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Mozilla flings teddy out of pram over France's 'Patriot Act'

Mozilla has stated that it is deeply concerned with France's commitment to surveillance practices, as further established last week when the nation passed its very own Patriot Act. The French National Assembly voted overwhelmingly in support of the controversial Projet de loi relatif au renseignement last week. Mozilla has …
The Mad Max Nux Car

BONKERS apocalyptic WAR WAGONS circle Vulture South

BONKERS The insane vehicles of Mad Max Fury Road cruised past Vulture South When the Vulture South team popped out for lunch today, members of the local constabulary directed us away from our usual haunts. The reason? A promo for the new flick Mad Max: Fury Road had rolled into the nearby Sydney Opera House. Roads were blocked. …
Simon Sharwood, 13 May 2015
Amazon Fire TV: Asphalt 8: Airborne

That DRM support in Firefox you never asked for? It's here

Mozilla has released the first version of its Firefox browser to include support for Encrypted Media Extensions, a controversial World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) spec that brings digital rights management (DRM) to HTML5's video tag. The nonprofit grudgingly agreed to add EME support to Firefox last year, despite the vocal …
Neil McAllister, 12 May 2015
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Australia finds AU$131m for data retention, $254m for e-gov luvvies

BUDGET 2015 Australia's treasurer Joe Hockey has outlined several technology-related items in the nation's budget for 2015/16. In a surprise announcement, the treasurer announced the government will abolish fringe benefits tax “on all portable electronic devices used for work, like mobile phones, laptops and tablets.” Fringe benefits tax …
Simon Sharwood, 12 May 2015
BBC Testcard

Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

Analysis The appointment of backbench Tory heavyweight John Whittingdale MP to head the Ministry of Fun will throw the BBC’s senior management into a state of high anxiety, and have the Beeb's opponents grabbing their crotches in excitement. The minister is responsible for the government’s policy on the BBC. Many Tories view the …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 May 2015
Minority Report. Source: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Fox gives Minority Report the nod – precog goes primetime on tellybox

Hollywood director Steven Spielberg has thrown his weight behind a hotly-anticipated Minority Report TV series. According to Deadline, Spielberg – whose 2002 Minority Report movie starred Tom Cruise – was impressed enough to attach his name to the project after watching a pilot of the show. Fox confirmed on Friday that it had …
Team Register, 10 May 2015
DirecTV

AT&T takes issue with Netflix on DirecTV gobble

AT&T has fired a fresh salvo in its exchange with Netflix over the proposed acquisition of DirecTV. The US telecoms giant issued a filing with the FCC disputing the claims made by Netflix that its would-be merger is an antitrust concern. "Before it began pressing for deal conditions in support of its own business agenda, …
Shaun Nichols, 8 May 2015
The rather phallic tracks of the balloons seen on spacenear.us

EU Digital Single Market plan: We will compromise fast, and compromise early

The European Commission has finally unveiled its big Digital Single Market Strategy (DSM). Despite leak after leak over recent weeks, Digi Commissioners Andrus “The Robot” Ansip and Gunther H-dot Oettinger took to the podium together (for the first time) with due pomp and ceremony on Wednesday. But what they presented was a …
Spock beats boom box

Nothing BEATS a good anti-trust investigation, eh, Apple?

The United States Federal Trade Commission is investigating Apple, again, following concerns that its to-be-relaunched Beats Music streaming service may gain an unfair advantage by exploiting the market dominance of Apple's iTunes store. An inquiry by the antitrust G-men could interrupt a much touted launch of the Cupertino- …

Digi content market set for vast embulgement, will be $154bn in 2019

Global digital content sales are on track to hit $154bn (£113bn) annually by 2019, up 60 per cent from 2014, according to recent analysis. The current market is worth $99bn (£65bn) and is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 9.4 per cent over the next five years, said a report by crystal ball gazers at Juniper …
Kat Hall, 6 May 2015

Netflix wipes blood of Comcast/TWC from its blade, charges toward AT&T/DirecTV

Netflix is lobbying US watchdog the FCC to reject the proposed merger between AT&T and DirecTV. The over-the-top vid streamer said that should AT&T be allowed to scoop DirecTV for $49bn, the resulting broadcast behemoth would be able to throw its weight around and extract premium fees from streaming upstarts like Netflix. To …
Shaun Nichols, 5 May 2015
Dead PC

PEAK PC: 'Most' Google web searches 'come from mobiles' in US

The majority of Google web searches in America, and a few other nations, now come from phones and tablets – outpacing PCs for the first time, we're told. According to NetMarketShare, Google owned a 92.22 per cent chunk of the global search engine market for mobiles and slabs, and 65.73 per cent of the desktop search market, in …
Iain Thomson, 5 May 2015
David Goldberg. Photograph by Kevin Moloney/Fortune Brainstorm TECH

Husband of Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, dies suddenly

SurveyMonkey boss David Goldberg – the husband of Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg – died suddenly on Friday night. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said: Dave Goldberg was an amazing person and I am glad I got to know him. My thoughts and prayers are with Sheryl and her family. Robert Goldberg confirmed in a …
Kelly Fiveash, 2 May 2015
Spotify

Goldman Sachs gives Spotify its mixtape. And by mixtape, we mean a suitcase with $350m in it

Spotify has reportedly raised $350m in a new round of funding that puts an $8bn valuation on the Swedish company. The bulk of the money, according to CNBC citing "people familiar with the matter," came from clients of Goldman Sachs; the financial giant was hired to find sugar daddies for the website. The valuation puts the music …
Twitter for Mac New

Oi, Twitter! Sign this or we won't talk to you, growls EU

Twitter could soon find itself cold-shouldered by top European law-makers. The deadline for all companies and organisations wanting to lobby the EU to update their information on the so-called Transparency Register passed this week. The annual update was more important than usual this year since the Commission, under president …
Sharks by https://www.flickr.com/photos/enriquecespedes/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Grooveshark closes, blames 'serious mistake' of not paying for music

Music streaming service Grooveshark has closed its doors, after admitting hadn't acquired rights to the music it streamed. The company on Thursday (US time) replaced its website with the statement below. Grooveshark closure message The writing's been on the wall for Grooveshark for some time, as earlier this week it learned …
Facebook Beacon

Facebook bug gobbles pics in posts, web publishers scream

Facebook users are complaining that The Social NetworkTM is experiencing a problem that stops people posting pictures. A developer calling themselves “La Carmina” has filed a bug report stating that “every post I publish on my site does NOT show a featured image when I try to share the link in Facebook”, and there are numerous …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Apr 2015
Newspapers

Whither the PC? Mobes, slabs drive majority of traffic for top news sites

Most of the top news websites get more traffic from handheld gadgets than desktop computers – a not-so-shocking result that serves to underline the soaring sales of phones, and possibly the emergence of today's clickbaity 30-second-attention-span media. The figures come from Pew Research and ComScore, and apparently show that …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Apr 2015

Instagram's HTTPS cert expires, millions of crap photographers panic

Instagram's SSL certificate has expired, showing the urine-filled-swimming-goggles-vision site's supposed commitment to security seems to have been a bit of a filter-job. Instagram first rolled out HTTPS in 2014 when a vulnerablity was reported by InfoSec specialist Mazin Ahmed. Ahmed used Wireshark to captured unencrypted data …
Zuck balloons

Facebook policy wonk growls at Europe's mass of data laws

Facebook's Brussels lobbyist Richard Allan took to the pages of the Pink 'Un on Wednesday morning to have a good old moan about "multiple" EU nations digging around the free content ad network's data-slurping biz practices. He complained that the actions of national privacy watchdogs within the 28-member-state bloc posed a …
Kelly Fiveash, 29 Apr 2015
Old beardy man thinking. Pic: Henadz via Flickr

Jeez, AT&T. Billing a pensioner $24,000 for dialup is pretty low

An 83-year-old man in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles saw the bill for using his AOL dial-up service rise from a regular $51 per month to an unbelievable $8,596, eventually rising to $24,289, with threats of further increases if he failed to pay up. As a pensioner on Social Security, Ron Dorff receives a monthly income of just $1, …
Alan Rusbridger as Judas

FT and Guardian eagerly grab Google's 30 pieces of silver

Money can’t buy you love, they say, but Google hopes it can mollify Europe’s newspaper publishers. Faced with antitrust action in Europe, the Chocolate Factory is pouring €150m directly into the pockets of European newspaper publishers to use on “digital projects”, the FT reports. The cash will fund “joint work on product …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Apr 2015
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Let downloads roam free, says ACCC

Australia's consumer regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, is pushing back against calls to ban accessing offshore content with means such as VPNs, in a submission to an inquiry into copyright legislation. The competition regulator reckons parallel importation should be available in every market, …
Verizon's FiOS promo shot

ESPN sues Verizon: People picking their own TV channels? NOOoo!

Sports TV giant ESPN is suing Verizon after the telco invited its FiOS home subscribers to pick and choose their TV channels. ESPN has filed a lawsuit in New York State alleging breach of contract, and is seeking damages. ESPN reckons Verizon is "unfairly depriving" it of money by allowing people to drop unwanted channels, …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2015
Office Space

Zucking 'ell! Facebook at Work bloke unfriends Facebook AT WORK

Lars Rasmussen has quit Facebook after nearly five years as director of engineering at the free content ad network. He defected from Google to the Mark Zuckerberg-run company in 2010 in the immediate aftermath of the failure of his wonky Wave project, which he described at the time as being a "little stressful" to try to get off …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Apr 2015
Monty Python dead parrot sketch

Not so fast on FM switch-off: DAB not so hot say small broadcasters

Norway's plan to ditch FM radio broadcasting has come under fire from that country's smaller broadcasters. The Register reported last week that with digital reaching its audience targets, the government set a 2017 date for the death of analogue FM radio in that country - freeing up spectrum for "digital dividend"-style …

Comcast flees $45bn monster-merger with Time Warner Cable

Comcast has admitted it has given up on its $45bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC). Comcast, America's biggest cable giant, announced in the past few hours that it will end the pursuit of its largest rival amid stiff opposition from government watchdogs and other telcos. "Today, we move on," declared Comcast CEO Brian …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Apr 2015
Judge Dredd

DRM is NOT THE LAW, I AM THE LAW, says JUDGE DREDD

Rebellion, the games developer that owns 2000AD - British comics' finest product – has banished digital rights management (DRM) from Mega-City One. The company's announced that once punters purchase tales of Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog or Rogue Trooper online, they'll be able to access DRM-free downloadables of their purchases. …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Apr 2015
Google UK office logos

>Ring, ring< Hey Wall St. Yeah, it's Google. Yeah, bad news again, fellas

Google missed analysts' earnings estimates for the sixth quarter in a row on Thursday, despite the fact that its actual performance for the three months ending on March 31 was more than respectable. As usual, one has to wonder whether Wall Street isn't being just a bit over-optimistic about the online ad-slinger's prospects. …
Neil McAllister, 23 Apr 2015

Comcast 'flees $45bn monster-merger with Time Warner Cable'

Comcast is walking away from its proposed $45bn merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC), insiders claim. Comcast will announce as early as Friday its intent to scrap its plans for the mega-acquisition, according to well-placed sources speaking to Bloomberg. Comcast did not take up The Register's offer to deny the claims. The …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Apr 2015
Photo by Mike Mozart

Comcast accused of torpedoing Hulu sale to rivals with weapon of mass transactions

Comcast allegedly talked its fellow Hulu investors out of selling the TV streaming upstart to DirecTV or AT&T by insisting it could steer the web biz to financial triumph. That's a serious accusation because Comcast had agreed with the FCC and US Department of Justice to keep its hands off the management of Hulu. In the end, …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2015

Facebook fiddles with News Feed algo. Brace yourself for CONTENTGEDDON

Facebook has modified its News Feed algorithm and warned Facebook Page owners that "post reach and referral traffic" could plummet following the overhaul. The free content ad network said it planned to apply three changes to the News Feed function. One of those tweaks will apparently make friends' posts more prominent than …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 Apr 2015

Cheer up songwriters, there's shedloads of money rolling in

The UK's performing sights society PRS for Music recorded a slim profit of £1.4m last year on turnover of £73.9m. The society collects and distributes royalties for songwriters and music publishers from radio, physical venues and plays on the internet, as well as the “mechanical” – a small proportion from the sale of a sound …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Apr 2015
Cow skull

TV networks peck at sun-bleached skeleton of Aereo, come away with $950,000

The skeletal remains of ill-fated TV streaming startup Aereo will pay out $950,000 in a copyright infringement settlement, putting to rest a lawsuit filed by US broadcasters that has already sent it into bankruptcy. For a couple of years, Aereo operated an online video service that captured live television broadcasts, recorded …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2015
Pulling the plug

Google pulls plug on YouTube for older iPads, iPhones, smart TVs

Some aging smart TVs, Blu-Ray players, iPhones and iPads are headed for early dotage, thanks to a decision by Google to shut down the older version of its YouTube API. According to a revised product support page, the YouTube apps built into certain devices manufactured in 2012 or earlier will soon stop functioning, beginning …
Neil McAllister, 21 Apr 2015

The content business wants Netflix out of Australia

Debate about copyright and virtual private networks (VPNs) has reached such a pitch in Australia that at least one voice wants a policy that, taken literally, would have the effect of closing down Netflix in this country. I don't mean “stopping Australians from accessing Netflix US via VPNs”, I mean “bye-bye Netflix, go home to …
pipes

Web advertising giant (Google) to spew ads over web – using HTTPS

Google has vowed to serve ads over HTTPS from its massive advertising network. The move will make it easier for website owners to go fully SSL-protected, serving their webpages and ads over HTTPS rather than just the pages over HTTPS and mixing in ads over HTTP, which is insecure. It also means each ad and its link can't be …
Darren Pauli, 20 Apr 2015
Angry-looking cat. Pic by  Guyon Morée from Beverwijk, Netherlands. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

BuzzFeed: We don't pull 'articles' due to advertiser pressure VERY OFTEN

Devilish mediabomination site BuzzFeed has confessed that it removed "content"* because it drew complaints from the site's advertising partners. "Editor-in-chief" Ben Smith sent the results of an internal review to staff last Saturday which revealed three instances on his watch in which content had been removed after it had …
Team Register, 20 Apr 2015
"Armageddon" image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures/Touchstone Pictures

UH OH, it's MOBILEGEDDON! Your site may lose, well, PENNIES

Comment Google has adjusted its algorithms so websites it deems to be "mobile-friendly" will – from today, Tuesday – rank higher on the advertising colossus' search listings, if they are searched for from a mobile device. Inevitably, the move has triggered gripes to the effect that businesses – in particular small online players – will …
Kelly Fiveash, 20 Apr 2015

Who runs this world? Sony Pictures CEO jokes about getting UK culture minister fired

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton mulled pulling strings to get UK culture minister Ed Vaizey fired to replace him with the grandson of former prime minister Harold MacMillan. Vaizey, a democratically elected Tory moderniser, oversaw "digital industries" for Britain's Coalition government – from broadband to copyright …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Apr 2015
Michael Bromwich

Ebook price-fix saga: Official Apple peeler says probe is fruitless

A US court-appointed watchdog tasked with ensuring Apple sticks to its e-book price-fixing settlement promises says the iThing giant is not playing ball. In a report [PDF] submitted to the New York Southern District Court, external compliance monitor Michael Bromwich claims Apple has not cooperated with his efforts to examine …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Apr 2015

Mega fatcat Kim Dotcom in deportation drama over SPEEDING ticket

Mega.co.nz kingpin Kim Dotcom may soon be booted out of New Zealand – because of a speeding ticket. The resilient and colorful entrepreneur is living on the Pacific island having gained residency rights in 2010. But he is also wanted by the US authorities for running the Megaupload file-sharing website, a service Dotcom …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Apr 2015