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BAE accused of flogging mass-spying toolkits to assh*le autocrats

A year-long investigation has uncovered evidence that British armaments conglomerate BAE Systems has been selling internet surveillance equipment to Middle Eastern regimes with questionable human rights records. BAE has its fingers in many pies, including the online sphere, and in 2011 it bought Danish firm ETI and added it to …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jun 2017
Tom Watson, deputy Labour Party leader. Pic: Shutterstock

Labour says it will vote against DUP's proposed TV Licence reforms

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has said his party will vote down any Parliamentary changes to the TV Licence fee, following the Conservatives entering coalition talks with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party. Yesterday afternoon Watson wrote to Conservative culture secretary Karen Bradley to "defend" the BBC "against …
Gareth Corfield, 14 Jun 2017
Doctor Who, Season 9 – Heaven Sent. Pic credit: BBC

Auntie sh!tcans BBC Store after 18 months

The Beeb is to shut its online paid-for streaming service BBC Store from November, just 18 months after it launched. The online facility failed to get off the ground against stiff competition from Netflix and Amazon. Its closure comes as Old Auntie is under increasing pressure to generate cash outside the Licence Fee. …
Kat Hall, 25 May 2017
Peter Capaldi in bbc2 political satire The Thick of It. Copyright BBC

Beeb hands £560m IT deal to Atos. Again

In an effort to overhaul its massive £2.3bn contract with Atos, the BBC has awarded its Enterprise ICT and Hosting Services contract worth up to £560m over eight years to... you guessed it, Atos. An internal email sent to staff and seen by The Register said the deal represents the final stage in restructuring its Technology …
Kat Hall, 12 May 2017
BBC broadcasting house photo via Shutterstock

Oh dear, Prime Minister! Nearly 100 Beeb bosses make more than you

The BBC has given up trying to cut the number of its employees paid more than the British Prime Minister, the UK's National Audit Office has discovered. The public sector spending watchdog also found that the state broadcaster hasn't sacked enough people yet and should consider chinning off more freelancers and agency staff to …
Gareth Corfield, 26 Apr 2017
Doctor Who – The Zygon Invasion. Pic credit: BBC

BBC hooks up with ITV, launches long awaited US subscription VoD

Analysis In the end, after a year waiting for the service, BritFlix has become BritBox, an OTT service which the BBC promised a while back, as a follow-on to its failed global iPlayer initiative. This will have been stimulated by the relatively new relationship between AMC Networks and BBC Worldwide – effectively AMC said (to OTT): "Come …
Vintage BBC experimental colour transmission testcard section

Anti-TV Licensing petition gets May date for Parliament debate

The BBC TV Licensing fee is set to be debated in Parliament in early May after a public petition passed the 100,000 signature mark. The petition calls for TV Licensing revenues to be deducted from "service providers" instead of being collected directly from households in the UK. At the time of writing it stands at 107,779 …
Zuckerberg photo Facebook

Facebook shopped BBC hacks to National Crime Agency over child abuse images probe

+Comment Facebook reported BBC journalists to the police after the reporters accidentally emailed them images of child sexual abuse, the social network's PR has alleged. The BBC was investigating private Facebook groups used to share both legal and illegal images, some of the latter of which featured children being abused. Its …
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Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions at one London court targeted women

Exclusive Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions in a London court were brought against women, according to an exclusive analysis of court data by The Register. We analysed three months of listings data from the City of London Magistrates’ Court in the UK. Of the 62 individual defendants who appeared in court charged with not paying …
Tony Hall, BBC Director General. Pic: BBC

Licence-fee outsourcer Capita caught wringing BBC tax from vulnerable

Capita, to whom the BBC has outsourced its licence fee shakedown efforts, has been found to be targeting vulnerable people as part of an aggressive bonus scheme for its collectors. An investigative report by the Daily Mail has found Capita to be offering bonuses of up to £15,000 a year to its 330 enforcement officers, who have …
Vintage BBC experimental colour transmission testcard section

BBC admits iPlayer downloads are broken

Updated The BBC has acknowledged that problems with the latest iPlayer software for PCs and Macs have left users unable to download shows to watch offline. The problems have affected the current build for over a week. The BBC notes that shows requested for offline viewing stall after about 12MB have been downloaded. Others report …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Feb 2017

BBC and Snap. But, why?

The BBC gave the controversial Silicon Valley tech IPO Snap a priceless publicity boost today, by bringing its Planet Earth II series “exclusively” to Snap’s app and nerd goggles before the show launches on terrestrial TV in North America. Planet Earth II made its UK TV debut in November. Six episodes, containing some unseen …

A non-Standards Soviet approved measure of weight? Sod off, BBC!

An eagle-eyed Reg reader has spotted a dastardly BBC attempt to muscle in on the Reg Standards Soviet’s turf – by devising a new and highly unauthorised measure of weight. In an otherwise unremarkable story from last week about construction of the Queensferry Crossing bridge between Edinburgh and Fife being completed, the Beeb …
The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who book cover

Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord

Poll Peter Capaldi will demateralise as the 12th Time Lord this Christmas after four years. Capaldi was cast as Doctor Who by franchise owner the BBC in 2013 but will bow out with a regeneration during this year's Christmas special. Regenerations are always a reflective and throat-tightening event. Thanks, BBC – there goes my …
Gavin Clarke, 3 Feb 2017
Wall of TV screens photo via Shutterstock

Baird is the word: Netflix's grandaddy gets bronze London landmark

BBC TV, famed for such nation-capturing programmes as Playschool and Great British Bake Off, celebrated its 80th birthday last November. It did so in the same week that watching the country's then most popular TV programme, The Crown, required neither the BBC nor a TV set. Just a Netflix account and a connected mobe. With the …
Alistair Dabbs, 30 Jan 2017
The zbit:connect stand at IoT Tech Expo 2017

Bloke launches twinkly range of BBC Micro:bit accessory boards

Pics A one-time storage hardware designer has launched a range of add-on boards for the BBC Micro:bit. Nevil Hunt – formerly a hardware designer for enterprise storage stuff firm Nexsan – was exhibiting his wares at the IoT Tech Expo, which took place in London’s Olympia conference centre earlier this week. “Kids are turned off by …
Gareth Corfield, 26 Jan 2017

BBC surrenders 'linear' exclusivity to compete with binge-watch Netflix

The BBC is abandoning linear exclusivity as it goes for broke to make the iPlayer a global Netflix rival. The corporation says it will throw entire series on to the on-demand streaming service before the first episode in a series is even broadcast on terrestrial TV. Director-General Tony Hall will call for the BBC to "reinvent …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Jan 2017
Woman uses headphones with her iPhone. Photo by Shutterstock

Fake History Alert: Sorry BBC, but Apple really did invent the iPhone

iPhone at 10 You've heard of "Fake News" – but how does Fake History gradually supersede the reality-based version? It's through repetition, and Christmas found the BBC busy doing some scrubbing. The proposition it set about is simple: Apple didn't really invent the iPhone. From Oxford, inventor and engineer Andrew Fentem writes to take …

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