HOW CREDIT UNIONS USED STOLEN DATA TO SNOOP ON CUSTOMERS - Credit Unions hired private investigators who used illegal tactics to obtain confidential details belonging to unsuspecting customers across the country, an Irish Independent investigation has revealed.
The investigators, also known as tracing agents, have used false identities to elicit private data from a number of State bodies, including the Department of Social Protection. The information, which includes addresses and social welfare details, is then provided to credit unions in return for lucrative fees. But department officials who handed out the personal information insist that they were “duped” by the private investigators. The scandal, which is the latest to rock the credit unions, is now the subject of a major probe by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. Prosecutions are expected to follow which could result in hefty fines for the private detective firms in question. The Independent's investigation can reveal that the names of 468 credit union customers have been crosschecked by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner with the Department of Social Protection in recent months amid fears their personal information was breached.
OBAMA SWINGS INTO ACTION WITH IRISH GOLF GADGET - US president Barack Obama has started to improve his golf game using a wearable device created by an Irish tech start-up, writes the Irish Times. Mr Obama, who is on holiday in Martha’s Vineyard, was photographed last Saturday using Game Golf, a wearable device developed by Galway- and San Francisco-based Active Mind Technology. The company, founded by Galway-born John McGuire, has raised $15 million (€11.2 million) since 2010 from an array of Silicon Valley and golf heavy-hitters. Backers include golfers Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood, as well as technology investors Venture51; AME Cloud Ventures, an early-stage fund set up by Yahoo founder Jerry Yang; and Seagate Technology. Game Golf has partnered with the PGA of America and the Golf Channel to roll out its device, which was designed by Yves Béhar, the Swiss chief creative officer of fitness wearable technology company Jawbone. Mr McGuire told the newspaper from California yesterday that his product would allow Mr Obama to monitor exactly how he played his golf and to share the data with others too if he wanted. “Wearable [technology] is huge right now,” Mr McGuire said. “We’ve seen everything spike since President Obama was seen wearing our device.” Mr McGuire said Game Golf was only launched 170 days ago but already its users had uploaded 80,000 rounds of golf and six million individual golf shots.
SETANTA SPORTS FINALISING AUSTRALIA DIVISION SALE - Setanta Sports is in the final stages of selling its Australian broadcasting division to an international conglomerate owned by an affiliate of Middle East media giant, Al Jazeera, says the Irish Examiner. In a short statement, yesterday, Danu Investment Partners - which comprises Setanta’s main shareholders, Leonard Ryan, Michael O’Rourke and Mark O’Meara - said that beIN Media Group is close to completing the takeover of Setanta Sports Australia, for an undisclosed sum. beIN is a global media conglomerate operating premium sports networks across the Middle East, northern Africa, France, North America. The media group also operates in parts of the Far East and the Asia-Pacific region. It is jointly owned and operated by Qatari Sports Investments, an affiliate of Al Jazeera Media Networks. beIN Sports operates three channels in France, two in the US and an online streaming service to customers in Canada. Commenting on the takeover, beIN’s deputy ceo, Yousef Al-Obaidli, said that the company is very happy to be introducing its brand to “yet another admirable market”.
MODI PRIORITISES FACTORIES AND TOILETS IN INDEPENDENCE DAY SPEECH - Narendra Modi, Indian prime minister, has launched a drive to modernise and clean up the world’s largest democracy with the building of factories, bank networks and toilets and the abolition of the Planning Commission that has guided the economy for more than 60 years. India needed manufacturing investment and the training of its workforce, Mr Modi said. “I want to tell the world, ‘come, make in India’,” he said from the walls of the 17th-century Red Fort in Delhi in his first Independence Day speech. “We have the skills, we have the strength, we have the people.” Mr Modi, the country’s first prime minister to be born after independence from Britain in 1947, has portrayed himself as an economic moderniser and played down his reputation among liberals as a Hindu fundamentalist. He and his Bharatiya Janata party crushed the left-leaning Congress party to win the general election in May. Mr Modi’s speech was in sharp contrast to those read out by Manmohan Singh, his softly spoken Congress predecessor. Unprotected by a screen of bulletproof glass and sporting a turban of red, green and gold, Mr Modi made a lively appeal to the country’s 1.3 billion people and barely consulted his notes.