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John Lettice

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Apple and Snow Leopard take-downs - just say no

On Tuesday evening UK time The Register received a take-down notice from San Francisco lawyers acting on behalf of Apple. Our hosting company, Rackspace, received a similar notice, Apple's beef being that The Register had posted "confidential trade secrets" in our First Look at Snow Leopard. You will notice that we have not …
John Lettice, 27 Aug 2009
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The Internet's most evil company?

Information wants to be free? Au contraire, information wants to tell you all about itself, where, how and if you can use it, and it reserves the right to sue the crap out of you if you don't pay attention. Or at least, that seems to be the way a growing number of traditional publishing organisations view it - the internet has …
John Lettice, 31 Jul 2009
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KIlling ID cards and the NIR - the Tory and LibDem plans

Analysis A future Tory government will cancel the ID Card Scheme - but, as The Register has asked several times, what does that mean? A broad commitment to abandon ID cards, even to cancel the National Identity Register database, leaves a certain amount of wiggle-room, particularly if - as is Tory policy - you're likely to be keeping …
John Lettice, 9 Jul 2009
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Tory plan for MS, Google, others to hold NHS records floated

The Conservative Party has declined to comment on claims by the Times that under a future Tory government, UK health records "could be transferred to Google or Microsoft." This is described by the paper as "the first concrete proposal to emerge from the Tories' 'post-bureaucratic age' agenda." The proposal, however, is less …
John Lettice, 6 Jul 2009
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'Non-compulsory' ID cards poised for a makeover?

Analysis It's straight out of the New Labour Labs spin book. The Home Office executes a U-turn on compulsory ID cards, while the Home Secretary does the rounds of the media insisting that they were never compulsory in the first place, and that he is affirming his commitment to them by accelerating their rollout. But there's a …
John Lettice, 3 Jul 2009
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Microsoft UK NTO leaves to spend more time with IT policy

Is it something in the air? Microsoft UK national technology officer Jerry Fishenden is jumping ship to spend more time with his family, his doctoral research and UK technology policy. Fishenden has worked for Microsoft since 1997, and has held the NTO post since 2004, along with being a Senior Visiting Fellow at the London …
John Lettice, 3 Jun 2009
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Blog homeopathy horror hammers hippy herbalists

So there you are, harnessing the power of community and innovative new editorial formats, spreading enlightenment by putting the customers together with the vendors, and what happens? Lynchmob, vendor megasulk, blog meltdown 2.0. It all started on Tuesday when the Guardian's Ethical Living Blog unveiled Neal's Yard Remedies as …
John Lettice, 29 May 2009
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Adblock developer offers 'please unblock me' tag to sites

Fresh from a bizarre food fight with rival Giorgio Maone of NoScript, Adblock Plus developer Wladimir Palant has offered an olive branch to publishers - and along with it, an opportunity for his users to show that they're not a bunch of parasitic freeloaders. Essentially, Palant is offering up a dialogue where publishers first …
John Lettice, 12 May 2009
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Microsoft to EU: Cut me down, and Google will rule the world!

'Cut me down, and Google will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine,' Microsoft claims in its latest submission to the European Commission. Force Microsoft to carry rival browsers in Windows, says the underdog formerly-known as The Borg, and risk making Google's position in the search market even more dominant. …
John Lettice, 11 May 2009
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'Lunatic' Smith doubles ID card costs for Mancunians

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith today confirmed that Manchester volunteers will be allowed to pay a total of £60 for an ID card from later this year. The price tag on the ID card will remain £30, but the Home Office is now estimating the cost of biometric enrollment, payable to the high street stores it hopes to recruit, as a …
John Lettice, 6 May 2009
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Home Office 'ring of steel' fails the pig plague test

One unexpected benefit of the Home Office's obsession with 'counting them all in, counting them all out' is that in the event of, say, a flu pandemic it would be simple to grab a list of all the passengers on an affected incoming flight, and check them out for infection. But no, not exactly - that's not quite how it appears to …
John Lettice, 1 May 2009
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Tough on e-vehicles, tough on the causes of e-vehicles

Tough on e-vehicles, tough on the causes of e-vehicles? The Government's ultra-low carbon vehicles strategy,* unveiled this week, seems at best a mechanism for keeping UK electric car development in a holding pattern for the next decade, and at worst a cunning, albeit inadvertent, plan to miss the boat entirely. There will be …
John Lettice, 17 Apr 2009
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ID cards not compulsory after all, says Home Office

Plans to make ID cards compulsory for UK citizens at some point in the middle distance have been officially abandoned, apparently. According to the Home Office's revised counter-terrorism strategy document, published today, "It is not our intention that identity cards should be mandatory for UK nationals." This in some senses …
John Lettice, 24 Mar 2009
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Worship Google, banish those broke business blues?

Book Review Perplexingly, not one of the ecstatic dustjacket blurbs reads 'I could barely start writing for laughing.' It is, on the contrary, an "exceptional book", a "divining rod" and "the work of a genuine visionary". Goddam - and there was me thinking it was a wholly absurd conceit built atop a fundamental - and willful - misconception …
John Lettice, 22 Mar 2009
graph up

Sick of that crap office laptop? IBM can help You*

Sick of using that clunky old work laptop that the bean counters want to write down for another two years? Boy, does IBM have a deal for you - if you work for IBM, that is. These days companies can't afford to throw their money around, but IBM UK has licked that problem by letting its staff buy new computers, so that they can …
John Lettice, 20 Mar 2009
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Father of ID cards moots compulsory passports instead

Comment Former Home Secretary and career ID-card enthusiast David Blunkett is to switch horses to passports, in what The Independent claims is a "U-turn." But it looks distinctly more like a cunning plan to get everyone onto the ID database faster - by making passports compulsory. Or, indeed, to save the core of the UK ID scheme in …
John Lettice, 23 Feb 2009
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Wacky Jacqui Smith says whole country crusading against CCTV

Home Secretary Wacky Jacqui Smith has conceded that there is zero support for CCTV cameras in UK communities. In a shock letter to the Guardian, she claims massed phalanxes of irate burghers are poised to join a Tory march on Whitehall to overthrow the hated devices. Apparently... Jacqui herself still seems massively …
John Lettice, 10 Feb 2009
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The HTML that says no - Joi Ito's pitch for a theft-free web

DLD09 Joi Ito has a recipe for a world without DRM - cunningly, it's software that stops you doing stuff you're not allowed to. Simple, yes? In the future world according to Ito, every object on the Internet will have licensing and copyright information attached to it, machine will talk to machine, and machine will overrule you if you …
John Lettice, 30 Jan 2009
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Apple iTunes Store goes '100% DRM-free' - allegedly

Macworld Expo Take your pick - the iTunes Store is going 100 per cent DRM-free, or Apple is whacking 30 cents onto the price of each song and encouraging you to upgrade your whole iTunes library to iTunes Plus, at 30 cents (UK 20p) per song. Apple prefers the 100 per cent DRM-free line, naturally, but there's a price being paid to the record …
John Lettice, 6 Jan 2009
The Register breaking news

US only kidding about 'clear to fly' January deadline?

Do you feel lucky? Registration with ESTA, the US 'clear to fly' system for visa waiver programme travellers to the US, is currently optional, but as of 12th January becomes mandatory. Or possibly, not - sort of mandatory but not compulsory instead. So how does that work? ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), is …
John Lettice, 30 Dec 2008
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Giant US air travel data suck fails own privacy tests

A US Department of Homeland Security privacy report published earlier this month reveals that the DHS remains in violation of both US law and the DHS-EU agreement on the handling of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data. The report itself claims that the DHS is in compliance on both counts, but according to the Identity Project, it " …
John Lettice, 29 Dec 2008
The Register breaking news

US rolls out 'Vicinity RFID' to check IDs in moving vehicles

RFID technology that allows the remote identification of travellers in moving vehicles is being rolled out at US land border crossings this month. Crossing points with Canada at Blaine, and with Mexico at Nogales, came online last week, with Buffalo, Detroit and San Ysidro to follow, and a total of 39 planned. The system uses …
John Lettice, 24 Nov 2008
The Register breaking news

First self-inflicted identity donor cards to ship in late 2009

A "small number of citizens" will be issued ID cards in late 2009, says the Home Office. These will be the throngs of people who can't wait for ID cards discovered by Jacqui Smith earlier this month, when she said she wanted to "find a way to allow those people who want a card sooner to be able to pre-register their interest as …
John Lettice, 18 Nov 2008
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Auntie Beeb's amazing, evolving, ID card stories

On the 6th of November the BBC announced to an astonished world that "People 'can't wait for ID cards'. Breathlessly repeating the words of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's speech that morning, Auntie reported: "I believe there is a demand, now, for cards - and as I go round the country I regularly have people coming up to me and …
John Lettice, 14 Nov 2008
The Register breaking news

Passport and ID card price hike laundered via private sector

Biometric enrollment fees for passports and ID cards will cost applicants £20-£40 on top of the basic price, estimates released by the Home Office revealed yesterday. In a prospectus soliciting private sector partners for enrollment, the Identity & Passport Service said that the total market for these services is worth "between …
John Lettice, 7 Nov 2008

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