Kieren McCarthy

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Dot-gay bid fails again: This time because it is too gay

This time last year, the applicants for the internet top-level domain .gay were stunned to find that their application to be recognized as a "community" was rejected because they weren't gay enough. After successfully arguing for re-evaluation and waiting nine months for the result, Dot Gay LLC has now been told the self-same …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Oct 2015

Hey, Facebook – these are the new Like buttons you should have used

Pic + vid Facebook has announced a range of new buttons intended to give its users the ability to express a wider range of emotions – certainly wider than today's "Like." The buttons, labelled with emojis, cover common feelings such as excitement, sadness, anger, and so on and will be made available first to users in Spain and Ireland. …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Oct 2015

Now even EUROPE is slapping down ICANN in internet power struggle

European governments and internet registries have sent a stinging message to the board of domain name overseer ICANN warning it to stop trying to avoid limits on its absolute authority. At a joint meeting in Brussels of the European Commission's High Level Group on Internet Governance (HLIG) and the Council of European …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Oct 2015

ICANN: Just give us the keys to the internet – or the web will disintegrate

Domain system overseer ICANN has embarked on a campaign of fear and fuzzy logic in its latest bid to seize control of the internet from the US government without agreeing to limits on its power. The handover of the critical IANA functions from Uncle Sam to ICANN was due to happen last week, but has been set back a year to …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Oct 2015
Wile E. Coyote goes over the edge again

Strike one – First net neutrality gripe against an ISP is nixed by FCC

What is believed to be the first complaint that a telco is breaking America's new net neutrality rules has been rejected. The CEO of Commercial Network Services, Barry Bahrami, tried to use the US Federal Communications Commission's "informal" complaints procedure to ask the regulator to look into Time Warner Cable's peering …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Oct 2015
The new Pirate Bay logo

Swedish govt appeals court decision guarding domain

The Swedish government has decided to appeal a court decision that protected the domain names used by torrent-search site The Pirate Bay from being suspended. In a complex legal decision back in May, the court decided that the company that operates Sweden's .se registry, IIS, was contributing to copyright infringement by …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Oct 2015

Google .supplies .cheap web .properties with 90 top-level .domains to .world via .partners

Fresh from an embarrassing glitch in its system that saw an ex-employee seemingly register, the search giant is now selling domain names with 90 top-level domains to choose from – such as .business, .world and .gripe. What is missing from that list, however, are any of the 40+ top-level domains that Google owns and …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Oct 2015

White House 'deeply disappointed' by Europe outlawing Silicon Valley

The US government is "deeply disappointed" by the European Court of Justice's decision to effectively kill the long-standing "safe harbor" agreement covering the flow of people's personal data across the Atlantic. Under European law, personal information on EU citizens must stay within the Continent for privacy reasons. To …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Oct 2015
TOR Logo

Fast, wireless access to Tor? Just maybe

Portable Tor routers have a serious image problem. But one of only two companies to have actually done it right plans to fix that.Should you believe the hype this time around? Quite possibly, yes. It was only a year ago that the tech community got excited about the idea of a small, lightweight router that would connect you …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Oct 2015

Guess who owns and – clue: definitely not Netflix

Netflix has failed in its attempt to shut down two namesake domain names, in the most peculiar circumstances. The video streaming giant paid $750 to take two domains – and – through the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS). If successful, the domains would have been suspended for the duration of …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Oct 2015

Aircon biz fined $1.3m after boss set up attack websites slamming critical punters

No one likes getting negative reviews online, and it's no secret that many business owners try to fudge the system by posting positive reviews of themselves under pseudonyms. But Mechanic's Heating and Air Conditioning – based in Marietta just outside Atlanta, Georgia, in the US – has taken it to a whole new level. The …
Kieren McCarthy, 02 Oct 2015

Google's Nest weaves new Weave protocol that isn't Google's Weave

Smart-home posterboy Nest has opened up its application protocol to developers in a bid to stave off competition from Apple. The "Weave" protocol – not to be confused with Google's Weave program – will remain proprietary for the time being, and allows products to communicate peer-to-peer and without requiring an internet …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Oct 2015

Woman makes app that lets people rate and review you, Yelp-style. Now SHE'S upset people are 'reviewing' her

It was oh so predictable. The founder of new slander-app Peeple has been surprised to discover people slandering her online. Julia Cordray, of Calgary, Canada, landed herself and her company a ton of publicity this week, appearing everywhere from the Washington Post to ABC News, talking about how the app – due to be launched …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Oct 2015

Roku 4 specs leak: Yes, it's got 4K streaming and a games controller

Exclusive The much-anticipated Roku 4 will come with 4K ultra high-definition resolution, a separate games controller, and a faster quad-core ARM processor. That's according to specifications that were briefly published in the online Roku developers guide just before the device's imminent launch. The information was quickly taken down. …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Sep 2015

Oakland mayor fires warning letter to Uber: Welcome to our city. Now behave

The Mayor of Oakland in California has warned taxi-ordering app Uber that it needs to behave when it moves into a new office complex in the heart of the city's downtown. In her keynote at the Code for America Summit Wednesday morning, Libby Schaaf noted that the city of Oakland has "mad love for disruptors," but told attendees …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Sep 2015
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC –

Do you agree with our fee hike? Press 1 to answer Yes; or 2 for Yes

It has long been a concern that domain-name overseer ICANN is largely funded by companies reliant on the organization to make money. Every biz that wishes to sell domain names – called a registrar – has to pay the organization $4,000 a year, plus 18 cents on every domain they sell. In addition, they have to pay a variable fee …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Sep 2015
By Mingle Media TV

Monica Lewinsky lawyer named as first outsider on secret US spy court

One of Monica Lewinsky's former lawyers will be the first outside advisor to America's secret court that oversees NSA spying. Preston Burton was chosen as the first of five advocates who will provide expert advice to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) when discussing whether to approve spying programs. His …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Sep 2015
Pretty woman looks miffed. Copyright: Danil Nevsky via Shutterstock

NSA? Illegal spying? EU top lawyer is talking out of his Bot – US gov

The US government has responded to Europe's top lawyer, who last week said sending people's private data to the United States is illegal. Uncle Sam is not happy. At the heart of the matter is the so-called safe harbor agreement between the US and the EU. You cannot by law pipe people's private information out of Europe unless …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Sep 2015

ICANN taking over the 'net from Uncle Sam? Ted Cruz to the rescue!

Four leading Congressional figures, including US presidential candidate Ted Cruz, have questioned whether the Obama Administration has the legal right to transfer control of the internet's key technical functions outside the US government. In a letter [PDF] to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), chair of the Senate …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Sep 2015
Steve Crocker, ICANN chairman

ICANN chair plays chicken with internet control-halt-shift

The chair of domain name overseer ICANN has threatened to reject a key recommendation in the process to move control of the top level of internet from the US government to the non-profit organisation. In a rambling and confusing speech given toward the end of a special two-day meeting, Steve Crocker appeared to say that his …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Sep 2015
Point Break still of the ex-Presidents

Oi, ICANN! Get to the bottom of this bottom-up process, haul ass – ex-Prez advisor

Internet oversight body ICANN received a second kick to the buttocks on Saturday morning – this time from erstwhile US presidential advisor Ira Magaziner. Just a day after Assistant Commerce Secretary Larry Strickling told a room of internet policy wonks that they needed to get a move on or risk undermining the process to …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Sep 2015

Get on with it! Uncle Sam's right-hand man schools ICANN powwow

After a fruitless and frustrating day of discussion in Los Angeles, US Assistant Secretary for Commerce Larry Strickling had clearly had enough. "I've been trying to decide whether to come up and say anything or not, but the issue was forced by the fact that I'm leaving in 15 minutes," he said. "So if I was going to say …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Sep 2015

Here, near the shore of Santa Monica, we see ICANN in its natural habitat – doing nothing

Every professional has job-specific nightmares. It could be a doctor delivering a baby from the Exorcist, or an engineer standing on a bridge that collapses. If a professional facilitator were to wake up screaming, in a cold sweat, they would likely have been dreaming about a meeting just like the one currently taking place at …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Sep 2015

So how do Google's super-smart security folk protect their data?

It's a question that occurs to many of us: if digital security is such a minefield, how do you keep your personal data safe? One person who knows about the risks is Adam Langley. As a security engineer at Google, he makes key decisions about how your data is spread around the internet. He also has access to systems that would …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Sep 2015

Controversial: The future is data integrity, not confidentiality

The key to the digital future is about data integrity, not data confidentiality. So says Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, who flew into San Francisco Thursday morning to address an internet summit hosted by CloudFlare. "I have AB blood," he said by way of example. "I don't particularly care that people know that. …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Sep 2015

Is domain overlord ICANN the FIFA of the internet? We'll know this weekend

Special report When comedian John Oliver dedicated the bulk of his weekly show a year ago to soccer organization FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), he noted that most Americans had never heard of the organization. Over ten minutes, Oliver eviscerated the "comically grotesque organization," highlighting how it creates …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Sep 2015

Privacy, net neutrality, security, encryption ... Europe tells Obama, US Congress to back off

A letter sent to the US Congress by over 50 members of the European Parliament has hit back at claims of "digital protectionism" emanating from the United States. Sent on Wednesday, the letter [PDF] takes issue with criticisms from President Obama and Congress over how the EU is devising new laws for the digital era. "We are …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Sep 2015

Would you trust Intel, Vodafone, Siemens et al with Internet of Things security? You'll have to

A new non-profit foundation dedicated to improving security in the "internet of things" launched on Wednesday. More than 30 companies including Intel, Vodafone, Siemens, and BT are the founding members of the foundation, whose mission is to "make the Internet of Things secure, to aid its adoption, and maximize its benefits." …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Sep 2015

Child abuse, drug sales, terrorism fears: Why cops halted a library's Tor relay ... for a month

PDF Librarians in New Hampshire, America, were warned that running a Tor exit relay on their network would assist child abusers, drug dealers, and terrorists. Those are the remarkable facts that have emerged from a freedom-of-information request filed over the decision by Kilton Library in Lebanon, NH, to host, then take down, and …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Sep 2015

Hm, a scandal brewing, Kaiser? Healthcare giant buys How Kaiser Killed My Wife and other .coms

Kaiser Permanente has embarked on a bizarre and macabre domain-name registration spree. For reasons best known to the health-insurance giant, this week it cornered the market in dot-coms that profess to explain exactly how the company managed to murder those closest to you. So whether it is your children, your father, mother …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Sep 2015
Kim Dotcom

Megaupload extradition: Rotund web baron Kim Dotcom appears in court

After three years of legal delays, Kim Dotcom finally appeared in court in Auckland, New Zealand, on Monday to start his extradition hearing to the United States. Dotcom faces criminal charges for what the US government has said was an organized plan to make money from selling access to copyrighted music and video. He is …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Sep 2015

Oh, IT'S ON. IT. IS. ON: Google, Netflix et al square up to telcos in net neutrality showdown

Internet companies have jumped into the lawsuit brought by Big Telco against America's net neutrality rules. The Internet Association, which is the Washington DC lobbying group for the likes of Amazon, Etsy, Facebook, Google, Netflix, PayPal, Twitter, Uber at al, has filed an amicus brief into the ongoing lawsuit against the …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Sep 2015

Cesspool 4chan sold … to former owner of Japanese cesspool 2ch

The owner of notorious message board 4chan has sold the forum to the former owner of its Japanese "inspiration," 2channel. After more than a decade running the "free speech" site, Christopher Poole announced on Monday that he had sold the cyber-cesspool, which boasts 20 million monthly visitors, to Hiroyuki Nishimura. He did …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Sep 2015

US govt: Why we're OK with letting control of the internet slip into ICANN's hands

A highly anticipated report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has given the green light to a shift of critical internet functions away from the government to domain overseer ICANN. The report [PDF], published Friday, provides a neutral and explanatory rundown of the decision by the Department of Commerce (DoC …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Sep 2015

Look out, world! Apple is about to launch .apple

Apple is getting ready to launch its own piece of the internet: .apple. The iPhone and Mac manufacturer signed the agreement to run its namesake top-level domain back in May, but has only recently moved toward "delegation," meaning putting the name live in the internet's root zone. It is however the registration of 29 …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Sep 2015

Internet Doomsday scenario: How the web could suddenly fall apart

Analysis Engineers have recommended a small but important change to the internet's underlying structure in order to avoid a possible doomsday scenario. A report [PDF] from the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) argues that a key parameter in the internet's address books – namely, how long the information should be stored – …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Sep 2015

Thousands cut off from email after EE bungles domain renewal

Thousands of UK internet users were cut off from email after their ISP failed to renew the domain name used to route them. The address "" is the legacy domain used by Freeserve, which later merged with Orange. The domain was first registered and used back in 1999 but it expired on 4 August, leading to its suspension …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Sep 2015

Hey you! Better 'fess up to submarine cable cockups, FCC demands

Incredible as it may seem, there are currently no rules around the reporting of outages in submarine cables. On Thursday, America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tried to rectify that by putting out new rules for public comment that would make it obligatory for US companies to report any outages that saw more than 50 …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Sep 2015

SCREW YOU, FEDS! Dozen or more US libraries line up to run Tor exit nodes

A dozen libraries across the US have asked for details on how to host Tor exit nodes following a decision by the small town of Lebanon, New Hampshire, to forego police warnings. Following a decision by the library's board of trustees earlier this week to put the exit node back online, the founder of the Library Freedom Project …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Sep 2015

Obama edges toward full support for encryption – but does he understand what that means?

The Obama Administration is weighing whether to come out in full support of unfettered encryption, something that would be a huge blow to the Feds, who have been pushing for compulsory backdoors in all new tech. But there's something in the President's proposals that aren't quite right. A leaked memo [PDF] from the National …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Sep 2015

US librarians defy cops, Feds – and switch on their Tor exit node

The first library in the US to host a Tor exit node has voted to turn it back on despite warnings by the cops that it could lead to criminal behavior. A meeting late Tuesday of the board of trustees of the Kilton Public Library in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, saw it stand by its unanimous decision to embrace the anonymizing …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Sep 2015
Mulder in The X-Files

US court kills FBI gag order slapped on ISP... 11 years later

A Federal Court in New York has struck down an FBI gagging order that has been in place for 11 years. Describing it as "extreme and overly broad," in a decision [PDF] published Tuesday, Judge Victor Marrero dismissed the order against Nicholas Merrill. Merrill had received a National Security Letter (NSL) from the FBI in 2004 …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Sep 2015
Twitter for Mac New

Twitter sued for 'reading' private direct messages

Twitter is being sued for invading users' privacy over its practice of replacing hyperlinks in direct messages with its own "" short links. Californian Wilford Raney filed a class action lawsuit [PDF] against the company in San Francisco this week and is seeking millions of dollars in damages. According to Raney, Twitter …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Sep 2015

Apple working on 3D mapping at secret Swedish hideaway

Apple is secretly expanding a research and development plant in Sweden that develops 3D mapping technologies. The plant is run by C3 Technologies, which Apple bought in 2011. According to Swedish news sources, it's based in Lund in the south of the country, just over the water from Copenhagen. C3 Technologies was a subsidiary …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Sep 2015

Bubble? LMAO - YOLO! Wall St gets new instant messaging service

A rival to the ubiquitous but expensive Bloomberg terminals will launch this week on Wall Street. Symphony was set up a year ago by Goldman Sachs and 14 of the world's biggest banks after it was revealed in 2013 that some reporters from Bloomberg's news division spied on the use of the company's business terminals held by …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Sep 2015

DMCA takedown bots must respect 'fair use' of copyright – US appeals court

The concept of "fair use" of copyrighted images and music has been given a big boost in a decision this week by the California Appeals Court (Ninth Circuit). The court ruled that music and film companies need to take into account whether their material is being used legally before issuing DMCA takedown notices. In doing so, …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Sep 2015

Did GCHQ illegally spy on you? Now you can find out – from this page

Ever wonder whether the UK's listening post, GCHQ – the Government Communications Headquarters – was tuning in to your life a little too closely? Well, now you may be able to find out, thanks to an online campaign launched by spy-botherers Privacy International (PI). There is a bit of a catch, as you'll see. Just a bit of a …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Sep 2015

Plan to shift internet's control panel away from US government gets tentative thumbs-up

The plan to shift control of the top level of the internet away from the US government to domain name overseer ICANN has been given a tentative thumbs-up by the internet community. A public comment period on the proposal for the IANA functions contract closed earlier this week with 159 submissions received. Just under half the …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Sep 2015

Hollywood takes a beating in Oscar cybersquatting battle

The Oscars has lost a five-year cybersquatting lawsuit against the world's biggest domain registrar, GoDaddy. In a decision [PDF] handed down by Judge Andre Birotte in a Los Angeles district court this week, a claim by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' (AMPAS) that GoDaddy had infringed on its trademarks by …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Sep 2015

Ich nicht bin Charlie: Facebook must crack down on racists, says Germany's Merkel

German chancellor Angela Merkel has laid into Facebook for not doing more to tackle racism on the social network. Speaking to German newspaper Rheinische Post, Merkel focused on the big political topic of the moment: the sudden influx of Syrian refugees into Europe. Merkel has led the charge in welcoming refugees, saying that …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Sep 2015