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Loyalty card? Really? Why data-slurping store cards need a reboot

Loyalty cards – the little buggers are everywhere these days. When British supermarket chain Tesco launched its Clubcard back in 1995, it was a forward-looking idea, so much so that Lord Ian MacLaurin, then Tesco chairman, suggested that he knew more about his customers after three months than he did after 30 years in the retail …
Sooraj Shah, 28 Nov 2016
Edward Snowden at Think. Image Darren Pauli / The Register

No spoilers! Norway won't tell Snowden if US will snatch him on a visit

Whistleblower Edward Snowden will not visit Norway to pick up the Ossietzky Prize, awarded for “outstanding efforts for freedom of expression”, after the nation's Supreme Court decided its foreign ministry does not have to say in advance whether the Russian resident would face extradition. The United States has charged Snowden …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Nov 2016
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Icelandic Pirate Party's coalition talks run aground

Iceland's Pirate Party is still in with a chance of profoundly influencing Icelandic politics, after a second set of coalition talks collapsed over the weekend. Piratir, to use its Icelandic name, topped opinion polls ahead of the nation's October parliamentary elections, but emerged with about 15 per cent of the vote and ten …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Nov 2016
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India added 240m phones/year build capacity in just one year

Between September 2015 and October 2016 India opened 38 new mobile phone factories with a combined peak output of 248m handsets a year. So says a Department of Telecommunications report (PDF) into the nation's “Make In India” effort to kickstart a manufacturing industry. Of the 29 companies responsible, Reg readers may …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Nov 2016

Have some sympathy for the AT&T devil

Analysis When the first fixed-line phone systems were installed, you paid for everything, but particularly for each minute of each call. Later they had broadband added to the copper and a flat rate began to become the order of the day. As phone calls went to IP, the same applied to calls for the most part. While there are upper limits …
Faultline, 25 Nov 2016
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Sharing's caring? Not when you spread data across gov willy-nilly

Digital Economy Bill Privacy campaigners and academics have called for the removal of personal data sharing proposals in the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill. The Bill puts government ministers in control of citizens' personal data, "a significant change in the relationship between citizen and state," wrote 26 signatories in a letter to The …
Kat Hall, 25 Nov 2016
Daniel Craig in Casino Royale

Small ISPs 'probably' won't receive data retention order following IP Bill

The government “probably won’t” force internet service providers with no history of working with the intelligence services into retaining internet records following wide-ranging new powers passed in the Investigatory Powers Bill, the Home Office has said. Last week the Investigatory Powers Bill - dubbed the Snoopers Charter - …
Kat Hall, 25 Nov 2016

Here's the thing: We've pressed pause on my startup

Radbot Previously, you intimated that most of you would not relish a night out on the tiles with our team (boo). No pony for you So, it turns out that this is the real world, and even when the CEO wishes for a pony*, it doesn't always trot up. And that means, dear readers and commentards, that you get to hear when it doesn't go to …

Integrator fired chap for hiding drugs conviction, told to pay compo for violating his rights

Can you fire someone for not telling you they have a criminal record and did time for dealing drugs? Australian system integrator Data#3 has just been told the answer to that question is “no”, under some circumstances. As a report (PDF) on this case explains, in late December 2014, Data#3 hired a chap known only as “Mr. AW” as …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Nov 2016

Uncanny hacks-men to attend special school in grand country home

The home of Britain's World War II code-breaking effort, Bletchley Park, is set to once again house young codebreakers with the first national information security college planning to open in the complex following a £5 million renovation. The 73 year-old building will house talented 16-to-19-year-olds from 2018 as part of a …
Darren Pauli, 25 Nov 2016
Lips. Image via Pixabay

Sysadmin denies boss's request to whitelist smut talk site of which he was a very happy member

On-Call Welcome to Friday, readers, and therefore to another edition of On-Call, where we share readers' stories of things they get asked to do in the name of keeping computers up and running. This week, reader “Shane” brings us the story of a difficult moment in both his personal and private lives. The personal first: things weren't …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Nov 2016
Australian Parliament House Canberra

IBM pays up after 'clearly failing' DDoS protection for Australia's #censusfail

Australia's census all-but failed due to a combination of poor design, bad operational decisions, human error and numerous lazy and/or bad decisions that could have been avoided had warnings about corporate culture been heeded, or Australian government agencies properly educated about what it takes to deliver digital services …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Nov 2016
Scrooge McDuck

Enterprise vendors offering big Black Friday discounts

Black Friday and the Cyber Monday that follows have become big discount shopping days for consumers, but enterprise vendors are getting in on the act too with hefty discounts on training and some kit. Cisco Press is running a Buy 2+, Save 55% or Buy 1, Save 35% sale until November 26th, so the CCNP Routing and Switching v2.0 …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Nov 2016
Sad man stares glumly over boxed contents of desk. Image via shutterstock (Baranq)

Jingle bells, RM tells, some staff to go away... via Skype

RM Education sprinkled some festive cheer among its staffers by confirming in a Skype call with them that redundancies are in the offing. In a statement sent to El Reg, RM managing director Toby Black, confirmed "with sincere regret" that 70 people are to lose their jobs across the business, including 35 from the head office …
Paul Kunert, 24 Nov 2016

Imation agrees deal to offload Nexsan to private equity

+ Comment Imation has reached an agreement to sell its Nexsan storage array and Connected Data subsidiaries to private equity company Spear Point Capital Management in a non-cash deal. The stock purchase agreement is detailed in an Imation 8K SEC filing. Here's a timeline of the relevant events: Jan 2013 - Imation buys Nexsan for $ …
Chris Mellor, 24 Nov 2016
A man chasing a plane

Scotland's Skyscanner sold to Chinese rival Ctrip in £1.4bn deal

Skyscanner, the Scottish travel search business, has been acquired by Chinese competitor Ctrip in a deal valued at £1.4bn. The Edinburgh-based business, which was founded in 2001, will maintain operations independently of Ctrip, China's largest travel search business, which was founded in 1999. Expected to close by the end of …

How to confuse a Euro-cop: Survey reveals the crypto they love to hate

European Union (EU) citizens can now get an idea of what their governments want – and are doing about – cryptography regulation. The new opportunity comes courtesy of an freedom of information request by Bits of Freedom, summarised by privacy researcher Lukas Olejnik here. The news is bleak: the responses to a survey sent to …
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No super-kinky web smut please, we're British

Film censors in the United Kingdom will be able to ban Brits from accessing websites that stream especially kinky X-rated videos, if a proposed change in the law gets up. The Digital Economy bill, which is due to penetrate the statute books in early 2017, is set to include a provision that will allow the British Board of Film …
Iain Thomson, 24 Nov 2016

Twitter to crack down on spies wielding its APIs

Twitter will begin clamping down on unauthorised police surveillance of its users. Data and enterprise executive Chris Moody (@chrismoodycom) did not specify the action Twitter would take against developers who use its APIs for commercial spying services, other than saying it would crack down "soon". Moody's warning comes in …
Darren Pauli, 24 Nov 2016
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Fibre pushers get UK budget tax reprieve

Businesses rolling out pure fibre in the UK are to be exempt from paying land rates over the next five years, Chancellor Philip Hammond's announced in a reprieve to providers in his Autumn Statement today. Broadband providers previously hit out against a forthcoming hike in business rates that will dramatically increase the …
Kat Hall, 23 Nov 2016
Sharon White, new head of Ofcom, former Second Perm Sec at the Treasury

Surprise, surprise. BT the only Universal Service Obligation provider in town

BT is the only player to offer its services for universal coverage of 10Mbps by 2020, but has also placed a number of conditions on doing so, head of comms regulator Ofcom Sharon White has said. Speaking at the Culture, Media and Sports Committee hearing, White said BT has expressed interest in delivering the government's …
Kat Hall, 23 Nov 2016
Peter Capaldi in bbc2 political satire The Thick of It. Copyright BBC

Gov's industrial strategy: 'Look, we've changed the words above our door'

Analysis We know the government is serious about an industrial strategy because it renamed the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Unfortunately, five months on that's still just about all we know. More details are expected in the Autumn Statement today. …
Kat Hall, 23 Nov 2016

Euro Patent office staff call again for King Battistelli regicide

The central staff committee at the European Patent Office (EPO) has asked again for the organization's Administrative Council to take action against its president Benoit Battistelli, citing the dismissal of the secretary of its staff union as the final straw. "We are skeptical about the real motives behind the dismissal of yet …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Nov 2016
Vintage BBC experimental colour transmission testcard section

Samsung fires $70m at quantum televisions

Samsung's beefing up one of the divisions that hasn't been burned by its Galaxy Note 7 disaster, acquiring a US company that specialises in quantum dots for displays. Under its previous name Color IQ, the takeover target QD Vision was already licensing technology to TV makers like Philips, LG, Sony, and TCL Group in China. “ …

HP Inc CEO Dion: Whey-hey, we're on the pull

HP Inc has delivered its first full year of financial results, and they aren't looking good. Profits fell 63 per cent, revenue was down 6 per cent, and its earnings per share were down over a quarter. It had been a difficult year, CEO Dion Weisler acknowledged during Tuesday's earnings call, but the company is now planning to …
Iain Thomson, 23 Nov 2016
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It's a nice day for a Net wedding: Macom buys Applied Micro Circuits

Connectivity collaborators Macom and Applied Micro Circuits have decided to tie the knot, with Macom laying out US$770 million in cash and shares to seal the deal. In September, the two companies got together with BrPhotonics to show off a 100 Gbps pulse amplitude modulation (PAM4) module running on a single wavelength. Macom …

HPE's first standalone year ticks most boxes – except Donald Trump's

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has posted its first full-year results as a discrete entity and says it has ticked most of the boxes it said it would when it spun itself out and then started selling bits of itself off. The headline figures for Q4 aren't brilliant: revenue was US$12.5bn, down 7.7 per cent year on year. GAAP …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Nov 2016

Who's in Peter's file? Moneybags Thiel hits up Silicon Valley brains to join his Trump think tank

Billionaire contrarian and Donald Trump fancier Peter Thiel is reportedly having little success trying to get Silicon Valley to choke down its values and join a tech transition team designed to help the president-elect get up to speed. According to the Washington Post, the blood-guzzling billionaire has been touring the Bay …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Nov 2016
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Pre-Trump FCC – get a grip on mobe data caps, racist Stingray spying, urge Dem senators

Leading Democrat senators are pushing the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address a number of hot topics, including zero rating and the use of the Stingray cellphone-tracking technology, before the Trump Administration takes over in January. In a letter [PDF] sent Friday, seven senators including Elizabeth Warren …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Nov 2016
Trump, photo by uplift the world via Shutterstock

Trump may stump Australian techies heading for the US

In January 2016, the United States changed the rules of the E-3 visa to make it easier for skilled Australians working in the USA to stay there for longer. And yesterday President-elect Donald Trump announced he would “direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Nov 2016

Veeam kicks Symantec's ass over unpatentable patents

Veeam has defeated two four-year-old legal challenges from Symantec, initiated before Symantec split from Veritas and its data protection software. Symantec claimed Veeam was infringing Symantec patents back in 2012. The big bad S referred to several patents in its claims: An '086 patent refers to a virtual machine backup …
Chris Mellor, 22 Nov 2016
LinkedIn, photo via Shutterstock

Microsoft promises 'equal access' to LinkedIn to get EC green light for acquisition

Microsoft is offering to crack open access to LinkedIn to secure European Commission approval for its $26bn purchase of the social network for suits. The software giant is reportedly offering competition regulators the continued prospect of open access to LinkedIn’s APIs as well as “allowing” OEMs to install LinkedIn on their …
Gavin Clarke, 22 Nov 2016

Talend CEO: Profit? We're a few years off... But we're cash-flow positive

Interview Founded in France in 2005, Talend made its initial public offering on the NASDAQ in July, listing as a French company although it's now headquartered in Redwood City, south of San Francisco. It was only the fifth technology IPO of the year, raising questions as to how fruitful the listing might be. But Talend raised $94m, and …
Pauline from League of Gentlemen being given a dressing-down by the new Job Centre teacher. Still photo from BBC series LoG

More than half of punters reckon they can't get superfast broadband

More than half the population does not believe it is has access to superfast broadband – despite the government promising that 95 per cent of the country will have 24Mbps next year. In a survey of just over 2,000 adults conducted by global research biz TNS on behalf of broadband pusher ViaSat, just 48 per cent believed they …
Kat Hall, 22 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
50 of your British pounds. Photo by Shutterstock

UK.gov flings £400m at gold standard, ‘full-fibre' b*&%*%£$%. Yep. Broadband

The government is to release £400m towards full-fibre broadband in its Autumn Statement tomorrow, part of its Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund. The cash is to be matched by private finance, and will amount to a total cash pot of £800m. In a press release the government described it as "gold standard ‘full-fibre’ …
Kat Hall, 22 Nov 2016

Fallout from Euro Patent Office meltdown reaches Dutch parliament

The extraordinary meltdown at the European Patent Office (EPO) has started to draw political attention, with the Dutch parliament planning a debate on the organization and its ongoing problems. Socialist member of the Netherlands Parliament, MP Sharon Gesthuizen, received strong backing to her request for the debate following …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Nov 2016
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Brocade's sales growth outpaced by costs, ahead of Broadcom buyout

Ahead of its acquisition by Broadcom, Brocade has turned in another quarter of growing revenue but slumping net income. Revenue for the quarter was up 12 per cent year-on-year to US$675 million, and the company's full year 2016 result at $2.35 billion was 4 per cent better than 2015. Fourth quarter profit was $66 million ( …
Selection of Australian banknotes

Australian government never asked nbn™ to apply for private loans

When nbn™, the entity building and operating Australia's national broadband network (NBN), announced it had secured a loan for AU$19.5bn from Australia's government, it looked like the network-builder had failed to convince lenders it was a decent customer. The reality is a little different: minister for Finance Mathias …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Nov 2016
Donald Trump

Donald Trump confirms TPP to be dumped, visa program probed

United States president-elect Donald Trump has released a statement outlining the things he plans to do in his first 100 days in office, three of which will impact the technology industries. In the video, Trump re-states his policy to create a new cyber-defence plan for America. “I will ask the Department of Defence and the …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Nov 2016
NBN CEO Bill Morrow

NBN costs creating budget time bomb: Deloitte

Once a fan of Australia's National Broadband Network, Deloitte Access Economics is now warning it's a time bomb for the federal budget. Last week, the federal government tipped in a loan of AU$19.5 billion so nbnTM could finish its NBN rollout. Deloitte is now warning that the network doesn't cover the government's total $49 …
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Alternative Networks joins Daisy chain gang: Hungry rival snaps it up for £165m

Telecoms business Daisy is poised to gobble Alternative Networks for £165m - the latest deal in its seemingly insatiable appetite for acquisitions. IT and telecoms biz Alternative employs 600 people and reported a turnover increase of 9 per cent to £146.8m for the full-year 2015. However, Philip Carse, analyst at Megabuyte, …
Kat Hall, 21 Nov 2016