Kieren McCarthy

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US government tweaks internet handover date: 1 October 2016

The US government will officially hand over control of the top level of the internet on 1 October 2016 – a year later than planned. The Department of Commerce announced on Monday that it will extend the IANA contract, today held by domain overseer ICANN, by one year, meaning that it will expire on 30 September 2016. At that …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Aug 2015

ICANN CEO will head off to private equity firm

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade has announced where he'll be heading after he breaks his contract 10 months early: private equity firm Abry Partners. Chehade surprised the internet community, and threw ICANN in disarray, when he announced in May that he was going to leave early – and, crucially, before ICANN takes over control of the …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Aug 2015

Would YOU make 400 people homeless for an extra $16m? Decision time in Silicon Valley

Poll A trailer park owner faces an unusual conundrum: sell his property for $39m and keep the long-term residents on his land in their homes – or take $55m and watch property developers tear it all down. That's right, it could only be Silicon Valley. Joe Jisser's parents bought the park's 4.5-acre site 30 years ago for the not- …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Aug 2015
Sergey Brin

Verisign sues Google's new love-interest .XYZ for a second time

Verisign is up to its old tricks again, having sued XYZ.com, the owner of the .xyz registry a second time. Barely a day after XYZ.com got a boost when Alphabet, Google's new parent company, set up shop at abc.xyz, details emerged of a suit filed by Verisign against XYZ.com, its CEO Daniel Negari, and CentralNic, XYZ.com's back …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Aug 2015

Larry Page was held back by Google execs from flooding world with new dot-word domains

Google's new mom, Alphabet, has sent the domain name world into a frenzy following its decision to set up home at the online address abc.xyz. But behind the decision lies a deeper truth: Larry Page, as Google CEO, wanted his search giant to go big on new dot-word domain names – like .book or .computer – but was stymied by …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Aug 2015

DNS root zone drama: Follow live the most important dullest ceremony you'll ever see

If you have literally nothing better to do today, we would recommend watching the most important but dullest ceremony you can catch online. The eight-hour event is taking place today in Los Angeles and is being streamed live – just like the Oscars. Although without the music, or famous people, or speeches, or ball gowns. OK, …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Aug 2015

ICANN chairman loses mind over his domain-name privacy shakeup

The chairman of ICANN has been recorded ranting about domain-name privacy: the DNS overlord wants owners of "commercial" websites to reveal their personal details in the WHOIS database. Steve Crocker appeared on a webinar last week with a working group looking at how to improve ICANN's accountability before it is handed …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Aug 2015

Doubts cast on Islamic State's so-called leak of US .mil, .gov passwords

Updated Islamic State's frothing fanatics have leaked online what they claim to be the email addresses and plaintext passwords of 1,500 American military personnel – including CIA staff. The details include full names, email addresses, unencrypted passwords, ZIP codes, places of work, and telephone numbers. They come in a format that …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Aug 2015

Law prof Lessig vows to take cash out of politics by raising tons of money

Harvard law professor and author of internet bible Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace Lawrence Lessig is considering a run for US President on a single issue: getting big money out of America's politics. And the deciding factor in running? Whether he can raise $1m in the next month. A new website – LessigForPresident.com – is …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Aug 2015

Google's new parent Alphabet owns abc.xyz – and, yup, there's already an abc.wtf

Google's new parent Alphabet, unable to buy alphabet.com, has snapped up abc.xyz in a recursive-satire rush. (We'll explain in a second.) The domain-grab has already spawned a spoof (more at the end of this story). Following the announcement that the web ad/search goliath will be folded inside a new company called Alphabet, …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Aug 2015
airplane just kidding shot

OK, who unplugged the modem? North Korea's internet disappeared for four hours today

North Korea disappeared from the internet on Monday for roughly four-and-a-half hours. At around 6.30pm local time (or 6pm if you take the starving nation's recent decision to create its own time zone seriously) through to 11pm, the routes for the country vanished from the internet's routing tables, meaning nothing was coming …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Aug 2015

Return of the Jedi? StarWars.co.uk bod to fight the Empire (Disney)

The owner of StarWars.co.uk has vowed to fight on against Disney after the media giant won control of his domain name. Mark Lewis, chief exec of Abscissa.com, who has held the domain and a number of similar names for 12 years, has appealed a decision by the operator of the .uk namespace Nominet. "I can't believe that over the …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Aug 2015

US govt: Any thoughts on ICANN running the internet? Any at all? Speak your brains NOW

The US government has formally asked people to send in comments on the plan to transition its control of the top level of the internet to domain overseer ICANN. In a posting in today's Federal Register, the arm of the Department of Commerce that controls the critical IANA contract, the National Telecommunications and …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Aug 2015

Another death in Apple's 'Mordor' – its Foxconn Chinese assembly plant

A worker at Apple's iPhone manufacturing plant in Zhengzhou, visited by CEO Tim Cook just a few months ago, has been found dead, reigniting concerns over how the iGiant's Chinese outsourcer Foxconn treats its employees. Foxconn, dubbed Mordor by Apple engineers, said in a statement that it was cooperating with the authorities …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Aug 2015
Internet email sign. Pic: @mattw1lson, Twitter

Email addresses in DNS records? We'll make a hash of it, says IETF

Email addresses of domain-name admins should be encrypted one-way – aka hashed – when added to DNS records, an IETF working group has decided. Following a lengthy exchange on the value of adding privacy safeguards for email addresses that are often readily available, Google's Warren Kumari told the group that "the privacy …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Aug 2015

It's happened, folks: An actual exhibition about cats and the internet

It's been a persistent joke for a while: that the internet is nothing but cat videos and porn. Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later but now we have a serious exhibition about cats online. "How Cats Took Over the Internet" opens today at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York and runs through to the end of January …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Aug 2015
US Pentagon. Pic: DoD photo by MSgt Ken Hammond, USAF

Pentagon email hacked, Russia already blamed

A chunk of the US Department of Defense's email system has been down for 11 days, following what appears to have been a successful attempt to hack it. On Thursday, DoD officials told The Register the unclassified email system of the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff was compromised following a "sophisticated cyberattack" on …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Aug 2015

Copyright troll wants to ban 'copyright troll' from its copyright troll lawsuit

Adult content company Malibu Media has asked a court to ban the terms "copyright troll" and "pornographer" in an upcoming trial that revolves around the fact that the company repeatedly demands thousands of dollars from people that have downloaded its pornographic content. Allowing the terms would be "unfairly prejudicial and …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Aug 2015

ROBO-TENTACLE with mind of its own wields deadly electrical power – turns on Tesla car

Vid Tesla may be more bluster than business, but you can't help but admire the fact that it is constantly pushing car engineering. And today that admirable trait comes in the form of what appears to be an automated charger for its Model S car. The 37-second clip posted to its Twitter account shows a metallic prototype finding and …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Aug 2015

Hey, FBI. Wanna track someone by cellphone? Get a proper warrant, says US appeals court

A US appeals court says data revealing the whereabouts of you and your phone is protected under the Fourth Amendment – meaning it is protected from unreasonable searches by the cops and Feds. As a result, the police will have to get a warrant to access citizens' cellphone location records, and will have to prove there is " …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Aug 2015

Secret US-Pacific trade pact leak exposes power of the copyright lobby

A leak of the intellectual property section of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement has confirmed earlier reports of American lawyers pushing for expanded intellectual-property rights across the 12 countries negotiating. Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) has posted the May 11 version of the chapter, which is …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Aug 2015

Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

Review It's not often these days that you are disappointed by a product. Websites with online ratings and amateur reviews have made it so easy and fast for people to share experiences of new gizmos that you can instantly tell a hit from a dud – and avoid the duds. What makes the Sengled lightbulbs all the more disappointing is that I …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Aug 2015

If you read anything today about ICANN taking over the internet, make sure it's this

Analysis The internet community has published its plan to pull the United States government out of its role at the top of the internet's hierarchy. Unfortunately, the near-final version is a hodgepodge of ideas and compromises that fails to address a key aspect of Uncle Sam's role. In addition, the plan substitutes a complex set of …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Aug 2015
Internet email sign. Pic: @mattw1lson, Twitter

Next-gen secure email using internet's own DNS – your help needed

A group of researchers from the US government and dot-com operator VeriSign are working on a new system for secure email: using domain names. Highlighting the problems and security holes associated with current mail systems, the team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a subset of the US Department …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 Aug 2015

Re/code apologizes for Holocaust 'joke' tweet

Apple blog Re/code has pulled, and apologized for, a tasteless tweet about the Holocaust. The unfunny gag was cracked after a consortium of German car manufacturers has bought Nokia's maps business. Linking to a story by senior reporter Ina Fried on the purchase, Re/code's official twitter account emitted this about 0645 PT on …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 Aug 2015

New twist in telco giants' fight to destroy the FCC's net neutrality

Analysis When an entire page of a lawsuit is taken up just listing the lawyers on the case, you know you have hit some vested interests. And so it is with the opening arguments [PDF] of the US Telecom Association et al versus the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), aka status quo versus Open Internet. There are seven …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Aug 2015

$100m fine? How about, er, $16k? AT&T teabags FCC with its giant balls

AT&T has taken its four-year campaign to avoid liability for throttling its "unlimited" data plans to new heights by proposing that a $100m fine imposed last month be reduced to just $16,000. In a filing leaked to Congress obsessive The Hill, the US telco giant argued that the fine levied by the Federal Communications …
Kieren McCarthy, 31 Jul 2015

Petrol cars are dead in the water, says Tesla CTO waving numbers on the back of an envelope

Analysis Gasoline-powered cars are a dying breed, and not because everyone will become a tree-hugging fossil-fuel-hating hippie, but rather thanks to cost. That's according to JB Straubel, the CTO of electric-car maker Tesla, who gave a keynote earlier this month at the InterSolar conference in San Francisco. Straubel's main argument …
Kieren McCarthy, 31 Jul 2015

Start learning parallel programming and make these supercomputers sing, Prez Obama orders

President Obama has signed an executive order that will pump US government money into American supercomputers just like before but in a more coherent fashion. The order, signed Wednesday, kickstarts a new "National Strategic Computing Initiative" [PDF] that will, through a single vision and investment strategy, try to keep …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Jul 2015

So just WHO ARE the 15 per cent of Americans still not online?

Analysis According to the most recent survey of online usage by Americans, 15 per cent of adults are still not online. What is just as interesting is the fact that this 15 per cent appear to be stubbornly refusing to get online despite numerous efforts by the US government and others to get broadband to both rural and low-income areas …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Jul 2015

Amazon comes up with delivery-drone zones after watching Fifth Element all night

Amazon has outlined a futuristic plan that would give drones their own 200-foot-thick piece of sky to zoom around in – and deliver packages in super-fast times. Amazon Prime Air co-founder Gur Kimchi outlined the plan in a keynote at the Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management (UTM) Convention in Silicon Valley on Tuesday …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Jul 2015

FCC now regulates ISPs – but don't take your complaints to the watchdog just yet

Net neutrality Tom Wheeler, chairman of America's broadband watchdog the FCC, has insisted that "we know what we're doing," as his regulator gobbles up more and more power. This is despite him acknowledging that the FCC isn't sure how far its authority stretches – and that it doesn't have crucial rules and guidelines in place. At a …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Jul 2015

Secretive trade pact the TTIP: Death of the web – or a brave new horizon?

Analysis The trinity of trans-Atlantic trade deals that have been under negotiation for two years appear to be heading toward some kind of initial conclusion. The free-trade deals between the US and various nations have become renowned for being negotiated in secret and for efforts to open the process resulting in ludicrous …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Jul 2015

Ahem, FCC, who do you think you are? The FTC?

A US Congressional hearing this week will ask two heads of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) some pointed questions about its recent spate of decisions, in particular auction rule changes and why it thinks it's the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). On Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will talk with FCC …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Jul 2015
management regulation2

US State of Georgia sues 'terrorist' for publishing its own laws ... on the internet

The State of Georgia in the US is suing the owner of the Public.Resource.org website for publishing the State of Georgia's own laws online. According to the lawsuit [PDF] filed this week, Carl Malamud has "engaged in an 18 year long crusade to control the accessibility of U.S. government documents by becoming the United States …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Jul 2015

Q. How much did Google just spend applying political pressure in the US? A. $4.6 million

Moneybags Google has topped the list of tech-giant political lobbyists again, spending $4.62m in the past three months alone in Washington DC and elbowing its way into an enormous range of issues. That's according to a declaration filed by Google that companies are legally obliged to submit to US Congress. The multimillion- …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Jul 2015

ICANN further implicated in .Africa controversy

Analysis Staff at domain-name overseer ICANN repeatedly rejected independent expert advice to ensure the .africa top-level domain was won by their preferred applicant – and then tried to hide their influence by censoring the results of an independent inquiry into the affair. That is the latest revelation from our investigation into …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Jul 2015

Moneybags Bloomberg whips out checkbook to gobble spoof website

Bloomberg has filed with the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) to get hold of the domain name that embarrassed the organization and boosted Twitter's share price temporarily last week. The website bloomberg.market hosted a mirror of the official bloomberg.com, but with a single exception: a fake story about how Twitter was on …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Jul 2015

Google swears blind it doesn't give SEO advantage to new internet dot-words

Analysis For the third time in three years, Google has reiterated its position that it will not give a search ranking advantage to domain names with new internet top-level domains. In a post to its Webmaster Central Blog, the search engine giant has posted and answered six questions over how it handles top-level domains. Most of the …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Jul 2015

Dough! Dominos didn't register dominos.pizza – and now it's pizz'd off

Pizza emporium Dominos has filed a formal request to get hold of the domain name dominos.pizza after it incomprehensibly failed to register it late last year. The The equisectioned-circle grease-cheese maker paid the National Arbitration Forum $1,300 (£835) on Monday to assess its rights in the name – a claim it is likely to …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Jul 2015

Your poster guide: A fascinating glimpse into North Korea's 'internet'

Pic Singaporean photographer Aram Pan has been taking some fascinating photos of the world's most reclusive country, North Korea. Alongside pictures of beautiful landscapes and rundown buildings, however, one picture caught our eye: a map of the starving country's "internet." It sounds ludicrous, but thanks to North Korea's …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Jul 2015

Snowden to the IETF: Please make an internet for users, not the spies

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has urged the world's leading group of internet engineers to design a future 'net that puts the user in the center, and so protects people's privacy. Speaking via webcast to a meeting in Prague of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the former spy talked about a range of possible …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Jul 2015

Cyber-security's dirty little secret: It's not as bad as you think

New research from the Global Commission on Internet Governance has reached a surprising conclusion: cyberspace is actually getting safer. The report [PDF] starts from a simple enough premise: while we are constantly told that incidents of cyberattacks and online security threats are increasing, are they growing relative to the …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Jul 2015

Ant-Man: Big ideas, small payoff

Film Review We were invited by Dolby to see a screening of Ant-Man at its custom-built screening room in San Francisco the other night. And so, of course, we went along. The film is sound-mixed with Dolby's "Atmos" technology, which the high-end cinemas have and which basically allows you to place sounds in a theatre rather than have to …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Jul 2015

Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart. Thursday doesn't even start. Friday I'm in .love

Today, Friday, sees the launch of one of the more interesting new internet top-level domains that has been approved by ICANN: .love. The TLD has passed from "sunrise" – during which trademark holders get first dibs on their names for a premium – to "general availability." Which means that you can now buy a domain ending in . …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Jul 2015

Having been slammed and embarrassed, ICANN tells the world: We've done nowt wrong

Last week, a group of retired judges slammed domain-name overseer ICANN for breaking its own bylaws by having failed to "act fairly, neutrally [and] non-discriminatorily" in a dispute over the .africa top-level domain. Yesterday, we revealed that ICANN's staff redacted the judges' final report to remove all evidence that the …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Jul 2015

Free internet for kids! Obama's offering free internet to kids! (Yes, there's a catch)

President Obama will officially launch Wednesday afternoon a new program to get kids in flat-broke households online. ConnectHome is a joint partnership between the federal government (the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)), local communities, and a number of different profit and non-profit organizations that …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jul 2015

Unredacted: ICANN's hidden role in fierce battle over .Africa rights

Domain-name overseer ICANN's pivotal role in a controversial fight over .africa is today revealed in full for the first time. An independent review into the .africa saga, which was two years in the making, concluded that ICANN had broken its own bylaws: the organization had failed to properly investigate claims made by one of …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jul 2015

Twitter shares soar after buyout story appears on bogus Bloomberg site

Updated Twitter's shares jumped four per cent this morning after a fake news story claimed the biz had received a $31bn buyout offer. The reason for the jump was that it appeared to come from respected newswire Bloomberg – but the piece was instead hosted at bloomberg.market, and not on the news organization's Bloomberg.com. "Twitter …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jul 2015

Apple's chip'n'firmware security demands behind HomeKit delays

Wondering where all the Apple HomeKit products are? Well, here's an explanation: Apple is forcing internet-of-things companies to fit Apple-certified chips and firmware in their gadgets if they are to work with the HomeKit platform. That means, in a lot of cases, engineers must effectively redesign their products to …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Jul 2015