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John Lettice

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IPS turns to asylum for help with ID scheme database

Plans to use the Department of Work & Pensions' giant Customer Information Systems database for the UK's identity scheme have been officially abandoned, in favour of an enhancement of the UK Border Agency's biometric database for asylum seekers. First they came for the foreigners, as they say... According to the Identity & …
John Lettice, 23 Mar 2010
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Blunkett: 'The dog howls when I whip out my ID card!'

"Even the dog howls when I bring it home," claimed former Home Secretary and Big Brother Awards Lifetime Menace as he waved his ID card at Privacy International's 20th birthday party last night. Speaking to a not wholly sympathetic crowd, the Menace himself claimed to have been "at least partially converted" to the cause of …
John Lettice, 19 Mar 2010
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Home Office planning to brick version 1 ID cards in 2012?

The current generation of UK ID card is, apparently, the wrong kind of ID card, and is likely to be upgraded to incorporate new features by 2012. These are likely to include chip and pin for online transactions and ID verification, both of which have been spoken of in the past by ID minister Meg Hillier. The upgrade, however, …
John Lettice, 19 Mar 2010
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Minister: Banks should give ID cards to people with no money

Home Office Identical Minister Meg Hillier has hit on a brilliant wheeze that could solve all her social exclusion problems. Banks need proof of ID when you open an account, right? Banks give people free stuff when they open an account, right? Sooooo... banks could give people free ID cards when they open accounts! This …
John Lettice, 18 Mar 2010
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Manchester's on fire for ID cards, claims ID minister

Home Office Identity Minister Meg Hillier is now pitching ID cards as a weapon against social exclusion, and has mysteriously truffled-up nearly 6,000 extra ID card enthusiasts, meaning enrolments will hit 10,000 next week. Was it not just last week she said they'd only had 4,307 applications? Yes it was. Furthermore, says …
John Lettice, 16 Mar 2010
DVD it in many colours

Android - the winning formula for tablets and netbooks?

What might the iPad have been? Apple announced it as a Magical and Revolutionary Device, defining "an entirely new category". But it actually only addresses a small part of the yawning gap between mobile handsets and notebook computers, where there's still a lot of defining to be done. There's space there for dramatically …
John Lettice, 9 Mar 2010
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FT shock discovery: EU Google probe has MS link

Top sleuths from the Financial Times have uncovered the shock information that Foundem, the minnow that filed a complaint against Google with the European Commission two weeks ago, is in league with Microsoft-funded Brussels lobbying outfit ICOMP, and known Microsoft lobbyist Burson-Marsteller. Heavens! They must have had to …
John Lettice, 5 Mar 2010
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Antitrust incoming? Google hit by EU complaint, FCC filing

Shopping comparison site Foundem this week fired the opening shots in the coming Google antitrust battle, with a complaint to the European Commission and a filing with the US Federal Communications Commission accusing Google of posing "an immediate threat to competition and innovation." The US filing is in response to the FCC's …
John Lettice, 24 Feb 2010
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Where does Mozilla go when the monopoly witch is dead?

So what would Mozilla do if it ever won? The question, which The Register asked of Mozilla Foundation head Mitchell Baker a couple of weeks ago, may be slightly premature, but Mozilla most certainly isn't losing, and The Beast, while still gripping hold of a goodly chunk of the browser market, is bloodied and reeling. Scarcely …
John Lettice, 15 Feb 2010
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With MS funding, No2ID gains entry to EU eID group

ID card campaign group No2ID has - with a little financial backing from Microsoft - won admission to the industry working group of Project STORK, the EU programme for devising interoperability standards for electronic ID systems across Europe. Representing "civil society interests", No2ID will be able to attend and report on …
John Lettice, 12 Feb 2010
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Navigon adds Twitter, Facebook to satnav iPhone app

A Twittering satnav - what could possibly go wrong? The next version of Navigon's MobileNavigator iPhone app, 1.5.0, will feature both Twitter and Facebook integration, allowing you to alert you friends, family and millions of fans with your whereabouts, destination and estimated time of arrival. This might be helpful for the …
John Lettice, 11 Feb 2010
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'You own the road!': Google gets spanking from media giant

Google chief legal officer David Drummond was on the receiving end of an unexpected mugging yesterday, as the CEO of Burda Media - one of Germany's largest and most successful publishing companies - tore into the Jolly G Giant, accusing it of controlling the market, lack of transparency and, effectively, running off with the …
John Lettice, 26 Jan 2010

Orange chief engulfed by Apple Tablet feeding frenzy

Is this a record? With just four innocuous words at the tail end of a French TV interview yesterday morning, France Telecom number two Stephane Richard triggered a blogosphere-fanboi Apple Tablet feeding frenzy. He had said the launch of the beast was imminent, claimed an excitable French source, while Techcrunch, confirming the …
John Lettice, 12 Jan 2010
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IPS in cunning 'get an ID card, get crucified' scheme

The Identity and Passport Service's hilariously triste efforts to make ID cards cuddly has passed another millstone (shurely 'milestone?' - Ed). As a follow-up to plastering its propaganda with happy fingerprints, IPS now has a flash animation of them as well - derived, weirdly, from a movie you might be familiar with. With a …
John Lettice, 8 Jan 2010
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You and what Android? The Google iPhone killer that isn't

Comment So is it the Google phone or not? In the Nexus One, Google has produced something rather like an iPhone, something that in some senses may seem better than an iPhone, but something that in hardware terms is an iteration rather than a game-changer. But does Google, the company that wasn't going to do hardware, now do hardware? …
John Lettice, 6 Jan 2010
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My hospital HAL - Google man moots syringe that says no

Google VP Jonathan Rosenberg's windy sermon on 'Open' has been widely panned, but his interesting intervention on identity, health records and medical procedures has been little remarked, so far. Which is a pity, considering how close Google's High Command is to the High Command of the party likely to win next year's election, …
John Lettice, 23 Dec 2009
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Traffic reports for the wrong country? There's an iPhone app for that

It's central London and it's time to go home. So you just fire up Navigon MobileNavigator before you go, to check Traffic Live for potential bottlenecks. Hmm, looks like there's congestion around the port of Dunkerque, so we'd best rule out that short cut to Hackney via Dover and Lille. But on the other hand, there are no …
John Lettice, 22 Dec 2009
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MS kills 'Bing buys the news' furore, but Google could still lose it

Microsoft has firmly ruled out the notion of paying news publishers to de-index their content from Google. But you knew that already. Speaking at the unveiling of new Bing features in San Francisco yesterday, senior online services VP Satya Nadella said that Microsoft was not focused on getting exclusive content, and that "there …
John Lettice, 3 Dec 2009
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Google moves tanks onto property market's lawns

Google's latest target for freeing to death is, says the Financial Times, the UK property market. According to the paper, the company intends to launch a service offering estate agents free property listings early next year, and to bankroll it through advertising. Currently UK online property listings are conducted via portals …
John Lettice, 3 Dec 2009
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Google shrinks its door to free WSJ stories, slightly

In a possibly meaningless response to Rupert Murdoch's War on Free, Google is to allow publishers to limit the number of free pages users of Google News can read on their sites. Up to now Google News has provided a mechanism for users to get access to content that is otherwise subscription-only (in, say, the Wall Street Journal …
John Lettice, 2 Dec 2009
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Google and Murdoch - a divorce made in heaven?

Analysis Microsoft is known for its robust methods, but the widespread belief that it is attempting to 'buy' the news, offering to pay Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to de-index its news sites from Google speaks of extreme brutality, even by the Borg's standards. And think, people - if Microsoft really is offering to bribe major publishers …
John Lettice, 27 Nov 2009
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When algorithms attack, does Google hear you scream?

Analysis One day in June 2006, search startup Foundem vanished from Google. Foundem is the developer of a "universal vertical search" technology, and currently offers comparison shopping across a range of consumer and travel categories by drilling down into vendor sites and returning details of actual flights and products. But on 26 June …
John Lettice, 19 Nov 2009
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Comparison shopping sites not wicked after all, says Google

Google is adding "AdWords Comparison Ads" to its armoury of weapons designed to squeeze even more money out of advertisers "make ads more relevant and useful". The ads will list prices and features for multiple products from paying advertisers on a single page, thus making it easier for shoppers to find the best deal without …
John Lettice, 30 Oct 2009
The Register breaking news

The Twitter storm that saved freedom of speech

Comment So was it Twitter what won it? Yesterday, in the wake of a flurry of Twitter and blogosphere outrage, the 'super-injunction' banning the Guardian (and, we should note, everybody else) from reporting details of a parliamentary question effectively collapsed. "A few tweets and freedom of speech is restored," the Graun itself said …
John Lettice, 14 Oct 2009
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Phorm takes a bullet for the advertising industry

The unlikely image of Phorm boss Kent Ertugrul as some kind of John the Baptist of behavioural targeting was conjured yesterday as advertising industry leaders pondered the future of online advertising. "I think from a media owner perspective it was good that Phorm drew the sting for everybody else," Microsoft Advertising …
John Lettice, 9 Oct 2009

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