Kat Hall

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UK passport control photo via Shutterstock

National Audit Office: We'll be in a world of pain with '90s border tech post-Brexit

The clunky technology underpinning Blighty's border control leaves the UK in concerning position post-Brexit, a National Audit Office report has found. Border operations in the UK still rely on '90s technology that lacks modern functionality. "The government's ambitions to seamlessly interact with citizens, and securely share …
Kat Hall, 20 Oct 2017

Vodafone, EE and Three overcharging customers after contracts expire

Folk with mobiles on Vodafone, EE and Three are being stung by an average £22 per month for staying on their contracts after their handsets have been paid off, according to Citizens Advice. Customers who choose to stay on the same plan after the two-year fixed deal ends are not getting their bills reduced, meaning they are …
Kat Hall, 20 Oct 2017

Breakfast at Jeffrey's: UK CEO admits Voda 'slightly lost its mojo'

"Basically the message is Vodafone is back," says UK chief executive Nick Jeffrey, a message he's so eager to convey at a breakfast briefing hosted by the company that it almost sounds as if the lady doth protest too much. Jeffrey was made CEO last September amid the company's customer billing fiasco, caused by an IT cock-up …
Kat Hall, 19 Oct 2017

Openreach offers duct-off providers 'OSA Filter' instead of Dark Fibre Access

Openreach has today offered its communication providers an alternative to the Ofcom-proposed Dark Fibre Access (DFA) product, which a court ruling slapped down three months ago. In July the High Court's Competition Appeals Tribunal ruled that Ofcom had made a series of errors when it drew up the rules for a new market in unlit …
Kat Hall, 18 Oct 2017

Full-fibre ISP Hyperoptic clocked over mock doc schlock shock

Fibre ISP Hyperoptic has been slammed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for releasing an advert that looked like an official contract from BT. The promotion was received by consumers in February 2017, and was addressed to the "resident". Text on the back page stated "Your BT CONTRACT is about to cost you even more …
Kat Hall, 18 Oct 2017
HMRC photo, Gov.uk

Watchdog slams HMRC, Amazon over 'dismal' response to UK biz hurt by online VAT fraud

HMRC, Amazon and eBay have not done enough to crack down on overseas sellers evading VAT in the UK, a “dismal” failure that has hit British businesses hard, the House of Commons' Public Accounts Committee said today. The select committee's report, Tackling online VAT fraud and error, warned that online sellers who do not …
Kat Hall, 18 Oct 2017

Ex-TalkTalk chief grilled by MPs on suitability to chair NHS Improvement

Dido Harding, the woman at the helm during UK ISP TalkTalk's 2015 mega breach, was yesterday grilled about her move to chair NHS Improvement, the body responsible for overseeing Blighty's health service and also famously clobbered by a huge cyber attack. Speaking in front of MPs in a pre-appointment hearing for her forthcoming …
Kat Hall, 18 Oct 2017

Customers cheesed off after card details nicked in Pizza Hut data breach

Miscreants have made off with payment card details of "a small number of clients" following a data breach at Pizza Hut. In an email to affected customers seen by Bleeping Computer, the fast-food chain wrote: "Pizza Hut has recently identified a temporary security intrusion that occurred on our website. "We have learned that …
Kat Hall, 16 Oct 2017
Pennies in a jar. Photo via Shutterstock

UK.gov: Who wants £25m... *cheers*... to trial 5G? *crickets chirping*

The British government is looking for places to chuck £25m it has set aside for 5G trials. Under the plans, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is asking interested parties across the UK to submit proposals for match-funded grants of up to £5m. It reckons the technology will enable speeds of up to 10Gbps, …
Kat Hall, 16 Oct 2017

Grant Shapps of coup shame fame stands by 'broadbad' research

Interview Grant Shapps seems far from crestfallen after his disastrous attempt to lead a coup against UK Prime Minister Theresa May. He bounces into his office 50 minutes late, having been waylaid by two Parliamentary votes, to discuss broadband research under his remit as chairman of the British Infrastructure Group (BIG), a body he …
Kat Hall, 16 Oct 2017
The Lovell Telescope, credit Mike Peel; Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester

Top of the radio charts: Jodrell Bank goes for UNESCO World Heritage status

Jodrell Bank is going forward for nomination as a World Heritage Site early in 2018. As featured in Geek’s Guide to Britain, Jodrell Bank is home to the Lovell Telescope, the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world, and "probably the only Grade 1 listed structure that’s on wheel," according to the site. The …
Kat Hall, 12 Oct 2017
Parliament photo by Shutterstock

Concerns raised about privacy, GDPR as Lords peer over Data Protection Bill

Fears over privacy and the application of GDPR, concern over lax rules for spies, and the omission of regulation on fake news, were just some of the issues raised at the second reading of the UK Data Protection House Bill in the House of Lords. The bill is intended to overhaul data protection laws in Blighty for the digital …

Footie ballsup: Petition kicks off to fix 'geometrically impossible' street signs

A petition has been launched to update the UK Traffic Signs Regulations to include a geometrically correct football. The ball shown on UK street signs to denote football grounds is made up entirely of hexagons. And if you care about your geometry, you'll know it's mathematically impossible to construct a ball using only …
Kat Hall, 10 Oct 2017

Outage at EE wrecks voice calls across the UK

EE customers have been hit with a nationwide outage, with many unable to make calls this morning. According to monitoring site Down Detector, the problem first emerged around 8am this morning. Customers in London and the South East appear to have been hit the hardest. But folk were also reporting problems in Blackpool, …
Kat Hall, 10 Oct 2017
keyboard with 'Help' key

Capita goes to Jon Lewis for CEO

Everyone's favourite outsourcer Capita has appointed Jonathan Lewis as its new CEO, after former grande fromage Andy Parker left last month, due to a series of profit warnings. Lewis will head up the company's turnaround efforts. He was previously chief exec of oil services company Amec Foster Wheeler, which he joined last …
Kat Hall, 10 Oct 2017
BAE Systems' Jetstream 31 testbed, G-BWWW. Pic: BAE Systems

BAE confirms it is slashing 2,000 jobs

BAE Systems has confirmed it is to slash 2,000 jobs across its military, maritime and intelligence services operations. Some 750 roles will be cut in Warton & Samlesbury in Lancashire, England, where the firm builds its Eurofighter Typhoon. Another 400 will go in East Yorkshire; 245 are to be cut in RAF Marham & RAF Leeming; …
Kat Hall, 10 Oct 2017

You may not have noticed, but 'superfast' broadband is available to 94% of Blighty

Superfast internet speeds are within reach of nearly 94 per cent of the UK, according to figures compiled by Thinkbroadband. The research, which covered the three months to September, found that 93.9 per cent of premises in Blighty have access to 24Mbps. That is an increase from regulator Ofcom's figures, which pegged …
Kat Hall, 9 Oct 2017
Central Intelligence Agency

Leicestershire teen admits attempting to hack director of the CIA

A teenager from Leicestershire, England, has admitted to trying to hack US government officials including the director of the CIA and Obama's Director of National Intelligence. Kane Gamble, 18, pleaded guilty on Friday to 10 charges at Leicester crown court. Other targets included Avril Haines, Barack Obama’s deputy national …
Kat Hall, 6 Oct 2017

Online criminal records checks to take a punt on troubled Verify system

The Disclosure and Barring Service, responsible for processing requests for criminal records checks, has taken the gamble of using the Government Digital Service's online ID system authentication portal. From next year, users will be able to apply direct to DBS for an online check. "As part of the online application you'll …
Kat Hall, 6 Oct 2017

He's no good for you! Ofcom wants to give folk powers to dump subpar broadband contracts

Ofcom has proposed forcing providers to disclose more accurate speed information at the point of sale and hand consumers the power to walk away if speeds fall below a guaranteed level, in a crackdown on service provision. Under the move, providers will have to 'fess up to the slowest speeds consumers are likely to receive at " …
Kat Hall, 6 Oct 2017
Qantas Boeing 737-838, VH-VZR

Boeing borgs robot aeronautics biz Aurora Flight Sciences

Boeing is to snap up manufacturer of advanced aerospace platforms Aurora Flight Sciences, in a bid to further expand its autonomous portfolio. Aurora is a US aeronautics research company which specialises in the designing and building special-purpose unmanned aerial vehicles and autonomous systems, in particular systems that …
Kat Hall, 5 Oct 2017

UK cybercops reacted to 590 'significant attacks' over past year – report

The National Cyber Security Centre responded to 590 "significant attacks" over the last year including WannaCry, MPs' email addresses being targeted due to weak passwords and various threats to other large organisations. The body was created in October last year, bringing together previously separate parts of government, MI5 …
Kat Hall, 5 Oct 2017

Amazon told to repay €250m in 'unfair state aid' from Luxembourg

The European Commission has ordered Amazon to repay €250m (£222m) for benefiting from illegal and unfair state aid courtesy of Luxembourg. A ruling in the tiny Euro nation reduced Amazon's tax bill for more than eight years, from May 2006 to June 2014. But the commission today decided that tax break was not justified. Amazon …
Kat Hall, 4 Oct 2017
Doctor examines virtual brain

DeepMind now has an ethics unit – which may have helped when it ate 1.6m NHS patient details

Google's controversial DeepMind has created an ethics unit to "explore and understand" the real-world impacts of Artificial Intelligence. The DeepMind Ethics & Society (DMES) group will be comprised of both full-time DeepMind employees and external fellows. It will be headed by technology consultant Sean Legassick and former …
Kat Hall, 4 Oct 2017
Ireland map, photo via Shutterstock

European Commission refers Ireland to court over failure to collect €13bn in tax from Apple

The European Commission has lobbed Ireland into the Euro Court of Justice for refusing to extract from Apple illegal tax benefits worth up to €13bn (£11.5bn, $15bn). It follows the commission's decision in August last year that Ireland's tax benefits to Apple were illegal under EU state aid rules because it allowed the iGiant …
Kat Hall, 4 Oct 2017

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