Kieren McCarthy

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We all hate Word docs and PDFs, but have they ever led you to being hit with 32 indictments?

They are potentially the two most popular file formats in the world – Microsoft Word's .DOC and Adobe's .PDF. And it's fair to say they have caused millions of people billions of hours of frustration. But spare a thought for lobbyist and Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort, of Virginia, for whom translating from one format to …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Feb 2018

Billionaire's Babylon beach ban battle barrels toward Supreme Court

Analysis Billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla is taking his legal battle to control access to a piece of California coastline to the US Supreme Court. Here's the quick backstory. There is a public surfing beach south of San Francisco called Martins beach that's quite popular. To get to this seaside spot, you have to walk or …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Feb 2018

He's cheesed it! French flick pirate on the lam to swerve €80m fine, two-year stretch in the clink

A 41-year-old Frenchman is on the run after a court in his home country sentenced him to two years behind bars, and fined him €83.6m (£73m, $103m), for running a pirate movie website. The modern-day Pierre le Grand was found guilty this week by a Parisian judge of being in charge of streaming site Streamiz, which at one point …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Feb 2018

America's broadband speed map is back! And it doesn't totally suck!

After four years in purgatory the US government's internet broadband map is back - and it's pretty good. The map was relaunched at the monthly meeting of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday, presumably as a way to distract from the fact that the regulator finally published its net neutrality repeal in the …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Feb 2018
Jenga

Europe's Unified Patent Court fate in the balance amid German probing (yes, Brexit is in the mix)

The German Constitutional Court has agreed to hear a case about the legitimacy of the European Unified Patent Court (UPC), raising doubts over the future of a single patent court for Europe. Among the 36 cases that the Bundesverfassungsgericht has said it will decide on this year is a constitutional complaint - BvR 739/17 - …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Feb 2018

The YouTube crackdown on fake news: Promoting bonkers Florida school shooting conspiracies

Comment YouTube is under fire again for promoting fake news, despite promising repeatedly in recent weeks that it is improving its systems to limit the exposure to false information. On Wednesday, the number-one video on the web giant's "trending" page – where it spotlights the most current or relevant content – was a video claiming …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Feb 2018
security

Bad news: 43% of login attempts 'malicious' Good news: Er, umm...

An extraordinary 43 per cent of all attempted online account logins are malicious, Akamai claims in its latest internet security report. "Credential abuse" is an increasingly popular line of attack, thanks in large part to the readily availability of huge user/password databases that has been stolen and are sold online. …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Feb 2018

US cable giant tries to wriggle out of 'crap ISP' legal battle now that net neutrality is dead

Charter still has to answer for selling New Yorkers short on their internet packages, a judge has decided, rejecting the cable giant's argument that the repeal of net neutrality rules in the US means the case is moot. Judge O. Peter Sherwood issued 26 pages of No [PDF] in a lawsuit that has been running for over a year. …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Feb 2018

Vermont becomes fifth US state to boot up its own net neutrality rules

Vermont has become the fifth US state to adopt net neutrality regulations, joining Montana, New Jersey, Hawaii, and New York. State governor Phil Scott signed an executive order Thursday noting that "the principles of net neutrality are inherently tied to the provision of reliable, high-quality broadband Internet service for …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Feb 2018

FCC inspector general sticks corruption probe into chairman Ajit Pai amid $4bn media merger

Analysis The chairman of America's broadband watchdog – the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – is under investigation by the regulator's inspector general following a series of decisions that appear to favor one of the country's largest media owners. Since taking over as chair in January 2017, Ajit Pai has made big play of his …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Feb 2018

Magic Leap's staggering VR goggle technology just got even better!

Comment Not content with promising the product he has been hyping for six years, this week the CEO of Magic Leap revealed that his yet-to-ship virtual-reality headset technology will be even better than the previous gibberish he spouted. Rony Abovitz appeared on stage at a media conference alongside none other than NBA Commissioner …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Feb 2018

Crypto-gurus: Which idiots told the FBI that Feds-only backdoors in encryption are possible?

Four cryptography experts have backed a US Senator's campaign to force the FBI to explain how exactly a Feds-only backdoor can be added to strong and secure encryption. The four are: Stanford professor Martin Hellman, of Diffie-Hellman fame and who helped invent the foundations of today's crypto systems; Columbia professor and …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Feb 2018

Pressure mounts on FCC to cough up answers over fake net neutrality comments

Analysis US lawmakers have weighed in on the FCC's controversial vote to scrap America's net neutrality rules, demanding information on the millions of fake comments submitted to the watchdog's public consultation on the decision – and asking pointed questions about how the federal regulator handled them. "We write to request …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Feb 2018

FCC commish gobbles Verizon's phone-locking BS, says it tastes great

Analysis An FCC commissioner has come under fire for seemingly suggesting that Verizon should be granted a legal waiver from his own agency's rules. On Monday, Verizon said that, from this spring, it will start locking down newly purchased smartphones for an unspecified period of time – despite a long-standing and legally binding …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Feb 2018

It's official: .corp, .home, .mail will never be top-level domains on the 'net

You will never be able to own an official .home, .mail or .corp domain name or email address on the public internet. It means if you have machines called things like storage.home or buildserver.corp on your home or private business network, you can be sure no one will be able to buy domains like storage.home or buildserver. …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Feb 2018

Facebook gets Weed-whacked: Unilever exec may axe ads over social network's toxic posts

In a highly unusual public rebuke, monster-company Unilever gave Facebook both barrels over its "toxic content" – and threatened to pull its advertising from the antisocial network. Speaking today at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting in Palm Desert, California, Unilever's chief marketing officer …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Feb 2018
Bribes

US states accused of skimming cash from 911 emergency call dosh

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has warned that multiple US states are using money designated for emergency services to fund other unrelated projects. In a report released to the public earlier this week, America's comms regulator noted that at least $129m of the money gathered through the Emergency Telephone Users …

Uh-oh! Someone hit the Kalanick button! Uber's fired CEO claims Waymo deal vindicates him

Comment The man responsible for dragging the reputation of one of the tech world's biggest names through the mud, into the gutter, and in circles around raw sewage has claimed today's out-of-court Waymo-Uber settlement vindicates him. Yes, folks, Travis Kalanick is being a prick right to the very end. "As Uber’s statement indicates, …
Cheque, photo via Shutterstock

Uber and its 245 million reasons to settle with Google's Waymo

Analysis It was just one more twist in an extraordinary story: this morning Uber settled its San Francisco court battle with rival Waymo for $245m in stock. "We have reached an agreement with Uber that we believe will protect Waymo’s intellectual property now and into the future," said a spokesperson for the Google-owned self-driving …

As GDPR draws close, ICANN suggests 12 conflicting ways to cure domain privacy pains

Incoming European privacy laws which carry a global impact for anyone doing business in the Union are continuing to cause an epic policy meltdown at internet overseer ICANN. This week the European Commission responded [PDF] to the US-based organization's latest efforts to resolve a stark conflict between the domain name system …
Stack of cash

Tech giants' payouts go to everyone but affected citizens. US Supremes now urged to sort it out

A group of 16 US state attorneys general are urging America's Supreme Court to tear up an $8.5m legal settlement from Google – because none of the cash will go to the folks the class-action lawsuit was brought on behalf of. Led by the attorney general of Arizona, Mark Brnovich, the legal eagles have taken issue with the fact …
Travis Kalanick, Uber's CEO

Laser sauce, cheat code, jam seshs: The Waymo vs Uber trial kicks off

Analysis According to former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, a "cheat code" is tech bro slang for a hack. Or, in his words, "elegant solutions to problems that haven't already been thought of." The lawyers who were lined up against him in a San Francisco courtroom on Wednesday morning are pretty sure that "cheat code" follows a more …

Beware the looming Google Chrome HTTPS certificate apocalypse!

Tens of thousands of websites are going to find themselves labeled as unsafe unless they switch out their HTTPS certificate in the next two months. Thanks to a decision in September by Google to stop trusting Symantec-issued SSL/TLS certs, from mid-April Chrome browser users visiting websites using a certificate from the …

Of course a mystery website attacking city-run broadband was run by an ISP. Of course

Analysis Cable biz Fidelity Communications has been forced to admit it was behind an astroturfing campaign against a city-run fiber network in America's Midwest. The campaign, titled Stop City-Funded Internet, started last month with a website and accompanying social media handles, and has been a persistent critic of efforts by West …

US broadband is scarce, slow and expensive. 'Great!' says the FCC

Analysis Fifteen million Americans don't have access to broadband internet. For those that do, the United States has close to the slowest speeds among advanced economies. And for that, Americans pay more than almost anyone else. Those are what should be the main findings of the annual broadband report from the Federal Communications …

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