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Rebecca Hill

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Metropolitan police image via Shutterstock

For goodness sake, stop the plod using facial recog, London mayor told

London's Metropolitan Police force's use of "intrusive" technologies "without proper regulation" could put a fundamental principle of policing at risk, the London mayor has been told. In a letter (PDF) to Sadiq Khan, the Greater London Assembly – the group elected to hold the mayor to account – expressed "significant concerns …
Rebecca Hill, 17 Nov 2017
Sparks photo via Shutterstock

Sparks fly as Databricks buddies up with Microsoft in the cloud

Databricks and Microsoft are getting cosy in the cloud, in a move that will give the Spark-wrangling company access to a new set of customers. The pair have launched Azure Databricks, which deploys the analytic company's tech as a first-party service on Microsoft's cloud platform. That's a much closer relationship than …
Rebecca Hill, 16 Nov 2017
Woman thumbs down, image via Shutterstock

Oracle stockholders don't like exec mega-awards or gender pay gap transparency

Oracle's stockholders have voted against the company's amended executive pay plan, along with a proposal for greater transparency on its gender pay gap. The new exec pay package would give CTO Larry Ellison and joint CEOs Safra Catz and Mark Hurd pay packets worth more than $100m, and is, for the first time, entirely tied to …
Rebecca Hill, 16 Nov 2017
Image by beccarra http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-1124891p1.html

Privacy Pass protocol promises private perusing

Boffins have harnessed privacy-preserving crypto to create a browser extension that allows users to authenticate to services without being tracked. The extension, Privacy Pass, offers people another way to authenticate themselves without having to repeatedly solve internet challenge-response tests like CAPTCHAs. Alex Davidson …
Rebecca Hill, 14 Nov 2017
Max Schrems

EU court advised: Schrems is a consumer in Facebook case, but can't file class-action

Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems' bid to bring a class-action lawsuit against Facebook has been dealt a blow by the advocate general advising the European Court of Justice. The PhD student has been embroiled in a years-long battle with Facebook over its privacy policies and data-sharing with US spy agencies. It has seen …
Rebecca Hill, 14 Nov 2017
Landfill filled with computers

Brit cops slammed for failing to give answers on digital device data slurpage

Police forces have been urged to keep better records on how much data they slurp from the hundreds of thousands of digital devices they seize, and how it is used. Campaign group Big Brother Watch issued the demands after a largely unsuccessful mission to assess just how much data the forces extract from devices they've seized …
Rebecca Hill, 13 Nov 2017
A group of Playmobil pirates

Shiver me timbers! 67cm Playmobil pirate ship sets sail for Caribbean

A Playmobil pirate ship has been launched off the west coast of Africa after stowing away on a full-size Norwegian vessel. The toy ship, named Adventure, was launched in May by two Scottish brothers – Ollie Ferguson, 8, and Harry, 5 – and their family as an update to the tired message-in-a-bottle trope. Chilling evidence …
Rebecca Hill, 13 Nov 2017

Word on the Rimini Street: Software support firm smiles through Oracle pain

Oracle and SAP support firm Rimini Street has reported an increase in revenues in its first quarterly results since being listed on the NASDAQ. The firm brought in $53.6m in the three months ending September 30, up 32 per cent on the same quarter in 2016. It also cut its net loss in two, dropping to $9m in Q3 2017, from $15. …
Rebecca Hill, 10 Nov 2017
Crop of doctor with pen and clipboard

Activists launch legal challenge against NHS patient data-sharing deal

A civil rights group has launched a legal challenge in the UK against a deal that asks the NHS to share patient data for immigration enforcement. The agreement allows the Home Office to ask the NHS to hand over non-clinical information on patients – like date of birth or last known address – for immigration offences, such as …
Rebecca Hill, 9 Nov 2017

MongoDB update plugs security hole and sets sights on the enterprise

Document database-flinger MongoDB has long positioned itself as the dev's best friend, but after ten years it is now fluffing itself up for the enterprise. The firm, which went public just last month and hopes to earn up to $220m, has now launched the latest version of its database, which aims to appeal to these bigger …
Rebecca Hill, 9 Nov 2017

IBM leads BigInsights for Hadoop out behind barn. Shots heard

IBM has announced the retirement of the basic plan for its data analytics software platform, BigInsights for Hadoop. The basic plan of the service will be retired in a month, on December 7 of this year. IBM said the enterprise plan would continue to be available. As of December 6, 2017, new BigInsights for Hadoop (basic plan …
Rebecca Hill, 8 Nov 2017

UK's surveillance regime challenged in landmark European court hearing

The UK's surveillance laws have been put under the spotlight today as the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) heard legal complaints against the government's spying powers. The landmark hearing in Strasbourg is the first time the court has been asked to rule on the legality of the UK's surveillance laws. It is part of an …
Rebecca Hill, 7 Nov 2017

Commuters' phone data could be tracked to save megabucks on census

Mobile phone data could be used to gather information on people's workplaces for future censuses as the government tries to cut the cost of producing population statistics. The census is crucial for understanding the UK's population and has been run around every ten years since 1801. Residents are legally required to respond …
Rebecca Hill, 7 Nov 2017

will.i.am's tech tat biz is going enterprise, snags $117m from Salesforce

Would-be entrepreneur and tech magpie will.i.am's startup, i.am+, has bagged $117m venture funding from Salesforce. The former Black Eyed Peas frontman's firm makes a whole load of consumer tech – from phone cases and earphones to wearables – that nobody particularly uses or rates. So the next obvious step is surely to enter …
Rebecca Hill, 7 Nov 2017
google_vs_ms_648

Transparent algorithms? Here's why that's a bad idea, Google tells MPs

Opening up the processes that underpin algorithms may well magnify the risk of hacking, widen privacy concerns and stifle innovation, Google has told MPs in the UK. The comments came in Google's response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's inquiry into algorithmic decision-making, which is questioning …
Rebecca Hill, 7 Nov 2017
Thumbs down frownining emoticon

Frowns all round as Smile and Co-op online banking goes down

The online services for the Co-operative Bank and its digital-only arm Smile are both out of action. Users have been complaining about outages since 8.40am this morning, with hundreds of reports on DownDetector and multiple angry tweets aimed at the banks. Hello @bankwithsmile the website is saying there are technical …
Rebecca Hill, 6 Nov 2017
Data_image_via_Shutterstock

MIT boffins hope to speed up analytics with GitHub-style platform

Boffins at MIT have proposed a GitHub-style collaborative platform to speed up one of the first, most challenging stages of data analysis. When faced with a large dataset, scientists need to first identify the features – individual measurable characteristics – of the variables. It's crucial the chosen features are good …
Rebecca Hill, 3 Nov 2017
man winces as he shaves his face

Data is in: Hortonworks shaves several mill off operating losses

It's results time again, and Hadoop-flinger Hortonworks has reported a positive quarter, with revenues up and a slight shrinkage in its operating losses. The firm posted revenues of $69.0m in the quarter ending September 30 - up 45 per cent from $47.5m in Q3 2016. That’s similar to the boost it saw in Q2, when there was a 42 …
Rebecca Hill, 3 Nov 2017

Data dealer slapped with £80k fine after flogging info for nuisance calls

Data-broker Verso has been ordered to cough up £80,000 after failing to tell people exactly what their info would be used for. The fine is the first handed down by the UK Information Commissioner's Office as part of a wider investigation into the data-broking industry. The Hertfordshire-based biz, which celebrates itself as …
Rebecca Hill, 2 Nov 2017
The speedboat abandoned on a Doncaster road

Landlubber northern council shores up against boat-tipping

One landlocked council's battle with fly-tipping has taken a nautical twist this week after it had to deal with a speedboat... left in a road. The boat was found in the northern English town of Doncaster, which is just north of Sheffield in England – and about 50 miles from the sea. Doncaster Council decided to chart the …
Rebecca Hill, 2 Nov 2017
Lloyd's Horse logo on building

Black Horse Down: Lloyds Banking Group goes TITSUP*

Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland’s online and mobile banking services have all gone down this morning, leaving a trail of angry customers in their wake. According to DownDetector, the major problems started as early as 9.40am on Thursday morning, with more than 2,000 reports coming in across all three banks. Hundreds …
Rebecca Hill, 2 Nov 2017
Money falling, image via Shutterstock

Open source, says me: Alibaba chucks MariaDB a $27m funding round

Chinese Amazon-chaser Alibaba has chucked a chunk of cash at open-source-database-flinger MariaDB, leading a $27m funding round in the biz. Alibaba is already a core sponsor of the MariaDB Foundation, and the Finnish company already offers Database-as-a-Service solutions on Alibaba Cloud. The continued partnership will give …
Rebecca Hill, 1 Nov 2017
Apple Mac Mini

Judge: You're getting an Apple data centre and you're going to like it

The Irish High Court has rejected a further appeal in the long-running battle against Apple's plans to build a data centre on the Emerald Isle. The saga has been running for more than two years, since Apple announced plans to build an €850m data centre near Athenry, County Galway, Ireland, back in February 2015. Cupertino was …
Rebecca Hill, 1 Nov 2017

Competition law could help solve data-slurping monopolies, peers told

Information monopolies are a "vexing" problem, but data protection laws alone can't fix them, a UK parliamentary committee has been told. Members of the House of Lords committee investigating artificial intelligence yesterday quizzed experts on how personal data should be owned, managed and used. The peers voiced concerns …
Rebecca Hill, 1 Nov 2017
(An allegedly) Bad dog's police mug shot...

Advisory body to 'reconsider' ethics of hanging onto 'mugshots'

The UK's national biometrics ethics advisory body has promised to reconsider the government's use of custody images. The National DNA Database Ethics Group last year raised ethical concerns about the retention and use of "custody images" – which include pics of people who have never been convicted of a crime – on Police …
Rebecca Hill, 31 Oct 2017

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