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BlackBerry sued by hundreds of staffers 'fooled' into quitting

Long-ago phone-builder BlackBerry has been sued by hundreds of employees who say they were tricked into quitting their jobs. Canadian law firm Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP says it is representing a class-action lawsuit of more than 300 people who were told by BlackBerry their jobs were being transferred to Ford Canada, a …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Feb 2017
POTUS

Probe President Trump and his crappy Samsung Twitter-o-phone, demand angry congressfolk

Fifteen members of US Congress have asked the House Oversight Committee to investigate whether President Trump is putting national security at risk by using an insecure phone and holding sensitive meetings in public. In a letter to the committee, the congressfolk say [PDF] they were inspired by reports that the Commander in …
Iain Thomson, 17 Feb 2017

Huge if true: iPhone 8 will feature 3D selfies, rodent defibrillator

With the exciting news that Apple is going to hold a conference in June where it will announce new products – only the 15th time it has done so since 2003 – we felt it was time to write down some wild speculation because, like lemmings, you will click on it and we make money when you do. Of course the big news is that June …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Feb 2017
My Friend Cayla and i-Que robot

Smash up your kid's Bluetooth-connected Cayla 'surveillance' doll, Germany urges parents

Germany's Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur, has banned Genesis Toys' Cayla doll as an illegal surveillance device. "Items that conceal cameras or microphones and that are capable of transmitting a signal, and therefore can transmit data without detection, compromise people's privacy," said agency president Jochen …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Feb 2017
US Flag and money

US account holders more likely to switch banks following fraud

Account holders in the US are more likely to switch banks in the aftermath of fraud, according to a new study. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that people who had their information compromised were more likely to terminate their relationship with the bank within six months of a fraudulent event, even if they …
John Leyden, 17 Feb 2017
Wire wastepaper bin filled with scrunched up paper. Photo by Shutterstock

Round-filed 'paperless' projects: Barriers remain to Blighty's Digital NHS

It was hard to hear UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s recent backtracking over his plans for a paperless NHS by 2018, without wondering to what extent digital health documents have contributed to global forest depletion over the last decades. To some extent all tech programmes in the NHS are still overshadowed by the …
Kat Hall, 17 Feb 2017
Official gag photo via Shutterstock

UK Snoopers' Charter gagging order drafted for London Internet Exchange directors

Exclusive London Internet Exchange (LINX) – Europe's major internet traffic hub – faces a growing backlash over changes to its rules that would gag its directors applying secret government orders to monitor networks, under Britain's Investigatory Powers Act. LINX members – hundreds of internet companies – have been given less than two …
Duncan Campbell, 17 Feb 2017

Microsoft makes cheeky bid for MongoDB devs on Azure security grounds

Microsoft is attempting to capitalise on a recent spate of ransom attacks on unsecured MongoDB instances by encouraging developers to switch to working with its own Azure-based DocumentDB system. The free version of MongoDB ships with the default TCP port 27017, and with so many administrators failing to run port to change it …

Yee-haw! It's the Friday storage round-up

Not every story is NetApp making a hyperconverged product, or Oracle possibly canning tape products. Here's a roundup of several pieces of news that are nevertheless significant. We wrote about data management startup Komprise some time ago. It tells us it released its product last year, has partnerships with NetApp, EMC, …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2017

Mystery deepens over Android spyware targeting Israeli soldiers

Hackers are continuing to target Israeli Defence Force (IDF) personnel with Android spyware but doubts have emerged that Hamas is behind the cyber-spying operation. ViperRAT has been specifically designed to exfiltrate information of high value from compromised devices. "Many of these samples are still active and are …
John Leyden, 17 Feb 2017
iPod classic . Pic valeriiaarnaud/shutterstock

Nokia's 3310 revival – what's NEXT? Vote now

Nokia didn’t once just dominate the world’s handset market, it defined it. In an era where hardware mattered and software came second, Nokia produced not just beautiful but solid handsets, its phones owning roughly half the market. Nokia’s pinnacle: the 8110 – a sleek, high-end banana phone in 1996 employed by the rebels of …
Gavin Clarke, 17 Feb 2017
A Royal Navy Lynx Wildcat helicopter. Crown copyright

New Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters can't transmit vital data

Britain's latest military helicopter fleet has still not had a tactical data link capability fitted, two years after the aircraft entered service. Although the new Leonardo Wildcat helicopters have already been deployed operationally aboard Royal Navy warships, including deployments as the sole helicopter aboard frigates …
Gareth Corfield, 17 Feb 2017

Hyperconverged market gets hyper-competitive as new riders enter field

Analysis The hyperconverged infrastructure appliance (HCIA) market has become hypercompetitive as the two-horse race between Dell and Nutanix has been blown open with HPE/SimpliVity, NetApp and Cisco chasing them. Three things happened this week: Cisco's boss Chuck Robbins said of its HyperFlex product: "We certainly would like to …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2017
Big cloud photo via Shutterstock

Brit watchdog spanks Microsoft, Amazon, Apple into promising fairer cloud contracts

Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have committed to providing cloud storage users with fairer contracts after a crackdown by the UK's Competition Markets Authority (CMA). The companies are the latest cloud storage providers to improve their terms and conditions following the CMA's review of compliance with consumer law in the sector …
Kat Hall, 17 Feb 2017
Close up of tangled tape

Did Oracle just sign tape's death warrant? Depends what 'no comment' means

Oracle's StorageTek (StreamLine) tape library product range will be end-of-lifed, El Reg has learned. StreamLine boxes are high-end libraries, generally for enterprise use, competing with equivalents from IBM (buoyed by mainframe tape use) and SpectraLogic. Both IBM and Oracle have their own proprietary tape formats as well as …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2017
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

A webcam is not so much a leering eye as the barrel of a gun

Something for the Weekend, Sir? “Strip it off!” commands a disembodied voice. “We want to see what you’ve got!” Strangers are watching me all across the Internet, waiting for the big reveal. At least, they would be if they could see anything. I have joined a Skype conference that is to be live-streamed to the general public and, subsequently, edited into a …
Alistair Dabbs, 17 Feb 2017
Australian money at a crime scene

Errors in Australia's Centrelink debt recovery system were inevitable

Since it announced a crackdown on outstanding debt in June last year, Centrelink has sent debt recovery letters to thousands of Australian welfare recipients. Early reports indicated that around 20 per cent were issued in error, although the true number may be substantially higher. This led to the appointment last week of a …
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UK recruitment biz Coal Intelligent Technology ceases trading

Contractors and employees at London-based tech recruitment outfit Coal Intelligent Technology may be left out of pocket after the company ceased trading yesterday. A letter from the administrator to contractors seen by the The Register, said the company went into administration on 10 February. It said: "The Administrator is …
Kat Hall, 17 Feb 2017

Installing disks is basically LEGO, right? This admin failed LEGO

On-Call Welcome to another Friday (!) and therefore to another edition of On-Call, The Register's column in which we let readers vent about jobs gone bad. This week, meet “Ian”, who once worked in a data-centre-for-hire, doing all the stuff that tenants needed done. Of course he's had some mirth-making moments along the way. “In my …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2017

Déjà vu: Euro Patent Office prez ignores yet another formal rebuke

The president of the European Patent Office, Benoit Battistelli, is ignoring yet another formal rebuke of his policies by disregarding two decisions by the International Labour Organization. In letters going back and forth between EPO management and the organization's main staff union, SUEPO, representatives are refusing to …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Feb 2017
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What does a complex AI model look like? Here's some Friday eye candy from UK biz Graphcore

Pics Brit chip startup Graphcore has produced sexy images of its graph processing. We wrote about Graphcore scoring $30m A-round funding in October. The processor designer came out of two years in XMOS-incubated stealth mode at that time, and was founded by CEO Nigel Toon and CTO Simon Knowles. XMOS is a fabless semiconductor …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2017

'I'm innocent!' says IT contractor on trial after Office 365 bill row spiraled out of control

An IT contractor is facing criminal charges after turning off the Microsoft Office 365 service of a customer he said owed him money. Jim Kubicek, 48, of Cumming, Georgia, US, was arrested and charged with theft by extortion, computer theft, and computer trespass. He denies any wrongdoing, and told The Register: "I am innocent …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Feb 2017
Walmart 'Cat's Away IPA'

FAKE BREWS: America rocked by 'craft beer' scandal allegations

US big-box chain Walmart is being sued by an Ohio bloke who claims the retailer's line of "craft beers" is an egregious lie. Matthew Adam, of Hamilton County, is championing a class-action lawsuit alleging Walmart's line of "Trouble Brewing" beers is an act of fraud and false advertising. According to Adam's complaint [PDF], …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Feb 2017

Dead cockroaches make excellent magnets – now what are we supposed to do with this info?

Fun Fact: Dead cockroaches stay magnetized far longer than their live brethren, according to real actual science. In a bizarre experiment, a team of international physicists gassed a group of roaches to death with nitrogen before rinsing them in an ultrasonic bath. The luckier ones were kept alive and fed an unlimited diet of …
Katyanna Quach, 17 Feb 2017
Lenovo's HX series of hyperconverged appliances

Knock knock. Who's there? A Lenovo server salesperson, because revenue dip's no joke

Expect Lenovo server and storage sales people to knock on your door, soon and often, because the company's identified the lack of its own direct sales force as the reason for poor performance in its Data Center Group for the third quarter of its 2016/17 financial year. The company has plenty of pleasing numbers to report, …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2017
Recreation of a scene from Star Wars A New Hope: Droids R2-D2 and C-3PO escaping the Tantive IV while under Imperial attack. Figures are 6 inch Hasbro Black Series action figures

Oracle's IoT play: Teach business apps and things to talk together

Oracle has revealed another way it thinks it can address the internet of things market, by teaching its existing business apps to talk things' language. Big Red has a colossal portfolio of business apps, among them the Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud. The company also knows that the supply chain is full of “things” - …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2017
Gangnam calling for punishment of president Park Geun-hye and Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong

Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong cuffed in $40m corruption, perjury bust

Samsung Group vice chairman Lee Jae-yong has been arrested, accused of bribery, embezzlement, and perjury, and taken to jail near Seoul in South Korea. The Seoul Central District Court issued a warrant for Lee's arrest on Friday, after rejecting a warrant request from prosecutors last month for lack of evidence. A Samsung …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Feb 2017
Facebook Lite app

US visitors must hand over Twitter, Facebook handles by law – newbie Rep starts ball rolling

A newbie congressman has floated his first ever US law bill – one that demands visitors to America hand over URLs to their social network accounts. House Rep Jim Banks (R-IN) says his proposed rules – dubbed the Visa Investigation and Social Media Act (VISA) of 2017 – require visa applicants to provide their social media …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Feb 2017
Photo by Cat Walker / Shutterstock

Zuckerberg thinks he's cyber-Jesus – and publishes a 6,000-word world-saving manifesto

Comment Whatever Mark Zuckerberg's taking, we want some, too. Because last night it looks like the Zuck stayed up late with a couple of university freshmen and solved the world's problems, making sure they wrote it down so they didn't wake up in the morning and forget it. Behold a 6,000-word manifesto from the CEO and cofounder of …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Feb 2017

HPE blames solid state drive failure for outages at Australian Tax Office

HPE has blamed a problem with solid state drives for its dual and very disruptive outages at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). A spokesperson for the company told The Register that “We believe the disruption started when a solid state drive used by major storage vendors failed. HPE and the drive vendor have determined that …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Feb 2017
Cloudian_HS_4000_Bezel

Enterprise IT storage – where being fat and very dense is, um, a good thing. Right, Cloudian?

Cloudian is now touting a fat HyperStore 4000 alongside its HyperStore 1500 appliance. Both boxes are compatible with Amazon's AWS S3 APIs. The new 4000 comes in a 4U box with two compute nodes inside. There are 35 hot-swap 3.5-inch disk drives per node, and the same four hot-swap SSDs and 10GbitE networking as with the HS …
Chris Mellor, 16 Feb 2017
ISIS

Don’t panic over cyber-terrorism: Daesh-bags still at script kiddie level

RSA USA There’s no need to panic about the threat of a major online terrorist attack, since ISIS and their allies are all talk and no trousers. That's according to the former head of the US National Counterterrorism Center. Matt Olsen, who has also served as the NSA’s top lawyer, told the RSA security conference today that the levels …
Iain Thomson, 16 Feb 2017
Still from 'The Final Countdown'

Google yanks workers from ISP outfit, it's THE FIBER COUNTDOWN

Google is once again pulling resources out of its Fiber network venture – this time it's employees. The Mountain View advertising broker told us it is indeed moving a number of employees from Access, the branch of parent company Alphabet that handles Fiber. The workers are not being laid off, but rather are going to take jobs …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Feb 2017
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Corpse of US anti-spying law unearthed, reanimated, pushed blinking into the sunlight

US Congressional lawmakers on Wednesday reintroduced legislation to establish rules limiting how American government agencies can obtain a person's whereabouts. The Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (GPS Act), sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich), was …
Thomas Claburn, 16 Feb 2017
Eric Schmidt

THE SCHMIDT HITS THE BAN: Keep your gloves off AI, military top brass

RSA USA Alphabet exec chairman Eric Schmidt is worried that the future of the internet is going to be under threat once the world’s militaries get good at artificial intelligence. Speaking at the RSA security conference in San Francisco, Google's ultimate supremo said he is worried the internet will be balkanized if countries lock …
Iain Thomson, 16 Feb 2017
US Federal Communications Commission Headquarters in Washington, DC. Pic: editorial use only/Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock

Why I had to sue the FCC – VoIP granddaddy Dan Berninger

Interview One of the grandaddies of VoIP is taking America's comms watchdog, the FCC, to the US Supreme Court over net neutrality – and he's told us why. It’s life or death, says Dan Berninger, whose startup works on high quality voice services, and could be killed by the regulator at a stroke. Berninger led the Bell Labs team that …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Feb 2017
Robot hand human skull photo via Shutterstock

MEPs in 'urgent' call for new laws on artificial intelligence and robotics

The European Parliament today called for EU-wide liability laws to cover robotics and artificial intelligence. MEPs also want researchers to adopt ethical standards that "respect human dignity". In a resolution today MEPs noted that several countries are planning robotics regulations and that “the EU needs to take the lead on …
Sherlocks

Analyse this: IBM moves Watson machine learning to mainframes

IBM is adding the machine learning technology from Watson to its z/OS mainframe for smarter, faster analytics of transaction data. Big Data analytics is typically applied to unstructured data in the Hadoop world. By contrast, older data warehousing and business intelligence (DW/BI) products are applied to structured data in …
Chris Mellor, 16 Feb 2017
Conchita Wurst. Editorial use only: Credit: Yulia Reznikov / Shutterstock, Inc.

Nul points for Ukraine's Eurovision ticket site fail

Eurovision fans purchasing tickets to the event in Ukraine this year were left frustrated due to a number of technical and payment issues with the website last night. One reader got in touch to report that the Ukrainian ticketing site concert.ua had experienced a "spectacular failure in payment process, security and ticket …
Kat Hall, 16 Feb 2017
Cookie Monster

Haven't deleted your Yahoo account yet? Reminder: Hackers forged login cookies

Yahoo! is reminding folks that hackers broke into its systems, and learned how to forge its website's session cookies. That allowed the miscreants to log into user accounts without ever typing a password. In warnings emailed out this week, the troubled web biz said accounts were infiltrated in 2015 and 2016 using forged …
John Leyden, 16 Feb 2017
Train in the Alps emerges from clouds. Photo by Shutterstock

Dell EMC plans to use VxRail for mutant cloud cargo

Dell EMC says smaller enterprises are rushing to combine their on-premises IT with the public cloud and is offering a turnkey scale-out hyper-converged VxRail appliance so they can do just that. The cloud hybridity comes from its Enterprise Hybrid Cloud offering, EHC, which was first introduced in October 2014 as EMC's …
Chris Mellor, 16 Feb 2017

Sigfox leads with its chin on security for internet-connected things

Comment French Internet of Things bods Sigfox have published a “Universal Declaration of IoT Rights”, which, as well as being a bit awful, sheds light on a wider boredom with proper security. Hopefully published tongue-in-cheek, the declaration was written by Sigfox’s “vice president imagineering” (not a typo), opening: “We have a …
Gareth Corfield, 16 Feb 2017