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Kelly Fiveash

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Mr Almunia, how many more times can Google rewrite Euro search 'dominance' settlement

On 30 November 2014, the European Commission will have been probing Google's search business practices for a whopping four years. Formal proceedings were opened against the ad giant in late 2010. The date is significant, given that by then we should also know who will replace antitrust boss Joaquin Almunia in Brussels. As the …
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Jul 2014

STILL no move by Brit data cops over Google's 2012 privacy slurp

Britain's data cops are still investigating Google's sneaky privacy policy tweak from last year, even though many of its counterparts elsewhere in Europe have already taken action against the advertising giant. On Monday, Italy's regulator warned Google that it had 18 months to comply with the Rome's demands or else face fines …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 Jul 2014

Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them

Consumer takeup of network-level filters offered by the UK's biggest ISPs remains sluggish, with customers largely declining to censor internet content on their home connections even when prompted, an Ofcom report revealed today. The regulator found (PDF) that very few subscribers opt to turn on so-called parental controls. The …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 Jul 2014

Lawyer reviewing terror laws and special powers: Definition of 'terrorism' is too broad

The definition of terrorism in current UK law is too broad and should be narrowed to avoid "catching" journalists, bloggers and hate criminals, a top lawyer said today. David Anderson QC, who is Britain's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, argued during an interview on the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme this morning …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 Jul 2014

You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary

A UK government-backed scheme to curtail the widespread use of pirated copies of music, television and film has officially been launched and - as expected - comes without any harsh penalties being threatened against persistent offenders. Instead, millions of pounds of taxpayers' money has been chucked at an education programme …
Kelly Fiveash, 21 Jul 2014

BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled

The BBC is scrambling to fix what appears to be a number of severe technical glitches on its network, after its website and catch-up TV service were hit by a major outage at the weekend. At the time of writing, Auntie was still carrying a "simplified version" of its BBC website on its homepage. The Corporation said: "We are …
Kelly Fiveash, 21 Jul 2014

EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'

EU countries appear to be divided on how to implement a recent European Court of Justice ruling that calls on Google and other search engines to remove certain links from their indexes. The 28-state bloc's independent data protection advisory board - the Article 29 working party - met on Tuesday to discuss how removal requests …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Jul 2014
self-service checkout

Facebook in new 'experiment' drama: Will users buy it?

Facebook is dipping a toe into the e-commerce market to test an Amazon-style "Buy now" button on the adverts it serves. The social network is initially rolling out the feature to a select number of small and medium-sized businesses in the US. The button will appear on the website and in its mobile app. It's not only about …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Jul 2014
Credit: Sony/Eon/MGM

UK.gov's data grab and stab law IMMINENT as Drip drips through House of Lords

A controversial data retention and investigatory powers bill (Drip) that has been quickly shoved through Parliament by the Tory-led Coalition government looks set to become law after peers in the House of Lords waved it through without challenge. The bill's passage followed less than two days of debate in the upper chamber, …
Kelly Fiveash, 17 Jul 2014

FORGOTTEN Bing responds to search index ECJ ruling: Hello? Remember us?

Microsoft's neglected search engine Bing - which commands a tiny 2.5 per cent share in the European Union, where Google dominates the market - has finally created a mechanism for netizens to submit requests to have certain links removed from its index. It comes after a recent European Court of Justice ruling required search …
Kelly Fiveash, 17 Jul 2014
Doctor Who: Empty Child

British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles

Hundreds of suspected paedophiles have been arrested by UK police following a six-month-long operation. The majority of cases have yet to carry charges, the National Crime Agency said. The charge sheet so far ranges from possessing indecent images of children to serious sexual assault. The NCA added it had manacled 660 people …
Kelly Fiveash, 16 Jul 2014
Homer Simpson reading on a tablet

UK data watchdog broke data law, says UK data watchdog

Britain's data cops have coughed to a serious security screw-up at the Information Commissioner's Office, and concluded that the ICO - only mildly - violated the Data Protection Act that it is supposed to police. It carried out an internal probe into what the ICO passively described as a "non-trivial security incident" that …
Kelly Fiveash, 16 Jul 2014
Screenshot from Doctor Who serial "The Face of Evil"

MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws

MPs rubber-stamped the government's fast-tracked Data Retention and Investigatory Powers bill (Drip) in Parliament late last night. Only 49 politicos opposed it, while 436 MPs approved the planned law, which the Tory-led Coalition has said was needed to "plug the holes" in its legislation. Home Secretary Theresa May has said …
Kelly Fiveash, 16 Jul 2014

UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill

Britain's politicians waved through a motion today in which they agreed that the Home Secretary Theresa May's "emergency" Data Retention and Investigatory Powers bill should be swiftly pushed through Parliament. Only 49 MPs voted against the motion, while 436 politicos rubber-stamped Drip's hastily cobbled together timetable. A …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Jul 2014
Monty Python Norwegian Blue dead parrot sketch

Google's Pankhurst doodle doo-doo shows the perils of using Google to find stuff out

Google appears to have relied on, er, crowd-sourced facts from Wikipedia for its latest Doodle, which celebrates the 156th birthday of British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. The vast advertising firm suggests in its sketch that the women's rights' campaigner was born on 15 July 1858. Googling "Emmeline Pankhurst" will also get …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Jul 2014

BT: Whew, we've been cleared of major privacy breach. Oh SNAP, another webmail blunder

BT has been cleared of a serious data protection violation by the UK's privacy watchdog, The Register has learned. A probe into the one-time national telco's webmail system was carried out by the Information Commissioner's Office after a whistleblower exposed evidence that appeared to show BT's customer email accounts were being …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Jul 2014

May: UK data slurp law is fine, but I still need EMERGENCY powers

Home Secretary Theresa May was in combative mode during a hearing with politicians on Monday afternoon as the government's rushed through data retention and investigation powers bill (Drip) was briefly scrutinised. May, pressed by Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert as to why the Tory-led coalition had insisted late last week …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jul 2014
Rolex in Live and Let Die

ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

The Tory-led government's "emergency" data retention and investigation powers (Drip) bill currently being rushed through Parliament has caught ISPs off guard, it has emerged. The Register understands that telcos were only gently briefed on the plans ahead of last week's announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron. An industry …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jul 2014
slow_sign

UK.gov warned: Small biz bods 'blunted' by broadband bumbling

Small businesses in Britain are missing out on the government's £1.2bn taxpayer-funded broadband deployment project, a lobby group warned today. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) complained in a report titled The fourth utility (PDF) published this morning that 45,000 companies in the UK remained stuck using dial-up …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jul 2014

UK's emergency data slurp: IT giants panicked over 'legal uncertainty'

The UK government secured the backing of the country's main political parties today to rush an emergency Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill (DRIP) through Parliament just seven days before MPs break for summer recess. It comes after communications providers and telcos who operate in Britain but have headquarters based …
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Jul 2014

UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention

Emergency law is expected within days to be pushed through Parliament that will force ISPs to retain customer data to allow spooks to continue to spy on Brits' internet and telephone activity, after existing powers were recently ruled invalid by the European Union's highest court. The planned legislation crucially has cross- …
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Jul 2014

Yelp files competition complaint against Google search biz in EU

Local services review site Yelp has formally submitted a complaint against Google's search business to Brussels' competition officials. It comes as the European Commission's antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia pushes to bring an end to a lengthy probe of the ad giant by sealing a proposed settlement deal with Google, even as …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Jul 2014

BT slapped down by BSkyB over O2 broadband 'switch off' porkies

A BT direct mail advertising campaign spectacularly backfired on the telco after it claimed BSkyB would switch off O2 users' broadband. Sky bought the consumer broadband and fixed-line biz of Telefónica UK-owned O2 in March last year. The telecoms giant had claimed in a shouty flyer posted through Brits' letterboxes that BSkyB …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Jul 2014
A boat full of Fail

TalkTalk talks itself into trouble with budget broadband package fibs

TalkTalk has been admonished for misleading customers with claims that it offered "Britain's lowest priced totally unlimited broadband". BT and another complainant challenged three separate issues with a series of adverts in the press and online that wrongly suggested that the budget telco had cheaper deals than its competitors …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Jul 2014
Houses of Parliament in night-time

Universal Discredit: Gov admits Treasury HASN'T signed off biz case

Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions scrambled to dismiss comments made by the government's head of the civil service late on Monday, after Sir Bob Kerslake told MPs that the Treasury had yet to make the business case for the widely derided Universal Credit programme. The chair of the Public Accounts Committee, …
Kelly Fiveash, 08 Jul 2014
Grumpy cat

Virgin Media goes titsup AGAIN. The cause? Yet MORE DNS strife

Virgin Media has declined to comment on yet another DNS outage that hit some of its subscribers on Monday night. The telco, when quizzed by The Register, admitted that it had suffered yet more downtime woe but refused to explain what was behind the company's recent network wobbles. A spokesman at the Liberty Global-owned cable …
Kelly Fiveash, 08 Jul 2014
Watch in Never Say Never Again

Report: UK.gov wants to legislate on comms data BEFORE next election

The UK's Tory-led coalition government is reportedly pushing to bring in a new surveillance law forcing ISPs to retain subscriber data for 12 months ahead of next year's General Election. It's the latest in a series of attempts from the Theresa May-led Home Office to legislate on communications data, known colloquially as the …
Kelly Fiveash, 07 Jul 2014
Zuckerberg topless

Journal that published Facebook emoto-furtle study: Proper boffins get CONSENT

Facebook's ethical standards do not meet those of most researchers who conduct studies on human subjects, the journal which published the "secret", emotion-manipulative research on nearly 700,000 of the social network's users has said. The journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PDF), has now made a …
Kelly Fiveash, 04 Jul 2014

OMG, sorry about 'poor comms' on Facebook secret emoto-meddle tests. Laters!

A top Facebook chief has admitted the firm did a poor job of informing its users about a controversial 2012 experiment that manipulated the emotions of nearly 700,000 people on the free content ad network. COO Sheryl Sandberg told reporters during a meeting in India on Wednesday that Facebook had made a hash of the secret test …
Kelly Fiveash, 03 Jul 2014
Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies

ISPs haul GCHQ into COURT over dragnet interwebs snooping

Britain's eavesdropping nerve centre GCHQ has been accused of unlawfully accessing the private communications of potentially millions of people – and angry internet service providers are dragging the snooping agency to court. ISPs and organisations from the US, UK, Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Korea and Germany have teamed up with …
Kelly Fiveash, 02 Jul 2014
Google Chocolate Factory

Google policy wonk patronises Brits over EU search biz probe

Google repeatedly batted away questions about whether it favours its search result services over those of its rivals in Europe, during a frustrating exchange on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning. The ad giant's public policy veep, Rachel Whetstone, who is the wife of Steve Hilton - the brains behind Prime Minister David …
Kelly Fiveash, 02 Jul 2014

Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE DNS outage

Virgin Media customers were kicked offline last night, after a DNS blunder from the cable company disrupted its network on Tuesday. It comes after rival BT suffered a similar, widespread technical cockup over the weekend. Virgin Media, which is owned by US telecoms giant Liberty Global, coughed to a "nationwide DNS outage" on …
Kelly Fiveash, 02 Jul 2014

British and European data cops probe Facebook user-manipulation scandal

UK and Irish data watchdogs are investigating claims that Facebook failed to seek the consent of its users before allowing researchers to manipulate their emotions via newsfeed meddling. The Register asked the office of the UK's Information Commissioner if it planned to probe Facebook following widespread criticism of its …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jul 2014

Viv Reding quits justice commish role - heads for EU parliament

European justice commissioner Viviane Reding resigned from her Brussels' post today, after taking up her recently won seat in the European Parliament. The Luxembourg Christian Social People's Party politico said in a short Facebook post that her MEP mandate had begun on the same day as the "drastic reduction of tariffs of ' …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jul 2014
Dunce

GCSE Computing teachers cry victory as board decides NOT to bin tech teens' work

Frustrated GCSE Computing teachers who battled against OCR's shambolic handling of cheating claims say they are relieved to see the awarding body has finally reached a "common sense" decision on the matter. The exam board, which is part of Cambridge Assessment, had backtracked on an earlier notice that had said that it had …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jul 2014

Twitter swallows BEHAVIOURAL AD firm TapCommerce

Twitter plans to buy mobile behavioural ad outfit TapCommerce for an undisclosed sum. It's the micro-blogging site's latest strategy to attempt to turn around a profit at the company, which floated on to Wall Street late last year. Twitter said in a blog post that TapCommerce was "a leader in mobile retargeting and re- …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jul 2014
Homer Simpson reading on PC

Cambridge Assessment exams CHAOS: Computing students' work may be BINNED

Budding tech teens - who have taken close to 40 hours of Computing GCSE controlled assessments - face the agony of seeing some of their work scrapped by a leading Brit exam board, after it said it was withdrawing tasks for key units amid cheating claims. Awarding body the OCR, which is part of Cambridge Assessment, had posted an …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jul 2014

Google kills its successful social network. Yes, we mean Orkut

Google is killing off Orkut, the web giant's original and arguably most successful social network, which remains popular in Brazil and India but never really gained traction in the West. Worse still, the Mountain View company announced the move during the World Cup football tournament – taking place in Brazil. In a carefully …
Kelly Fiveash, 30 Jun 2014

Facebook: Yes, we made you SAD on PURPOSE... for your own good

Facebook has hit back at its critics after the social network instructed researchers to meddle with its users' "news feeds" in order to manipulate their emotions. The free-content ad network sparked anger when it emerged its data scientist Adam Kramer gave a green light to trick-cyclists to filter out positive and negative posts …
Kelly Fiveash, 30 Jun 2014

BT at last coughs to 'major outage' after broadband went titsup across UK on Sat

BT was hit by a huge DNS outage on Saturday morning but the telecoms giant was very slow to respond to customer complaints, it has been claimed. A DNS flaw downed BT's network across Blighty, according to anecdotal reports on Twitter. But the one-time state monopoly was very sluggish to respond to gripes from subscribers who …
Kelly Fiveash, 30 Jun 2014

Google: Glass goggles are a 'fairly lousy surveillance device'

Google's creepy Glass wearable could breach Britain's Data Protection law, the Information Commissioner's office has warned. The ad giant began flogging the device in Blighty this week for £1,000 a pop. That move prompted the country's data watchdog to outline the "privacy implications of wearable technology" in a blog post …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Jun 2014

UK.gov: Forget Google and those other chaps... Use THIS open Internet of Stuff specification

The Internet of Things is all a question of semantics, according to a government-backed consortium that includes mega tech players like BT, IBM and ARM. IBM's master inventor (yes, that's a real job) Andy Stanford-Clark demonstrates IoT streetlight illumination IoT is a "hype term" that within 10 years will simply be referred …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Jun 2014
Google walks

Google adds 'data protection' WARNING to Euro search results

Google has begun notifying European Union-based netizens that its search results have to respect the 28-member-state bloc's 19-year-old data protection law. The ad giant has plastered the warning on its search engine across the EU from today. But, anyone living in those countries who navigate to Google.com will find that the " …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Jun 2014
BT Openreach van

Ofcom to BT Openreach: From now on, you'd better kill 70% of gremlins within 2 days

BT faces strict new measures to speed up Openreach repairs on its aged copper infrastructure from the start of next month, the UK's communications watchdog said today. Ofcom warned BT that it will be expected to fix around 70 per cent of phone and broadband faults within two working days over the course of a year. That …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Jun 2014

Super-snoop bid: UK government hits panic button on EU data retention ruling

Home Secretary Theresa May has claimed "there is no surveillance state" in Britain today as she once again called for a change in law to prevent the internet becoming "an ungoverned, ungovernable space". The Snoopers' Charter champion, speaking to dignitaries at Mansion House in London last night, did not once mention the …
Kelly Fiveash, 25 Jun 2014

Snowden defends mega spy blab: 'Public affairs have to be known by the public'

Master spy blabbermouth Edward Snowden defended his NSA whistleblowing actions to the Council of Europe today. He told the human rights' parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg, via video link from Moscow, that he had a "personal duty to country, government and family" to reveal details about snooping methods employed by the US and …
Kelly Fiveash, 24 Jun 2014

Labour vows: We'll pause one-dole-to-rule-them-all for drastic fix-up if elected in 2015

The Labour Party has promised to put the brakes on the deeply troubled Universal Credit system for three months if it gets into government next year. During that time, shadow work and pensions minister Rachel Reeves said that Labour would urge the National Audit Office to conduct a review of the lumpen welfare reform programme. …
Kelly Fiveash, 24 Jun 2014

France frostily foists flat fizz fear on ICANN's .wine plans

Wine vendors are fighting against ICANN's plans to introduce .wine and .vin top level domain names. During a packed government advisory meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers in London on Monday morning, France's minister for digital affairs Axelle Lemaire told delegates that her country was opposed …
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Jun 2014
South Park Ginger Cow episode

Broadband bumpkin BONANZA: 8 altnets shortlisted for £10m UK.gov subsidy

The government has earmarked a £10m wad of broadband cash for eight outfits whose bids were shortlisted for what the Ministry of Fun described as the "feasibility stage" to bring faster internet connections to hard-to-reach parts of Blighty. It said the Tory-led Coalition was "focusing on exploring ways to reach those premises …
Kelly Fiveash, 19 Jun 2014

BT and TalkTalk BOTH claim victory as Ofcom tackles fibre price row

TalkTalk claims it has won a crucial battle in its war on BT's alleged stranglehold of Blighty's fibre broadband market. Today, Ofcom proposed regulating the way BT sets its prices for superfast broadband – to ensure there's an ample margin between the amount it charges ordinary folks and the amount it charges rival ISPs to use …
Kelly Fiveash, 19 Jun 2014