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Andrew Orlowski

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Wikipedia: YES! we’ve SAVED the INTERNET again!

Just as we predicted only yesterday, Wikipedia has proclaimed a famous “victory” over something that was never going to happen. The site launched a high-profile campaign to “Save the Freedom of Panorama”, after an amendment was tacked onto a European Parliament report produced by the Parliament’s only Pirate MEP. The amendment …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jul 2015

UK TV is getting worse as younglings shun the BBC et al, says Ofcom

If you thought that British TV drama was getting cheaper and there was less of it, Ofcom has just confirmed your hunch. Ofcom's first (since 1998) review of Public Service Broadcasters, or PSBs, the regulated terrestrial TV dinosaurs, has found three things you already knew. Namely, that British TV companies now spend less …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jul 2015
Panic button

Wikipedia jumps aboard the bogus 'freedom of panorama' bandwagon

Wikipedia has launched another anti-copyright campaign – but it's one that experts say is bogus and misleading. Thousands of pages on the site are now plastered with an appeal to "Save the Freedom of Panorama", a crusade minted by copyright activist and Europe's only Pirate Party MEP, Julia Reda. But Wikipedia users should …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jul 2015
Mississippi River Lock and Dam number 7 with the I-90 Mississippi River bridge downstream. Image: Public Domain

40 states line up with Mississippi in Google Adwords pharma scrap

Attorneys General representing 40 US states have filed an amicus brief backing Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood's investigation into Google. In December, the giant multinational sued the state of Mississippi after it had opened an investigation into Google's business practices (claiming Hood’s complaints did not come under …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jul 2015
Grant Shapps, Conservative Party chairman. Pic: Sportsfile Web Summit

BBC (sort of) sorry for Grant Shapps Wikipedia smear reportage

The BBC has apologised to MP and former Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps for the way it reported allegations regarding Shapps and Wikipedia, which were based on a single anonymous source. Shapps lost the position of party chairman and left the Cabinet, despite running a successful general election campaign. He is …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jun 2015
shutterstock_must credit and link

Lobbynomics: The EU’s digital dossier that doesn't add up

Analysis A key pillar of the EU’s “Digital Single Market” strategy has systemic flaws and EU officials should stop using it, say researchers who analysed the dossier. The IP Growth Index of the Lisbon Council think tank was prepared by council fellow Benjamin Gibert. But it is “a showcase of methodological blunder”, according to an …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jun 2015
rise_of_the_idiots_nathan_barley_648

Revive the Nathan Barley Quango – former Downing Street wonk

The compulsory TV tax could be divvied up and given to Shoreditch digital types to create “compelling digital content”, says Shoreditch property developer and former No 10 special advisor Rohan Silva. Writing in the Sunday Times, Silva called for “a new media fund that invests in private companies producing innovative digital …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jun 2015
Woman throttling man. Pic: quan ha

Google harms consumers and strangles the open web, says study

Google’s favourable treatment of its own services results in consumer harm and will make the web less diverse, a study into search engine users’ behaviour has claimed. Heavyweight law prof Tim Wu, who coined the phrase “net neutrality”, is one of the authors of the study, which was supported by data from Yelp, a Google rival. “ …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jun 2015
Huawei P8

China's best phone yet: Huawei P8 5.2-inch money-saving Android smartie

Review Huawei’s P8 has finally rolled into UK shops, the latest wave of China’s assault on Tier One Android flagships. Huawei P8 Huawei's P8: set to give South Korean phone makers sleepless nights If you don’t know the Huawei proposition, here it is. You won’t get all the bells and whistles from a phone that arrives on a £40-£50 …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jun 2015
Google HQ logo. Pic: Bob Dormon

Google helps Brit crims polish their image – but what about the innocent

Comment Google appears to be "complying" with the so-called European "right to be forgotten" ruling in a way which has helped convicted criminals to give their reputations an unexpected boost. We know this from media organisations which have helpfully listed the stories Google won’t return in its search results. The Telegraph does so …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jun 2015

GCHQ's cyberspooks had Nudge Unit envy – leak

As 10 Downing Street was establishing a Behavioural Insights Team, or "Nudge" unit, based on pop psychology, so too were the spooks at GCHQ. Clearly not wishing to be left out of the behavioural craze sweeping the chattering classes and the thinkfluencers in the ad world, spooks thought they should be brought up to speed on the …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jun 2015
reda_video_your_daily_life_is_illegal_648

Pirate MEP pranks Telegraph with holiday snap scaremongering

Teenaged* German MEP Julia Reda, who believes that “your life is illegal” because of copyright laws, has successfully conned a gullible newspaper into reporting that sharing your own photos will soon be illegal too. The Telegraph’s skiing expert ran a story suggesting that British holidaymakers “may face legal action” for …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Jun 2015

BlackBerry boss vows to keep making phones

BlackBerry CEO John Chen told shareholders at his company's AGM today that he’ll stay in the handset business as he reckons he has a good chance at making money from it. Chen didn’t say how: whether he’d stick doggedly to BlackBerry’s own BB10, flirt with Android, or bring them both into a hypervisor-enabled cohabitation …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jun 2015
RingRing Remember these? What's special about the rear left one?

Give us your software BlackBerry, we love it. The phones? Meh

Rising software revenue helped make up for continuing falls in phone hardware income at BlackBerry in the past quarter, with the waning giant booking revenue of $658m for first quarter of full year 2016, and reported a non-GAAP operating loss of $7m. Forty per cent of all income was phone sales, of around 1.1 million devices. …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jun 2015

Even Apple doesn’t mess with Taylor Swift

Analysis Tech oligarchs aren’t supposed to say sorry. And no, Apple hasn’t formally apologized to the music community for demanding that it works for Apple for free, Apple still comes out of it with plenty of credit. Ten days ago, the contracts for Apple’s new Spotify-ish streaming service leaked out, and they contained an unprecedented …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jun 2015
Stephen Witt, How Music Got Free book cover

How Music Got Free and Creatocracy

Page File Twenty years ago we thought the music industry would disappear and something fairer would take its place, as sure as eggs was eggs. We were right about the first part – but I doubt anyone predicted the new Man would be worse than the old Man. How did we get a system that's actually less ethical than an industry that was founded …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jun 2015

UK.gov loses crucial battle in home-taping war with musicians

The British music industry has dealt a significant legal blow to the UK government – after the law was tweaked to allow Brits to copy audio CDs without another penny going to musicians and labels. Blighty's record industry, unhappy with these changes, today successfully applied [PDF] for a judicial review, meaning a judge will …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jun 2015
Julia Reda MEP, Pirate Party. Pic: Joachim S. Müller

California über alles? Is MEP Reda flushing Euro copyright tradition down the pan?

Interview + update The European Parliament this week made one of its strangest ever decisions, endorsing the replacement of the European cultural tradition with American ideas. Author and academic Robert Levine thinks Pirate MEP Julia Reda’s copyright reform* proposals are the policy equivalent of photo-bombing, and MEPs haven’t really twigged …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jun 2015
obama_oompa_loompas_648

Client-attorney privilege up for grabs in Google fishing trip

A judge will decide whether a fishing expedition by Google to uncover, and then request, documents protected by client-attorney privilege is legitimate, in the latest twist of the Mississippi Saga. Mississippi is one of several states wanting to find out whether Google has complied with a 2011 legal agreement with federal …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jun 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Farewell then, Mr Elop: It wasn't actually your fault

Comment The leadership of Nokia phones shuffled out of Microsoft yesterday, with phones VP Jo Harlow joining former CEO and Microsoft devices VP Stephen Elop in the taxi queue. The traffic wasn’t all one way: Meego UX guy Peter Skillman has joined Microsoft from Nokia’s HERE division. The moves are a result of a corporate reshuffle …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jun 2015

Pirate Party founder: I wanna turn news into a series of three-line viral gobbets

Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge* has declared war on “oldmedia”, which he spells as one word. His Falconwing News service will pump out three-sentence “stories” scraped from real news sources and posted as images. Advertisers will be able to inject their ads into this stream. He vows that he’ll pay writers “better” than “ …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jun 2015

Apple no-pay-for-plays streaming risks indie boycott

The independent music sector may opt-out of Apple Music – at least for its launch – because of the decision by the $731bn-valued giant to pay musicians and composers the big fat round sum of $0 for music streamed during the three-month trial period. Allied to anxieties about cash flow, it means Apple Music could roll out on June …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jun 2015
Google faces antitrust charges in the European Union

Google on Google: The carefully collated anti-trust truth

Google doesn’t always take the threat of anti-trust charges too seriously. After the Wall Street Journal implied that the FTC opted for less aggressive action against Google because of political pressure, Google responded with references to a laughing baby, and by personally attacking the newspaper’s owner. After all, when you’ …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jun 2015
Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our Future

'It’s irrelevant whether Elon Musk is a dick or not. At least he’s trying to make things'

Interview Ex-Reg man Ashlee Vance has written a warts-and-all bio of Elon Musk. We quizzed him on how he did it – and why. Reg: This book has an interesting genesis – Musk wouldn’t co-operate, so you decided to do it anyway. Then he agreed to interviews... Vance: I probably benefited from Elon turning me down, because it totally pissed …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jun 2015

BlackBerry on Android? It makes perfect sense

Analysis Four months ago, BlackBerry announced it was porting key features of its BlackBerry OS software to Android and iOS – stuff like its onscreen keyboard, Universal Search, and the notification Hub. It was only a matter of time before word emerged of somebody actually grabbing this idea and running with it. The only surprise is that …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jun 2015
Use google.com button

Google – you DO control your search results, thunders Canadian court

A Canadian court has rejected Google's claim that it can't control its own search engine, and concluded that the web giant can in fact rein in its vast army of machines. The case – Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Google Inc., 2015 BCCA 265 – was brought by network equipment manufacturer Equustek. It revolves around the de-listing of …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jun 2015
Sharks by https://www.flickr.com/photos/enriquecespedes/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

UK's richest man backs music minnow merger to annoy Ticketzilla

Two former MySpace featurettes which became companies — Songkick, which alerts you to acts playing near you, and CrowdSurge which handles merchandise and ticket sales — have agreed to merge. They will "do business under the globally recognized Songkick brand, bringing together over 500 of the world’s biggest artists with a …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Jun 2015
Hieronymus_Bosch_magician

A pause in global warming? Pah, FOOLS. There was NO PAUSE

Scientists have made the inconvenient “pause” in global warming disappear with a wave of their statistical wand. A new paper published in Science by NOAA estimates that global temperature during period 1998 to 2012 increased twice as fast as all other estimates had calculated. However, the paper has immediately run into a wall …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Jun 2015
Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our Future

Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future

Page File Elon Musk might be one of the most personally obnoxious tycoons to emerge from a culture that isn’t bereft of complete shits. Think Larry Ellison, or Steve Jobs. According to one former employee of his, Musk has “a complete lack of loyalty or human connection”. Yet he’s also by far the most interesting, and his achievements …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Jun 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft spunks $500m to reinvent the wheel. Why?

Comment As strange shopping expeditions go, this has to rank alongside London Bridge being bought, dismantled, and then rebuilt in Arizona. The world’s biggest software company, Microsoft, has now spent half a billion dollars on mobile apps that are poor cousins of its own Exchange and Outlook software. Apps that, in some cases, don’t …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Jun 2015
LG G4 Android smartphone

LG G4: Be careful while fingering this leather-clad smartie pants

Review Despite some lovely work, LG has been a perennial bridesmaid at the smartphone wedding. LG’s rival giant Samsung has walked off with the only profits being made in the Android business. But this year LG senses a chance to be the bride. LG G4 Android smartphone LG's G4 flagship smartie For 2015, Samsung has made its best phone …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Jun 2015
shutterstock_282226826-Internet-of-things

Busy BlackBerry wheels out BB10 and QNX updates

BlackBerry has updated its mature IoT platform based on real-time OS QNX – which can be found in everything from cars to Cisco routers to nuclear power stations – and announced a new partnership with Intel. The world isn’t exactly short of IoT platforms: a couple come out every week. Huawei’s lightweight open source OS LiteOS, …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jun 2015
usb_type_c_648

One USB plug to rule them all? That's sensible, but no...

Comment It’s only taken thirty years, but we’ll soon have one plug that, on paper, does it all: power, video and all kinds of peripherals. Cue headlines about “one cable to rule them all”. And it’s reversible! However, “soon” isn’t “now”. It’s going to be a confusing and expensive journey before the promises are fulfilled. The last …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jun 2015
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, speaking at Build 2015

Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

Opinion What happens when your data sample isn’t representative of the public? We already know, for 2015 is turning out to be the year of the dodgy opinion poll. And it isn’t just politicians who are being stung. In Windows 10, Microsoft says it will hide running apps from the task bar, breaking a twenty-year-old convention which …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jun 2015
Android icon desktop toys

Bank: Without software mojo, Android OEMs are doomed to 'implode'

Analysis You’ve heard that “when Wall Street sneezes, the world catches cold"*, and there are dozens of variations. But perhaps the line needs to be brought up to date. When a large technology platform company dozes off, companies that rely on it for innovation feel the chill – and the chill can be fatal. Ten days ago, investment bank …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Jun 2015
Blade Runner (1982)

More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First

Page File There are two interesting sides to Steve Hilton, the former political advisor once called “Cameron’s Brain”. One is a kind of Holy Fool, who in Government asked questions nobody else dare ask. How come today we need half a million civil servants, when the British Empire was run with just 4,000 from Somerset House? Why do we need …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 May 2015
Parliament in the clouds

GDS to handle Govt payments? What could possibly go wrong?

Be afraid. The previous government’s “elite digital team” which so brilliantly borked most of Whitehall’s websites, and that failed to meet its own targets, may be put in charge of handling real money: your money. New Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock hinted at the opportunity at a gentle public grilling today. Although …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 May 2015

Spotify smashing new media paradigms with something called ‘video’

Streaming music pioneer Spotify wants to broaden its appeal beyond music buffs by incorporating podcasts, video, and Pandora-style personal “radio stations” into its music service. The enhanced Spotify was unveiled yesterday. The BBC is one of several media partners offering video, along with Vice News, Comedy Central and the …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 May 2015
Statue of a girl. Pic: Quinn Dombrowski

Backpage child sex trafficking lawsuit nixed thanks to 'internet freedoms'

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against a classified ads site used by pimps to facilitate underage prostitution, arguing that the “internet freedom” of website operators trumped the rights of three girls who were trafficked and raped. The girls argued that Backpage, a US classified advertising website jointly owned by …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 May 2015

Policy tsarina Rachel 'baby GIF' Whetstone dumps Google for Uber

Google’s comms and policy chief Rachel Whetstone is leaving the company, just weeks after a bizarre, GIF-laden blog post – and her former team has had its wings clipped. Whetstone has been at Google for a decade and was its US policy chief for seven years. In a sign that Google needs to look more grown up, Whetstone’s team will …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 May 2015
BBC Testcard

Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

Analysis The appointment of backbench Tory heavyweight John Whittingdale MP to head the Ministry of Fun will throw the BBC’s senior management into a state of high anxiety, and have the Beeb's opponents grabbing their crotches in excitement. The minister is responsible for the government’s policy on the BBC. Many Tories view the …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 May 2015
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Phablet for the biz fleet with easy typing: Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Review One of my surprising reviews last year was Nokia’s huge, budget phablet, the Lumia 1320. It's fairly similar to the most recent Lumia 640 XL. Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Microsoft's Lumia 640 XL: available in 3G and 4G versions The previous Lumia 1320 was hard to find in the retail catalogues and even Nokia didn’t seem to care for …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 May 2015

Apple taxpayers swarm to stone-age iPhone 6+ purely for the bigness

Remember “Peak Apple”? Maybe you haven’t heard the phrase so much lately. Punters are paying the Apple Tax and it’s primarily because Apple has done exactly what it did before … only in a bigger package. Kantar’s smartphone market share numbers for Q1 show the Apple iPhone 6 Plus seized 44% of the US phablet market in only its …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 May 2015
The European flag

EU geo-blocking: Ansip's crusade liable to disappear through 'unjustifiable' loophole

Analysis Europe’s digital single market proposals encapsulate many of the EU’s problems in one handy document. The intentions are noble, but the utopian “solutions” are clumsy and inept, leaving Eurocrats attempting to brute-force something that people don’t want onto a diverse and disparate collection of countries. Sound familiar? It …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 May 2015

Bruce Schneier's Data and Goliath – solution or part of the problem?

Page File Special Think of some of the ways the Enlightenment helped advance the human individual. The ability to shape your identity. The ability to own and control your stuff. Economic autonomy. All three help to define the modern world, they’re ways we know that ‘now’ is not like ‘before’. All three are founded on the sanctity of the …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 May 2015

Burger me! Microsoft's chainsaw rampage through sacred cow herd

Analysis Microsoft sent so many sacred cows to the abattoir yesterday that April 29th 2015 may well go down in corporate folklore as “Sacred Cow Day”. Or will it be “Mad Cow Day”? [I see what you did there - ed.] Such is Microsoft’s anxiety to get developers writing for its trailing-in-the-distance mobile platforms, it did an …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Apr 2015
Grant Shapps, Conservative Party chairman. Pic: Sportsfile Web Summit

Is Grant Shapps being naughty on Wikipedia – or did a Lib Dem stitch him up?

The story of Grant Shapps and Wikipedia – which dominated news coverage of the General Election for a whole day last week – shows that new media can make a monkey out of respectable old media – even with a tale that falls far short of old media’s standards of proof. The purpose of what follows is not to defend Shapps, who is …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Apr 2015
Google faces antitrust charges in the European Union

Google officially doubles EU lobbying – but true figure is surely higher

Google doubled its EU lobbying efforts last year – but the real figure is likely to be much higher than it has declared, as it doesn’t include money spent on ongoing disputes. The Californian data slurper and hoarder overtook [paywall] Goldman Sachs as the biggest lobbyist in the US last year and is the biggest Federal lobbying …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2015
Microsoft Build conference

'Android on Windows': Microsoft tightens noose around neck, climbs on chair

Build 2015 Microsoft’s annual developer conference Build kicks off later today, and rumours are swirling that Redmond has a bold plan to rescue Windows Phone from irrelevance. Aside from a modest 10 to 15 per cent share in some markets, the platform has gone nowhere, despite billions of dollars of support from Nokia and Microsoft. The plan …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2015
Alan Rusbridger as Judas

FT and Guardian eagerly grab Google's 30 pieces of silver

Money can’t buy you love, they say, but Google hopes it can mollify Europe’s newspaper publishers. Faced with antitrust action in Europe, the Chocolate Factory is pouring €150m directly into the pockets of European newspaper publishers to use on “digital projects”, the FT reports. The cash will fund “joint work on product …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Apr 2015