Articles about Consumers

Toothless Ofcom: C'mon consumers, show your teeth on broadband speeds

Consumers experiencing consistently shonky broadband speeds will have the power to walk away from their contracts, new Ofcom chief exec Sharon White will announce today. The body will publish a "beefed-up" Code of Practice on broadband speeds, White will announce in her inaugural speech to consumer body Which? White joined …
Kat Hall, 11 Jun 2015
Woman throttling man. Pic: quan ha

Google harms consumers and strangles the open web, says study

Google’s favourable treatment of its own services results in consumer harm and will make the web less diverse, a study into search engine users’ behaviour has claimed. Heavyweight law prof Tim Wu, who coined the phrase “net neutrality”, is one of the authors of the study, which was supported by data from Yelp, a Google rival. “ …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jun 2015
Sharon White, new head of Ofcom, former Second Perm Sec at the Treasury

Ofcom chief warns that carrier aggregation may be bad for consumers

Analysis The mergers of O2 and Three, and BT and EE, could drive prices up for consumers and be A Bad Thing. This is the warning given by Ofcom boss Sharon White in a presentation to the London School of Economics this week. She warned that fewer mobile operators could lead to prices rising. The mergers of telcos is pretty much the …
Simon Rockman, 09 Oct 2015
Twilight Zone, 'Time Enough At Last'

Belgium to the rescue as UK consumers freeze after BST blunder

British consumers awoke to cold houses this morning as Nest “Learning” Thermostats failed to accommodate the switch to British Summer Time. Nest customers have not only been deprived of an hour's sleep, but also a warm house in which to struggle to wake up. According to complaints raised on the Nest community support forum the …
Acer C720 Chromebook

Consumers start feeling the love as Chromebook sales surge

Chromebooks are set to become the next big thing in personal computing devices after sales skyrocketed by two thirds over the last quarter. Shipments of Chromebooks jumped 67 per cent during the second quarter of 2014, and are projected to double in size year-on-year according to ABI Research. Acer moved the most Google- …
Gavin Clarke, 23 Oct 2014

Euro consumers have TOO MUCH choice – telco operators

Three or four market players is plenty, at least according to the GSMA, the association that represents nearly 800 mobile operators. At an event in Brussels this week, GSMA director Anne Bouverot said it was ridiculous that there were nearly 100 players in the EU market while the US does perfectly well with four or five. In …
Jennifer Baker, 12 Dec 2014

UK consumers particularly prone to piss-poor patching

UK consumer patching practices have worsened still further over the last three months, increasing the threat of malware problems, according to a new study by IT security provider Secunia. Secunia estimates 12.6 per cent of UK users are running unpatched operating systems, up from 9.7 per cent the previous quarter. In addition, …
John Leyden, 30 Oct 2014
Fight sticker

Top US privacy bod: EU should STOP appeasing whiny consumers

A top US law enforcement commissioner has claimed European data protection authorities are too worried about helping consumers instead of robustly enforcing privacy laws. Speaking at CPDP2015 in Brussels, Julie Brill, privacy commissioner for the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defended the US approach to protecting privacy …
Jennifer Baker, 23 Jan 2015
GreenPeak senior lifestyle app

Consumers beware! Ofcom's seen a scary new mobe nasty: APPS

Telecoms industry regulator Ofcom has just noticed that there are things called “apps” and has decided that people might like to know about them. “Apps are becoming an increasingly important way to communicate and access the internet through our phones, tablets and TVs”, explains the “Using apps safely and securely on your …
Simon Rockman, 11 Mar 2015
Microsoft Surface 3 Windows 8.1 tablet

Microsoft to Windows 10 consumers: You'll get updates LIKE IT or NOT

Microsoft's licensing on the upcoming Windows 10 OS means that most users will find their systems updating on command from Redmond without any option to stop this. The Licensing Agreement for Windows 10, as found in the latest release candidate build 10240 of Windows 10 Professional, stated: The software periodically checks …
Tim Anderson, 16 Jul 2015

Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey

Consumers carelessly use public Wi-Fi without regard for their personal privacy, even blithely agreeing to surrender their first born in exchange for the opportunity to check their emails without paying. That's according to an experiment which involved setting up a "poisoned" Wi-Fi hotspot. Unsuspecting users who connected to …
John Leyden, 30 Sep 2014
Windows 8.1 Update Start Screen

Microsoft blinks, extends Windows 8.1 Update deadline for consumers

In a move that should surprise no one, Microsoft has extended the deadline when consumers must install the Windows 8.1 Update to avoid being cut off from future security patches to June 10, giving them a 30-day reprieve. "While we believe the majority of people have received the update, we recognize that not all have," …
Neil McAllister, 12 May 2014

Apple execs: 'Consumers want what we don't have'

The latest patent row between Apple and Samsung is showing the unpleasant details of the ongoing market battle between the two consumer electronics giants. In documents submitted to the San Jose District Court, internal memos from the two firms show that Samsung has become fixated on Apple more than any other competitor in the …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Apr 2014
An Android robot blushes from embarrassment

Android users are massive wan … er … smut consumers

Stats from self-pleasuring site Pornhub (link vaguely NSFW - no pics but still contains the word Pornhub) show that mobile viewing has overtaken desktop, and Android is the OS of choice for viewers of its select content. The, ahem, growth is in part down to the site removing its limit on the number of videos a day that can be …
Simon Rockman, 12 Jan 2015

At last, switching between rubbish broadband providers now easier

From tomorrow it will be easier for consumers to switch from a crap broadband provider to, er, well, another — possibly slightly less crap — broadband provider. The new rules apply to those using the Openreach telecoms network, such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk. Previously, consumers had to obtain a Migration Authorisation Code …
Kat Hall, 19 Jun 2015
top of the bt tower

BT: Consumers and cost cutting save the day

Cost cutting and 88,000 new broadband punters helped BT bank more profits in calendar Q3, although revenues went in the opposite direction as all divisions outside of the consumer wing reported declining fortunes. The former comms state monopoly turned over £4.38bn of sales in the quarter ended September, down two per cent year- …
Paul Kunert, 30 Oct 2014
Spaghetti with tomato sauce

Pasta is now a THING, says Cisco

QR codes are now officially part of the Internet of Things hype-cycle. That news comes courtesy of Cisco, which has inked a deal with Barilla, under which the codes will be printed on pasta packs to try and add some kind of Thingish excitement to one of the world's starchy staples. No, really. Here's The Borg's press …
Microsoft store opening

Microsoft offers to PAY YOU to trade in your old computer for a Windows 10 device

Microsoft has, for a limited period only, offered to pay up to £100 to convince UK consumers to part with their old computers in exchange for a Windows 10 device. If a customer is willing to shell out at least £499 on a PC running Redmond's latest operating system, then the company said it would stump up £100 to encourage …
Kelly Fiveash, 17 Oct 2015

Students! Graduates! Win £10,000 with the Cyber 10K challenge

Competition In a bid to help address the cyber skills gap in the UK, NCC Group is calling on Britain’s students and graduates to solve the cyber security challenges both businesses and consumers face today. The winner of the Cyber 10K challenge will receive £10,000 and expert advice from the company to develop their own security solution …
David Gordon, 14 Sep 2015
Bufo marinus (aka Cane Toad) - a regular four-legged version

Apple Watch is like an invasive weed says Gartner

Analyst outfit Gartner has likened the Apple Watch to the invasive Kudzu vine, an Asian plant that has become a pest around the world. Kudzu's survival strategy, says analyst Robert Hetu, relies on its ability to find deep water with carbohydrate-rich roots and a habit of growing vines and leaves in triplicate to give it …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2015

Is Alphabet-Google 'too big to jail'? The Lords find out

Europe's examination of Big Tech's dominant platforms – like Alphabet-Google and Amazon – is only just beginning, but Parliament got a teaser of the battles ahead this week, as two antitrust professors sharply disagreed on the merits of the enquiry. Professors David Evans, of UCL, and Ariel Ezrachi, of Oxford University, at …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Oct 2015
Apple iBooks

'This ruling does nothing to change the facts' thunders Apple in latest price-fix appeal blow

Apple has lost its appeal of a federal court decision that found it broke antitrust law by colluding with publishers to fix the prices of ebooks. The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2013 ruling by the US District Court of the Southern District of New York that found Apple had sought to artificially inflate ebook …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Jun 2015
A Lyft car

Who the hell is still using Lyft? And why put up with junk texts 'n' calls, huffs FCC

Dial-a-ride service Lyft has been rapped on the knuckles by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for making customers sign up for a telemarketing list before being able to access the service. The FCC cited Lyft for violating the US Telephone Consumer Protection Act and warned that further penalties could be imposed …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Sep 2015
Malcolm Turnbull

Lower prices are BAD FOR CONSUMERS, says Turnbull

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has intervened in an Australian Consumer And Competition Commission (ACCC) inquiry, warning Australia's competition regulator not to cut the wholesale price of fixed line services. The letter, co-signed by finance minister Matthias Cormann, warns the ACCC that varying the price of Telstra …

Samsung, Oppo collared in smartphone bloatware probe

Smartphone makers Samsung and Oppo face legal action in China over handsets apparently stuffed with bloatware. Plenty of folk in the People's Republic have moaned to regulators about pre-installed software on their phones, prompting Shanghai's Consumer Council to act. The country's Consumers' Association said in a statement …
Kelly Fiveash, 05 Jul 2015

Uncle Sam spanks PayPal for credit scheme cockup

Updated PayPal is going to surrender $25m to settle charges it enrolled consumers into its credit platform without their knowledge or consent. The US government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) alleges the online payment house used its "Bill Me Later" feature to lure consumers into its credit operation illegally. The …
Shaun Nichols, 19 May 2015

Want cheaper AT&T gigabit service? Move to a Google Fiber city

Disturbing content Competition works: AT&T has been found to be charging less for its gigabit broadband service in cities where it has to compete with Google Fiber. A report by Consumerist analysts noted that AT&T varies the prices on its 1Gbps Gigapower service depending on where it's rolled out – and the correlation between the lower rates was …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Oct 2015

Blighty tablet sales plunge 31 per cent in saturated market

The free fall descent of the tablet distribution market accelerated for the second quarter of 2015, with channel fondleslab sales plunging by 22 per cent to 2.3 million across Western Europe. Sales in the UK nosedived by 31 per cent to 410,100 units, according to the quarterly research on distribution sales compiled by analyst …
Kat Hall, 28 Jul 2015
Mr Creosote prepares to gobble

AT&T, Dish have a problem with Charter-TWC merger – surprise!

US telecom giants AT&T and Dish Network are asking the FCC to hold off on approving the $78.7bn merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable (TWC). In separate filings with the US communications regulator, the two companies claimed the proposed tie-up could damage competition in the US. Both companies alleged that …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Oct 2015

Danish telcos hang up on merger plans after EU pressure

Telenor and TeliaSonera have abandoned their merger plans following pressure from the European Commission. In an official statement on Friday, the pair called off the deal as they were unable to meet the Brussels competition watchdog’s demands. The Commish opened an in-depth investigation into the deal in April. “The merger …
Jennifer Baker, 14 Sep 2015

Hey Scandos, missed that parcel? Here’s some ransomware instead

Spam emails disguised as messages from local post offices – but actually packing the latest variant of the CryptoLocker ransomware – are being flung at surfers in Scandinavia. Heimdal Security reports that emails referring to an undelivered package and written in local languages are actually attempts to trick prospective marks …
John Leyden, 24 Sep 2015
Amazon under a cloud

Commish snaps on rubber gloves, Amazon readies itself for antitrust probe

The European Commish has decided to prod about in Amazon’s contracts with publishers looking for nasty antitrusty behaviour. The Commission is concerned that the contracts, which force publishers to notify Amazon about more favourable terms and conditions with competitors, may make it more difficult for other ebook …
Jennifer Baker, 11 Jun 2015
Dyson DC58 Animal

Bosch, you suck! Dyson says VW pal cheated in vacuum cleaner tests

Brit vacuum-cleaner maker Dyson is taking legal action against Bosch and Siemens, accusing the pair of cheating in energy efficiency tests. According to Dyson, the Siemens Q8.0 and Bosch GL80/In'Genius ProPerform vacuum cleaners conveniently operate at a lower power level in lab tests, and dramatically increase their power …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Oct 2015
BT Openreach at work

MILLIONS of broadband punters aren't getting it fast enough – Which?

More than 15 million households may not be getting their advertised broadband speeds, suggesting that providers are telling porky pies about how fast their services are. According to a survey of 2,000 punters from Which?, 74 per cent reckon they are paying for packages with advertised speeds they never receive – amounting to 15. …
Kat Hall, 18 Jun 2015
Internet of Things book cover

F-Secure makes SENSE of smart home IoT insecurities

F-Secure is looking to go that extra mile in consumer security with the launch of an anti-hacker appliance for the Internet of Things. The device, dubbed SENSE, works as a secure gateway, policing traffic to devices that might be insecure and generating alerts. For example, it will warn consumers if their router is running …
John Leyden, 11 Nov 2015
Panic button

How can we manage this internet thing? The Euro gov needs YOU

The European Commission is asking for help in drawing up laws to govern the internet. On Thursday it launched yet more public consultations designed to inform bureaucrats attempting to help create the digital single market. The two new consultations are so broad as to be almost unmanageable: one on “geo-blocking” and the other …
Jennifer Baker, 25 Sep 2015

'iOS 9 ate my mobile broadband plan'

Apple is being sued over an iOS 9 feature that allegedly gobbled its way through people's monthly mobile data plans. The class-action legal challenge [PDF], filed on Friday in the US District Court in San Jose, California, alleges that Apple enabled by default a connection-boosting feature called Wi-Fi Assist that resulted in …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Oct 2015

FTC gives FBI the finger over govt backdoor encryption demands

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has fired a second shot at the FBI over its demand for backdoors in encryption systems. Following a blog post last month by the regulator's CTO in which he outlined why he was glad to have strong firmware encryption after his laptop was stolen, today FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny has …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Sep 2015

Phone scamming up 30 percent last year: Report

Retail and finance call centre phone scamming in the US is up 30 percent according to research. The 2014 findings are based on some 86 million scam calls a month picked up by Pindrop Security in which attackers aimed to obtain personal information on potential victims. The phone security company says one in 2200 calls are …
Darren Pauli, 18 Jun 2015
Three Telstra vans restore one line

ACCC clears copper for the NBN

The ACCC has rubber-stamped the agreements needed to let nbnTM absorb Telstra's copper for fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) broadband. The approval of the deal means nbnTM can take ownership of Telstra’s copper and HFC networks for the government's multi-technology model broadband delivery. “Using existing infrastructure means we can …
Apple iPhone 6

Sacré bleu! Apple, Nokia, Samsung et al end their three-year sulk over 'home taping' tax

Three years after stomping out, big tech manufacturers have returned to talk to the French government about private copying levies. In France, an official working group, La Commission de la Copie Privée, sets the rules on which products will have copying levies slapped on them. Manufacturers and importers also had seats at the …
Jennifer Baker, 03 Sep 2015
Spoon feeding

Avira turns tables to launch lawsuit against ‘crapware’ slinger

Avira, which re-affirmed its right to classify as a nuisance back in June, has launched a legal offensive against the controversial app. The security software firm's filing concerns's alleged practice of “confusing users into installing unwanted programs that can compromise users’ privacy or weaken …
John Leyden, 29 Oct 2015

Net neutrality? Meh. But don't you dare slow my video streaming

Advisors to the European Commission have found that consumers do grasp the principles of net neutrality and make choices based on it — even when they don’t really know how traffic management, which is key to net neutrality, works. “Attributes of an internet access service offer that relate to traffic management and net …
Jennifer Baker, 10 Jun 2015

Yahoo! spills! user! account! beans! in! 60%! of! gov! data! requests!

Yahoo! has received 5,221 government requests for user data in the first six months of this year, and coughed up some sort of information at least 60 percent of the time. The statistics are part of Purple Palace's latest transparency report detailing government requests for customer data. A total of 7,817 Yahoo! responses …
Team Register, 13 Nov 2015
Nvidia Shield Tablet

Sick burn, LOSER! Nvidia recalls Shield gaming slabs over BLAZE RISK

Nvidia has today urged gamers to stop using its eight-inch Shield tablets, and send them back to base, because they are a fire risk. Nearly 90,000 units in America and Canada have been recalled over fears they will burn players. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a recall notice that there have been four …
Iain Thomson, 31 Jul 2015
Map showing track of the flight from the UK to Europe

EC probe into murky cross border e-commerce kicks off

The EU’s executive arm has officially launched its probe into the e-commerce sector to find out why Europeans aren’t buying across national borders much. The eCommerce investigation, which was announced in March, aims to identify and stamp out regulatory barriers to crossborder e-commerce. Over the next few weeks, the …
Jennifer Baker, 06 May 2015

Hi. Ofcom? My mobe's call quality is crap – but you said it was fine

Consumers will soon get proper information on how well their phone makes calls. Regulator Ofcom is to use an independent lab to test and rate phones for how well they actually make calls, and will release the information to the public. Too good to be true? Not according to the Telegraph. Ofcom reportedly told the paper that …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Sep 2015

Maker–NOT: 3D printer upstart Makerbot jams, cuts extra 20% of staff

Troubled 3D printer manufacturer Makerbot has announced a second round of layoffs, cutting a further 20 per cent of its staff as part of a major restructuring. "We have achieved a lot as a team, but we have also been impacted by the broader challenges in our industry," said CEO Jonathan Jaglom in a blog post. "For the last …
Iain Thomson, 08 Oct 2015

You'll LITERALLY PAY for getting tricked into visiting these scam sites

Update Cyber-crooks have latched on to online scams that exploit direct-to-bill payment options. Security biz Malwarebytes warns that crooks are tricking users into visiting mobile sites containing code that charges users via their mobile number. Victims are corralled through a complex series of pop-up adverts to a fly-by-night web …
John Leyden, 11 Aug 2015

Shoe stores top US credit card EMV-ready leaderboard of fail

Only 27 percent of US merchants and 40 percent of consumers in that country will be ready for the self-imposed EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip-card payment deadline Thursday. The cut-off is designed to curb rampant fraud in the country that makes hay of the use of magnetic stripes for credit card payments, far easier …
Darren Pauli, 01 Oct 2015