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Turnbull with Switkowski in Blacktown

Telstra, not Turnbull, at fault in Twitfight

Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull stands accused of telling small business owner Julia Keady to move to another home if she wants better broadband, but that interpretation of the exchange between Turnbull and Keady is not correct and ignores the golden rule of any transaction: buyer beware. Here's the pair of …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Mar 2014
Viz Profanisaurus mobile app screenshot

The Reg's guide to cursing in Mongolian

NSFW The Mongolian government this week released guidelines on over 700 keywords which are now banned for websites in the country, and in so doing revealed to the world one of the most inventive list of swearwords since Roger’s Profanisaurus. The list of 774 Russian, Mongolian and English words published by the country’s telecoms …
Phil Muncaster, 21 Mar 2014
Old Hotmail

Microsoft alters Hotmail policy amid blogger inbox probe outcry

Microsoft has moved to address concerns caused by news it rummaged through a blogger's Hotmail inbox as part of an investigation into an employee's conduct. As we've reported, even though this is a tremendous PR cock-up, Microsoft was well within its rights to dive into a blogging hack's private Hotmail account to root out an …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Mar 2014
Sergy Brin meets Snowden

'Arrogant' Snowden putting lives at risk, says NSA's deputy spyboss

TED 2014 Two days after NSA leaker Edward Snowden addressed the latest TED technology jamboree in robot form, the US intelligence agency has also made an appearance – with deputy director Richard Ledgett dialing in by video link. Ledgett said the NSA's core problem was that it was lousy at PR, rather than that it was invading innocent …
Iain Thomson, 20 Mar 2014

Microsoft frisked blogger's Hotmail inbox, IM chat to hunt Windows 8 leaker, court told

An ex-Microsoft worker faces criminal prosecution in the US over allegations he leaked work-in-progress Windows 8 software to a French blogger. Russian national Alex Kibkalo was arrested in Seattle, Washington, on Wednesday, charged with the theft of trade secrets, and held in custody without bail. Kibkalo, who worked for …
John Leyden, 20 Mar 2014
head and body picture of Michael Robertson, wearing navy jacket and blue shirt

Deceased music locker gets final knock

Michael Robertson has lost a long-running copyright infringement case against his unlicensed cloud music service MP3Tunes. The verdict by the Manhattan federal jury on Wednesday is the third headline-grabbing copyright settlement this week. Robertson's cloud-based music streamer first launched in the pre-Cambrian era, 2005, and …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Mar 2014
Gordo: EPIC FAIL

Oxfam, you're full of FAIL. Leave economics to sensible bods

As I become ever more viciously right wing with age, I become ever more disappointed with Oxfam. It's not just because I have left behind the views of Genghis and am galloping up close behind Attila. It's rather that the organisation itself has changed from being that well-meaning, thoroughly humanitarian organisation that doled …
Tim Worstall, 20 Mar 2014

FORCE gov.uk suppliers to stick to 'open data principles' – MPs

UK government suppliers should be required to adhere to the same "open data principles" as government departments, a committee of MPs has proposed. The House of Commons' Public Administration Select Committee backed calls from UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham, among others, for greater transparency in the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 20 Mar 2014
Great Wall of China

Bing accused of out-censoring the Great Firewall

Microsoft is facing another PR battle after a rights group accused Bing of more heavy-handed censorship in China than even homegrown search engine Baidu shackles its users with. Despite claiming to remove results as “narrowly as possible” in order to comply with Chinese censorship laws, Microsoft is actually blocking a “vast …
Phil Muncaster, 20 Mar 2014

Tech giants KNEW about PRISM, web snooping, claims top NSA lawyer

Analysis The NSA's general counsel Rajesh De says technology firms were fully aware of both America's web surveillance program PRISM and the mass monitoring of upstream internet traffic. On Wednesday, De told a meeting in Washington, organized by the US government's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), that data …
Iain Thomson, 20 Mar 2014

Turnbull to add speed test app to MyBroadband web site

Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull today delivered a speech at The Australian Information Industry Association's (AIIA's) Navigating Analytics Summit. Your correspondent tuned in to the live stream, but was confronted by extreme jitter: video often cut out for seconds at a time, usually after just a few seconds …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2014
The 2010 baseline map of Australia’s soil organic carbon stocks showing the national and state and territory estimates and their uncertainty range.

CSIRO breaks Australia into 90m x 90m grid to map soil carbon

CSIRO has published what probably amounts to one of the largest datasets ever assembled in Australia: an assessment of organic soil carbon on a 90 metre x 90 metre grid, nationwide. It'll hardly surprise anyone that it's taken four years to get the data ready for release. The 2010 organic soil carbon map includes around two …
Tim Berners-Lee and Edward Snowden

ROBO-SNOWDEN: Iraq, the internet – two places the US govt invaded that weren't a threat

Pics Whistleblower Edward Snowden has appeared on stage at a TED conference in Canada via a remote-controlled robotic screen – and was hailed as a hero by the Web's founding father Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Tim Berners-Lee and Edward Snowden Father of the web meets one of its sons ... Berners-Lee, far left, and right, the Robo-Snowden …
Iain Thomson, 19 Mar 2014

Australia's 'repeal day' de-regulated SPOOKS

Australia's government yesterday declared that it will stage a "repeal day" next week, a day of Parliamentary proceedings largely given over to sweeping aside legislation said to be obsolete, idle, and/or superseded by newer laws. The exercise is largely political: the government got to put some big numbers in its press releases …
Gmail Compose UI upgrade

Gmail data-mining lawsuits fail to get class action status

Google has made its job of defeating a series of lawsuits over the privacy of its Gmail service much easier now that the judge has agreed that the cases can't be combined into a class action lawsuit. US District Judge Lucy Koh said that the claims from several sources that Gmail was scanning their messages to build up account …

Osbo's booze, bingo, biz and big data Budget

Budget Day 2014 Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne presented what he described as a Budget for "the makers the doers and the savers" - and let's not forget the bingo players - in today's economy statement to Parliament. There was very little news for the tech world, with one notable exception: the announcement of the Alan Turing …
Kelly Fiveash, 19 Mar 2014

MPs urge UK.gov to use 1950s obscenity law to stifle online stiffies

MPs want Britain's network-level filters to do a better job of censoring access to pornography sites to keep the content away from the prying eyes of children. But, to do that, perfectly legal online smut peddlers need to cooperate. That was the conclusion in a report (PDF) published today by Parliament's Culture, Media and …
Kelly Fiveash, 19 Mar 2014

Blighty goes retro with 12-sided pound coin

In agreeable news for those readers who can remember when it was all trees round here and you could get an enormous paper bagful of gobstoppers for thruppence, The Royal Mint has unveiled a decidedly retro 12-sided design for Blighty's £1 coin. The proposed 12-sided pound coin. Pic: The Royal Mint The mint reckons that a …
Lester Haines, 19 Mar 2014
Original 'Blue Marble' pic taken by Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972

What have Cherie Blair, Jonathan Porritt and El Reg's mobile desk got in common?

For all the trumpeting of Silicon Roundabout with its app companies and ecosystem start-ups, or northern California with improved user experiences and social media, the real work in mobile gets done here in old Blighty: specifically, on the silicon fens of Cambridge. Cambridge, as all the world knows, is the home of ARM and CSR …
Simon Rockman, 19 Mar 2014

'Zotob' hacker 'Diabl0' arrested in Bangkok after three-year hunt

Farid Essebar, aka Diabl0, has finally been arrested by Bangkok police after three years on the run, on suspicion of causing $4bn worth of damage to Swiss banking systems. The 27-year-old Moroccan, who has a Russian passport, was nabbed by police from the the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), as well as officials from …
Phil Muncaster, 19 Mar 2014
Stock ticker board

Acer coughs to insider trading probe on 2 staffers

Senior execs implementing a turnaround strategy at sickly PC maker Acer have another plate to spin after prosecutors stormed the firm's HQ in Taiwan over an insider trading probe. Ten peeps, some of whom are still employed by the firm, were held and quizzed about the alleged offence, according to the New Taipei District …
Paul Kunert, 18 Mar 2014
South Park Ginger Cow episode

Google settles copyright suit with Viacom over YouTube vids

Google and Viacom have settled their copyright differences stemming from the media company's accusation that the Choc Factory was posting its shows on YouTube without permission. Viacom alleged that Google was allowing clips from programmes like South Park and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on YouTube in violation of its …

Beastie Boys settle with toy maker over Girls copyright dispute

The remaining members of the Beastie Boys have quietly settled their curious legal spat with US toy maker Goldieblox. The hip-hop stars bowled a sueball at Goldieblox in December last year, after the toy San Francisco-based company - which specialises in building blocks purported to get little girls interested in engineering - …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Mar 2014
Lyons Tea Shop Oxford Street, London

PAF! MPs go postal over postal location data sell-off by Coalition.gov

MPs have accused the government of short-sightedness, after it agreed to offload the Postcode Address File (PAF) as part of the sale of Royal Mail. The PAF contains location data for tens of millions of postal addresses across the nation. The parliamentary public administration committee said in a report, which scrutinised the …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Mar 2014
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Sorry Dick: 3 reasons why Twitter will NEVER be unblocked in China

Comment Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is in China this week visiting the country but rumours of the microblogging platform’s resurrection there have been greatly exaggerated. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in the Middle Kingdom since 2009, when the government claimed they had been used by protesters to organise ahead of deadly anti- …
Phil Muncaster, 18 Mar 2014
Scotland

Scottish gov may miss IT budget cut target

The Scottish government is unlikely to hit a public sector savings target after new data revealed that halfway through a five-year billion-pound savings drive, bureaucrats shaved just six per cent from its IT budgets. In a report published in June 2011, the businessman John McClelland called for savings of between £870m and £1bn …
Team Register, 18 Mar 2014
gavel_judgment_channel

Samsung wins right to delay UK appeal in Apple dispute

A UK court decision over whether European patents owned by Samsung are valid and have been infringed by its rival Apple has been delayed until other proceedings before the European Patent Office have been concluded. The Court of Appeal granted Samsung's application for a stay of the UK proceedings until the EPO decides whether …
OUT-LAW.COM, 18 Mar 2014

Surrender your crypto keys or you're off to chokey, says Australia

Australia's Attorney-General's department has floated a plan that would allow national security agencies to seize citizens' crypto keys. The AG's submission to the Senate inquiry into telecommunications interception outlines the plan, saying that the moves are necessary because new telecommunications technologies are "providing …

Kick us as hard as you like, RIGHT IN THE CYBERS, says Japan

Japan will today follow the UK’s lead by carrying out a major cyber security drill which will see ethical hackers attempt to infiltrate and disrupt 21 government departments. The drill is designed to test the country’s emergency response capabilities to the full as Tokyo prepares to host the games in 2020. London carried out a …
Phil Muncaster, 18 Mar 2014
DNS? It's a real bind

Good riddance to American internet oversight says Microsoft

Microsoft's veep for technology policy David Tennenhouse has given Redmond's good netkeeping seal of approval to the USA's plans to stop acting as the ultimate regulator of the internet. Tennenhouse has posted to the effect that “The U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s recent …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2014
Uber logo

Seattle pops a cap in Uber and Lyft: Rideshare bizs get 150-driver limit

Seattle city council has agreed to put in place a controversial cap on Uber, Lyft and other informal taxi booking services. On Monday the authority voted to rubber-stamp a measure that caps each unlicensed cab service to 150 drivers on the road at any one time – normally the companies organize hundreds at a time. For the …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2014
FCC logo

What kid uses wires? FCC supremo angry that US classrooms are filled with unused RJ45 ports

The head of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is calling on US lawmakers to change the way internet connectivity is funded and deployed in schools. Speaking at a legislative conference, Tom Wheeler – chairman of the watchdog – said the E-Rate program that supplies communications gear to schools and libraries in …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2014
Google Play Store

Google slams Play Store password window shut after sueball hits

Google has sent out an update to its Play Store giving users more control over in-app purchases after a class action suit was filed against the firm in the US a week ago. Like the earlier Apple in-app purchases case, a woman has filed in San Francisco blaming the Google store for luring kiddies into spending loads of money in …
Will Shackleton, UKCSC 2014 winner

Soon-to-be Facebook intern wins UK Cyber Security Challenge

A 19-year-old student was crowned the UK Cyber Security Champion after beating all comers over the course of a year-long competition that tested computer defence skills. Will Shackleton, a University of Cambridge student who develops mobile apps in his spare time, beat over 3,000 entrants and 41 fellow finalists to win the …
John Leyden, 17 Mar 2014

They ACCUSED him of inventing Bitcoin. Now, Nakamoto hires lawyer to CLEAR his name

The man who Newsweek named as the inventor of Bitcoin has hired a lawyer in a bid to clear his name. Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto of Temple City, California, has released a statement in which he claimed to be so skint that he couldn't even afford an internet connection. He "unconditionally" denied the Newsweek report. Seeing as the …
Jasper Hamill, 17 Mar 2014

Proper boffins make your company succeed, even if you're not very technical

Good news for British techies. A wide-ranging innovation study recommends that firms should hire more staff who can solve complex technical problems, even if they’re not tech companies or the techies aren’t employed in a narrowly technical function. So says a report on Innovation and Growth prepared for the Department of …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Mar 2014
Nokia 2110

Indian supremes demand $573m in Nokia-Microsoft phactory selloff deal

India's Supreme Court has ordered Nokia to hand over a $572.5m guarantee before it can give the keys of one of its biggest manufacturing facilities to Microsoft. The order stems from a tax dispute over the plant in Chennai and upholds the verdict of the Delhi High Court, Reuters reported. The Finnish firm originally offered to …

China chastises cheeky chirpers with WeChat clampdown

China’s censors appear to have turned their focus onto Tencent’s popular WeChat messaging platform, suspending and blocking several widely read public accounts in a bid to control online discussions. At least 12 accounts, some of which had hundreds of thousands of followers, were suspended last week and replaced with the …
Phil Muncaster, 17 Mar 2014
Bitcoin bloodbath

Bitcoin bust litigants fling sueballs at Japanese bank

A major Japanese bank has now been swept up in the collapse of Bitcoin trader Mt Gox, with Mizuho Bank named as a defendant in one of the many lawsuits cropping up over the collapse. The bank has been added to a lawsuit against Mt Gox, since by providing services to the former Magic-the-Gathering card trading operation, the …
O2_uni_charger

Europe approves common charger standard for mobe-makers

The European Parliament has signed off on its proposal to force mobile phone makers to adopt a common charging standard. The new regulation means that if mobe-makers' want to meet European standards for “radio equipment” they'll have to ensure their products will have to be chargeable using micro-USB. But there are ways out of …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2014

IBM: We gave NOTHING to the NSA, stateside or elsewhere

IBM has become the latest of the tech giants to deny handing over customer data to the NSA's PRISM program. In this open letter, Big Blue's general counsel Robert Weber (also senior veep for legal and regulatory affairs) gives the “no way” message to the world at large. Specifically, Weber writes that IBM did not provide “ …
management regulation2

ACCC to target price comparison websites

Consumer affairs regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says it's stepping up its consumer oversight in the telecommunications sector and on the Internet, while outlining its priorities for 2014. Of particular interest to Australian Internet users will be a continuing watch over misleading …