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 …
CES 2015 crowds brace for bluster

ACCC says Trans-Pacific Partnership's IP bits will hurt competition and consumers

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned the government its intellectual property (IP) obligations under the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) could crimp competition for “decades”. The ACCC, long an advocate for more competitive treatment of IP, has made the warning in its submission (PDF here) to …
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
Slurp

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

Research: By 2017, a third of home Wi-Fi routers will power passers-by

Companies are going to be selling a lot more public Wi-Fi plans over the next few years and it's going to be home Wi-Fi users who'll be the backbone of the network, according to analysts from Juniper Research. In a new report (registration necessary), Juniper estimates that one in three home Wi-Fi routers will be used as …
Iain Thomson, 29 Jan 2016
angry_woman_mobile_cropped_648

Virgin gives blessing to O2/Three merger

Virgin Media has weighed in to give its blessing over the controversial £10.5bn proposed merger between Three and O2, hoping such a move would give it greater network access. The intervention follows a pledge yesterday by Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison, which owns Three UK, that it would enable competitors in the UK to offer …
Kat Hall, 05 Feb 2016
watching_648

Blighty competition watchdog pokes pointy finger into cloud storage

Price hikes and last-minute service tweaks to cloud storage offerings have caught unwanted attention from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority. The regulator confirmed on Tuesday morning that it planned to carry out a review of the market, following concerns expressed by consumers. It will consider whether practices and …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Dec 2015

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
top of the bt tower

Watchdog says yes to BT's EE takeover deal. Shrugs. No 'significant' harm in it

The UK's competition watchdog has today cleared the £12.5bn takeover of EE by BT, finding that the merger will "not cause significant harm to competition or the interests of consumers." The deal will give BT a 32 per cent share of the the mobile subscription market and nearly 600 EE shops. Earlier this week The Register …
Kat Hall, 15 Jan 2016
Happy business people celebrate. Photo by Shutterstock

UK concerned over EU law plans on trade of data for digital content

The UK government has warned that EU proposals to extend consumer protection rules to businesses that supply digital content for free in return for access to consumers' data could "unduly inhibit" that "very innovative business model". In December last year the European Commission published a new draft directive on contracts …
OUT-LAW.COM, 02 Feb 2016
Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung sued over 'lackadaisical' Android security updates

Samsung is being sued by a Dutch consumer group for its alleged lackadaisical approach to security updates for its Android phones. The Dutch Consumers’ Association (DCA) claims that an incredible 82 per cent of Samsung phones do not have the latest version of Android installed. It blames the Korean giant for failing to prod …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Jan 2016

Does anyone know what their broadband costs? The ASA hopes to change that

Blighty's advertising regulator has vowed to clamp down on "misleading" broadband advertising prices, following its findings that three in four people are unable to work out true cost of broadband deals. The Advertising Standards Authority said the move is a response to joint research with Ofcom, which found the current …
Kat Hall, 21 Jan 2016
Stop sign in front of a bush. Image via Shutterstock

Competition watchdog dismisses plans by TfL to uber-regulate Uber

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) today dismissed proposals by Transport for London to introduce new regulation to tighten its grip over private hire companies such as Uber. Responding to proposals suggested last month by the regional transport body, the spending watchdog said TfL should take care to avoid …
Kat Hall, 02 Dec 2015
Throttling

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

You, FCC. Do something about these overpriced cable boxes, yells Bernie Sanders and pals

Six US Senators are taking aim at the excessive fees cable and internet providers charge for modem and set-top hardware. In an open letter [PDF] to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT and presidential hopeful), Edward Markey (D-MA), and Jeffrey …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Feb 2016
hand holdin retro telephone

Nuisance call blocking firms fined £170,000 ... for making nuisance calls

The Information Commissioner's Office has raised a tidy £250,000 this week with two more fines for companies flogging nuisance call-blocking services by, yep, you guessed it, making nuisance calls, after receiving over 1,000 complaints. Poole-based Nuisance Call Blocked Ltd received a fine of £90,000, while Telecom Protection …

Feel like you got ripped off online? This is for you

A new online platform that will resolve problems between European consumers and online retailers will open Saturday. The online dispute resolution (ODR) service will allow people who have bought goods or services online and then had a problem with them to have their issue resolved through third-party referees and without …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jan 2016
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
Vittorio Colao (CEO)

Vodafone slings sueball at Dutch telco alleging anti-competitive conduct

Vodafone has initiated legal proceedings against Netherlands-based telco KPN, with the claim that the latter's business practices have affected competition and consumer choice in the country. The Dutch incumbent has been accused by the mobile giant of failing to deliver the technology needed for Voda to debut its rival TV, …
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Dec 2015
Bates Motel

FTC and Wyndham end hotel data protection feud

Hotel chain Wyndham Resorts has agreed to settle its long-running case with the FTC over its handling of customer data. The US trade bod said on Wednesday it has agreed to a settlement deal [PDF] that will see Wyndham spend the next two decades under mandatory rules for securing and storing customer payment card information. …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Dec 2015
Photo of a stack of $100 bills

LifeLock didn't live up to their hype, and now they're $100m lighter

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has agreed to a $100m settlement in its deceptive advertising case with LifeLock. The identity protection provider will pay the nine-figure penalty to end the FTC's complaint that it violated a 2010 order related to charges of misleading consumers. The settlement does not include an …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Dec 2015
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 …

Google ninjas go public with security holes in Malwarebytes antivirus

Malwarebytes is rushing to plug security flaws in its software that allow miscreants to sling malware at its customers. The antivirus firm says it has addressed server-side vulnerabilities that were reported by Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy in November. However, security holes remain in the client-side software …
John Leyden, 02 Feb 2016
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
£10 notes. Pic: Howard Lake

New data porting rules mustn't overburden businesses with costs, says UK minister

Rules designed to enable consumers to move their data from one platform to another should not be so costly to comply with that they serve as a "barrier to entry" into markets, the UK's parliamentary under-secretary of state for the Department for Business, Innovation has said. Baroness Neville-Rolfe said that the planned new …
OUT-LAW.COM, 16 Dec 2015

Three: We won't hike prices if you say yes to £10.5bn O2 merger

Three has promised it will not raise prices for customers if it is allowed to hop into bed with O2 in its proposed £10.5bn in an open letter hitting back at regulators' fears over the deal. In the letter, Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison, which owns Three UK, promises it will not raise the price for consumers of a voice minute, a …
Kat Hall, 04 Feb 2016

Last call for the NCC Group Cyber 10K challenge

Competition The November 30 deadline for entering NCC Group’s Cyber 10K challenge is coming up fast – so get those entries in now. To recap, the Cyber 10K is designed to encourage students and recent grads to take up careers in IT security. NCC Group challenges entrants to put forward fresh and innovative ideas to help solve cyber security …
David Gordon, 26 Nov 2015
'Broken Copyright' StockMonkeys.com

Team America, world police, take down 37,479 counterfeit sites

A band of merry world police lead by the United States Customs and Border Protection service shut down 37,479 copyright-infringing websites hawking counterfeit goods in the lead up to the Cyber Monday buying blitz. The takedown involved varying forms of collaboration between 27 countries including the Britain, France, Denmark …
Darren Pauli, 01 Dec 2015
More flaws found in Java

Oracle ordered to admit on its website that it lost the plot on Java security

Oracle bungled the security updates of its Java SE software so badly it must publish a groveling letter prominently on its website for the next two years. After gobbling up Java along with Sun in 2010, Oracle's software updates for Java SE would only affect the latest version installed. If you had multiple versions of Java SE …
Chris Williams, 22 Dec 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

YouTube puts T-Mobile US on naughty list for throttling all vids to 480p

YouTube has waded into the row over T-Mobile US's Binge On service. Binge On launched in November, and lets people watch unlimited amounts of video from Netflix, Hulu and other selected providers: the streams do not count against subscribers' monthly download caps. There is a catch, though. These toll-free videos are streamed …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Dec 2015
Brent Spiner signed photo saying 'Big Data'

Use of big data can lead to 'harmful exclusion, discrimination' – FTC

Businesses should take steps to avoid causing "harmful exclusion or discrimination" when using aggregated consumer data that they have analysed, a US regulator has said. In a new report the Federal Trade Commission called on companies to check how representative their data sets are, whether their "data model" takes account of …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Jan 2016
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
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 …
Night scene of bank station in central london

Open APIs for UK banking: It's happening, people

On Tuesday, an industry-led group published a new framework for supporting the use of open APIs in the banking sector. The UK Treasury is keen for banks to open up access to the data they hold on customers to other businesses to encourage innovation and boost competition in the sector. It tasked an industry-led Open Banking …
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Feb 2016
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
Prison

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
Cigarette by https://www.flickr.com/photos/42787780@N04/ cc 2.0 attribution generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Panasonic Toughbooks are so tough they can smoke

Panasonic's the latest company to fall foul of dodgy batteries, finding that the rechargeables shipped with its CF-S10 laptop "may overheat, cause smoke, or may ignite" causing "a risk of a fire or a burn hazard to consumers" and the computer. The CF-VZSU61U rechargeable battery pack is the culprit and appears to have come to …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Feb 2016
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
jaws

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