Kieren McCarthy

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Want disruption? We got disruption: Race protest halts VC Thiel's Q&A

Pics Billionaire VC Peter Thiel loves disruption: bankrolling startups that shake up markets is what he does. But on Thursday night, he got a little more disruption that he bargained for – when protesters rushed the stage and ended his Q&A session with students. The PayPal founder and early Facebook investor was ironically about to …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Dec 2014

'I'm begging you to join' – ICANN's NetMundial Initiative gets desperate

Plans to create a new internet governance body have grown increasingly desperate … and confusing. A conference call [MP3] between the organizers of the "NetMundial Initiative" and business organization the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) earlier this week saw ICANN's CEO Fadi Chehade pleading with the group to withdraw …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Dec 2014

Hinge: An app that scours Facebook friends for dates banks $12m

A dating app that uses your Facebook friends to make recommendations has scored $12m in series-A funding, bringing its total funding to $20.5m. Hinge hopes to compete with market leader Tinder by offering a better dating experience. Its unique selling point is that recommendations are friends-of-friends - the idea being that …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Dec 2014
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Wanna buy a dot-word? If you want a .pizza the action, now's a chance

Roundup Everyone loves pizza. Even though the industry is responsible for cluttering millions of people's mailboxes with flyers, you'll still take a look and think about ordering one. Well, expect to see one minor change in those flyers from now on – the addition of new .pizza domain names – thanks to the launch of the internet registry …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Dec 2014

Net neutrality: Cisco, Intel, IBM warn FCC NOT to crack down on ISPs

More than 60 technology companies, from Cisco to Intel and IBM, have asked the FCC not to tighten the rules on what ISPs can do with web traffic and subscribers' bills. Specifically, the IT giants do not want the US watchdog to reclassify ISPs as "Title II" providers, a classification championed by some net neutrality advocates …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Dec 2014

US Congress in cash freeze bid to DERAIL global DNS handover

US Congress has attempted to stall ceding control of the world's domain-name system – by defunding the government department responsible. The crucial IANA contract to provide global DNS, allocate IP addresses, and so on, is due to expire in 2015. ICANN runs those IANA functions for the American government under that contract. …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Dec 2014

Chinese responsible for 85 per cent of website scams

Chinese internet users are behind 85 per cent of fake websites, according to a semi-annual report [PDF] from the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). Of the 22,679 malicious domain registrations that the group reviewed, over 19,000 were registered to servers based in China. This is in addition to nearly 60,000 websites that were …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Dec 2014
Orange Credit Card

.Bank hires Symantec to check credentials

The launch of new .bank domain names is one step closer with the announcement [PDF] that Symantec has been chosen to act as the credentials verifier for the top-level domain. Dot-bank domains represent a new type of domain name - one restricted to a very specific group of people in order to enhance security. Banks and financial …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Dec 2014

US Ass. Commerce Sec hits back at claims global DNS is DOOMED

US Assistant Commerce Secretary Larry Strickling – the man in charge of the critical IANA contract that keeps the internet glued together – has embarked on a war of words with Wall Street Journal columnist Gordon Crovitz. In a letter to the newspaper, Strickling took issue with Crovitz's column last week headlined Halfway to …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Dec 2014

Internet cash-point boss says 'no thanks' to ICANN's web power grab

Internet Society CEO Kathy Brown has rebuffed efforts to get her onside a controversial new body that plans to steer the internet. Despite a series of private meetings with the ICANN-backed NetMundial Initiative (NMI), Brown noted in a blog post on Monday: "It is fair to say that issues, including the need for the NMI Council, …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Dec 2014

Yes, Obama has got some things wrong on the internet. But so has the GOP

Analysis Last month, Texan Congressman and lead voice in the Republican party in the US, Ted Cruz, wrote an opinion piece about the internet. Last week, Wall Street Journal columnist and media-Republican L Gordon Crovitz did the same. Both dig into critical decisions that will be made in 2015 and cast a critical eye over them. Both make …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Dec 2014

The internet is less free than last year. Thanks a bunch, Snowden

The internet is getting less free year by year with governments passing more laws to restrict online speech and increase monitoring of users. That's according to New York-based Freedom House which on Friday published its fifth annual study of internet freedom around the globe. According to the editors, governments have become …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Dec 2014

US govt tells ICANN: No accountability, no keys to the internet

America's assistant commerce secretary Larry Strickling has told domain-name overlord ICANN that without improvements to its accountability the US government will not hand over the crucial IANA contract. IANA is the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, a department of ICANN that oversees the DNS system keeping the internet glued …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Dec 2014

Internet RFC overseer snubs ICANN and co's web power grab offer

In a further blow to efforts by domain-names overlord ICANN to create a body to steer the future of the internet, the NetMundial Initiative has now been snubbed by the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). In a letter published on Thursday, the board – which oversees the influential Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Dec 2014

GOOAALLL! Back of the net! 'Millions of dollars' score .football gTLD

The top-level domain name .football has been auctioned off for, what's expected to be, millions of dollars to upstart registry Donuts. Domain names using the beautiful game's dot-word will be available some time in the new year, along with names ending in .news, .golf, .school and .latino, all of which were snapped in private …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Dec 2014

Double hammer blow to ICANN and pals' internet power grab bid

The controversial NetMundial Initiative (NMI) – an effort by various countries and organizations to steer the internet – may be beyond saving after a second series of rejections. This time it's been snubbed by the business world and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) today published …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 Dec 2014
Evernote Android app screenshot

Evernote aims at corporate market with new chat feature

Note-taking, clip-loving Evernote is hoping to break into the corporate market with the release of a new chat feature. Work Chat will let people share editable notes while working on projects and also offers the chance to quickly drag a document they are working on into the chat window. The idea is that businesses will start to …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 Dec 2014
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Bloke, 36, in the cooler for leaking ex's topless pics on Facebook

The first conviction under California's anti-revenge-porn law was announced on Monday: 36-year-old Noe Iniguez was sentenced to a year in jail and three years' probation for posting topless pictures of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook. Under the law, the "unauthorized posting of nude or sexual images of an individual with the …
Kieren McCarthy, 02 Dec 2014

While the web stares at cat pics, the glue of the internet is being shifted from US govt control

The US government's role at the top of the internet should be replaced by four different groups, according to an official proposal put out for public comment. The proposal [PDF] was developed by a small group of volunteers looking at the "names" aspect of the current internet arrangements and would effectively recreate the …
Kieren McCarthy, 02 Dec 2014

ICANN and co U-turn on permanent seats for 'net 'UN Security Council'

The people behind a plan to create a sort-of UN Security Council for the internet have backed down from giving themselves permanent seats on the panel. Domain-names overlord ICANN, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Brazilian internet body CGI.br – which are behind what's called the NetMundial Initiative – announced the …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Dec 2014

NetMundial 'rule-the-internet' ISC project gets grudging support of civil society

Civil society groups have decided they will not boycott the proposed new internet governance program, the NetMundial Initiative. In a letter sent earlier this week, representatives from the Internet Governance Civil Society Coordination Group (CSCG) noted that there were "very significant misgivings across a broad segment of …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Nov 2014

Simplez: OLD SCHOOL TECH can SAVE the MEERKAT

Ever wondered who tried to steal your meerkat? Well, worry no longer thanks to the London Zoo, Google and CCTV biz Kinesense. During our review of Nominet and LoveHz use of TV whitespace to create a flood early warning system in Oxford, we stumbled across another test program in the works - the use of cameras to catch poachers …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Nov 2014

Global Commission on Internet Governance wobbles into IANA debate

The Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) has waded into the debate over the critical IANA contract with a formal statement and position paper. Rather than making a splash, however, the result is somewhat of a soggy mess. The elite group has spent two days in closed meetings in Canada and on Wednesday morning held a …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Nov 2014

Save Thanksgiving! Get your turkey to text you when it's done

It may be a cliché, but the one thing guaranteed to ruin your Thanksgiving dinner, as well as provide one more thing that your family to torture you with for the rest of your life, is a burnt turkey. Well, worry no more. Not only have boffins at iDevices developed a thermometer that you can leave in the oven with the bird but …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Nov 2014

How to run a big web music biz (Spotify): Grab more cash from fans, sink deeper into the red

Spotify has taken advice from Taylor Swift and shaken off its haters: the online music streaming upstart is in good shape despite increased losses. Founded in 2006, Spotify is privately held but published its 2013 consolidated financial results in Luxembourg on Tuesday. Although it's headquartered in London, UK, and Stockholm, …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Nov 2014

Floody hell! Brits cram Internet of Things into tight White Spaces

Geeks in Oxford, England, have squeezed 13Mbps down and 3Mbps up a single channel of White Space – unused TV frequencies in their area – and used the tech to connect up river flood sensors. The radio network – set up by bods at UK domain registry Nominet – is one a series of trials across Blighty using the gaps in telly spectrum …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Nov 2014
Google UK office logos

Google turns on shiny new .google top-level domain – but WHY?

Google has turned on its namesake top-level domain (TLD) with the creation of 'nic.google' representing the internet giant's entry into the domain name market. Currently the domain redirects to Google's registry page where it outlines the other internet extensions it has already won the rights to, including: .ads, .dad, .fly, . …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Nov 2014

New 'Internet Security Council' struggling to get off the ground

Plans for a new internet governance body are struggling to get off the ground after blowback from the internet community itself. The NetMundial Initiative was formally launched three weeks ago as an open source platform that would enable people to collaborate on internet governance issues. However observers immediately took …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Nov 2014

Woman who stung Tinder with sex-pest sueball stings again – with rival Bumble app

A Tinder cofounder who sued the upstart for sexual harassment will launch a competing dating app called Bumble next month. And, having settled the legal bother for an undisclosed sum, Whitney Wolfe is giving the online hookup scene both barrels. "Other apps are full of creepy guys and cheesy pickup lines," the Bumble app's …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Nov 2014

Culture CLASH: Wuzhen Declaration spurned at World Internet Conference in China

Analysis As you might expect, China's first global internet conference was a particularly Chinese affair. There were few sessions, each dominated by pre-selected authority figures, lots of positive declarations, almost no criticism and little audience participation. In effect, the polar opposite of a normal internet conference. Somewhat …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Nov 2014

It's 2014 and people are willing to blow $6.8m on things like Z.com

Z.com has been sold for $6.8m (£4.3m, 800m yen) to Japanese domain biz GMO Registry, putting it in the top ten of all-time domain name sales. As one of only three single-letter dot-coms available – the others being Q and X – the domain was previously owned by Nissan (for its Z-series of cars) and will be used by GMO Registry to …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Nov 2014
corset

George.Best walks into a sex.bar, spots a bearded dwarf sysadmin and thinks: Warcraft.cool

Nearly 10 million locked-away domain names will be set free and go on sale over the next two months. But before you get excited, take a look at a list of them – beware, it's a huge CSV file. Among the very occasional gems like sex.bar, george.best or warcraft.cool, there are literally millions of utterly worthless domains like …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Nov 2014

First Congress, now top govt watchdog digs into ICANN's internet grab

It's not just US Senators digging into ICANN's takeover of the internet's control panel. America's powerful Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been asked to interview key people in Washington DC over the proposed move – and the results are likely to form the basis for a number of hearings in the new year. And we managed …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Nov 2014
Jennifer Pahlka

What should America turn to for web advice? That's right: GOV.UK – says ex-Obama IT guru

Analysis It's not the most obvious place you would expect a Silicon Valley-ite to point to as the future of the America, but Jennifer Pahlka is a big fan of the UK government's website. Pahlka heads up Code For America, an organization helping the public sector make better use of IT. She's just finished a stint in Washington DC as deputy …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Nov 2014

'Internet Freedom Panel' to keep web overlord ICANN out of Russian hands – new proposal

A seemingly independent panel with authority over domain name system overseer ICANN has been proposed in a new US law bill. The Defending Internet Freedom Act [PDF], put forward by Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA), would see the creation of a board made up of techies and reps from the domain name world, as well as a new consortium …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Nov 2014

Quebec's latest bid to break away from Canada HALTED by a single dot

It was not the news the company behind the new dot-quebec domains wanted to hear. Just days before launch, dot-quebec's biggest supporter – the government of the Canadian province of Québec – ditched its plan to move from .gouv.qc.ca to the much simpler and more convenient .quebec. Apparently the shift in websites would be too …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Nov 2014
BrickArms' Toy taliban figure

HALF A BILLION TERRORISTS: WhatsApp encrypts ALL its worldwide jabber

WhatsApp has announced that it will encrypt all its 600m users' text messages by default, which is a serious stride forward for privacy - and one which will no doubt be criticised by spooks and police worldwide. The rollout, announced today, was described by the app maker as the "largest deployment of end-to-end encryption ever …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Nov 2014

Deloitte builds sofa-and-slippers startup fund ... where's the fun in that?

Deloitte has taken a leap into the fast-moving, fail-often world of startup culture by developing a risk-free version of Silicon Valley. A charming anti-formula to the Bay Area's post-revenue darlings. The accountancy giant has put aside £25m ($39m) to fund new business ideas proposed by its own employees: the staffers get to …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Nov 2014

Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it

In what appears to be a legal first, data from a woman's Fitbit tech bracelet will be used in court to argue a case. The gadget's wearer was a personal trainer before she was hurt in an accident. Her law firm in Canada will use data from her wearable and compare it to data from other women of her age and profession in order to …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Nov 2014

Internet Society slams online 'UN Security Council' plan, snubs permanent seat offer

The Internet Society has blasted efforts from some quarters to create a "UN Security Council" for the internet – which would rule over the online world. The society (ISoc) is a non-profit organization that, among other things, runs the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which develops and publishes crucial internet's …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Nov 2014

America, here's what the FCC's Rosenworcel REALLY thinks about your broadband

One of the FCC's five commissioners, Jessica Rosenworcel, says she wants to use both the 1934 and 1996 telecommunication laws to bring US broadband up to date. The problem is that today's rules, here in America, are still focused on the telephone era, when really they need to account for the internet age. Sound familiar? Yes, …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2014
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Judge: Terror bomb victims CAN'T seize Iran's domain name as compensation

A judge in Washington DC has ruled that a country's entire internet registry cannot be seized, averting a global diplomatic crisis. In a ruling [PDF] made earlier this week but released late last night, Judge Royce Lamberth focused in on a single argument presented by DNS overseer ICANN that country code top-level domains ( …

Is your kid ADDICTED to web porn? Twitter? Hint: Don't blame the internet

Parents' biggest concern about life online is admen stalking kids across the web, according to new research. Unveiling the results of its study [PDF] at the Family Online Safety Institute's annual conference in Washington DC on Wednesday, Hart Research noted that 57 per cent of parents feel the harms outweigh the benefits when …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Nov 2014

Net neutrality, Verizon, open internet ... How can we solve this mess?

Analysis So President Obama chimed in this week over the issue of "net neutrality" – arguing that in order to protect netizens and keep the internet "free and open", cable companies should be reclassified as "Title II common carriers". "Whether you use computer, phone or tablet, your internet provider should have a legal obligation not …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Nov 2014

Net neutrality, Obama, FCC, Title II:Your ESSENTIAL guide to WTF is happening

Analysis President Obama ploughed into the net neutrality debate on Monday by demanding reclassification of "internet service under Title II of a law known as the Telecommunication Act." What does that actually mean? And why are some for and some against this as a solution? First, some very quick history: The Telecommunications Act [PDF …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Nov 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Amazon bags control of .book and .pay domains – but NOT .cloud

Bookseller-turned-bazaar Amazon has beaten off competition from eight other companies, including Google and publisher Bowker, to win the right to sell domains ending in .book. It's not known how much Amazon paid since the gTLD was bought at private auction, although it is believed to have been between $5m and $10m – Amazon just …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Nov 2014

Obama HURLS FCC under train, GUTPUNCHES ISPs in net neut battle

Barack Obama has set the cat among the pigeons in the battle over net neutrality – by issuing a blunt demand that internet access be treated as a public utility in the United States. In a two-minute video, also given its own page on the White House website, Obama warns that "abandoning the principles" behind the internet's …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Nov 2014
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Newly public dot-dentist flogger Rightside's shares jump on strong domain sales

In its first earnings report since going public, domain-name specialist Rightside reported revenues of $48.8m, a 7 per cent revenue increase over the year-ago quarter, causing its shares to jump by 4.5 per cent. The company is now valued at $173m. Rightside is unique in the domain name industry in that it services every level of …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Nov 2014

Why 120 people protested outside San Francisco City Hall (Hint: 'Hybrid' net neutrality)

Vid+Comment If you wandered through San Francisco's Civic Centre Plaza on Thursday between 6pm and 6.35pm at the City Hall end, it would have been hard, though not impossible, to avoid a protest held against new net neutrality proposals. With just two days' notice, a turnout of 100 to 120 people is pretty good (although 333 said they …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Nov 2014

Amazon: Put our ALWAYS ON MICROPHONE in your house, please. WHAT?

Somewhat out the blue, Amazon is flogging a new gadget called Echo – which is a cross between ice maiden Siri and wireless speaker system Sonos, and will save you having to using your fingers ever again. The Echo is a voice-activated 9-inch-high cylinder that connects to your Wi-Fi and will answer spoken questions, play music, …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Nov 2014