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US prison telco accused of selling your phone's location to the cops

Updated An American telco that provides costly phone services to prisoners has been accused of harvesting location data on American phone users – and selling it to the police with no oversight. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has asked America's comms watchdog – the Federal Communications Commission – and wireless carriers to investigate how …
Thomas Claburn, 11 May 2018
Alexa photo via Shutterstock

'Alexa, find me a good patent lawyer' – Amazon sued for allegedly lifting tech of home assistant

Amazon is the target of a patent complaint from a US university that claims the Alexa assistant ripped off its technology for processing voice commands. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute wants a jury trial in the Northern District of New York to determine damages against Amazon for what the Big Apple tech school alleges is …
Shaun Nichols, 11 May 2018
Surprised by smartphone

Make masses carry their mobes, suggests wig in not-at-all-creepy speech

A senior British judge has highlighted the benefits of legislation that obliges people to carry their mobile phone at all times. Sir Geoffrey Vos QC, Chancellor of the High Court and former head of the Bar Council, raised the prospect of compulsory mobe-carrying in a speech to the Law Society (PDF). Vos drew attention to the …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 May 2018
Someone deleting their Facebook account

Sueballs flying over Facebook's Android app data slurping

Facebook can add a class action lawsuit to the list of legal woes it faces over data misuse revelations. A complaint [PDF] filed in the social network's home district of Northern California accuses Facebook of violating both state and federal law when it logged and collected information from the Android version of its mobile …
Shaun Nichols, 11 May 2018

US Congress finally emits all 3,000 Russian 'troll' Facebook ads. Let's take a look at some

Pics US Congress has released more than 3,000 Facebook ads purchased and created by the Internet Research Agency, a pro-Kremlin so-called troll factory. Previously the House Intelligence Committee had only released about 50. Usefully, the panel includes information on who the advert was targeted at, and how much engagement it …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 May 2018
Garmin Vivoactive3

Fitness band-it Garmin adds mobe bank Starling to bonk-to-pay fold

Nimble-footed Garmin has nipped ahead of industry's lumbering giants and expanded its own mobile payments offering in the UK to include "challenger bank" Starling. Garmin's bonk-to-pay system works with any NFC-capable terminal. Starling allows customers to set up accounts trivially on an iPhone, but Garmin hopes to have …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 May 2018

Zero Tech Emitted: ZTE halts assembly lines after US govt sanctions cripple mobile maker

US sanctions against Chinese mobe maker ZTE have forced the company to go into zombie mode as it can’t get the electronic components it needs from American suppliers. In a filing on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday, the mobile maker, ranked sixth or seventh in the world by volume depending on whose figures you trust, …
Iain Thomson, 09 May 2018

Can't wait for Linux apps on Chrome OS? And you like stability? We'll see you in December, then

Google IO On Tuesday, Google told developers at its IO conference in Silicon Valley that Linux applications and command lines are coming to Chrome OS, showed off a few demos – and then shut up about it and published an information-light blog post. So, we decided to dig a little during the event today. Google has been developing a system …
Iain Thomson, 09 May 2018
Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch

And lo, Qualcomm hath declared that a new chip for wearables is coming

Qualcomm is shipping samples of its third-generation wearable chip – the first to be built from the "ground up," it claims. Today's Android smartwatches mostly use the aging Snapdragon Wear 2100 announced over two years ago, built out of good ol' 28nm transistor gates. The power-hungry Qualcomm system-on-chip typically …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 May 2018
Airplane crash - pic by shutterstock

Peak smartphone? Phone fatigue hits Western Europe hard

Smartmobe shipments were down almost 7 per cent year-on-year in Europe during calendar Q1, according to Canalys, as phone fatigue hit mature markets hard. Some 46 million units in total were shipped in the three months, this included a 13 per cent drop in Western Europe to 30.1 million phones and a 12.9 per cent rise in …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 May 2018

Making calls? Ha, not what most peeps use phone for – Ofcom

Web browsing ranks as the most important phone use activity, above making calls, a chunky survey by Ofcom has found. Of the 5,315 people in its annual Consumer Mobile Experience report (PDF), 92 per cent said web browsing was "extremely" or "very" important, while three-quarters said the same for voice calls. For 18 to 24-year …
Kat Hall, 09 May 2018

Commodore 64 owners rejoice: The 1541 is BACK

A near perfect emulation of the 1541 floppy drive has been released, and you need only a Raspberry Pi and a soldering iron to rock the 1980s once again. Thankfully, the emulator does not recreate the 1541's unfortunate habit of dying early and often. Retro enthusiast Steve White ruined the weekend of many a computer-widow or …
Richard Speed, 09 May 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Congress vs Facebook: Great soap opera TV, but don't expect big results

The images from Mark Zuckerberg's recent appearances before two US Congressional hearings (here and here) tell a story about the drama of such occasions. The first shows a nervous-looking Zuckerberg surrounded by US lawmakers and the second a seated and still Zuckerberg surrounded on all sides by photographers. The easy …
Billy MacInnes, 09 May 2018

LESTER looks up, spins its wheels: The Register’s beer-butler can see ...

British hip-hopsters The Streets memorably sang "It was supposed to be so easy", and that was our expectation when we approached the task of getting LESTER to "see" and trundle towards an object. After all, there are innumerable ready-made robot kits, and the Raspberry Pi is ostensibly a tool to get children interested in …
Richard Speed, 08 May 2018
Aibo robot dog v 2.0

AI crisis: Sony reports shortage of cute robot puppies!

Here’s one for the “Robots taking over low-skilled jobs” file: Sony says it can’t handle demand for its second-generation robot dog. Launched in January 2018 at around US$1,800, plus about half that for a three-year cloud subscription fee, the “Aibo entertainment robot” was sold online after a lottery. Sony Japan on Monday …
Simon Sharwood, 08 May 2018
A finger pressing a delete key

Nvidia quickly kills its AMD-screwing GeForce 'partner program' amid monopoly probe threat

Nvidia has cancelled a partner program after just two months – just as regulators started taking an interest in complaints of anti-competitiveness. In a blog post on Friday, the head of marketing for Nv's GeForce gaming brand complained about the "rumors, conjecture and mistruths" that have surrounded the "GeForce Partner …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 May 2018
Google, photo by lightpoet via Shutterstock

Google Pay heads for the desktop... and, we fear, an inevitable flop

Comment Apple enabled payments in macOS Sierra in 2016, and it failed to set the world on fire. Will Google's move to support its own payment system on desktop web browsers fare any better? Maybe. On the desktop, Apple only supports Apple Pay via its own Safari browser, while Google promised this week to support Firefox and Safari as …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 May 2018

MacBook Pro petition begs Apple for total recall of krap keyboards

The long-simmering dislike for the keyboard on recent Apple MacBook Pro computers has reached peak pique: A fed-up MacBook Pro owner identifying himself as Matthew Taylor has created a petition asking Apple to recall every MacBook Pro released since late 2016. "Every one of Apple's current-gen MacBook Pro models, …
Thomas Claburn, 04 May 2018
Huawei P20 Main Teaser Photo

Huawei P20: Snappish snaps, but for £200 less than Pro, it’s Notch bad

Review The launch of the Huawei P20 Pro has prompted much debate over its camera: is it great or an over-hyped fraud? With the £799 triple-lens phone grabbing all the attention, the much more affordable P20 has been overlooked. The P20 also offers several of the party tricks on offer in the £799 triple-lens offering, albeit with a …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 May 2018
Swarming bugs

Drone 'swarm' buzzed off FBI surveillance bods, says tech bloke

An American government employee has publicly claimed that a criminal gang used a swarm of drones to fend off an FBI raid. Joe Mazel, the chief of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation’s operational technology law unit, told the AUVSI Xponential conference in Colorado, USA, that a hostage rescue team were driven out of …
Gareth Corfield, 04 May 2018
Sinclair C5

Sir Clive Sinclair dragged into ZX Spectrum reboot battle

A fresh war of words has erupted over at ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd – this time over the corporate involvement of legendary British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair himself. The latest squabble over the company boils down to a three-way shareholder fight between former MD Paul Andrews and former CTO Chris …
Gareth Corfield, 04 May 2018

Former Volkswagen CEO indicted over emission cheating conspiracy

Martin Winterkorn, the former CEO of Volkswagen AG, has been indicted on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud by the US Department of Justice. The 70-year-old stepped down from the German carmaker in September 2015, following revelations that the company had been cheating on diesel engine emissions tests using software …
Thomas Claburn, 03 May 2018
Undead hand reaching out of grave

Apple somehow plucks iPad sales out from 13-quarter death spiral

Few people remarked on it this week, but Apple has reversed the declining fortunes of the iPad, achieving modest growth for the fourth successive quarter in a market that continues to slide. It's only a small increase, but any increase in the tablet business is unusual, as new IDC figures out today confirmed. For 13 …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 May 2018
LG G7 ThinkQ full range

LG's flagship arrives with <checks script> ... G7 what now?

It's a sign of the times that of the big four UK operators, only O2 will stock LG's flagship, which launches this week: the "G7 ThinQ". (That's how we shall write it: LG wants everyone to write the second word in superscript, which is a non-starter.) Huawei's big budget marketing steamroller is muscling former Tier One …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 May 2018

Exclusive to all press: Atari launches world's best ever games console

You've played the PlayStation, you've crossed paths with the Xbox but now prepare yourselves for the world's greatest ever games console! That's right, Atari is back – and boy, er, person are they back – the legendary games company has spent a year perfecting the rebirth of its classic machine and they are ready to unveil the …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 May 2018

The spies that knew too much about Facebook's advertising network

Analysis Facebook says it intends to make its advertising more transparent, but its efforts to prevent other companies from doing as much is keeping its ad ecosystem opaque. In the course of its ongoing policy enforcement, the social ad giant has pressured several startups that provide data about the ads running on Facebook Pages and …
Thomas Claburn, 03 May 2018

Ex-Netflix veep allegedly banked payola for tech deals with web TV giant

A former vice-president at Netflix has been indicted for allegedly taking illegal kickbacks while making multimillion-dollar deals with the streaming giant's tech providers. The US Attorney's Office for Northern California, in the US, said Michael Kail, formerly the VP of Internet Technology at the online telly goliath, took …
Shaun Nichols, 02 May 2018
Withings Activité Pop watch and fitness tracker

Well, that went well: Withings founder buys biz back from Nokia

Nokia has dispensed with fitness gear maker Withings, less than two years after acquiring it as part of a bold new strategic move into digital health. Withings will be sold to Éric Carreel, who co-founded Withings in 2008 with Cédric Hutchings, who is currently VP of Digital Health at Nokia. The company heavily promotes its …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 May 2018
Vic cuts a Notch from Bob's hair... Slade in Residence - The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer - BBC

Apple and The Notched One: It can't hide the X-sized iPhone let-down

For experienced Apple watchers, the arrival of John Gruber on the scene indicates Apple may have a problem. Perhaps a fire needs to be put out. Now where might that fire be? "There's no other way to explain it than that iPhone X is a hit," Gruber proclaimed last night on his popular blog. Ah, the $999 phone with the very …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 May 2018

DIY device tinkerer iFixit weighs in on 15-month jail term for PC recycler

DIY repair outfit iFixit has weighed in on the fate of PC reseller Eric Lundgren, who is due to spend up to 15 months in the clink following copyright infringement charges. iFixit is no stranger to repair and recycling legal issues, being a vocal supporter of Right to Repair legislation. "We tried to broker a peace before …
Richard Speed, 02 May 2018

Apple's latest financials are still pretty decent even though iPhone sales are slowing

Apple reported healthy revenues, beating analyst estimates for its fiscal second quarter despite decreasing demand and production of its iPhone X smartphone. During an earnings call on Tuesday CEO Tim Cook said customers chose the iPhone X more than any other iPhone each week in March following its release in November. Apple …
Katyanna Quach, 02 May 2018

UK Parliament roars: Oi! Zuck! Get in here for a grilling – or you'll get a Tower of London tour

UK lawmakers have threatened to have Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dragged kicking and screaming to Parliament if he doesn't attend a hearing about the social media giant's dodgy practices in the next month. In a letter [PDF] sent on Tuesday to the head of public policy for Facebook's UK office, Rebecca Stimson, the head of a …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 May 2018

What could Facebook possibly do next to reassure privacy fears? Yup – make a dating app

F8 Facebook on Tuesday kicked off its F8 developer conference in San Jose, California, only one month after dialing back the data available to developers and after nixing rumored plans to debut a smart speaker housing an AI assistant. The platform clampdown followed revelations earlier this year about Cambridge Analytica, a data …
Thomas Claburn, 01 May 2018
Profits down, image via Shutterstock

Supercycle to su-'meh'-cycle: Apple iPhone warehouses heave with unsold Notches

The once-bullish Wall Street analyst who predicted a "supercycle" of renewed demand for the tenth anniversary iPhone admits Apple is in a funk. Sanford C Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi Jr popularised the phrase "supercycle" last year, predicting that iPhone owners who had held back upgrading in previous years would choose …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 May 2018

Facebook confesses: Buckle up, there's plenty more privacy lapses where that came from

Facebook has confirmed what many of us have known for years: Cambridge Analytica was far from the only organization engaging in the wholesale hoarding of netizens' personal data via the social network. The Silicon Valley giant told America's financial watchdog, the SEC, on Thursday that it will probably reveal additional data- …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2018

Apple grounds AirPort once and for all. It has departed. Not gonna fly any more. The baggage is dropped off...

Apple is officially getting out of the home networking business. The Cupertino phone flinger has confirmed it is phasing out the AirPort, its wireless router line unveiled in 1999. The current stock will be allowed to run out, and new models are not planned for the foreseeable future. "We’re discontinuing the Apple AirPort …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2018

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