The Register Columnists

Alexander J Martin

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Alexander was a staff reporter at The Register.
Ralph Wiggum as Hamlet, ready to stab

Another career suicide as reporter leaves The Register for broadcaster

After just over two years at The Register my contributions from now on will be dropping to the comments section. After the small luxury of the forthcoming long weekend I'll be embarking on a new adventure as a technology reporter for Sky News. I'm certainly going to miss my exceptionally talented [patient – Ed] colleagues and …

Just delete the internet – pr0n-blocking legislation receives Royal Assent

The Digital Economy Bill 2016-17 has received Royal Assent, and with Her Maj's rubberstamp it shall henceforth become a requirement for all pornography-serving websites to verify the ages (and thus identities) of all of their visitors in the UK. ISPs may be forced to block sites which fail to do so, and the fact that many such …
Mobile banking, image via Shutterstock

It's paydaygeddon! NatWest account transfers 'disappearing' (not really)

There's drama aplenty for NatWest customers this morning as account transfers are “disappearing” according to aggrieved customers. Here in Blighty it's a pleasant payday Friday morning, and the fine folk of this country are paying their rent and counting the pennies in preparation for their monthly evening of expensive …
businessman shrugging - illustration via shutterstock

FTC urged to probe easily penetrated telly-enabled teledildonic toy

The US Federal Trade Commission has been urged to launch a probe into a hackable sex toy, which is potentially exposing couples' teledildonic frolics to cyberpervs. Earlier this month, the Siime Eye vibrator was discovered to utilise hard-coded credentials making it "trivial" for attackers to gain unauthorised access to the …
Oh no, photo via Shutterstock

Netgear says sorry four weeks after losing customer backups

Neatgear has cocked up its cloud management service, losing data stored locally on ReadyNAS devices' shared folders worldwide – and customers have complained to The Register about only being informed four weeks later. This week, the San Jose-based networking business sent an email to customers, seen by The Register, confirming …

UK drops in World Press Freedom Index following surveillance and anti-espionage threats

The UK has dropped two places on the World Press Freedom Index following the passing of the Investigatory Powers Act and threats to pursue journalists reporting on national security. The World Press Freedom Index for 2017 was published today by Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières), the Paris-based …
End of the line (train line). Photo by Shutterstock

Reg reader offered £999,998 train ticket from Cambridge to Horley

On the heels of an IT error leading to Great Western Rail advertising a first-class journey from Taunton to Trowbridge for £10,000 comes an exponentially more expensive offer from National Rail. Our thanks to Reg reader Andrew for sending this screenshot in, dug up from his personal chuckle archives, advertising the "cheapest …
Lauri Love. Pic: Courage Foundation

High Court hands Lauri Love permission to appeal extradition to US

Lauri Love, the alleged hacktivist from Stradishall, Suffolk, England, has been granted permission to appeal against his extradition to the United States. The High Court has today granted Love, 32, permission to appeal against his handover to US authorities, which was initially agreed in Westminster Magistrates' Court last …
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Ex-NSA techies launch data governance tool for future algorithm-slavery

Immuta, a data governance startup in Maryland run by former US National Security Agency technicians, has developed a method to govern how data is used by machine learning algorithms. Dubbed "Projects," the new addition to Immuta's data governance platform embeds what the company considers "key GDPR [EU's General Data …

Forensic accountants appointed to pore over Post Office IT scandal

The UK's Criminal Cases Review Commission has confirmed that it has appointed a firm of forensic accountants to assist its investigation into whether sub-postmasters were wrongfully prosecuted due to issues affecting the Post Office's Horizon IT system. The CCRC is investigating 27 similar cases in which sub-postmasters allege …

Apache Foundation hails Metron as new top level project for cybersecurity

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has announced Metron, a cybersecurity applications framework for centralised monitoring and analysis of network traffic, as its newest top-level project. Metron was born out of Cisco's OpenSoc project in 2014. OpenSoc aimed to provide a scalable security analytics tool based on the Hadoop …

Microsoft offers preview to eye AI IoT analytics for edgelords of new net

Microsoft's commitment to Azure has tickled it to the market's movement towards edge analytics provoked by the wave of IoT devices, and has launched a new analytics service so the twain shall never part. Azure Stream Analytics (ASA) on edge devices is a new feature enabling customers to deploy analytical intelligence closer to …
CCTV camera trained on a garden. Photo by Shutterstock

US surveillance court declined less than 2 per cent of applications

The US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has published its annual report, revealing that less than 2 per cent of surveillance applications made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) were declined in 2016. As part of the USA Freedom Act of 2015, statistical information on FISC is published annually …
Oracle acrobatics in the cloud

A quiet market? Nah, Oracle's to pay $850m for ad-tracking Moat

Oracle's acquisition of digital advertising tracking business Moat has been valued at over $850m, according to reports. The size of the deal, which was announced earlier this week, was reported by Recode, and the ad-measuring business's exit has excited onlookers in the space, coming after the company raised only an estimated …

Mastercard launches card that replaces PIN with fingerprint sensor

Mastercard has unveiled its new biometric card which adds a fingerprint sensor to the chip as a replacement security measure to the four-digit PIN. When the biometric card is placed into a retailer's EMV terminal, the owner will be able to place their finger on the embedded sensor. Their fingerprint will then be verified …
Trump

Trump's lips sealed on surveillance, complains EU privacy chief

The US administration has been keeping schtum regarding President Trump's plans to adhere to promises made by Obama's government on how EU citizens' data would be protected from the NSA's mass-surveillance activities. Giovanni Buttarelli, the EU's data protection supervisor, has complained that his office is "waiting for a …

Microsoft touts SQL Server 2017 as 'first RDBMS with built-in AI'

Microsoft is due to announce what it's calling "the first RDBMS with built-in AI". In other words, a community technology preview of SQL Server 2017 with additional support for R and – for the first time – Python. Expected to be announced Wednesday during Microsoft Data Amp, the preview release will introduce in-database …
Football goes into the net/ photo by shutterstock

Ex-West Ham winger charged twice over cybershenanigans

Detectives from Operation Falcon, the Metropolitan Police's cybercrime unit, have charged a footballer with two fraud-related offences. 22-year-old Blair Turgott began his career as a youth player at West Ham, and most recently played for Leyton Orient where he was celebrated for scoring what fans believed was the team's best …

Guess who's back at Microsoft? Excel, Word creator Charles Simonyi

Microsoft has acquired Intentional Software on undisclosed terms. You may or may not have heard of Intentional Software: it develops a platform for team productivity apps. More importantly, by gobbling up this biz, Microsoft has recaptured Charles Simonyi – the man who spearheaded the building of Redmond's flagship …

Microsoft and Rambus will get schwifty in quantum-cum-cryogenic computation collab

Microsoft and Rambus have announced "an expanded collaboration" to develop prototype systems that can optimise memory performance at cryogenic temperatures. The pair first joined forces back in 2015 to investigate new computer architectures in anticipation of the Moore's Law apocalypse. The concern is that demand for realtime …

H-1B applications down after Trump's 'American techies first' rhetoric

Applications for H-1B visas, the most common route for skilled technologists seeking lawful work in America, have decreased for the first time in years. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is responsible for allocating the visas, announced yesterday that it only received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the …
West world original poster

Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws

Opinion Algorithms are almost as pervasive in our lives as cars and the internet. And just as these modes and mediums are considered vital to our economy and society, and are therefore regulated, we must ask whether it's time to also regulate algorithms. Let's accept that the rule of law is meant to provide solid ground upon which our …

Irish! data! police! are! preparing! to! whack! Yahoo! over! that! hack!

Yahoo! is set to get a spanking under European Union data protection laws for the biggest of the many megabreaches it copped to last year. The Irish data protection commissioner has stated that a probe by the office into Yahoo!'s megabreach of 2014 – the one in which more than a billion user accounts were affected – has almost …

Three indicted over sex trafficking operation run on Backpage.com

Three people have been indicted for operating a sex trafficking ring through the scandalous classifieds website Backpage.com's adult section. Feng Yang Chen, 41, LiangLiang Guo, 31, and Cheng Qi Li, 28, all of Flushing in New York State, are accused of conspiracy in regards to "an interstate prostitution business". Chen faces …

Canonical sharpens post-Unity axe for 80-plus Ubuntu spinners

Exclusive More than 80 workers at Ubuntu-maker Canonical are facing the chop as founder Mark Shuttleworth takes back the role of chief executive officer. The number, revealed today by The Reg, comes as Shuttleworth takes the top role from CEO-of-eight-years Jane Silber, who was previously chief operating officer. Silber, now no longer …

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