government’s National Security Agency (NSA), last year leaked thousands of classified documents that exposed a massive domestic surveillance program.

Now, as BBC News reported, the EU is “drafting a new data protection law.”

Here are four more stories found on the beat:

Power play

Comcast continues to move forward with plans to build an unprecedented media and communications empire. The largest cable company in the U.S. wants to add wireless services to its portfolio.

According to The Information, Comcast “is considering a mobile phone service, which would rely on a combination of Wi-Fi and leased capacity on cellular networks.”

In February, Comcast announced plans to buy Time Warner Cable – the second-largest cable company in the country – for $45 billion. The potential merger has raised regulatory red flags with consumers and the government alike.

Whether Comcast’s Wi-Fi visions materialize, the possibility alone reignites a timeless debate: At what point can one company have too much market power?

Social status

You don’t need to be a social media savant to name the most popular social networks. In the interest of fun and games, though, do you know how the top six social networks rank based on frequency of mobile use (vs. desktop use) in the U.S.?

The candidates, in alphabetical order, include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter.

This chart from Statista, which attributes the findings to comScore, provides the answer. And it prompts this question: Are you effectively using social media to deliver your message?

Opportunity is knocking

Good news for the technology sector: Citing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tech job website Dice shows in this report that IT unemployment dropped to 2.7% for the first quarter – down from 3.5% at the same time last year and well below the overall 6.7% quarterly unemployment rate.

Findings from Dice’s own survey “suggest employers are working harder to retain existing tech staffers and to attract new employees.”

At no point in 2013 was the quarterly tech unemployment rate lower than 3.5%.

Stop the bleeding

Desensitized by all the data leak stories of late? Well, snap out of it. A global security threat has caused big problems – and plenty of panic.

“Heartbleed” is a software flaw in OpenSSL, which many websites use to keep consumers’ personal data safe from hackers. Multiple reports say approximately two-thirds of websites rely on the encryption technology, known for that little lock image that appears in URLs of secure sites.

“The fact that this code is on home and commercial Internet-connected devices on a global scale means that the Internet is a different place today,” Phil Lieberman, president of Los Angeles-based Lieberman Software, told the Los Angeles Times.

What can you do? Start by reading this MarketWatch post.

What’s your take? Leave a comment below.

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