Articles about Home Office

Windows 10 pain: Reg man has 75 per cent upgrade failure rate

Comment As your humble HPC correspondent for The Register, I should probably be running Linux on the array of systems here at the home office suite. But I don't. I've been a Microsoft guy since I bought my first computer way back in 1984. You, dear readers, can rip me for being a MStard, but it works worked well for my business and …
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SFW is Safe For Civica: EU Ref software biz gobbled up

Civica Group has swallowed specialist public sector developer SFW – which created the digital service used to collate the results of the EU Referendum. SFW employs around 200 people, split between its UK offices and a dev centre in India, writing CRM-based apps, workplace collaboration wares and digital platforms. The …
Paul Kunert, 25 Jul 2016

How to make the move from ISDN to SIP

ISDN is fast becoming a technology of the past. Today's telcos have networks that bypass traditional telephony signalling technologies for IP networks: the hardest thing they do is present a “legacy” connection such as an analogue line or an ISDN connection to a customer, as layering a non-IP service on an IP network is non- …
Dave Cartwright, 25 Jul 2016
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AWS works on 'urgent' deals for UK customers as £ dips against $

Amazon Web Services has claimed it is trying to shield cloudy customers in the UK from the plunge in value of sterling against the US dollar following June’s vote to leave the EU. The titan told us it is looking at re-architecting bulk-saving programmes and grant programmes to tempt startups, SMBs and other businesses away …
Gavin Clarke, 11 Jul 2016

You can’t sit there, my IoT desk tells me

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I don’t know what to do with my arse. Should I be swivelling on it? Should I do it leaning forward with pressure applied to the small of my back? Or would I be better advised to do the business standing up? For various reasons, I am in the market for a standing desk: that is, a desk that you can work at while standing upright …
Alistair Dabbs, 08 Jul 2016
editorial only image of Whitehall. Pic Daniel Gale/Shutterstock

£8 BILLION is locked into UK.gov's failing IT schemes, El Reg analysis reveals

The UK government has £8bn locked into IT contracts which are at high risk of failure, according to an analysis of the Infrastructure Project Authority's accounts by The Register. Of 143 major projects representing £405bn of government spending, The Register identified 19 IT projects that were flagged as “red” or “amber/red” …
Kat Hall, 07 Jul 2016
Phone cables, photo via Shutterstock

Comms intercept commish: There were some top secret orders

An oversight body has revealed that secretaries of state for the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have issued at least 23 secret orders to telecommunications companies on national security grounds since 2001. The Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO) has today published its 55-page …

Extension to blue light services' Airwave network is on the cards

The Home Office has already worked out the cost of extending Blighty's radio-based emergency services network, in the increasingly-likely scenario that a move to ubiquitous 4G coverage cannot be delivered by 2020. The £2.9bn digital radio communications Tetra (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) supplied by Airwave is currently due to …
Kat Hall, 01 Jul 2016
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UK digi strategy on ice post Brexit results - sources

BREXIT The UK government's long-awaited digital strategy has been put on ice following the landmark EU referendum decision last week, The Register has learnt. The strategy was intended to be a mixed bag of policy from the department for Culture, Media & Sport, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and the Cabinet Office's …
Kat Hall, 27 Jun 2016
Secretary of State for the Home Department Theresa May. Photo by Twocoms/Shutterstock.com

Home Office ignores plight of BA techies as job offshoring looms

The Home Office has stonewalled the GMB trade union’s attempts to raise the plight of British Airways IT staff whose jobs are being sent to an Indian outsourcer – and the potential security implications involved. The GMB has written four letters to the Department’s Secretary Theresa May – seen by us – after BA hired Tata …
Paul Kunert, 24 Jun 2016
Pic of Garda car. editorial use only Photo by SHutterstock/abd

Ireland goes Big Brother as police upgrade IT snooping abilities

The Garda Síochána has proposed to expand its surveillance on Irish citizens by swelling the amount of data it collects on them through an increase in its CCTV and ANPR set-ups, and will also introduce facial and body-in-a-crowd biometrics technologies. Announced as part of its new five-year programme to “professionalise” and …

Letters prove GCHQ bends laws to spy at will. So what's the point of privacy safeguards?

IPB Letters between GCHQ and an official overseeing the spy agency shed new light on how Blighty's eavesdroppers interpret laws to suit their surveillance efforts. The memos were obtained by campaign group Privacy international and handed to The Register today. Although the letters date from 2004, they show how the agency is …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jun 2016
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Home Office staff: Over 100 of our work mobiles lost or pinched last year

The UK Home Office has revealed that its ICT losses for 2015 amounted to 125 devices. In a publication today, notably pushed out shortly after The Register's expose of the department's mega database project, the Home Office has published information about its annual ICT losses for 2015. These losses may provoke concern as the …
Security guard watches footage from hundreds of camera. Photo by Shutterstock

UK Home Office is creating mega database by stitching together ALL its gov records

Exclusive The UK Home Office is secretly creating a centralised database on the good folk of Britain without presenting the capability increases to the public or subjecting them to Parliamentary scrutiny. The Register can reveal the project, which was described as simply a “replatforming” of the department's aging IT infrastructure, has …
Secretary of State for the Home Department Theresa May. Photo by Twocoms/Shutterstock.com

UK Home Sec makes concessions to please Snoopers' Charter opposition

IPB As Britain's Snoopers' Charter approaches its highest hurdle yet in Parliament next week, Theresa May has made some concessions to its contested provisions, particularly those affecting privacy, sensitive professions, and access to medical records. The Home Secretary's concessions will provide some protections to MPs and …
Secretary of State for the Home Department Theresa May. Photo by Twocoms/Shutterstock.com

Labour scores review of Snoopers' Charter's bulk powers from UK.gov

IPB Bulk hacking and data collection powers in the Snoopers' Charter are going to be scrutinised by an independent reviewer grudgingly appointed by the government after pressure from Labour. Theresa May's plans to rush the Investigatory Powers Bill into law follow years of similar methods being used to introduce more surveillance …

British cops to film you with 59k body-worn cameras by end of year

Police forces are rapidly adopting body worn video (BWV) cameras with as many as 59,000 expected to be in use by the end of 2016/17 – according to chair of the police BWV user group Stephen Goodier. Goodier, who is also BWV programme manager, Hampshire Police, said as many as three-quarters of forces are in the process of …
Kat Hall, 25 May 2016
One Nation Under CCTV

Home Office U-turns on surveillance camera review muddle

Presumably after finally reading his report*, the government has thanked the Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC) for "clarifying" after he explained that he had not asked for the "enforcement powers" it had refused to give him. Earlier this month, The Register reported on the extraordinarily curt letter the government sent …

Home Office declares: Detained immigrants shall have internet

The Home Office has issued guidance demanding that immigration detainees are provided with internet access so they can maintain “links with friends, families and legal representatives and to prepare for removal.” Publishing Detention Services Order 04/2016 (PDF) the Home Office has responded to an independent review into the …
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Manchester cops to strap on 3K bodycams

Just a few days after a counter-terrorism incident which involved precisely zero terrorists, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has started to deploy 3,000 body-worn video (BWV) cameras to its coppers. After enabling the evacuation of 75,000-seater Old Trafford on the final day of the Premier League, for what turned out to be a …

Ooh missus, get a grip on my notifications

Something for the Weekend, Sir? YOU LOVE IT YOU SLAG This was, as alert followers of my column may recall, the first SMS text message I ever received on my first ever mobile phone, sometime during the last century. I did not bother to find out who sent it to me. It was a wrong number, of course... but not knowing with absolute certainty ensures that the …
Alistair Dabbs, 13 May 2016
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Non-police orgs merrily accessed PNC without authority, says HMIC

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which inspects Britain's police forces, has reported on several cases of misuse of the Police National Computer (PNC) by non-police organisations. The PNC is a law enforcement database that holds personal information about people arrested by police or convicted of crimes – as …

UK.gov refuses to give surveillance commish enforcement powers

The government has refused to give the Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC) extra enforcement powers. The problem is that the SCC hadn't asked for any more powers. In a very brief letter to SCC Tony Porter (PDF), the incumbent commissioner, junior Home Office minister Mike Penning said the government was "not yet convinced …
Secretary of State for the Home Department Theresa May. Photo by Twocoms/Shutterstock.com

Remain in the EU and help me snoop on the world, says Theresa May

Brexit would harm the UK's snooping apparatus, Home Secretary Theresa May argued in a speech today, suggesting we probably ought to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) instead. Speaking at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers this morning, the snooping-obsessed Home Secretary presented the many surveillance …

EE grows network by one-third, promises to build 750 new sites

EE has is expanding its 4G network by one-third to cover 95 per cent of the UK by 2020 – following its mega contract with the Home Office to provide emergency services coverage across the country. Under the plan the operator is building 750 new sites across the country in a bid to eradicate "notspots". It is the first major …
Kat Hall, 25 Apr 2016
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GDS has no real strategy for £450m budget pot, internal plan reveals

Exclusive Concerns are mounting that the Government Digital Service has no real plan for spending its £450m budget - following a leaked strategy document obtained by The Register. In November GDS was awarded the additional funding in the Spending Review to digitally transform Whitehall over this Parliament. Its previous annual budget …
Kat Hall, 08 Apr 2016

Mobe and Wi-Fi firms flog your location data to commercial firms, claim reports

Two reports by privacy campaigners into mobile and Wi-Fi services' location tracking activities have revealed practices of questionable legality and security. The studies found that “at best, companies are fulfilling the minimal legal requirements, and at worst could breaking the law and breaching our right to privacy.” The …
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UK Home Office seeks secret settlements over unlawful DNA retention

Exclusive The UK Home Office is trying to keep secret three out-of-court settlements with claimants who allege the police unlawfully retained their biometric details. Problems affecting Blighty's ageing Police National Computer (PNC) are an open secret. Yet the Home Office's reaction to allegations of impropriety – to treat them as …

William Hague: Brussels attacks mean we must destroy crypto ASAP

William Hague, the Conservative former Foreign Secretary in the UK, has claimed that the latest Brussels terrorist attacks “show the need to crack terrorist communications.” Writing in The Telegraph, Hague claimed that the stand-out detail from the attacks in Brussels was “the communications discipline of those responsible.” …
Riot police in London. Pic: Steve Jackson

Met plod commissioner: Fraud victims should not be refunded by banks

A senior police commissioner has complained that it would be wrong to interpret his comments about preventing online fraud victims from claiming compensation as a proposal for online fraud victims being unable to claim compensation. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe asserted that the problem was systemic, telling The Times: “The system …

Police create mega crime database to rule them all. Is your numberplate in it? Could be

The police are to consolidate a number of their large databases into a single "platform" in order to "protect victims and spot potential links to other crimes." The plans for a "National Law Enforcement Data Programme" were announced by the Home Office today and will bring together data from the Police National Computer, …
Kat Hall, 23 Mar 2016
Secretary of State for the Home Department Theresa May. Photo by Twocoms/Shutterstock.com

Lessons from history for UK Home Sec Theresa May's Investigatory Powers Bill

IPB “Let me be clear,” Theresa May said on the introduction of the Investigatory Powers Bill in Blighty, “the draft Bill we are publishing today is not a return to the draft Communications Data Bill of 2012.” She was referring to the previous, the UK's previous coalition government's attempt at a Snoopers' Charter. This was true …
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Police use of illegally held biometrics broke the law, says commish

Police have been ignoring laws which prevent them from using unlawfully retained biometrics data. In his annual report (PDF) the Biometrics Commissioner noted that large numbers of DNA profiles and fingerprints were wrongfully held on national police databases – and therefore popped up as matches in police searches. Due to …

Cops hacked the Police National Computer to unlawfully retain suspects' biometric data

Police employees have been hacking the Police National Computer to unlawfully retain suspects' biometric data, it has emerged. The manipulation of the national IT system has come in response to public demands to restrict the length of pre-charge bail, the Biometrics Commissioner has suggested. In his 122-page annual report ( …

7,800 people's biometric data held on police anti-terrorism database

The British plod is not only holding onto the biometrics data of 7,800 subjects of counter-terrorism investigations – most of whom have never been charged with an offence – it is also losing information on some suspects before they've been assessed as a national security risk, the Biometrics Commissioner revealed today. In his …

Home Office is cruising for a lawsuit over police use of face recog tech

The UK Home Office has been warned that its delays in addressing police use of facial recognition technology on innocent people's custody photographs risks inviting a legal challenge. In his 122-page report (PDF) Blighty's Biometrics Commissioner stated he saw “no reason to believe that the situation [regarding the lack of …

UN rapporteur: 'Bad example' UK should bin the Snoopers' Charter

IPB The UN's special rapporteur on privacy has used his maiden report to the Human Rights Council, which he presented today, to criticise the UK's potential Snoopers' Charter. Joseph Cannataci, the UN's first “Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age", used his 30-page report (DOC) to invite the British …

Home Office biometrics strategy is three years overdue, despite 'lack of clarity'

Police use of facial recognition technology continues unregulated and unguided as the Home Office has still failed to deliver its biometrics strategy, ahead of an official report due to be published on Friday. While the Home Office would confirm to The Register that the Biometrics Commissioner's annual report for 2015 would be …
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E-borders will be eight years late and cost more than £1bn

MPs have slammed officials' misplaced confidence in the Home Office’s "vital to national security” e-Borders project, which will eventually cost the taxpayer more than £1bn and arrive at least eight years late. The project, which began in 2007, aims to collect and store information on passengers and crew entering and leaving …
Kat Hall, 04 Mar 2016

The beached whale of storage thrashes on the all flash array shoreline

Storagebod This should be an interesting year for the industry with the mergers, takeovers and companies simply thrashing around trying to reinvent themselves. The recent announcements from companies large and small around all flash arrays has temporarily pricked me awake. Hopefully, at some point soon, the All Flash Array Announcement …
StorageBod, 02 Mar 2016

Investigatory Powers Bill lands in Parliament amid howls over breadth of spying powers

IPB The Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) has been formally laid before the UK Parliament, renewing criticisms that the government is trying to force it through without adequate democratic scrutiny. While the government claimed (PDF) that the bill responds to various Parliamentary committees' “call for greater clarity” much of this …
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Investigatory Powers Bill: Spooks willingly entering the light?

IPB The redrafted Investigatory Powers bill is about to return to Parliament, accompanied by complaints that the government is trying to rush it through, threats of Conservative backbench rebellions and a withdrawal of Labour support. It could almost be the European Union referendum. Arguments over process and party splits are not …
SA Mathieson, 01 Mar 2016
Home Secretary Theresa May introduces draft Investigatory Powers Bill to MPs. Pic credit: Parliament TV

Investigatory Powers Bill to be rushed into Parliament on Tuesday

IPB The Home Secretary will formally introduce the Investigatory Powers Bill to Parliament on Tuesday, it is rumoured, inviting criticism that the Snoopers' Charter is being rushed through while MPs are distracted by the UK's looming EU membership referendum. The final draft of Theresa May's new Snoopers' Charter is ready to be …

Airwave drops lawsuit against Home Office over EE contract win

Airwave will no longer be pursuing legal action against the Home Office over its decision to award part of a chunk of its Emergency Services Network contract to EE. A spokesman for Motorola said: "We can confirm that all disputes have now been settled and all litigation will be dropped." In December last year EE won part of …
Kat Hall, 24 Feb 2016

Browser made by China's top search engine leaks almost everything

Sit down, so you don't injure yourself falling down in surprise: the browser provided by China's Baidu is a privacy nightmare. That's the conclusion of Canada's Citizen Lab, which watched the wire while the browser was running and needed a lie-down itself from what it found. Baidu is China's top search engine and, like Google …

Police forces start shifting their data centre tin to Crown Hosting

At least two police forces have signed contracts to shift their tin to the the government's Crown Hosting shared data centre and close their existing server farms, the head of the Police ICT Company, Martin Wyke, has said. Wyke estimates that almost every force currently has its own dedicated data centre. However, he said …
Kat Hall, 23 Feb 2016
Phone cables, photo via Shutterstock

No, HMG, bulk data surveillance is NOT inevitable

It is the topic that they don’t want us to discuss. When it came up in the Joint Committee on the Investigatory Powers Bill there was a desperate attempt to shoot the messenger, William Binney, as an alternative to the debating his message. The Joint Committee on which I served heard compelling evidence that collecting …

Joint Committee on UK Snoopers' Charter: Make like a dictionary and give a definition

IPB The Joint Committee set up to provide pre-legislative scrutiny of Britain's Snoopers' Charter has made 86 recommendations to the government. The recommendation made most often was the one most of us yelled at the screen when we first clapped eyes on it: explain what is meant by these terms. Pleasingly, the nebulous phrase " …

Met Police wants to keep billions of number plate scans after cutoff date

The Met Police has said it must retain billions of Automatic Number Plate Recognition scans on a colossal database beyond the agreed period of two years. Last year the legality of the ANPR database was called into question by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner. The National ANPR data centre now holds information on 22 …
Kat Hall, 10 Feb 2016
Home Secretary Theresa May introduces draft Investigatory Powers Bill to MPs. Pic credit: Parliament TV

UK taxpayers should foot £2bn or more to adopt Snoopers' Charter, says Inquiry

IPB The first Parliamentary report into the UK's draft Investigatory Powers Bill, commonly referred to as the "Snoopers' Charter", says it has great potential to damage the nation's technology sector and the public should therefore pick up the tab for the £2bn (US$2.85bn) or so it will require to implement the data-harvesting …