Articles about Watchdog

Privacy watchdog to probe Oz gov's right to release personal info 'to correct the record'

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is investigating whether it's acceptable for an Australian government department to release personal data when seeking to correct the public record when clients recount their interactions with government agencies. The office has told The Register it's “making inquiries with …
Image by Maksim Kabakouhttp://www.shutterstock.com/pic-362745248/stock-photo-privacy-concept-broken-shield-on-wall-background.html

Don't worry about Privacy Shield, it's fine. Really. I promise, says US trade watchdog head

The acting head of the US Federal Trade Commission, Maureen Ohlhausen, has sought to assure people that the critical Privacy Shield data-sharing agreement will hold up despite President Trump's recent executive orders on immigration. Ohlhausen told reporters this week that the transatlantic agreement was unaffected by the …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Feb 2017
Trimming hedges

FCC lops off red tape around small US ISPs, y'know, things like having to own up about connection speeds

The FCC has granted pricing and speed reporting exemptions long sought by small US broadband providers. America's comms watchdog said Thursday it would no longer ask ISPs with fewer than 250,000 subscriber connections to disclose pricing and performance details as required by the 2015 Open Internet Act. The decision extends …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Feb 2017

US 'security' biz trio Sentinel Labs, Vir2us, SpyChatter accused of lying about certification

Three US companies have settled with the FTC after they were accused of lying about the security safeguards on their customer information. Sentinel Labs, SpyChatter, and Vir2us have all agreed to adhere to the US trade regulator's settlement terms after they were formally charged with falsely claiming certification with the …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Feb 2017

Radioactive leak riddle: Now Team America sniffs Europe's skies for iodine isotope source

The US military has sent one of its atmosphere-analyzing aircraft to Europe to hunt the source of a radioactive leak on the continent. Last week, the French nuclear watchdog the Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN) issued an alert after sensors in Norway, and then much of the rest of Europe, detected …
Iain Thomson, 23 Feb 2017
Image from Shutterstock 161369036

LTE-U R gd 2 go: FCC gives unlicensed spectrum its coat, pushes it out the door

The FCC has approved the first crop of LTE-U base stations for sale in the US, a move aimed at opening unlicensed spectrum space to boost broadband speeds. The US comms watchdog said that Ericsson and Nokia have been cleared to begin offering base stations that use a portion of the 5GHz band to move LTE wireless broadband data …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Feb 2017
My Friend Cayla and i-Que robot

Smash up your kid's Bluetooth-connected Cayla 'surveillance' doll, Germany urges parents

Germany's Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur, has banned Genesis Toys' Cayla doll as an illegal surveillance device. "Items that conceal cameras or microphones and that are capable of transmitting a signal, and therefore can transmit data without detection, compromise people's privacy," said agency president Jochen …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Feb 2017
Big cloud photo via Shutterstock

Brit watchdog spanks Microsoft, Amazon, Apple into promising fairer cloud contracts

Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have committed to providing cloud storage users with fairer contracts after a crackdown by the UK's Competition Markets Authority (CMA). The companies are the latest cloud storage providers to improve their terms and conditions following the CMA's review of compliance with consumer law in the sector …
Kat Hall, 17 Feb 2017
US Federal Communications Commission Headquarters in Washington, DC. Pic: editorial use only/Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock

Why I had to sue the FCC – VoIP granddaddy Dan Berninger

Interview One of the grandaddies of VoIP is taking America's comms watchdog, the FCC, to the US Supreme Court over net neutrality – and he's told us why. It’s life or death, says Dan Berninger, whose startup works on high quality voice services, and could be killed by the regulator at a stroke. Berninger led the Bell Labs team that …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Feb 2017

Republicans send anti-Signal signal to US EPA

US House Republicans Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) have demanded a probe into staff at the US Environmental Protection Agency who are apparently using private encrypted communications. Earlier this month, insiders at the EPA, the US Department of Labor, the Foreign Service, and possibly other agencies and …

Oz consumer watchdog: 'up to' speeds shouldn't be in broadband ads

Australia's consumer watchdog is trying to ensure advertising offers comprehensible and accurate broadband performance information. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) wants to regulate ads that spruik speeds “up to 100 Mbps” because consumers almost never experience the headline speeds advertised. …
Cloud moving at a snail's pace

Comcast lied and now it must STFU: Its cable broadband is not 'the fastest' in the US

Lying Comcast will no longer be able to advertise its cable internet service as the "fastest" following a decision from the US National Advertising Review Board. The ads watchdog issued a "recommendation" that the alternate-fact-spreading cable giant stop telling Americans that its cable and Wi‑Fi internet services offer the …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Feb 2017
shutterstock_annoyed_man_on_phone

Blighty watchdog Ofcom has a butcher's hook, clocks spectrum for 5G

Ofcom has identified the spectrum bands in the UK for the much-hyped use of 5G, ahead of the yet-to-be-determined international standards for 5G. The first wave of commercial products is expected to be available in 2020. However, initial pre-commercial deployments are already expected to start from 2018. The Update on 5G …
Kat Hall, 08 Feb 2017

Vizio coughs up $2.2m after its smart TVs spied on millions of families

California electronics maker Vizio will cough up $2.2m after its smart TVs spied on millions of people. America's trade watchdog, the FTC, said today the payment will settle a complaint filed by the state of New Jersey accusing Vizio of violating privacy regulations: the biz had collected the viewing habits of 11 million …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Feb 2017
Hacker

UK defence secretary: Russian hacks are destabilising Western democracy

The UK defence secretary has accused Russia of using hacking to destabilise the West. Sir Michael Fallon said the Kremlin is "weaponising misinformation" as part of a sustained campaign that goes beyond alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. NATO needs to do more to combat the threat, the senior cabinet …
John Leyden, 03 Feb 2017
Crown courtroom. Pic: Shutterstock

Ofcom splashed 11% more cash on legal costs with £4.9m war chest

Communications regulator Ofcom splashed an extra 11 per cent on legal costs in 2015/16 compared with the previous year, spending £4.9m seeing off threats from operators. "Our legal costs will normally fluctuate year-on-year, in response to the type and volume of work we undertake, and importantly how companies respond to our …
Kat Hall, 03 Feb 2017
Crocodile Dundee, 20th Century Fox.

'Completely offended' Sheila calls cops over price-gouging ganja dealer

Aussie coppers have got into the consumer rights business after a distraught stoner turned to them to complain about profiteering by her local pot dealer. The Northern Territory's Police, Fire and Emergency Services social media team took to Facebook on Sunday to ask followers: "Is your drug dealer ripping you off?" The …
Clodagh Doyle, 02 Feb 2017
shutterstock_300234617-signal

MNOs will lose 5G rewards to new entrants if they will not share networks

Analysis The advantages of network sharing seem glaringly obvious in a world where the mismatch between mobile data demand and mobile data ARPU is rushing MNOs’ profits. The need to reduce the cost of delivering those rising tides of data is urgent, but many operators are ready to discuss almost any tactic – Wi-Fi offload, automation, …
Wireless Watch, 02 Feb 2017
Axe Cutting Wood

With net neutrality pretty much dead in the US, your privacy is next

Full of confidence in Ajit Pai – the new boss at the FCC, America's communications watchdog – groups representing US telcos are seeking a repeal of the regulator's privacy rules. Citing the appointment of Pai and the imminent decision to roll back the previous administration's net neutrality protections, industry groups now …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Jan 2017
Still from ABC's video of the Ultranet launch

AU$240m went up in smoke on failed school portal project

The corruption watchdog in the Australian State of Victoria has concluded that the state's failed "Ultranet" project was made vastly more expensive by official, rampant and long-standing corruption. The “Operation Durham” report also highlights just how long people can operate without oversight, if they happen to catch a …
A man holding a mug of coffee

Northumbria Uni fined £400K after boffin's bad math gives students a near-killer caffeine high

Northumbria University in England has been fined £400,000 ($503,000) after a botched experiment resulted in two students almost dying from caffeine overdose. Newcastle Crown Court issued the fine on Wednesday after hearing the case of two 20-year-old students who, as part of a study on the effects of the stimulant, were …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Jan 2017
Breathometer Breeze

2014: El Reg booze lab proves Bluetooth breathalyzers are crap. 2017: US govt agrees

If you’re trusting a personal breathalyzer to protect you from a drunk driving conviction, think again, since the devices might not work as advertised. In the past few years, various companies have begun marketing personal breathalyzers that fit in your pocket and can report blood alcohol content (BAC) levels to a smartphone. …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jan 2017
Money laundering

Western Union coughs up $586m for turning a blind eye to fraudsters

Western Union will forfeit more than half a billion dollars after admitting it broke money laundering laws. The admission comes after America's trade watchdog, the FTC, looked into why so many fraudsters use the company's services to launder ill-gotten gains. Under the terms of the settlement, Western Union pled guilty to …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jan 2017

Uber coughs up $20m after 'lying about how much its drivers make'

Cab app Uber has agreed to pay $20m to settle charges that it exaggerated how much drivers using its software can earn and downplayed the cost of financing cars through the company. "Many consumers sign up to drive for Uber, but they shouldn't be taken for a ride about their earnings potential or the cost of financing a car …
Thomas Claburn, 20 Jan 2017

Is Qualcomm price gouging phone makers? Not everyone thinks so

Analysis America’s competition commissioners didn’t want to prosecute Google, which operates a monopoly in over a dozen markets, so why are they complaining about Qualcomm? Yesterday, the FTC filed a complaint against the San Diego chip giant following a South Korean indictment, and two EU probes into Qualcomm’s practices. Qualcomm …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jan 2017
Car on Monopoly board. PHOTO BY Kamira, editorial use ONLY VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

US watchdog sues Qualcomm for 'bribing' Apple to swallow chips

America's trade watchdog the FTC has sued Qualcomm, alleging the California-based biz trampled over US laws on fair competition. The three-count complaint [PDF] accuses the chip designer of strong-arming smartphone makers (cough, cough, Apple) into dodgy deals by abusing its war chest of patents. Qualcomm designs not only the …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Jan 2017

FCC's Wheeler gives passionate defense of net neutrality rules

Video Tom Wheeler, chairman of America's comms watchdog the FCC, has given a passionate defense of net neutrality rules in his last public speech – and warned his fellow commissioners not to go backwards by removing them. He called the rules "rooted in reality, not ideology" – a clear poke at the Republican leadership that will take …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Jan 2017

FCC slams Verizon, AT&T over zero rating, gives T-Mobile US a hug

US comms watchdog the FCC has issued new guidelines on the controversial practice of "zero rating" and whether it is illegal or not. The upshot is that it has given T‑Mobile US's Binge On service a green light, but comes down on AT&T's Sponsored Data service and Verizon's FreeBee Data 360 as illegal. We already knew from …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Jan 2017

Plusnet? More like Plus-naught: Mobile data on the fritz for days for some unlucky punters

Updated Plusnet Mobile subscribers say their smartphones have been unable to reach the internet via the cellular network for several days. Affected punters tell us they just can't get their mobile handsets to connect to the web via the Plusnet cellular network. Plusnet Mobile, launched in November, piggybacks on BT's EE network. "A …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jan 2017
Privacy

New Windows 10 privacy controls: Just a little snooping – or the max

Microsoft has built an online dashboard of privacy controls in an attempt to soothe lingering anger over Windows 10 and its ability to phone home people's private information. The new web portal lists some of the personal data that is collected from PCs and devices and sent back to Redmond, and allows people to somewhat limit …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jan 2017

MongoDB ransom attacks soar, body count hits 27,000 in hours

MongoDB databases are being decimated in soaring ransomware attacks that have seen the number of compromised systems more than double to 27,000 in a day. Criminals are accessing, copying and deleting data from unpatched or badly-configured databases. Administrators are being charged ransoms to have data returned. Initial …
Darren Pauli, 09 Jan 2017
Elon Musk

Elon's SpaceX gets permission to blow up another satellite or two

America's Federal Aviation Administration has cleared SpaceX to launch satellites into Earth's orbit using the science upstart's rockets. This comes after the watchdog scrutinized the cause of last year's dramatic explosion on a SpaceX launchpad: on September 1, a refueling cockup strongly encouraged a Falcon 9 rocket, along …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jan 2017

D-Link sucks so much at Internet of Suckage security – US watchdog

America's trade watchdog is suing D-Link, alleging the router and camera vendor failed to implement basic security protections in its gear. The FTC said that its complaint was based on D-Link's failure to take "reasonable steps" to secure its products, putting the privacy of citizens everywhere at risk as a result. "Hackers …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Jan 2017

Tesla set to up prices by 5% in new year because of 'currency fluctuations'

Tesla Motors is bumping up its vehicles' prices in the UK by five per cent, purportedly because of currency effects post-Brexit. According to the business, that change will arrive as soon as 2017 does, because of "currency fluctuations". These fluctuations have seen the sterling drop in value against the dollar. Today, £1 is …
Made in China

We've been Trumped! China's Alibaba is a 'notorious' knock-offs souk, says US watchdog

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has put Alibaba's Taobao, the Chinese internet giant's online auction site, on its "notorious markets list" of sites that regularly deal in counterfeit goods. In a bulletin this week [PDF] the USTR noted that Taobao, which is the world's largest online shopping destination by gross …
Iain Thomson, 22 Dec 2016
Cookie Monster

Ad-slinger Turn caught with its hand in Verizon's 'supercookie' jar

Ad tech biz Turn Inc, which allegedly illegally tracked people online, has settled with US trade watchdog the FTC. The regulator said Redwood City-based ad-server Turn stalked Verizon mobile subscribers from website to website so it could build up profiles on each of them. That allowed the company to target people with ads …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Dec 2016

FCC chairman confirms he will step down, make way for Trump choice

Analysis Following weeks of speculation and a refusal to state his plans, on Thursday chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, announced he would step down from the role on January 20, allowing president-elect Donald Trump to select a new head of the US comms watchdog. "Sitting in this chair has been the …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Dec 2016
Girl magnifying glass, photo via Shutterstock

PAC chair: Who's naughty or nice? The 3 IT mega projects that had better watch out

The biggest tech projects to be scrutinised by the UK government spending watchdog next year will be an overhaul of tax IT, the Rural Payments Agency's troubled systems, and the Ministry of Justice's court transformation project. Speaking to The Register at the Global Tax Summit, Meg Hillier, chairwoman of Parliament's Public …
Kat Hall, 12 Dec 2016
sir_humphrey_screengrab_648

UK.gov has outsourced tech policy to Ofcom because it is clueless – SNP techie

The UK government has effectively outsourced its policy-making to Blighty's comms watchdog Ofcom because MPs are clueless about telecoms and technology. That's according to Calum Kerr, the Scottish National Party's spokesperson for digital stuff. Speaking to The Register, Kerr also accused the government, BT and Ofcom of …
Kat Hall, 12 Dec 2016

Brits think broadband more important than mobes, cars or savings

Broadband is more essential than owning a mobile phone, running a car or having savings, according to a survey by consumer watchdog organisation Which? Of 2,000 folk, 90 per cent said broadband was essential, while 74 per cent named mobile phones as a necessity, and 68 per cent said running a car was a key requirement. More …
Kat Hall, 08 Dec 2016
Fibre, image via Shutterstock

Ofcom fleshes out plans to open up BT's ducts and poles

UK comms watchdog Ofcom has fleshed out its proposals to open up BT's ducts and poles - intended to encourage rivals to access Openreach's infrastructure and lay their own "full fibre" networks. Part of its plans, outlined in the once-in-a-decade Digital Communications Review earlier this year, include the promotion of large- …
Kat Hall, 06 Dec 2016

Violin Memory axes staff just before Christmas, gives CFO $150k bonus

Violin Memory is cutting staff while rewarding chief financial officer Cory Sindelar with a bonus to persuade him to stay for another two months. Merry Christmas, Silicon Valley style. Chief marketing officer Amy Love told The Register today: “Violin is resizing the company as part of its overall turnaround efforts. More news …
Chris Mellor, 02 Dec 2016
Photo by Phil Stafford / Shutterstock

Renewed calls for Tesla to scrap Autopilot after number of crashes

US advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has renewed its demands for a recall of Tesla's Autopilot feature following a number of crashes. Earlier this week, a Tesla smashed into a construction barrier truck on a German motorway at high speed. Consumer Watchdog said the "growing list of Tesla crashes demonstrates the urgent need to …
Kat Hall, 01 Dec 2016
police hacking

London cops' tech slammed for failing abused kids – report

A broken police information system hampered efforts to protect children at risk of sexual exploitation in the UK, according to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC). Published today, the watchdog's the 113-page report [PDF] details an HMIC inspection into national child protection. It reveals how London's …
Car crash

Hey techbros, make an airplane mode but for driving for your apps – US traffic watchdog

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed voluntary guidelines [PDF] designed to reduce driver distraction by mobile devices in vehicles. According to the NHTSA, about 10 per cent of the 35,092 traffic fatalities in 2015 – 3,477 people – involved one or more distracted drivers. This represents an 8.8 …
Thomas Claburn, 23 Nov 2016

Deliver-oops! Takeaway pusher's customers burger-ed by hijackers

Customers of online takeaway firm Deliveroo are getting their accounts hijacked and charged for food they never ordered, according to an investigation by BBC One's Watchdog. Investigators from the campaigning TV consumer affairs programme uncovered evidence that scores of customers of the newly be-logo-ed Deliveroo are being …
John Leyden, 23 Nov 2016

FTC report highlights challenge of how to best regulate 'sharing economy' platforms

User rating and review services provided by online platforms can help reduce the need to regulate the "sharing economy", according to a report by a US regulator. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report (100-page / 2.26MB PDF), said, though, that the deployment of "trust mechanisms" alone might not "address externalities" …
OUT-LAW.COM, 22 Nov 2016

Arista cats escape US quarantine, for now: Customs says it's OK to import networking gear

Arista says US Customs officials will wave in shipments of its latest-generation kit after deciding that the gear does not infringe Cisco's patents. Earlier this year, Cisco landed an import ban on Arista gear because it ripped off its intellectual property. Arista rejigged some of its software to avoid infringing Cisco's …

And with one stroke, Trump killed the Era of Slacktivism

Analysis No wonder America’s biggest lobbyist, Google, has been so frantic to drive through its agenda this year. Whether it was making an audacious landgrab for the TV industry, locking the Copyright chief out of her office, stopping ISPs from doing what Google does with your personal data, or taking the songs away from America’s …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Nov 2016

FCC wants a word with AT&T about that zero-rated DirecTV streaming

The FCC is taking issue with AT&T over its plans to launch DirecTV as a zero-rated streaming video service. The US watchdog's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has sent a letter [PDF] to AT&T's senior executive veep of external and legislative affairs asking the telecoms giant to address concerns that by omitting DirecTV from …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Nov 2016