Kieren McCarthy

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WikiLeaks fights The Man by, er, publishing ordinary people's personal information

WikiLeaks prides itself on taking on The Man by finding and publishing information that the world's most powerful organizations want to keep hidden. Unfortunately, on Friday, WikiLeaks took a swing at The Man by standing on the heads of thousands of innocent citizens whose personal details it has published, including their …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jul 2016

White House to bung electric car industry $4.5bn in loans

The White House has said the US federal government will underwrite loans totaling $4.5bn to expand the use of electric cars. But before you go rushing to Elon Musk asking for a set of Falcon doors, note that it is only for building out charging infrastructure. The Department of Energy has expanded its existing loan program to …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jul 2016

Silicon Valley's contribution to the US Republican Convention: Gayness

Analysis If ever there was any doubt that billionaire Peter Thiel was a contrarian, he put it to bed last night in a short speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, US. The Paypal cofounder and early investor in Facebook already stood out as a supporter of Donald Trump in Silicon Valley – an industry that despises the …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jul 2016

IETF boffins design a DNS for digital money

Digital currency engineers are working on a domain name system (DNS)-style protocol to enable money to be shared across different networks. The idea of digital currency – and particularly blockchains – has taken off in recent years, but there remain a number of competing networks that are unable to talk to one another: the …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Jul 2016

EFF declares anti-piracy DMCA unconstitutional in new legal showdown

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched a lawsuit claiming that a controversial anti-digital-piracy law in the US is unconstitutional. Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) – which became law 18 years ago – has long been controversial due to its heavy restrictions on what people are allowed …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Jul 2016
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Rumor on repeat: Spotify IPO

Music streaming service Spotify is again rumored to be preparing to go public. The company has managed to maintain its market lead against competitors from some of the world's largest tech companies including Apple and Amazon, and has more paying subscribers than any other streaming service. It has started reaching out to …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Jul 2016

Nitwit has fit over twit hit: Troll takes timeless termination terribly

Comment Twitter this week permanently banned a high-profile self-proclaimed troll, marking a possible sea-change in how the social network tackles its worst users. Baffling web celeb Milo Yiannopoulos was previously temporarily suspended from the service and earlier this year had his "verified" status revoked. Then after Yiannopoulos …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Jul 2016

Internet exchange Linx cuts peering prices by 40% after rip-off claims

The London Internet Exchange (Linx) has announced it will slash prices – just one month after the non-profit was pointedly criticized for charging too much. The internet exchange point is Europe's largest provider of internet interconnect services and announced this week it would cut the cost of its LON2 port fees by 40 per …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Jul 2016

Handover of US internet control to ICANN officially blocked in Republican policy

The planned transition of the internet's critical technical functions from the US government to a technical body may come under further attack after the Republican Party officially agreed to block it on Monday. The Republican Platform for 2016 [PDF] was formally approved during a chaotic first day of the party's national …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Jul 2016

Correction: There was no hangman's noose, claims Hyperloop countersuit ... it was a cowboy's lasso

An extraordinary fight at tube-travel company Hyperloop One has hit warp speed with a court filing filled with more wild claims. Faced with accusations of physical threats, financial mismanagement and nepotism in a lawsuit from its former CTO Brogan BamBrogan, the company's management has fired back with a 46-page cross- …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Jul 2016

US govt is in, EFF told to take a hike in post-Safe Harbor wrangling over privacy and EULAs

An Irish high court judge has accepted the US government into a high-profile case involving Facebook and mass surveillance – but rejected a number of civil liberties groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). In a judgment [PDF] published Tuesday, Justice Brian McGovern noted that the United States government …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Jul 2016
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US gov open data, code push

The White House has set a deadline of September 15 for all US government departments to post details of their "open government" plans. The letter [PDF] from the country's chief technology officer Megan Smith and chief information officer Tony Scott requires all departments to post what they are doing with a host of open …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Jul 2016

For $800 you can buy internet engineers' answer to US government spying

The long-awaited response from internet engineers to Edward Snowden's revelations of mass surveillance by the US government has been launched in Berlin. The CrypTech project launched an alpha prototype of its open-source crypto-vault at the 96th meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and held a two-day workshop …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Jul 2016
Study Confirms High Effectiveness of Low Speed Autonomous Emergency Braking

What will laws on self-driving cars look like? Think black boxes and 'minimum attention'

The recent high-profile crash of a Tesla driving in Autopilot mode has sparked a rush to develop new laws for self-driving cars. Just as there is a race on in the engineering departments of many large car companies to develop autonomous car technology, so legislators are working fast to develop the rules to cover it. The …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Jul 2016

FTC lets Nest off the hook over Revolv IoT hub bricking shame

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided not to move forward with an investigation into smart-home company Nest and its decision to end support for the Revolv hub. In a letter [PDF] to the Google stablemate, the regulator said it had "decided not to recommend enforcement action at this time," referencing "confidential …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jul 2016

McCain: Come to my encryption hearing. Tim Cook: No, I'm good. McCain: I hate you, I hate you, I hate you

US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has thrown a hissy fit over the refusal of Apple CEO Tim Cook to attend a Senate hearing on encryption. Opening the Committee on Armed Services' hearing on cybersecurity this morning, McCain went out of his way to note that Cook has declined the senator's invitation to give testimony alongside …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jul 2016
Donald Trump

TrollingTrump.gop

The seemingly endless trolling of presidential candidates continues apace – but with an unusual twist. Donald Trump's selection of governor Mike Pence as his running mate has led one wag to register an address under the Republican Party's own ".gop" internet space – trumppence.gop – and redirect it to a website asking people …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jul 2016

It's not our fault we don't hire black people, says Facebook

Facebook has explained away another year of dreadful diversity figures by claiming that there simply aren't enough minorities available for it to hire. Despite having been at the receiving end of years of criticism for its overwhelmingly white male workforce, the social media giant's latest figures show that only 4 per cent of …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jul 2016

Ivory tower drops water bombs on dumpster fire

A veritable Who's Who of the tech industry have signed an open letter aggressively criticizing Donald Trump and his proposed presidential policies. "We are inventors, entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, researchers, and business leaders working in the technology sector," the letter begins. "We are proud that American …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jul 2016
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FCC approves 5G auction

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has unanimously approved the auction of a large block of its airwaves to be used by next-generation 5G networks. The regulator's decision will make the United States the first nation to allocate a large chunk of high frequencies to the coming technology. Those frequencies were …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jul 2016

Thermostat biz Nest warms to home security, touts cam with cloud storage subscription

Nest has launched its first new product in several years: an outdoor surveillance camera. The Nest Cam Outdoor is effectively a rebuild of its existing Nest Cam designed for the outside. We had an early peek at it and came away with the sense that the company once famed for reinventing the thermostat has found at least some of …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jul 2016

Tor board swept under carpet after Appelbaum 'sex misconduct' claims

The entire board of the Tor Project has been replaced in an effort to restore credibility in the anonymizing network software. In an announcement on the non-profit's website, executive director Shari Steele noted that the board decided to leave as a block and replace themselves entirely with a new set of six people, including …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Jul 2016
Defeated-looking young man puts his head against table in front of laptop and pile of papers in conference room. Pic via Shutterstock

Software bug costs Citigroup $7m after legit transactions mistaken for test data for 15 years

A programming blunder in its reporting software has led to Citigroup being fined $7m (£5m). According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), that error [PDF] resulted in the financial regulator being sent incomplete "blue sheet" information for a remarkable 15 years – from May 1999 to April 2014. The mistake was …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Jul 2016

No, Google you still can't have dotless, one-word domains

A surreptitious effort to introduce so-called "dotless domains" – where you type a single word into your browser to reach a website – has been noticed and shot down. Despite an explicit ban on the Google-pushed idea – which would, for example, let you simply type the word "search" and be taken to the internet address https:// …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Jul 2016

Free concert! Against TPP?

Internet advocacy group Fight for the Future will host a series of music concerts in Denver, San Diego, Seattle and Portland – to protest the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. The Rock Against the TPP idea has been joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and a number of musicians, including guitarist …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Jul 2016