Articles about Watchdog

Pop art-style illustration: Woman holds head in despair. Illustration via Shutetrstock

Ofcom smacks Sky for breaching broadband switching rules

Communications regulator Ofcom has ruled that there are "reasonable grounds" to suspect Sky breached rules to allow consumers to easily switch broadband and landline providers, which could lead to a multi-million pound fine. It follows a year-long investigation by the regulator as to whether Sky contravened the rules on …
Kat Hall, 20 Sep 2016
Sheaf of £50 notes poised on the rim of a toilet bowl as toilet is flushed. Collage of two photos sourced from Shutterstock

Margaret Hodge's book outlines 'mind boggling' UK public sector waste

Review It’s impossible to read former bollocker-in-chief Margaret Hodge’s account of being chair of the government's spending watchdog without repeatedly banging your head against the wall. Hodge presided over the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee between 2010-2015, during the coalition government’s austerity programme. …
Kat Hall, 20 Sep 2016
Stock traders

Nutanix's $209m, $13-a-share IPO revealed in homework to watchdog

Hyperconverged upstart Nutanix has submitted more details about its forthcoming IPO to the US financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The San Jose-based biz will seek to raise up to $209,300,000 in the offering by selling 14,000,000 shares of Class A voting stock at a starting price of $11 to $13. An …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Sep 2016

It's OK for the FBI's fake hacks to hack suspects' PCs, says DoJ watchdog

No rules were broken when an FBI agent posed as a journalist to infect a criminal suspect's PC with spyware, says a US watchdog. And the Feds can do it again, provided they get the undercover operation signed off by their higher-ups. Way back in June 2007, 15-year-old Charles Jenkins used a Gmail account to send a bomb threat …
Chris Williams, 15 Sep 2016
Man shouting the news from a rolled up newspaper

Spam texters fined £30K

Manchester firm Carfinance247 has been fined £30K over a spam text campaign. The car finance brokerage firm’s noxious text messaging tactics generated 912 complaints to the ICO, the UK’s data privacy watchdog. The firm’s four-month marketing campaign involved the distribution of 65,000 messages to people who hadn’t first …
John Leyden, 15 Sep 2016

Wait, wait – I got it this time, says FCC as it swings again at rip-off US TV cable boxes

US comms watchdog the FCC has published its revised plans to kill the multi-billion-dollar cable box rip-off. In a fact sheet [PDF], chair Tom Wheeler reiterates the same arguments he made back in January when he first proposed forcing cable companies to publish their data streams in an open format so competitors could offer …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Sep 2016
Galaxy Note 7 truck fire aftermath

Florida Man's prized jeep cremated by exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Samsung's ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 is once again being blamed for causing a serious fire. A man in St Petersburg, Florida, claims that while charging inside his truck, the phablet combusted and caused a massive blaze that totalled his Jeep Grand Cherokee. Lydia Dornacher told Tampa Bay news station Fox 13 that she and her …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Sep 2016
Microscope

What's up, Zuck? FTC to probe Facebook for WhatsApp phone number mega-slurp

Facebook is facing an FTC probe after snatching millions of people's phone numbers from its WhatsApp subsidiary. Privacy rights warriors at EPIC have asked the US watchdog to investigate the personal data grab – and the commission says it will look into the matter. In a letter published by EPIC [PDF], the FTC told the privacy …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Sep 2016

Holy friggin' Dell! $67bn EMC mega-gobble to complete on Sept 7

Dell and EMC will officially merge next Wednesday – September 7 – after getting approval from Chinese monopoly officials. The combined tech monster will have 140,000 staffers worldwide, and will be called Dell Technologies with Michael Dell as CEO and chairman. A little final financial chicanery is needed because Dell is a …
Chris Williams, 30 Aug 2016

UK watchdog: You. Facebook. Get over here now. This WhatsApp privacy update. Explain

The UK's new Privacy Commissioner has fired a warning shot across Facebook's bow over its privacy policy update. In a brief statement, Elizabeth Denham warned the social media giant that the changes it was making – most significant of which was to pull personal information, including phone numbers, from users of the WhatsApp …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Aug 2016

Our pacemakers are totally secure, says short-sold St Jude

The manufacturer of pacemakers and defibrillators has slammed a report by security researchers, arguing it puts patients' lives at risk. On Thursday security startup MedSec claimed that St Jude Medical pacemakers and defibrillators were easily hackable and that hackers could either run down the batteries in patent's implanted …
Iain Thomson, 29 Aug 2016

Apple is making life terrible in its factories – labor rights warriors

Pressure from Apple to lower costs is driving worsening conditions for workers at the company's manufacturing partners. This is according to watchdog group China Labor Watch, which says [PDF] that under CEO Tim Cook, the Cupertino giant has asked the companies that assemble its products to cut their own costs, and those …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Aug 2016

If you want to build your own Nvidia-powered self-driving car – or hack one – here's a blueprint

Hot Chips Nvidia is channelling Thunderbirds legend Parker for its latest system-on-chip for self-driving cars. Two Parker processors are used in the PX 2 box we saw at the start of the year. This hardware adds a super-cruise-control to vehicles by hoovering up video feeds from onboard cameras and other sensor data, feeding it through …
Chris Williams, 23 Aug 2016

Google had Obama's ear during antitrust probe

Updated According to emails released under the US Freedom of Information Act, Google briefed the White House amid an antitrust investigation into itself, breaking a 40-year precedent of the President's office staying well away from competition issues. Google lobbyist Johanna Shelton and the web giant's antitrust lawyer Matthew Bye met …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Aug 2016
Trump poster, image via Shutterstock

Trump golf privacy probe

A golf resort owned by US presidential candidate Donald Trump failed to register with the UK Information Commissioner's Office, the nation's privacy watchdog. The Grauniad reports that The Trump International Golf Club Scotland should have registered with the Office as it stores records on visitors and members and operates …
Team Register, 12 Aug 2016

Judges put FCC back in its box: No, you can't override state laws, not even for city broadband

A US circuit court has torpedoed the FCC and its efforts to champion city-owned broadband networks. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said on Wednesday [PDF] that the American regulator lacks the authority to overrule state laws that prevent cities from operating their own ISPs. Last year, the watchdog declared it was unfair …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Aug 2016
1950s style illustration - Smiling woman talks into rotary phone

Little choice in fast US ISPs

Americans still have little choice in broadband ISP – unless they want to put up with slow speeds. That's according to a study published this week by US watchdog the FCC. Here's how it breaks down: 75 per cent of the country has three or more providers in their area if they want 3Mbps to 10Mbps downstream and 768kbps to …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Aug 2016
Puppy and bone, image via Shutterstock

Australia's privacy watchdog launches '#Censusfail' probe

Hard on the heels of endorsing the Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS') process for the 2016 Census, Australia's privacy commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has had second thoughts and launched an investigation into its failure. The investigation comes as a result of the collapse of the ABS's Census sites during August 9, and the …
Tony Montana on the phone in Scarface

AT&T dinged for $7.75m after letting scammers gouge customers (again)

US telco giant AT&T has been fined $7.75m after scammers were found sneaking bogus charges onto customer bills. The punishment was levied by America's comms watchdog the FCC. The regulator said the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was to thank for uncovering the scam in which criminals were duping landline customers into …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Aug 2016
A child selling newspapers

Bloke faces years in the clink for using hacker-leaked press releases in $30m trading scam

A US stock trader has admitted he profited from insider trading – by buying and selling shares using tip-offs from Ukrainian newswire hackers. Leonid Momotok, 48, of Suwanee, Georgia, pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn court on Monday to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He could get up to 20 years behind bars in addition …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Aug 2016
A TP Link router

TP-Link fined $200k, told to be nice to wireless router tinkers after throwing a hissy fit

TP-Link will cough up a $200,000 fine to America's broadband regulator the FCC – and has agreed to let people tinker with the firmware in its 5GHz wireless routers. On Monday, the networking gear biz admitted [PDF] it broke US rules on radio frequency use by providing a setting in its Wi-Fi kit that ramped up the power output …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Aug 2016

Microsoft axes 2,850 more Windows Phone, sales staff – a week after Justin Timberlake sang on stage for them

Vid Microsoft is laying off a further 2,850 smartphone and sales staffers on top of the 1,850 workers it axed in May. The job cuts were revealed in paperwork filed on Thursday with US financial watchdog the SEC. The doomed staff will leave the business by the end of next June. They all work in Microsoft's sales teams and its …
schoolchildren_kids_victorian_cropped

AT&T fined for school gouge

US watchdog the FCC has fined AT&T for overcharging on the internet service it provided to schools in Florida. The Commission will take a $106,425 penalty from the telco after it was found to have violated laws limiting the fees it can charge for government-subsidized E-Rate service. The E-Rate Program rules state that …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Jul 2016
Baby looks taken aback/shocked/affronted. Photo by Shutterstock

Ofcom: Legal separation will force Openreach to eat more fibre

Sharon White, the boss of UK comms watchdog Ofcom, hopes plans to legally separate Openreach from BT will force it to increase its investment of two million fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) connections over the next four years. White was speaking at a briefing following the announcement by the regulator this morning that Openreach …
Kat Hall, 26 Jul 2016
Fibre, image via Shutterstock

Not-BT-Openreach' biz CityFibre sextuples pipeline

Cable-layer CityFibre has booked a six-fold increase in contracts during its first half of 2016, with £53.8m in the pipeline compared with £8.1m for the same period last year. New contracts signed in the period comprise 3,702 new customers, more than three times the total amount on the books in 2015 (1,110), and more than …
Kat Hall, 25 Jul 2016

Ofcom should push for fibre – Ex BT CTO

Tomorrow UK comms watchdog Ofcom will announce its plans for strengthening Openreach’s independence from BT and creating a more competitive UK broadband market. That follows a damning report by MPs last week that warned if BT doesn't get its house in order and address its significant under-investment in Blighty's …
Kat Hall, 25 Jul 2016

Microsoft ordered to fix 'excessively intrusive, insecure' Windows 10

Updated A French regulator has issued Microsoft a formal warning over Windows 10, saying the operating system collects excessive amounts of personal data, ships that information illegally out of the EU, and has lousy security. The warning comes from the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), an independent data …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jul 2016
Curser icon over a news paper folded

IoT baby monitor style hacks still a threat

Lessons have not been learned from an incident where a Russian website provided links to access baby monitor cameras, according to the UK’s data protection watchdog. The website allowed people to watch footage from insecure cameras around the world, prompting a warning from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) back in …
John Leyden, 19 Jul 2016
Ambulance

UK South East Coast Ambulance slammed for creaking emergency dispatch IT

Ambulance service union the GMB has called for an urgent review of the UK's South East Coast Ambulance’s computerised dispatch system for control centre staff handling emergency calls. The union says staff have reported constant loading errors and regular system crashes that leave dispatchers unable to answer calls, contact …
Kat Hall, 19 Jul 2016

Top IT bod Sally Howes leaves the UK's National Audit Office

Sally Howes, the executive lead at the UK National Audit Office responsible for working with departments on their IT programmes, has stepped down after six years in the role. Howes joined the NAO in 2010 as a director, and was appointed executive leader with responsibility for digital and innovation in 2013. She also oversaw …
Kat Hall, 19 Jul 2016

FTC lets Nest off the hook over Revolv IoT hub bricking shame

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided not to move forward with an investigation into smart-home company Nest and its decision to end support for the Revolv hub. In a letter [PDF] to the Google stablemate, the regulator said it had "decided not to recommend enforcement action at this time," referencing "confidential …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jul 2016

Openreach boss Clive Selley wants Ofcom to wrap it up already

Interview The Sword of Damocles has not entirely disappeared from above Openreach. Earlier this year, the UK communications watchdog Ofcom stopped short of recommending a full decapitation of the British broadband provider from its parent BT. Crucially, though, it has kept the option on the table. In the next few weeks the regulator is …
Kat Hall, 14 Jul 2016

YouTube stars shilled for Warner Bros, screwed up, and now the FTC has written an angry letter

Warner Bros has settled a complaint that YouTube celebs it paid to promote its video game online didn't declare that they were taking the entertainment giant's coin. YouTubers who agreed to publicize 2014's Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor were given cash on condition they produce a favorable review of the game, not show any …
Shaun Nichols, 12 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
shutterstock_170724905-Fibre

CityFibre takes on Ofcom over pledge to open BT ducts and poles

Small broadband provider CityFibre has complained to the competitions watchdog that Ofcom is backtracking on its promise to break the country's dependency on BT's Openreach by forcing greater access to its ducts and poles. In its Digital Communications Review (1.23, page 10) in February, Ofcom said it would open up the former …
Kat Hall, 06 Jul 2016
Wall Street Charlie Sheen

Cali bloke accused of illegally trousering $68k using mom's Apple AuthenTec gobble tip-off

A California chap is accused of illegally using inside information to pocket more than $68,000 when Apple took over mobile security biz AuthenTec. Andrew Kerr, 41, of Livermore, allegedly got a tip-off from his mom about the upcoming acquisition and immediately bought a bunch of shares in AuthenTec. She learned of the deal …
Iain Thomson, 29 Jun 2016

US watchdog lobs balls of red tape at spy-in-the-sky drones

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) have laid out a new set of rules to guide businesses that use small drones for imaging. The Part 107 Rule [PDF] sets out the guidelines for commercial flight of drones weighing less than 55lbs for activities such as shooting photos of an …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Jun 2016

LinkedIn denies WWDC stunt

LinkedIn is denying that its $25bn acquisition by Microsoft was timed to steal Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) thunder. In an employee Q&A the business-minded social network provided to a US financial watchdog, LinkedIn says that it did not purposely announce the deal during the Apple developer conference as a …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Jun 2016
Cash in brown paper envelope CC 2.0 attribution StockMonkeys.com

Ex-SAP exec and pals accused of $500,000 insider trading scam

A former SAP executive and his associates allegedly ran an insider trading ring to net hundreds of thousands of dollars. Chris Salis was, until recently, global vice president and general manager for procurement at SAP. US financial watchdog the SEC claims he used his inside knowledge of SAP's takeover of Business Objects in …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jun 2016

Google bows to Dutch

The Netherlands' privacy watchdog has given Google a clean bill of health in that country and terminated its action against the company. The Authority for Personal Data (DPA) has announced (in Dutch) that The Chocolate Factory has “terminated” the privacy violations that had the authority threatening fire and brimstone. The …

Dyfed-Powys Police fined for publicising pervs' particulars

Dyfed-Powys Police in Wales, UK, sent confidential information that could identify convicted sex offenders to a member of the public by accident. Although the leak was minor, Brit watchdog the ICO fined the force £150,000 as it indicated sloppy internal processes. An officer sent an email chain containing the names and …
Team Register, 08 Jun 2016

FTC top techie's mobe fraud

Talk about picking on the wrong person. Lorrie Cranor, chief technologist at US consumer watchdog the FTC, said today she fell victim to a brazen identify thief. Cranor now wants to use her experience to alert citizens, helping them and phone carriers to take action to combat scammers. As she explained: A few weeks ago an …
Chris Williams, 07 Jun 2016
whitehall_648

UK.gov's promise to pour cash into SMEs was just hot air

Analysis Every government has always claimed to be the friend of SMEs – and with 5.2 million of them in the UK it makes an easy vote winner. But promising to do more business with smaller providers and handing over cold, hard cash are two very different things. Earlier this month the National Audit Office reported that what little …
Kat Hall, 31 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

Twilio (ask your dev) to IPO

One of Silicon Valley's so-called unicorns is going public. Comms company Twilio has filed IPO paperwork with US financial watchdog the SEC and is looking for $100m. It hasn't released the number of shares it intends to sell however, making it impossible to see how much the San Francisco-based upstart it seeking to value …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 May 2016

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
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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