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Spotify just can't wash those songwriters out of its hair

Spotify is embroiled in new legal objections over how it pays songwriters royalties... or doesn’t, as the songwriters insist. At issue is the mechanical copyright royalty – the amount owed to the composer or songwriter from the reproduction of the recording. Songwriters and composers argue that while Spotify negotiated …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Sep 2017

Web crash and pricing errors hit Argos

Argos shoppers who prefer to buy online rather than in-store via the laminated catalogue of dreams were out of luck this morning as the website crashed intermittently and pricing errors showed up. The site was due to be down for routine maintenance from midnight, a spokeswoman at Argos told The Reg, but “there is a separate …
Paul Kunert, 14 Sep 2017
Archer cracks the ISIS mainframe's password

UK Data Protection Bill lands: Oh dear, security researchers – where's your exemption?

The UK’s Data Protection bill has landed with a hefty thud, offering up 200-plus pages of legislation for the geeks and wonks to sink their teeth into. The bill, launched into the House of Lords yesterday and published in full today (PDF), aims to overhaul the UK’s data protection laws and update them for the digital age. …
Rebecca Hill, 14 Sep 2017
HMRC photo, Gov.uk

MPs accuse Amazon and eBay of profiteering from VAT fraudsters

MPs have accused Amazon and eBay of profiteering out of companies based overseas that are fraudulently using their platforms to dodge VAT - and supposedly putting Brit SMEs out of business while they're at it. In a Public Accounts Committee hearing, MPs heard that Amazon had collected the money from products sold by 23,000 non …
Kat Hall, 14 Sep 2017
Predator

Drones aren't evil and won't trigger the Rise of the Machines: MoD

The Ministry of Defence has issued a new strategy document for its drones, stating humans will be kept in the decision-making loop – yet critics are unhappy with the questions the doc sidesteps. Joint Doctrine Publication 0-30.2, published at the start of this week, sets out how the British armed forces will use their unmanned …
Gareth Corfield, 14 Sep 2017
Business: Stressed man with pile of paperwork works against the clock

Tick, tock motherf... erm, we mean, don't panic over GDPR

Welcome back from the summer. Feeling refreshed? Good, now let’s talk General Data Protection Regulation from the European Union, due to swing into effect on May 25, 2018. You now have eight months to get your data infrastructure, tech policies and related procedures ship-shape. Not feeing so refreshed now, are you? Plenty of …
Dave Cartwright, 14 Sep 2017
Piggy bank photo via Shutterstock

Ex-EDS bod at DXC Technologies? Sign up to new pension scheme - or else...

Frankenfirm DXC Technologies is proposing to kill off the final salary pension scheme for former EDS staff and will refuse to fund pay rises and bonuses to those affected who do not sign over to the new package. This will impact 99 active members of the EDS 1994 pension plan and 1,119 people that are on the EDS Retirement Plan …
Paul Kunert, 14 Sep 2017
Suitcase full of money

DARPA lays out cash-splash to defibrillate Moore's Law

The United States' Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to find the electronics industry's next iteration of Moore's Law and has loaded up a US$75 million defibrillator to jolt industry into making it happen. The moolah comes by way of an expansion of the blue-sky agency's Electronics Resurgence Initiative ( …
china

Trump blocks China-backed Lattice Semiconductor buyout

The Trump administration has blocked the purchase of a US semiconductor company by a Chinese investment firm, citing national security concerns. The White House said on Wednesday that it would not allow Canyon Bridge Capital, a fund backed by China Venture Capital, to acquire Lattice Semiconductor, a US chipmaker, out of fears …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Sep 2017
Bodega AI image

Bespoke vending machine biz Bodega AI trips cultural landmine

A startup called Bodega AI, facing an unanticipated Twitter tempest, has rushed to reassure people that it isn't out to kick mom-and-pop stores to the curb. The venture-funded firm, which makes software and hardware to create "delightful automated stores" – what normals might call vending machines, but for their Ikea affect – …
Thomas Claburn, 14 Sep 2017

Intelligence director pulls national security BS on spying question

The director of national intelligence (DNI) has refused to say whether US spying agencies are using legislation specifically intended to cover only foreigners in order to spy on American citizens. The unclassified letter [PDF] from Dan Coats to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and released by the legislator, comes in response to a …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Sep 2017
Nine inch iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard

Apple bumps up price on iPad Pro as flash costs climb

Apple has raised the price on much of its iPad Pro tablet line. The Cupertino giant did not say why it was bumping up the price for the 256GB and 512GB iPad Pro 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch models by $50. A Wi-Fi only 256GB iPad Pro now costs $649 for the 10.5-inch model and $799 for the 12.9-inch one. The 64GB models for both …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Sep 2017
Waymo self-driving minivan

Uber loses bid to avoid trial in Waymo case

Uber has lost a pair of appeals at the center of its ongoing trade secrets case with the Alphabet-owned Waymo Inc. In separate rulings, the Washington, DC, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday that the ride-sharing giant would not be able to move the case to an independent arbiter, making a trial likely. Uber had …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Sep 2017

US government sued by 11 pissed-off travellers over computer searches

The US Department of Homeland Security is being sued by 11 travellers who had their smartphones and laptops seized and searched at the US border. The lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) claims that the searches were unconstitutional. Ten of the 11 …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Sep 2017
All UK police forces use Tetra

Cops' use of biometric images 'gone far beyond custody purposes'

The use of 20 million facial images by the police "has said gone far beyond using them for custody purposes", according to the Biometric Commissioners’ annual report. Concerns have been previously raised by the commissioner over the retention of hundreds-of-thousands of innocent individuals' images. The Register was the first …
Kat Hall, 13 Sep 2017
Businessman makes A-OK sign. Photo by Shutterstock

UK's new Data Protection Bill will be 'liberal' not 'libertarian', says digi minister

Digital minister Matt Hancock has confirmed that the Data Protection Bill will be published tomorrow, in a speech promising internet laws "based on liberal and not libertarian values" that "cherish freedom yet prevent harm to others". Speaking at the UK Internet Governance Forum, Hancock said the forthcoming data protection …
Kat Hall, 13 Sep 2017
EU egg timer, photo via Shutterstock

Act fast to get post-Brexit data deal, Brit biz urges UK.gov

The UK is risking a data economy worth £240bn if it doesn’t secure a “simple” transition deal that minimises disruption of data flows after Brexit, the Confederation of British Industry will warn today. According to the body - which represents UK businesses - the government has made the right noises about data protection …
Rebecca Hill, 13 Sep 2017
Two women hailing a ride

ICO slaps cab app chaps for 10-day spam crap

The company behind a taxi comparison app that sent more than 700,000 spam texts in the space of 10 days is facing a £45,000 by the UK's data protection watchdog. Cab Guru, a Cambridge based firm that raised $2.8m (£3.7m) in its March 2016 seed funding round, runs a comparison app that gives users the low-down on the prices and …
Rebecca Hill, 12 Sep 2017

David Potter rejoins 'New New Psion' as Hon.Chairman

Psion founder David Potter has joined the company behind the Gemini project to re-create the classic Psion PDA. Potter will act as Planet Computing's Honorary Chairman, and plans to invest in efforts to get the product off the ground. Gemini uses new designs by Martin Riddiford of Therefore, the industrial designer for the …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Sep 2017

Monkey selfie case settles for a quarter of future royalties

The curious case of the monkey that took a selfie and was denied copyright for its efforts has come to an end, with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and photographer David Slater agreeing on a future stream of royalty payments to simian charities. The case kicked off in 2011 when Slater left a camera within …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2017
Oracle logo on building in Amsterdam

Confirmed: Oracle laid off 964 people from former Sun building

Oracle has filed a notice under California's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) regulations that reveals it has recently made 1,008 permanent layoffs in its Santa Clara and San Diego facilities. The WARN notice (PDF) says the 964 Santa Clara sackings were made on September 1st, the day before the Labour Day …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2017
Cannabis leaves

Totally uncool California bureaucrats shoot down drone weed delivery

California says its impending legalization of recreational marijuana will not include skies full of herb-toting drone delivery bots. A set of rules [PDF] handed down from the state's Bureau of Cannabis Control mandates that any delivery services operating in the state only use cars to make their drop-offs. The ruling expressly …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Sep 2017
Tesla Supercharger station

Achievement unlocked: Tesla boosts batteries for Irma refugees

Over the weekend Tesla began pushing a software update to certain Model S and Model X vehicles to increase battery capacity, in the hope that extended vehicle range might help customers fleeing Hurricane Irma and successive storms in Florida. "Due to these exceptional circumstances, and to help you better prepare to evacuate …
Thomas Claburn, 11 Sep 2017

Facebook fined €1.2m by Spain for… you'll never guess what

Facebook has been fined €1.2m ($1.43m) by the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) for violating privacy laws. The agency found [PDF, Spanish] that the company has collected information on its millions of Spanish users and then used that for advertising purposes without informing users how that information would be used, or …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Sep 2017

Hi Amazon, Google, Apple we might tax you on revenue rather than profit – love, Europe

Fed up with how Amazon, Google and other American digital giants pay tiny amounts in tax, European ministers are proposing a big change: tax based on revenues rather than profits. A joint letter – signed by the finance ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Spain, Europe's largest economies – is forthright, stating: "We …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Sep 2017
open_door_648

Capita still hasn't found what its looking for: A CEO

Months after Capita commenced its search for a successor to outgoing chief exec Andy Parker, the company has yet to find anyone judged evil enough well suited to fill his boots - at least not one it can make public. The integrator suffered an annus horribilis in 2016 when it reported profits warnings that led to a middle- …
Paul Kunert, 11 Sep 2017
Older woman with shocked expression speaks on fixed line phone... photo by Shutterstock

Users shop cold-calling telco to ICO: 'She said she was from Openreach'

A Dartford-based telco has been handed an £85,000 fine for two years’ of nuisance and "misleading" calls - despite a warning from the UK’s data protection watchdog. The Information Commissioner’s Office stepped in to investigate True Telecom - which offers broadband and call services - after receiving 201 complaints about …
Rebecca Hill, 11 Sep 2017
Monopoly photo via Shutterstock

Google will appeal €2.9bn EU fine

Alphabet will appeal the €2.9bn fine imposed by the European Commission in June for abusing its market dominance in search. It's no surprise, particularly after Intel's successful appeal last week bounced the Commissions case back down to the lower court. WHAT did GOOGLE do SO WRONG to get a slapping from the EU? READ MORE …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Sep 2017
Stressed looking business person.

Maintel blames Avaya bankruptcy protection for sales hit

UK comms and networking integrator Maintel has blamed trading partner Avaya’s bankruptcy filing in the US for slowing customer demand on this side of the pond. Maintel said in preliminary half-year results that its managed services division was “negatively affected” by delays to customer installations caused by the telco …
Kat Hall, 11 Sep 2017
Parliament photo by Shutterstock

Lord Sugar phubbed in peers' debate on 'digital understanding'

Fellow peers phone snubbed (or phubbed) Lord Sugar's speech in a debate last week, which included calls for an ID card system to be resurrected and plenty of hand-wringing about the Government Digital Service. In what might sound like an oxymoron, 32 Lords stepped forward to air their thoughts in a debate brought by Baroness …
Kat Hall, 11 Sep 2017
An Amazon Prime Air drone

The bigger the drone, the bigger the impact

At the end of 2013 (the world seemed much simpler back then) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gave a rare interview to CBS’ 60 Minutes program during which he revealed - with an almost Jobsian flourish - an autonomous deliver drone that would drop packages on customers' doorsteps 30 minutes after they pressed the ‘buy’ button. Like most …
Mark Pesce, 11 Sep 2017
'Broken Copyright' StockMonkeys.com

Scientists, free software bods still worried about EU copyright proposals

European digital rights groups and open science advocates are mobilising against proposed EU copyright changes they say would hamper information sharing. At issue is a proposal, which first landed last year, to stop people uploading copyrighted material by applying a YouTube-like filter against content fingerprints. That …
rage meme

Daily Stormer binned by yet another registrar, due to business risks

Yet another domain name registrar has declined to give white supremacist web site The Daily Stormer an easy way back onto the web. easyDNS has refused to host the site, which has already been binned by GoDaddy after activists pointed out the site had a long history of publishing hate speech and took its rhetoric to new lows …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Sep 2017
stock_ticker_board_648

Shocking: Former Amazon analyst fed frat brother insider info

A former financial analyst at Amazon.com pled guilty on Thursday to securities fraud for helping a former fraternity brother trade Amazon stock based on insider information. Brett D Kennedy, 26, a resident of Blaine, Washington, acknowledged that in April 2015 he provided confidential financial information – Amazon's Q1 2015 …
Thomas Claburn, 08 Sep 2017
Image composite Alex Yeung, NesaCera, NesaCera Shutterstock

EU court must rule on legality of UK's mass surveillance – tribunal

The UK's Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which oversees the country's spy agencies, has said the European Court of Justice should rule on the legality of the government's mass-surveillance legislation. The case was brought against MI5, MI6 and GCHQ by campaign group Privacy International as part of a continued bid to prevent …
Rebecca Hill, 08 Sep 2017
Uber office in San Francisco

FBI probing Uber over use of 'Hell' spyware to track rival biz Lyft

The FBI is investigating allegations that Uber used its "Hell" program to track drivers from rival firm Lyft. The Wall Street Journal reports that one part of the investigation, led by the FBI's New York Office and Manhattan US Attorney's office, is into whether "Hell" counted as unauthorised computer access. An Uber …
Andrew Silver, 08 Sep 2017

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