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MPs to sue UK.gov over 'ridiculous' EMERGENCY data snooping law

Two MPs are planning to sue the UK government over its controversial emergency data snooping law, which was rushed through Parliament last week with what they described as “ridiculous and unnecessary haste”. Conservative David Davis and Labour’s Tom Watson are looking for a judicial review of the Data Retention and Investigatory …

HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs

Worstall on Wednesday The recent news of layoffs from computing giants provides proof, once again, of an old economic saw. It is not actually big businesses that create jobs, it's the small and new ones. Our problem is that we've a political class (yes, all of it) that doesn't really quite get this. They would like there to be lots of jobs, of course …
Tim Worstall, 23 Jul 2014
Houses of Parliament at night-time

UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

The United Kingdom government has formally adopted the open document format (ODF) as the standard format for government documents. The announcement says PDF/A or HTML are now the standard “for viewing government” while ODF is now expected “for sharing or collaborating on government documents.” There's some pointed language in …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2014
Google sign outside Mountain View headquarters

Report: Google back in Europe's crosshairs over web domination claims

Regulators in Europe are about to rewrite a settlement with Google and expand their anti-competition probe into the web giant, it's claimed. The company was already under the microscope for allegedly screwing over its rivals in web search results. The Wall Street Journal cited the proverbial "person with knowledge" in reporting …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Jul 2014

Fujitsu and Capgemini's giga-quid HMRC lashup given drubbing by govt auditors

In yet another example of a sprawling government contract gone monumentally wrong – the second of the day – HMRC has splashed £7.9bn on an IT outsourcing deal that is looking very tough to justify. Capgemini and Fujitsu won the ten-year Aspire deal – a merged Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise contract – way back in 2004, and …
Paul Kunert, 22 Jul 2014

STILL no move by Brit data cops over Google's 2012 privacy slurp

Britain's data cops are still investigating Google's sneaky privacy policy tweak from last year, even though many of its counterparts elsewhere in Europe have already taken action against the advertising giant. On Monday, Italy's regulator warned Google that it had 18 months to comply with the Rome's demands or else face fines …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 Jul 2014

Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them

Consumer takeup of network-level filters offered by the UK's biggest ISPs remains sluggish, with customers largely declining to censor internet content on their home connections even when prompted, an Ofcom report revealed today. The regulator found (PDF) that very few subscribers opt to turn on so-called parental controls. The …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 Jul 2014
Electronic waste dump in China

Home Office threw £347m in the bin on failed asylum processing IT project

The Home Office frittered away hundreds of millions of taxpayer pounds on a botched tech project designed to manage immigration and asylum applications, a National Audit Office report has revealed. The "flagship" IT programme, the Immigration Case Work computer system, was launched in 2010 to replace fragmented systems and pull …
Paul Kunert, 22 Jul 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

iiNet says metadata retention means a great big tax on everything

Australian internet service provider (ISP) iiNet has delivered a stinging rebuttal to its home nation's plans to introduce far-reaching data retention laws. iiNet became famous after it was targeted by Big Content's lawyers, who alleged it should have taken allegations of copyright abuse by its subscribers as gospel. After many …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014
The Satellite Dish at the Jameson Earth Station

NBN Co extends satellite scheme

NBN Co has announced that 9,000 more premises in remote Australia will be offered satellite services. The NBN Co Satellite Support (NSS) Scheme is an interim operation until dedicated satellites go aloft. In the meantime, NBN Co has used third-parties to provide connectivity to remote users, but ran out of capacity. The outfit …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2014

Will the next US-EU trade pact prevent Brussels acting against US tech giants?

The European Union government in recent years has proven to be perhaps the most willing to take on the world's major tech companies over digital rights and wrongs. But that could come to an end if planned measures allowing companies to sue governments for lost profits are implemented as part of the next EU-US trade agreement. A …
Jennifer Baker, 18 Jul 2014
Credit: IGNACIO LEONARDI http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1118608

NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'

Edward Snowden has given an interview to The Guardian from his Russian hideout and warned that, among other things, those naked selfies people send to their loved ones are common currency among NSA staff. "You've got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old. They've suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jul 2014
Credit: Sony/Eon/MGM

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 …