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Kelly Fiveash

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Rolex in Live and Let Die

ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

The Tory-led government's "emergency" data retention and investigation powers (Drip) bill currently being rushed through Parliament has caught ISPs off guard, it has emerged. The Register understands that telcos were only gently briefed on the plans ahead of last week's announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron. An industry …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jul 2014
slow_sign

UK.gov warned: Small biz bods 'blunted' by broadband bumbling

Small businesses in Britain are missing out on the government's £1.2bn taxpayer-funded broadband deployment project, a lobby group warned today. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) complained in a report titled The fourth utility (PDF) published this morning that 45,000 companies in the UK remained stuck using dial-up …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jul 2014

UK's emergency data slurp: IT giants panicked over 'legal uncertainty'

The UK government secured the backing of the country's main political parties today to rush an emergency Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill (DRIP) through Parliament just seven days before MPs break for summer recess. It comes after communications providers and telcos who operate in Britain but have headquarters based …
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Jul 2014

UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention

Emergency law is expected within days to be pushed through Parliament that will force ISPs to retain customer data to allow spooks to continue to spy on Brits' internet and telephone activity, after existing powers were recently ruled invalid by the European Union's highest court. The planned legislation crucially has cross- …
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Jul 2014

Yelp files competition complaint against Google search biz in EU

Local services review site Yelp has formally submitted a complaint against Google's search business to Brussels' competition officials. It comes as the European Commission's antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia pushes to bring an end to a lengthy probe of the ad giant by sealing a proposed settlement deal with Google, even as …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Jul 2014

BT slapped down by BSkyB over O2 broadband 'switch off' porkies

A BT direct mail advertising campaign spectacularly backfired on the telco after it claimed BSkyB would switch off O2 users' broadband. Sky bought the consumer broadband and fixed-line biz of Telefónica UK-owned O2 in March last year. The telecoms giant had claimed in a shouty flyer posted through Brits' letterboxes that BSkyB …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Jul 2014
A boat full of Fail

TalkTalk talks itself into trouble with budget broadband package fibs

TalkTalk has been admonished for misleading customers with claims that it offered "Britain's lowest priced totally unlimited broadband". BT and another complainant challenged three separate issues with a series of adverts in the press and online that wrongly suggested that the budget telco had cheaper deals than its competitors …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Jul 2014
Houses of Parliament in night-time

Universal Discredit: Gov admits Treasury HASN'T signed off biz case

Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions scrambled to dismiss comments made by the government's head of the civil service late on Monday, after Sir Bob Kerslake told MPs that the Treasury had yet to make the business case for the widely derided Universal Credit programme. The chair of the Public Accounts Committee, …
Kelly Fiveash, 08 Jul 2014
Grumpy cat

Virgin Media goes titsup AGAIN. The cause? Yet MORE DNS strife

Virgin Media has declined to comment on yet another DNS outage that hit some of its subscribers on Monday night. The telco, when quizzed by The Register, admitted that it had suffered yet more downtime woe but refused to explain what was behind the company's recent network wobbles. A spokesman at the Liberty Global-owned cable …
Kelly Fiveash, 08 Jul 2014
Watch in Never Say Never Again

Report: UK.gov wants to legislate on comms data BEFORE next election

The UK's Tory-led coalition government is reportedly pushing to bring in a new surveillance law forcing ISPs to retain subscriber data for 12 months ahead of next year's General Election. It's the latest in a series of attempts from the Theresa May-led Home Office to legislate on communications data, known colloquially as the …
Kelly Fiveash, 07 Jul 2014
Zuckerberg topless

Journal that published Facebook emoto-furtle study: Proper boffins get CONSENT

Facebook's ethical standards do not meet those of most researchers who conduct studies on human subjects, the journal which published the "secret", emotion-manipulative research on nearly 700,000 of the social network's users has said. The journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PDF), has now made a …
Kelly Fiveash, 04 Jul 2014

OMG, sorry about 'poor comms' on Facebook secret emoto-meddle tests. Laters!

A top Facebook chief has admitted the firm did a poor job of informing its users about a controversial 2012 experiment that manipulated the emotions of nearly 700,000 people on the free content ad network. COO Sheryl Sandberg told reporters during a meeting in India on Wednesday that Facebook had made a hash of the secret test …
Kelly Fiveash, 03 Jul 2014
Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies

ISPs haul GCHQ into COURT over dragnet interwebs snooping

Britain's eavesdropping nerve centre GCHQ has been accused of unlawfully accessing the private communications of potentially millions of people – and angry internet service providers are dragging the snooping agency to court. ISPs and organisations from the US, UK, Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Korea and Germany have teamed up with …
Kelly Fiveash, 02 Jul 2014
Google Chocolate Factory

Google policy wonk patronises Brits over EU search biz probe

Google repeatedly batted away questions about whether it favours its search result services over those of its rivals in Europe, during a frustrating exchange on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning. The ad giant's public policy veep, Rachel Whetstone, who is the wife of Steve Hilton - the brains behind Prime Minister David …
Kelly Fiveash, 02 Jul 2014

Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE DNS outage

Virgin Media customers were kicked offline last night, after a DNS blunder from the cable company disrupted its network on Tuesday. It comes after rival BT suffered a similar, widespread technical cockup over the weekend. Virgin Media, which is owned by US telecoms giant Liberty Global, coughed to a "nationwide DNS outage" on …
Kelly Fiveash, 02 Jul 2014

British and European data cops probe Facebook user-manipulation scandal

UK and Irish data watchdogs are investigating claims that Facebook failed to seek the consent of its users before allowing researchers to manipulate their emotions via newsfeed meddling. The Register asked the office of the UK's Information Commissioner if it planned to probe Facebook following widespread criticism of its …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jul 2014

Viv Reding quits justice commish role - heads for EU parliament

European justice commissioner Viviane Reding resigned from her Brussels' post today, after taking up her recently won seat in the European Parliament. The Luxembourg Christian Social People's Party politico said in a short Facebook post that her MEP mandate had begun on the same day as the "drastic reduction of tariffs of ' …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jul 2014
Dunce

GCSE Computing teachers cry victory as board decides NOT to bin tech teens' work

Frustrated GCSE Computing teachers who battled against OCR's shambolic handling of cheating claims say they are relieved to see the awarding body has finally reached a "common sense" decision on the matter. The exam board, which is part of Cambridge Assessment, had backtracked on an earlier notice that had said that it had …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jul 2014

Twitter swallows BEHAVIOURAL AD firm TapCommerce

Twitter plans to buy mobile behavioural ad outfit TapCommerce for an undisclosed sum. It's the micro-blogging site's latest strategy to attempt to turn around a profit at the company, which floated on to Wall Street late last year. Twitter said in a blog post that TapCommerce was "a leader in mobile retargeting and re- …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jul 2014
Homer Simpson reading on PC

Cambridge Assessment exams CHAOS: Computing students' work may be BINNED

Budding tech teens - who have taken close to 40 hours of Computing GCSE controlled assessments - face the agony of seeing some of their work scrapped by a leading Brit exam board, after it said it was withdrawing tasks for key units amid cheating claims. Awarding body the OCR, which is part of Cambridge Assessment, had posted an …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Jul 2014

Google kills its successful social network. Yes, we mean Orkut

Google is killing off Orkut, the web giant's original and arguably most successful social network, which remains popular in Brazil and India but never really gained traction in the West. Worse still, the Mountain View company announced the move during the World Cup football tournament – taking place in Brazil. In a carefully …
Kelly Fiveash, 30 Jun 2014

Facebook: Yes, we made you SAD on PURPOSE... for your own good

Facebook has hit back at its critics after the social network instructed researchers to meddle with its users' "news feeds" in order to manipulate their emotions. The free-content ad network sparked anger when it emerged its data scientist Adam Kramer gave a green light to trick-cyclists to filter out positive and negative posts …
Kelly Fiveash, 30 Jun 2014

BT at last coughs to 'major outage' after broadband went titsup across UK on Sat

BT was hit by a huge DNS outage on Saturday morning but the telecoms giant was very slow to respond to customer complaints, it has been claimed. A DNS flaw downed BT's network across Blighty, according to anecdotal reports on Twitter. But the one-time state monopoly was very sluggish to respond to gripes from subscribers who …
Kelly Fiveash, 30 Jun 2014

Google: Glass goggles are a 'fairly lousy surveillance device'

Google's creepy Glass wearable could breach Britain's Data Protection law, the Information Commissioner's office has warned. The ad giant began flogging the device in Blighty this week for £1,000 a pop. That move prompted the country's data watchdog to outline the "privacy implications of wearable technology" in a blog post …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Jun 2014

UK.gov: Forget Google and those other chaps... Use THIS open Internet of Stuff specification

The Internet of Things is all a question of semantics, according to a government-backed consortium that includes mega tech players like BT, IBM and ARM. IBM's master inventor (yes, that's a real job) Andy Stanford-Clark demonstrates IoT streetlight illumination IoT is a "hype term" that within 10 years will simply be referred …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Jun 2014
Google walks

Google adds 'data protection' WARNING to Euro search results

Google has begun notifying European Union-based netizens that its search results have to respect the 28-member-state bloc's 19-year-old data protection law. The ad giant has plastered the warning on its search engine across the EU from today. But, anyone living in those countries who navigate to Google.com will find that the " …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Jun 2014
BT Openreach van

Ofcom to BT Openreach: From now on, you'd better kill 70% of gremlins within 2 days

BT faces strict new measures to speed up Openreach repairs on its aged copper infrastructure from the start of next month, the UK's communications watchdog said today. Ofcom warned BT that it will be expected to fix around 70 per cent of phone and broadband faults within two working days over the course of a year. That …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Jun 2014

Super-snoop bid: UK government hits panic button on EU data retention ruling

Home Secretary Theresa May has claimed "there is no surveillance state" in Britain today as she once again called for a change in law to prevent the internet becoming "an ungoverned, ungovernable space". The Snoopers' Charter champion, speaking to dignitaries at Mansion House in London last night, did not once mention the …
Kelly Fiveash, 25 Jun 2014

Snowden defends mega spy blab: 'Public affairs have to be known by the public'

Master spy blabbermouth Edward Snowden defended his NSA whistleblowing actions to the Council of Europe today. He told the human rights' parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg, via video link from Moscow, that he had a "personal duty to country, government and family" to reveal details about snooping methods employed by the US and …
Kelly Fiveash, 24 Jun 2014

Labour vows: We'll pause one-dole-to-rule-them-all for drastic fix-up if elected in 2015

The Labour Party has promised to put the brakes on the deeply troubled Universal Credit system for three months if it gets into government next year. During that time, shadow work and pensions minister Rachel Reeves said that Labour would urge the National Audit Office to conduct a review of the lumpen welfare reform programme. …
Kelly Fiveash, 24 Jun 2014

France frostily foists flat fizz fear on ICANN's .wine plans

Wine vendors are fighting against ICANN's plans to introduce .wine and .vin top level domain names. During a packed government advisory meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers in London on Monday morning, France's minister for digital affairs Axelle Lemaire told delegates that her country was opposed …
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Jun 2014
South Park Ginger Cow episode

Broadband bumpkin BONANZA: 8 altnets shortlisted for £10m UK.gov subsidy

The government has earmarked a £10m wad of broadband cash for eight outfits whose bids were shortlisted for what the Ministry of Fun described as the "feasibility stage" to bring faster internet connections to hard-to-reach parts of Blighty. It said the Tory-led Coalition was "focusing on exploring ways to reach those premises …
Kelly Fiveash, 19 Jun 2014

BT and TalkTalk BOTH claim victory as Ofcom tackles fibre price row

TalkTalk claims it has won a crucial battle in its war on BT's alleged stranglehold of Blighty's fibre broadband market. Today, Ofcom proposed regulating the way BT sets its prices for superfast broadband – to ensure there's an ample margin between the amount it charges ordinary folks and the amount it charges rival ISPs to use …
Kelly Fiveash, 19 Jun 2014

Assange™ makes fresh bid for FREEDOM from Scotland Yard's 'physical encirclement'

Julian Assange™ is attempting to break out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been encamped for two years. His lawyers plan to file a request with the Stockholm District Court in Sweden, where Assange is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual coercion, sexual molestation and rape. The WikiLeaker-in- …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Jun 2014
Ski the Santa Clara police dog

Google will 'pre-select' an 'independent' competition inspector in EU search case

Competition chiefs in Brussels have begun sending out rejection letters to complainants in the long-running Google search antitrust case, revealing - among other things - that the ad giant will be picking candidates for the role of "monitoring trustee". The person or persons appointed to the role will be expected to …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Jun 2014

NHS slammed for MAJOR data blunders as scale of patient info sell-off is revealed

The NHS struck four "data-sharing" deals with three re-insurance companies that allowed them access to patient information under agreements that don't expire until 2015 and 2016. That's among the shocking findings of a review of data released by the NHS Information Centre - the predecessor to the Health and Social Care …
Kelly Fiveash, 17 Jun 2014

Level 3 gobbles rival TW Telecom in $5.7bn deal (that's 5 Instagrams)

Internet backbone provider Level 3 has bought its competitor TW Telecom in a cash and stock mega-deal valued at $40.86 per share. The planned $5.7bn merger, if waved through by US regulators and shareholders, would further consolidate the telco market stateside. "We believe this is a financially compelling and very strategic …
Kelly Fiveash, 17 Jun 2014
Boris Johnson

'I'm for free speech!' brave Boris bellows, bewildered by 'right to be forgotten' bluster

Has Boris Johnson been paying too much attention to Jimmy Wales while the Wikipedia co-founder bangs on about Europe's so-called "right to be forgotten"? On Monday, the Mayor of London claimed the European Court of Justice's ruling that made Google subject to European privacy laws was suddenly bad news for freedom of expression …
Kelly Fiveash, 17 Jun 2014
Child swearing

Virgin Media boss AND ex-Murdoch man: BSkyB broadband is 'lousy'

Virgin Media boss Tom Mockridge has lashed out at BSkyB by claiming that its broadband service is "lousy". Such a jibe might appear - on the surface at least - as an obvious moan from a rival player, but his vehemence might surprise some considering that Mockridge was the deputy chairman of BSkyB, which is 39 per cent owned by …
Kelly Fiveash, 17 Jun 2014

Yes. Facebook will KNOW you've been browsing for smut

Facebook is pushing the idea that it is offering tighter ad controls to its users just as it prepares to start targeting the web and app browsing habits of netizens in the US. Judging by Facebook's campaign, its users are super-pumped about ads on the Mark Zuckerberg-run network, but would be even happier if all that …
Kelly Fiveash, 12 Jun 2014
Double Facepalm; when one facepalm is not enough.

Sealed with an XSS: I gave TweetDeck a heart attack, says teen comp sci boff Firo

A teenager claims to have been the source of the embarrassing TweetDeck security gaffe that was exposed to millions of Twitter users on Wednesday. The 19-year-old "small, strange but cuddly" Austrian electronics and computer science student - whose handle on the micro-blogging site is Firo Xl - said that he spotted a very basic …
Kelly Fiveash, 12 Jun 2014
A fresh horse dump

TalkTalk whips BT with riding crop over sport fibs in telly ad

Budget telco TalkTalk - whose boss Dido Harding probably knows a thing or two about sportsmanship having once competed as a jockey - has successfully challenged a BT advert for misleading television viewers. The Advertising Standards Authority upheld the company's complaint against an ad for BT Sport that featured presenter Jake …
Kelly Fiveash, 11 Jun 2014

IPv4 addresses now EXHAUSTED in Latin America and the Caribbean

The allocation of internet addresses using the IPv4 protocol in Latin America and the Caribbean has hit a critical stage, the region's registry (LACNIC) warned on Tuesday. It said that its IPv4 address pool had been "officially exhausted" and urged businesses and governments in the geographical area – which spreads from the …
Kelly Fiveash, 11 Jun 2014

Facebook's new self-destructing pic app SELF-DESTRUCTS

Facebook mistakenly hit the button to unleash a new app called Slingshot that's similar to Snapchat – clumsily releasing it early on Apple's iTunes store yesterday. The Menlo Park biz has yanked the software, which allows you to send self-destructing sexts photos to tease friends. Gizmodo noted Slingshot requires a little more …
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Jun 2014

EU ministers respond sleepily to Viv Reding's 'Snowden wake-up call' on data protection

The European Union's justice commissioner Viviane Reding is convinced that her proposed data protection package will be adopted next year, even though ministers continue to disagree on some of the more delicate points laid out in the planned rules. Brussels' vice president said ahead of a meeting with the justice and home …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Jun 2014

Sprint eyes T-Mobile, grabs $32 BEELLION from wallet, prepares to SLURP

The question - not if - but when Sprint would snap up T-Mobile in the US moved one step closer to reality today, after the wireless carrier was reportedly valued at nearly $40 a share. T-Mobile, according to the Wall Street Journal, has been valued at around $32bn. A merger could be agreed within weeks, people familiar with the …
Kelly Fiveash, 05 Jun 2014

Londoners urged to cut landlines and take up wireless broadband

A wireless broadband provider is punting a landline-free package to Londoners living in the heart of the city. UK Broadband, which is owned by Hong Kong's telco PCCW Group, has grown a new tentacle in Blighty's capital to offer what it described as "fibre-fast speeds without any hassle". The new company, Relish, is able to …
Kelly Fiveash, 05 Jun 2014

Queen's Speech: Computer Misuse Act to be amended, tougher sentences planned

The final session of Parliament before next year's General Election was opened by the Queen today, who told MPs and peers that the Tory-led coalition government had 15 bills tabled. There was little of note on the tech front, with two exceptions – both detailed within the Serious Crime Bill. The first is that plans are afoot to …
Kelly Fiveash, 04 Jun 2014

EU's year-long, muddled search for a privacy head rumbles on

The European Union is yet to find a replacement for its current data protection boss Peter Hustinx, who was supposed to vacate the post in January but stayed on after it became clear that none of the candidates were suitable successors. Late last month, Brussels officials finally re-advertised jobs for the European Data …
Kelly Fiveash, 04 Jun 2014
Peril Sensitive Sunglasses - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Is the answer to life, the universe and everything hidden in Adams' newly uncovered archive?

We all know that the, er, "bad guys are Vogons". Douglas Adams explained as much in his cracking 1979 sci-fi novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But what if there are new baddies to be unearthed and nerdish gags to marvel at – well, nerdishly – from the words of the great man himself? Wait no longer: a new biography – …
Kelly Fiveash, 31 May 2014