Articles about Government

Government hails superfast broadband deal for new homes

The Government has brokered a deal between BT Openreach and The Home Builders Federation (HBF) which means “new build homes [are] to have superfast broadband connectivity”. This is a tad optimistic as there is no legal compulsion for house builders to comply with the new arrangement. BT Openreach is making easier for …
Drew Cullen, 08 Feb 2016
Keep Calm and Adopt Platform-as-a-service

UK government names Cloud Foundry Her Majesty's preferred PaaS

The UK's Government Digital Service (GDS) has named Cloud Foundry as its preferred platform-as-a-service. Cloud Foundry saw off Deis and Tsuru, the latter providing the most robust competition on the grounds of simplicity, modularity and responsiveness from the development community. “The maturity of Cloud Foundry, as well as …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2015
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Big Blue lets Chinese government eyeball source code – report

IBM has reportedly granted Beijing controlled looking rights to its proprietary source code to allow government officials to scrutinise the software for spook backdoors. The move comes some 12 years since Microsoft brought in its Government Security Program, to allow nations outside of the US to eyeball its code. According to …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Oct 2015

Irish government websites hit by widening DDoS attacks

A number of Irish government-related and public sector websites were knocked offline by an apparent DDoS attack on Friday morning. The latest assaults follow apparently similar web attacks on the popular boards.ie discussion boards (bang) and the Irish National Lottery earlier (wallop) this week. At the time of first of the …
John Leyden, 22 Jan 2016
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UK government looks to harness the potential of open data through APIs

In a speech earlier this week, Matt Hancock, minister for the Cabinet Office, referred to data as being "no longer just a record" but a "mineable commodity, from which value can be extracted" and outlined how the UK government intends to improve its use of the information at its disposal and help others exploit the data too. " …
OUT-LAW.COM, 06 Nov 2015

Australian government urges holidaymakers to kill two-factor auth

The Australian government is urging its citizens to turn off two-factor authentication while abroad. The official Twitter account for myGov – a portal for accessing government services online – told Aussies this week: "Going overseas this summer? If you're registered for myGov security codes make sure you turn them off before …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Dec 2015
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Patent Troll Unit set up by Virginia government to slay lawsuits

Suing a company for patent infringement just got a lot tougher in the state of Virginia. The state (technically a commonwealth) has created a new legal office focused entirely on patent litigation. Specifically, the state's Patent Troll Unit will look to extract penalties and legal fees from companies who make unjust patent …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Jan 2016
Selection of Australian banknotes

Oz government hacks reality TV model to help a startup. Just one

Policy-by-hack has well and truly taken hold in Canberra, with the federal government launching startup-inspired thought bubbles faster than startups can complain the government doesn't pay them enough attention. Following on from notable successes last week (foreign minister Julie Bishop elevating the “cloud passport” from “ …

SAP pays $3.9m to settle Panama government bribery case

SAP will pay nearly $3.9m after a senior executive was found to have bribed officials in the government of Panama to land lucrative deals. The software giant has agreed to pay $3.7m in profit plus an extra $188,896 in interest. SAP did so without admitting or denying the findings of the regulator that brought the bribery case …
Gavin Clarke, 03 Feb 2016
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Microsoft to begin alerting users about suspected government snooping

Microsoft will warn email and OneDrive users if it detects apparent attempts by governments to hack into their accounts. The rollout of the alert system on Wednesday follows reports Redmond had failed to warn Hotmail users targeted by Chinese hackers, according to former employees. Reuters reports Microsoft was hacked in 2011 …
John Leyden, 31 Dec 2015

Hand-cranked ‘DDoS’ floors Thai government website amid protests

Thai government websites dropped offline this week in what was either a politically motivated distributed denial-of-service attack or a case of badly designed websites falling over in response to an unusual increase in visitor numbers. The outage started late on Wednesday and was resolved on Thursday – coinciding with protests …
John Leyden, 02 Oct 2015

Australian government hiring guardians of retained metadata

The metadata retention scheme dreamed up by Australia's federal government may be stalled and in a shambles, but the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security isn't waiting for things to go wrong: it's recruiting specialists to watch over the scheme. Turned up by Crikey (which Tweeted it as a search for “contractors”, …
Australian attorney general George Brandis by https://www.flickr.com/photos/cebitaus/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Australian government mulls secret terror court proposals

The Australian government is taste-testing new anti-terrorism proposals to give police access to information gathered by its spook agencies. Dropped to the Murdoch press over the weekend, the idea is to create secret courts to look at information from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and other security …

Oz government to put dark fibre net on the auction block

The Australian government's dark fibre network, ICON, is one of the many assets slated for sale under tonight's federal budget announcements. ICON – the Intra Government Communications Network – has a total of 150,000 km of dark fibre linking 400 sites in Canberra, and is used by 88 agencies. The Department of Finance says the …
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Former VMware staffer blows whistle on government pricing plan

VMware and Carahsoft, a company that bills itself as “Your Trusted Government IT Solutions Provider”, will repay US$75.5 million to the US government for what the Department of Justice (DoJ) characterises as “misrepresenting their commercial pricing practices and overcharging the government on VMware software products and …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Jul 2015

Government Gateway online hack claims 'nonsense', say multiple folk in the know

Claims the Government Gateway online identity portal has been "hacked" have been dismissed as "nonsense" by the man originally responsible for the project and by two government information security experts. Earlier this week the Financial Times (behind paywall) reported that “tens of thousands” of Britons’ identities were …
Kat Hall, 29 Oct 2015
Parliament in the clouds

Government in-sourcing: It was never going to be that easy

Comment Having thrown out the baby with the bathwater in its "outsource everything" drive beginning nearly two decades ago, Whitehall is now keen to bring tech staff back in-house. But how much roadmap does it have for breaking its soon-to-expire mega deals and for "transforming" IT? The chief exec of the civil service, John Manzoni, …
Kat Hall, 22 Jan 2016

US government's $6bn super firewall doesn't even monitor web traffic

The US government's firewall, named Einstein, is not as smart as its name would suggest. A report [PDF] by the General Accounting Office (GAO) into the National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS) has concluded that it is only "partially meeting its stated system objectives." Which is a polite way of saying it sucks. Among …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Feb 2016

UK citizens will have to pay government to spy on them

IPB If having the UK government trawl through your internet history and phone calls wasn't enough, it turns out that people will have to pay for the pleasure. Speaking at a Commons Select Committee hearing this week, internet service providers (ISPs) warned that the costs of implementing the system outlined in the government's …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Nov 2015
Magnus at Pawsey

Western Australian government funds Pawsey supercomputing centre until 2021

Scientific HPC fans in Australia will be breathing a sigh of relief that the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre has secured state government funding through to 2020-21. The Western Australian government has announced the AU$21.6 million allocation in its 2015-16 budget, which will help keep Pawsey's supers sufficiently super for …
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Australian government sun to set on NBN funding

BUDGET 2015 The 2015 Federal Budget has set the date at which the government will drive the national broadband network (NBN, not nbnTM) to a quiet country road, open the door, and drive off. In the firm belief that the multi-technology-mix-architected NBN will be ready by the 2016/17 budget year (and that the current government remains in …
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Libertarian hero: 'Satoshi Nakamoto', government funds, the NSA and the DHS

It's more than a little odd seeing the world hail their libertarian hero, mourn that he was "arrested for inventing Bitcoin”* (as is being claimed on Twitter), and find that he ate government money like a horse. The Register can't and won't pull out a cheque-book for the inevitable exclusive with Wright. However, we can look …
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

NSW government mulls unified public safety comms

The government of the Australian state of New South Wales has completed a review of emergency services telecommunications, and has decided it wants a single statewide network. The review (PDF here), conducted by the NSW Telco Authority, concludes there's no point to having individual agencies own and operate their own networks …
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Assessing the UK’s Government Digital Service

The Year in Review For the Government Digital Service, 2015 has been a year of challenge and uncertainty. Many issues have dogged the body, but some of the most high profile included the £215m IT fiasco for farmers' rural payment allowances and the departure of Mike Bracken, the man whose name has become synonymous with the body, amid rumours that …
Kat Hall, 27 Dec 2015
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NBN: blowout or not, leaks are an irritant for government

Australia's shadow communications minister ALP's Jason Clare is pimping a leak of a March 2015 internal document penned by nbnTM , the entity building Australia's national broadband network (NBN) to prove another cost blowout in the rollout. But his arguments may not add up to much. Since nbnTM has already disowned the …

South Australia: Great for wine, murder, insecure, outdated over budget government IT

The Audit Office in the Australian State of South Australia has run the rule over the region's IT and graded it as “4/10, must try harder”. The state's management of more than a billion dollars worth of technology is not much better than a shambles, according to the office's Information and communications technology report ( …
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Canadian government websites hosed, Anonymous takes credit

Canada's government websites and email servers have been knocked offline in a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. The assault was apparently a simple flood-the-pipes operation rather than an attempted data-heist. At 5pm local time, according to Bloomberg (presumably in Ottawa), sysadmins were working to get services …

Hacking group Strontium dogs NATO and government targets

There's a new hacking team out there that's proving surprisingly good at getting into government systems using social engineering tactics coupled with zero-day attacks in assaults that can last as long as a year. Dubbed Strontium by researchers at the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, the hackers have been active since 2007 …
Iain Thomson, 18 Nov 2015
Australian attorney general George Brandis by https://www.flickr.com/photos/cebitaus/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Australian government demands signoff on telco network designs

Australia's attorney-general has dropped some new telecommunications legislation designed to drag carrier networks into the orbit of the nation's top legal officer. The plans, announced last week, would give the government power to demand information about carriers' networks and order changes to networks, with a civil penalties …
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Facebook tells Belgian government its use of English invalidates privacy case

As legal arguments go, this may not be the strongest. Facebook has told the Belgian government that it cannot proceed with its privacy case against the social media giant because of its use of English terms like "cookie", "browser" and "server". The company was told back in November to stop tracking people without Facebook …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Jan 2016
Turnbull's twitter feed by https://www.flickr.com/photos/paullyoung/  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Australian government Slacks off in cabinet

Australia's fully-mobile-enabled BYOD prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is reportedly working hard to keep discussions between members of Cabinet out of the reach of the country's data retention regime. Turnbull, whose tech credentials include running his own Hillary-Clinton-style e-mail server and using the encrypted …
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US government pushing again on encryption bypass

Just a few weeks after the US government effectively conceded defeat in its efforts to force tech companies to introduce backdoors into their software, the issue is being pulled back onto the table. Both FBI director James Comey and deputy CTO Ed Felten have reopened discussions: Comey stating that tech companies like Apple …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Dec 2015

Ark of the Government deal confirmed, joint venture established

In a massive departure from the usual big supplier merry-go-round of government IT contracts, the Cabinet Office has confirmed a £700m legacy "Crown Hosting" deal with small data centre biz Ark, as revealed by El Reg last week. In a statement, the department claimed the joint venture company, in which Ark will own a 75 per cent …
Kat Hall, 20 Mar 2015

US government tweaks internet handover date: 1 October 2016

The US government will officially hand over control of the top level of the internet on 1 October 2016 – a year later than planned. The Department of Commerce announced on Monday that it will extend the IANA contract, today held by domain overseer ICANN, by one year, meaning that it will expire on 30 September 2016. At that …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Aug 2015
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Australian Government hopes to untangle NBN migration mess

Australia's government is looking for industry input into National Broadband Network (NBN) migration policy, and wants submissions by August 20. Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull's statement says the new round of consultation seeks a migration framework that is both industry-led and focussed on the end user. The …
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Dutch government websites KO'd by 10-hour DDoS

The Netherlands government’s websites were taken offline for around 10 hours on Wednesday following a DDoS attack. The motive for the sustained packet-flinging assault – directed against the Dutch government website's hosting provider, Prolocation – remains unclear. A brief statement (Google translation here) by the Dutch …
John Leyden, 12 Feb 2015

India to develop an API for entire government

India has released a “Policy on Open APIs for Government of India” (PDF) that calls on the nation's government to develop APIs to let departments share information with each other and with the public. Many of India's government agencies are infamously moribund and Indians bemoan the short working hours, can't-do attitude and …
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Australian government's 'cyber-security' review delayed

One day after Australia's prime minister Tony Abbott promised a more hard-line approach to national security, the government has delayed a cyber-security review. Over the weekend, the PM's YouTube channel carried a statement (video at the end of this story) in which he complained that Australia's treatment of immigrants-turned …

Labour has a pop at the government over missed GDS targets

In a pre-election pop at the coalition, Labour has slammed Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude for the Government Digital Service's failure to meet even half of its digital targets for online services. The GDS budget increased from £9.7m in 2011/12 to £23.3m in 2013/14, with spend on IT specialists rising to £7.9m over the …
Kat Hall, 27 Mar 2015
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Swedish government wins legal case to seize Pirate Bay domains

The Swedish government has won its case to seize piratebay.se and thepiratebay.se, but the site is already back up under another domain with a new logo to show it isn't beaten. The new round of whack-a-mole flared up on Tuesday when The Stockholm District Court ruled in a case brought by government prosecutors against Swedish …
Iain Thomson, 20 May 2015

Government's rushed NBN migration plan off to the ACCC

Industry objections notwithstanding, the federal government has okayed Telstra submitting its revised NBN migration plan to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). In spite of industry concerns that the arrangements favour the incumbent, communications minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the finalisation of …
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Nigerian government site popped, used for phishing scam

Malfeasants have embedded a phishing scam inside the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria's web site. The Council is legit: it's Nigeria's accounting standards and corporate governance oversight organisation. That role, says Netcraft, doesn't make it a wizard at information security, because someone's found their way in to …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Nov 2015
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Rights groups: Darn you Facebook with your 'government names'

The ZuckerBorg's continued refusal to assimilate anyone who won't provide their "real" name to the site has provoked an angry letter from 75 human rights, digital rights, LGBTQ and women's rights advocates. Facebook has always claimed its "real name" policy protects users from harassment, as without the right to anonymity …
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Indonesian government cracking the whip on lazy telcos

Indonesia's crowded mobile carrier market is set for a consolidation one way or the other, with the country's communications minister warning minnows they could lose their operating licenses. The world's fourth most populous nation, with about 250m souls inside its borders, has ten mobile carriers. The United States' 320m …

Stop climate change by drinking Coca-Cola says Oz government

If you want to understand the quality of advice the Australian government wants in the climate change debate, you need only need one passage from page 56 of a new report into the energy sector. Discussing carbon capture and storage, which currently has “failed technology” status nearly the whole world around, the government's …
ABS population density calculated on the national grid

Australian government may take leave of its census

Updated Australia's government is considering radically restructuring its national census. The exercise, which cost $AU440 million in 2011, is under the microscope as the government assembles its 2015 budget. Fairfax reports that the census could be delayed or replaced with a smaller survey. The Australian is less certain of the census …

US government asks internet community how long it should extend IANA contract

The US government has asked the internet community how long they think it will take to decide on and implement changes to the top level of the internet, and so how long it will need to extend the current IANA contract. In letters sent to the chairs of the two different groups working on transitioning the critical internet …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 May 2015

Australian carriers try to head off government telco security bill

Australian attorney-general George Brandis' plans to turn his department into a national telco chief security officer are to be carpet-bombed by a coalition of industry groups opposing the proposed laws. In a submission leaked to the ABC and The Australian Financial Review and since sighted by The Register, a bunch of industry …

Citizens denied chance to vote in local-government IT cockup

Failures in local government IT systems have threatened the legitimacy of some of today's parliamentary elections by denying large numbers of citizens a chance to vote. The scandal so far appears to be concentrated around the constituencies within Hackney London Borough Council, where voters, in their hundreds, are being …
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UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

The United Kingdom government has formally adopted the open document format (ODF) as the standard format for government documents. The announcement says PDF/A or HTML are now the standard “for viewing government” while ODF is now expected “for sharing or collaborating on government documents.” There's some pointed language in …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2014