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Telstra copper in broken pit

Aust Federal Police keep lid on docs that triggered NBN raids

The Australian Federal Police has determined that one of the least-secret projects in the country can't be discussed lest it endanger national security. On that basis, the AFP's decided not to release the December letter that sparked off its investigation into leaks surrounding the National Broadband Network (NBN). Fairfax …
Fight for the Future FCC protest

Special delivery: Activists drop 100,000 net neutrality complaints on FCC

Activists have delivered a massive package to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that they say contains roughly 100,000 citizen complaints. Members of Fight for the Future say they collected the complaints from Americans who want the commission to investigate the use of "zero rating" programs by telcos. The …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Jun 2016

Time to re-file your patents and trademarks, Britain

Brexit Businesses will likely need to re-file their patents and trademarks in the UK following the Brexit vote, leading intellectual property lawyers have warned. The decision to leave the European Union puts a big question mark over "automatic EU-wide IP protection," says patent law specialist Iain Connor of Pinsent Masons, writing …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Jun 2016
Johnny Carson as Carnac

Disco, Pogs, and the Microsoft Surface 3

Microsoft is wrapping up production of its Surface 3 tablet, with no successor in sight. The Redmond giant has confirmed reports that it will be ending production of the Atom-powered tablet at the end of the year and selling out its current stock of hardware. The Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book remain available. "Since …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Jun 2016

Violin goes for reverse stock split

As expected, Violin Memory has decided on a reverse stock split to avoid NYSE delisting, as its stock price is too low. The delisting criteria are based on a stock's price being less than $1, on average, for 30 days, and Violin easily passed under that bar back in January, and has stayed mostly under it since. Violin's board …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jun 2016

EU GDPR compliance still a thing for UK firms even after Brexit

BREXIT Many UK businesses will still face the burden of complying with recently introduced EU data protection rules even after Thursday's historic Brexit vote. UK businesses will be subject to the upcoming GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which comes into effect in April 2018, regardless of the EU Referendum result, …
John Leyden, 24 Jun 2016

Don't laugh: Ofcom's a model for post-Brexit Europe

BREXIT With a stunned Europe absorbing the departure of the second biggest member of the EU, our much-criticised Ofcom could provide a guiding light for new ways of co-operating. Ofcom receives plenty of stick here at The Register: most recently for its handling of OpenReach and its insistence on a four-network mobile market, which …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jun 2016
Child in shock in front of computer. Photo by Shutterstock

Tech firms reel from Leave's Brexit win

BREXIT Tech firms are reeling at British voters’ decision to leave the single European market. Firms are rattled as Gartner has forecast that Britain’s tech buyers will now stop spending in 2016 and 2017, turning earlier growth numbers negative. Also of concern, hiring of EU workers, uncertainty over VAT levels and possible new …
Gavin Clarke, 24 Jun 2016

Gartner: Brexit to wipe $4.6bn off tech spending in Blighty

BREXIT Crystal ball strokers at Gartner have calculated Brexit will wipe $4.6bn off the value of tech spending in the UK this year, and the resulting Sterling currency volatility will force US vendors to hike prices. Gartner hit the emergency button this morning following the vote, and re-forecast earlier projections from 1.7 per …
Gavin Clarke, 24 Jun 2016
data

Brexit and data protection: A period of shock and reflection

BREXIT What price the UK's secession from the European Union? “It's far too soon to tell,” has been the sober and much-repeated line of legal and privacy professionals following the United Kingdom's referendum which voiced public opinion to leave the European Union. Speaking to The Register this morning Andrew Joint, commercial …
Pennies in a jar. Photo via Shutterstock

Technology shares slide with Brexit vote, except ARM

BREXIT Shares in British technology companies are mostly sliding after citizens of the United Kingdom voted for the nation to leave the European Union. The FTSE 100 fell more than 8 per cent at opening this morning, slicing over £100bn off of the market capitalisation of the UK's most highly rated bluechips, although this has since …
London, United Kingdom - June 23, 2016: British Referendum. A voting station in inner London is the grand entrance to St Matthew's Church. UK is voting to stay or leave the EU. pHOTO Ms Jane Campbell/SHUTTERSTOCK - EDITORIAL USE ONLY

PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

BREXIT The UK has voted to leave the European Union, confounding the polls, the "experts" and the British establishment in the biggest turnout for a vote here in 24 years. Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation at 8:30am this morning. The count stands at 51.9 per cent Leave, and 48.1 per cent remain – and more than a …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jun 2016
Secretary of State for the Home Department Theresa May. Photo by Twocoms/Shutterstock.com

Home Office ignores plight of BA techies as job offshoring looms

The Home Office has stonewalled the GMB trade union’s attempts to raise the plight of British Airways IT staff whose jobs are being sent to an Indian outsourcer – and the potential security implications involved. The GMB has written four letters to the Department’s Secretary Theresa May – seen by us – after BA hired Tata …
Paul Kunert, 24 Jun 2016
European flag with sad face

Mandarins plotted to water down EU data protection regs

Exclusive Even before Blighty voted to leave the EU, the government was plotting to water down far-reaching data protection regulations from Brussels - The Register can reveal. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was due to come into place by 2018 and have been described as the biggest shake-up of EU data protection laws in …
Kat Hall, 24 Jun 2016

Judge rules FBI can hack any time, any, place, anywhere

A federal district court in Virginia has ruled that the FBI has the right to hack into computers around the world without getting a local warrant, and without any review by courts. The ruling, by US District Judge Henry Morgan, comes during the prosecution of Edward Matish. Matish is one of the 100-plus suspects arrested …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jun 2016
Ethernet cable rises up like a snake (artist's impression). Image via shutterstock

Arista-scat! Possible import ban looms after US ITC decision

Ethernet switch vendor Arista faces a possible import ban, after losing a key round in its ongoing patent battle with Cisco. Since 2014, Switchzilla has been pursuing Arista, chiefly on the accusation that the upstart's command-line interface is the same as the IOS CLI. While Arista was cleared over two patents, the ITC has …

Australia's Defence Department tips AU$12M to seat spies with students

The Department of Defence has tipped A$12 million (£6.1 million, US$9.1 million) into an information security facility to attract new blood by housing signals spooks alongside Australian National University academics. The "unusual" pairing is hoped to attract skilled students into the information security field and the country …
Darren Pauli, 24 Jun 2016

Nazi witch-hunt ends with fierce judgment

The attempt to dismiss a patent judge from his position – including unsubstantiated claims that he possessed Nazi memorabilia – has led to fierce formal criticism of the president of the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPO's independent Boards of Appeal published a report [PDF] Thursday in which it decided not to dismiss the …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Jun 2016

Let's Encrypt in trademark drama

The group behind the Let's Encrypt certificate authority (CA) says that its name could be in doubt thanks to rival CA Comodo Group. The Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) says that it is currently locked in a conflict with Comodo, who it claims is trying to trademark the "Let's Encrypt" name despite its previous filings …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Jun 2016

Surveillance, interrogation and threats: Behind the Nest witch-hunt

Managers at Google-owned Nest threatened their employees, asked co-workers to report on each other, carried out unlawful surveillance of phones and laptops, and unlawfully interrogated staff. That's according to the complaint filed by a former employee at the smart thermostat company with the National Labor Relations Board ( …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Jun 2016

From Watson Jr to Watson AI: IBM's changed, and Papa Watson wouldn't approve

Completed in 1983, IBM's prestigious South Bank office in London, on the banks of the River Thames, owes a lot to the Brutalist style of architecture, popular in the 1960s and 1970s. It makes heavy use of concrete: a solid building for a solid company. The IBM logo has been outside that building for more than 30 years, an …
Billy MacInnes, 23 Jun 2016
A car pulled over near a hazard sign on a country road. Photo by Shutterstock

BlackBerry's turnaround stalls

BlackBerry announced further losses today as its comeback plan snagged on adjustments to the books. Revenue was down to $400m (GAAP) for the quarter, down from $658m. But the company made significant balance sheet adjustments including a one-time asset asset impairment charge of $501m, and an inventory write down of $41m, …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jun 2016
Jump for joy. Pic: Kate Palana

Intrinsic: We have no CEO. Otherwise everything is tickety-boo

Cisco Gold partner Intrinsic Technology has confirmed it is CEO-less - which Reg readers already knew - but that all is OK, everything is working out as planned. Honestly. As revealed by us this week, the Merseyside-based reseller has burned through four leaders in five years with the latest departure – Mark Bates – having …
Paul Kunert, 23 Jun 2016
Tabby cat cuddles roll of one-hundred dollar bills. Photo by Shutterstock

Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

The private equity profiteers behind Maplin Electronics have turned the screws on suppliers to hand over bigger rebates to help pay for physical and digital store improvements or risk having their kit sidelined. The geek fiddlers emporium was sold to Rutland Partners for £85m almost two years ago when the investor promised “ …
Paul Kunert, 23 Jun 2016
hands waving dollar bills in the air

No contract protected against the risk of bid-rigging, says expert

Procurement professionals in all sectors need to be aware of the risk of bid-rigging of contracts they tender, a procurement law expert has said. Louise McKee of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said a new awareness-raising campaign on bid-rigging practices launched by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA …
OUT-LAW.COM, 23 Jun 2016

Dutch court says BREIN should get e-book uploaders' names

A Netherlands court has ordered two Usenet providers, Eweka and Usenetter, to hand over subscriber details over alleged copyright violations. The case was launched by anti-piracy group BREIN, which is trying to hunt down whoever uploaded more than 2,000 e-books to Usenet via the providers. Eweka and Usenetter cancelled the …

Queensland creep cops charged with snooping through police records

Police in the northern Australian state of Queensland have been busted accessing citizens' police files a huge number of times, in some cases without authorisation. The breaches include the accessing of a bikini model and social justice warrior's QPrime database file some 1,435 times. Former Miss Bikini World contestant Renee …
Darren Pauli, 23 Jun 2016

Mobile phone app replaces Congressional TV as Democrats stage sit-in

In an extraordinary intervention of app technology into modern democracy, TV station C-SPAN chose to rebroadcast streaming video from a mobile phone inside Congress during a representatives held protest after its cameras were turned off. Democratic politicians in the House of Representatives decided to stage a sit-in on …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jun 2016
Mitch McConnell

US Senate strikes down open-access FBI hacking warrant by just one honest vote

The US Senate has struck down an amendment that would have allowed the FBI to track internet histories and communications without judicial oversight, but a re-vote could be called as soon as today due to Senate rules. The amendment [PDF] to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act would have …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jun 2016

77 per cent ignore company social media policies

An extraordinary 77 per cent of employees simply ignore their company's social media policy, using Facebook, Twitter and other similar services how they wish. That's according to Pew Research, which spoke to just over 2,000 adults in the US, and has written up its findings in a new blog post. The stats show a complex picture …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jun 2016

Open letter from EPO staff pleads with country reps to fire president

Update Tension between staff and management at the European Patent Office (EPO) has descended into open warfare with the publication of an open letter by some staff, calling on the organization's Administrative Council to get rid of its president. The letter, signed by a group calling itself the EPO-FLIER Team, goes through an …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jun 2016

Happy Mappiversary, Ordnance Survey

The Ordnance Survey celebrates its 225th birthday this week, and is commemorating it with two new custom retro-styled maps. Both marry historically accurate styles to modern data. On 21 June 1791, the then "Board of Ordnance" purchased a Ramsden theodolite to survey Britain and protect from a French invasion, hence the 225th …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jun 2016
EU egg timer, photo via Shutterstock

Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies

Comment I like this tweet: History of Europe: War War War War War War War Arguments about bananas. To be honest, I'll probably go with banana arguments. #remain — Pavilion Opinions (@pavilionopinion) 29 April 2016 Never mind any arguments about the UK being sucked into a superstate and whether that's a good thing or the …
Two workers shovelling cats into the podule

Holy kittens! YouTube screens go blank

Google’s mega video service YouTube appears to be down for some and out for others. Square-eyed netizens who trekked online for their a fix of cats are being confronted not with moving pictures but 500 internal server error warnings. Others got blank screens, screens of text of messages and other messages saying an error had …
Gavin Clarke, 22 Jun 2016
China keyboard, image via Shutterstock

Shareholders rubber-stamp Ingram Micro $6bn sale to Chinese firm

US-headquartered Ingram Micro edged closer to Chinese ownership last night when shareholders voted overwhelmingly to accept Tianjin Tianhai’s $6bn offer. The mega bid for the world’s largest tech distributor was made in February by the Far East company, a subsidiary of HNA Logistics which is itself a division of conglomerate …
Paul Kunert, 22 Jun 2016
The Palace of Westminster. Pic: Misko, Flickr

Parliament is building a new website – and it doesn't want GDS anywhere near it

The UK Parliament is hiring a load of web developers, analysts and UX folk as it prepares to revamp its website – and it's keeping the whole project well away from the Government Digital Service, The Register has learned. Parliament's website, while functional and reasonably clear, is a bit long in the tooth – and its …
Gareth Corfield, 22 Jun 2016
Doctors run to save patient. Photo by Shutterstock

NHS advertises for digital director at £131k

NHS England is recruiting for a director of digital experience for £131,000, part of a major digital rebrand of the health service. The digi director will be a key senior leader in the Chief Information and Technology Officer’s group, said the job ad. It will involve "Identifying services across the entirety of the NHS …
Kat Hall, 22 Jun 2016
Cloudy sky

Wanted: New cloudy head for UK.gov. 37 hour week, £90k salary

The UK government is hiring a Digital Marketplace director who will pocket £90,000 a year with a budget of £3.9m to lead a team of 38 digi procurement bods. The Digital Marketplace is intended to be provide an online portal for various digital government procurement departments to buy new code. The director will also be …
Kat Hall, 22 Jun 2016
Two designers sitting in front of a "conceptual" desk filled with buzzwords. Photo by Shutterstock

Professor slams digital efforts of 'website-obsessed' government

A professor of digital governance has slammed Whitehall's IT 'transformation' efforts to date, blaming an obsession with websites for obstructing any real digitally-enabled revamps. Vishanth Weerakkody, who works at Brunel University, said: "Digital technology undoubtedly has huge potential to contribute to the functions of …
Kat Hall, 22 Jun 2016
Ireland and Great Britain map, image via Shutterstock

Three non-obvious reasons to Vote Leave on the 23rd

Comment I'm just about old enough to remember the 1975 Europe referendum. Old enough to remember leaflets thudding onto the doormat (for every 'NO', there were three for ‘YES’). Most vividly of all I remember my father and our Austrian GP, who lived a few doors down in Teesside, discussing the EEC as he walked his dog past our house. …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jun 2016

Police ICT Company head: Eat your cloud, cops, it's good for you

A national strategy on using public cloud services is needed so British police forces can cope with the increasing weight of unstructured data storage, the head of the Police ICT Company has said. Martin Wyke, head of the body, outlined storage as a key challenge for police because of the explosion of unstructured data, through …
Kat Hall, 22 Jun 2016
European flag with sad face

Intel still chip, chip, chippin' away at the European Commission's anti-trust fine

Intel's rearguard action to avoid a billion-Euro-plus fine continued this week in a Luxembourg court, with the company arguing that the 2009 European Commission penalty was unfair. The ancient spat – it began with an October 2000 complaint by AMD – concerns whether or not rebates Intel paid to OEMs to use its processors …