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eBay has locked me into undeletable Catch-22 trap, complains biz bod

A businessman has accused online tat bazaar eBay of trapping him in a Catch-22 style data retention loop after blocking him from deleting his company’s account on the site. Richard Stebbings, owner of transit box biz Panzer Cases, told us eBay was refusing to delete his account by implementing odd rules – which may put it into …
Gareth Corfield, 12 Apr 2018
Cartoon man with hat and tie. Facial features replaced by question mark.

Cambridge Analytica rips and replaces acting CEO

The political analytics biz desperately attempting to weather the year’s biggest data harvesting scandal has had to ditch its second exec in less than a month. Cambridge Analytica announced late yesterday that its acting CEO Alexander Tayler - who has been in post since 21 March - was stepping down. Tayler took over after Old …
Rebecca Hill, 12 Apr 2018
man shocked when reading newspaper

Total WIPOut: IT chief finds his own job advertised

UN patent body WIPO is advertising for a new IT chief in a move widely seen as a reprisal against the current man in the job who blew the whistle on the dodgy behaviour of his boss. The World Intellectual Property Organisation's chief information officer Wei Lei complained to the chief ethics officer when director general …
John Oates, 12 Apr 2018

B-Ark passengers to control most IT spend from 2019 onwards

People outside the IT department will control more than half of IT budgets from 2019 onwards, according to analyst outfit IDC. Spending will split 50.5/49.5 between the IT department and line of business people (LOB) in 2018, the firm said. The rise and rise of SaaS means the latter groups’ budgets will account for 70 per cent …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Apr 2018
Still from Deadspin's montage of Sinclair news broadcasts

Civil war erupts at top of FCC over Sinclair's creepy grasp on US telly

Vid Internecine fights at America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have broken out in public at an industry event in Las Vegas. In a series of speeches given by four of the watchdog's five commissioners at the National Association of Broadcasters annual event in Sin City, the policymakers traded barbs over its apparent …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Apr 2018
DNA circuit board

Boffins score gene bonanza: EU countries pledge to share one million genomes by 2022

Thirteen European countries have agreed to link up genomic databases in a bid to give boffins access to a research cohort of more than one million genomes by 2022. The declaration commits the signatories - including the UK, Finland, Estonia and Spain - to work together to ensure secure cross-border access to genomic and other …
Rebecca Hill, 11 Apr 2018

C'mon, Zuck... don't make us feel second class. Come talk to us in Europe – EU politicos

Mark Zuckerberg has been warned not to treat European Facebook users as "second class" as pressure mounts on the CEO to face the music from politicos on the other side of the Pond. As execs from the social media business are lining up meeting after meeting with EU politicians, one name was notably absent from the attendee list …
Rebecca Hill, 11 Apr 2018

Facebook admits: Apps were given users' permission to go into their inboxes

Facebook has admitted that some apps had access to users’ private messages, thanks to a policy that allowed devs to request mailbox permissions. The revelation came as current Facebook users found out whether they or their friends had used the "This Is Your Digital Life" app that allowed academic Aleksandr Kogan to collect …
Rebecca Hill, 11 Apr 2018
Patent troll

Jury to Apple: You owe patent troll VirnetX half a BEEELLION buckaroos

Intellectual property hoarder VirnetX has had another win, probably to be short-lived, against Apple in the two companies' everlasting patent spat. A jury in an eastern Texas US district court has decided that the fruity firm infringed four patents held by the alleged patent troll, and awarded the plaintiff damages of US$502.6 …
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Nervous Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg passes Turing Test in Congress

A few hours after the introduction of Facebook's newly launched Data Abuse Bounty program – an admission the social ad network has no idea what's become of its illicitly harvested data – CEO Mark Zuckerberg reprised his long-running mea culpa show before America's lawmakers. His appearance in Washington DC on Tuesday follows …
Thomas Claburn, 11 Apr 2018
Trying to catch money in a net

Facebook: Look at our latest bug bounty that proves we're serious!

Continuing its charm offensive, Facebook has published the details of its data abuse bounty, ahead of Mark Zuckerberg’s appearances in front of US lawmakers. The programme - which offers a minimum of $500 (and no maximum) for cases that prove to be true - will reward people who can prove an app has slurped up users’ data for …
Rebecca Hill, 10 Apr 2018

Nope, you're still a transport biz, top EU court tells Uber

Updated The EU’s top court has ruled against Uber in France, in a judgement that allows it and other member states to ban illegal taxi services like UberPop more easily. The ruling (PDF), issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union this morning, will increase pressure on the not-a-taxi biz, and follows a decision that saw its …
Rebecca Hill, 10 Apr 2018
schoolchildren celebrate - throw papers in the air
100 expected to quit controversial harvesting of schoolchildren's nationality data

Campaigners have welcomed reports that the UK government is planning to cease monitoring pupils' nationality in its mass school data slurp. The school census, a statutory survey that takes place three times a year, collects a range of information about students, including country of origin and nationality. Civil rights and …
Rebecca Hill, 10 Apr 2018

Uber JUMPs, slurps San Francisco bike biz

Uber apparently isn't burning cash fast enough, so the ride-share company has bought dockless bike-share outfit JUMP Bikes, with CEO Ryan Rzepecki coming along for the ride. In February, everybody's favourite it's-not-a-taxi provider tied up with San Francisco's JUMP so users of its apps could rent battery-powered bikes …

Apple store besieged by protesters in Paris 'die-in' over tax avoidance

A French group opposed to Apple's tax maneuvering in Europe took to the company's stores this weekend in a public protest. Attac France travelled to Apple Stores in Paris and Aix-en-Provence Saturday to hold a "die-in" protest against the Cupertino iPad seller and its cunning schemes to divert taxes away from the French …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Apr 2018
22 swoop: Seven bods hit with 93 charges as AG Sessions blasts alleged child sex trafficking cyber-haven

After the Feds swooped on the website on Friday, they promised to outline why. Now on Monday, they have unsealed a 93-count indictment of seven of the dot-com's staff and investors, as well as seizing the domain name. Backpage carried classifieds for things like jobs and cars as well as adverts for people of …
Iain Thomson, 10 Apr 2018
a hostile drone

White House: Is it OK to hijack, shoot down, or snoop on drones? Er ... asking for a friend

The Trump administration wants US Congress to extend the military's drone-downing powers to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, even as it backs broader commercial deployment for unmanned aircraft. The proposed rules, obtained by the Washington Post, would give civilian agencies powers similar to …
Thomas Claburn, 09 Apr 2018
The Shining

They're back! 'Feds only' encryption backdoors prepped in US by Dems

US lawmakers are yet again trying to force backdoors into tech products, allowing Uncle Sam, and anyone else with the necessary skills, to rifle through people's private encrypted information. Two years after her effort to introduce new legislation died, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is again spearheading an effort to make …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Apr 2018
Thumb down to Facebook

Facebook offers to crack open data for eggheads to find out how badly it's screwed democracy

Facebook has announced an initiative it says will help academics investigate the effect of social media on society without overstepping the privacy line. Broadly, the plan is to set up a commission of independent, "respected academic experts" who will develop a research agenda to assess how social media impacts democracy, and …
Rebecca Hill, 09 Apr 2018

COPPA load of this FTC complaint: YouTube accused of collecting children's data

Two dozen consumer, digital and privacy rights groups have filed a new complaint with America's Federal Trade Commission, claiming that Google's YouTube service violates the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). COPPA requires operators like Alphabet's Google to give parents notice of its data collection. The law …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Apr 2018

Police chief wants citizens to bring 'net oligarchs to heel

One of England's top police officers, Shaun Sawyer, wants citizens to go after internet giants that have wronged them. Sawyer, who is chief constable in Devon and Cornwall and is national lead for human trafficking and modern slavery, made the suggestion in an interview with The Sunday Times, published over the weekend. In a …
laptop ban

Facebook suspends, investigates CubeYou, another data-harvester

Facebook's slow-motion privacy awakening continued over the weekend, with a data analytics outfit called CubeYou suspended from the platform pending investigation over T&C violations. For some time, privacy advocates have warned that cute-and-popular quizzes linked from Facebook – “Which Star Wars weapon are you?” and the like …
Wire cutters

Russian regulator asks courts to disconnect Telegram

Russian telecoms and mass communications regulator Roskomnadzor has filed a lawsuit it hopes will see secure messaging app Telegram turfed out of the country. Moscow’s been unhappy with Telegram for some time, dating back to a mid-2017 dispute over the company’s non-compliance with requests to register as a telecoms service …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Apr 2018
Screengrab of the Backpage takedown notice

Hookup classifieds ad sheet seized in Feds shutdown

Updated Before a controversial law bill making websites liable for supporting sex trafficking has even been signed into law by President Trump, US authorities have taken the sort of legal action the pending legislation is intended to enable. On Friday, the US Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Postal …
Thomas Claburn, 07 Apr 2018
A child unhappy with her cash stash

Nothing more stubborn than a MuleSoft shareholder: Biz sued for taking 'low ball' Salesforce buyout bid

A MuleSoft shareholder is suing the dev tools specialist, alleging the biz took a lowball offer when it was gobbled up by Salesforce. A complaint [PDF] submitted to a northern California US district court today accuses both MuleSoft and Salesforce, along with a handful of MuleSoft execs, of violating American securities law by …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Apr 2018

£12k fine slapped on Postman Pat and his 300,000 spam emails

Royal Mail, which claims to be the most trusted letter delivery service in the UK, was today fined for sending out more than 300,000 nuisance emails. The Information Commissioner's Office said it launched a probe after an individual complained they had received a marketing email from Royal Mail, despite having opted out. …
Rebecca Hill, 06 Apr 2018
A man chasing a plane

Digital air traffic control upgrade puts potential delays on London flights

Flights into London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports face small delays because air traffic controllers are finally upgrading to fully digital systems after decades spent pushing paper around. "It inevitably takes a little bit of time for controllers to build their confidence using EXCDS in an operational environment to a level …
Gareth Corfield, 06 Apr 2018

Co-op says IT upgrade project going swell since axing IBM

The Co-op Group claims to have made "significant progress" in updating internal IT systems since ditching IBM, according to the mutual's calendar '17 annual accounts filed today. "At the half year we reported that our contract with IBM to upgrade our IT systems had been terminated and we were exploring alternative technology …
Kat Hall, 06 Apr 2018
4chan-derived rage memery

'Extreme, unnecessary, overheated': US judge slams Oracle salvo in HPE Solaris squabble

A US judge has slammed Oracle for using "extreme, unnecessary, overheated rhetoric" in its latest submission in an ongoing court battle with HPE. Elizabeth Laporte, US magistrate judge in the court of the Northern District of California, this week issued an order (PDF) admonishing Big Red for its "tit for tat" retaliation in …
Rebecca Hill, 06 Apr 2018
HMRC photo via Shutterstock

Amazon and eBay agree to expose potential VAT evaders for UK tax man

Amazon and eBay are to ink a deal with the UK tax man this month to provide data on potential VAT evaders. Both companies confirmed to The Register they will sign a voluntary agreement with HMRC, along with other online marketplaces, to combat sellers failing to pay their fair share of tax in Blighty. According to HMRC, the …
Kat Hall, 06 Apr 2018

Mind the gap: Men paid 18.6% more than women in Blighty tech sector

The average gender pay gap across the largest tech and telecoms businesses in the UK is 18.6 per cent, an El Reg analysis of government stats has revealed. That calculation was on the basis of the median hourly pay gap across 56 companies – so essentially comparing middle managers' earnings, rather than including the chief …
Kat Hall, 06 Apr 2018
Someone deleting their Facebook account

An easy-breezy attitude to sharing personal data is the only thing keeping the app economy alive

Since the number of users slurped by third-party data harvesters only seems to rise, the ugly truth for Facebook may be that its growth-at-all-costs culture has led to a dramatic loss in personal privacy. But the even uglier truth is that such data-sharing practices may be the only way the mobile app economy can sustain itself …
Matt Asay, 06 Apr 2018
Samsung SUHD 5K TVs

Samsung Electronics teases record Q1 profit

Samsung Electronics has posted strong earnings guidance for Q1 of FY 2018. The headline figures were sales of between 59 and 61 trillion Korean Won (US$57-59bn and operating profit around 15 trillion Won (US$14.5bn), a record for the quarter. Those numbers jumped from 50.55 trillion and 9.9 trillion in Q1 2017. Sales were down …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Apr 2018

Facebook tried to access and match medical data – report

You’d think recent events might have dulled Facebook’s rapacious lust for data. But now comes news, from CNBC, that The Social Network™ tried to acquire access to patients’ medical records. The network’s report says Facebook approached “several major U.S. hospitals to share anonymized data about their patients, such as …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Apr 2018

Blackberry snaps, yakkity-yak Snapchat app brats slapped with patent trap rap

BlackBerry has filed suit against Snap Inc alleging the Snapchat service copied half a dozen of its mobile app design patents. The one-time smartphone king continued its efforts to cash in on its patent portfolio Tuesday when it filed a complaint [PDF] in the Central California US District Court accusing Snap of stealing its …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Apr 2018

Microsoft outlines some ground rules to prevent it from nicking your IP

Big-hearted Microsoft has tried to make reassuring noises to calm the nerves of others who might be thinking of getting between the Intellectual Property (IP) sheets with the Seattle software giant. Going into a tech tie-up can be a risky business for any IP owner. Fears that key IP and knowledge might be stolen and even used …
Richard Speed, 05 Apr 2018

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