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UK.gov told: Your frantic farming of pupils' data is getting a little creepy

Plans to expand the vast National Pupil Database to include information on why kids leave mainstream education have been slammed by privacy campaigners. The government's stated aim is to better understand how and why pupils end up with alternative provision (AP) by adding more detail to the information collected in the annual …
Rebecca Hill, 13 Dec 2017
he exterior of the carphone warehouse on January the 23rd, 2015, in London, England, UK. The carphone warehouse has over 3000 stores. Editorial Credit: Michaelpuche / Shutterstock.com

Hello, Dixons Carphone? Yep, we're ringing from a 2015 handset. Profits down 60%, eh?

Dixons Carphone execs handed out their numbers to world+dog today, showing profits plummeting by more than half in the firm’s half-year results. The plunge was chalked up to UK customers skipping mobile upgrades - a move that could signal further closures across its stores. Reality strikes Dixons Carphone's profits after …
Kat Hall, 13 Dec 2017
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Facebook announces ad revenue reroute: When Irish eyes are crying

Facebook has said it will no longer send advertising revenue through Ireland, and instead pay taxes in the countries where profits are earned. In a major overhaul today, the firm said it will make the change in every country outside the US where it has an office. By Dave Wehner, chief financial officer, said: "We believe that …
Kat Hall, 12 Dec 2017

Big biz: Algorithms are too complicated, but also too easy to game, to open the black box

Large tech company reps quizzed over their use of algorithms have said they'd like to be transparent with users... just not too transparent. Four representatives from corporates whose business models rely on data slurping and processing today gave evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee as part of its …
Rebecca Hill, 12 Dec 2017
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Gemalto: Cheers for that 'unsolicited' €4.3bn bid, Atos. We'll think about it

Tech consultant (and UK public sector buddy) Atos has offered to buy mobile chip-smith Gemalto for €4.3bn (£3.79bn) in a deal announced yesterday. The proposition, made on 28 November, is described by an Atos statement as one which "is friendly, compelling, and which addresses the interests of all stakeholders". The French …
Richard Priday, 12 Dec 2017

Seagate: Happy Xmas, staff – thanks for everyth... um, you 500. Can we have a word?

Seagate has said it will reduce its global headcount by 500 staffers, not long after its CEO praised all of its employees for continually going "above and beyond". In a statement filed with the SEC – America's financial watchdog – yesterday afternoon, Seagate said it has "committed to an additional restructuring plan to reduce …
Chris Mellor, 12 Dec 2017

Big tech wants the ICO on EU data protection board in Brexit fallout

The advertising lobby and tech megacorps including Facebook and Twitter are pushing for the UK's data protection watchdog to have full voting rights on a new, powerful European board after Brexit. At the moment, European Union data protection agencies, along with the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European …
Rebecca Hill, 12 Dec 2017
The Typhoon in Battle of Britain colours

Signing up for the RAF? Don't bother – you've been Capita'd

Capita’s disastrous Recruiting Partnership Project with the UK Ministry of Defence is so bug ridden that the Royal Air Force stopped taking on new recruits except for those in “priority roles”. As revealed by The Register last week, Capita’s crappy DRS system, as foisted on the Armed Forces for managing recruitment, has failed …
Gareth Corfield, 12 Dec 2017
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Canuck privacy commissioner to dig into Uber data breach

Canada's privacy commissioner has launched a formal investigation into the massive data breach concealed by the ride-hailing app company Uber. Last month, Uber's new CEO revealed that a year previously the details of 57 million customer and driver accounts had been stolen, but the company had decided not to divulge the breach …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Dec 2017

UK lacks engineering and tech skillz to make government's industrial strategy work – report

A lack of skills in the engineering and technical workforce could hold up the government's industrial strategy, according to a report by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. The 2017 Skills and Demand in Industry report found that nearly two-thirds of engineering and technical employers said that finding staff with …
Kat Hall, 11 Dec 2017
A tortoise catches an orange frisbee. Photo by Shutterstock

European Parliament's ePrivacy rep bemoans members' slow progress

Interview European Union nations are holding up discussions on the hotly debated new ePrivacy law, risking unnecessary regulatory confusion, the MEP leading the wrangling through the European Parliament has said. Initially, the EU intended to implement the ePrivacy Regulation – which sets out privacy rules for electronic communications …
Rebecca Hill, 11 Dec 2017
Sharp knife slices at a salami as previously sliced pieces lay on the chopping board. Photo by Shutterstock

IBM to expunge over 500 people in latest redundo round

Updated Almost 1,900 front line services personnel at IBM UK are at risk of redundancy and more than 500 of those will leave the company as part of the latest cost purge, multiple insiders have told The Register. This includes 1,118 heads at risk in IS Delivery (ISD), where IBM wants to ease one in three of them – 362 positions – out …
Paul Kunert, 11 Dec 2017
RAF Croughton sign. By Duane Park; public domain

Shady US sigint base upgrade marred by stolen photograph

An upgrade to a major US signals intelligence centre in Northamptonshire, UK, has been struck by controversy – after architects acting on behalf of the US Air Force and Blighty's Ministry of Defence nicked a photo of it from a website devoted to uncovering secret military bases in Britain. Alan Turnbull, who runs the excellent …
Gareth Corfield, 11 Dec 2017
Telstra copper in broken pit

Optus to refund NBN customers for slow connections

Optus has become the second Australian carrier to announce refunds for customers unable to get decent National Broadband Network connections. Under pressure from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Telstra in November 'fessed up that performance on the NBN didn't match its advertising and said it would …
Welders wearing protective clothing fixing welding and grinding industrial construction oil and gas or water and sewerage plumbing pipeline outside on site. Photo by Andrea Slatter/Shutterstock

Brandis' infrastructure security bill off to committee

Australia's attorney-general George Brandis won't get his critical infrastructure register kicked off this year: the legislation was introduced late last week, but immediately sent off to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. The committee has been asked to provide its report into the bill in the …

Tired of despairing of Trump and Brexit? Why not despair about YouTube stars instead?

It's a reality of life that some people have a lot of money and some very little. But sometimes that disparity feels less like an unfortunate but ultimately inconsequential side effect of capitalism and more like a tasteless joke inflicted on society by some omnipotent prankster. The existence of YouTube stars and their …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Dec 2017
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FCC backtracks on helping with neutrality fraud investigation

After supposedly reversing course to assist New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's investigation into fake comments submitted during the net neutrality comment process, the Federal Communications Commission has doubled back on itself. In a letter, obtained by Politico, sent to Schneiderman on Thursday, FCC general …
Thomas Claburn, 08 Dec 2017
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SpaceX to try reusing both rocket and spacecraft for historic ISS mission

In a first for the company, SpaceX is planning to launch a supply mission to the International Space Station using both a pre-flown first stage rocket and a Dragon capsule that has already been in orbit. The mission, which will carry 4,800 lbs of food, water, and science experiments to the astronauts in low-Earth orbit, was …
Iain Thomson, 08 Dec 2017
Mats Jarlstrom

Oregon will let engineer refer to himself as an 'engineer'

Mats Järlström, a Swedish electronics engineer living in Oregon, who was fined last year for referring to himself as an engineer and doing math without a license has tentatively won the right to use the term in communications with the state. In 2015, Järlström sent email messages to the Oregon State Board of Examiners for …
Thomas Claburn, 08 Dec 2017

US Section 702 spying rules get deadline extension until April

Proving that nothing is what it seems when it comes to mass surveillance, the hard deadline of December 31 for the controversial section 702 spying program has been moved overnight to April 26. On the eve of a Congressional hearing in which director of the FBI Christopher Wray was pointedly asked about the agency's use of …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Dec 2017
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Oracle's Safra Catz joins Mickey Mouse board

Animation goliath Disney has added Oracle's co-CEO Safra Catz to its growing list of senior tech exec board members. Catz will join Twitter chief exec Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg and Blackberry big dog John Chen at the top table. The highest paid female CEO in tech, Catz raked in $40.9m from Oracle in 2016 and …
Rebecca Hill, 08 Dec 2017
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UK.gov's plans for data processing framework create new risks, says watchdog

A set of clauses the government slipped into the Data Protection Bill "go beyond" their stated ambition and "create different risks", the information commissioner has said. As drafted, the clauses grant government the power to draw up a framework to administer how departments process personal data with only a need to "consult …
Rebecca Hill, 08 Dec 2017
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If you're bored of the WDC-Toshiba flash fab saga, reports suggest it may be over soon

+Comment Suppressed hints and whispers suggest that Toshiba and WDC are finally about to agree a deal ending their dispute over Toshiba's right to sell its flash fab joint-venture stake and the way it's being done. WDC will stop its legal action in the International Court of Arbitration and be able to invest in new flash production …
Chris Mellor, 08 Dec 2017

EU toys with Pandora's Box if it reopens e-commerce directive

Exclusive European policy makers are considering the unthinkable and reopening the EU's e-commerce directive, according to multiple sources. UK industries have been invited to contribute their thoughts, on the basis that the directive will be amended in the lifetime of this Parliament. The delicate balance enshrined in Directive 2000/31 …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Dec 2017
Newly passed out 2Lts from 6 RIFLES on Salisbury Plain Training Area. Crown copyright, 2013

New Capita system has left British Army recruits unable to register online

Updated Capita's infamous Recruitment Partnership Project (RPP) for the Ministry of Defence has finally gone live, five years after the first deal was signed – and, surprise, surprise, it is riddled with bugs and missing critical functionality. Sources with past and present involvement in the £1.3bn RPP deal told The Register the full …
Gareth Corfield, 08 Dec 2017
A large hand flicks an icon of a little red man. Image via shutterstock (Lasse Kristensen)

Cost-hurling IBM seeks more volunteers for employment bonfire

It wasn't only staff in IBM's Technical Services Support (TSS) unit that this week received the memo urging volunteers to come forward to toss themselves on the redundancy heap, folk in IS Delivery (ISD) got it too. Sources at IBM told us the only difference between the letters the departments received was the name of the …
Paul Kunert, 08 Dec 2017

Rogue PIs found guilty of illegally snagging personal financial info

Staff at a firm of loss adjusters and two rogue private investigators the biz hired have been found guilty of data protection offences. A jury at Maidstone Crown Court returned 15 guilty verdicts in a case brought by the Information Commissioner's Office as part of a wider investigation into corporate use of dodgy gumshoes. …
Rebecca Hill, 08 Dec 2017
editorial only image of Whitehall. Pic Daniel Gale/Shutterstock

UK border at risk of exposure post Brexit, warn MPs

The UK border could be left exposed after Brexit as departments have failed to plan for new IT systems, according to a damning report by MPs released today. Whitehall is assuming the risks to managing the border will not change immediately when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, and that border checks will accordingly be the …
Kat Hall, 08 Dec 2017
Hard disk drive with hand grenade

Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires

On-Call The working week's winding down once again and that means it's time for another edition of On-Call, The Register's Friday tech support tale recounted by readers. This week, meet “Tim” who in the 1980s worked for Data General. Yes, that Data General, the one that EMC acquired for US$1.1bn in 1999 so it could make hay with the …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Dec 2017
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Would-be startup crew charged with stealing employer's tech

Four former Applied Materials employees have been charged with stealing the company's chipmaking technology to use as the basis for their own startup. The US Department of Justice says that Liang Chen, Donald Olgado, Wei-Tung Hsu, and Robert Ewald conspired to steal designs and prototypes of Applied Materials metal organic …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Dec 2017

Euro Patent Office ignores ruling and refuses entry to vindicated judge

Despite having conclusively won two tribunals and been publicly supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) demanding his immediate reinstatement, on Thursday patent judge Patrick Corcoran was refused entry to the European Patent Office's (EPO) headquarters. At an extraordinary public meeting in Geneva yesterday, …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Dec 2017
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Bitcoin price soars amid technical troubles for exchanges

The price of Bitcoin (BTC) continued to soar on Thursday, creating chaos among those trying to buy and sell the cryptocurrency currency due to service trouble at several exchanges. In the past 24 hours, Bitcoin surged from around $12,700 up beyond $16,500, a new high, before retreating to around $15,500 by mid-morning Pacific …
Thomas Claburn, 07 Dec 2017
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Florida Man… pockets Uber cash to keep quiet about data breach

A 20-year-old Florida man who lives with his mom was the "security researcher" that Uber paid off last year not to reveal a massive hack of its systems. In a typically Uber take on network security, the ride-hailing app company paid the man $100,000 in October last year to destroy data he downloaded on 57 million users, …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 Dec 2017
Man hangs up desk phone after a clearly irritating call. Photo by Shutterstock

IT buyer? Had enough of pesky resellers cold calling? You aren't alone

IT buyers are pestered by between nine and 40 unsolicited sales calls from resellers each and every day, collectively wasting hours of their life that they’ll never get back. This was according to 60 per cent of 200 people questioned as part of a mini poll that was commissioned by, er, reseller Probrand. On average, these …
Paul Kunert, 07 Dec 2017

Europe Commission thunders: Tech firms must do more to remove extremist content

The European Commission has urged the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter to do more to remove extremist content - or face further regulation. EU home affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos warned "the real battlefield is against 21st century terrorism". He said most of the recent terrorist attackers had never travelled …
Kat Hall, 07 Dec 2017
The Royal Courts of Justice in London

Hortonworks takes ex-sales manager to court over non-compete allegations

Hadoop-slinger Hortonworks has sought a court order against former enterprise sales manager Ben Rudall that would permit it take forensic images of his personal phone and his cloud storage account. Rudall is currently UK sales director at cloudy data warehousing firm Snowflake Computing after leaving Hortonworks in August this …
Gareth Corfield, 07 Dec 2017

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