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Tech firms sends Congress checklist of surveillance reforms

More than 30 big internet companies including Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have sent a letter to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee asking for specific reforms to the law used for carrying out mass surveillance. The letter [PDF] concerns Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which has to …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 May 2017
Amazon Fresh groceries

It was bound to happen: Amazon launches first grocery store

Amazon has once again expanded its reach in all things commerce, this time with its own take on the grocery store. A pilot program being carried out under the Amazon Fresh banner will allow Seattle residents to order various fresh grocery items (including produce and dairy) ahead of time, and then pick them up at an Amazon …
Shaun Nichols, 26 May 2017

'President Zuck' fundraiser opens for business

A fundraising vehicle to help get the world's fifth richest man Mark Zuckerberg elected as President of the United States will now take your money. The Super Political Action Committee (PAC) is called (inevitably) 'Disrupt for America' and describes itself as "a progressive advocacy group focused on pragmatic, grassroots …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 May 2017
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

Ouch! Latest Qualcomm sueball comes from ... its own shareholders

Qualcomm's own shareholders have added to the barrage of lawsuits being fired at the mobile chip giant. The latest salvo puts the company's management in the crosshairs - blaming it for hardball tactics which subsequently attracted antitrust suits. In January, the FTC filed a complaint (pdf) alleging that Qualcomm had abused …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 May 2017
Cthulu emerges from a printer. Image created by illustrator Andy Davies. Copyright: The Register

Sysadmin finds insecure printer, remotely prints 'Fix Me!' notice

ON-CALL Well what do you know? The working week is all-but over, which means it is time to share a story from a reader's working life in our weekly On-Call column. This week, meet “Doug” a techie who tells us he has “a client in central Dublin and find myself in their offices every other week or so to deal with the usual stuff, new …
Simon Sharwood, 26 May 2017
Lenovo web page editorial use only

Battery-hungry cars roll over Lenovo's FY 16/17 bottom line

Lenovo has returned to growth, posting a pleasing set of fourth quarter numbers, but apparently has plenty of work to do in the mobile and data centre markets. The table below, taken from the firm's end of FY16/17 earnings presentation (PDF) illustrates the company's status neatly: the PC, mobile device and data centre …
Simon Sharwood, 26 May 2017
IBM Headquarters, Armonk, NY

IBM asks contractors to take a pay cut

Exclusive IBM is not just banning the hire of new contractors and telling existing contractors they won't get new gigs: now it is telling some current contractors they will have to take a pay cut. Multiple IBM contractors in Australia have contacted The Register to say IBM has told them their rates will be cut, by ten per cent or more. …
Simon Sharwood, 26 May 2017
A Lyft car

Congresscritters float benefits for gig workers

Two US legislators are drafting bills to provide "gig" contract workers many of the same benefits afforded to those who work full time. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and and Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA) have announced to their respective houses bills that would allow contract workers with companies like Uber, Lyft, and …
Shaun Nichols, 25 May 2017

Cloudflare doubles down on its troll-hunting crusade

Cloudflare has today stepped up its efforts to run patent litigator Blackbird Technologies into the ground. The cloud network services provider says it will be doubling the amount of money it has pledged for prior art on Blackbird's patents and expanding the program to also lobby for anti-patent troll litigation. The program …
Shaun Nichols, 25 May 2017
Happy business people celebrate. Photo by Shutterstock

HP Inc CEO reports 'breakthrough' quarter as PC sales shoot up

For the first time in more than half a decade HP Inc has managed to report quarterly growth in both its PC and printer businesses, a point CEO Dion Weisler described as a watershed moment in the company's recent history. However, spiralling costs, particularly in Selling, General and Administrative Expenses, meant profits were …
Paul Kunert, 25 May 2017

Info commish: One year to go and businesses still not ready for GDPR

Companies are unprepared for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force a year today, and some small businesses "might not even know" a new regime is looming, the UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has warned. Speaking at an event by WSJ Pro Cybersecurity titled How Executives Can Manage the …
Kat Hall, 25 May 2017
I quit

Lenovo UK boss pulls the chain, flushes himself out of there

Exclusive Lenovo UK boss John Harber has quit just 15 months after taking the hot seat, El Reg can confirm. Harber landed the job in February last year, moving across from being veep of global sales at wearables and peripherals vendor Jawbone. A PR rep at Lenovo told us that Harber, an exec director and GM for the UK and Ireland …
Paul Kunert, 25 May 2017
Oracle acrobatics in the cloud

Your roadmap to the Google vs Oracle Java wars

Analysis The final lap nears in Oracle's epic seven year battle with Google over Java. It's reached the Federal Appeals Circuit, where Oracle is confident that three appeals judges with a strong track record of upholding IP will decide in its favour. In many ways, it's a surprise that Big Red didn't win ages ago, with the two warring …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 May 2017
UFC wrestling <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-1966235p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">A.RICARDO</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>

RightNow founder turned politician gets assault charge after 'bodyslamming' reporter

Until Wednesday, Greg Gianforte's life had followed a lovely script: he twice sold software companies for millions, the second time for US$1.5bn when Oracle acquired CRM company RightNow Technologies. Gianforte used the resulting wealth and profile to champion the conservative causes he cares about and last year ran for the …
Simon Sharwood, 25 May 2017

UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

The UK government will push through orders next month to force all communications companies including Google and Facebook to break data encryption. That's according to the Sun newspaper, which quotes a government minister as saying "we will do this as soon as we can after the election, as long as we get back in. The level of …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 May 2017
Three CEO chairs

Rackspace demotes a CEO to hire a CEO to replace CEO who quit

Rackspace has named Joe Eazor as its new CEO, replacing the departing Taylor Rhodes and interim CEO Jeff Cotten. Eazor's LinkedIn CV includes senior sales roles at EMC, time as CEO of EarthLink and seats on the boards of Commvault and Discover Financial Services. But it's probably his stint senior veep and general manager for …
Simon Sharwood, 25 May 2017
Thumbs down frownining emoticon

Attempt at building kinder, gentler Reddit downvoted off the Web

Reddit can be a nasty, nasty place. So nasty that in 2015 half a dozen Reddit employees – some who said they'd experienced personal abuse or threats of violence from Reddit members – bailed from the company and set their sights on "rethinking the way communities exist on the internet". That plan eventually became Imzy.com, a …
Simon Sharwood, 25 May 2017
Uber self-driving car on a transport truck

Uber New York class action alleges passengers overcharged $7.43m per month

Uber's New York woes are piling up, as the dial-a-ride service has now been sued by riders who believe they were being overcharged. A class action suit filed in the New York US District Court claims the UberX service has been charging users a higher-than-advertised price for rides. The suit, led by named plaintiff Jacqueline …
Team Register, 25 May 2017

FCC revised net neutrality rules reveal cable company control of process

Analysis The FCC has released a revised version of its plans to tear up net neutrality – and unwittingly revealed the extraordinary influence that the cable industry has over the process. The new "notice of proposed rulemaking," which was approved in a 2‑1 vote last week, completely ignores hundreds of thousands of critical comments …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 May 2017
The Royal Courts of Justice in London

Costs v sales agent? Not just yet, judge tells Retro Computers Ltd

ZX Spectrum Vega firm Retro Computers Ltd has had its attempt to force former sales agent Nick Cooper to hand over extra information in the ongoing court battle between the two postponed today by the London County Court. RCL had applied for a court order that would have forced Cooper to answer a series of questions designed to …
Gareth Corfield, 24 May 2017
A crying child

Dixons Carphone: Brexit not a factor as Brits' gadget lust holds strong

Political uncertainty haven’t put punters off purchasing electronic gadgets, Dixons Carphone CEO reported today. The group issued a trading update for fiscal ’16 ended 29 April ahead of reporting its full blown annual results showing sales were up nine per cent year-on-year, including a two per cent rise in the UK. The Brexit …
Paul Kunert, 24 May 2017
Man throws briefcase in the air happily on the beach. Photo by Shutterstock

Channel luvvie Martin Hellawell set to check out of Softcat. Sort of

Martin Hellawell, the McDonald's-card-toting CEO at mega reseller Softcat isn't quite sailing off into the sunset just yet, but he is preparing to handover the operation once a successor is found. In a note to the London Stock Exchange, Softcat confirmed Hellawell had "decided to step down" and will take over as non-exec …
Paul Kunert, 24 May 2017

EU ministers approve anti-hate speech video rules

European Union ministers have approved new rules for video that will oblige Facebook, Google, Twitter and others to remove hate speech and sexually explicit videos online or face stiff fines. "We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 May 2017
YouTube India logo - not official

India makes biometrics mandatory for all e-gov projects

India's issued three “Guidance Notes” outlining its government's policies for procuring software and entering into alliances and running RFPs. The new Model RFP Templates and Guidance Notes for Implementing Services (PDF), RFP Templates and Guidance Notes for Consulting Services (PDF) and Model and Model RFP Templates and …
Simon Sharwood, 24 May 2017
Eye of Sauron with Mount Doom in the background. Still from the film version of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Copyright New Line Cinema

Google wants to track your phone and credit card through meatspace

Google wants stores to gather purchase data on its behalf, to bolster its case that advertising on the platform works. Lest you fret about the gross invasion of privacy involved, rest assured that the Chocolate Factory promises the info will be anonymised. (Stop laughing, anonymity researchers. We're sure Google means what it …
a car being tested for emissions compliance

Dodge this: Fiat-Chrysler gets diesel-fuelled sueball from DoJ

Fiat-Chrysler, accused of the same kind of software defeat as landed Volkswagen in hot water, is now the subject of a Department of Justice lawsuit. The case, brought by the DoJ on behalf of America's Environmental Protection Agency, points to vehicles around 104,000 "light duty vehicles" using the company's three-litre …
LeEco car

Bloodbath at LeEco US as Chinese tech upstart implodes with layoffs

It has all gone pear-shaped for Chinese conglomerate LeEco after the firm told nearly 70 per cent of its US staff that their services will no longer be required. LeEco had around 500 employees in the US, largely based in Silicon Valley. They hired some big-name engineers from competitors, but on Tuesday management announced …
Iain Thomson, 23 May 2017
An unhappy driver

Uber found to be doing something awful? Yep, it's Tuesday

Uber said today that it will hand drivers back pay that could add up to tens of millions of dollars. The dial-a-ride app maker said that some drivers in New York were incorrectly compensated (read: ripped off) for fares on some rides. The back pay is from what's said to be a "miscalculation" of the drivers' cuts of trip fares …
Shaun Nichols, 23 May 2017

Republicans' net neutrality attack written by… you guessed it, the cable lobby

A "toolkit" provided to House Republicans to defend US comms watchdog the FCC's recent decision to tear up net neutrality rules was written by the cable lobby. In just the latest example of special interests literally dictating what lawmakers say on significant policy issues, the "Draft Member Toolkit" [PDF] stretches to 24 …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 May 2017
Outsourcing

Capita and Birmingham City Council 'dissolve' joint venture

The long-running and highly criticised joint venture between Capita and Birmingham, England, City Council is being rubbed out, reportedly saving taxpayers around £44m. The Service Birmingham Partnership was established in 2006 – Capita was the majority shareholder – with some grand ambitions to save the council £500m, generate …
Paul Kunert, 23 May 2017
empty_pockets_648

Widow appeals to Avaya to protect death benefits after bankruptcy filing

The widow of an Avaya employee has said the troubled UK telco should not terminate her death benefits following its bankruptcy filing in January. Avaya had told the bankruptcy court that survivor payments are not a benefit covered under its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It said the Survivorship Benefit is a pension, not …
Kat Hall, 23 May 2017
Handshake

Nokia, Apple lawyers make peace over nasty IP wrangle

Nokia and Apple have made peace after a brief but vituperative legal stand-off. The two settled all their outstanding issues over intellectual property rights, with an unspecified lump sum heading from California to Finland, as well as royalties. Nokia filed a bunch of lawsuits against Apple in the USA and Germany in December …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 May 2017
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Euro Patent Office staff warns board of internal rule changes

The central staff committee of the European Patent Office has sent a letter to the organization's board warning it of proposed changes that would further undermine their rights. The letter to the board of the EPO's Administrative Council comes one day before its preparatory meeting for the larger council meeting next month. …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 May 2017
PayPal and Pandora logos

PayPal peed off about Pandora's 'P' being mistaken for its 'PP'

LOGOWATCH LEGAL PayPal has filed a lawsuit against streaming music service Pandora, alleging that the latter's stylised single “P” logo is so similar to the payment company's “PP” logo that it's designed to get punters confusing the two. In a brief filed last week in the United States District Court, PayPal argues that “Pandora’s recent …
Simon Sharwood, 23 May 2017

Google leak-hunting team put under unwelcome spotlight

"If you're considering sharing confidential information to a reporter – or to anyone externally – for the love of all that's Googley, please reconsider! Not only could it cost you your job, but it also betrays the values that makes us a community." So reads an ominous email titled "INTERNAL ONLY. REALLY" sent from the head of …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 May 2017
US Supreme Court

Supreme Court closes court-shopping loophole for patent trolls

The US Supreme Court has issued a ruling that could block patent-holding firms from seeking out friendly courts to hear their infringement claims. An 8-0 ruling by the nation's top court in the TC Heartland v Kraft Foods [PDF] case held that a company can be sued only in the state where it is incorporated, rather than in any …
Shaun Nichols, 22 May 2017

Scheming copyright scam lawyer John Steele disbarred in Illinois

Notorious copyright troll and scammer John Steele of Prenda Law has been disbarred by the Illinois Supreme Court. The decision is not surprising, given the law firm's long history of legally dubious efforts to extract money from people – something that culminated in Steele pleading guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud, and money …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 May 2017
Terminator head

SoftBank-Saudi fund raises world's biggest tech pot at $93bn

The world's biggest tech fund backed by Japan's SoftBank Group has raised $93bn (£71bn) which it intends to plough into AI and robotics. The SoftBank Vision Fund was first announced last year and its backers now include the Mubadala Investment Company of the United Arab Emirates, Apple, Foxconn, Qualcomm and Sharp. …
Kat Hall, 22 May 2017

Ding-ding-ding. Round 2 of Toshiba Memory biz bid fight. Where the heck is WDC?

+Comment There are four bidders for Toshiba’s Memory Business and WDC isn’t one of them. However, Western Digital Corporation is still in the running, according to the Nikkei. The background story can be found here, with its hot links. The four bidders at the end of round two of Tosh’s auction are said to be: Bain Capital + Toshiba …
Chris Mellor, 22 May 2017

No nudity please, we're killing ourselves: Advice to Facebook mods leaks

A large quantity of Facebook's advice for its English-language content moderators* has been obtained and published by The Guardian newspaper, giving insight into how it handles material on the site. Facebook, which earned $27bn last year, has 4,500 human moderators and recently said it would add another 3,000. They decide …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 May 2017

Project Gollum: Because NHS Caring means NHS Sharing

¡Bong! Even over Skype, the weeping of the National Health Service's Chief Transformation Officer could be heard even over the sound of the breaking waves here on Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. No, there was no mistaking it, even over the pops and crackles from my prototype Microsoft Surface 5 Azure Edition (“always helping you by …
Steve Bong, 22 May 2017

Japan (lightly) regulates high-frequency algorithmic trading

Japan has decided it's high time it got a grip on just who is conducting high-frequency algorithmic trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The nation last week passed amendments to its Financial Instruments and Exchange Act requiring high-frequency traders to register with regulators and provide evidence of robust risk …
Simon Sharwood, 22 May 2017

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