Policy > More stories

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, speaking at Build 2015

Microsoft goes to bat for Dreamers: Windows giant sues Uncle Sam to block staff deportations

Microsoft is suing the US government to prevent the deportation of immigrants – including at least 45 of its own staffers – who are in America under the now-dying DACA program. The Redmond giant has signed on to a lawsuit filed by Princeton University on behalf of one of its students seeking an injunction against the …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Nov 2017

Official US govt Twitter accounts caught tweeting in Russian, now mysteriously axed

The US Digital Registry – an authoritative list of government Twitter accounts – reveals that almost 30 have been suspended, several after tweeting in, er, Russian. Justin Littman, a software developer and librarian in the ‎Scholarly Technology Group at George Washington University's Gelman Library, identified the accounts in …
Thomas Claburn, 06 Nov 2017
prostitute

Silicon Valley giants tap escape on fight against web sex trafficking law

Just before the weekend, the Internet Association quietly dropped its objections to the proposed Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) which is making its way through US Congress – after fighting against the draft legislation for months. SESTA was introduced to the Senate in August, and amends section 230 of the …
Iain Thomson, 06 Nov 2017
Lady Shouting into a megaphone with news sheets floating out of the mega phone

Google, Twitter gleefully spew Texas shooter fake news into netizens' eyes

Following the murder-suicide of 26 people in church on Sunday by Texas gunman Devin Kelley, ad giant Google managed to shoot itself in the foot by promoting fake news about the 26-year-old. As countless internet users noticed Monday morning, a search for the gunman's name on Google brought up a special "carousel" of tweets …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Nov 2017
Healthy looking person uses app on phone.

Londoners: Ready to swap your GP for an NHS vid doc app?

Londoners are being given the choice of putting their health in the hands of their internet connection, via a 24/7 app-based NHS service which will allow them to have consultations with doctors over video call. The GP at Hand service has been rolled out for 3.5 million eligible in the UK capital. It uses a platform operated …
Richard Priday, 06 Nov 2017
The proposed badge on Martha lane Fox's doteveryone site. Jean jacket with a round lapel badge reading "fair"

Look out, Pepe: Martha Lane Fox has a plan

Competition Virtuous websites will be able to signal their goodness to the world under a new scheme proposed by digital quango queen Martha Lane Fox. The posh Lastminute.com founder and Twitter board member has floated the idea of a "fair trade"-style badge for websites that "respect user privacy and provide equal access for all". The …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Nov 2017

Europe's one-patent-court-to-rule-them-all rocked by 'Brexit, EPO reforms, German laws'

Plans to introduce a Europe-wide patent court may be delayed still further after the German parliament, government and patent lawyers asked for an extension on submitting responses to a legal challenge. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) have been on the books for five years, and was supposed to be in place by 2015 although it ran …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Nov 2017
Facebook

Facebook suggests mm-wave spectrum should be free in Australia

Facebook has urged the Australian government to open up millimeter-wave spectrum for licence-free applications. It's no secret that The Social Network™ has a fondness for wireless applications around the 60 GHz bands. Last year, it outlined its research into systems dubbed "Terragraph" and "Project ARIES" at its Connectivity …
NBN truck on Mount Cotton

Who's to blame for the NBN? Hardly anyone remembers, or cares

NBN WEEK Welcome to NBN Week, Reg Australia's new weekly roundup of the endless news of the nation's National Broadband Network. Last week we reported the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched an inquiry into the NBN's wholesale services. The irony of that decision is that it came just one day after a government MP …

Take off, ya hosers! Silicon Valley court says Google can safely ignore Canadian search ban

No, funnily enough, US tech monster Google doesn't have to obey a Canadian court order in America, a judge in the ad giant's home turf of California ruled this week. Google had asked a US federal district court in San Jose for an injunction banning Canadian router-maker Equustek from enforcing, in the United States at least, a …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Nov 2017
Paris Hilton DJs .  Editorial credit: ANDREA DELBO / Shutterstock.com

Beware Paris Hilton's investment advice, SEC tells investors

The United States' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned investors that celebrities may not understand that their endorsements of initial coin offerings are in breach of the law. The financial watchdog has issued advice in which it warns that “Investors should note that celebrity endorsements may appear unbiased …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Nov 2017

Donald, YOU'RE FIRED: Rogue Twitter worker quits, deletes President Trump's account

Updated For a few minutes on Thursday afternoon, Pacific Time, the Twitter account of US President Donald J. Trump ceased to exist – sensationally deleted by a Twitter worker on their last day of work, we're told. The absence of such a distinctive, dare we say divisive, social media voice was immediately noticed, and welcomed by some …
Thomas Claburn, 03 Nov 2017

ICANN gives domain souks permission to tell it the answer to Whois privacy law debacle

Internet overlord ICANN has hit on an ingenious solution to the impending collision of the domain name system's Whois service and incoming European privacy legislation: let everyone else figure it out. Following a week of testy meetings in which domain registries and registrars complained they face business-destroying fines if …
Kieren McCarthy, 02 Nov 2017

Data dealer slapped with £80k fine after flogging info for nuisance calls

Data-broker Verso has been ordered to cough up £80,000 after failing to tell people exactly what their info would be used for. The fine is the first handed down by the UK Information Commissioner's Office as part of a wider investigation into the data-broking industry. The Hertfordshire-based biz, which celebrates itself as …
Rebecca Hill, 02 Nov 2017
An RAF Chinook Mk.3 over RAF Odiham, Hampshire, in 2013. Crown copyright

Wheels are literally falling off the MoD thanks to lack of cash

British military helicopters are at risk of crashing while wheels are literally falling off Army Land Rovers thanks to poor maintenance and funding cuts, according to a damning report by the Defence Safety Authority. The UK watchdog's six-monthly report, published earlier this week, is a blistering look at Ministry of Defence …
Gareth Corfield, 02 Nov 2017
Tin can phone from Shutterstock

Woeful NBN services attract ACCC's attention

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has opened an inquiry into whether it needs to intervene in the National Broadband Network's (NBN's) service standards. The decision follows sustained and growing complaints over a range of service problems, chiefly connection delays, fault repairs, and over-contended …

So, tell us again how tech giants are more important than US govt...

Analysis It's something that everyone in public policy learns sooner or later: governments may be slow and cumbersome, they may be rife with hypocrisy and lacking in understanding, but they are still the government. And your money-making business is not. Yesterday, top lawyers at Facebook, Twitter and Google went through a bit of a …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Nov 2017

Competition law could help solve data-slurping monopolies, peers told

Information monopolies are a "vexing" problem, but data protection laws alone can't fix them, a UK parliamentary committee has been told. Members of the House of Lords committee investigating artificial intelligence yesterday quizzed experts on how personal data should be owned, managed and used. The peers voiced concerns …
Rebecca Hill, 01 Nov 2017
businessman shrugging - illustration via shutterstock

Facebook and pals to US Senate's Russia probe: Pleeease don't pass a law on political web ads

Analysis Lawyers from Facebook, Twitter, and Google did their best Tuesday to persuade congressmen not to pass new laws in the US to regulate online political ads. "Foreign interference is our elections reprehensible and goes against everything Facebook stands for," the social network's general counsel Colin Stretch told members of the …
Kieren McCarthy, 31 Oct 2017
(An allegedly) Bad dog's police mug shot...

Advisory body to 'reconsider' ethics of hanging onto 'mugshots'

The UK's national biometrics ethics advisory body has promised to reconsider the government's use of custody images. The National DNA Database Ethics Group last year raised ethical concerns about the retention and use of "custody images" – which include pics of people who have never been convicted of a crime – on Police …
Rebecca Hill, 31 Oct 2017
Security guard watches footage from hundreds of camera. Photo by Shutterstock

UK.gov: Snoop laws not 'significant' obstacle to EU data protection talks

The UK's Snooper's Charter should not be a "significant" obstacle to data protection negotiations with the European Union, the government has said. In a letter (PDF) to peers, digital minister Matthew Hancock reiterated that the UK was still aiming to gain an adequacy-plus model on data protection after the UK leaves the bloc …
Rebecca Hill, 31 Oct 2017
A Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jet of the French Air Force. Pic: Shutterstock

French senator demands public inquiry into Microsoft military deal

A French senator has put down a parliamentary motion demanding an investigation into Microsoft's framework deal with France's defence ministry. Senator Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam tabled the motion, which calls for the creation of a 21-strong investigative committee, earlier in October. It is part of a long-running issue in France …
Gareth Corfield, 31 Oct 2017

Google AMP supremo whinges at being called out on team's bulls***

The creator and lead developer of Google's news-sucking AMP service is unhappy about being called a liar. Malte Ubi responded Monday morning to a blog post written by Irish web developer Jeremy Keith in which Keith called Google out for painting its service as something for the greater good rather than a corporate money-making …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Oct 2017

Boffins befuddled over EU probe into UK's tax rules for multinationals

Experts are mystified as to why the European Commission has launched a probe into the UK tax arrangements of multinationals. Last week the commission opened an investigation into a UK government scheme it claims exempts large companies from anti-tax avoidance measures, believing the dispensation may break EU competition rules …
Kat Hall, 30 Oct 2017

Algorithms, Henry VIII powers, dodgy 1-man-firms: Reg strokes claw over Data Protection Bill

The House of Lords will today start poring over the UK’s Data Protection Bill, line by line, as it enters committee stage. The peers have to agree to every one of the 194 clauses in the bill and debate 32 pages' worth of amendments, so it's no surprise this stage can often take more than seven days to complete. The bill, …
Rebecca Hill, 30 Oct 2017
Bitcoin ban

Vietnam bans Bitcoin as payment for anything

The State Bank of Vietman has issued “Information related to the use of virtual currency” that bans use of the cryptocurrency for payments. It won't say why, and doesn't explicitly ban mining or blockchain. The Bank lists conventional payment mechanisms like cheques, payment orders and credit cards as permitted, but then adds …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Oct 2017
RAF F-35B ZM137, visiting the UK in 2016. Crown copyright

F-35s grounded by spares shortage

More than a decade after the first F-35 took to the air, the US military doesn't have a complete set of maintenance instructions, and spare parts shortages are keeping 22 per cent of the fleet out of the sky. A new United States' Government Accountability Office (GAO) report comes a week after the US Navy said it may leave 108 …
pirate

Iceland's Pirate Party loses four MPs in new elections

Still in the hunt to form governing coalition, if it can be bothered Iceland's privacy-friendly Pirate Party has lost four seats at new national elections. In October 2016 the party topped opinion polls and looked set to become a partner in a governing coalition, but ended up with fifteen per cent of the vote and ten seats, …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Oct 2017
Paying a court fine

Healthcare insurance cheat-bot bros Zenefits cough up $1m to make SEC probe go away

America's financial watchdog will extract $1m from controversial insurance reseller Zenefits and its former CEO to settle claims they lied to investors. The SEC said ex-boss Parker Conrad and the biz he founded Zenefits have agreed to shell out the dosh to end an investigation into whether they misled shareholders about the …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Oct 2017

Brave Twitter axes Russian media ads 11 months after the fact

Twitter has kicked up a fresh new crop of controversies over both its advertising policies and its user numbers. The San Francisco-based milliblogging giant said Thursday it would stop taking ads from two major Russian state-backed media outlets, Russia Today and Sputnik, effective immediately. Both publications had recently …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Oct 2017
Arrested, image via Shutterstock

UK.gov: Use police body cams to grill suspects at scene of crime

The Home Office wants cops to use body-worn cameras to carry out suspect interviews away from the police station, according to revised rules on the tech. If accepted, the draft proposals – which are part of a broader update to the codes of practice in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act – will grant police the power to use …
Rebecca Hill, 26 Oct 2017
Older woman on phone gives credit card number.

BT agrees to cream off less profit from landline-only customers

Former UK state monopoly BT has agreed to Ofcom's requests to hack more than a third off the price of monthly line rental for its one million landline-only punters across the UK. Even though wholesale costs of providing landlines had fallen, rental prices had risen, pointed out Ofcom, which said it was concerned that landline- …
Paul Kunert, 26 Oct 2017
privacy

WhatsApp? You still don't get EU privacy laws, that's WhatsApp

WhatsApp's privacy policies have come under fresh scrutiny from the European Union's data protection regulators, who say the Facebook-owned business has failed to smarten up its act. The Article 29 Working Party, which comprises data regulators from EU nations and the EU itself, believes that WhatsApp's latest terms and …
Rebecca Hill, 26 Oct 2017
Teen takes selfie with patient in hospital bed (in homey setting)

UK's NHS to pilot 'Airbnb'-style care service in homeowners' spare rooms

The NHS has been criticised over plans for an "Airbnb"-style scheme in which homeowners will be paid £1,000 a month to host patients in their spare rooms. Startup CareRooms is working with trusts and councils in Essex. Folks who sign up are asked to cook three microwave meals for their patient each day, provide them with …
Kat Hall, 25 Oct 2017
Man with a vaper apparatus - face obscured by smoke/vapour. Photo by Shutterstock

UK.gov not quite done with e-cigs, announces launch of new inquiry

The British government's Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into the impact of e-cigarettes on health, along with regulations guiding their use, and the financial implications on business and the NHS. Committee chairman Norman Lamb MP said that almost three million people in the UK now use e-cigarettes ( …
Kat Hall, 25 Oct 2017
No texting

Fines for crossing roads while TXTing enacted in Honolulu

The city of Honolulu has put into practice a law that fines people who “cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device.” “Viewing” is defined as “looking in the direction of the screen of a mobile electronic device.” The Hawaiian capital passed the law in late July and gave 90 days notice of its …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Oct 2017

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017