Richard Chirgwin

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The content business wants Netflix out of Australia

Debate about copyright and virtual private networks (VPNs) has reached such a pitch in Australia that at least one voice wants a policy that, taken literally, would have the effect of closing down Netflix in this country. I don't mean “stopping Australians from accessing Netflix US via VPNs”, I mean “bye-bye Netflix, go home to …
The open web

Microsoft absorbs open-source internal startup MS Open Technology

In what would once have been thought of as an Ominous SignTM, Microsoft has decided it's time for the MS Open Technologies “startup subsidiary” to be absorbed back into Redmond proper. Rather than being ominous, the move seems encouraging, with Microsoft promising to set up a new open source program office in Redmond proper, …
Clouds in blue sky

NTT adds two bit barns to gathering global cloud

NTT is continuing to expand its global cloud footprint, last week announcing plans for major new data centres in America and India. In Sacramento, according to Data Center Knowledge, subsidiary RagingWire is the expansion vehicle, with a third campus that added 180,000 square feet (with 14 MW of power capacity) to its existing …
Svolvaer, Vågan Municipality, Austvågøy Island, Lofoten, Nordland County, Norway - photo by Vincent van Zeijst

Digital killed the radio star: Norway names FM switchoff date

Norway is claiming a world first: having successfully implemented digital radio, the country has announced the dates for a progressive FM radio shutdown. The end will come during 2017, says the country's Ministry of Culture, which has announced that the conditions it set down in 2011 have been met. Instead of the five national …
Google demonstrates new HTTPs feature

Google makes life easier for mixed-content sysadmins

Rejoice, sys admins with big non-encrypted image databases: Google feels your pain and says the next version of Chromium, 43, will provide some relief. One of the challenges, the Chocolate Factory reckons, is that old sites with lots of non-HTTPS resources can't be migrated with a simple flick of the switch. In current browsers …

Raytheon suspected of readying for Websense slurp

The biz-wires are abuzz with industry talk that enterprise net-filter outfit Websense will be slurped by Raytheon for a cool $US1.9 billion. Now an e-mail and Web security company with deployment options from the desktop to the cloud, Websense had long lived under the wing of private equity company Vista Equity Partners (VEP). …
Glaciers on Mars

Scummy transients FOUND ON MARS by NASA rover

Hard on the heels of news from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that Mars could have extensive sub-surface glaciers, Curiosity Rover has gone a step better and found evidence of “transient” liquid water. It's neither pure enough nor (as a liquid) plentiful enough to support life, but it's still enough to get the boffinry quietly …
Ganesha street art by Flickr user avlxyz https://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/

India joins 'net neutrality debate

Mobile carrier app deals like “Free Facebook with your plan” have controversially entered India's nascent internet neutrality debate, courtesy of that country's regulator and its tech minister. While America is dealing with the inevitable lawsuits over its 'net neutrality rules, India's Telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar …
MIT 3D heads from 2D pics

MIT shows off machine-learning script to make CREEPY HEADS

Don't write code when you can re-use code is a well-known principle in writing software, but using it to replace thousands of lines of code with 50 seems positively parsimonious. That's what MIT is claiming with an upcoming demonstration of what it calls “probabilistic code”, an approach which it says it's applied to the field …
MGH's microbead diagnostics

US hospital boffins demo cancer-busting smartphone kit

America's FTC might be chasing after snake-oilers offering “detect cancer” smartphone apps, but that doesn't mean your mobe can't play a genuine diagnostic role. Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital reckon with a bit of cloudy goodness, custom-made add-on optics and the right reagent kit, smartphones can gather …
money trap conceptual illustration

Russia pulls alleged 'Svpeng' kingpin

Russia's Ministry of the Interior has gone public about the March 24 arrest of a 25-year-old and four others it believes was the leader of a gang of cyber-scum behind the “Svpeng” money-draining malware. The Android malware is believed to have netted a near million-dollar haul within Russia alone (50 million rubles), hitting 350 …

NO, Joe Hockey, a 'Netflix tax' wouldn't raise 'billions'

Where does Joe Hockey, Australia's treasurer, get his data from? While The Register has no ideological opposition to the notion of a “Netflix tax” – that is, that a download bought by an Australian in Australia should be subject to the same 10 per cent GST whether its source is Netflix or locals like Fetch TV or Quickflix – we …

NSA: 'Back doors are a bad idea, give us a FRONT door key'

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for an iPhone, and we'll give you an encryption master key” seems to be the dream of the National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA's latest thought bubble, floated in front of noted cryptography journal The Washington Post, is that a “master key” for all products running …
Googorola logo

Google tips LTE patents into mostly-public pool

The LTE rollout has moved a little closer to avoiding sueball spats that have long plagued the tech biz, with Google tipping a bucket of its IP into Via Licensing. Via Licensing, set up years ago by Dolby Laboratories, set up an LTE patent pool in 2012, with ten participants including names like AT&T and Clearwire, KDDI, NTT …
racks of Fujistu lettuce

Microsoft, Fujitsu team in Internet of Lettuce effort

A nearly two-year-old Fujitsu project to apply sensors and cloud computing to growing low-potassium vegetables has attracted the attention of Microsoft. The two companies have used what's probably the least-leafy venue imaginable, Hannover Messe, to announce a tie-up in which Windows 8.1 Pro running on Fujitsu devices, Fujitsu's …
Olympics one month, invading crimea the next

Russian censor warns against meme 'misuse'

A court case over an insulted singer has led the Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor to issue a big “nyet” on a bunch of nearly-ubiquitous social media habits. As well as mockery, the regulator's post on the Facebook-like social network Vkontakte warns citizens against creating parody accounts, or pretending to be a celebrity …
Peryton signal

Strange radio telescope signals came from microwave ovens

Boffins' lunches have been fingered as the source of a long-standing mystery: the peryton, which clouded discussions of the origin of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs). Perytons have some similarities to FRBs (such as signal dispersion), but scientists were always fairly certain that their origin was terrestrial. At Parkes, for example, …

ɘƨɿɘvɘЯ algo attack cracks Belkin router WPS PINs: researcher

A researcher who last year turned up weak WPS PIN protection in D-Link broadband modems has found the same problem exists on Belkin devices. The writer at embedded systems hacker hangout /dev/ttyS0, who goes by the name of Craig, says the upshot of his latest work is the same as previously: it demonstrates that like D-Link, …

Do your switches run Cumulus Linux? Puppet will pull your strings

Cumulus Networks, home of a Linux-of-choice for white-box switches, has linked arms with Puppet Labs and joined its Puppet Supported Program. While it's “just another” certification from one angle, Puppet's Carl Caum told The Register it's important to the company. He said while there are plenty of tools to manage equipment in …
Double Facepalm; when one facepalm is not enough.

Oh no, Moto! Cable modem has hardcoded 'technician' backdoor

Researchers at Rapid7 have turned up a set of typically dumb vulnerabilities in Motorola's DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS 3.0-capable SURFboard SBG 6580 cable broadband modem. The device, which also ships under the Arris brand, has vulnerabilities included hardcoded login credentials that will allow an outside attacker to take control of the …

Google wants Marvin the Paranoid Android's personality in the cloud

Someone at the Chocolate Factory doesn't realise that Douglas Adams wrote satire, and has patented replaceable robot personalities. In US Patent 8,996,429, filed in 2012 and published on March 31, Google's Anthony Francis and Thor Lewis propose a robot that “may be configured to tailor a personality for interaction with the user …

Amazon listens to MORE of your private stuff

Having started capturing what you say in your home and sending it to the cloud in November, Amazon has decided that its Echo product needs to do more than just read the news. At launch, Amazon promised that Echo would be “always getting smarter”. It's now delivering on that threat promise. Agence France Presse says home …
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Dallas Buyers Club doubles down on Oz Torrenters

The law firm that secured an Australian Federal Court decision against iiNet and other ISPs says it's widening its field of fire to target a further 23,000 individuals. Marque Lawyers' boss Michael Bradley has told The West Australian that Australian internet service provider (ISP) iiNet was targeted by way of a test case. With …

Cisco security software needs security patch

Cisco's ASA FirePOWER services and ASA CX Services are vulnerable to a denial of service (DoS) bug in the virtualisation layer. The just-updated ASA FirePOWER threat-detection platform and ASA CX (which adds application and user ID awareness to the system) could be forced to reload by an attacker hosing their management …
slow_sign

Tasmania wants more backbone

The government of the Australian state of Tasmania has commissioned a feasibility study into a possible new optical fibre cable across the Bass Strait. Until this century, the island state's only connection to the Australian mainland was provided by Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, which has two fibre routes. That was …

Stop climate change by drinking Coca-Cola says Oz government

If you want to understand the quality of advice the Australian government wants in the climate change debate, you need only need one passage from page 56 of a new report into the energy sector. Discussing carbon capture and storage, which currently has “failed technology” status nearly the whole world around, the government's …
Elephant

What you think is big data isn't what the bloke next to you thinks is big

America's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has added another monster document to its big data frameworks, this time covering interoperability. The seven-volume, 340-plus-page tome is designed to set the direction for America's input into international standards, the NIST says in its canned announcement. …
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Carrier club's copyright code off to ACMA

A day after Dallas Buyers Club won the right to get names and addresses of putative pirates in Australia, the Communications Alliance has sent its proposed piracy code off to for regulatory approval. The code – full name the Copyright Notice Scheme Code 2015 – has been submitted to the Australian Communications and Media …
Collection of antique keys

Your home automation things are a security nightmare

It's not just home broadband routers that have hopeless security: according to security outfit Veracode, cloudy home automation outfits also need to hang their collective heads in shame. With nothing but standard by-the-manual configurations and network traffic capture – but with no attacks against the devices or the cloud …

Cisco pitches security for SMEs

Small and/or medium businesses and branch offices rejoice: Cisco has joined the ranks of vendors deciding you warrant security you can afford. As incidents like the Target “hack” demonstrated, a small contractor can easily provide a path into an enterprise network, so one of the key chunks of The Borg's latest announcement is to …
ONOS Logo

ONOS to SDN world: here's our numbers, show us yours

The ONOS (Open Network Operating System) software defined networks project has shipped the second iteration of its code, and with it hopes to encourage the SDN controller sector to start publishing detailed performance metrics. Prajakta Joshi, director of products at ON.Lab, told The Register that while SDN is seeing strong …
Brocade logo

Brocade targets SDN planners in campus switch range refresh

Brocade has announced a new bunch of campus switches, and with them support for new software defined network (SDN) features and a nifty ability to mix different switches in the stack as if they were all the same kind. While the press release tries to grab the eye with stuff like port density and speeds-and-feeds, the Switch Port …
management regulation2

THOUSANDS of alleged pirates' addresses to be handed to Dallas Buyers Club

A few thousand Australians will get a cease-and-desist of some kind from the owners of the film Dallas Buyers Club after local internet service provider (ISP) iiNet and its co-defendants lost a Federal Court case. As a result of the loss, Dallas Buyers Club LLC will be able to get the names and addresses of subscribers it …
Intel compute stick

Intel shows Google how to stick it real good

Intel has loosed its Chromebit-killer, the Compute Stick, on the market with pre-orders open at NewEgg, Amazon and other outlets. It's more expensive than the expected sub-$US100 price tag on Chromebit: a Linux Compute Stick is available at Newegg for $US109.99 and a Windows 8.1 version is $US149.99. Google seems to have done a …
Network Functions Virtualisation

OpenMANO: Telefonica's slice of NFV goes live

Another piece of ETSI's network function virtualisation (NFV) plans have emerged as code, with Telefonica putting its OpenMANO project up on Github. ETSI's MANO (Management and Organisation, with an extra “N” thrown in because otherwise the acronym would be MAO) is the orchestration component of the standards body's NFV …

Supposed spy-busting Anonabox insecure, says Cloak Project

Updated A developer at the Cloak Project is about to reignite the Anonabox controversy with an analysis of the device that finds it still runs unencrypted Wi-Fi and has a poorly-secured network-reachable admin interface. Anonabox has advised The Register that the issues did exist, but have been patched – update in detail at the end of …
Google UK office logos

Google hopes to add free roaming to its coming cellular service

Another detail has emerged about Google's plan to resell mobile services under its own brand: the Chocolate Factory hopes it will be able to offer free international roaming with its handsets. The UK's Daily Telegraph reports the Chocolate Factory is negotiating its first roaming deal with Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong giant …

Feds ponder jamming journo comms in Australian Parliament

Canberra's appetite for security theatre could soon see comms blackouts in Parliament House as a response to terrorist threats. The proposal emerged by way of a briefing with the president of the press gallery, David Speers, who told Fairfax Media it's part of a plan to ramp up parliamentary security. As well as armed …
RFID_snail

Boring fixed 'net users still dominate Oz market

By now it must be obvious that Australia's mobile data allowances are laughable: in the last quarter of 2014, year-on-year growth in fixed broadband downloads outpaced total mobile downloads by nearly 3:1. The Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS') regular Internet Activity publication shows that fixed consumption went up by …
The UCLA supercapacitor demo

UCLA trumpets supercapacitor for wearables or implants

A hybrid supercapacitor out of UCLA has got the uni's boffins excited, since they claim they've achieved high energy density but in a thinner-than-paper package. In a paper published at PNAS (abstract), the researchers claim capacitance of more than 1,100 Farads per cubic centimetre – or around 1,145 Farads per gram, which is …

Juniper, VMWare see silver OpenDaylight through the cloud

Updated A couple of OpenDaylight's platinum members, VMWare and Juniper Networks, are scaling down their involvement with the Linux Foundation's SDN controller project. However, it doesn't look as if the project is going away any time soon, since there are still more supporters now than there were in December 2014, and since its initial …

Cisco buys back alumni: wants to acquire Embrane

The Borg has followed up on its 2014 $US14 million investment in virtualisation business Embrane by announcing it intends to buy the business. In an announcement that partner-competitors like Citrix and VMWare will probably wish was an April Fool's release, Cisco said the acquisition will give it a team that lets it “move more …

POODLE vuln dogs Australian consumer modems

The persistent awfulness of consumer broadband modems is once again in evidence, with the Poodle and Freak bugs present in a huge number of Australian households. The issue has hit Twitter, with some people reporting that ISPs are notifying them of possible malicious traffic – but without useful information on what to do. TPG …
The Ethernet Alliance's data centre roadmap

Ethernet Alliance plots 1.6 terabit-per-second future

Think 100 Gbps Ethernet is The Coming Thing? You ain't seen nothing yet: one of the venerable standard's custodians wants it going a hundred times faster by the end of another decade. No, this isn't El Reg April Foolery: that's what the Ethernet Alliance's 2015 roadmap expects to be able to deliver. Of course, the screaming …
A Guide to the Cockroaches of Australia

Harper review: break up ACCC, free up IP*, let freedom reign

Australia's federal government has conducted a review into competition policy and there's plenty in it to ponder for the country's tech sector. Following last September's release of its preliminary study, the Harper Review has now issued its final report. Aside from the recommendation that the rules governing ride-sharing be …
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

US still hoarding zero-day app vulnerabilities, say EFF campaigners

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation reckons America's spooks aren't living up to the Obama administration's 2014 statement that it would disclose more vulnerabilities than it hoarded. In April 2014, the administration told the world it would only keep vulnerabilities back where its spooks thought it was vital for intelligence …
Picard Facepalm

Thanks for the data retention, tech sector

While Australians wring their hands over data retention, let's also remember the tech sector's abject failure to influence politics in the seven years the debate's been running here. The sector, from start-ups to international giants, merely continued its long run of failing to get what it wanted from Australian politics – a …

Ding Dong, ALIENS CALLING

Sorry, sci-fi fans: pretty much anyone who's imagined what a near-light-speed spacecraft would look like has got it wrong, because they've forgotten its interaction with photons. Not only that, but according to a couple of scientists working for Raytheon, it doesn't matter whether Einstein's proposition that you'll never …
Periscope and Meerkat by Flickr user Anthony Quintano https://www.flickr.com/photos/quintanomedia/

Periscope smeared by streaming security SNAFU

Twitter's Meerkat-strangling live streaming app Periscope has had its first privacy SNAFU, leaking the titles (but not the content) of videos meant for private circulation only. Periscope allows users to stream live video into their Twitter feeds. The app debuted mere days after a very similar app, Meerkat, became the Bong! …
Inside the Google Lab where surgeons prepare the human/dog experiment

Google plans ROBOTS to SLICE YOU OPEN AND CUT YOU UP

Google has signed a deal to collaborate with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon to work on surgical robotics applications. The J&J statement says the two companies will “bring together capabilities, intellectual property and expertise” in building a robotic-assisted surgical platform, with the kind of supporting sentence that …