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LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy

US hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners is suing the US government - and specifically the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), for its part in the demise of optimistic wireless broadband network LightSquared. The network filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last May after the FCC …
Simon Rockman, 14 Jul 2014

May: UK data slurp law is fine, but I still need EMERGENCY powers

Home Secretary Theresa May was in combative mode during a hearing with politicians on Monday afternoon as the government's rushed through data retention and investigation powers bill (Drip) was briefly scrutinised. May, pressed by Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert as to why the Tory-led coalition had insisted late last week …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jul 2014
F-35

FBI: We found US MILITARY AIRCRAFT INTEL during raid on alleged Chinese hacker

A Chinese entrepreneur has been arrested for attempting to steal information on the United States' Lockheed F-22 and F-35 aircraft and Boeing's C-17 cargo plane. Su Bin – along with two uncharged Chinese co-conspirators – is alleged to have hacked into Boeing's corporate network as well as those of defence contractors in the US …
Darren Pauli, 14 Jul 2014
DJI Phantom Quadcopter

Drones face privacy regulation under Oz government plan

A parliamentary report into regulation surrounding the use of drones has recommended that Australia consider creating a tort of privacy invasion – something ruled out by the country's attorney-general George Brandis as recently as April. In an example of the strange bedfellows politics can make, privacy activists and farming …
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Murdoch calls for ISPs to be liable for users' activities

News Corporation Australia has used an inquiry by the nation's Senate into a proposed Australia/South Korea free trade agreement to suggest internet service providers become copyright enforcers. In its submission to the inquiry (number 56 in the list that starts here), News backs proposals in the treaty to criminalise 'net …
RFID_snail

NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015

NBN Co executives have defended the slow progress of the organisation's fibre-to-the-node rollout, telling a Senate committee it would be “unlikely” for any telco to have a product ready for launch within a year of receiving new policy directions. The statement was made by NBN Co chief customer officer John Simon. Under …
flag.France

Amazon France routes around free shipping ban with €0.01 charge

Amazon France has come up with a neat way to neuter the nation's ban on free shipping of books. The book-slinger has published a Questions Fréquemment Posées to explain its stance. The workaround is simple: Amazon France has decided on a flat rate of €0.01 for shipping. While the decision to snub France's stance is cheeky, it' …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jul 2014
School kids

FCC OKs $5 BEEELLION Wi-Fi cash splash in schools, libraries

Five billion dollars will be used to fund Wi-Fi networks in US schools and libraries after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed an overhaul of the E-rate program. The commission issued an order that will pour $2bn of additional funds into E-rate over the next two years for the purpose of installing and upgrading …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jul 2014
Pickaxe

Read the proposed US ASTEROIDS Act to green-light mining IN SPAAAACE

A pair of US Representatives are pushing legislation that would remove some of the legal hurdles to commercial space mining. HR 5063, the adorably named American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities In Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act, would define when resources mined from an asteroid could be considered private …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jul 2014
Gold Hat stinking badges

FCC commish: We don't need no steenkin' net neutrality rules

There's no need to issue new network neutrality rules since they wouldn't necessarily have any benefit, and people don’t really care about network performance issues, according to US FCC commissioner Michael O’Reilly. The Republican commissioner made the comments in an op-ed piece for National Review, co-written with …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jul 2014
Parliament in the clouds

'The writing is TOO SMALL': MPs row over Parliamentary move to Office 365

The migration of Parliamentary mailboxes to Office 365 has left some ministers in a muddle, and caused others to question why the Houses did not decide to use the "free" alternative from Google. The Office 365 migration began in January but was delayed due to an unrelated network upgrade cockup that led to web outages and …
Paul Kunert, 11 Jul 2014
An Amazon Prime Air drone

Amazon begs Feds for drone test permission slip

Amazon.com has written to the USA's Federal Aviation Administration asking to be exempted from rules governing the operation of the “small unmanned aircraft systems” – which it hopes to use in its Prime Air delivery-by-drone service. The letter points out that “Current FAA rules allow hobbyists and manufacturers of model …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jul 2014
india

Indian government flings ONE HUNDRED BILLION rupees at startups

India's new and tech-savvy government has created a one hundred billion rupee startup fund. Even once converted into US dollars that's still $1.6 billion. And India doesn't see that as the end of the matter: as the budget speech (PDF) by finance minister Arun Jaitley makes plain, the new fund is intended to “act as a catalyst to …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jul 2014

MonkeyParking FLINGS AWAY San Francisco service

Embattled mobile app vendor MonkeyParking has suspended service in San Francisco under threat of legal action from City Hall. The company said that users in San Francisco would no longer be able to bid on parking spots through the mobile app. The move leaves Rome as the only city in which MonkeyParking currently operates. …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Jul 2014

German government orders local CIA station chief to pack his bags

The German government has ordered the local station chief of the CIA to leave the country immediately – after a second German government official was arrested in an investigation into US surveillance on its erstwhile ally. "The representative of the US intelligence services at the embassy of the United States of America has been …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jul 2014
EU Kids Online

Bezos house 'on FIRE': Amazon in-app kiddy megabuck charge storm

The US Federal Trade Commission (FCC) has filed a lawsuit against mighty online etailer Amazon, claiming the business's in-app purchase system wrongly charged consumers millions of dollars. The suit also claims Bezos & Co knew about the problem and did nothing to rectify it. "As internal emails uncovered in our investigation …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jul 2014

Europe's highest court: Apple CAN trademark its retail store layout

Europe's highest court has stated that Apple can indeed trademark the layout of its stores - the iAltars - in a ruling that could ultimately dunk copycat retailers in hot water with the litigious US titan. The decision follows a spat last year, when the German Patent and Trademark Office said Apple could not extend the 2010 US …
Paul Kunert, 10 Jul 2014
Angry Birds pig

Apple rats on Google to FTC: You thought WE were in-app-ropriate?

Apple turned in Google to the Federal Trade Commission for the same in-app purchase issues for which the iPhone-maker itself had been criticised, according to a report in Politico. Earlier this year, the FTC started cracking down on iPhone and iPad apps that allowed kids to spend their parents’ hard-earned dosh without their …

UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention

Emergency law is expected within days to be pushed through Parliament that will force ISPs to retain customer data to allow spooks to continue to spy on Brits' internet and telephone activity, after existing powers were recently ruled invalid by the European Union's highest court. The planned legislation crucially has cross- …
Kelly Fiveash, 10 Jul 2014

Global protest calls for canning SOPA-by-stealth treaty's IP bits

Fears about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have surfaced again, with a pair of open letters calling on negotiators to remove provisions applying to intellectual property. The TPP is a treaty being negotiated among Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jul 2014
The chinese characters for China as used in the new .中国  domain

China trawls top-secret US personnel lists – report

An attack suspected to have originated in China breached security at the US Office of Personnel Management, according to The New York Times. The paper's report suggests the attackers attempted to access personnel records describing government workers who have applied for high-level security clearances. Those records, the report …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jul 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Secret Senate software stoush: Greens intervene

The ongoing saga of the Australian Senate's vote-counting software has taken an unexpected turn, with the country's Senate passing a motion to require the release of the code. As Vulture South readers will recall, an individual, Michael Cordover, lodged an FOI request for the release of the code after Australia's 2013 election …
troll

Tech giants link arms with startups against patent trolls

A group of big names in tech is trying again to stem the ravages of patent trolls by forming a mutual non-aggression pact. Google, Canon, SAP, Dropbox, Newegg, Pure Storage and Asana are the foundation members of Lotnet – the License on Transfer Network – and they hope to attract other tech players to the fold. While it's only …

Presto! After Supreme Court loss, Aereo says it's a cable company now

After months of claiming it had "no Plan B" if it lost its case before the US Supreme Court, TV-streaming outfit Aereo has told a judge that it wants to remain in business – as a cable operator. In a four-page letter to US District Judge Alison Nathan, first revealed by the Hollywood Reporter, Aereo's attorneys make the case for …
Neil McAllister, 10 Jul 2014

'Dread Pirate Roberts' suspect's bid for freedom fails

Ross Ulbricht has lost his bid to have money-laundering and other charges dismissed. According to Reuters, the man accused of being Silk Road's “Dread Pirate Roberts” tried to slip from under the money-laundering charge on the basis that Bitcoin isn't money, but property. That argument didn't impress US District Judge Katherine …

Victim of Tor-hidden revenge smut site sues Tor Project developers

The Tor Project has found itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit that claims the privacy software's developers aided a revenge porn slinger. An attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told The Register the allegations against the Tor team are baseless. In a lawsuit, Shelby Conklin accuses the Tor Project of …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Jul 2014
snowden SXSW

Snowden seeks Russian asylum extension

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has asked Russia to extend his temporary asylum for a further year. The former National Security Agency contractor is applying to extend his leave to remain in ‪Russia‬ beyond 31 July, when his existing one-year permit runs out, according to his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena. "We have submitted …
John Leyden, 9 Jul 2014

Today's Facebook fury: Coppertone-like baby pic ban baffles US mom

Worstall on Wednesday There has been much consternation in Middle America over Facebook's decision to ban from its advertising network a picture taken by a doting mother of a little girl pulling the woman's daughter's swimming costume down. The image is an homage to one of the iconic advertising images in the US, that of the little girl in the …
Tim Worstall, 9 Jul 2014
Google_skull

What's your game, Google? Giant collared by UK civil lib minister on 'right to be forgotten'

Lib Dem civil liberties minister Simon Hughes told Westminster today the British public had got the misleadingly named "Right to be Forgotten" ruling badly wrong – and queried why a report from the BBC's Robert Peston was "top of the pile" when Google began deleting entries from its search results. Google has since restored the …

Siri, did we just take a hit in that voice-recog patent fight?

Apple has lost the first stage of a patent infringement battle in China over its voice-controlled assistant Siri – after a Beijing court ruled a speech-recognition patent held by the Chinese firm that launched the lawsuit is valid. The iPhone maker was arguing with both Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology and the State …

Yelp files competition complaint against Google search biz in EU

Updated Local services review site Yelp has formally submitted a complaint against Google's search business to Brussels' competition officials. It comes as the European Commission's antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia pushes to bring an end to a lengthy probe of the ad giant by sealing a proposed settlement deal with Google, even as …
Kelly Fiveash, 9 Jul 2014
Google Chocolate Factory

Speaking in Tech: 'Right to be forgotten' ruling – what would Google do?

Podcast speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise Hosted by Greg Knieriemen, Ed Saipetch and Sarah Vela. This week, Ed is out so it's just Sarah and Greg stirring up the week's tech news. This week we discuss… Revving through San Jose (1:00) Sarah's 4th (3:35) Box gets more money (4:50) Public vs Private cloud for file …
Team Register, 9 Jul 2014

DATA-SWAP SHOCK: A YES to bill that lets big biz, govt share user info

The US Senate Intelligence Committee has approved the controversial cybersecurity bill that will allow for the government and corporate worlds to share data on attacks. The committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and vice chair Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga) announced that the group had voted 12-3 to approve the legislation. “Cyber …
ABC iView with Doctor Who

WinPhone iView app flap: Microsoft to pull 'unauthorised' app... coded by STAFFER

UPDATE A Microsoft employee has created an "unauthorised" Windows Mobile app to access a catch-up TV service in Australia. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is the country's largest public broadcaster and its official iview player app is only available on iOS and Android. The Windows Phone app, iview FTW!, is the creation …
Tools

What's that? The Bureau of Stats has an API and nobody TOLD you?

Australia's national data-collector, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, has quietly published an API to its data sets. While it won't replace most peoples' preferred (or at least tolerated) means to get ABS data - the spreadsheets and CSVs the ABS provides for easy database ingestion - the API will allow others to embed ABS …
Uber logo

Uber kindly agrees not to price gouge during disasters

Taxi-killing car service Uber has struck a deal with New York State officials to prevent runaway service charges. State Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman said that the company had agreed to impose a cap on ride prices in the event of an emergency. Because Uber uses a sliding scale based on demand for its service, a natural …
Shaun Nichols, 9 Jul 2014

Russian MP fears US Secret Service cuffed his son for Snowden swap

The US Secret Service has announced the arrest of a man accused of being "one of the world's most prolific traffickers in stolen financial information," touching off a diplomatic firestorm in the process. Roman Valerevich Seleznev, who goes by the online handle Track2, is accused of hacking into point-of-sale systems to steal …
Iain Thomson, 8 Jul 2014
DNA

Revealed: SECRET DNA TEST SCANDAL at UN IP agency

Exclusive Allegations of bizarre and potentially illegal conduct within the World Intellectual Property Organisation have raised serious questions, after The Register obtained access to an internal report indicating reasonable grounds to suspect serious misconduct within the UN agency. The report, published exclusively by The Register …
John Oates, 8 Jul 2014
Gun and dollars

Samsung in Brazilian strip: Robbers snatch $6.3m in gear from plant

Armed robbers have snatched $6.3m in smartphones, tablets and computers from the Samsung Electronics factory in São Paulo, Brazil. The bandits got into the complex by carjacking a shuttle used by factory employees, and held workers hostage while clearing out truckloads of loot, Reuters reported a spokesman for the state’s public …
Houses of Parliament in night-time

Universal Discredit: Gov admits Treasury HASN'T signed off biz case

Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions scrambled to dismiss comments made by the government's head of the civil service late on Monday, after Sir Bob Kerslake told MPs that the Treasury had yet to make the business case for the widely derided Universal Credit programme. The chair of the Public Accounts Committee, …
Kelly Fiveash, 8 Jul 2014

Manhattan drone pair cuffed for NYPD chopper near miss

A pair of Manhattan residents were cuffed in the early hours of yesterday morning after allegedly endangering a NYPD police helicopter with a quadchopper. According to the New York Daily News, cops claim Remy Castro, 23, and Wilkins Mendoza, 34, were "remotely piloting a DGI [sic] Phantom 2 drone" on a flight over the Spuyten …
Lester Haines, 8 Jul 2014
Bitcoin bloodbath

Gendarmes grab French Bitcoin exchange in €200k sting

The operators of an illegal French Bitcoin exchange have been collared by the gendarmes and their Bitcoin holdings confiscated. A sketchy story out of Reuters says that the raid netted €200,000 worth of the crypto-currency, but doesn't outline what specific laws the exchange is accused of breaking. The Reuters story merely …