Business > More stories

Flying pig

NSW government drops a Catch: Bus Wi-Fi is a privacy nightmare

Privacy activists and the NSW Greens in Australia have come out against the NSW State Government's umpteenth Wi-Fi-on-buses trial. The reason: instead of trying to offer the Wi-Fi itself, as has happened in past attempted-but-abandoned rollouts, the Baird government is letting a company called Catch run the hotspots. Catch is …

ZTE laying off 3,000

ZTE is greeting the new year with job cuts, following disappointing smartphone sales and uncertainty about its future in the USA. Last year at Mobile World Congress, the company predicted it would ship more than 60 million smartphones; instead, IDC reckoned its shipments slipped by more than 36 per cent compared to 2015. …

That's the way the Cook, he stumbles: Apple CEO pay cut as sales tank

Peak Apple With Apple revenues down, and the normally docile tech press finally turning on the iPhone maker, top executives at the Cupertino giant – including CEO Tim Cook – took a pay cut in 2016. In its annual filing with the SEC, Apple Inc reported that its CEO was hit with a 15 per cent pay cut last year. Steve Jobs' protege logged …
Shaun Nichols, 6 Jan 2017

Former car rental biz staff gave customers' details to phone pests

Former staffers at a Cardiff-based car rental company have been sentenced for conspiring to steal customer information to sell to ambulance chasers. The three data thieves were employees of Enterprise-Rent-A-Car sold the details of tens of thousands of the company's customers and sold them on for hundreds of thousands of …
Poster for the movie Cable Guy. Copyright:  Columbia Pictures Corporation,

Routes taken by UK prosecutors over supply of modified TV set-top boxes

Analysis Prosecutors are turning to fraud charges in cases against people supplying set top boxes that can be used to access copyrighted material without paying for it because it makes cases easier for juries to understand. But a barrister who acted in one recent such case has told Out-Law.com that those conspiracy to defraud charges …
OUT-LAW.COM, 6 Jan 2017
finger pushing first in set of dominos

Switzerland says Uber's an employer, sends social security bill

Switzerland is the latest country to decide that in spite of its protestations otherwise, Uber is an employer – at least in public liability terms. It's only a single case, but public liability insurer The Suva has decided that a driver is an Uber employee rather than an independent contractor. The Suva is responsible for …

Australia telcos warn: Opening metadata access will create a 'honeypot' for lawyers

Australia's telecoms industry advocacy body the Communications Alliance is renewing its push for the federal government to revise its data retention regime, amid fears that a review will see stored data sucked into civil lawsuits. The take-out-the-trash timing of the review, announced in the afternoon of Friday December 23, …
 French bulldog puppy wears plastic devil horns and cute expression. Photo by Shutterstock

Australia: Stop blaming Centrelink debts on its IT systems

Australia's welfare agency Centrelink is embroiling the government in a hugely damaging controversy, raising incorrect debts and auto-issuing threatening letters to citizens. The “pay up” letters are genuinely terrifying when the sums involved are often thousands of dollars, especially when even government officials admit that …
Photo by Magnus Höij

Cancel! that! yacht! order! Marissa! – Verizon's! still! cold! on! Yahoo! gobble!

A Verizon executive is once again casting doubt on the telco giant's $4.8bn bid to acquire Yahoo! Speaking at an investor conference in Las Vegas today, executive vice president Marni Walden said of the deal, "Unfortunately, I can't sit here today and say with confidence one way or the other because we still don't know." The …
Shaun Nichols, 5 Jan 2017
Wages

Google gives up YOUR private data to US govt – but won't hand over its OWN staff personal info

The US Department of Labor is suing Google for details of its staff's wages – though the Chocolate Factory claims it's bending over backwards to comply with the bureaucrats' demands. This is the same advertising giant that loves keeping tabs on hundreds of millions of netizens, and coughs up people's private information to …
Iain Thomson, 5 Jan 2017

Snapchap snaps back: Snapchat Snapbrats' Snapstats are Snapcrap

A former Snapchat employee has accused the selfie-slinging giant of illegally inflating its user numbers and misleading investors. Anthony Pompliano, a former Growth Lead, says that the photo and video streamer is providing false metrics to its advertisers and investors as parent company Snap Inc prepares its initial public …
Shaun Nichols, 5 Jan 2017

Apple's CEO Tim Cook declines invitation to discuss EU tax ruling with Irish parliament

Tim Cook has turned down an invitation to appear before the Irish parliamentary finance committee to offer his thoughts on the EU's ruling over Apple's tax affairs with the nation. Last year, the European Commission ruled that tax arrangements between Ireland and Apple were in breach of the EU's state aid laws. It said the …
Twitter Trump photo via Shutterstock

China to Donald Trump: Twitter diplomacy 'undesirable'

Incoming US president Donald Trump has been reprimanded by China for indulging in “Twitter diplomacy”. State-media service Xinhua is reported to have run a commentary on Trump’s tweets, saying: “An obsession with ‘Twitter foreign policy’ is undesirable.” The Chinese-language version of Xinhua is reported to have continued: “ …
Gavin Clarke, 5 Jan 2017

Don't believe the 5G hype! £700m could make UK's 4G better than Albania's

The government should ignore the 5G hype and invest its £700m funding earmarked for the technology on ubiquitous 4G technology instead, a top telecoms expert has urged. Professor William Webb, former director of the regulator Ofcom, has warned that there is no clear rationale for 5G's one-hundred-times-faster speeds, and one- …
Kat Hall, 5 Jan 2017
St Petersburg Russia

Russia to convicted criminal hackers: 'Work with us or jail?'

Russia is reportedly letting convicted crackers take a seat in its offensive operations units, as an alternative to doing time. The effort, said to have started in 2013, saw at least one legitimate security professional flee Russia to seek asylum in Finland after he allegedly refused to help operate a distributed denial of …
Team Register, 5 Jan 2017

Banned! No streaming live democracy from your phones, US Congress orders reps

The next session of the US Congress will include a ban on representatives shooting and streaming video from the floor of the House. The Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted 234-193 to enact the new rules ahead of the opening of the 115th session of the US Congress. The rule calls for a ban on any use of an …
Shaun Nichols, 5 Jan 2017
Mark zuckerberg in a buena vista style flat cap. Photo: shutterstock mashup

The Zucker Mister Social Club: Facebook's daddy wants to be your friend, for realsies

There is only one appropriate response to obnoxious self-improvement posts on Facebook: instant de-friend. But unfortunately Mark Zuckerberg's New Year's resolution is to make more pals in person. The billionaire nerd wrote on Facebook: "Every year I take on a personal challenge to learn new things and grow outside of my work …
Kat Hall, 4 Jan 2017
A quadcopter drone seized by the Metropolitan Police

Joe Public likes drones and regulations, finds UK.gov 'public dialogue'

The general public is keen on drones of all shapes and sizes but wants their operators to be registered and trained, according to a study carried out by the UK Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence. A joint exercise between the two government departments to encourage "public dialogue on drone use in the UK" …

Those online ads driving you bonkers are virtually 'worthless for brands'

One dollar of online display advertising will buy you approximately $0.03 worth of actual ads seen by real people, according to Bob Hoffman, a partner in media consultancy Type A Group. Hoffman, who used to run the Hoffman/Lewis Advertising agency, is well known for his skepticism of online ads, a view that has found some …
trinity

Toshiba faces nuclear power goodwill cost meltdown

Toshiba is facing such horrific cost-overruns with its US nuclear power plant projects it may have to sell assets, such as its flash memory business, to cover them. Its US subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric, is building four AP1000 power-generating reactors in the United States and costs are getting out of hand, with multi-year …
Chris Mellor, 3 Jan 2017
Bitcoin, photo via Shutterstock

Bitcoin breaks US$1,000

Bitcoin has surpassed the US$1,000 mark for the first time in three years. The high water mark was breached Monday trading at US$1,019 at the time of publication. It follows a steady increase in the value of the crypto currency in recent months buoyed by China's devaluation of the yuan, the removal of high valuation bank …
Team Register, 3 Jan 2017
Handy guide to the Biodynamics Breast Analysis System

Barcodes stamped on breast implants and medical equipment

The NHS is stamping barcodes on breast implants, replacement hips and surgical tools in a bid to improve patient safety. The technology is intended to eliminate avoidable harm in hospitals, including errors such as patients being administered the wrong drugs and surgery being performed on the wrong part of the body, said the …
Kat Hall, 29 Dec 2016
Qualcomm

Qualcomm faces $853m fine for alleged antitrust violation

US chip giant Qualcomm is to face a fine of $853m (£696m) for alleged antitrust violations by South Korea's top regulator. The Korea Fair Trade Commission today reached the decision after a three-year probe of Qualcomm, finding that some of the company’s business practices have violated Korean competition law. The fine is the …
Kat Hall, 28 Dec 2016

How Google.org stole the Christmas Spirit

Special Report The dictionary defines charity as unselfish acts that benefit other people. Google boasts that it does a great deal for charity. So how come the biggest beneficiary of Google’s charity seems to be Google itself? Google.org is the charitable arm of the giant multinational, founded 11 years ago. It dispenses $100m in the form of …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Dec 2016
Merry Christmas Australia

Christmas Eve ERP migration derailed by silly spreadsheet sort

On-call Welcome again to On-Call, the column on which we conduct a Friday forage through the inbox full of readers' stories of jobs gone wrong. Today, we wrap our special week of Festive On-Call and so our topic is ... drumroll please ... Christmas. Let's start with “Mike” who told us that “Back in the Christmas of 1995 I was working …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2016
Merry Christmas Australia

Australia's future technology headlines … for 2018!

Today's the last day anyone from Vulture South will show up for work until January 3rd. So while we're at the beach, cricket and bottom of a beer glass, we leave you with our almost-traditional prediction for technology news in the year after next Without any further ado, let's get into it. Google dodges Google Tax Australia …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016
Made in China

We've been Trumped! China's Alibaba is a 'notorious' knock-offs souk, says US watchdog

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has put Alibaba's Taobao, the Chinese internet giant's online auction site, on its "notorious markets list" of sites that regularly deal in counterfeit goods. In a bulletin this week [PDF] the USTR noted that Taobao, which is the world's largest online shopping destination by gross …
Iain Thomson, 22 Dec 2016
fail_parking_meter_648

Rollout of smart meters continues at a snail's pace

Looking back over a turbulent year, some things remained reassuringly constant. England lost the football, Julian Assange stayed vitamin D deprived, and Blighty's smart meter rollout continued at a snail's pace. According to the latest government figures (PDF), there are now 4.9 million smart meters operating across homes and …
Kat Hall, 22 Dec 2016
EU flag photo via Shutterstock

Did EU ruling invalidate the UK's bonkers Snoopers' Charter?

Analysis Yesterday's judgment from the EU Court of Justice offered hope to many of those critical of the wider culture of communications data retention, but what does this mean for the UK's Investigatory Powers Act? Nothing immediately, of course. The original case will now go back to the UK's Court of Appeal, from whence it initially …
recruitment_hired

HPE exec quits for online security startup

The veep chosen by Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s to run its sales channels in the UK and Ireland has quit to take up a post an at online security services startup. Lee Hughes was given control of the channel, service provider and SME teams at the start of the year, replacing Johnny Ansell, who moved to head up the Azure and …
Paul Kunert, 22 Dec 2016
Are you being served?

NAND, fab-ulous NAND, price rises make DRAM a cash cow

Happy days for Micron, it seems. Its first fiscal 2017 quarter results were lifted by high demand and price rises driven by supply constraints. The market wanted more DRAM and NAND bits than the firm's fabs could ship and DRAM prices went up. Revenues of $3.97bn were 18.5 per cent higher than a year ago and 23 per cent upon …
Chris Mellor, 22 Dec 2016
Vibrant Evening Sunset At Twistleton Scar In North Yorkshire, UK. Photo by Shutterstock

Gov claws back £440m for rural broadband

The government has clawed back £440m from its superfast broadband programme to connect an extra 600,000 homes and businesses in remote areas. The cash boost is a combination of efficiency savings and a clawback mechanism which re-invests money when people take up superfast connections installed by the Broadband Delivery UK …
Kat Hall, 22 Dec 2016

Capita is STILL the BIGGEST tech services supplier to UK.gov

Despite all the mini fires burning at beleaguered Capita, the much maligned outsourcing giant remained the UK's biggest public sector tech services supplier in 2016 as revenues swelled to £1.9bn. An annual report by analyst TechMarketView found the firm that everyone loves to hate increased top line sales 5 per cent year-on- …
Kat Hall, 22 Dec 2016

Support chap's Sonic Screwdriver fixes PC as user fumes in disbelief

On-call Welcome to another festive edition of On-Call, the column in which we recycle readers' horror stories. Today, as we seek something, anything, to write in the pre-Christmas news drought, we bring you a trio of tales from the bulging On-Call inbox. Which we must say is swelling this week: it looks like some of you might not be …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016
Australian Parliament House Canberra

Australian Internet policy remains years behind reality

That Australian policy-makers cannot muster a coherent and consistent approach to the changes wrought by the internet has again been made apparent in recent weeks, by a number of events. The national response to the internet remains, most often, to attempt to control it long after accepted practice makes the attempt to do so …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016
Dr Strangelove bomb

Microsoft scores nearly $1bn non-compete contract with US military

Updated Satya Nadella’s team will be smiling today after the US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) – the IT wing of the Department of Defense (DoD) – awarded his firm a five-year $927m support contract. The deal will give the US military “access rights to Microsoft’s proprietary (closed-source) code” when it is “required to …
Iain Thomson, 21 Dec 2016
troll

Apple sues Nokia's pet patent trolls

Apple on Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Acacia Research Corporation and Conversant Intellectual Property Management, alleging that the two "patent assertion entities" have colluded with Nokia "to extract and extort exorbitant revenues unfairly and anticompetitively from Apple" and other companies. The lawsuit comes …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Dec 2016
Man in suit counts out piles of dollars. Photo via Shutterstock

WANdisco scores $1m self-driving car deal under back-from-the-dead CEO

Replication vendor WANDisco has won a million-dollar deal with a car manufacturer, vindicating CEO Dave Richard’s reinstatement. Earlier this year Richards was ousted as CEO in a coup orchestrated by ex-WANdisco chairman Paul Walker. Walker was then ousted himself seven days later, in a fightback by leading investors and Dave …
Chris Mellor, 21 Dec 2016

Speaking in Tech: The really HUUUUGE 2017 Predictions Show

Podcast speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise Intrepid techcasters Greg, Ed and Melissa wrap up the year with Brad O'Neill, serial entrepreneur and SVP of Global Sales, Operations & Services at SurveyMonkey and Amy Lewis of Geek Whisperers and NetApp. This week they review last year's predictions as well as making even …
Team Register, 21 Dec 2016

Landmark EU ruling: Legality of UK's Investigatory Powers Act challenged

The legality of the UK's Investigatory Powers Act has been called into question by a landmark EU legal ruling this morning, which has restated that access to retained data must only be given in cases of serious crime. The landmark judgment [PDF] was handed down by the European Union's Court of Justice, setting a new precedent …
Man flexing for webcam

Did webcam 'performer' offer support chap payment in kind?

On-call Welcome again to a festive edition of On-Call, the column in which readers send stories of jobs gone bad and we sanitise them for general consumption. We usually appear on Fridays, but the On-Call inbox is bulging, there's sod-all news to write this week and so we're doing it daily this week to spread some Christmas cheer. …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2016

Europe trials air-traffic-control-over-IP-and-satellite

The European Space Agency has successfully trialled its air-traffic-control-over-IP-and-satellite plan that it is hoped will one day reduce the amount of spoken instructions delivered to aircraft. Known as IRIS, the project proposes real-time “4D” tracking aircraft that will record latitude, longitude, altitude and time. Such …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2016