Kieren McCarthy

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US drug cops snared crooks with pre-cracked BlackBerry mobes – and that's just the start

Analysis Back in 2013, Canadian John Darrel Krokos got 11.5 years in a US jail for leading a massive cocaine smuggling ring. Two years later, his colleague Zaid Wakil was given a 20-year sentence. What was unique about their cases – and another 20 people also taken down in the investigation by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) – was …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Jul 2018

It's 2018 so, of course, is sold to climate change deniers

In what may be the perfect combination of everything wrong with 2018, the operator of the .news dot-word has sold a batch of premium .news domains to a purveyor of what can be best described as conspiratorial content for cretins. Describing itself as "the global leader in high-quality, new top-level Internet domains," Donuts …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Jul 2018
magic leap

AR upstart Magic Leap reveals majorly late tech specs' tech specs

Augmented reality unicorn Magic Leap has finally revealed the specifications of its upcoming AR headset, and promises it will be available this summer. It also put out another video demonstrating the system at work, showing how developers will be able to place moving content so it appears to exist in the real world. Having …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Jul 2018
red tape

FCC caught red-handed – again – over its $225 complaint billing plan

America's comms watchdog – the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – stooped to a new low on Thursday when it made last-second changes to a new complaints procedure just minutes after it denied the changes were necessary. The regulator's July monthly meeting was overshadowed by reports and complaints that an effort to " …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Jul 2018

Put WhatsApp, Slack, admin privileges in a blender and what do you get? Wickr

It's an issue every sysadmin faces: how do you maintain a decent level of network security when everyone and their dog wants to use the latest messaging app or collaboration tool? And when they inevitably do add WhatsApp and Signal and Slack and Telegram to their devices and set up their own project spaces, placing …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jul 2018

PayPal, Google ordered to make suspected pirates walk the plank into freezing waters

PayPal and Google have been hit with court injunctions telling them to freeze accounts associated with websites hosting pirated content. Florida judge Kevin Michael Moore signed off [PDF] on the injunctions, believed to be the first time that a copyright holder has managed to get at the finances of a website operator. The …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Jul 2018
FBI agent on a phone

Apple emits iPhone cop-block update – plus iOS, macOS, Safari patches

Apple has released the latest version of its mobile operating system complete with its Fed-blocking option. The iOS 11.4.1 upgrade is small by Apple standards – coming in at around 200MB – but it represents a big headache for the FBI and other organizations that want to gain access to someone else's phone because it kills off …

Trump's Supreme Court pick will decide critical tech issues for decades – so what are the views of the contenders?

On Monday, President Trump is expected to announce his pick for the next US Supreme Court Justice – a decision that will come with huge implications for technology and privacy. Given the current make-up of the court – and the fact that departing Justice Kennedy was often the swing vote in Supreme Court decisions – whoever is …

Imagine a patent on organizing computer files being used against online shopping sites. Oh, it's still happening

In another sign that corporate America has had enough of patent trolls, this week monster retailers Macy's and OfficeMax accused SpeedTrack in court of creating a "fable" – and asked a judge to kill off its patent infringement claims for good. At a hearing in Oakland, California, lawyers – who are defending web retailers sued …

No, it's not Intel's 5G chip Apple is ditching – it's the Sunny Peak Bluetooth, Wi-Fi part

A new ultra-fast-wireless Intel chip will not make its way into next-generation Apple iPhones, and will be axed, the chipmaker confirmed in a roundabout way. The chip, codenamed Sunny Peak, was designed to provide Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and was supposed to be a core component of Apple's smartphones shipping in 2020 …
throw paper

ICANN't get no respect: Europe throws Whois privacy plan in the trash

European data regulators have torn up the latest proposal by internet overseer ICANN over its Whois data service, sending the hapless organization back to the drawing board for a third time. In a letter [PDF] to the US-based internet's naming and addressing systems, the chair of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) makes …
Miguel Santiago

California lawmakers: We swear on our avocados we'll pass 'strongest net neutrality protections' in America

California lawmakers promised to introduce the "strongest net neutrality protections in the nation" on Thursday morning, just weeks after a key piece of the legislation was gutted at the committee stage, sparking online fury. Four lawmakers gave a joint press conference in Sacramento announcing a new plan, which sounds exactly …

Euro privacy watchdog raises eyebrows at mulled EU copyright law

Europe's top data expert has given a tentative green light to a proposed European copyright law – but warned that it needs to be very carefully written if it's not to distort markets or interfere with fundamental rights. European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Giovanni Buttarelli was asked to contribute his thoughts about …
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Four US govt agencies poke probe in Facebook following more 'oops, we spilled your data' shocks

No less than four federal agencies in the US are now investigating Facebook following yet more revelations over how it gave vast quantities of personal data to developers. As well as the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the FBI, and America's financial watchdog the Securities and Exchange Commission ( …
Image by Alexander_P

Feds charge Man after FCC boss Ajit Pai's kids get death threat over net neutrality axe vote

A Californian man is accused of threatening the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai and his family, over the decision to rescind net neutrality rules in the US. Markara Man, 33, of Norwalk, just outside Los Angeles, was collared on Friday by the FBI for allegedly sending three threatening emails to Pai's …
smashed phone

High Tech Concern: Struggling HTC to slash a quarter of workforce

Smartphone manufacturer HTC will slash almost a quarter of its employees in an effort to become profitable. All the job cuts will be at its plant in Taiwan, where 1,500 people – roughly 22 of the total workforce – will be let go as the company deals with falling sales. It doesn't help that its latest phone, the U12+, doesn't …
Uh oh, someone just got some bad news

Google weeps as its home state of California passes its own GDPR

Analysis California has become the first state in the US to pass a data privacy law – with governor Jerry Brown signing the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 into law on Thursday. The legislation will give new rights to the state's 40 million inhabitants, including the ability to view the data that companies hold on them and, …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Jun 2018

Registry to ban Cyrillic .eu addresses even if you've paid for them

The internet registry operator for Europe's .eu domains will forcibly dump yet more internet addresses, with a decision to kill off any domains in the Cyrillic alphabet. In a note this week – provided only in English – the registry said it will forcibly delete any .eu domains that include Cyrillic letters on May 31, 2019, …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Jun 2018

Time to dump dual-stack networks and get on the IPv6 train – with LW4o6

Despite a decade of efforts, the rollout of IPv6 is still stubbornly sat at less than 25 per cent, in terms of internet traffic, with recent reports suggesting adoption may actually be leveling off. Among the reasons the world is not shifting en masse to the new addressing system, the most persistent is the fact that people …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Jun 2018
baby dancing

Infamous 'Dancing Baby' copyright battle settled just before YouTube tot becomes a teen

Vid An infamous and long-running copyright lawsuit over a dancing baby has finally come to a close, albeit with a critical legal question unresolved. Lenz v Universal Music was a case brought back in 2007 by Stephanie Lenz after the music industry giant accused her of infringing its copyright in a home video of her toddler dancing …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Jun 2018
Screenshot of Downdetector's Google Home outage map

Not OK Google: Massive outage turns smart home kit utterly dumb

Updated Google's entire Home infrastructure has suffered a serious outage, with millions of customers on Wednesday morning complaining that their smart devices have stopped working. At the time of writing, the cloud-connected gadgets are still hosed, the service is still down, and the system appears to have been knackered for at least …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Jun 2018
Handout police photo of Troy George Skinner

Creep travels half the world to harass online teen gamer… and gets shot by her mom – cops

A New Zealand gamer who flew halfway around the world to confront a 14-year-old girl he met online got more than he bargained for when her mom shot him, according to police. Troy George Skinner, 25, flew from his home in Auckland to Sydney, Australia, took a connecting flight to Los Angeles, USA, then from Los Angeles to …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Jun 2018

Dot-Africa saga going to jury trial... thousands of miles away in America

The long-running saga over ownership of the .Africa top-level domain name will go to a jury trial… in California. Following two years of failed settlement talks, in August this year a dozen Americans based in Los Angeles will get to decide the future of the continent's online namesake. At stake is not just ownership of the . …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Jun 2018

Amazon, eBay and pals agree to Europe's other GDPR: Generally Dangerous Products Removed from websites

Four of the world's biggest online retailers have agreed to pull goods flagged as dangerous within a week – but only in Europe. Amazon, eBay, AliExpress and Rakuten have signed an agreement with the European Commission to follow its existing Rapid Alert System that notifies large retailers about products deemed unsafe. The …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Jun 2018
Donald trump reading fake news

White House calls its own China tech cash-inject ban 'fake news'

The White House has decried as fake news reports that the Trump Administration will institute a ban on Chinese companies investing in US tech companies. "On behalf of @realDonaldTrump, the stories on investment restrictions in Bloomberg & WSJ are false, fake news," read a statement by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin posted …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Jun 2018

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