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Malcolm Turnbull proposes taxing Google and Facebook ads

Australia's Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has his eye on the revenues collected by multinational online ad platforms like Google. Apparently raising a white flag on the government stopping multinationals from shipping profits offshore to avoid tax, Turnbull has floated the idea of levying Australia's goods and …
gTLD graphic

.Free domains at Amazon while Google says bye to .family

The latest wave of auctions for new internet extensions has produced some interesting results. Google took part in each of the six top-level domains available to the highest bidder, but won just one - dot-PhD - leaving behind dot-free and, surprisingly, dot-tube (although it does own the rights to register domains under .youtube …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Mar 2015

HP warns channel types ahead of split: Hold on, it's gonna get bumpy

HP GPC 2015 The first day at HP’s Global Partner knees-up was programme heavy with schemes aimed at smoothing the split between the organisation - pre and post event - which the business fully admits is going to get bumpy. First up is Partner Navigator, exclusively revealed by us last week, which involves HP providing a funded head in the …
Paul Kunert, 16 Mar 2015

'What don't we want? Robots. When don't we want them? Ever.' Anti-droid hipsters hit SXSW

Updated Visitors to the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) tech jamboree have been having a rough old time of it, with what appears to be protests from the locals and a sneaky spam problem on Tinder. On Sunday a group of hipsters took to the streets of Austin, Texas, to protest what they see as reckless and potentially dangerous advances …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Mar 2015
Gunther Oettinger, EU digital commissioner. Pic: Götz A. Primke

Gaffe-prone EU digi chief: We still want our single digital market

CeBIT 2015 Following another gaffe-heavy week last week when he compared net neutrality activists to the Taliban, Europe’s digi-commish Günther H. Oettinger was back on firmer ground today at CeBIT. The EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society gave a keynote speech at the international conference, which describes itself as “100 …
Jennifer Baker, 16 Mar 2015
Apple Watch lineup

Improved Apple Watches won't get more expensive? Hmmm

Worstall on Monday It really is true, economists are a bit weird, and this rubs off on those interested in the subject. Most people when confronted with the Christometer seem to think about the bling value. Or, when presented with the iPhone itself, those same people instead think about how great it is to do email while sitting on the lavvy. To me …
Tim Worstall, 16 Mar 2015
Dyson Heater

Battery bods Sakti3 hoover up $15m from power-hungry Dyson

Dyson has pumped $15m (£10m) into US solid-state battery start-up Sakti3 as part of its plans to invest £1.5bn into "future technologies". Last year Dyson said it wanted to branch into four new portfolios of technology over the next four years. James Dyson, founder and chief engineer, said: “Sakti3 has achieved leaps in …
Kat Hall, 16 Mar 2015

Redundo-happy IBMers will benefit from High Court pension ruling

IBMers that take voluntary redundancy ahead of a High Court ruling on the firm’s pension scheme will still benefit from any remedies set out should they leave, according to an internal document. Staffers who were refused salary increases because they railed against changes to pensions were told they are able to claim damages in …
Paul Kunert, 16 Mar 2015
People mooning a crowd

Zuck: Get your FULLY EXPOSED BUTTOCKS off my Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg apparently "goes to great lengths to protect the privacy of his personal life", but it hasn't stopped the Facebook chief from encouraging the free content ad network's users to share more stuff online. Late on Sunday the company's boss confirmed that Facebook had slightly modified the wording of its guidelines …
Kelly Fiveash, 16 Mar 2015
BBC Testcard

Vodafone Pay TV launch rumoured for November

Vodafone is gearing up to offer a pay TV service, the latest global telco to move into the four-play arena, and the scuttlebutt is that consumer offerings will go on sale in November. Vodafone has offered broadband before but sold the business to BT’s Plusnet in 2007. The mobile phone giant announced that it would re-enter the …
Simon Rockman, 16 Mar 2015

16 telco heads request data retention funding info from Turnbull, Brandis

The chief executive officers of 16 Australian telcos have written to the nation's attorney-general George Brandis and communications minister Malcolm Turnbull with a call for dialog on how much money they can expect to fund the development of metadata retention systems. “We write as the Chief Executive Officers/Senior Executives …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Mar 2015
Barbed wire against a clear blue sky

Dread Pirate Roberts' first mate Peter Nash faces life behind bars

Updated An Australian faces life behind bars in the USA after entering a guilty plea for his role in Ross Ulbricht's Silk Road operation. Peter Phillip Nash, who went by the tag “Samesamebutdifferent” on the online drug bazaar, put his hands up to narcotics and money laundering charges. Nash was arrested in the Australian city of …

VMware wants amicable end to 'meritless' Linux-lifting lawsuit

VMware thinks it will be possible to find an amicable resolution to the lawsuit alleging it has pinched parts of the Linux kernel. The lawsuit was brought two weeks ago by kernel developer Christoph Hellwig, who set the ball rolling in his native Germany. Hellwig's complaint alleges VMware has combined code issued under GPLv2 …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Mar 2015

'Just a kid' Zuck's word is his bond ... but NOT in his backyard, lawsuit claims

A lawsuit brought against Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg by a would-be neighbour has turned decidedly ugly, after court papers claimed that the billionaire had been described as "just a kid" by his own real estate broker. In May last year, property developer Mircea Voskerician accused Zuck of reneging on an alleged deal to …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Mar 2015
The Doctor in Mummy on the Orient Express

Timeout, Time Lords: ICANN says there is only one kind of doctor

Domain-name overseer ICANN has decided that only one kind of doctor may be allowed online – and that is a medical doctor. In a decision made late last month but challenged on Friday by one of the companies vying for the rights to run the internet registry .doctor, ICANN will insist that all dot-doctor domains be verified as …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Mar 2015

Facebook shops for ads tech – snaps up product search engine TheFind

Facebook has bought Mountain View, California-based product search engine TheFind for an undisclosed sum. The outfit, founded in 2006, confirmed the takeover from Mark Zuckerberg's free content ad network in a statement on its website. TheFind claimed to have helped 1 billion shoppers track down products using its service, …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Mar 2015

BBC websites GO TITSUP – Auntie blames 'internal system failure'

Updated The BBC is suffering a major outage, after its websites – including News and the public service broadcaster's iPlayer system – buckled in the past hour. It's unclear, at time of publication, what was behind the Beeb's technical woes. An unknown number of people attempting to visit various online BBC services were greeted with a …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Mar 2015

Judge OKs HP's cash-free settlement plan in Autonomy investor suit

HP has won court approval of a deal that would settle a lawsuit brought by shareholders over HP's botched acquisition of software maker Autonomy. US District Judge Charles Breyer has granted preliminary approval of the latest version of HP's proposed settlement, Bloomberg reports, despite having rejected similar proposals twice …
Neil McAllister, 13 Mar 2015
Cyanogen

Cyanogen said to be hoovering up cash, but NOT from Microsoft

Sources say Android alt-firmware outfit Cyanogen is close to closing a new round of funding, but Microsoft reportedly won't be among the investors. Bloomberg reported on Friday that Cyanogen is close to an agreement that would see it raise $110m from a group of financiers including PremjiInvest, the investment firm of Wipro …
Neil McAllister, 13 Mar 2015
Cryptowall sucks kid

Well.That.Sucks: New rude dot-word sparks outrage

The top-level domain .sucks will launch later this month, sparking a fresh round of controversy over what is rapidly becoming the most notorious internet registry. Even before the current owner, Vox Populi, won the rights to run all .sucks domains in an auction – paying an estimated $3m for the pleasure – the domain was the …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Mar 2015

Disney CEO: Dead Steve Jobs choc-blocked me!

Disney CEO Bob Iger would be helping to guide Google these days, were it not for one Steven P. Jobs. The mouseketeer-in-chief said Apple cofounder Steve Jobs convinced him not to take a spot on Google's board a few years ago, citing the ongoing conflict between Apple and the Chocolate Factory. In the new biography Becoming …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Mar 2015
Peekabooty - censorship bears

Thanks a lot, Google, for snatching .dev for yourself. It's not like the rest of us wanted it

Comment The internet is gradually gaining a whole lot of new top-level domain names, from the useful (.app, .dev) to the more whimsical (.ninja, .lol), thanks to ICANN's dot-word gold rush. Most of these dot-words are available to world + dog to register fresh domains, such as theregister.science. However, some owners are keeping their …

This isn't the one-stop EU data protection you're looking for

“Nothing is agreed, until everything is agreed.” So said EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova on Friday announcing a partial agreement on the proposed new Data Protection Regulation. Clear? It gets worse. Jourova announced that Europe’s data protection ministers had agreed on a so-called “one-stop-shop” mechanism for dealing …
Jennifer Baker, 13 Mar 2015

Swedish prosecutors finally agree to London interview for Assange™

After deadlock for almost three years, Swedish prosecutors have finally agreed to travel to London to question WikiLeaks' co-founder Julian Assange™ on suspicion of sexual offences. In a statement Marianne Ny, the Swedish director of public prosecutions, reiterated her view “that to perform an interview with [Julian Assange] at …

Attack of the Digital People: The BBC goes fully Bong

Comment Imagine this. At vast expense, the BBC launches a chain of launderettes - digital launderettes, that we shall call "BeebWash". Each BeebWash "space" (they love the word "space") would show BBC programmes and no doubt, "facilitate community engagement". So expansive and vague is the BBC's current Royal Charter, that BeebWash …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Mar 2015
management regulation1

Court nixes four HP patents in ServiceNow infringement case

Hewlett-Packard has suffered a setback in its patent infringement lawsuit against help-desk competitor ServiceNow. Four of the eight technology patents HP had asserted ServiceNow had trampled over have been thrown out of court by the US judge hearing the case. US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman, sitting in California, had …
Gavin Clarke, 13 Mar 2015
Files in manager's desk drawers: manila folder marked "Redundancies". Image via shutterstock

IBM staffers climb over each other in race for redundancy payout

IBMers working in the Systems Middleware (SM) division are falling over themselves to volunteer for redundancy, with the programme heavily oversubscribed. Some 110 people want to leave the company with a big fat cheque, which is way more than the ten per cent of the division’s 736-strong workforce that IBM had in mind. The …
Paul Kunert, 13 Mar 2015
BlackBerry and Android, together at last

Droidberry dangles: Why the BlackBerry-Samsung alliance is big potatoes

Analysis There’s something about BlackBerry that even its biggest fans can forget. BlackBerry has never been a phone company – it has always been a network company. For over thirty years, BlackBerry has done clever things to and with networks. It brought efficient data management, security and intelligence to mobile packet networks – …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Mar 2015

Angry Austrian could turn Europe against the US - thanks to data

In a David versus Goliath battle, an Austrian law student may topple the biggest EU-US data sharing deal when he gets his day in court in a couple of weeks' time. Max Schrems, who set up the Europe v Facebook group, alleges that Facebook violated the so-called safe harbour agreement which protects EU citizens' privacy. He says …
Jennifer Baker, 13 Mar 2015

Universal Credit could take 10 YEARS to finish, says Labour MP

The government's disastrous £700m Universal Credit programme could take up to 10 years to complete, Labour MP Stephen Timms informed El Reg on Thursday. "I've been reliably told by someone formerly working on the programme that it will take ten years to complete. Based on the evidence, I have no reason not to believe that time- …
Kat Hall, 13 Mar 2015
Blood image

Ericsson unplugs 2,200 more staff

Ericsson's move to focus on software is to hit another 2,200 jobs in Sweden, the telco vendor has announced. The cuts focus on roles in R&D and supply, the company's statement says, but admin and sales roles will also be affected, along with external consultants. The vendor says R&D remains important, but reducing the number of …

NSW premier pitches 'digital licence' as election stunt

In the throes of an election campaign, the NSW Government has hit upon a way to guarantee that police can require people to unlock their phones: that's where Premier Mike Baird wants your driver's license to be. Pitched as a money-saving measure because today's printed-plastic licences cost tens of millions of dollars, the …

This ISN'T Net Neutrality. This is Net Google. This is Net Netflix – the FCC's new masters

Part two What is striking about the FCC's rules on net neutrality, released today and likely determining how the United States does internet access for the next decade, is how radical they are. Radical is something that federal agencies rarely achieve because radical in the context of the large machinery of government is often a sign …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Mar 2015

Bulgaria nixes 'metadata' law, Paraguay delays

Another data retention domino has fallen, with Bulgaria striking down its spooks'-charter laws as unconstitutional in a Constitutional Court challenge launched by that country's ombudsman. The Sofia Globe reports that the bulk collection mandated by the country's Electronic Communications Act have been struck down, with the full …
Broke - empty pockets

NBN Co says 'ante-up' to fibre applicants

Want to know if you can get fibre to the home instead of the node? It'll cost at least $300 just to ask the question, under a new “Technology Choice Policy” published by NBN Co. The former “network extension” policy (which let satellite users ask about fixed wireless upgrades, and fixed wireless areas ask about fibre) was made …
Bloodbath!

Pathetic PC sales just cost us a BILLION dollars, cries Intel

Intel has lowered its revenue forecast for the first quarter of its fiscal 2015 by nearly a billion dollars, citing a weaker than expected PC market. While previously the chipmaker had said it expected to bring in $13.7bn (£9.21bn) during Q1, plus or minus $500m, on Thursday it revised that estimate to $12.8bn (£8.6bn), plus or …
Neil McAllister, 12 Mar 2015
iiNet actor

iiNet to be scooped up by TPG for $1.4 billion

Competition in the Australian broadband market is about to take another step backwards in favour of consolidation, with TPG announcing it's going to buy iiNet. iiNet has long been a favourite of Australia's Internet users for doing battle with "big content" over its right to take piracy cases all the way to end users. It won the …

We've read all 400 pages of the FCC's baffling net neutrality rules – here's what YOU need to know

Part one The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finally published its net neutrality rules this morning, comprising 400 pages of text. It was accompanied by statements from all five commissioners. We read it all so you don't have to. Four hundred pages [PDF] of legalese and formal definitions of an "open internet" in America. It …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Mar 2015
eyeofSauron

UK says comms metadata can kill personal privacy

The UK's inquiry into whether it conducts mass surveillance and the legality of such an effort has recommended tighter controls on access to communications metadata. The inquiry, which as we've reported finds that mass surveillance capabilities exist in the UK, but are used appropriately. The inquiry also rejects use of the …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Mar 2015

Revenge porn forbidden: Twitter bans hobby of bitter ex-boyfriends

Twitter has formally banned its users from posting intimate photos of people without their permission. It's a move that will hopefully rid the site of "revenge porn," which are typically sexy snaps leaked online by bitter ex-partners, usually spiteful former boyfriends. The 140-character chatterbox site has updated its rules of …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Mar 2015

BOXing clever: Data biz embiggens sales - then its shares slump

Box, the freemium business data sharer, saw satisfying revenue growth and controlled losses for its fiscal 2015 fourth quarter and full year, although it disappointed analysts, whose comments prompted a 17 per cent share price fall. Highlights: Q4 FY 2015 revenue was $62.6m, up 61 per cent from $38.8m a year ago Q4 FY 2015's …
Chris Mellor, 12 Mar 2015

US bares its net neutrality enforcement regime to world+dog

US regulators have finally detailed how they'll enforce net neutrality among broadband carriers and service providers. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) two weeks ago formally approved a new set of rules that would impose net neutrality. However, the body didn’t say how the rules would be imposed. On Thursday the …
Gavin Clarke, 12 Mar 2015