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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

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
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
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

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

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 “ …

US govt: You, ICANN. YOU can run the internet. We quit

The US Department of Commerce is ready to leave the keys to the internet's worldwide DNS system in the hands of non-profit net overseer ICANN. The department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is charged with stewarding the administration of the internet and managing the authoritative root zone …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Mar 2014

This city's smog is so TERRIBLE, people are told to stay indoors. Beijing? No – PARIS

Residents in romantic Paris are advised to take public transit and avoid cars as the city was today shrouded with a heavy cloud of pollution. City officials have made public transportation free in the French capital through the weekend as the European Environment Agency (EEA) warned of "unusually high" pollution levels across …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Mar 2014
Anthony Wedgwood Benn MP

Tony Benn, daddy of Brit IT biz ICL and pro-tech politician, dies at 88

Obituary Tony Benn, the modernising Labour MP who tried to pit British technology against US giants has died at the age of 88. It was Benn, a minister in two Labour governments during the 1960s and 1970s, who created ICL (International Computers Limited) to take on the growing might of IBM. It was mainframes at dawn in the post-war …
Gavin Clarke, 14 Mar 2014
Google and Microsoft

Brussels' antitrust boss not budging on planned Google competition deal

Brussels' antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia is refusing to reverse the planned settlement deal he has agreed with Google over the company's alleged abuse of its dominant market position on search. His seemingly stubborn refusal to change direction on the proposed agreement was highlighted this week during secret, two-hour-long …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Mar 2014
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Reporters without Borders confirms, yes, lots of nations are spying on their citizens

Revelations of domestic and international phone and web surveillance operations by US and UK spies have earned the two countries a dubious distinction on the Reporters Without Borders' "Enemies of the Internet" list. The press freedom and privacy activist group said the two nations earned a place on the 2014 edition of the list …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Mar 2014

That NSA denial in full: As of right now, we're not pretending to be Facebook or Twitter

Analysis Inaccurate. That's how US spy hive the NSA today branded claims that it "has infected millions of computers around the world with malware," and that it "is impersonating US social media or other websites" to eavesdrop on people. The clandestine espionage operation hit back at the allegations by issuing a statement [PDF] on …
Team Register, 14 Mar 2014

Google encrypts Chinese search requests to subvert Great Firewall

Google is to begin encrypting its web search service for users on the Chinese mainland as part of a general beefing up of the privacy of its users worldwide. Search terms and results pages will be sent over secure connections to thwart government spies and other eavesdroppers. "The revelations of this past summer underscored our …
Iain Thomson, 14 Mar 2014
School of Rock

UK.gov to train up 11-year-old cyberwarriors

British schoolkids as young as 11 will be trained in cyber security as part of a new drive to protect the UK from digital threats. The government will produce learning materials designed to get 11- to 14-year-olds up to speed on cyber security. If the kids show a willingness to strap on a keyboard and fight in some foreign …
Jasper Hamill, 13 Mar 2014
secondary age school kids outside NBN truck

Fibre fanaticism overrode proper NBN planning says report

Early planning for Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) focussed on “how best to implement the government’s policy objectives, rather than considering the merits of different options.” So says Australia's Productivity Commission in a draft report (PDF) on the state of the nation's public infrastructure. The report's …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Mar 2014
NSA parody T-shirt

NSA's TURBINE robot can pump 'malware into MILLIONS of PCs'

Updated The latest batch of top-secret intelligence documents from the hoard collected by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden detail the massive increase in the agency's use of its Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacking unit – including a system dubbed TURBINE that can spam out millions of pieces of sophisticated malware at a time. The …
Iain Thomson, 12 Mar 2014
Student with textbooks

Slash tuition fees for STEM students, biz boss body begs UK.gov

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is demanding that the government take action on the skills shortage in tech and engineering, proposing lower tuition fees for courses and new training for existing workers. The CBI said that a survey it conducted with survey haus Pearson last year showed that 42 per cent of companies …
Viviane Reding

EU Parliament rubber-stamps 'irreversible' data protection reforms

EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding scored an important victory in the European Parliament today after securing support for a rewrite of the 28-nation bloc's data protection laws. Proposed changes to the DP Regulation secured 371 politicos in favour, 10 against and 22 abstentions. Altogether 276 MEPs voted for the DP …
Kelly Fiveash, 12 Mar 2014
management regulation2

Japan preps new law to bolster government cyber defences

Japanese lawmakers are urgently preparing a new bill designed to allow the government’s information security agencies cut through the bureaucracy that is crippling their ability to deal with online threats. The proposed law would give the National Information Security Centre (NISC) and its Government Security Operation …
Phil Muncaster, 12 Mar 2014
Feinstein

CIA hacked Senate PCs to delete torture reports. And Senator Feinstein is outraged

US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has issued a rare public rebuke to the CIA after the agency hacked into a Senate committee's computers to remove documents describing agents' torture enhanced interrogation of terrorist suspects. "I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its …
Iain Thomson, 11 Mar 2014

Indonesia plans 10 Gbps FTTP as part of 20-million-premises broadband project

Indonesia is the latest country to announce a mass deployment of fibre-to-the-home, and has tapped Alcatel-Lucent for the rollout. During February, Telkom Akses (the infrastructure arm of incumbent Telkom) declared 2014 the year it will “build greatness”, and on March 7, it stated (Google translation) a target of passing 20 …
Great Wall of China

Communist party boss blames Kunming knife attack on VPNs

The Communist Party’s chief official in western China’s Xinjiang region has blamed online videos and virtual private networks (VPNs) for the knife attack at Kunming station last week that left 29 dead and dozens injured. Speaking during a meeting at the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing last week, Zhang Chunxian …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Mar 2014

Google's tech training for Australian teachers revealed

The University of Adelaide's Computer Science Research Group, which was engaged by Google to develop a course to teach digital technologies to Primary School teachers, has released an outline of the course. Google's interest in the matter arises from its support of Australia's Digital Technologies curriculum, the nation's first …
Dolphins play in the water

Brit and Yank data watchdogs ink deal to share case info

Britain's Information Commissioner's Office has inked a memorandum of understanding with bods at the US Federal Trade Commission to strengthen ties on probing outrageous online privacy howlers that happen across borders. The deal will allow the two regulatory bodies to share information on specific cases. Information …
Kelly Fiveash, 7 Mar 2014
Happy woman at a computer

Women! You too can be 'cool' and 'fun' if you work in tech!

Hey ladies! Did you know it's cool to work in tech? EU commish Neelie Kroes is here to tell you all about it, after a study claimed that the lack of women in ICT roles was costing the European Union billions of euros. Happy woman at a computer HURRAY! Now that I work in IT, I'm so fun and cool and in the future! (I really must …
Canary Wharf at night

FCA drafts new rules to protect crowdfunders' lenders

Loan-based crowdfunding platforms will be required to hold a certain amount of capital in reserve to mitigate against the risk of their business failing and leaving lenders out of pocket, the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said. The regulator has announced a finalised regulatory regime for crowdfunding platforms (95- …
OUT-LAW.COM, 7 Mar 2014

China bans TXTing and Tweeting in Parliament

Delegates at China’s largely ceremonial parliament, the National People’s Congress, have been warned to keep their smartmobes firmly in their pockets during the annual ten-day snoozefest meeting. Such is the temptation to relieve the boredom at the Congress, which does little more than rubber-stamp decisions already made by the …

Global Warming IS REAL, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't THERMAGEDDON

Interview The "certainty" that underpins European and UK climate policy may be wildly misplaced, as the models that the climate science establishment presents to politicians as evidence run far too hot. That's according to a report released yesterday by UK think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation. And this is very good news, says …

Care Bears... share: NHS England promises to heal careless data-sharing plans

NHS England is still reeling from accusations that the health service – among other things – allowed a consultancy outfit to pump sensitive patient data onto Google servers. Critics have argued that the apparently carefree and careless approach to sharing hospital records with private companies simply highlighted that a cautious …
Kelly Fiveash, 6 Mar 2014
credit card-sized buddi attached to belt loop of denim jeans

Hey, MoJ, we're not your Buddi: Brit firm abandons 'frustrating' crim-tagging contract

Talks between the UK Ministry of Justice and British firm Buddi for a new system to electronically tag criminals have broken down after Buddi's founder claimed the MoJ wanted a system that was a "figment of their imagination". Sara Murray, who is a member of business secretary Vince Cable's "entrepreneurs' panel", said in a …
Roughly 150kg of gold

Europe floats DIRTY ORE plan, rights groups scoff: It's VOLUNTARY?

The European Commission has released a draft for a programme to regulate the use of conflict materials. The EC said that its plan includes measures which would seek to restrict groups from trading in valuable minerals in order to fund armed conflicts. The package would bring a certification which would require importers in the …
Shaun Nichols, 6 Mar 2014
Grannote fujitsu laptop notebook elderly old users

Delhi police forget passwords to corruption portal, ignore 600 crimes

The Delhi police failed to respond to over 600 complaints forwarded to it by India’s anti-corruption agency for eight years because they couldn’t access a designated online portal. The portal was launched in 2006 to ensure any complaints sent to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) regarding a particular Delhi government …

Hacking Team snoopware found on US servers

Canada's Citizen Lab has added to its record of uncovering government snooping using Hacking Team's software, has dropped a bombshell: it's accused 12 American data centres of hosting clients deploying the spyware. In its latest report, Hacking Team's US Nexus, Citizen Lab* says there are 114 servers in America, in at least a …
putin topless

Putin to battle Snowden for Nobel Peace Prize

Russian prez Vladimir Putin and whistleblower Edward Snowden have been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, Reuters reports. The Norwegian Nobel Committee met yesterday for a first shufti at the record 278 candidates for the award. Since the committee never reveals the luminaries on the list, any names which pop up in the …
Lester Haines, 5 Mar 2014

NASA's 2015 budget plea: Jobs, pork, small business – OK, science

NASA would receive $17.46bn as its share of the Obama administration proposed budget for fiscal 2015, released on Tuesday, down from the $17.65bn it's receiving this year, but healthily up from the $16.87bn it managed to scratch out in sequester-squeezed 2013. That is, if NASA can convince members of Congress that it would be in …
Rik Myslewski, 5 Mar 2014
Temporary lead-ion

Telstra 'snot boxes' challenge Turnbull's FTTN plan

Rain has been a problem for my fixed line for years. There have been other exciting ventures in broadband fail over the years, such as when a contractor set fire to a large Telstra pit and cut off 20 homes for three weeks, but rain has been the constant niggle. It most recently came to a head last weekend – March 1 – when …

Web smut filter advisor to UK PM cuffed in 'child abuse image' probe

A top aide who advised British Prime Minister David Cameron on broadband internet filtering in the UK is being investigated over an allegation involving “child abuse imagery". The man at the centre of the investigation was named last night as 62-year-old Patrick Rock, a powerful advisor to the Conservative Party for 30 years. It …
money_yen_dollar_pound

Crack Euro banker team to probe whether virtual currencies should be regulated

The European Banking Authority (EBA) will create a taskforce to advise it on whether virtual currencies should be regulated. The watchdog said that the taskforce will be created before July and have the objective of answering the question of whether virtual currencies "can and ought to be regulated". The taskforce will analyse …
OUT-LAW.COM, 4 Mar 2014
Google_skull

Triple-headed NHS privacy scare after hospital data reach marketers, Google

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) and the NHS Information Centre are riding out a three-pronged privacy storm. The first privacy incident starts with this PA Consulting document titled “Placing the patient at the centre of healthcare: PA report on the future of healthcare.” On page eight, a section titled “The cloud can …

Chinese government builds its own 'ChinaSo' search engine

The Chinese government is having another pop at the local search market after merging two previous failures into a new service, dubbed ChinaSo. The search engine has risen from the ashes of Jike, launched three years ago by Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily, and Panguso, which was launched by Xinhua in the same year …