Articles about Local Authorities

China and Russia aren't ready to go it alone on tech, but their threats are worryingly plausible

Feature China and Russia are populous, wealthy nations that the technology industry has long-regarded as exceptional growth prospects. And then along came Edward Snowden, whose suggestions that American vendors were complicit in the United States' surveillance efforts gave governments everywhere a reason to re-think their relationship …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Dec 2016

Commish urges UK.gov to mean it when it talks about transparency

If the government wants to be transparent then it ought to make transparency a statutory requirement for its CCTV-wielding authorities, according to the Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC). The third annual report (PDF) of the incumbent SCC, Tony Porter, was laid before Parliament this morning. Among its polite …
Security guard watches footage from hundreds of camera. Photo by Shutterstock

Surveillance by consent: Commissioner launches CCTV strategy for England and Wales

“There is a gap between what exists and what should exist,” according to the UK's commissioner responsible for ensuring that surveillance cameras are protecting members of the public, rather than spying on them. Tony Porter, who sees that public authorities follow the government's rules on operating surveillance cameras, on …

Spain's iPhone killer actually a rebranded Xiaomi – new claim

An Android phone maker in Spain is facing allegations that its flagship product is just a rebranded Chinese model. The Zetta handset had been advertised as a smartphone built in Spain's Extremadura region, and was considered the country's own answer to the iPhone, with more than 80 shops selling it. However, according to …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Oct 2016

That UK law that'll share Brits' private info among govt departments? Yeah, that'll need oversight

Plans to increase the UK government’s access to citizens' private records without the public’s consent should be subject to greater oversight, head of the Information Commissioner’s Office Elizabeth Denham has told MPs. In an evidence hearing with MPs on Thursday, she was addressing the proposals made in part five of the …
Kat Hall, 14 Oct 2016

Brit spies and chums slurped 750k+ bits of info on you last year

More than 760,000 “items of communication” were obtained by British snoops – and others – in 2015, according to the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office’s (IOCCO) annual report. The report, which was published today and covers the annual year 2015, revealed for the first time an accurate scale of communications …
Notting Hill Carnival dancer. Pic: Shutterstock

Notting Hill Carnival spycams: Met Police rolls out real-time live face-spotting tech

London’s Metropolitan Police will trial an automated facial recognition system to identify people at this weekend's Notting Hill Carnival as the government continues to drag its feet on the use of the technology. This is is only the second time that British cops have openly trialled live automated facial recognition (AFR) …
The Mosque at the Taj Mahal, shot from within the Taj Mahal through the marble screens

Floods hit India's IT hubs, wash away some credibility

If your Indian suppliers aren't at their most responsive, or you've spent a bit of time on hold to a business process outsourcer over the weekend, look to the heavens for an explanation. Indians are certainly looking in that direction because the nation has experienced deluges in the last few days, with the result being floods …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2016
Verne Global data centre server racks from above

UK councils refuse to push data into the cloud

The majority of the UK's local councils run two or more data centres each, suggesting cloudy adoption is still a long way off for local gov, according to Freedom of Information research. Requests sent to the UK's 100 largest local authorities revealed that two-thirds of councils run at least two bit barns and store 90 per cent …
Kat Hall, 21 Jul 2016
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After Monday's landing, SpaceX wants to do it in triplicate

SpaceX has applied to local authorities for permission to build two new rocket landing pads in Florida ahead of the launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket later this year. The Falcon Heavy consists of three modified Falcon 9 rockets strapped together – a more complex machine that Elon Musk describes as having a "heavy pucker factor …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jul 2016
I would vote republican but I crave brains by https://www.flickr.com/photos/clarkmackey/  cc 2.0 attribution generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Buggy vote-counting software borks Australian election

The body overseeing elections in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has acknowledged researchers' claims of a bug in the software it uses to count votes. The NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) has corrected an error detected and described by researchers Andrew Conway and Vanessa Teague, and verified by computer …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jun 2016

Q: Is it wrong to dress as a crusader for an England match?

The BBC has simultaneously proved Betteridge's law of headlines and got the Daily Mail into a right tizz with an interactive piece entitled "Is it wrong to dress as a crusader for an England match?" The question arises ahead of the forthcoming Euro 2016 tournament as the result of some England footie fans' penchant for donning …
Lester Haines, 07 Jun 2016
Oxford campus photo by shutterstock

Brexit? Cutting the old-school ties would do more for Brit tech world

Opinion In the early 2000s the United Kingdom was the powerhouse of European science and innovation. For many young, aspiring scientists from continental Europe, this meant coming here to world-leading institutes and universities to pursue research not possible in the constraints of their home countries. In comparison to, especially, …
Boris Adryan, 31 May 2016
50 of your British pounds. Photo by Shutterstock

UK.gov preparing to lob up to £4 BEEELLION at commodity tech

The government’s official procurement arm, Crown Commercial Services, has coughed the contract notice for a multi-year mega framework for commodity tech valued between £2bn and £4bn. The Technology Products 2 buying vehicle is set to go live in November, replacing the previous iteration, which launched in the same month back …
Paul Kunert, 24 May 2016
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Australia copies UK's Google tax on 'contrived' dodges

Australia has copied the United Kingdom's Government Digital Service and has now decided the UK's Google-busting Diverted Profits tax is also worth replicating. Australia's national budget was delivered on Tuesday and treasurer* Scott Morrison's speech introducing the year's planned government expenditure promised “a new …
Simon Sharwood, 05 May 2016
Perth bus. Image Nim https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:EurovisionNim

Perth SmartRider public transport cards popped by student researchers

WAHckon University students in the Australian city of Perth have landed in hot water, with one charged by Police, after finding and exploiting severe holes to rewind travel charges incurred using the city's SmartRider public transport smart card. The Murdoch University students reported the flaws to SmartRider operator TransPerth and …
Darren Pauli, 02 May 2016

Uber hands over info on 12m passengers, drivers to US officials, cops

Uber has produced its first transparency report and called for a public debate over the type and amount of data it is obliged to provide to the authorities. The taxi app company reveals in its report that it received 33 requests from American "regulatory agencies" that covered no less than 11.6 million customers and 583,000 …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Apr 2016
Iain Duncan Smith. Pic: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Iain Duncan Smith's Universal Credit: A timeline

Universal credit, the proposed one online benefits system to rule them all, has always been Iain Duncan Smith's brainchild – but with his shock departure from the Department for Work and Pensions, will the government finally put a bullet in the troubled project? Announced with great fanfare in 2011, the programme intended to …
Kat Hall, 21 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 …

Crap IT means stats crew don't really know how UK economy's doing

Clunky IT systems at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have contributed to inaccurate reporting of economic growth, according to an independent review of UK economic statistics. The report (PDF), by Professor Sir Charles Bean of the London School of Economics, said the ONS's current technology estate "is in dire need of …
Kat Hall, 11 Mar 2016

North Dorset Council hit by ransomware, flips the bird at miscreants

North Dorset District Council in England's southwest is working with police to identify the source of a ransomware infection in this week. It is the latest outbreak of file-scrambling malware in what IT security experts believe to be a growing problem for local authorities in the UK. According to an email seen by The …
Kat Hall, 04 Mar 2016
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Gov opens consultation on how to best to use your data

The government wants to introduce legislation to make it easier for local authorities and government departments to share citizen data without breaching the Data Protection Act, it said in a consultation opened this week. Proposals in the Cabinet Office's Better Use of Data (PDF) consultation are intended to give the …
Kat Hall, 01 Mar 2016
Chi Onwurah MP

Ofcom must tackle 'monopolistic' provider BT, says shadow digital minister Chi Onwurah

Shadow digital economy minister and former Ofcom head Chi Onwurah has called on the communications regulator to tackle BT’s hold on the broadband market, ahead of its major sector review next week. Speaking to The Register, Onwurah said it is imperative that the once-in-a-decade review addresses the nationwide lack of …
Kat Hall, 15 Feb 2016

Uber, Taskrabbit, other Silicon Valley darlings urge Europe not to screw their business

Uber, AirBnB, Taskrabbit and another 44 online businesses built around the "sharing economy" have written to the European Union urging politicians not to limit their development through new laws. In a letter [PDF] addressed to Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, currently president of the EU, the companies argue that they are " …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Feb 2016
Iain Duncan Smith. Pic: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Universal Credit slammed by MPs: Late programme branded 'unacceptable'

MPs have highlighted "new concerns" over the glacially slow Universal Credit programme, concluding in a report that the programme "still has a long way to go." Meg Hillier MP, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said today: “The lack of transparency surrounding a programme with such wide-reaching implications for so many …
Kat Hall, 03 Feb 2016

UK councils continue to run into the arms of Capita

IT service providers BT, IBM and Mouchel all took a double-digit hit on their share of the local government market over the last year as councils continue to run into the arms of Capita, according to research. Once again Capita reigned supreme as the primary supplier to councils, increasing its deals by 22 per cent to £658m, …
Kat Hall, 27 Jan 2016
Abbott and Costello dressed as policemen

Police Scotland will have direct access to disabled parking badge database

Police Scotland has been given direct access to Scottish councils' databases of disabled parking badge holders in order to crack down on fraudsters misusing them. An agreement was reached between the single Scottish police force, Police Scotland, and the country's 32 local authorities to allow the police direct access to the …
£10 notes. Pic: Howard Lake

Kent Council cheerily flings about £100m at managed services bods

Kent County Council and two other local authorities are on a mission to splash between £50m and £100m on a mega outsourcing gig with managed services providers. The four-year contract is to be awarded to five suppliers for "the outsourcing of day-to-day management responsibilities and functions" and is part of council plans to …
Kat Hall, 22 Jan 2016
Pakistani ISP PCTL welcomes YouTube back to the country

Cat vids return to Pakistan as YouTube turns on censor-matic

Pakistan has allowed YouTube to traverse its digital borders again, after Google agreed to oversight by the nation's telecoms regulators. Pakistan barred YouTube in 2012, after the film Innocence of Muslims hit the service and sparked often-violent reactions to its supposedly blasphemous content. The nation decided it could …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jan 2016
Southend on Sea pier. Pic: Danny Nicholson

Southend-on-Sea splashes £1.5m on hybrid cloud data centre

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is the latest local authority to build its own dedicated data centre, with the council ready to spend up to £1.5m housing its own "hybrid cloud" services. The council said it is looking to appoint a provider to supply, install, and test the new data centre. The contract lasts for three years and …
Kat Hall, 12 Jan 2016
Bookshelf in the British Library basement

Library web filtering removes info access for vulnerable, says shushing collective

Poor implementation of internet-filtering policies in the UK's public libraries has damaged public access to exactly the kind of information local library computers are intended to provide, according to a just-released batch of data from a collection of library professionals. Despite the possibility for filtering to be …

Brit cuffed for Kyrgyz 'horse penis' sausage quip

A British man is facing a possible five years in a Kyrgyz jail after ill-advisedly comparing local horse meat sausage chuchuck to a stallion's todger. Welding superintendent Michael McFeat was celebrating New Year's Eve at the Kumtor open-pit goldmine in eastern Kyrgyzstan when he posted photos on Facebook of a "fantastic …
Lester Haines, 04 Jan 2016

Let's shut down the internet: Republicans vacate their mind bowels

Ever since Senator Ted Stevens famously referred to the internet as a "series of tubes" in 2006, we have became sadly accustomed to the fact that legislators have little or no understanding of how the internet actually works. Despite the determined efforts of many internet policy wonks in the past decade, that dangerous level …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Dec 2015
Houses of Parliament at night-time

MPs and peers have just weeks to eyeball UK gov's super-snoop bid

IPB A joint panel of cross-party politicos and peers have been granted a very small window to scrutinise the Home Office's draft Investigatory Powers Bill. The committee is expected to report by mid-February next year – which is an incredibly short space of time to pore over a legalese-packed document that runs to nearly 300 pages …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Nov 2015
Banksy protester image 1000 words via Shutterstock

Brits learning from the Continent? Authority, digi gov wheezes and the Autumn Statement

Analysis Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne included several uses of technology in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review. As part of a major expansion, the Government Digital Service will develop a common payment system on gov.uk, so that by 2020 citizens will have the option of paying online for every central …
SA Mathieson, 26 Nov 2015
Cash register, photo via Shutterstock

The Register reveals SAP’s very own version of Black Friday

Exclusive SAP is understood to be aggressively discounting the price it charges for maintenance to retain customers. A Register investigation has uncovered cases where the software giant is offering customers who are considering switching to independents extremely competitive deals. The threat is this: companies paying SAP on an …
Gavin Clarke, 20 Nov 2015
man and scottish flag photo via Shutterstock

Shadow state? Scotland's IT independence creeps forth

As debate kicks off at Westminster over the surveillance powers of spies and the police, the 55 Scottish National Party lawmakers look likely to be a restraining influence. The party’s general election manifesto pledged to oppose the Snooper’s Charter. A decade ago, SNP MPs were among the first to oppose New Labour’s identity …
SA Mathieson, 12 Nov 2015
Police direct a cabbie at the Uber protest in London

Only a CNUT would hold back the waves of the sharing economy

Something for the Weekend, Sir? The Turtle-Necked Twats are having their bluff called at last. Taxi-hailing app developer Uber has been invited to rejoin the real world and the TNTs are in uproar. London’s transport authority, TfL, has launched a public consultation into private-hire taxi services in England’s capital. As usual, Uber’s TNTs are convinced …
Alistair Dabbs, 03 Oct 2015
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Vodafone turns self in to cops over journo phone records hack

Vodafone's Australian outpost has had a change of heart and will co-operate with local authorities, after it admitted that an employee had trawled through a journalist's text messages and call records. As we reported over the weekend, in 2011 Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) was the subject of media reports suggesting …
Team Register, 15 Sep 2015
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Civica splashes the cash on 'good fit' Web Technologies

Public sector IT outfit Civica has gobbled up IT services minnow Web Technologies Group for what is thought to be approximately £10m. Simon Downing, chief exec of Civica, said the deal will extend Civica's capability in central government. Meanwhile, James Steventon, chief executive of WTG, said having "the backing of Civica …
Kat Hall, 09 Sep 2015
Plain Capita logo

Capita hoovers up 1 in every 5 pounds of outsourced UK.gov IT spending

Capita has increased its share of the public sector IT market by one quarter since 2012, despite overall government IT outsourcing spending remaining flat over that period. In 2014, Capita hoovered up £905m in public sector IT spending, up from £671m in 2012. At the same time, overall spend over the last three years across …
Kat Hall, 07 Sep 2015
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Drones need their own version of Asimov's laws of robotics – MEPs

The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee on Thursday warned lawmakers to take concerns about data protection and surveillances seriously in drawing up new rules for drones. The opinion, approved by 50 votes to four, will now be sent to the Parliament’s transport committee, which is leading the charge in coming up …
Jennifer Baker, 04 Sep 2015
Indian mobile use

Indian State shuts off mobile internet to stop rumours fuelling riots

An activist's call for the Indian State of Guajarat to restrict access to WhatSapp and mobile internet has been heeded by local authorities, in the hope that restricting communications will quell violence. Authorities complied with that request. 22 year-old Hardik Patel is a member of the Patidar caste, a group that has been …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Aug 2015
Toilet

'We've got the sanitation problem solved', says world's richest poop drinker

QuoTW This week, the headlines were dominated by Lenovo's bad behaviour, Google's dot-xyz obsession and a story from Silicon Valley, where even the trailer parks have $40m drama. These were some of the best quotes: The team behind the film Dallas Buyer's Club wants to go pirate hunting down under, but local authorities aren't so …
Team Register, 16 Aug 2015
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BT hands £129m back to UK.gov after beating rural broadband targets

Both BT and the Ministry of Fun – or the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, if you prefer – have spun BT’s toeing-the-line-of-a-contractual-obligation as unbridled generosity towards taxpayers. A statement from the Minister of Fun, John Whittingdale, said: It's fantastic to see that the rollout of superfast broadband is …
Simon Rockman, 30 Jul 2015
Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our Future

EU graciously lets Dutch splurge €33m on 'leccy car charger network

The Netherlands is to fork out nearly €33m in public funds for electric car chargers after the European Commission gave its permission for the plan to go ahead on Monday. EU Competition Commish Margrethe Vestager said that the plans were within EU state aid rules and would not unduly distort competition, adding that “electric …
Jennifer Baker, 27 Jul 2015
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The French want to BAN .doc and .xls files from Le Gouvernement

Microsoft could get the boot from the French government if a new recommendation from an official advisor is adopted. DISIC (Direction interministérielle des systèmes d'information et de communication de l'État) has recommended that French authorities ditch Microsoft Office tools in favour of the Open Document Format (ODF). …
Jennifer Baker, 22 Jul 2015
Thames barrier pier 7, photo: Gavin Clarke

The Great Barrier Relief – Inside London's heavy metal and concrete defence act

Geek's Guide to Britain Last time London flooded was 1953. Three hundred lives were lost, 30,000 evacuated and the damage totalled a considerable £5bn in today’s money. Given how London has expanded since then, the record-breaking wet winter of 2014 would have been worse had it not been for the presence of 51,000 tonnes of metal and 210,000 cubic …
Gavin Clarke, 14 Jul 2015

Man in India claims his new iPhone 6 combusted in his car

A man in India says his iPhone 6 burst into flames just two days after he purchased the handset. The Times of India reports that restaurant owner Kishan Yadav was making a hands-free call while driving through the city of when he noticed his new iPhone 6 emitting sparks. He tossed the overheating handset out of the window and …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Jun 2015
Angry-looking cat. Pic by  Guyon Morée from Beverwijk, Netherlands. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

'Lemme tell you about my trouble with girls ...' Er, please don't, bro-ffin

QuoTW This week, the science world was shocked to its dorky core after one of its own attempted to tell a joke. In public. Step forward Sir Tim Hunt and hang your head in shame. The Nobel Laureate, who has been a Fellow of the Royal Society for nearly 25 years, royally cocked up a speech to a group of senior female boffins at a …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jun 2015