Articles about Federal

Deloitte coughs up $11m to end claims it ripped off US govt with IT work

Deloitte will pay $11m to settle allegations it overcharged the US government for IT services. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said on Tuesday it has struck a deal with Deloitte, which was accused of – and we're paraphrasing, here – treating Uncle Sam's General Services Administration (GSA) as a bottomless pit of cash. The …
Shaun Nichols, 31 May 2016

P-TECH education program trial expanded (but not evaluated)

Why is the Liberal party promising money to recreate vocational training on an American model, when Australia used to have a working vocational training system of its own? It'd be easy to blame Malcolm Turnbull, except that P-TECH pilots that began this year were kicked off by his predecessor Tony Abbott. The current leader of …

Darkode Bitcoin bot bandit gets year and a day in US cooler

Darkode bot bandit Rory Stephen Guidry has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for selling a botnet containing 5000 enslaved machines, and stealing US$80,000 (£72,069, A$111,728) in Bitcoins and 5000 active credit cards. Guildry, 29, or Louisiana was arrested in the massive take-down of defunct English crime board …
Darren Pauli, 30 May 2016

FCC swivels to online privacy, gets bitten in the ass by net neutrality

Analysis When America's comms watchdog the FCC passed its net neutrality rules despite an onslaught of criticism from telcos, the world rejoiced. But, as many of us noted at the time, the Open Internet Order was achieved through an imperfect approach: equating internet providers with phone companies by deciding they are Title II …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 May 2016
hand in chain mail glove cutting meat with sharp knife

Republicans move to gut FCC and crush its net neutrality crusade with paralyzing budget rules

A new budget proposal would effectively bar the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from enforcing its net neutrality provisions. Buried deep within the House Appropriations Committee budget proposal [PDF] is a set of new rules that limit the FCC's ability to use its funds for activities including the regulation of " …
Shaun Nichols, 26 May 2016
Banned

Pas de problème ... Quebec just passed a website blocking law

Canada's second largest province, Quebec, has passed a law that obliges ISPs to block gambling websites. Bill 74 has passed almost without notice (the casino industry being the notable exception) and will see the government agency in charge of lotteries in the province, Loto-Québec, draw up a list of online gambling sites that …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 May 2016

$10bn Oracle v Google copyright jury verdict: Google wins, Java APIs in Android are Fair Use

Google has won the latest round in its long-running battle with Oracle over the use of Java class library APIs in Android. A San Francisco jury today found that Google's reuse of Java's core software interfaces in its own mobile operating system should be considered Fair Use – meaning Google can avoid paying royalties to …

Hillary Clinton broke law with private email server – top US govt watchdog

A report by the US State Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has found presidential wannabe Hillary Clinton did breach record-keeping laws – by using a personal server for work emails. The watchdog added she was not alone in the practice. The 89-page dossier [PDF] found that three senior State Department figures …
Iain Thomson, 26 May 2016
Jam

Florida man, Chinese biz fined $48k, $35m on mobe signal jam raps

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined a Florida chap and a Chinese business over cellphone jamming boxes. The watchdog said it will try to extract [PDF] $34.9m from Shenzhen-based retailer CTS Technologies for marketing illegal jammers and, in a separate case, will fine [PDF] a bloke $48,000 for using a …
Shaun Nichols, 26 May 2016
floppies

US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies

A US Government Accounting Office (GAO) report has highlighted the parlous state of Uncle Sam's IT infrastructure. As an example, the computer used to coordinate America's nuclear forces is an IBM Series/1 that uses eight‑inch floppy disks capable of storing about 80KB of data each. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department is …
Iain Thomson, 25 May 2016
Internet email sign. Pic: @mattw1lson, Twitter

Apple et al demand email law

Apple, Facebook, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others have sent a letter to the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley (R‑IA), urging him to pass the Email Privacy Act. The legislation will update the antiquated 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act and close an important privacy loophole where …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 May 2016
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US watchdog probes Alibaba

The monster Chinese ecommerce site Alibaba is under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In a filing – with the SEC – the company disclosed the financial regulator was looking into its accounting practices. That investigation includes Alibaba's biggest PR effort: the huge revenue generated on China …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 May 2016
Crypto fingers

IETF spikes government metadata collection with DNS request crypto plan

DNS requests and responses – part of what many countries regard as “metadata” that they want collected for law enforcement – should be encrypted to protect users from surveillance. That's what's put forward in RFC 7858: that DNS requests should traverse transport layer security (TLS) links, so as to protect users' requests …
Jon Callas

Apple hires crypto-wizard Jon Callas to beef up security

Apple has added a security star to its firmament with the hire of Jon Callas to its security team. Callas, who you may remember from cofounding such firms as PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) and Silent Circle, has already been an Apple employee twice before. He worked at Apple in the 1990s and rejoined for a couple of years from 2009 …
Iain Thomson, 24 May 2016
NBN Logo

NBN raid fallout continues, with Conroy formalising privilege claim

The Australian Labor Party's (ALP's) senator Stephen Conroy has formalised his claim of parliamentary privilege over documents seized in last week's Australian Federal Police raid of his office and the homes of two of his staffers. Conroy has sent a letter to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), a procedural step required to …
Privacy image

Committees: Wait! Don't strap on the Privacy Shield yet

The revelations by rogue NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden in 2013 caused indignant EU politicians to open a dialogue with the US government to update the data transfer regime to safeguard personal data. The Privacy Shield is the culmination of those discussions. The US's hands-off approach has always differed from the EU's …
Frank Jennings, 24 May 2016
Hillary Clinton

Guccifer fesses up to Clinton hacks

The US Virginia Eastern District Court has posted a notice for a change of plea hearing set for Wednesday in the case of Marcel Lehel Lazar. Two additional documents were also filed with the court under seal. It is not yet known which of the nine counts Lazar, aka "Guccifer," will be pleading to, or what the terms of the deal …
Shaun Nichols, 23 May 2016
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US Telecom beats up FCC over investment

Analysis Telco lobbying group US Telecom has fired another broadside at their erstwhile friendly regulator, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), saying the billions telcos make each month isn't enough. This time, in a blog post from its vice president of law and policy, Diane Holland, Big Telco is complaining that the FCC – and …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 May 2016
Edward Snowden and Julian Morrow at Think. Image Darren Pauli / The Register

Snowden: NBN leaker raids a 'misuse' of Australian Federal Police

National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden has opined that last week's National Broadband Network (NBN) raids in Australia last week are a misuse of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) power. Snowden appeared via satellite link in the Australian city of Melbourne last night, live from Russia where he resides under …
Darren Pauli, 23 May 2016
Keystone Cops

NBN leak pits minister against AFP commissioner

The Australian Federal Police's (AFP's) raid on Australian parliamentarians and their staffers over leaked documents on delays to the National Broadband Network (NBN) leaked-documents raid had more fallout over the weekend, with the AFP criticised for allowing an nbnTM staffer to photograph documents seized in Thursday night's …
Professional carbon drone with GPS. Pic via Shutterstock

US government publishes drone best practices

You can't use drones to check whether your employee really is sick, or to take pictures of your neighbors, unless you're a news organization in which case the sky is the limit - or more accurately not the limit. That's according to advice published by the US government over how best to use drones – or unmanned aircraft systems …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 May 2016

Google still faces legal spat with SEO biz that claimed it was wiped from web

Analysis An attempt by Google to get a competition case against it thrown out on free speech grounds was itself thrown out this week. The case [PDF], e-ventures LLC vs Google, working its way through a Florida District Court, has received little attention so far. It's noteworthy mainly because it's the first time an SEO (search engine …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 May 2016
Swiss Cow

Networking not cutting it: Brocade needs wireless to pull revs up

Brocade reported second quarter revenue of $523m, down 4 per cent year-over-year from $547m, and a 9 per cent quarter-over-quarter decline from $574m, as general storage networking sales weakness impacted its results. Segment-wise: SAN product revenue of $297mn was down 5 per cent year-over-year Fibre Channel directors …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2016
Man with a vaper apparatus - face obscured by smoke/vapour. Photo by Shutterstock

The ‘Vaping Crackdown’ starts today. This is what you need to know

Draconian new regulations on vaping come into effect today – but for many vapers, it won’t feel like a crackdown, at least, not right away, Written into the EU’s revised Tobacco Products Directive were new rules restricting the supply, manufacture and promotion of things which aren’t tobacco products at all, but which have …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 May 2016
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin

Australian Federal Police say government ignorant of NBN raids

Australian Federal Police (AFP) has confirmed it raided the office of Labor senator Stephen Conroy and the home of a staffer of opposition communications minister Jason Claire over leaked documents pertaining to Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN). Sensitive documents have been repeatedly leaked since late last year …
Darren Pauli, 20 May 2016
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Australian Federal Police raid former comms minister's office

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has searched the offices of Senator Stephen Conroy, the former Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus has issued a statement about the “raid” on Conroy's office. Shadow AG Mark Dreyfus has released a statement regarding the AFP …
Simon Sharwood, 19 May 2016

What's holding up Canada's internet?

Sysadmin Blog Canadian internet providers are frequently bemoaned as terrible. Americans get lots of media play about getting the sharp end of the stick from their providers, but many Canadians look longingly at the internet packages south of the border and wonder: what's the holdup in Canada? While Canadians usually like to fool ourselves …
Trevor Pott, 19 May 2016
FTC building

FTC's Jerk ruling against ex-Napster boss upheld by court

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is claiming victory after the US Court of Appeals upheld a verdict it won over reputation site Jerk.com. The court ruled that John Fanning, the former Napster CEO and chairman, deceived customers about data collection and membership benefits of Jerk.com, a social networking/smear website …
Shaun Nichols, 18 May 2016

SEC warns cybersecurity is biggest threat to financial system

The chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mary Jo White, has warned that the biggest risk the financial system faces is cybersecurity. Speaking at the Financial Regulation Summit in Washington DC, White warned the industry that their policies and procedures were not up to scratch and without them they faced …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 May 2016
Phone thief, photo via Shutterstock

Catz: Google's Android hurt Oracle's Java business

Google’s free distribution of Android damaged Oracle’s business – according to Oracle. The database giant reportedly told a US federal court that giving Android to handset makers for free destroyed the revenue it could have made on licensing Java. Oracle's co-chief executive Safra Catz reportedly told a San Francisco jury …
Gavin Clarke, 18 May 2016

US power grid still fragile in the face of EMP threat: GAO

America is still under dire threat of an electromagnetic pulse sending it back to the dark ages, according to Chris Currie of the US Government Accountability Office. In testimony given to the House of Representatives' Homeland Security Committee's subcommittee on oversight and management efficiency, Currie reckons there's not …

Politician claims porn tabs a malware experiment, then finds God

Congressional candidate Mike Webb had an immediate explanation for the porn tabs in his browser: he was conducting his own malware experiment. The Republican, who is vying for Virginia's 8th district, posted a screenshot of his computer to his Facebook page about a call he had received from a staffing agency, but failed to …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 May 2016
FCC paddling

Help! We're being crushed, cry billionaire cable giants

US cable carriers are crying foul against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over what they say are overbearing and heavy-handed regulations being placed on their market. Speaking at an event in Boston, Michael Powell - CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and former FCC chairman - said that …
Shaun Nichols, 16 May 2016

'Knucklehead' Kansas bloke shoots self in foot

A Kansas high school graduation ceremony ended prematurely for two attendees yesterday when one shot himself in the foot with a concealed handgun, in the process seriously wounding another. According to local news outlet KWCH, the incident occurred just before 2pm yesterday at Augusta High School's outdoor stadium, when a man …
Lester Haines, 16 May 2016

YouTube skiddie busted for hacking Country Liberal Party

A man from the Australian state of Victoria has been charged after stealing, using, and publishing credit cards of political party members using basic tricks he learned from YouTube. Aaron Warren Camm, 20, of Kangaroo Flat, learnt how to use the skiddie tool Havij to launch SQL injection attacks and applied the lessons in …
Darren Pauli, 16 May 2016
Bank vault

Yet another SE Asia bank hit by a SWIFT credentials hack

Cybercrooks have once again broken into the SWIFT financial transaction network and stolen money from another bank. The breach – victim and amount looted undisclosed – comes as the fallout from February’s $81m Bangladesh reserve bank cyber-heist continues to spread. The second robbery was uncovered by investigators looking …
John Leyden, 13 May 2016

FBI director claims that videoing police is causing crime uptick

The director of the FBI, James Comey, has again claimed that citizens' use of mobile phones to record the police is causing an increase in crime, despite previous direct criticism over the claim from President Obama. According to Comey, the recent spate of videos recorded by ordinary citizens that have shown the police acting …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 May 2016
You're fired dialog box

Theranos boots COO

Troubled blood-testing company Theranos has booted out its president and chief operating officer and added new board members in an effort to rebuild confidence. Sunny Balwani is "retiring" according to a blog post by the company, just a month after it was revealed federal regulators were considering banning Balwani and CEO …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 May 2016
Giant burger

Burger-slinger Wendy’s admits: Cash-till data breach hit 1 in 20 outlets

Wendy’s confirmed on Wednesday that malicious software affected PoS (point-of-sale) devices in around 300 of the burger chain’s 5,500 franchised stores, or about five per cent of all its restaurants in North America. The update on Wednesday quantifies the extent of a previously announced breach and came as Wendy’s announced …
John Leyden, 12 May 2016

Lending Club CEO booted out for dodgy deals

The CEO of online money merchant Lending Club, Renaud Laplanche, has been fired, raising more questions over tech startups and how far from business norms - and the law - they have strayed in an effort to make money. Laplanche resigned this week after an internal investigation revealed the company - a lauded startup "unicorn" …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 May 2016
Bank vault

Transfer techies at SWIFT tell Bangladesh Bank: Don't shift blame for $81m cyberheist

SWIFT has firmly rejected Bangladeshi claims that mistakes on its part are to blame after $81m was looted from Bangladesh’s central bank. Bangladeshi officials claimed earlier this week that technicians from SWIFT had introduced vulnerabilities into the bank's network when connecting a Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system …
John Leyden, 10 May 2016
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A modest proposal: dump the NBN mess on Telstra

Because Australia is now in an election campaign, various hopefuls are holding their breath in case (a) the NBN becomes A Serious Election Issue, and (b) the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) advances an alternative policy that brings fibre closer to the premises. The depressing truth is this: (a1) because of the …
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Adjust your Facebook, Twitter privacy settings, judge tells jurors in Oracle-Google Java trial

The judge in the long-running Oracle-Google copyright lawsuit has advised jurors to adjust the privacy settings on their social media outlets – noting, "I can't control the press," and warning that story-seeking journalists would look them up. Judge Alsup addressed the juror pool this morning in San Francisco as lawyers from …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 May 2016
Still from Stand By Me movie. Pie eating contest

Gobble away! Charter-Time Warner Cable merger OK'd by FCC

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given its blessing to Charter's $78.7bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Bright House Networks. The watchdog said on Friday in a brief statement that it had approved the massive biz gobble with conditions floated earlier by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. Those conditions …
Shaun Nichols, 06 May 2016
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ALP promises 'fibre' NBN as 'NBN defenders' return with new petition

The Australian Labor Party has hinted at its policy for the nation's national broadband network (NBN), with leader Bill Shorten promising “a first-rate fibre national broadband network” in his Budget in Reply speech. Shorten's speech declared a “fibre” NBN “the most important piece of infrastructure to any 21st Century economy …
Simon Sharwood, 06 May 2016

Woman charged with blowing AU$4.6m overdraft on 'a lot of handbags'

A 21-year-old woman has appeared in court in Sydney accused of taking advantage of a Westpac Bank glitch which saw her accidentally granted an unlimited overdraft against which she allegedly withdrew AU$4.6m, "part of which she spent on luxury handbags", as news.com.au puts it. Chemical engineering student Christine Jiaxin Lee …
Lester Haines, 05 May 2016

Jobs in Ireland may be vulnerable at post merger Dell Technologies

When Dell completes its acquisition of EMC and its subsidiary VMware, the combined Dell Technologies will become one of the largest technology employers in Ireland. But with role duplication almost inevitably raising the spectre of job losses as the firms integrate, the elimination of product overlaps will also have a job …
Chris Mellor, 05 May 2016
Cloud seeding drone

Nerds make it rain in Nevada. The Las Vegas strip? No, cloud-seeding drones over the desert

Cloud seeding – spraying chemicals into the air to encourage rainfall – used to be regarded as a fringe science at best, but now it's kind of a big deal. As such, eggheads in Nevada hope to use drones to turn parts of the largely arid US state, otherwise famous for the Las Vegas adult playground, green. The Desert Research …
Iain Thomson, 05 May 2016

Cops deploy StingRay anti-terror tech against $50 chicken-wing thief

Police in Maryland, US, used controversial cellphone-tracking technology intended only for the most serious crimes to track down a man who stole $50 of chicken wings. Police in Annapolis – an hour's drive from the heart of government in Washington DC – used a StingRay cell tower simulator in an effort to find the location of a …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 May 2016
An Amazon Prime Air drone

FAA rules out fast-tracking drone regulations

America's Federal Aviation Authority has ruled out changing low-altitude airspace rules for drones at least until 2019. Organisations like Amazon, which is dead-set convinced it can handle the economics of drone deliveries if only regulators would do their bidding. Last year, Bezos' bros asked the FAA to segregate airspace …