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UK.gov's data grab and stab law IMMINENT as Drip drips through House of Lords

A controversial data retention and investigatory powers bill (Drip) that has been quickly shoved through Parliament by the Tory-led Coalition government looks set to become law after peers in the House of Lords waved it through without challenge. The bill's passage followed less than two days of debate in the upper chamber, …
Kelly Fiveash, 17 Jul 2014

OK, EU chiefs, 3 years of copyright wrangling - let's get it sorted. Now this white paper... DOH!

+Comment Europe’s copyright reform process has stalled after a dispute between European commissioners – and reportedly some intense pressure from Silicon Valley’s “Third Senator”, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes. The current reform process got going in May 2011 with a “blueprint” for IP rights reform, kicking off a long and cautious …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2014
francis_maude_flames_evil

NAO slaps down Cabinet Office gov-IT savings claims AGAIN

There are lies, damned lies and Cabinet Office statistics which give the impression that the Efficiency and Reform Group are achieving much more dramatic ICT savings than they actually are. Or so says a National Audit Office report, which again criticised the processes used to calculate how much money Government Digital Services …
Paul Kunert, 17 Jul 2014
Typewriter image

German NSA probe chief mulls spy-busting typewriters

Germany's government has mulled a return to typewriters in a bid to evade US spy agencies, according to the head of the nation's National Security Agency inquiry. The incredible decision came in response to a torrent of allegations that the NSA had spied on the German agencies and parties including Chancellor Angela Merkel. It …
Darren Pauli, 17 Jul 2014
eyeofSauron

Australia gets spooks' charter, new leak penalties

Australia's government has introduced its “spooks' charter” to parliament, wheeling ASIO chief David Irvine in front of a press conference to convince Australians of deadly threats to their liberty that justify the erection of a surveillance state. The new legislation introduces a single warrant covering networks of computers ( …
Homer Simpson reading on a tablet

UK data watchdog broke data law, says UK data watchdog

Britain's data cops have coughed to a serious security screw-up at the Information Commissioner's Office, and concluded that the ICO - only mildly - violated the Data Protection Act that it is supposed to police. It carried out an internal probe into what the ICO passively described as a "non-trivial security incident" that …
Kelly Fiveash, 16 Jul 2014
Screenshot from Doctor Who serial "The Face of Evil"

MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws

MPs rubber-stamped the government's fast-tracked Data Retention and Investigatory Powers bill (Drip) in Parliament late last night. Only 49 politicos opposed it, while 436 MPs approved the planned law, which the Tory-led Coalition has said was needed to "plug the holes" in its legislation. Home Secretary Theresa May has said …
Kelly Fiveash, 16 Jul 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Voteware source code review 'could lead to hacking'

Australia's special minister of state has weighed in on solicitor Michael Cordover's freedom of information request to peruse the source code of the application used to count votes in Australian Senate elections with a bizarre suggestion that granting such a request could “leave the voting system open to hacking or manipulation …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014
Dambuster_Mohne_dam_breach

Mandatory data breach laws back on Australian agenda

Australia's on-again, off-again debate about data breach notification laws is on again, courtesy of a report into financial system regulation, at least until the government cans the idea (again). Register readers will recall that a Privacy Alerts bill was proposed by the previous government before the 2013 election, then delayed …
Homer Simpson confronts rigged voting machine

Interview: Michael Cordover, voteware freedom-of-information crusader

A barrister has offered pro bono assistance to Michael Cordover, the Hobart Solicitor seeking the source code to the EasyCount software used by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to count votes in the nation's senate elections. Cordover first sought the source code last year because, as he told The Register, “I have …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014

'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended the deadline for public comment on its net neutrality proposals – after a flood of traffic borked the agency's website yet again. At the heart of the proposals are rules that could allow huge corporations to pay for prioritized internet traffic. While on the one hand, …
Iain Thomson, 15 Jul 2014

UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill

Britain's politicians waved through a motion today in which they agreed that the Home Secretary Theresa May's "emergency" Data Retention and Investigatory Powers bill should be swiftly pushed through Parliament. Only 49 MPs voted against the motion, while 436 politicos rubber-stamped Drip's hastily cobbled together timetable. A …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Jul 2014

YES: Scotland declares independence ... from the dot co dot uk empire

Scotland has shaken off the shackles of its English oppressors by ditching the vicious Sassenach web address system – and replacing it with a homegrown one. Anyone living in the People's Republic of Salmond can now manually secede from their Tory overlords in Westminster by choosing a new .scot suffix. Previously, the coddled …
Team Register, 15 Jul 2014
Airship over NSA datacenter

NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been urged to hire more crypto experts so it can confidently tell the NSA to take a hike. A report (PDF) from NIST's Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT) – which scrutinizes and advises the institute – scolds NIST for being too reliant on the NSA's …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Jul 2014
eyeofSauron

Data retention saves Australia from TERROR says Labor MP

Former chair of Australia's Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (JCIS), Labor MP Anthony Byrne, has urged the nation's federal government to implement data retention legislation to prevent what he calls “imminent” terrorist attacks. In a speech to parliament on Monday July 14, Byrne said the government …

Will GCHQ furtle this El Reg readers' poll? Team Snowden suggests: Yes

Poll UK eavesdropping nerve center GCHQ has developed tools to manipulate online polls, ramp up page views for articles, and obtain private photos on Facebook. That's according to Glenn Greenwald's latest trawling of documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The surveillance agency can also, we're told, arrange calls between two selected …
Chris Williams, 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
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 …
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 …
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
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
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

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

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 …
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
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 …

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

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 …
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 …

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
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
North Korea South Korea hacking

NORKS hacker corps reaches 5,900 sworn cyber soldiers - report

North Korea has doubled the number of government hackers it employed over the last two years according to military sources from the South. The allegations claim 5900 "elite" personnel were employed in Pyongyang's hacking unit, up from 3000 in 2012. The hackers had their crosshairs firmly fixed on Seoul but operate from bureaux …
Darren Pauli, 7 Jul 2014

Euro banks warned off Bitcoin as Canada regulates it

The European Banking Authority, which has previously warned consumers that they're unprotected if they get themselves into the crypto-currency game, has followed up with a don't-touch warning to banks. In this announcement, issued on Friday July 4, the EBA says it's identified “more than 70 risks” that apply to users, banks, …
Mobile phone stolen by pickpocket

USA to insist on pre-flight mobe power probe

The USA's Transport Security Administration (TSA) has announced new, “enhanced security measures” that will require mobile phones to be charged before taken aboard international flights to the nation. The new requirement is simple. As explained here, the new arrangements will mean that “During the security examination, officers …
NSA parody T-shirt

NSA dragnet mostly slurped innocents' traffic

NSA babbler Edward Snowden's latest drop alleges something that's been suspected ever since he went public during 2013: that spy agencies reach far beyond “persons-of-interest”, with data on ordinary internet users far outstripping that held over formal “targets”. According to The Washington Post, the latest set of documents – …

Google de-listing of BBC article 'broke UK and Euro public interest laws' - So WHY do it?

Google's publicity stunt this week, in which it de-linked selected mass media articles and posts from its search results and informed the journalists in question it had done so, appears to have been illegal. The gigantic advertising company now faces the prospect of having to re-link to articles it has de-linked in the UK in …

Royal Navy parks 470 double-decker buses on Queen Elizabeth

Today saw her Maj QE2 smash a bottle of Islay malt whisky over her floating namesake at Fife's Rosyth dockyard, as she hailed "a new phase" in Blighty's glorious naval history. The carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is a 280-metre-long behemoth which promises a maritime capability equal to that of its voracious appetite for taxpayers …
Lester Haines, 4 Jul 2014