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Workers rights, Privacy and Trademarks

A selection of articles from around the web

Will Brexit Britain be a bonfire of workers rights?

Since the financial crash in 2008, British businesses in have been accelerating in the race to the bottom for workers’ rights, seeking ever-cheaper labour costs through the use of zero-hours contracts and precarious self-employment arrangements. The nature of these contracts – no guarantee of hours worked or redundancy payments, no costs to employers if staff become sick or pregnant, no requirement to commit to a staff pension plan – meant that bosses could pass the risk of a drop in demand, or a rise in their costs, on to shoulders of workers rather than their own bottom line.

Yet this month’s victories for the workers at Deliveroo and Sports Direct have offered a small relief from the funeral march for the social safety net and living standards we’ve grown to expect.

All signs suggest that the growing insecurity of the labour market, which began back in 2008, will likely worsen after Article 50 is triggered. Workers’ rights to healthcare, a reliable pension and job security during their working years, values and benefits which we used to hold as sacrosanct, now are under threat of being thrown overboard in order to refloat the UK’s sinking economy.

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EU to crack down on online services such as WhatsApp over privacy

WhatsApp, Skype and other online messaging services face an EU crackdown aimed at safeguarding users’ privacy, in a move that highlights the gulf between Europe and the US in regulating the internet.

The European commission will publish a draft law on data privacy that aims to ensure instant message and internet-voice-call services face similar security and privacy rules to those governing SMS text messages, mobile calls and landline calls.

Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green MEP and prominent campaigner on data privacy, said: “It was obvious that there needs to be an adjustment to the reality of today. We see telecoms providers being replaced and those companies who seek to replace them need to be treated in the same way,” he said.

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Specsavers seeks to trademark 'should've' catchphrase

Optician group Specsavers has had its plan to trademark the use of "should've" and "shouldve" approved by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

The company uses the phrase "should've gone to Specsavers" in its adverts.

The trademark application means that other companies will not be able to use that form of words in their marketing.

Rivals have until 12 October to make objections to the claim, the IPO said.

It said that applications for trademarks on common words could be made where they were linked to a company through "use or association".

Other companies have secured trademarks on phrases used in the marketing material. McDonald's has trademarked the phrase "i'm lovin' it", while Nestle has done the same for "Have a Break" for its Kit Kat biscuits.

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