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Budge up, Navy boys, I've got some broadband spectrum to flog – FCC

US watchdog the FCC hopes to offer more airwaves to telcos in hope they'll be used to grow mobile broadband coverage in America. The commission announced on Friday that it wants to add 100MHz to the 50MHz of spectrum in the 3550MHz to 3700MHz band already available for commercial use. The US Department of Defense operates a few …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Apr 2015
Navteq vehicle in Oxford

Nokia to take $6bn bath on Navteq following AlcaLuc purchase

When Nokia sold its handset business to Microsoft, one question which was asked was “why didn’t the mapping business go at the same time?” That echoes with the confirmation of rumours that a sale was in the offing. The company has issued an announcement stating “Nokia has initiated a review of strategic options for its HERE …
Simon Rockman, 16 Apr 2015
Poor people in India queue for a political party-sponsored medical check. Pic: Welfare Party of India

India tech firms flee from Facebook's 'freebie access' Internet.org

Indian companies have skedaddled from Facebook's Internet.org initiative to supply free internet to under-served countries on the grounds that the scheme was anti-competitive. The free content ad network's plan apparently aims to offer access for free websites and applications signed onto the scheme over participating internet …
Darren Pauli, 16 Apr 2015

D-Link router patch creates NEW SOHOpeless vuln

Hacker Craig Heffner says D-Link has not only failed in its bid to patch its DIR-890L router but has managed to introduce a new vulnerability instead. The Tactical Network Solutions router wrecker says D-Link's quadcopter-esque AC3200, reviewed elsewhere as " the most insane router in the history of mankind", is open to …
Darren Pauli, 16 Apr 2015

IWF took down over 31,000 child sexual abuse URLs in 2014

Last year saw a 136 per cent increase in identified and subsequently removed child abuse imagery, according to a just-released report from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). In its Annual Report for 2014, the body revealed that its new ability to actively seek out criminal content has been effective in allowing it to identify …
Microsoft on Android

Microsoft cramming free stuff into Galaxy S6es? Not so fast – US telcos

Microsoft has been working with smartphone makers to get its mobile apps onto more customers' phones, but as long as carriers have a say in it, Redmond might not be able to obtain the broad reach it's hoping for. Samsung announced in March that its new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge flagship phones would ship with Microsoft's …
Neil McAllister, 14 Apr 2015

Conservative manifesto: 5G, 'near universal' broadband and free mobes for PC Dixon

Election 2015 Hot on the heels of Labour, the Conservatives today launched their manifesto – which matched their rivals for the sheer lack of detail on tech-related policy. "We will ensure that Britain seizes the chance to be a world leader in the development of 5G, playing a key role in defining industry standards," read the manifesto. No …
Kat Hall, 14 Apr 2015

Android gets biometric voice unlocking

Google is deploying what it calls Trusted Voice to allow Android users to unlock phones using their voice, according to reports. The feature is filed under the Choc Factory's Smart Unlock feature which sports easier unlock mechanisms like Trusted devices, places, and faces. Once activated, it would allow punters to unlock their …
Darren Pauli, 14 Apr 2015
Ganesha street art by Flickr user avlxyz https://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/

India joins 'net neutrality debate

Mobile carrier app deals like “Free Facebook with your plan” have controversially entered India's nascent internet neutrality debate, courtesy of that country's regulator and its tech minister. While America is dealing with the inevitable lawsuits over its 'net neutrality rules, India's Telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar …
MGH's microbead diagnostics

US hospital boffins demo cancer-busting smartphone kit

America's FTC might be chasing after snake-oilers offering “detect cancer” smartphone apps, but that doesn't mean your mobe can't play a genuine diagnostic role. Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital reckon with a bit of cloudy goodness, custom-made add-on optics and the right reagent kit, smartphones can gather …

Sinister lobby group (AT&T, Verizon among membership) sues FCC to kill net neut

A powerful US telco lobby group, of which AT&T and Verizon are prominent members, has refiled its lawsuit against the FCC's net neutrality rules. The rules, which will bring internet access providers under stricter regulation, were published in the Federal Register early on Monday – the final step in making them legally …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Apr 2015
VoLTE compatible: LG Revolution

Korean telco LG Uplus launches first ever 4G voice roaming service

Comment More than two decades after the first digital roamed voice calls, 4G has caught up with what GSM was invented for. You can now speak to someone using 4G when you are not in your home country. There are some limitations: you can only make a call if you are a subscriber to LG Uplus – the number-three operator in Korea – and the …
Simon Rockman, 13 Apr 2015
Cartoon of  green skeletal figure reaching out of phone

Fraudsters target Nazi Android malware at Russian bank customers

Alleged members of a gang of "cyber-fascist" Android malware-slingers have been arrested in Russia. The alleged perps behind the scam targeted customers of Russian bank Sberbank with software they called "Fifth Reich", which used Nazi symbols in the management system. Fraudsters targeted malware attacks at Android-operated …
John Leyden, 13 Apr 2015
Googorola logo

Google tips LTE patents into mostly-public pool

The LTE rollout has moved a little closer to avoiding sueball spats that have long plagued the tech biz, with Google tipping a bucket of its IP into Via Licensing. Via Licensing, set up years ago by Dolby Laboratories, set up an LTE patent pool in 2012, with ten participants including names like AT&T and Clearwire, KDDI, NTT …
Still from the movie Zoolander: Derek and a fellow model try to get the 'files' out of the Mac by smashing it to pieces. copyright Paramount Pictures

It's not you, it's EE ... again! Mobe network hit by 'PDP authentication failure' snafu

Updated UK mobile carrier EE has been struck by yet another "PDP authentication failure" on its network. Customers have been complaining about the technical cockup on Twitter, where gripes are slowly trickling through to the company. Another @EE issue. PDP authorisation failure on my iPad Air so no internet. #biggestnetwork = # …
Kelly Fiveash, 12 Apr 2015
FBI badge and gun

Sprint fined $16m for sticking it to The Man: Telco 'overcharged' Feds for phone wiretaps

Sprint has agreed to pay a $15.5m fine after it was accused of overcharging the Feds when carrying out court-ordered wiretaps. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) claimed the American telco had gouged cops and g-men between 2007 and 2010: Sprint allegedly over-billed them by at least $21m for setting up wiretaps to record phone …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Apr 2015
Slick looking picture of  xiaomi's Mi3 Android smartphone

Xiaomi's birthday present to itself: Flogging 2m phones in 12 hours

Cult phone maker Xiaomi has demonstrated just how dedicated its fans are, with an Asian flash sale seeing it shift over two million devices ... and 39,000 tellies. The Chinese upstart has built upon its Indian deal with online retailer Flipkart by adding Amazon India and online retailer Snapdeal to its digital strategy to access …
Simon Rockman, 10 Apr 2015
botnet

Cybercrime taskforce collects huge botnet scalp on first go

A sophisticated botnet has been neutered by a consortium starring the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce. The botnet, known by a number of names, including AAEH and Beebone, was a "polymorphic downloader bot" which installed various forms of malware on victims’ computers. Like an …
Ransom note saying "Pay Up" in blackmail type

Cyber-crypto-criminal-cock-up. Little money and (probably) embarrassed

A newly released crypto-ransomware strain has been broken, thus allowing victims — in over two out of three cases — to get back their data without paying. The Scraper ransomware has a flaw, meaning that in about 70 per cent of cases files can be decrypted, according to Kaspersky Labs, with the Russian security firm publishing a …
John Leyden, 10 Apr 2015

Dot Hill ready for Internet of Things data ingest malarkey

Classic dual-controller drive array supplier Dot Hill has uprated its AssuredSAN array to deal with thousands of incoming variable data streams from the growing Internet of Things (IoT) sensor sources, and thus avoid data stream traffic jams. The AssuredSAN 6000 products feature: New 6004 storage array controller in dual active …
Chris Mellor, 9 Apr 2015
ChefConf 2015

Everything's code, 'zero tolerance for assholes': Yup, it's ChefConf

ChefConf 2015 took place last week in Santa Clara, with around 1500 attendees focusing on DevOps using Chef software to automate infrastructure configuration and application deployment. What is DevOps? Defining it is a struggle, according to Chef CTO Adam Jacob who devoted a large part of his entertaining keynote to the subject …
Tim Anderson, 9 Apr 2015

EU anti-trust watchdog ponders TeliaSonera/Telenor merger

The European Commission is worried that a proposed merger between TeliaSonera and Telenor would be bad for consumers, and is now pondering whether to approve the deal. Both companies provide telecoms services in several European countries, but in Denmark the merged entity would face little competition, leaving the public with a …
Double Facepalm; when one facepalm is not enough.

Oh no, Moto! Cable modem has hardcoded 'technician' backdoor

Researchers at Rapid7 have turned up a set of typically dumb vulnerabilities in Motorola's DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS 3.0-capable SURFboard SBG 6580 cable broadband modem. The device, which also ships under the Arris brand, has vulnerabilities included hardcoded login credentials that will allow an outside attacker to take control of the …

Ex-cop: Holborn fireball comms outage cover for £200m bling heist gang

Last Wednesday's blaze in Holborn, which knocked out power and internet access across London, could have been sparked by thieves pulling a daring heist to pocket £200m in precious stones and metals. "I think that probably was deliberate," John O’Connor, former head of Scotland Yard's Flying Squad told capital radio station LBC …
Iain Thomson, 9 Apr 2015
slow_sign

Tasmania wants more backbone

The government of the Australian state of Tasmania has commissioned a feasibility study into a possible new optical fibre cable across the Bass Strait. Until this century, the island state's only connection to the Australian mainland was provided by Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, which has two fibre routes. That was …

Netflix fail proves copper NBN leaves Australia utterly 4Ked

I ran into my friend Tom the other day. He’s worked at the intersection of media and technology pretty much from the beginning. When there’s a launch of a new media tech that promises to change the world, Tom’s always in the front row, taking notes. At the end of last year, Tom received an invite to Netflix’s Australian launch. …
Mark Pesce, 8 Apr 2015

In the time it takes you to watch The Hangover, AT&T will pay a $25m fine for privacy scandal

AT&T will pay a $25m fine after crooked staff leaked subscribers' personal records to criminals flogging stolen cellphones. About 40 of telco's employees in its international call centers leafed through the accounts of 280,000 people without permission, pulling up their names, telephone numbers, and at least the last four digits …
Shaun Nichols, 8 Apr 2015

Mobile 4G spectrum investors actually spent $12.4m on walkie-talkie frequencies – US SEC

Americans were duped into buying duff radio frequencies for $12.4m that they had hoped to sell to cellphone networks for double-digit returns, a US financial watchdog has claimed. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused [PDF] Arizona-based Janus Spectrum of tricking investors into thinking they were acquiring …
Shaun Nichols, 7 Apr 2015
Google car

UK.gov: We want Britannia's mobe-enabled cars to rule the roads

Whatever Apple and Google might be doing with smart cars, the UK government wants Britain to be involved in the industry and so announced its support for the emerging industry at a conference last week. Yet the government – and more importantly, the car industry – has a huge amount to learn before their shared vision of the UK …
Simon Rockman, 7 Apr 2015
a coffee cup topped with cappucino foam with a wi-fi symbol sprinkled on top in powdered chocolate

EE springs Wi-Fi phone calls on not-spot sufferers, Tube riders

EE today said it will be the first UK mobile network to roll out full-blooded next-generation Wi-Fi calling. Subscribers will not need to install any special apps: their phones should be able to seamlessly and automatically send and receive text messages, and make and receive calls, via wireless networks when there is no …
Close-up of a YouTube logo as viewed on a computer screen in close up...

Choc Factory's king codec serves 25 BEELLION Tube hours

Users have watched 25 billion hours of YouTube videos encoded with Google's VP9 codec, which the company says brings the net closer to instant high-quality bufferless video. The Choc Factory's open source VP9 is designed as a replacement for the popular patented H.264 and HEVC codecs and is particularly valuable for mobile user …
Darren Pauli, 7 Apr 2015
Google UK office logos

Google hopes to add free roaming to its coming cellular service

Another detail has emerged about Google's plan to resell mobile services under its own brand: the Chocolate Factory hopes it will be able to offer free international roaming with its handsets. The UK's Daily Telegraph reports the Chocolate Factory is negotiating its first roaming deal with Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong giant …
Fiber optics

Comcast: Google, we'll see your 1Gbps fiber and DOUBLE IT

So soon after Google promised Atlanta, Georgia, gigabit broadband, Comcast has said it will offer 2Gbps internet to homes in the city in May – and millions more Americans by 2016. The US cable colossus announced Thursday that its 2Gb/s Gigabit Pro service will debut in Atlanta, reaching 18 million homes across the US by the end …
Shaun Nichols, 2 Apr 2015
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

France will flog off 700MHz to boost mobe broadband while UK dithers. Thanks, Ofcom

Updated British mobile phone coverage will lag further behind the rest of Europe this year: now the French are auctioning off valuable spectrum space, at 700MHz, to high-speed mobile networks. Ofcom, in its recent strategy review, said it’s targeting 2022 for a similar allocation (although possibly sooner). However, its French …
Simon Rockman, 2 Apr 2015

BT thinks EE customers will FLEE from enlarged four-play mobe biz

BT has warned its shareholders that a tumble in mobile prices is a factor that has to be considered ahead of voting to agree the £12.5bn purchase of EE. In a 104-page circular of legalese (PDF) sent to BT shareholders, the telecoms behemoth recommends that shareholders vote to agree the deal. The company says that this is part …
Simon Rockman, 2 Apr 2015
RFID_snail

Boring fixed 'net users still dominate Oz market

By now it must be obvious that Australia's mobile data allowances are laughable: in the last quarter of 2014, year-on-year growth in fixed broadband downloads outpaced total mobile downloads by nearly 3:1. The Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS') regular Internet Activity publication shows that fixed consumption went up by …
FTC building

Yes, AT&T, you do have to go to court with the FTC

AT&T will be forced to go to court with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its handling of unlimited data plans. Judge Edward Chen has struck down (PDF) AT&T's motion to have the FTC complaint dismissed, an order that will force the US telco giant to face charges of violating the Federal Trade Commission Act. Last …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Apr 2015

Power, internet access knackered in London after exploding kit burps fire into capital's streets

Some of the UK's ISPs may want to rethink their routing schemes after a massive fire near Holborn tube station in London knocked out power and internet access across several regions of the capital. There are now around 70 firefighters at the #Holbornfire no reports of injuries and local offices have been evacuated pic.twitter. …
Iain Thomson, 1 Apr 2015

Virgin Media goes TITSUP, RUINS Tuesday evening

Update UK internet service provider Virgin Media suffered a Total Inability To Support Usual Performance (TITSUP) event on Tuesday evening, leaving plenty of subscribers without broadband. The outage appears to have impacted customers across the United Kingdom and to have left the afflicted without terrestrial or wireless broadband …
cookies_eyes_privacy evercookies flash cookies

Verizon: FINE OK, you can now rid your life of our stalker supercookies

Verizon has finally got around to giving its subscribers the option to opt out of its controversial supercookie tracking program. Customers can find the switch in their My Verizon account settings, or by calling the toll-free number (866) 211-0874. "Verizon Wireless provides customers the ability to opt-out of our advertising …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Mar 2015

Silicon Valley gets its first 1Gbps home bro– oh, there's a big catch

Silicon Valley, or rather a small patch of it, finally has gigabit home broadband – and it's not Google Fiber. And there are two catches. We often rag on AT&T for following Mountain View's advertising giant into markets, but in this case it seems the telco has beaten Google in its own backyard. The phone giant said it will …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Mar 2015
Rihanna in Battleship

Tidal music launch: Pop plutocrats pour FLAC on rival Spotify

Pop mega-stars including potty-mouthed rapper Jay-Z, professional non-smiler Kanye West and someone called Madonna have “launched” a music-streaming service owned by the artists. It includes a “lossless” FLAC audio quality $19.99-per-month tier, and there’s no ad-supported version. Jay-Z spent $56m this year on Aspiro, which …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Mar 2015