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Capgemini exec salaries divulged in annual report

As Capgemini staff were balloting last week on a below inflation pay deal for 2007, the firm published details of the pay increases that went to its top executives last year. Capgemini CEO Paul Hermelin was given a 12.9 per cent rise, including both basic pay and bonuses, in 2006. His take-home, excluding expenses and director' …
Mark Ballard, 11 May 2007
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UK ID card costs climb £600m in six months

The government's cost estimate for its identity card scheme has risen at least £600m in the six months since its last disclosure. According to the May 2007 Identity Cards Scheme Cost report, at last count the project was going to cost £4.9bn between October 2006 and October 2016 (although we reported the estimate was £5.4bn). …
Mark Ballard, 10 May 2007
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Banks put customers in Swift Catch-22

Bank customers wanting to make international transactions are being asked to sign a waiver to allow their personal details and financial records to be scanned by US anti-terror investigators. The waivers put customers in the same Catch-22 European data protection officials found themselves in after it emerged that the US had …
Mark Ballard, 10 May 2007
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Computer saves shredded Stasi files

East German historians have employed the help of a computer program to reconstruct 16,000 sacks of shredded paper that once documented the snooping of the Stasi police. The job was previously done by hand, with a team of 30 workers piecing together 350 sacks of shreds since 1991, The Guardian reports. The team estimated that at …
Mark Ballard, 10 May 2007
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DTI poses perennial sci/tech problem

As the UK's political class tots up Tony Blair's scorecard, there's one area where New Labour hasn't made much progress: Whitehall still feels compelled to organise summits to ask how we can all turn the UK into the world's greatest knowledge econonmy. The earache has all stemmed from the Lisbon Agenda, which in 2000 held the …
Mark Ballard, 10 May 2007
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Greens demand boycott of Lockheed Martin census trial

The Green Party has called for a boycott of the UK's 2007 census pilot because it is being run by US weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Writing in the New Statesman yesterday, Green Party spokeswoman Sian Berry relayed her alarm that Lockheed, "biggest defence contractor in the world; manufacturer of land mines, depleted …
Mark Ballard, 09 May 2007
channel

HP raises outlook

HP has found another billion dollars of sales and another seven pennies profit a share to boost forecast figures for its second quarter financial results. Originally expecting to be reporting something like $24.5bn in sales for its second 2007 quarter next Wednesday, it said today it would instead report about a billion more. …
Mark Ballard, 08 May 2007
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Tribunal forces opening up of ID card 'gateway' docs

The Information Tribunal has forced the disclosure of strategic reviews of the identity cards system by the Office of Government Commerce, which opposed the disclosure of the information. Security consultant Mark Dziecielewski and LibDem MP for Winchester Mark Oaten had made Freedom of Information requests to see details of …
Mark Ballard, 04 May 2007
cloud

Tories plan open door for open source

A Tory strategy to make more use of open source software in the public sector is likely to tackle the culture of secrecy in government procurement, according to early details released to The Register. Planned for publication next month and stemming from shadow chancellor George Osborne's adoption of a West Coast attitude, the …
Mark Ballard, 04 May 2007
Flag United Kingdom

Registrars victims of latest UK.gov IT fiasco

Half of the registries in England and Wales have been told to stop using a new computer system, following "performance difficulties", the Office of National Statistics (ONS) confirmed today. The ONS has not identified the source of the performance problem, according to spokesman, but he denied reports that the system had …
Mark Ballard, 03 May 2007
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Euro Data watchdog warns of database creep

State databases, the way the European Data Protection Supervisor talks about them in its annual report quickly grow beyond their function and not always with benign consequences for the people they have numbered. The EDPS' 2006 Annual Report, published yesterday, noted (100-page pdf) how the data guardian's attention had been …
Mark Ballard, 03 May 2007
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Info chief voices doubts over surveillance tech

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas yesterday told members of the Home Affairs Select Committee on the Surveillance Society that a proliferation of surveillance technologies were being turned on society in the hope of curing its ills - even though the jury was still out on whether it was effective. This stance followed the …
Mark Ballard, 02 May 2007
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Home Office promises proactive powers for info commissioner

The Home Office has promised to give the Information Commissioner powers to make spot inspections on people's databases to determine if they have complied with the Data Protection Act. Reporting to the first hearing of the Home Office Select Committee into the surveillance society today, Information Commissioner Richard Thomas …
Mark Ballard, 01 May 2007
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Euro police data plan attacks 'fundamental rights'

A proposal to allow European police forces to share data undermines fundamental human rights, the European Data Protection Supervisor said today. The European Council's proposal to extend data protection into police and judicial matters was designed to ensure first that police managed their data properly so that they could then …
Mark Ballard, 30 Apr 2007
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Fujitsu threaten one redundancy

The amicable resolution of a long-running dispute between Fujitsu Services and employees at its Manchester office could be in jeopardy after the firm threatened to make one employee redundant. To make matters worse, Amicus, the union leading a dispute over pay, redundancy rights and union recognition at Fujitsu, said the …
Mark Ballard, 27 Apr 2007

Dell finally switches on PC network in Glasgow schools

Dell has finished a managed education service piped to schools in Glasgow a mere four weeks after it was due. The PC firm's tardiness left children in 177 primary schools without computers for nearly two weeks. According to a spokeswoman at Glasgow City Council, schools were expecting to be using their shiny new Dell computers …
Mark Ballard, 27 Apr 2007
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IPRED2 passes, with tweaks to protect personal copying

The European Parliament voted yesterday to pass legislation that could still see people copying music or movies for their own personal use stand in the dock alongside hard-nosed counterfeiters and commercial copyright blaggers. The Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED2) has been designed to criminalise …
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Lawyer says accused 'sharers' should resist legal claims

People who claim they have been wrongly accused of illegally sharing computer games on P2P networks should stand up to their accusers, a legal expert said today. The comments came as Davenport Lyons, the law firm taking action for games publisher Zuxxez, continues to chase 500 British people it claims illegally shared the game …
Mark Ballard, 25 Apr 2007
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IT staff set for chop in Barclays-ABN Amro merger

The proposed £45.6bn merger of Barclays and ABN Amro banks will result in at least 23,000 job cuts, with the IT departments looking most vulnerable. IT union Amicus was reassured by the firms that the job cuts would not likely be compulsory. They were expected to come from natural attrition, which at about 10 per cent equated …
Mark Ballard, 23 Apr 2007
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Europe makes 'progress' on police data protection

The European Council has swept aside widespread reservations about its proposals for a police data protection law. The German Presidency of the European Union claimed in a statement last week that its revised proposal for data protection in the third pillar had been so well received by other member states that it might even …
Mark Ballard, 23 Apr 2007
Panasonic CF-Y5 Toughbook laptop

Panasonic CF-Y5 Toughbook laptop

The CF-Y5 sits at the executive end of its Toughbook range, which if you're actually a stubble-sporting, rugged type, is realistically nearer the bottom of any table of toughness. So you won't be able to drop it down a crevice in the Antarctic and still expect to send an email. Panasonic CF-Y5 Toughbook laptop But if you …
Mark Ballard, 20 Apr 2007
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IT firms compromise on global injustice

IT firms agreed with unions and governments to root exploitation out of their global supply chains after an historic meeting of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva this week. The ILO has never tackled the IT industry before, but its size, the relocation of its manufacturing base to Asia, and emerging stories …
Mark Ballard, 20 Apr 2007
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Unions propose global action

IT union Amicus is discussing a merger with the United Steel Workers (USW) union to create a force able to take on multinational corporations. Along with the Transport and General Workers Union, with which Amicus has already agreed to merge in the UK, the combined force would number nearly 3 million members in Canada, Ireland, …
Mark Ballard, 19 Apr 2007
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UK's 'elitist' immigration rules billed for January

Home Office minister Liam Byrne has announced he is to introduce "tough new Australian-style" migration controls intended, from January next year, to make it tougher for all but "elite" migrants to get into Britain. He also opened discussions with Australia, Canada and the US on how technology might make it easier for them to …
Mark Ballard, 18 Apr 2007
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Facial recognition 'proven' as airport crowd filter

Facial recognition cameras have been proven as a means of spotting wanted people in crowds, claimed LogicaCMG. However, the proof was limited and the owners of public venues have proven reluctant to pay for the technology because they believe their business is entertainment rather than security. LogicaCMG achieved an average …
Mark Ballard, 17 Apr 2007
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P2P pinball lawyers say ignorance is no defence

The lawyers pursuing 500 file sharers for allegedly distributing illegal copies of computer game Dream Pinball 3D have accepted that some of its targets may have been unaware their machine was being used to distribute illegal software. However, alleged perpetrators will still be charged £300 on the assumption they were guilty …
Mark Ballard, 17 Apr 2007
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Europe wants to civilise US terror war

Emissaries from the European Parliament arrived in Washington today with a message of restraint and fairplay for US crusaders in the "war on terror". Worried the US zeal to hunt down terrorists is trampling over the rights of European citizens, members of the European Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will …
Mark Ballard, 16 Apr 2007
Flag India

Indian tiger starts to waddle

Indian outsourcing giant Infosys has posted year end results that show how its growth is still constrained by a lack of resources. At least that's the story the firm gave in January, and it happens to concur with the complaints emanating from its rival multinationals on the subcontinent. It's only a spot of indigestion, though …
Mark Ballard, 13 Apr 2007
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EU data protection chief slams police data sharing treaty

The European Commission, pushed by the European Council, neglected its statutory obligation to ensure its initiatives are democratically accountable, transparent, and planned wisely, when considering plans for police data sharing the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said yesterday. The EDPS took the unusual step of …
Mark Ballard, 12 Apr 2007
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Neighbours from hell will be sent to boot camp

Outcast British families are to be thrown into "sin bins" till they learn how to behave in the community, according to the government. Fifty-three Family Intervention Projects around the country will provide intensive social care for around 1,500 families a year. Some of them will be removed from their communities and housed in …
Mark Ballard, 11 Apr 2007
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UK.gov tells websites to stop bullies

Videos of schoolyard bullying should be blocked from websites, secretary of state for education and skills Alan Johnson said today. Speaking at the national conference of the NASUWT teaching union, Johnson said the internet had allowed bullies to prolong the ordeal for their victims by following them into their homes. This " …
Mark Ballard, 10 Apr 2007
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Transatlantic police data roadmap laid

Europe and the US have begun to plot the direction of a data sharing link between their police and immigration forces. It's a long way off, but indications after talks in Berlin today between European and US negotiators are that both sides are in agreement that's where they are headed. "Our common goals are clear," Franco …
Mark Ballard, 05 Apr 2007
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Brussels rolls coppers over rights barrel

Civil libertarians are holding the security hawks in Brussels to ransom over plans to share police data across the continent. Ensconced in the European Parliament, they have no say in a European Commission proposal for data sharing between European police forces because security matters are outside their legal competence. But …
Mark Ballard, 05 Apr 2007
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Children to nag adults through CCTV

CCTV cameras will bark orders at people who misbehave in the streets of eight major British cities as part of a government scheme to cajole people into respecting authority. Faceless bureaucrats will tell people off when they are being "anti-social" by dropping litter, behaving drunkenly, fighting, and, presumably, smashing up …
Mark Ballard, 04 Apr 2007
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Boy Scouts to model for UK ID checks

The Scouts are prepared to help the Identity and Passport Service design a model procedure for checking people's identities against the ID database. A pilot in June will help the IPS decide how to incorporate passports and ID cards into the identity checking process used by authorised agents of the Criminal Records Bureau, …
Mark Ballard, 04 Apr 2007
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Police data sharing plan faces the chop

A major chunk of the plan to improve police databases in the wake of the Bichard enquiry into the Soham murders is expected to be dropped by the Home Secretary within weeks. Doubt also remains about the final deadline of the Police National Database (PND), the final aim of the Bichard reforms, dubbed collectively as Impact, …
Mark Ballard, 04 Apr 2007
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NHS delivers on X-ray specs

Connecting for Health has chalked up a success in the roll-out of its £12.5bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT). Every hospital in London and the South areas of NPfIT has installed the Picture Archive and Communications System (PACS) made available under the programme. Connecting for Health (CfH) pushed the boat out to explain …
Mark Ballard, 03 Apr 2007
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Games firm woos ISPs on shopping file sharers

Zuxxez, the games firm suing 500 UK file sharers, has begun negotiations to have ISPs cut the prices they charge for grassing up file sharers under court order. UK law allows ISPs to charge to cover the costs of retrieving the addresses of file sharers identified by snooping copyright holders. But the prices they charge vary …
Mark Ballard, 02 Apr 2007
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Swarm of file sharers spurred UK crackdown

Pinball game publisher Zuxxez decided to chase down British file sharers after discovering that illegal downloads of its best-selling Earth 2160 outstripped its retail sales 35 times, clocking up nearly one million Jolly Rogers. Zuxxez found 891,414 people who had attempted to download Earth 2160 between its release on 1 June …
Mark Ballard, 30 Mar 2007
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Football hooligans to get data protection rights

Police across Europe are being urged to respect the civil liberties of suspected football hooligans when they stalk them over the run-up to the 2008 European Championship in Austria and Switzerland. European police forces were given the remit to share intelligence about football fans in 2002. The Austrians, wanting more …
Mark Ballard, 30 Mar 2007
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MPs pay themselves £10,000 website allowance

MPs have voted in favour of a government proposal to give each of them £10,000 to spend on websites to give the public more of an idea of what goes on in Parliament, the BBC reports. House of Commons leader Jack Straw told MPs: "The purpose of this allowance is to contribute to better public understanding of what this …
Mark Ballard, 29 Mar 2007
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Games firm pursues 500 pinball 'pirates' through UK courts

Zuxxez, the German games software distributor, has hired lawyers to chase down about 500 British file sharers, launching the first in a series of swoops by computer forensic experts. Law firm Davenport Lyons will use this case, its first "volume" job to stalk file sharers, to launch a specialist practice. A partner at the firm …
Mark Ballard, 28 Mar 2007
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Brussels downbeat on US passenger snoop plan

Transatlantic talks over the US grab for European personal data in its war on terror are floundering, the European Parliament heard yesterday. US negotiators have told the Europeans that an agreement over its demand for Passenger Name Records isn't necessary, possibly putting a deal beyond the reach of the German Presidency of …
Mark Ballard, 27 Mar 2007
Linux

GPL 3: Open source to open closed shop

The open source movement will tomorrow publish the next public discussion draft of its free software license, GPL 3.0, after cloistered talks over patent challenges from software corporations delayed its release. Free Software Foundation (FSF) licensing compliance engineer Brett Smith said in a statement yesterday: "We had …
Mark Ballard, 27 Mar 2007
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UK gov to control the causes of crime

Ten years since the Prime Minister suggested that social inequality would have to be addressed in order to prevent crime, he is expected to propose a technology-led programme of rehabilitation, intervention and control to tackle the causes of crime. The leaked proposals were published in The Independent following another leak …
Mark Ballard, 26 Mar 2007
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Ireland pounces on school fingerprinters

The Irish Information Commissioner's Office has come down on the notion of school fingerprinting and taken early action to prevent the technology being deployed arbitrarily. It has told the first handful of Irish schools known to be establishing biometric systems that they ought to have a good reason for doing so and has said …
Mark Ballard, 23 Mar 2007
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Commons to eye surveillance society

Government plans for identity cards will be re-examined by MPs as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into the surveillance society due to be announced by the House of Commons Select Committee next Tuesday. The Committee has not yet published its terms of reference for the inquiry, but it will question the government's use of …
Mark Ballard, 23 Mar 2007
Pirates ahoy!

The Federation goes soft on file sharing

The Federation, the UK trade association that prosecutes people for copying software, is letting individual file sharers off the hook and going after corporate software pirates instead. It used electronic surveillance techniques last year to track down bedroom file-sharers in a £100,000, 10-month investigation it called " …
Mark Ballard, 21 Mar 2007
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UK gov says broken passport system justifies ID cards

Rough fraud figures published by the Identity and Passport Service today have become the government's latest justification for its identity card plans. The Home Office estimated that 10,000 fraudulent passport applications were approved in the 11 months to October 2006. But its figures were only partial and the Home Office …
Mark Ballard, 20 Mar 2007
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British Lords applaud Chinese on civil liberties

The UK government faced questions on school fingerprinting in the House of Lords yesterday, led by the accusation that they had a worse track record on civil liberties in this regard than the Chinese. Baroness Joan Walmsley, Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, said the government should look at the Chinese example "The …
Mark Ballard, 20 Mar 2007