Kieren McCarthy

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British prime minister slams Facebook and pals for votes

British prime minister Theresa May used Facebook, Google and social media companies as a vote-winning punch bag on Friday, slamming them for not doing enough to limit extremist content online. In a speech that was widely reported 24 hours before she gave it, thanks to pre-briefings from her office, May told the G7 leaders …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 May 2017

Tech firms sends Congress checklist of surveillance reforms

More than 30 big internet companies including Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have sent a letter to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee asking for specific reforms to the law used for carrying out mass surveillance. The letter [PDF] concerns Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which has to …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 May 2017

T-Mobile goes Apple/Google route by separating phone numbers and devices

T-Mobile is taking a leaf out of the tech industry book and separating phones from their numbers. The company's Digits service will allow you to pick up calls from any device – in much the same way Google does with its voice service and Apple does with its AppleID. It will launch on May 31. The service has been in beta for …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 May 2017
Happy business people celebrate. Photo by Shutterstock

Apple has finally found someone to support HomeKit

It's been a year since Apple officially launched its internet-of-things smart-home service – an event that we noted at the time was somewhat undermined by the fact that there were virtually no products that worked with it. Twelve months later and two weeks out from its annual conference, Apple has finally snagged its first big …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 May 2017

Venezuela increases internet censorship and surveillance in crisis

Venezuela is increasingly censoring its internet and expanding online surveillance of citizens. The country is currently in a state of emergency after two months of anti-government protests that have caused the deaths of over 50 people and led to violent confrontations with the police. Citizens are furious with president …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 May 2017

UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

The UK government will push through orders next month to force all communications companies including Google and Facebook to break data encryption. That's according to the Sun newspaper, which quotes a government minister as saying "we will do this as soon as we can after the election, as long as we get back in. The level of …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 May 2017

FCC revised net neutrality rules reveal cable company control of process

Analysis The FCC has released a revised version of its plans to tear up net neutrality – and unwittingly revealed the extraordinary influence that the cable industry has over the process. The new "notice of proposed rulemaking," which was approved in a 2‑1 vote last week, completely ignores hundreds of thousands of critical comments …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 May 2017

EU ministers approve anti-hate speech video rules

European Union ministers have approved new rules for video that will oblige Facebook, Google, Twitter and others to remove hate speech and sexually explicit videos online or face stiff fines. "We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 May 2017

Republicans' net neutrality attack written by… you guessed it, the cable lobby

A "toolkit" provided to House Republicans to defend US comms watchdog the FCC's recent decision to tear up net neutrality rules was written by the cable lobby. In just the latest example of special interests literally dictating what lawmakers say on significant policy issues, the "Draft Member Toolkit" [PDF] stretches to 24 …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 May 2017

NSA takes one-two punch to the face

The US National Security Agency has been hit by two legal losses that may put the last part of its controversial spying program on US citizens under threat. In one case, brought by customers of AT&T and run by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the NSA was ordered [PDF] to provide relevant evidence that would prove or …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 May 2017
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Euro Patent Office staff warns board of internal rule changes

The central staff committee of the European Patent Office has sent a letter to the organization's board warning it of proposed changes that would further undermine their rights. The letter to the board of the EPO's Administrative Council comes one day before its preparatory meeting for the larger council meeting next month. …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 May 2017

Google leak-hunting team put under unwelcome spotlight

"If you're considering sharing confidential information to a reporter – or to anyone externally – for the love of all that's Googley, please reconsider! Not only could it cost you your job, but it also betrays the values that makes us a community." So reads an ominous email titled "INTERNAL ONLY. REALLY" sent from the head of …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 May 2017

Scheming copyright scam lawyer John Steele disbarred in Illinois

Notorious copyright troll and scammer John Steele of Prenda Law has been disbarred by the Illinois Supreme Court. The decision is not surprising, given the law firm's long history of legally dubious efforts to extract money from people – something that culminated in Steele pleading guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud, and money …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 May 2017

LastPass now supports 2FA auth, completely undermines 2FA auth

Password manager LastPass has added a new feature to its software: the ability to store two-factor authentication codes. This is great news. For hackers. Increasingly, people with sense use two-factor auth as a way of ensuring that it is much harder for miscreants to break into their accounts, and to detect if anyone is anyone …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 May 2017

Why Uber threw top engineer Levandowski under self-driving bus

Analysis The lead Uber engineer at the heart of self-driving tech theft accusations made by Waymo against Uber has been told by his bosses to start talking or pick up his pink slips. Earlier this week, the ride-hailing app maker sent Anthony Levandowski a letter [PDF] that told him to hand over any and all copies of the alleged stolen …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 May 2017

After stiffing us with Trump, Weiner 'fesses to underage cock shot rot

Disgraced politician Anthony Weiner has finally realized what the rest of the world has known for some time. "I have a sickness," he confessed while entering a guilty plea for having texted pictures of his penis to a 15-year-old girl, "but I do not have an excuse." The former Congressmen for New York agreed not to appeal a …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 May 2017

Wonky whitelist update blamed for AT&T's nationwide 911 blackout

A wrongly updated whitelist was behind the five-hour nationwide outage of AT&T's emergency 911 service in March, a report by America's phone regulator, the FCC, has revealed. The whitelist of IP numbers plays a critical role in AT&T's backend systems, but was listed as containing only "customer" rather than "infrastructure" …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 May 2017

We're heading back… to the future! Net neutrality rules on chopping block

As expected, on Thursday America's broadband watchdog, the FCC, voted 2-1 to start the process to gut net neutrality rules. Also as expected, it was a fiery affair with protestors outside the building and harsh words inside as the only Democrat on the commission, Mignon Clyburn, slammed her fellow commissioners for trying to …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 May 2017

We're calling it now: FCC votes 2-1 to rip up net neutrality on Thurs

Analysis Despite more than a million comments opposing it, tomorrow at around 12:00pm Eastern time, the three FCC commissioners will vote 2-1 to approve a so-called "notice of proposed rulemaking" and start on the rocky path to rescinding net neutrality rules. Just as it was three years ago, it is going to be a long and tortuous …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 May 2017

US court decision will destroy the internet, roar Google, Facebook et al

Internet giants Google, Facebook and a wide range of organizations from Pinterest to Kickstarter to Wikimedia have responded furiously to a recent decision by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that could have huge liability implications for online companies. "This has already created tremendous uncertainty in the online …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 May 2017

ZeniMax: Thanks for the $500m, Oculus. How about you, Samsung?

The company that successfully sued Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus for $500m has now set its sights on another giant: Samsung. ZeniMax Media has filed suit [PDF] in Texas against the company, claiming that its former execs secretly developed mobile VR technology while working at id Software, owned by ZeniMax. The …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 May 2017

French fling fun-sized fine at Facebook for freakin' following folk

Facebook has been fined the maximum possible amount – €150,000 ($166,000) – by France's data protection watchdog for gathering information on internet users without their permission. The Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) cited the social media giant for six violations, including collecting …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 May 2017

Ireland to make revenge porn, cyberstalking criminal acts

The Irish government is planning to make the most unpleasant online acts criminal offences. Under legislation currently being drawn up, cyberstalking and revenge porn will come with jail sentences and criminal records. "Up-skirting" – where people surreptitiously use cameras to record up women's skirts – will also be made a …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 May 2017

Uber red-faced from Waymo legal row judge's repeated slapping

Uber has two weeks to make sure Waymo receives all of its stolen documents back and one month to give a full accounting of all its interactions with the former-Waymo engineer who stole them. That's the upshot of a damning partial injunction [PDF] issued by the judge in the trade secrets case on Monday – a judgment that …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 May 2017
Hippie peace, image via Shutterstock

For now, GNU GPL is an enforceable contract, says US federal judge

A question mark over whether the GNU GPL – the widely used free-software license – is enforceable as a contract may have been resolved by a US federal judge. In a California district court, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley refused [PDF] to accept what has been an uncomfortable legal precedent for the past decade. She ruled that …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 May 2017

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