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Collateral carnage as ZTE sanctions see Australia’s top telco dump mobe-maker

Australia’s largest and dominant telco, Telstra, has stopped selling the ZTE devices it sold under its own brand. Telstra blamed US sanctions recently imposed on ZTE that prevent the Chinese mobe-maker from acquiring parts made by US companies. ZTE halted its production lines as a result, saying that it just can’t build …
Simon Sharwood, 10 May 2018

FCC sets a record breaking $120m fine for rude robocalls

The FCC has upheld a $120m fine levied against a man accused of making 96 million illegal robocalls. The commission on Thursday announced it would indeed seek to collect the massive fine it had first proposed against Adrian Abramovich in 2017. Abramovich, a Miami-based travel marketer it said was behind tens of millions of …
Shaun Nichols, 10 May 2018
US Border Patrol logo

US border cops told not to search seized devices just for the hell of it

A US Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling that American border agents cannot randomly order deep searches of travelers' electronic devices. The three-judge panel at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals all agreed on Wednesday that officials will need to have at least "reasonable suspicion" of a crime in order to obtain a …
Shaun Nichols, 10 May 2018

Consent, datasets and avoiding a visit from the information commissioner

Big data has been branded as - we're throwing up in our mouths as we say this – the "oil" of what has annoyingly become known as the "fourth industrial revolution."* Strip that down, and we're in part talking about the way individuals' data is used to knit new, virtual businesses. It's the basis of the app economy and …
Dave Cartwright, 10 May 2018

UK Home Office tiptoes back from slurping immigrants' NHS files

The UK government has partially backed down from ordering the NHS to hand over patients' personal details to the Home Office so it can track down illegal immigrants. The decision to force NHS Digital cough up non-clinical records came under fire from privacy and civil liberties campaigners, doctors, and Members of Parliament, …
Rebecca Hill, 09 May 2018
police in body armour doing a raid

Scrap London cops' 'racially biased' gang database – campaigners

The database London cops use to rank people's likelihood of gang-related violence is racially biased, a campaign group has said. In a report (PDF) published today, Amnesty International said the Gangs Violence Matrix, set up by the Metropolitan Police in 2012, was not fit for purpose and needs to be dismantled. The group said …
Rebecca Hill, 09 May 2018

Trademark dispute by Dr Dre against Dr Drai the gynaecologist dismissed

A long-running trademark dispute between rapper Dr Dre and Dr Drai, gynaecologist and author of 20 Things You May Not Know About A Vagina, has been dismissed by the the US trademark office. The case was lodged in 2015 after Pennsylvania-based gynaecologist Draion M Burch attempted to trademark the name Dr Drai. But the …
Kat Hall, 09 May 2018

Courting disaster: Watchdog slams UK justice digitisation plans

Ambitions to slash court staff by 5,000 and chop physical cases held by 2.4 million per year via digitisation are at "serious risk" of not being delivered on time, according to the National Audit Office. HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) hopes to save £265m by 2023 by cutting administrative and judicial staff costs, having …
Kat Hall, 09 May 2018
Parliament House Canberra icon

Oz Budget 2018: Cash for 3cm GPS resolution, federated IDs, payments reform and blockchain

Australia’s government has tabled its proposed budget for financial year 2018/19 and as usual there’s lots of technology-related spending to contemplate. Welfare payments agency Centrelink gets AU$316.2m to spend over the next four years on the third tranche of its Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation project. The …
Simon Sharwood, 09 May 2018
A man chasing a plane

Uber and NASA pen flying taxi probe pact

NASA and Uber have signed an agreement to ensure safe development of flying taxis in urban environments. At Uber’s second annual Elevate conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the company also revealed it plans to take Uber Air to the skies by 2028. NASA tells The Reg: For crying out loud. We're not building flying taxi …
Katyanna Quach, 09 May 2018
Ministry of Justice & Crown Prosecution Service government office building, Westminster.

UK Ministry of Justice knocks down towers, brings IT BACK in-house

Exclusive The Ministry of Justice is abandoning its experiment of breaking up big IT contracts into a so-called "tower model" and will instead bring tech management back in-house, The Register can reveal. In 2013, the UK government department awarded Lockheed Martin a £125m Service Integration and Management (SIAM) contract to integrate …
Kat Hall, 08 May 2018

UK age-checking smut overlord won't be able to handle the pressure – critics

The UK's smut overlord has been told it isn't up to the mammoth challenge it faces in regulating age checks for online porn, and that its guidelines do little to offer users much-needed guarantees on privacy. The British Board of Film Classification was this year named as the body in charge of regulating the government's …
Rebecca Hill, 08 May 2018

Kremlin's war on Telegram sees 50 VPNs stopped at the border

Russia's telecom regulator Roskomnadzor has taken a more granular approach to its battle with Telegram: instead of deep-sixing IP addresses by the millions, it says it's blocked 50 VPN providers from landing traffic in the country. At the end of last week, the regulator's deputy head Vadim Subbotin told state newsagency TASS …

Zombie Cambridge Analytica told 'death' can't save it from the law

The UK Information Commissioner's Office has told Cambridge Analytica's parent company SCL Elections to comply with an academic's data request, or else. US-based boffin Professor David Carroll, of the Parsons School of Design in New York, had filed a subject access request (SAR) in the UK, because American law didn't give him …

Google will vet political ads to ward off Phantom Menace of fake news

Google is overhauling its political advertising system in an effort to crack down on shady election ads. The Chocolate Factory says it will require additional verification and attribution for political ads that run on its search results page, including a new requirement that anyone paying for a political ad spot be a US …
Shaun Nichols, 04 May 2018
Man peeks into box

Time to ditch the Facebook login: If customers' data should be protected, why hand it over to Zuckerberg?

Comment Mark Zuckerberg recently endured a grilling from the US Congress over Facebook's inability to stop bleeding user data. A week later, investors rewarded his company with a $50bn increase in its market capitalisation on news that – surprise! – a massive userbase pays big dividends. But it's worse than 87 million users' data that …
Matt Asay, 04 May 2018
revolving door

FTC Commissioner refuses to budge until Trump fulfills promises

In a further sign that punching your way out of a paper bag is much harder than people assume, America's consumer rights watchdog the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ended up with one commissioner too many. Christine Wilson was unanimously confirmed by the Senate last week as one of five new FTC commissioners, but there is …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 May 2018
Cthulu springs from HP desktop printer

HP Ink to compensate punters for bricking third-party ink cartridges

HP Inc’s Australian tentacle* will compensate Australian printer buyers for not disclosing that its products would not accept third-party ink supplies. In a piece of language of which George Orwell would be proud, HP Inc called its competition-crimping code the “Dynamic Security Feature”. The company didn’t disclose that the …
Simon Sharwood, 03 May 2018

US military base stores pull Huawei, ZTE kit off the shelves

America's Department of Defense has banned all Huawei and ZTE devices from sale in all Defense Exchanges - the shops offered to military personnel and veterans. The ban was confirmed by DoD spokesperson David Eastburn, who told Stars & Stripes the Defense Department's undersecretary for personnel and readiness issued a ban …
Boeing 777--2H6/ER 9M-MRI, an aircraft very similar to the one that operated Flight MH370. Pic: Ryan Fletcher/Shutterstock

Last attempt to find MH370 starts this week

The probably-final attempt at finding MH370, the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 missing since March 2014, has commenced. The initial search effort led by Australian authorities could not find the plane after more than two years scouring the sea floor in remote southern areas of the Indian ocean. Australia, India and China, …
Simon Sharwood, 03 May 2018
Batman. Credit: DC Comics.

Irish High Court slams Facebook's conduct, smacks down bid to drag out data probe

The Irish High Court has slapped down Facebook's bid to further delay the battle over the legality of its transatlantic data transfers in a critical judgment that questions the firm's previous conduct in court. On Monday, Facebook applied for a stay in the long-running case over the way in which it transfers data from the EU …
Rebecca Hill, 02 May 2018

Post-Facebook fallout: Americans envy Europeans' privacy – top EU data watchdog

The US’s days of "splendid isolation" when it comes to privacy regulations are numbered, Europe’s top data protection watchdog has warned. The past six weeks have put a spotlight on data protection like never before, exposing legal but questionable data use, as well as potential misuse and political manipulation to an extent …
Rebecca Hill, 02 May 2018

Australian government plans to do a Facebook on citizens' data

+COMMENT The Australian government has published its formal response to proposals to turn its citizens into Facebook-like data points, promising AU$65 million to spread the Big Data love. The Data Availability and Use inquiry was established in 2016 and delivered its report in 2017. Yesterday, the government finally released its …
Crocodile Dundee, 20th Century Fox.

Australian SigInt spooks won't get power to spy on locals

On the weekend, Australian government figures denied a plan to give the country's signal-intelligence spooks power to spy on Australian citizens, but yesterday, Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton denied and endorsed the suggestion. The official denials of discussions to move the Australian Signals Directorate into the already- …
man worries as earthquake shakes shelf

Ahem! Uber, Lyft etc: California Supremes just shook your gig economy with contractor ruling

The business models of Uber, Lyft, Instacart, TaskRabbit, GrubHub and numerous other "gig economy" companies may need an overhaul following a decision by the California Supreme Court to redefine when someone is a contractor or an employee. In a decision this week that went against delivery company Dynamex Operations West, the …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 May 2018
woman holds contract agreement to sign

Publishers tell Google: We're not your consent lackeys

Publishers have slammed Google's updated ad policies, accusing it of passing the buck – and the liability for multimillion-pound fines – onto them, while offering insufficient detail on its plans for user data. As the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation draws ever closer, tech firms are refreshing various …
Rebecca Hill, 01 May 2018

Techies! Britain's defence secretary wants you – for cyber-sniping at Russia

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson has called for "people with amazing cyber and IT skills" to join the Armed Forces, as Britain's National Security Adviser confirmed to Parliament today that Russia is the UK's main "strategic threat". In an interview for the Politics Home website, Williamson said: "In this age where there's …
Gareth Corfield, 01 May 2018
Ted Frank

Let's be Frank: Bloke drags Google to the US Supreme Court over $8.5m privacy payout

Interview Ted Frank has hit the equivalent of a legal jackpot: a hearing in front of the US Supreme Court. "Certiorari granted: 17-961 Frank, Theodore H., et al. V. Gaos, Paloma, et al," reads the order list [PDF] for April 30, 2018 – one of only three cases whose petitions were granted; 138 others were denied. The chance to argue a …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 May 2018

Supreme Court to dig into Google's very cosy $8.5m deal with lawyers over web search leak

A dodgy deal cooked up between Google and the lawyers that successfully sued it for violating user privacy is heading to the US Supreme Court. On Monday, America's top court agreed [PDF] to hear just three cases out of more than 100 applications – and one of them covers a $8.5m payout from Google for revealing users' search …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Apr 2018

Facebook furiously pumps brakes on Euro probe into transatlantic personal data slurping

Facebook today appealed the Irish High Court’s decision to pass the web giant's legal battle with Max Schrems over privacy rights to the European Union’s top court. At the heart of the long-running case is the question of whether or not Facebook is fulfilling its European privacy obligations when it transfers European citizens …
Rebecca Hill, 30 Apr 2018

Tick tock data-muncher: UK to let info commish demand faster access

Data Protection Bill The UK government wants to grant the Information Commissioner power to demand that data controllers and processors hand over information in just 24 hours – instead of a week – and plan to make destruction of such information an offence. The data protection watchdog hit the headlines when the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke …
Rebecca Hill, 30 Apr 2018

US citizen sues France over France-dot-com brouhaha

An expat in the US is suing the French government and Verisign after the Fifth Republic seized the domain name France.com. The lawsuit, filed in the American federal courts, seeks the return of France.com to the control of the online travel agency Jean-Noel Frydman, a French-born US citizen, set up around the domain France.com …
Gareth Corfield, 30 Apr 2018

Windrush immigration papers scandal: What it didn't teach UK.gov about data compliance

Comment Is there a lesson for politicians around the apparent destruction of disembarkation cards of citizens from Caribbean nations who arrived in the UK after the Second World War? Perhaps. But it goes something like this: it's a bad idea for the Home Office to make it difficult for legal immigrants to prove their status. It's an …
Jane Fae , 30 Apr 2018
Amber Rudd

Javid's in, Rudd's out: UK Home Sec quits over immigration targets scandal

Amber Rudd threw in the towel late last night and resigned as Home Secretary over her mishandling of an immigration scandal. Rudd, who scraped through the 2017 general election with a majority of just 346 votes from more than 52,000 cast, quit at 10pm on Sunday night after political pressure mounted over targets set for the …
Gareth Corfield, 30 Apr 2018

Australian Signals Directorate won't become domestic snoops

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) says it's investigating the leak of sensitive government documents outlining a plan the government says doesn't exist and won't be implemented. The Official Kerfuffle began when Australian Murdoch organ The Daily Telegraph published a story (unlinked because it's behind a paywall) alleging …
NBN CEO Bill Morrow

nbn™ CEO blames copper for performance problems

On his way out the door, nbn™ CEO Bill Morrow has written that at least some of the problems plaguing the National Broadband Network (NBN) can be attributed to its use of copper wires as a connection medium. It's something of a paradox that Morrow's document [PDF] was published as the UK regulator, Ofcom, warned BT it needed …

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