Articles about Watchdog

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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
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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
Man exasperated after being on hold for a long period of time. Photo by Shutterstock

Geniuses at HMRC sack too many staff! Nope, can't do it online. FAIL

HMRC was too hasty to cut staff before expected cost savings from a shift to digital materialised – something that should act as a cautionary tale for its current "digitisation" plans, the National Audit Office has warned. Between 2010/11 and 2014/15, HMRC cut staff in its personal tax department from 26,000 to 15,000. But …
Kat Hall, 25 May 2016
whitehall road in London. <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-637816p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Albert Pego</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>

Watchdog snaps: Privatise the Land Registry? What a terrible idea!

Government plans to flog off the Land Registry have been heavily criticised by the Competition and Markets Authority, which warns it will create a private monopoly hold over public data. Proposals to privatise the body are in danger of creating a monopoly business with an incentive to abuse its position, said the CMA in its …
Kat Hall, 23 May 2016

Brexit campaign group fined £50k for sending half a million spam texts

Pro-Brexit group Leave.EU has been fined £50,000 for sending up to 500,000 unsolicited text messages urging people to support its campaign, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said today. The group, registered as Better for the Country Ltd and funded by millionaire UKIP donor Arron Banks, broke the law by not having …
Peter Capaldi as Dr Who. Credit: BBC

At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

A £75m “Agile” BBC IT project has evaded scrutiny because managers could make up the benefits as they went along, according to the spending watchdog the National Audit Office. Any likelihood of the project achieving savings is now officially rated as “in doubt” by the BBC’s own project monitoring. Since the costly failure of …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 May 2016
Android for cars

Android's security patch quagmire probed by US watchdogs

Mobile carriers and gadget makers will be investigated over how slow they push important software security patches to people. The probe will be carried out by US trade watchdog the FTC and America's internet mall cop the FCC. The two agencies will work together to scrutinize manufacturers of phones, tablets and other gear, …
Shaun Nichols, 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
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

Charter can gobble TWC for $78.7bn ... if it bins monthly download caps

FCC boss Tom Wheeler has put out the terms for his watchdog's approval of Charter Communications' $78bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Wheeler said Monday that he has passed along a proposed approval order and conditions for the other four FCC commissioners to vote on. "As proposed, the order outlines a number of …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Apr 2016
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What a difference a year makes: ICO tele-spam fines break £2m barrier

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued £2m in fines since a change in the law allowing it to crack down on nuisance marketing, an increase of more than 565 per cent on the preceding 12 months. As the law stands, companies intending to make marketing phone calls without prior permission must first check the …

FBI boss: We paid at least $1.2m to crack the San Bernardino iPhone

Vid FBI director James Comey today suggested the Feds paid security experts over a million dollars to crack a San Bernardino killer's iPhone. While speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in the UK, Comey was asked how much his agents paid hackers to break into Syed Farook's iPhone 5C. "More than I will make in the remainder of this …
Chris Williams, 21 Apr 2016
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Not OK, Google! FTC urged to thrust antitrust probe into Android

Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is calling on the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to follow the European Union's lead and bring antitrust charges against Google Android. The group said that following the European Commission's statement of objections this week against the Chocolate Factory, it would like to see the FTC put …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2016

UK competition watchdog gripes to Brussels about Three-O2 merger

Britain's competition regulator has written to Brussels to put the brakes on the proposed £10.25bn merger between Three and O2 unless a fourth mobile operator is proposed. In a letter to Europe's competition chief Margarethe Vestager, chief executive of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, Alex Chisholm, reiterated the …
Kat Hall, 11 Apr 2016

Just how close are Obama and Google? You won’t believe the answer

An ethics watchdog thinks that the FTC may have misled Congress about how it protected Google, and highlights how the White House went into panic mode to limit the damage to the giant ad slinger over a newspaper report last year. Last March, Google learned that the Wall Street Journal was about to publish details of how the …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Apr 2016
Don Draper is Sad

UK.gov watchdog growls at firms that pass off advertorials as real opinions

The UK.gov's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is tackling undisclosed advertising in online articles and blogs through a new investigation into murky marketing practices in the world of sponsored content. A CMA’s investigation found two marketing companies, Starcom Mediavest and TAN Media, arranged for endorsements in …
John Leyden, 04 Apr 2016
Man rools out fibre cable from a large wooden cable reel on a suburban street. Pic via Pixabay

Your broadband speeds are up by 6Mbps, boasts UK watchdog Ofcom

The average home broadband speed in the UK increased to 28.9Mbps, up by 6Mbps from a year ago – according to the latest annual research from Ofcom. In November 2015, forty-two per cent of residential fixed broadband lines were superfast products – connections with a headline speed of "up to" 30Mbps or more, a nine percentage …
Kat Hall, 24 Mar 2016

The FCC, once seen as a telco-thrashing hero, is sadly losing the plot

Analysis The FCC's continued push against the powerful telco lobby has swung a spotlight onto the American regulator's archaic work practices and increasingly partisan atmosphere. Appearing in front of a US Senate subcommittee (again) yesterday, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and his four Commissioners were quizzed about a range of plans to …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Mar 2016

Canuck named as next UK privacy watchdog

Canadian Elizabeth Denham has been named as the UK's next Information Commissioner. Following a confirmation hearing by a parliamentary select committee, she will take over the post from Christopher Graham, who has been in the role since 2009, sometime this summer. Culture Secretary John Whittingdale confirmed that Denham was …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Mar 2016

Intel tock blocked for good: Tick-tock now an oom-pah-pah waltz

For more than a decade, a staple of Intel's defense of Moore's Law has been a development methodology known as "Tick-Tock," but it's had its day. The news emerged in an almost-unnoticed 10-K filing from earlier this month, submitted by Chipzilla to US financial watchdog the SEC. Here's how the tick-tock works: Intel first …
BT Openreach van outside Comedy Pub

Ofcom wants to crack down on pisspoor BT Openreach biz lines

Ofcom wants to impose "strict new rules" on BT Openreach to improve its leased line services to businesses, in draft proposals today recommending faster installation times, lower prices for high-speed lines and greater access to its “dark fibre” network by competitors. In its Business Connectivity Market Review proposals the …
Kat Hall, 22 Mar 2016
Verizon's Netflix chart

Verizon: We're sick of waiting for the FCC, so here's our 'net neutrality'

Verizon has laid out its own set of net neutrality rules it will impose – regardless of whether the FCC keeps its grip on America's broadband service. General counsel and executive VP for public policy, Craig Silliman, said Verizon would adhere to a set of rules on its networks, including policies against throttling, paid …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Mar 2016

FCC boss: Oh look, net neutrality didn't end the world after all. Surprise!

Tom Wheeler, chairman of US broadband watchdog the FCC, has given telcos a firm poke in the eye over their net neutrality doomsday predictions. Speaking on the one-year anniversary of the Open Internet Order at the GnoviCon conference in Washington DC, Wheeler reflected on the fact that the big telcos railed against the rules …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Mar 2016

A third of Australians lose mobile services after Telstra outage

Australian incumbent telco Telstra has been forced to offer another day of free mobile data after a nationwide outage knocked out mobile services for eight million customers across the country. The carrier says the cause of the outage, the second in about a month, was an offshore connection issue affecting international …
Darren Pauli, 17 Mar 2016