Articles about Watchdog

Government Digital Service under review after rural payments cockup

Whitehall's spending watchdog is to review the achievements of the Government Digital Service in light of the Rural Payments Agency's IT disaster. In an update note on the Rural Payments Agency's Common Agricultural Policy IT system on Monday, the National Audit Office said it will shortly be undertaking a review of GDS's …
Kat Hall, 24 Oct 2016
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Whinge on: T-Mobile US docked $48m for limiting 'unlimited' data plans

T-Mobile US has agreed to pay the US comms watchdog the FCC $48m to settle claims that it illegally throttled the connections of some unlimited-plan data users. The settlement package [PDF] ends an investigation the US broadband watchdog launched over T‑Mobile's handling of customers on its unlimited data plans. At issue was …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Oct 2016

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

Blighty's Home Office database blunders will deprive hundreds of GB driving licences

The UK Home Office's dream of a database state – in which Theresa May's anti-immigrant policies can be automatically executed through SQL commands – now looks less likely. An independent review has slammed officials' for making critical mistakes through their handling of personal data. Hundreds of people have been refused …

The UK's 'Universal Credit mega cockup was the coalition's NPfIT' - Margaret Hodge

When Margaret Hodge was appointed chair of the UK Parliament's Public Accounts Committee in 2010, she was the first Labour leader since 1997 – as its head is always drawn from the main opposition party. In 2015 her colleague Meg Hillier became the new PAC chair, with all indications so far suggesting her successor will also be …
Kat Hall, 14 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
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Ireland reaps benefits of Apple's tax schemes, even without EU bounty

Even without the €13bn tax bill which Ireland was told collect from Apple, the nation's arrangements with Cupertino is driving tax revenue and spending increases in its budget for 2017. The Irish government has this week put forward its budget for the next year, including an extra €1.3bn package of spending increases and tax …
WTF road sign

UK cops failed to act on Canadian intel on child abuse

UK police sat on intelligence about more than 2,000 child abuse suspects for 15 months, according to a damning report from independent watchdogs published on Tuesday. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) - staffed by police officers with specialist …
John Leyden, 11 Oct 2016

Probe cops' Stingray phone masts, senators tell US comms watchdog

A group of US Senators has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate concerns that police stingray devices are causing illegally high levels of interference to wireless networks. In a letter addressed to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, Senators Bernie Sanders (I‑VT), Ron Wyden (D‑OR), Al Franken (D‑MN), …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Oct 2016

Ofcom finds 'reasonable grounds' that KCOM failed to maintain 999 services

UK comms watchdog Ofcom has today said it has "reasonable grounds" for believing operator KCOM failed to maintain emergency services access in Hull. KCOM notified Ofcom in February 2016 that its phone service in the region had suffered a “temporary reduction in availability.” In an update today the regulator said: "Ofcom has …
Kat Hall, 07 Oct 2016

Reseller offered $$$ for old tech gear – then stiffed thousands with suddenly lower quotes

US trade watchdog the FTC has terminated second-hand electronics reseller Laptop & Desktop Repair in Sparks, Nevada – after the biz shafted people out of millions of dollars. The company, operating under such names as,,, and, offered …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2016

My Nest smoke alarm was great … right up to the point it went nuts

Hands-on "I thought it was supposed to talk and tell us when the battery was low," my wife said. In retrospect, that was the first sign that all was not well with the Nest Protect smoke and CO detector. One of the main reasons, in fact probably the reason that the $99 device is on the wall as opposed to one of the many smoke detectors …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Oct 2016

TalkTalk gets record £400k slap-slap from Brit watchdog

The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued TalkTalk with a record £400,000 fine for allowing attackers to access customer data “with ease”. The penalty comes at the same time as the ICO publishes its in-depth investigation of last October's megabreach, which the office claims “could have been prevented if …

Parliamentary watchdog: Bank IT concerns not yet addressed

Concerns about the security and resilience of bank IT systems have not yet been addressed, a prominent MP has said in a letter to UK regulators. Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Committee in the UK House of Commons, asked Andrew Bailey (4-page / 215KB PDF), chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and …
OUT-LAW.COM, 05 Oct 2016
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Blighty's telly, radio watchdog Ofcom does a swear

NSFW UK comms regulator Ofcom has released in-depth research into the British public’s attitudes to fucking swearing. Researchers found that context is bloody everything and there is still strong support for the 9pm watershed, with less tolerance for anything but mildly offensive language and gestures before that time. Tone and …
John Oates, 30 Sep 2016

FCC death vote looms for the Golden Age of American TV

Special report We’re living in a “Golden Age of TV”, and the United States makes the most envied popular TV drama in the world. Breaking Bad, The Sopranos and The Wire raised the bar for everyone in TV drama. More cash is invested in content: last year Netflix alone spent more on shows than either the BBC or HBO. It takes more risks and …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Sep 2016

Pokemon NO! Hospital demands ban on virtual creatures after addicts invade private wards

An American hospital is behind one of 72 complaints lodged with a US watchdog over Pokémon Go – the game in which people with nothing better to do with their lives try to track down virtual animals using smartphones. “We are a small hospital in Oregon and Nintendo Pokemon Go players are descending on our halls and asking to go …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Sep 2016
Snowball angry about being neutered

After AT&T's crushing blow, FTC tells Senate it wants its balls back

US trade watchdog the FTC says it will appeal the August decision stripping its ability to fine AT&T. In a hearing before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation this week, FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez confirmed her agency will challenge the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling that corporations that deliver a …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Sep 2016
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BT tops Ofcom's broadband whinge list

BT has topped a UK watchdog's quarterly whinge list for the most moaned about fixed line broadband provider in Blighty. Communications regulator Ofcom said it received 300 complaints a day for mobile, broadband, phone and Pay TV. The report for the three months to June published today, deals with Blighty's biggest providers. …
Kat Hall, 28 Sep 2016

Did last night's US presidential debate Wi-Fi rip-off break the law?

The host of the first presidential debate on Monday night, Hofstra University in New York, may have broken the law and could be in line for a huge fine. Reporters at the event were appalled to find that among the heavily marked-up items they were offered – $150 to rent a lamp, anyone? – was a $200 charge for a "secure wireless …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Sep 2016
Defeated-looking young man puts his head against table in front of laptop and pile of papers in conference room. Pic via Shutterstock

Yahoo! Mail! down?! Great! timing! as! more! US! senators! dogpile! hacked! web! giant!

Yahoo!'s embattled mail service was dealt another blow Tuesday when an outage hit users worldwide. Data from outage monitors DownDetector and Outage.Report back up multiple reports from users that the service was knocked offline for a period of time earlier this morning US time, or afternoon for those in Europe. Y mientras el …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Sep 2016

Germany calls halt to Facebook’s WhatsApp info slurp

A German privacy regulator has told Facebook to stop collecting user information from WhatsApp. Hamburg’s Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information issued an administrative order to immediately stop the collection and storage of data from German WhatsApp users. It also told Zuckerberg’s social media giant to …
John Oates, 27 Sep 2016
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

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
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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
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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 …

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