Kieren McCarthy

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We applied to Google's €150m journalism fund – here's what we sent in

We here at El Reg were very excited on Friday morning to note the launch of a new €150m ($165m) journalism fund called the Digital News Initiative, funded by everyone's favorite news service, Google. The initiative's goal is to "support high-quality journalism through technology and innovation" and you are able to apply online …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Oct 2015

So what's the internet community doing about the NSA cracking VPN, HTTPS encryption?

Now that the cat is firmly out the bag, and it's clear that the NSA has cracked the encryption behind, potentially, a huge amount of internet traffic, the question inevitably turns to: what are internet engineers going to do about it? Clearly the experts at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have pondered the same …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Oct 2015

Snowden, Schrems, safe harbor ... it's time to rethink privacy policies, says FTC commish

FTC Commissioner Julie Brill views the landmark decision to kill the US-EU safe harbor agreement as an opportunity to improve privacy laws on both sides of the Atlantic. The safe harbor pact allowed Europeans' personal and private information to flow into American data centers, but that agreement was torn up by the European …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Oct 2015

How to stop ICANN becoming FIFA of the internet – a plan forms

The internet community has published the key details of its plan to improve accountability at the domain-name overseer ICANN when it takes control of the critical IANA contract next year. That's the contract that gives ICANN the reins to the planet's DNS, IP address allocation, and the nitty-gritty details of today's …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Oct 2015

ICANN CEO, internet community heads clash in accountability row

The CEO of ICANN got his facts wrong during high-level talks on limiting the power of the domain-name overseer, it is claimed. Fadi Chehade gave a presentation to ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) at the organization's triannual meeting in Dublin this week in which he provided his "personal view" on a year-long …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Oct 2015

FBI, US g-men tried to snatch DNA results from blood-testing biz. What a time to be alive

+Comment Not content with snooping on your emails, whereabouts and telephone calls, it appears the Feds now want your DNA results. DNA testing company 23andMe says it has received four requests from law enforcement agencies for "user data" in the past quarter, all of them from the United States. Those stats came in the first " …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Oct 2015

Yahoo! boss! Mayer! promises! shake-up! in! bid! to! save! her! job!

The latest effort to turn around internet stalwart Yahoo! appears to have stalled again with a disappointing earnings report. Shares dropped 2 per cent on the news that the company had missed its third-quarter targets with 15 cents a share in income and $1.23bn in revenue. The markets were expecting 17 cents and $1.26bn. …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Oct 2015
apple music

Millions of people forget to cancel Apple Music subscription

Apple has put out the first stats around its music subscription service and the end result is ... good start. There are 15m users of the service, said CEO Tim Cook, speaking at the WSJDLive conference this week, and 6.5m of them are paying $9.99 a month. In its most simple terms, that puts Apple straight into second position …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Oct 2015

US senators lean on ICANN, tell it to quit squirming and open up

Two leading US senators have warned domain name overseer ICANN to stop resisting accountability changes in return for control over the internet's DNS. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology, and ranking member Brian Schatz signed a letter [PDF] warning that without "significant …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Oct 2015

Will stock market swipe right on Tinder? Match Group files bid to IPO

Online dating is big business – but just how big? Well, the father of all cyber-cupids, Match Group, has filed its paperwork to go public. The group, which includes old gent of the online dating scene as well as OKCupid and hookup app Tinder, is expecting to make just over $1bn in revenue this year. According to …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Oct 2015

Euro privacy warriors: You've got until January to fix safe harbor mess – or we unleash hell

Europe's privacy guardians, the Article 29 Working Party, has given the European Commission and US government until the new year to sort out the safe harbor shambles – or Silicon Valley faces a legal showdown. In a letter published Friday, the working party noted that this month's decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Oct 2015

Amazon Echo: We put Jeff Bezos' always-on microphone-speaker in a Reg family home

Review So, um, I love the Amazon Echo. For those of you already frothing at the mouth in righteous indignation, please feel free to scroll to the bottom right away, click "Post a comment" and vent about privacy, Jeff Bezos' secret police, and whatever else is bothering. Meanwhile, for the rest of you, let's get straight to it: the …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Oct 2015
Photo by Irene Fertik, USC News Service

How do you create an SLA and status page for the whole internet? Meet IANA: Keepers of DNS

When control of the internet's naming and numbering systems is handed over by the US government to domain system overseer ICANN, there will be one big change: it will be subject to a service level agreement drawn up by the internet community. ICANN's IANA department runs the world's DNS, IP address allocation, and other tasks …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Oct 2015
Cartoon - Private SNAFU

US taxman slammed: Half of the IRS's servers still run doomed Windows Server 2003

Half of America's Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) servers are running Windows Server 2003, despite extended support for it ending in July. That's according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General that took a look at the IRS' $139m upgrade program. The report is distinctly unimpressed and notes that the IRS "did not …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Oct 2015

Ring Chime: Needy wireless doorbell or $30 bling t'ing?

Review We were quite taken with the Ring doorbell earlier this year. For $200, and after some very basic DIY, you get a high-tech security device. It includes an HD camera, an intercom, a motion sensor and, yes, a doorbell. The Ring links to your phone, gives you alerts, lets you watch video of people through it and lets you have a …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Oct 2015

El Reg keeps pushing Apple's buttons – its new Magic Keyboard

Hands-on Sometimes Apple's timing is just right. Its "magic keyboard" has been due a refresh and literally last week, your humble hack's keyboard stopped working. It's hard to tell what precisely has gone wrong, but it is definitely something to do with the connection from the two AA batteries that the keyboard used to power itself. …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Oct 2015
Extended GPIO B+ raspberry pi

Is streaming pirate video legal? Europe's highest court will take a look

Fresh from tearing up the safe harbor framework, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will take a look at the complex issue of online video streaming. A Dutch court has asked the ECJ to review a number of questions over the legality of streaming content in a case in which an anti-piracy group is suing an online store for its …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Oct 2015

Big biz bosses bellow at Euro politicians over safe harbor smackdown

Big business has sent an open letter to Europe's politicians asking for urgent action on a replacement to the Safe Harbor framework. Following a decision by the European Court of Justice earlier this month that effectively ruled the longstanding trans-Atlantic agreement illegal due to NSA spying, industry has been worried …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Oct 2015

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