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Google confirms Turkish ISPs 'intercepted' its DNS service

Google confirmed over the weekend that its Domain Name System (DNS) service has been “intercepted” by Turkish ISPs after government orders to block Twitter. Software engineer Steve Carstensen revealed in a brief blog post that the web giant had confirmed with its own research previous reports about the Twitter ban which began on …
Phil Muncaster, 31 Mar 2014
Julian Assange, photo by Espen Moe

Assange not running in new Australian election

Julian Assange will not, as previously indicated, run for Australia Senate again. The part-time Ecuadorian ran as a candidate for The Wikileaks Party at Australia's general election last year, hoping to win a Senate seat in the State of Victoria. Doing so probably would not have allowed him safe passage from Ecuador’s London …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2014

Australia's opposition backs warrantless metadata collection

Australia's opposition Labor Party has signalled that it intends to link arms with the intelligence community. In a television interview with Sky News, the party's deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said she wants to give “agencies the maximum ability to do their job well, within the bounds that people would expect.” According to …
management regulation2

Silicon Valley wage collusion case will go to court

Silicon Valley companies will be lining up in front of Judge Lucy Koh to defend themselves over their notorious anti-poaching agreements at the end of May, after the judge denied their attempt to have the case tossed out. Judge Koh has slapped down the attempt by Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe seeking summary judgement in the …
Tesla fire

Tesla firms hot bottoms: TITANIUM armor now bolted to Model S e-cars

Tesla is adding a three-level shield of aluminum and titanium to the underside of its Model S e-car to eliminate the possibility of battery blazes and placate US safety authorities. In separate accidents, two of the electric rides burst into flames shortly after running over debris in the road: in each case, whatever they hit …
Iain Thomson, 28 Mar 2014
Baidu Logo

Judge rules Baidu political censorship was an editorial right

Chinese search giant Baidu has evaded a lawsuit launched in the US by a pro-democracy group who claimed that the search engine was illegally suppressing political speech. The New York residents, who advocate for greater democracy in China, said that Baidu was unlawfully blocking US articles and information about the democracy …

No, Minister. You CAN'T de-Kindle your eBooks!

The government has bungled proposed changes to UK copyright law by claiming the format of eBooks can be legally changed - for example, from the Amazon kindle format to a PDF. The changes were published yesterday as the last debris of the Hargreaves Review to wash up on the statute book. (The rest has either been implemented or …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Mar 2014
Percentage of responses to government requests for Google data

Google 'Transparency Report' shows rise in government groping

Google has released the latest update to its data detailing how often it is asked by law enforcement agencies around the world to cough up data about its users, and says company's “we’re … seeing more and more governments start to exercise their authority to make requests.” That quote comes from an post by Richard Salgado, the …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Mar 2014

YouTube follows Twitter onto Turkey's block list

YouTube appears to be the latest site added to Turkey’s blacklist after reports emerged that the government has blocked it in response to a “villainous” audio file uploaded to the platform this week. The authorities said on Thursday they had taken an “administrative measure” to block the popular video sharing site. The clip in …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Mar 2014
Bitcoin bloodbath

Bitcoin bloodbath as China shutters all trading sites

China’s central bank has ruled that all banks and payment service providers in the country must cease dealing in Bitcoin. The ruling, effective from April 15th, basically shutters all Bitcoin trading sites in the Middle Kingdom and means cash purchases will soon be the only way to buy into the virtual currency. The People’s …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Mar 2014
management regulation1

China's rare earth supply crimp plan ruled to be illegal

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ruled in favour of the EU, US and Japan in their dispute against what they described as China’s unfair rare earth export rules. The WTO agreed to begin the investigation back in 2012 after complaints from the three that China was trying to push up prices and restrict exports by imposing …
Phil Muncaster, 28 Mar 2014
The Opal-card-ready 'flip' cover for Samsung's Galaxy S3

NSW government gets into the smartphone case business

Today's Sydney Morning Herald reports that the right-leaning government in the Australian state of New South Wales has decided to outsource lots of public service jobs because it believes there's a limit to what governments should do. Why, then, is the same government entering the business of selling mobile phone cases? The …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Mar 2014
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Rule of law: Turkish court nixes government Twitter ban ... for now

A court in Turkey's capital has ordered the lifting of the government ban on Twitter in the restless nation. The administrative court in Ankara overturned the week-long ban on Wednesday in response to complaints by journalists’ unions and the country's Bar Association, representing its lawyers, that blocking Twitter contravened …
John Leyden, 27 Mar 2014

Life support turned off: NHS Direct dies silent, undignified death

NHS Direct is dead and England's health service was hoping few people would notice that it had moved the kill date forward five days for its "financially unsustainable" advice website. The 15-year-old service was supposed to limp on until the end of this month, but the NHS pulled the plug early. As of Wednesday morning, anyone …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Mar 2014

Judge throws out lawsuit lobbed at Facebook for using kids' pics in targeted ads

A judge has thrown out a potential class action lawsuit against Facebook over its use of photos of minors in targeted ads, ruling that the users gave their consent when they signed up for the social network. The suit accused the firm of "commercial misappropriation" of the names and pics of minors who were using the social …
Zombie cloud

Zombie Nortel grabs Cisco by the neck, again

Cisco must by now be getting sick of acting as defender-by-proxy of the entire computer networking industry, with yet another pile of ex-Nortel patents being wrapped up in a lawsuit delivered to San Jose. Spherix, once a biotech and now a patent toll-collector, picked more than 100 former Nortel patents from troll-in-chief …
Grannote fujitsu laptop notebook elderly old users

Returning a laptop to PC World ruined this bloke's credit score. Today the Supreme Court ended his 15-year nightmare

A dad whose credit rating was "annihilated" over a laptop he bought in 1998 has today won an epic legal fight to clear his name. Richard Durkin's 15-year nightmare began when he walked into a PC World store in Aberdeen, Scotland, to buy a £1,449 notebook. He specifically asked for a computer with a modem. A sales assistant …
Jasper Hamill, 26 Mar 2014

What price justice? 73 CENTS in book price-gouging case

Amazon has begun offering customers store credit on behalf of publishers who recently settled a price-fixing case. The credit is being distributed to customers as part of a refund program under the terms of a US settlement agreed to by five major e-books publishers. Amazon noted that it was not part of the suit, but was merely …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2014
troll

Carolla seeks funds to fight off Personal Audio

Podcaster Adam Carolla has launched a crowd-funding effort to try and defend himself against patent troll Personal Audio. While most of Personal Audio's lawsuits have targeted vendors – Apple had a partial loss in being ordered to sling $US8 million to the company, for example – it's also followed the time-dishonoured practice …
Spam

Chinese cops cuff 1,500 in fake base station spam raid

China’s police have arrested over 1,500 people on suspicion of using fake base stations to send out mobile SMS spam. The current crackdown, began in February, according to Reuters. Citing a Ministry of Public Security missive, the newswire says a group operating in north-east Liaoning province, bordering North Korea, is …
Phil Muncaster, 26 Mar 2014

Revealed: What the US taxman really thinks of crypto-cash Bitcoin

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has laid out a formal set of policies for how it will handle Bitcoin and other virtual currencies for tax purposes. In a guide (PDF) released Tuesday, the IRS said that it would be considering cryptocurrencies to be property, and as such would be subject to US laws regarding the transfer and …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2014
Obama outlines NSA reforms

Hold on, everyone ... Prez Obama thinks he's cracked this NSA super-snooping problem

After nine months of revelations about the extent of US government surveillance, the Obama administration is floating a plan that will curtail mass snooping by its intelligence agencies and reform the way individuals are investigated. "I said several months ago that I was assigning our intelligence community to bring me new …
Iain Thomson, 26 Mar 2014

Banks lob sueball at Trustwave, Target over breach

A group of banks has filed a class action lawsuit against Target over its recent data breach, and has named security company Trustwave as a co-defendant. The late-2013 security breach resulted in at least 40 million customers' credit cards being compromised, after a Maryland contractor's systems provided a bridge into the retail …
Apple iPad 2

Apple says sayonara to Samsung's ninjas: iPad, iPhone don't infringe comms patents – report

Apple's iPhone 4 and 4S and iPad 2 products do not violate Samsung-owned patents, a judge in Tokyo ruled today, according to reports. The South Korean giant had taken its rival to court in Japan and demanded damages for alleged patent infringement, and is now considering lodging an appeal, we understand. The ruling, as reported …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Mar 2014

British trolls to face 'tougher penalties' over online abuse

The Tory-led government is supporting calls for more stringent legislation to tackle trolls who hurl abuse at others online in England and Wales. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling backed Conservative MP Angie Bray's demands for changes to the law on Monday. "Just tabled amendment to Criminal Justice Bill to make life just a bit …
Kelly Fiveash, 25 Mar 2014

BOYCOTT FIREFOX, rage gay devs as Mozilla appoints JavaScript daddy as CEO

Updated A pair of gay developers have launched a boycott of Firefox in protest against the Mozilla Foundation's decision to appoint a CEO who appears to be an opponent of same sex marriage. Mozilla co-founder and Javascript creator Brendan Eich was awarded the top job yesterday. Hampton Catlin, creator of Wikipedia Mobile and CSS …
Jasper Hamill, 25 Mar 2014

Apple hires ex-SENATE staffer for added WASHINGTON POWER

Apple has hired a veteran Washington lobbyist in an apparent attempt to boost its influence in the seat of American power. Amber Cottle will now be the fruity firm's top lobbyist after leaving her post as democratic staff director for the Senate Finance Committee. Apple has spent a lot of time in Washington recently, with Tim …
Jasper Hamill, 25 Mar 2014
Photo by Thore Siebrands Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Improbable: YOU gave model Lily Cole £200k for her Impossible.com whimsy-site

Special Report Why is the UK taxpayer funding a millionaire supermodel and actress to build a website that replicates the "Help Needed" pages of Craigslist and Freecycle? Using information gleaned from Freedom of Information requests, we’ve attempted to find out. The model and actress Lily Luahana Cole, a Cambridge University art history …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Mar 2014
Pirate Flag

Feds land first convictions over pirated mobile apps

The US has enforced its first convictions for illegally distributing counterfeit mobile apps, after two Florida men pleaded guilty for their part in a scheme that sold pirated apps with a total retail value of more than $700,000. Thomas Allen Dye, 21, and 26-year-old Nicholas Anthony Narbone both pleaded guilty to the same …
MP Margaret Hodge in the Commons

MPs blast HMRC for using anti-terrorism laws against whistleblower

The chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge has said she was "shocked to her bone" that the tax authority used laws put in place to combat terrorism to investigate an employee after he blew the whistle on a deal to let Goldman Sachs cut £8m to £20m from its tax bill. The MP challenged the chief exec of HMRC, Lin …
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

Facebook snubbed Google's Silicon Valley wage-strangle pact, Sheryl Sandberg claims

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has claimed her company rebuffed Google's attempt to form a pact that would have suppressed engineers' salaries. According to her written testimony to a US court, obtained and published today by CNBC, Sandberg said she met Google executives who were – it is claimed – keen to stop …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Mar 2014
Huawei campus Shenzhen

China demands answers from US after 'I spy on one little Huawei' report

China has demanded an explanation from the US government in the wake of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's latest leak, which claims that the agency was spying on telecoms firm Huawei. The US has repeatedly accused Huawei of being a risky bet for network contracts outside of China as it claims that the company is involved in …
management regulation2

EU agrees to make documents available to support anti-cartel suits

Companies and individuals affected by cartel activity in Europe will gain access to vital documents to help sue for damages under new proposals which the European Commission says will ensure they "can obtain the evidence necessary to prove their claims". MEPs and European Council representatives agreed the terms on the proposed …
OUT-LAW.COM, 24 Mar 2014
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Turkey's farcical Twitter ban leads to SPIKE in tweets

The volume of messages sent Turkish Twitter users may have grown by over 130 per cent as users turn to a range of workarounds to circumvent a government banimposed late last week The ban initially appeared to come in the form of a DNS redirect from the country’s ISPs. This took users to a statement explaining that Twitter is …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Mar 2014

Michelle Obama speaks out against censorship ... in China

Michelle Obama veered away from the usual niceties of matrimonial diplomacy on Saturday by arguing in a speech at Peking University that internet freedom should be a universal right. FLOTUS is in China with her mother and daughters on a week-long tour designed to build closer ties between the world’s two superpowers and their …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Mar 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Brace for extra patches, Oracle tells Australian users

Oracle has warned its Australian customers to brace for extra patches. Before you imagine some exclusively antipodean security SNAFU is behind the bulletin advising Australian users of their fate, consider that the nation offers software-makers one federal and eight State and Territory jurisdictions. Each of those nine …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2014

Queensland cops collar League of Legends 'hacker'

A Queensland man has been arrested, accused of hacking League of Legends and selling player data online. According to Queensland Police the 21-year-old, identified by News Limited as Shane Duffy of Kingaroy, unlawfully accessed Riot's network, databases and files, and hijacked the company's Twitter account. The police say they …
A fake tattoo on the leg of Canberra Raiders footballer Sandor Earl, sent by Huawei as an April Fool

US saves self from Huawei spying by spying on Huawei spying

Maybe this is why the US government is so certain Huawei is bad news: Snowdenistas at The New York Times and Der Spiegel have reported another communiqué from their source-in-exile – this time to the effect that the United States National Security Agency penetrated Chinese networking equipment vendor Huawei and monitored its …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Mar 2014
Kim Dotcom at the NZ parliamentary hearing

Kim Dotcom extradition: Feds can keep evidence against Megaupload mastermind a surprise

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has suffered another setback in his fight against extradition to America to face piracy charges, as the New Zealand Supreme Court denied his appeal to access the evidence the US feds have on him. The top court decided [PDF] that Uncle Sam's prosecutors are not required to disclose the evidence they' …
Photo of the White House at dusk

White House may ditch BlackBerry, adopt LG or Samsung, ignore Apple

Updated What BlackBerry and new CEO John Chen definitely don't need right now is bad publicity, but that's exactly what The Wall Street Journal has provided them, with a report that one of its remaining high-profile customers, the White House, is mulling over a switch from the formerly high-flying Canuckphone to devices from Samsung or …
Rik Myslewski, 21 Mar 2014
Yahoo! buss

UK.gov! frets! over! Yahoo! exodus! to! RIPA-free! Dublin!

Yahoo! was reportedly called into the Home Office on Thursday where Teresa May expressed UK government security concerns about its plans to move its main base in Europe to Ireland. The internet giant has harboured privacy concerns for some time, according to The Guardian. These concerns can only have been exacerbated by recent …
John Leyden, 21 Mar 2014
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 9M-MRO

5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

Comment That the US and other nations operate spy satellites capable of taking very detailed photographs of Earth is not in doubt. But the idea that those satellites have been pressed into service to find downed Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, and that it is therefore possible to infer some of the satellites' capabilities, is very …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Mar 2014