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South Korean flag. Pic: Republic of Korea

Bribing public officials up to $900 is OK-ish, says South Korean court

South Korean courts are doing the best they can to clean the country of corruption, presumably in the face of their uncorrupt and well-behaved best neighbours to the North. A new law, which will come into effect in November, will see officials who receive a bribe of more than ₩1m ($900) immediately removed from office. The …
Team Register, 25 Sep 2015

SAUCY INCEST and brutal VIOLENCE boosts UK space sector

Blighty's space industry received a fillip today, with Sky TV reporting bumper results for its full year – Sky accounting for more than half of the UK government's "look, Britain has a thriving space industry" narrative. Group revenue for 2015 increased by five per cent to £11.2bn, with operating profits up 19 per cent year-on …
Kat Hall, 25 Sep 2015
GCHQ Benhall doughnut aerial view

KARMA POLICE: GCHQ spooks spied on every web user ever

New documents revealing GCHQ's mass-surveillance activities have detailed an operation codenamed KARMA POLICE, which slurped up the details of "every visible user on the Internet". The operation was launched in 2009, without Parliamentary consultation or public scrutiny, to record the browsing habits of "every visible user on …
Panic button

How can we manage this internet thing? The Euro gov needs YOU

The European Commission is asking for help in drawing up laws to govern the internet. On Thursday it launched yet more public consultations designed to inform bureaucrats attempting to help create the digital single market. The two new consultations are so broad as to be almost unmanageable: one on “geo-blocking” and the other …
Jennifer Baker, 25 Sep 2015

US military personnel investigated for splashing $96,576 on strippers

An investigation is underway as to whether US military personnel tried to get the government to foot the bill for a total of $96,576 (£63,268) spent on strippers in Las Vegas. The Pentagon's Inspector General is also looking into claims the personnel tried to expense $952,258 (£623,838) spent in casinos. The claims first …
Kat Hall, 25 Sep 2015
Close-up of a woman's lips, slightly pixelated as if on a CRT TV.  Pic via SXC - no restrictions

'RipSec' goes to Hollywood: how the iCloud celeb hack happened

The chief hacker behind the infamous iCloud celebrity hacks has revealed in a documentary how the group dubbed RipSec shook Hollywood by plundering thousands of naked photos and financial data of Tinsel Town icons. The hacker broke silence and spoke to Canadian tech and producer Travis Doering who provides information security …
Darren Pauli, 25 Sep 2015

Smartphone passcodes protected by the Fifth Amendment – US court

The Feds can't make suspects give up their company-issued smartphone passcodes because doing so violates the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. So ruled Judge Mark Kearney of the federal court in East Pennsylvania in the case of Securities and Exchange Commission v Huang, an insider-trading case brought against two ex- …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2015
You can't shut me up, Jennifer Moo, Flickr, CC 2.0

Data retention: Still a shambles ahead of October rollout

Australia's Attorney-General's Department hasn't worked out when money to support telcos' and ISPs' data retention efforts will start to flow. The department, left in the hands of Grand Sysadmin George Brandis in Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet reshuffle, has been criticised by the Communications Alliance for being vague about the …

Is domain overlord ICANN the FIFA of the internet? We'll know this weekend

Special report When comedian John Oliver dedicated the bulk of his weekly show a year ago to soccer organization FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), he noted that most Americans had never heard of the organization. Over ten minutes, Oliver eviscerated the "comically grotesque organization," highlighting how it creates …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Sep 2015
Dispatchers are vital to co-ordinating on the ground activities

Sprint fined $1.2m for bungling 911 calls

Sprint has been fined over $1m by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after it cocked up 911 calls for hearing-impaired citizens. The FCC accused the US telco of failing to handle emergency calls made by wireless customers who were using Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) devices. The outage, …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Sep 2015
Curiosity selfie as it drills for water

NASA rover coders at Intel's Wind River biz axed – sources

Exclusive Intel-owned Wind River – the maker of the VxWorks software used in NASA rovers, spacecraft, military computer systems, and industry – has laid off a number of its most experienced staff, sources tell The Register. We've learned that some of the engineers hit by this quiet "reduction in force" have been with the Alameda, …
Chris Williams, 24 Sep 2015

UK in Frenchy cyber love-in to ward off 'information bomb'

The UK's defence secretary Michael Fallon has announced a cyber love-in with the French to offset the threat of the "information bomb" – whatever that is. Fallon was discussing the complexity of the cyber-threat, and the means "to urgently identify ways to safeguard against the threats" at France’s first Cyber Defence …
Kat Hall, 24 Sep 2015

Ofcom triples licence fees for mobile operators to £200m

Ofcom has tripled its spectrum use licences fees for O2, Vodafone, Three, and EE, pushing the figure to damn near £200m. The regulator concluded that mobile operators should pay a combined annual total of £80.3m for the 900MHz band, and £119.3m for the 1800MHz band. The spectrum is used to provide voice, and data via 2G, 3G …
Kat Hall, 24 Sep 2015
Watson Power7 cluster. Pic: IBM

IBM: Hey, puny humans. Come stick your digits in Watson's AI brain

IBM is turning its puny-human crushing Watson AI brain over to developers for the first time. Big Blue announced a new set of APIs and tools for code jockeys and business types interested in running its silicon brain on mobile and social apps on Wednesday. The release comes via the Watson Developer Cloud. IBM also announced a …
Gavin Clarke, 24 Sep 2015

Sino the times, as Microsoft makes Baidu default search engine in China

Microsoft is cosying up with Chinese search engine Baidu in a deal which will see it ditch Bing as the default browser for Windows in the Middle Kingdom. Baidu is the dominant search engine in China with 600 million users, after Google was effectively booted out of the country. In a blog announcing the move, Microsoft's head …
Kat Hall, 24 Sep 2015
Iris flowers

Will the Iris (Hatzenbichler-Durchschlag) flower at FalconStor?

Storage software supplier FalconStor has hired itself an EMEA marketing director to help get its FreeStor messages out there. Iris Hatzenbichler-Durchschlag comes from heading up DataCore's EMEA marketing organisation and contributed to developing DataCore from a startup to a leading software-defined storage company, with …
Chris Mellor, 24 Sep 2015

The BBC's Space: A short history of 21st Century indoor relief

Special Report It was Open London last weekend, where for two days we got to see inside buildings normally closed to the public. With Doctor Who’s Tardis being unavailable, my kids found themselves on the Dazzle Ship moored in the Thames*. They were at once accosted by someone showing them an app. Take a photo, slap it on your own Dazzle …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Sep 2015

PETA monkey selfie lawsuit threatens wildlife photography, warns snapper at heart of row

In the inverted morality of the obsessive copyright hater, criminals are folk heroes, and the innocent must be punished. The latest internet victim-shaming is directed against British wildlife photographer David Slater, who snapped a grinning macaque in the Indonesian jungle. US animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Sep 2015
The Batmobile

Holy litigation, Batman! Custom Batmobile cars nixed by copyright

Riddle me this: what has four wheels, a jet engine, and will get you an angry call from DC Comics' legal department if you try to rip it off? The Batmobile, of course. A US court has ruled [PDF] that Batman's iconic ride was covered by the publisher's copyright. The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for Central California …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Sep 2015

Google makes admen pay for fake YouTube views, claims research

Google has been accused of charging advertisers for YouTube clicks against adverts even when some of those ads have not actually been viewed by a human, according to a study. The paper – Understanding the detection of fake view fraud in Video Content Portals (PDF) – by a group of European researchers evaluated the performance …
Kat Hall, 24 Sep 2015

$100 million Inspur-ation for Cisco's China strategy

Cisco has revealed the first concrete outcome of its new China strategy, inking a deal with the server maker best known for helping build the Tianhe-2 supercomputer. The Borg has long complained that China has been getting in the way of growth. Most recently, the company sent the broom through its executive suites before …
Selection of Australian banknotes

Labor floats 'startup loans' for youngsters

Perhaps to counter the rapturous reception the tech sector has given new prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, Australia's opposition has floated the idea of government loans for youngsters with a startup idea. Pitched by way of a drop to the Sydney Morning Herald, Labor leader Bill Shorten reckons his thought bubble will encourage …
Bill Bennett, 24 Sep 2015
Australian attorney general George Brandis by cc 2.0 attribution

Oz telco security laws might miss 2015 deadline

Speculation is emerging that the changing of the guard in Canberra is going to delay the implementation of the government's much-criticised telecommunications security regime. The laws, which among other things require carriers to reveal their network security arrangements to the Attorney-General's Department and notify the …
Vladimir Putin

Russian Tor network-wrecking effort takes bizarre turn

The Russian government's plan to unmask citizens who use the anonymizing network Tor has hit a snag: the company hired to do the job is trying to wriggle out of its contract. In July 2014, the Russian Interior Ministry advertised for a firm to "study the possibility of obtaining technical information about users (user …
Iain Thomson, 23 Sep 2015

Cyber peace deal still possible despite China's US cyber-spying denials

The US and China are still expected to announce a cyberwar peace deal, despite signs to the contrary during a state visit to the US by the Chinese paramount leader this week. Chinese President Xi Jinping kicked off his visit by telling the Wall Street Journal that the "Chinese government does not engage in theft of commercial …
John Leyden, 23 Sep 2015
Birthday Cake

Happy birthday to you, the ruling was true, no charge for this headline, 'coz the copyright's screwed

Good news: you can now sing Happy Birthday without fear of someone demanding you get your checkbook out. A US judge has overturned a copyright claim to Happy Birthday, declaring the seminal number is not owned by a group that includes Warner/Chappell Music, which has been collecting royalties for the song's performances. The …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Sep 2015

Privacy, net neutrality, security, encryption ... Europe tells Obama, US Congress to back off

A letter sent to the US Congress by over 50 members of the European Parliament has hit back at claims of "digital protectionism" emanating from the United States. Sent on Wednesday, the letter [PDF] takes issue with criticisms from President Obama and Congress over how the EU is devising new laws for the digital era. "We are …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Sep 2015

SIX MILLION fingerprints of US govt workers nicked in cyber-heist

The fingerprints of nearly six million US government workers were copied by hackers who raided Uncle Sam's Office of Personnel Management (OPM), it emerged today. Back in June, it was feared that crooks had made off with four million highly sensitive personal records on government employees from the OPM's systems, although …
Iain Thomson, 23 Sep 2015
Hard disk repair by William Warby cc 2.0 attribution generic

ESET slurps up UK-based crypto firm DESlock+

Security firm ESET has snapped up UK-based data encryption firm DESlock+. Terms of the deal, announced on Tuesday, were not disclosed. DESlock+, based in Taunton, UK, specialises in advanced encryption solutions and first partnered with ESET two years ago. The DESlock+ team of 12 employees was led by managing director David …
John Leyden, 23 Sep 2015
VW Scirocco logo

NOxious Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal: Chief falls on sword

Volkswagen's boss Martin Winterkorn has quit his job as the diesel emissions cheat scandal continues to engulf the German car maker. Winterkorn – who characterised the saga as a "grave crisis" for VW – resigned on Wednesday saying that he was "shocked by the events of the past few days". Late last week, it was revealed that …
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Sep 2015 wants a cloud wizard at £1,000 a DAY. That's more than the prime minister's salary

The government is hiring an IT cloud director at a cool £1,000 per day, for a bod proficient in Microsoft cloud systems – and just about every other form of enterprise IT. The advert did not specify which department it was advertising for. However, at £1,000 per day over a six month period, that comes to a total of £150,000; …
Kat Hall, 23 Sep 2015
4 arrows signs in arrow on wooden wall

Strong dollar blamed for expected tech spend fall across all verticals

IT spending across every major vertical industry is set to shrink in 2015 and it’s largely down to the relatively robust US dollar. The weaker outlook from the beanies at Gartner has buyers splashing $2.699trn on tech this year, and if correct that will be a 3.5 per cent decline on 2014. “Appreciation of the US dollar, along …
Paul Kunert, 23 Sep 2015

You call THAT safe? Top EU legal bod says data sent to US is anything but

The top advisor to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said the current agreement between the EU and US is not worth the paper it’s written on . Advocate General Yves Bot’s opinion on the so-called Facebook vs Europe case is not legally binding, but the court’s final ruling almost always follows his advice. The case was …
Jennifer Baker, 23 Sep 2015

More BlackBerry layoffs: 200 Venice devs binned amid Android shift

BlackBerry’s phone ambitions are diminishing more than ever as the former smartphone giant prepares to launch its first pure Android phone. Reuters reports that around 200 hardware and design staff have been laid off, following the completion of work on an Android device codenamed "Venice". It’s the latest in a succession of “ …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Sep 2015
management regulation2

SimpliVity saddles up the lawyers, sues rival Springpath

Hyper-converged startup SimpliVity is suing hyper-converged startup Springpath for allegedly wrongfully using its patented technology. Both vendors supply hyper-converged infrastructure appliance (HCIA) systems. SimpliVity sells packaged hardware and software, including an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) of its …
Chris Mellor, 23 Sep 2015
Masai in red toga talks on his cell phone from the grasslands of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in North Kenya, Africa

Mobile phones are the greatest poverty-reducing tech EVER

Worstall on Wednesday I have mentioned before around here that the mobile phone seems to be, in terms of reducing poverty, the finest invention humanity has ever come up with. Details of exactly how it does so are here, talking about sardine fishermen off Kerala, and my discussion of the overall economic effect is here, just to revisit that overall …
Tim Worstall, 23 Sep 2015

Baidu, Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm join to invest in CloudFlare

Four internet giants – Baidu, Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm – have cosied up to join CloudFlare's most recent funding round, which raised $110m. The Content Delivery Network service, which is headquartered in San Francisco (with an additional office in London) was founded in July 2009 and is reportedly considering an IPO. It … creates £500K fund to help universities teach cyber skills

The UK government is putting up a £500,000 fund to develop cyber security skills within universities and colleges, essentially helping them construct innovative teaching methods to provide the skills needed to protect the UK from hackers, malware and other information security threats. The Higher Education Academy will …
John Leyden, 23 Sep 2015

Morgan Stanley staffer cops guilty plea over data breach

The Morgan Stanley staffer fired in January over a massive data breach has now entered a guilty plea in the Federal Court in Manhattan. Galen Marsh was being tried for taking hundreds of thousands of records of the bank's wealth management operation home. Some of the trove, affecting 900 individuals, then ended up on Pastebin …
Prototype Vulkan debugger from Valve and LunarG

Nintendo joins Khronos vid API standards body

Nintendo has become the latest big name to join the Khronos Group, the standards group that manages graphics APIs like WebGL, OpenGL, and Vulkan. It quietly got its name added to the list of Khronos Group sponsors at the beginning of September, without either Nintendo nor the standards club making a formal announcement. …
Gun and dollars

Robber loses heist case after 'evil twin' defence, gets 60 years

A robber who attempted to use the defence of blaming his "evil twin" has failed to convince a jury, and has been sentenced this week to more than 60 years in prison. Steven Felton, from Pennsylvania, was sentenced on Monday for 10 heists, which occurred during 2012. He was described as fleeing the crime scenes on a bicycle, …
Kat Hall, 23 Sep 2015
Cell tower, view from below. Image by

Roll-your-own public safety broadband network too pricey for Australia

Australia’s Productivity Commission says emergency services should drop the idea of building a dedicated mobile broadband network and use commercial services instead. In its draft report, the Productivity Commission says a dedicated network with its own spectrum would cost more than A$6 billion over the next 20 years. …
Bill Bennett, 23 Sep 2015