Kieren McCarthy

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Reuters flogs IP for $3.55bn

Thomson Reuters is selling off the intellectual property and science arm of its business for $3.55bn in cash. The business, which provides information and related services to companies, universities and governments, has 3,200 employees and will be sold to private equity firms Onex Corporation and Baring Private Equity Asia. …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Jul 2016

Facebook deleted my post and made me confirm pics of my kids weren't sexually explicit

Usually when you read about Facebook blocking accounts or taking down videos it's because something serious has happened: like a woman filming her boyfriend dying at the hands of traffic cops; or someone going on a racist rant. But this morning it happened to me. Facebook informed this lowly reporter that it has removed one …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jul 2016

Google slammed over its 'free' school service

Two Swedish researchers have torn into Google's free school service, accusing the online giant of purposefully misleading users in order to continue profiting from the sale of children's data. Maria Lindh and Jan Nolin from the University of Borås have published a research paper [note: paid access] that digs into the policies …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jul 2016
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Facebook offers end-to-end encrypted chat – if you find the right setting

Facebook is rolling out end-to-end encryption for its messaging service to bring it in line with competitors, including its own WhatsApp. But as ever with Facebook, there's a catch: you'll have to actively select the encrypted version each time, and the service will be limited to a single device. You also won't be able to use …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Jul 2016

Bad blood: US govt bans bio-test biz Theranos' CEO for two years

It's game over for controversial blood-testing company Theranos with the news that its CEO Elizabeth Holmes will be banned from owning or running a medical laboratory for two years. The decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also shuts down the company's California testing lab (it has another in Arizona …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Jul 2016

Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

The UK's possible future prime minister thinks all websites should be classified with minimum age ratings, just like films. Andrea Leadsom is one of two candidates left in the race for the leadership of the Conservative Party; the winner of which will become the country's Prime Minister. Although many are concerned with the …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Jul 2016

Teen faces trial for telling suicidal boyfriend to kill himself via text

Analysis A teenager will stand trial for sending dozens of texts to her boyfriend encouraging him to take his own life. Massachusetts' highest court rejected an appeal from Michelle Carter's legal team that the texts to Carter Roy back in 2014 were protected under the First Amendment. She now faces an involuntary manslaughter charge …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Jul 2016

macOS, iOS betas out today

The betas of Apple's latest Mac operating system, Sierra, and mobile operating system version, iOS 10, are both available for download today. Announced at Apple's WWDC conference in June, the latest versions have a range of new features. Apple renamed OS X to macOS and has added its digital assistant Siri to the desktop OS, …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Jul 2016

South Africa's net censor row

Democratic Alliance (DA), the South African opposition party, is demanding to know why the government voted against a UN resolution that expanded freedom of speech online last week. "The DA will not allow this injustice to go unanswered," the party said in a press release, adding: "The vote against this resolution speaks …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Jul 2016

Even Silicon Valley rolls its eyes as controversial Zenefits ex-CEO reveals he's back in business

It's a Silicon Valley trope, even a badge of honor, that failure is good. Fail fast, fail often. Learn from failure. There are even failure-based meetups where would-be Zuckerbergs share tales of having done miserably. But former Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad is pushing the envelope on what even Silicon Valley is willing to …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Jul 2016

Bloke 'lobbed molotov cocktails' at Street View car because Google was 'watching him'

A man arrested for setting fire to one of Google's Street View cars has told the authorities he feared the company was watching him. Raul Diaz, 30, of Oakland, was arrested on Thursday outside Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, after his car was flagged by security as similar to one that had been seen at three …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Jul 2016
Book learning, image via Shutterstock

Google eats French AI upstart

Google has bought a biz that builds image-recognition software for smartphones for an undisclosed sum. Moodstocks is based in Paris and said in an announcement that its dream is to "give eyes to machines by turning cameras into smart sensors able to make sense of their surroundings." The company has been working on its …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Jul 2016
China keyboard, image via Shutterstock

Maybe China's on to something: Clickbait articles now need to be 'verified' by officials

China has stepped up its online censorship efforts with a declaration that from now on all news stories will need to be "verified" for accuracy. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has published new rules that say websites should not publish unverified news stories from social media outlets. "It is forbidden to use …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Jul 2016

$15m renames Harvard center

A donation of $15m from corporate lawyer Michael Klein has led to the renaming of Harvard University's dedicated internet center. The Berkman Center for Internet & Society will henceforth be known as the Berkman Klein Center. "This gift helps ensure that Harvard Law School will remain at the forefront of problem solving as we …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Jul 2016
Tommy Lee Jones delivers implied facepalm. From No Country for Old Men  Copyright Miramax Pictures. 2007.

Rightside: No domain deal

Domain name system specialist Rightside has turned down a passive-aggressive offer to buy its top-level domains for $70m. The proposed deal "significantly undervalues Rightside's Registry assets," according to its CEO Taryn Naidu. What's more, the proposal was "an opportunistic attempt to acquire Rightside's valuable portfolio …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Jul 2016

FBI won't jail future US president over private email server

The FBI has said it will not recommend nor push for any charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state. At a press conference Tuesday morning, FBI director James Comey gave a lengthy description of the investigation his staff had carried out, focused on whether Clinton has …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Jul 2016

Verisign keeps its dot-com cash cow until 2024

Verisign will retain control over the dot-com registry until 2024, providing it with a multi-billion-dollar cash cow for the next eight years. Verisign's contract to run the internet's most valuable naming structure is not due to end until 2018, but in a sign of the power politics at the top of the internet, the agreement will …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Jul 2016

UN council: Seriously, nations, stop switching off the damn internet

The United Nations officially condemned the practice of countries shutting down access to the internet at a meeting of the Human Rights Council on Friday. A resolution [PDF] entitled The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet effectively extends human rights held offline to the internet. It was …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Jul 2016

European Patent Office palace coup bombs

A determined effort to oust European Patent Office (EPO) president Benoit Battistelli amounted to nothing this week, as representatives from European countries instead spent two days rehashing a reform proposal. The meeting of the EPO's Administrative Council in Munich had threatened to become a showdown over Battistelli's …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Jul 2016

Russia, China fight UN effort to extend human rights onto the internet

Russia and China are fighting an effort at the United Nations (UN) to extend human rights to the internet. The resolution was due to be voted on at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on Thursday, but the vote was put off until Friday amid growing tensions and a spotlight put on the vote by a campaign of over 80 organizations, …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Jun 2016

FCC starts running from cable box rip-off kill-off

Twenty billion dollars is a lot of incentive, as the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has found out. Following a proposal in January, later approved by three of the five FCC Commissioners, cable companies would be obliged to let third parties produce set-top boxes by making subscriber and channel information …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Jun 2016

Apple, Amazon and Google are screwing us, warns Elizabeth Warren

Potential vice-president and Wall Street critic Elizabeth Warren has accused tech giants Apple, Amazon and Google of undermining competition and using their political clout to kill off efforts to place limits on them. Giving the keynote [PDF] at a one-day conference titled "America's Monopoly Problem," the senator warned: " …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Jun 2016

Google hires black man

Google's parent company Alphabet has added finance specialist Roger Ferguson to its board. Ferguson is the CEO of insurance company TIAA and was a former vice chair of the Federal Reserve. He will also be the company's first black man on the board: something that shouldn't be news but is given Silicon Valley's overwhelming …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Jun 2016

Internet takes another step away from US govt and into ICANN's hands

The internet's move away from US government control took a significant step forward Wednesday with the signing of a new contract. The agreement between DNS overseer ICANN and the five regional internet registries (RIRs) AFRINIC, APNIC, ARIN, LACNIC and RIPE covers the provision of public IP addresses across the internet – a …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Jun 2016

Facebook crushes Belgian attempt to ban tracking of non-users

The Belgium Privacy Commission has lost its effort to force Facebook to stop tracking non-users of the website when an appeals court ruled it was outside its jurisdiction. Back in November, the social network was ordered by a Belgian court to kill tracking cookies within 48 hours for people not signed up to – or logged into – …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Jun 2016