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Tech giants gang up on Obama over encryption key demands

A pair of technology industry pressure groups have sent a letter to President Obama asking his administration to back off demands that companies give government agencies the ability to decrypt all user data. In the letter [PDF], the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) and the Software and Information Industry …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Jun 2015
Data center

Mesosphere's 'data center OS' now free for world+dog (almost)

VC-backed Mesosphere says its Datacenter Operating System (DCOS) is now generally available in a free Community Edition. Mesosphere DCOS is a platform for running and managing clustered data center workloads that combines Apache Mesos with a mix of open source and proprietary components. Essentially, it's cloud infrastructure …
Blackmail

Bitcoin blackmail gang start hurling DDoSes at Scandinavia

Bitcoin extortionists DD4BC have begun targeting Scandinavian companies with complex DDoS attacks. DD4BC is blackmailing targets by asking them to pay 40 bitcoins or more to avoid their central services being subject to DDoS attacks. Extortionate demands typically appear in emails around an hour after targets are blitzed off the …
John Leyden, 9 Jun 2015
apple music

The thing about Apple's 'one MORE thing'? It's a streaming music thing

WWDC 2015 Apple CEO Tim Cook closed out the WWDC keynote today with a typical "one more thing" non-surprise: a Spotify clone that just about everyone in the entire world knew was coming. Dubbed Apple Music, the service will combine music-streamed-over-the-internet with a round-the-clock live radio station and media-sharing service for …
Shaun Nichols, 8 Jun 2015
China censorship

Aliyun enlists partners to take over the world's white fluffy stuff

Chinese cloud purveyor Aliyun, part of the Middle Kingdom's Alibaba Group, has signed up a raft of international partners to flog its services globally. The seven companies include chipzilla Intel, data centre outfit Equinix, French website hosting and cloud services provider Linkbynet. This is the first wave of partners to join …
Kat Hall, 8 Jun 2015
US cashpoint. Pic: Tax Credits

Cynical Apple says it'll gouge less cash from iTunes strummers' sales

Apple is looking to move from the 30 per cent margin it makes on sales of apps through iTunes, lowering its take to protect the strength of the Apple ecosystem. The Financial Times (paywall) reports that Apple is in discussion with media companies ahead of a launch for Apple’s TV streaming service and curated streaming music …
Simon Rockman, 8 Jun 2015

Iomart snaps up SystemsUp for a cool £9m

Glasgow-based cloud outfit Iomart has snapped up London-based IT consultancy biz SystemsUp for a cool £9m. SystemsUp is a G-Cloud partner to Google, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. Its turnover in the twelve months to 31 March 2015 was £4m, with profit before tax of £1.5m. A further payment of between £1m-£3.5m will be made …
Kat Hall, 8 Jun 2015
Taylor Swift

Dre-stic measures: Apple Beats retreat from iTunes brand – report

Apple has reportedly all but abandoned its iTunes brand after 15 years of using the name for its music service. According to the Financial Times, the iThing maker will unveil Apple Music on Monday at the Worldwide Developers Conference. It's understood that Apple Music will be pre-installed when iPhone customers upgrade their …
Kelly Fiveash, 6 Jun 2015

The weapons pact threatening IT security research

Analysis The US government has rewritten chunks of an obscure weapons trade pact between itself, Europe, Russia, and other nations – a pact that is now casting its shadow over today's computer security tools. Dubbed the Wassenaar Agreement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, the treaty limits who …
Iain Thomson, 6 Jun 2015

Private cloud is NOT dead – and for one good reason: Control of data

Comment Reports that private clouds are dead are greatly exaggerated. Far from being dead, IDC’s latest research shows that private clouds are expected to grow at the same rate as public clouds for the next five years. This will not surprise anyone who has worked in or with an enterprise IT operation. Even public cloud giant AWS is …
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UK's richest man backs music minnow merger to annoy Ticketzilla

Two former MySpace featurettes which became companies — Songkick, which alerts you to acts playing near you, and CrowdSurge which handles merchandise and ticket sales — have agreed to merge. They will "do business under the globally recognized Songkick brand, bringing together over 500 of the world’s biggest artists with a …
shutterstock_186568010-troll

New US bill aims to zap patent trolls with transparency demands

The US Senate Judiciary Committee has recommended that the "Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship Act 6 of 2015" be accepted. The committee voted 16-4 in favour of the bill (Patent bill S.1137, PDF), which aims to reduce patent trolling and, it is said, uncover who is taking an action and why. The bill stipulates that …
Simon Rockman, 5 Jun 2015
Snowden

Ed Snowden should be pardoned, thunders Amnesty Int'l

Amnesty International UK has launched a campaign to get President Obama to drop the espionage charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. To mark two years since Snowden went public on the extent of the NSA’s surveillance activities, Amnesty has stepped up its campaign to get the charges against him dropped. Despite US …
Columns of coins in the cloud

HMRC ditches Microsoft for Google, sends data offshore

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the first major department to move to Google Apps, part of an apparent loosening of Microsoft's stranglehold on the government's software services. The department will join the Cabinet Office and Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in deploying the fluffy white stuff. HMRC …
Kat Hall, 5 Jun 2015
ISIS fighters

FBI: Apple and Google are helping ISIS by offering strong crypto

Apple and Google are helping terrorism by offering users encrypted communications, a senior FBI official has told the House Homeland Security Committee in Congress, and US law enforcement needs to stop them from doing it. Michael Steinbach, assistant director in the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, told Congress that ISIS and …
Iain Thomson, 5 Jun 2015
Bye bye Olympia

Infosec turns 20 to face battle with BSides, RSAC Unplugged

Infosec 2015 Infosec, the annual IT security trade show, wheeled out the rock stars of the Infosec world for its 20th anniversary this week. Bruce Schneier and John McAfee – the Paul McCartney and Keith Moon of the cybersecurity world – both keynoted as the show return to its original home in Olympia, London following an extended sojourn at …
John Leyden, 4 Jun 2015
Rackspace CTO John Engates

Rackspace sees future in cloud mgmt services – even on others' setups

Rackspace Solve London Speaking at the Rackspace Solve event in London, the company's CTO John Engates said an increased focus on cloud management services rather than just infrastructure might extend to running applications on third-party clouds. Rackspace is already rolling out what it calls Cloud Office: Microsoft Office 365, or Google Apps for …
Tim Anderson, 4 Jun 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft spunks $500m to reinvent the wheel. Why?

Comment As strange shopping expeditions go, this has to rank alongside London Bridge being bought, dismantled, and then rebuilt in Arizona. The world’s biggest software company, Microsoft, has now spent half a billion dollars on mobile apps that are poor cousins of its own Exchange and Outlook software. Apps that, in some cases, don’t …

Mad John McAfee: 'Can you live in a society that is more paranoid than I'm supposed to be?'

Infosec 2015 John McAfee delivered a surprisingly non-controversial keynote speech to the London Infosec Conference on Wednesday afternoon, lauding the value of privacy, doing so – to the concern of his bewildered audience – whilst seemingly tickling himself through the cloth of his pocket. McAfee's talk was essentially a rant against …
shutterstock_282226826-Internet-of-things

Toshiba-Microsoft IoT collaboration wins at buzzword Bingo

“Internet of Things”, “Cloud”, “SaaS”, “state of the art”, “great user experience”: it’s all in the latest cross-supply agreement between Microsoft and Toshiba. The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding where Toshiba will supply the hardware and Microsoft the software to build Internet of Things things, …
Simon Rockman, 4 Jun 2015
Parachutists and cloud image via Shutterstock

IBM thinks inside Blue Box with OpenStack private-cloud purchase

IBM has snatched OpenStack cloud floater Blue Box, a 12-year-old firm delivering private cloud as a service. IBM claimed the marriage of the Big Blue and Blue Box would help it speed deployment of private clouds and simplify management of OpenStack clouds. Blue Box will be deployed to Bluemix, IBM’s programme to build, manage …
Gavin Clarke, 4 Jun 2015
It's upgrade time again folks...

Lonely Pirate cheers on Big Copyright-bashing EU commissars

The EU's sole Pirate Party MEP has welcomed rumours that the European Commission is to get tough with big Hollywood firms’ geo-blocking activities. According to a Bloomberg report the EU's competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, is set to send a so-called “statement of objections” to US movie studios 20th Century Fox, Warner …

Dodgy colon bug is a total pain in the butt for Skype users today

Adding a single colon to a web link is enough to kill Skype on your PC, Android and iOS device. Sending the characters http://: in a chat conversation via the software will cause the application to crash, and bomb all over again when restarted as the application will process the chat characters again before you get a chance to …

Gamers! Yes, gamers – they'll rescue our streaming Fire TV box, hopes Amazon

Amazon is hoping to crack the streaming media market with a new gaming app that lets you play many of the latest titles for $6.99 a month. GameFly Streaming is available today as an app on the retail giant's Fire TV and lets you rent bundles of games at a time. For example, the "Action Pack" contains seven titles including F.E.A …
Mist and condensation, image via Shutterstock

Hybrid cloud: Define what it is, then decide what you want

First, there was software as a service, infrastructure and then platform as a service, then public and private cloud, and today hybrid cloud — but is the latter vendor-driven cloud washing or something more? Lending credence to the latter is the fact EMC last week spent a juicy $1.2bn buying Virtustream to increase its presence …
Great Wall of China

China cracks down further on VPNs as censorship intensifies

China's government is cracking down further on the use of virtual private networks to circumnavigate its Great Firewall, as part of the ongoing game of whack-a-mole between censors and an increasingly tech-savvy population. Charlie Smith, co-founder of the censorship in China monitoring site GreatFire.org, said there has been a …
Kat Hall, 3 Jun 2015
HP execs Mike Nefkens, Antonio Neri, and Robert Youngjohns

Life after HP cracks off into two: Execs spill the beans – tiny little beans

HP Discover The theme of the opening keynote at the HP Discover conference on Tuesday was "Winning in the New Style of Business," but what the audience in Las Vegas really wanted to know was whether HP can really win by splitting into two companies. That transition is expected to complete by the beginning of HP's fiscal 2016, which starts …
Flats, image via Shutterstock

Forget the density, just unlock your cloud's power sweet spot

Talk to a friend or colleague in IT, and pretty soon you’ll get on the topic of big data, the data explosions, and mega data centres. Bar stool logic — and prevailing wisdom — suggests there is no end to our collective hunger for data, and so this must be fed by ever-larger, ever-denser data centres designed, powered and chilled …
Dave Wilby, 2 Jun 2015

Time Warner CFO Artie Minson quits to join babble-filled upstart

Time Warner Cable's chief financial officer, Arthur Minson, is stepping down just a few days after after Charter Communications agreed to merge with his employers for $78.7bn in cash and shares. "Artie" Minson will join WeWork, a start-up platform which describes itself as "the platform for creators. We provide everything you …
Spy cat Zhuzha. Pic: Mark Vegas

US Patriot Act's phone spying rules are dead – but that means very little

Analysis For the last 36 hours the NSA hasn't been able to collect the metadata on every American's mobile phone calls, and yet the Republic still stands, despite warnings of dire consequences. "A small group of senators is standing in the way. And, unfortunately, some folks are trying to use this debate to score political points," said …
Iain Thomson, 2 Jun 2015
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, speaking at Build 2015

Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

Opinion What happens when your data sample isn’t representative of the public? We already know, for 2015 is turning out to be the year of the dodgy opinion poll. And it isn’t just politicians who are being stung. In Windows 10, Microsoft says it will hide running apps from the task bar, breaking a twenty-year-old convention which …
GCHQ Benhall doughnut aerial view

GCHQ gros fromage stays schtum on Snowden and snooping

Infosec 2015 A top GCHQ official opened the Infosecurity Europe trade show in London with an on-message keynote that focused on promoting best practice rather than dealing with Edward Snowden and the ongoing controversy over the so-called Snoopers’ Charter. Ciaran Martin, director general of cyber-security at GCHQ, gave a broad overview of …
John Leyden, 2 Jun 2015
The new Pirate Bay logo

Third Pirate Bay founder freed from clink, vows to fight domain seizure

Pirate Bay cofounder Fredrik Neij has reportedly been released from a Swedish prison after serving the mandatory two-thirds of his ten-month sentence for copyright violation. BitTorrent news site TorrentFreak reports that Neij, 37, was released on Monday and has already rejoined family and friends. Neij, who fled Sweden to …
Apple Beats headphones

Will Apple reveal a $10-a-month Spotify rival next week? Yeah, yeah, probably

Apple is gearing up to stream music online for $10 a month, a service that will rival Spotify, it is rumored. Apparently, the cloud-hosted jukebox will be separate from the iTunes Store, and will be revealed at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) – which kicks off on June 8 in San Francisco. Apple is expected to …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Jun 2015

Facebook flings PGP-encrypted email at world+dog. Don't lose your private key

Hands-on Facebook can now powerfully encrypt notification emails sent to its users with PGP – keeping potentially sensitive messages out of the hands of hackers and other snoopers. The social network has also added a spot for people to share their public PGP keys via the HTTPS-protected website. "We are gradually rolling out an …
Iain Thomson, 1 Jun 2015
Nicole Kidman (Christine Lucas) in Before I Go To Sleep

OK Google, how much of my life do you observe and disturb?

Google would like netizens to believe that the vast multinational has bolstered "privacy" controls on its services today. But you'd be wrong to swallow that line. In fact, no changes have been made to the company's data-slurping and scraping policies. Instead – in a move reflecting Facebook's somewhat disingenuous claims to be …
Kelly Fiveash, 1 Jun 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

It's FREE WINDOWS 10 time: 29 July is D-Day, yells Microsoft

Windows 10 will be coughed up by Microsoft on July 29, the company said on Monday morning – and Windows 7 and 8.1 users can reserve their free upgrade right now. Gratis upgrades to Windows 10 are pegged to last for 12 months, as previously announced by Microsoft. That gives you until the end of July 2016 to claim them. Also, on …
Gavin Clarke, 1 Jun 2015
Cloud foundry login screen

Cloud Foundry takes first steps into Azure

Microsoft's promise to make Azure Cloud Foundry-friendly has become concrete. A bit. The company's announced a “public preview of open source Cloud Foundry for Microsoft Azure”. Cloud Foundry's availability on Azure is a medium-sized deal, as it means those who chose to develop on the newly open-sourced platform can now deploy …
Week #25 - Pet Peeves SMS by https://www.flickr.com/photos/rwdave/  cc 2.0 attribution noderivs https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Google to axe TXT reminders for Calendar events

Google has emailed users of its Calendar service to advise them that “Starting on June 27th, 2015, SMS notifications from Google Calendar will no longer be sent.” The Chocolate Factory's reasoning for the cessation of TXT reminders is that “SMS notifications launched before smartphones were available. Now, in a world with …
Fedora 22 with Firefox

Fedora 22: Don't be glum about the demise of Yum – this is a welcome update

Review The big news with Fedora 22, just delivered, is the Fedora project actually managed to stick pretty close to its proposed schedule. Fedora 22 arrived just one week later than scheduled – but what's a week after the month-long delays of the last few release cycles? It would seem that the recent top-down restructuring of the …
TOR Logo

Unmasking hidden Tor service users is too easy, say infosec bods

Updated Security researchers speaking at the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam this week have demonstrated that users of hidden services on Tor are putting themselves at risk of being identified – if an attacker is willing to put in the time and resources. The discovery is significant, because browsing hidden services had been …
Iain Thomson, 30 May 2015
Google Photo

Google spins up 'FREE, unlimited' cloud photo storage 4 years before ad giant nixes it

Google I/O Google has wheeled out a cloud-hosted photo storage service that, it hopes, will mean that embarrassing images from your past can be organized by computers so you don't have to. Youtube video The photo album software, available on Android and iOS from Thursday, slurps up all the photos on your mobile, and uploads them to a …
Iain Thomson, 29 May 2015