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Strategy-flinging No 10 civil servant Stephen Kelly turns Sage CEO

A top government civil servant is trading control of the nation’s IT for leadership of Sage Group, the giant accounting software firm that turns over £1.32bn a year. Stephen Kelly is stepping down as UK government chief operating officer to become chief executive of the accounting software firm in November. Kelly will succeed …
Gavin Clarke, 6 Aug 2014
management regulation1

Apple, Samsung call off all patent spats outside United States

Apple and Samsung have put a stop to their intellectual property disputes in the eight nations where they were paying lawyers, but will keep splashing the cash on legal eagles in the US of A. In a joint statement, the Korean chaebol and fruity chomp brand said: "Samsung and Apple have agreed to drop all litigation between the …
management regulation1

Cisco slings small change at CSIRO over WiFi dispute

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has wrapped up a loose end in its long-running patent arguments over WiFi, winning an American judgement against Cisco over royalty payments for CSIRO's technology. The long-standing argument wasn't over patent infringement – both parties agreed …
Matthew Martin's "turkeys" cartoon, 1983

Australia's metadata debate is an utter shambles

As much as anything, Australians should fear the government's metadata retention proposals because it's becoming increasingly clear that our politicians have no idea what they're proposing. Within a single day of the prime minister, Tony Abbott, taking to the microphone with attorney-general George Brandis and foreign minister …
US Military hacking team

US cyber-army's cyber-warriors 'cyber-humiliated by cyber-civvies in cyber-games'

The US military held a series of online war games to pit reservist hackers against its active-duty cyber-warriors – and the results weren't pretty for the latter, we're told. US Military hacking team "Have you tried turning it off and then on again?" "The active-duty team didn’t even know how they’d been attacked. They were …
Iain Thomson, 5 Aug 2014
balaclava_thief_burglar

Google on Gmail child abuse trawl: We're NOT looking for other crimes

Google has said its scanning for child abuse images on Gmail and other services does not extend to searching for evidence of other crimes. US police recently arrested a registered sex offender after Google notified the authorities about illegal photos of children that were allegedly found in the 41-year-old's Gmail account. The …
John Leyden, 5 Aug 2014

UK WhatsApp duo convicted of possessing extreme porn

Two UK men have been convicted of possessing extreme pornography, received via WhatsApp, in a case also involving the distribution of images featuring bestiality.‬ A judge accepted that they hadn't solicited the shock images and one claimed he didn't watch the material he'd been sent. Nonetheless, Gary Ticehurst, 28, of Canvey …
John Leyden, 5 Aug 2014

Evidence during FOI disputes can be provided in SECRET

Public bodies defending a decision to withhold information requested under freedom of information (FOI) laws can submit evidence to an information rights tribunal in secret, the Court of Appeal has ruled. The Court said that tribunal rules allow for closed evidence sessions to be conducted, meaning that neither the FOI requester …
OUT-LAW.COM, 5 Aug 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Australia to retain telecommunications metadata

Australia will enact laws that compel telecommunications providers to retain metadata about their customers' online activities for two years. Attorney-General George Brandis today indicated that the laws have been approved, conceptually, and that legislation will emerge later in 2014 and come into effect not long afterwards. …

Lawyer for alleged Silk Road kingpin wants all evidence thrown out

The lawyer for accused Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht claims the government's evidence against his client should not be admissible in court because it was collected illegally, in violation of Ulbricht's constitutional rights. In a 100-page Memorandum of Law (PDF) filed with the US District Court of the Southern District of New …
NBN Co logo

Turnbull says NBN 'most reckless commitment of Commonwealth funds in our history'

The Scales Review of NBN Mark II Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) has found the second version of the network's early planning process was chaotic and that NBN Co, the company created to build the network, was not built on foundations suitable to enable the project's success. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull …

China: Microsoft, don't shy away from our probe

China's antitrust regulator has confirmed it met Microsoft's lawyers over its investigation into the US firm, warning it to abide by Chinese law and not to interfere with the probe. China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce said in a statement (translated by Google) that it had spoken with deputy general counsel …
Kindle Big Brother

UK.gov wants public sector to rip up data protection law

The British government is in the preliminary stages of designing a controversial system which will share citizens' sensitive personal information across government departments without their consent. Leaked documents show civil servants are planning to mimic the data-sharing systems used by firms like Amazon or Tesco. This could …
Team Register, 4 Aug 2014
Great Wall of China

China: Our approved vendor list – Kaspersky, Symantec AREN'T on it

Updated Security firms Kaspersky Labs and Symantec appear to have both been booted off China’s list of approved vendors for government agencies. This development comes as the country continues to tighten up against foreign tech firms in the wake of the NSA surveillance revelations. The People’s Daily reported first in a tweet that the …

Ad biz now has one less excuse to sponsor freetards and filth

Project Sunblock is a technology that might help make the internet less of a cesspit. It tells advertisers where their ads are appearing on the web, which would be unremarkable in any other medium: shouldn’t the ad spenders know exactly where their ads are appearing? But it’s not that simple. Web advertising can entail a …
GCHQ road sign

GCHQ names the Hogwarts for Hackers

The UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has certified six Masters of Cyber Security degrees. The certifications were issued under the UK's Cyber Security Strategy that, among other things, calls for the nation to “Strengthen postgraduate education to expand the pool of experts with in-depth knowledge of cyber.” …

Users should PAY for their piracy says Turnbull

Australia's government is applying its customary confusion to the copyright debate, with the two ministers most associated with the issue giving divergent messages on how best to solve the country's supposedly-chronic piracy. Late last week, communications minister Malcolm Turnbull – one of the two signatories to the leaked-then …
Presidetn Obama signs the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act

It's official: You can now legally carrier-unlock your mobile in the US

President Obama has signed off on the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, meaning that, in the US, people can take their mobile phone and unlock it from the carrier that sold it to them. President Obama signs the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act President Obama signs the Unlocking …
Iain Thomson, 2 Aug 2014

Operators get the FEAR as Ofcom proposes 275% hike in mobile spectrum fees

Ofcom has “rethought” the fees that UK mobile networks pay for their 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum, based on the industry's reaction to its latest proposal. Previously Ofcom decided to hike the annual fee that the networks pay for access to spectrum from £65m to £309m – a relative rise of 375 per cent. That’s now been modified to …
Simon Rockman, 1 Aug 2014

Defending your digital rights? Then you're a Nazi, says the Open Rights Group

Updated Are you a dad whose photo of his children is being distributed by paedophiles? Or just a photographer or musician whose work is being shared by scammers for profit without your permission? Well, you’d better think twice about using your statutory rights – you might be called a Nazi. This week Britain’s Open Rights Group …

CIA super-spy so sorry spies spied on Senate's torture scrutiny PCs

CIA Director John Brennan has apologized after his staff snooped on computers used by the US Senate during a probe into spies' use of torture. Brennan was speaking at a closed meeting with senators on Thursday. The computers were on a secure network known as RDINet, which was set up by the CIA to store classified documents for …
Iain Thomson, 1 Aug 2014
Files

Twitter: Hey. Remember us? Hello, yes. Govts want to spy on us too!

Twitter has seen government requests for user information climb nearly 50 per cent over the last six months. The company said in its semi-annual transparency report that over the first half of 2014, governments from 54 countries made requests for account information. Eight of those countries were requesting data for the first …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Aug 2014
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A modest proposal: Australian ISPs should JUMP at the chance to store metadata

Scarcely a day passes on which Vulture South is not told that an investment in Big Data software is the first step accruing undreamed-of riches. You know the argument: organisations that collect lots of data are sitting on a trove of un-articulated insights. A little Hadoopery and analytics will quickly reveal why customers …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2014
Malcolm Turnbull

Turnbull to Big Content: Let your movies RUN FREE ... for a fair price

Australia's communications minister has scolded Big Content for not making more efforts to make digital content easy to access. Turnbull last night delivered a speech to mark the release of the federal government's consultation paper on online piracy. In those remarks and an interview with ABC Radio he made more or less the same …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2014

Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers

Microsoft has lost the first round in its fight to stop the US authorities from seizing customer data stored inside its overseas data centers. Following a two-hour hearing before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, District Judge Loretta Preska ruled that a US warrant ordering Microsoft to …
Neil McAllister, 31 Jul 2014

Overland Storage and BDT end four-year-long patent spat

Overland Storage and BDT have terminated their four-year lawsuit in which Overland sued BDT for allegedly using its intellectual property unlawfully. Tape automation product supplier Overland commenced its action against German tape automation supplier BDT concerning tape media handling in tape libraries. It did so on a no win/ …
Chris Mellor, 31 Jul 2014
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Microsoft and pals applaud UK's 'Google Review' copyright move

The rest of Europe should follow the UK’s example and get rid of copyright levies, says an EU trade group representing Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and thousands of others. Earlier this week, the House of Lords approved a new law which introduces a narrow private copying exception allowing consumers to make digital copies of their …
Jennifer Baker, 31 Jul 2014
Iranian flag flying

ICANN can't hand over Iran's internet, bomb victims told

It's not possible to hand over Iran's internet because it doesn't own it, a Washington DC court has been told in a mind-boggling submission to terrorism victims. Lawyers for nine US citizens injured in an Iran-financed bombing in Jerusalem back in 1997 have turned to the internet in an effort to recoup millions of dollars …
Kieren McCarthy, 31 Jul 2014

Has Europe cut the UK adrift on data protection?

Comment In 1805, William Pitt the Younger, on hearing of Napoleon's victory at the Battle of Austerlitz, is reported to have said: "Roll up that map (of Europe) – it will not be wanted these 10 years". Well I have attended two meetings which suggest that the European Union has already rolled up its Data Protection Map of Europe so it …

Russia to SAP, Apple: Hand over source code to prove you're not spies

Russia has asked SAP and Apple to hand over their products' source code so it can be tested for spyware. The nation's Ministry of Communications and Mass Media announced the request on Wednesday. The shrinkwrapped statement sees Communications minister Nikolai Nikiforov citing the revelations from rogue NSA contractor Edward …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2014
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Recording lawsuit targets Ford, GM in-car CD recorders

The recording industry has spotted another potential target of tax-by-lawsuit: the auto industry, for in-car media players. In a complaint available at Scribd, the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC) names General Motors, Ford, and component suppliers Denso and Clarion as supplying recorders that don't comply with …
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Yes, Australia's government SHOULD store comms metadata

Australia's federal government should store metadata collected by the nation's Internet service providers (ISPs), because the government already operates suitable facilities in which to do so. ISPs have suggested that if the government persists with its metadata retention plans they would have to pass the costs of storing data …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jul 2014

Government's 'Google Review' copyright rules become law

Analysis The dog-ends of the “Google Review” of copyright sailed through the Lords yesterday and will become law on 1 October – creating work for the courts and quite possible, legal headaches for the government. Having given itself the power, last year, to make sweeping changes to copyright by the back door – through secondary …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jul 2014

SOULLESS machine-intelligence ROBOT cars to hit Blighty in 2015

Robotic cars are set to prowl the streets of Britain by next January without human supervision – as Westminster prepares new rules to allow autonomous vehicles on the public highways of this sceptr'd isle. Today, driverless cars are only allowed to travel on private roads. New laws will allow them out to motor across the streets …
Jasper Hamill, 30 Jul 2014

British Lords: Euro 'right to be forgotten' ruling 'unreasonable and unworkable'

Peers sitting in the upper house of the British parliament have branded Europe’s court decision on killing links on search indexes – controversially dubbed the “right to be forgotten” ruling – “unworkable, unreasonable and wrong in principle”. The EU subcommittee on Home Affairs, Health and Education said in a report that the …
Angry woman on mobile

FTC: We've put '$100 MEEELLION phone bill fee cram scam' on ice

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing six companies that allegedly unfairly crammed $100m in text message charges onto victims' bills. Today, at the regulator's request, a federal court in California granted a temporary restraining order to halt those organizations and freeze their assets. The move comes after the FTC …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Jul 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co pricing under spotlight

NBN Co is considering revising its wholesale pricing model, and has approached the industry for comment. According to industry newsletter Communications Day, the usage-based Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) charge, which has been subject to criticism since it was first announced in 2010, may be either overhauled or eliminated …

Senate introduces USA FREEDOM Act to curb NSA spying excesses

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has introduced the USA FREEDOM Act to the US Senate and claims, that, if passed, the legislation will severely curtail the amount of mass surveillance that can be carried out by the NSA and others – provided you're a citizen of the land of the free. "This is a debate about Americans' fundamental …
Iain Thomson, 29 Jul 2014
Microsoft-themed Monopoly board

China in MONOPOLY PROBE into Microsoft: Do not pass GO, do not collect 200 yuan

Chinese regulators have confirmed they are investigating Microsoft for possible breaches of anti-monopoly laws, following a series of surprise visits to Redmond's offices in cities across China on Monday. In a Chinese-language statement posted to its website on Tuesday (see robo-translation), China's State Administration for …
Neil McAllister, 29 Jul 2014
Houses of Parliament at night-time

Dusty pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter laws will do for social media crimes

Blighty peers have said that the country doesn’t need new laws to cover criminal offences committed on social media, but said public prosecutors need to clarify when revenge porn qualifies for prosecution. The Lords Communication Committee said in a report that the Communications Act from 2003 and the Harassment Act from 1997 …

Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees

The UK's Parliamentary climate change select committee has just issued a written endorsement of the latest, alarmist UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. However, two MPs - the two most scientifically qualified on the committee - have strongly disagreed with this position. The IPCC's latest AR5 report …
Lewis Page, 29 Jul 2014
Columns of coins in the cloud

TV rudeboy and Outsourcery boss Linney joins Gov.UK SME panel

The government has enlisted the boss of an SME yet to win any business via G-Cloud to advise on ways to, er, oil the wheels of commerce for other small traders that have similarly found public sector contract success elusive. Dragons' Den star Piers Linney, joint head at AIM-listed, cloudy infrastructure biz Outsourcery, is the …
Paul Kunert, 29 Jul 2014