Kieren McCarthy

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Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again

As incredible as it may seem, until this week the definitive measurement of a kilogram was a cylinder made of an alloy comprising 90 per cent platinum and 10 per cent iridium sat under a glass dome in a room in Paris. The cylinder is one of six official exact masses of one kilogram, and it has been that way since 1889: The …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Nov 2018

Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info via Office

Microsoft broke Euro privacy rules by carrying out the "large scale and covert" gathering of private data through its Office apps. That's according to a report out this month [PDF] that was commissioned by the Dutch government into how information handled by 300,000 of its workers was processed by Microsoft's Office ProPlus …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Nov 2018

Trump in Spaaaaaaace: Washington DC battles over who gets to decide the rules of trillion-dollar new industry

Analysis There's a new battle brewing in Washington DC and for once it's not between Democrats and Republicans, but over who gets to decide the policies for a new trillion-dollar market: The internet in space. This morning, America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the release of tens of thousands of mini-satellites …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Nov 2018

5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1... Runty-birds are go: 12,000+ internet-beaming mini-satellites OK'd by USA

America's broadband and telly regulator, the FCC, today approved a vast expansion in satellite networks around Earth. This effectively gives the green light to the launch of tens of thousands of mini-satellites that will operate in low orbit and mesh together to form next-generation communications networks. The federal …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Nov 2018
Burning money, photo via Shutterstock

Hands up who isn't p!*$ed off about Amazon's new HQ in New York and Virginia?

Analysis If regulators ever do get around to reining in the ecommerce steamroller that is Amazon, this week's announcement of his new headquarters may be the spark. For years, companies selling online have complained about being screwed over by Amazon: forced to play by its rules; pressured into massive discounts; coerced into letting …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2018
amazon judge

Alexa, cough up those always-on Echo audio recordings, says double-murder trial judge

A US judge has ordered Amazon to hand over any recordings made by its Echo digital assistant at a house where two women were murdered last year. Prosecutors believe that Alexa running on the Echo may be a key witness in the case against Timothy Verrill, 34, who stands accused of the second-degree murder of Christine Sullivan, …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2018

Ethernet patent inventor given permission to question validity of his own patent

The inventor of two patents that covers Ethernet switching products has been given permission to question the validity of his own invention. That's the unusual upshot of a decision by a US federal appeals court this week, which ruled anyone – including the original inventor – is entitled to challenge the validity of a patent …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2018

Russia: We did not hack the US Democrats. But if we did, we're immune from prosecution... lmao

The Russian government has denied having anything to do with hacking the US Democratic party in 2016, although in a court filing this week stressed that even if it did break into the DNC's servers, it is immune from prosecution. And furthermore the Kremlin claimed America is "one of the most prolific practitioners of …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Nov 2018

French president Macron insists new regulations needed to protect us all from Facebook's claws

French president Emmanuel Macron has insisted that new laws are needed to limit and protect online content and the internet itself. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Paris, Macron made repeated calls for additional regulation, and complained about the "false alternative" of self- …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Nov 2018

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

Video British boffins have developed a self-contained and tamper-proof "quantum compass" that doesn't rely on GPS signals to provide a highly accurate measure of where it is in the world. The compass is a quantum accelerometer that is capable of measuring tiny shifts in supercooled atoms and so calculate how far and how fast the …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Nov 2018

FCC Commissioner slams San Jose mayor for not approving 5G cells… then slams him for approving them

If you ever had any doubt that the triumvirate of FCC Commissioners – the Pai Men – who decide America's federal telecoms policy are always right, it was confirmed Friday. On Thursday, the mayor of Silicon Valley capital's San Jose, Sam Liccardo, penned an editorial in the New York Times cussing the FCC for passing policies …
Illustration: Man tries to catch winged bundles of money with a net as tehy fly away.

In news that will shock, er, actually a few of you, Amazon backs down in dispute with booksellers

Amazon has backed down from a growing dispute with secondhand booksellers, in an almost unprecedented act of reasonable behavior from the online behemoth. Booksellers from across the globe were incensed earlier this month when Amazon's AbeBook, an online souk for books, art and other valuables, informed its partners in four …

In news that will shock absolutely no one, America's cellphone networks throttle vids, strangle rival Skype

Analysis US cellphone networks are all throttling video to some extent, providing lower-quality stream to their customers, and some are purposefully undermining Skype as an alternative to their services. That’s the upshot of a ten-month study by Northeastern University's College of Computer and Information Science set up to see what …

Upset fat iOS gobbles up so much storage? Too bad, so sad, says judge: Apple lawsuit axed

Analysis A US district judge has dismissed a false advertising lawsuit against Apple that tried to take the iGiant to task for its bloated mobile operating system. Three Apple customers sued the iPhone maker in California back in 2014 after their 16GB iPhone 5s and iPads lost a significant amount of internal storage space when they …

Six lawsuits against FCC's 5G idiocy – that $2bn windfall for telcos – is bundled into one appeals court sueball

Six lawsuits filed against controversial new 5G rules drawn up by America's communications watchdog have been bundled into one, and will be heard at the Tenth Circuit of Appeals. A lottery held late last week selected the appeals court that covers the middle of the country – Oklahoma, Utah, Colorado, etc – and the appellants, …

Russian computer failure on ISS is nothing to worry about – they're just going to turn it off and on again

It's never a nice feeling with your computer keels over, wiping out work, sometimes requiring hours of maintenance and basically ruining your day. But spare a thought for the three astronauts currently in the International Space Station who discovered earlier today that one of the three computers in the station's Russian …

Foxconn denies it will ship Chinese factory serf, er, workers into America for new plant

Electronics manufacturer Foxconn has denied that it is planning to import Chinese workers into America for its controversial new factory in Wisconsin. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Foxconn was having trouble finding enough suitable qualified workers for the assembly plant, and as a result was planning to …

Web Foundation launches internet hippie manifesto: 'We've lost control of our data, it is being used against us'

Comment The Web Foundation is warning about the death of the web again, and urging people to come together to make the internet all nice and lovely. "The World Wide Web is under threat," a 19-page hippie manifesto [PDF] published by the pro-WWW group warned on Monday. "We've lost control of our personal data and that data is being …

Supreme Court tells Big Cable to shut up for once: Net neutrality challenge shot down

The US Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to the net neutrality rules that were introduced in 2015, and which have since been rescinded. The decision [PDF] removes one piece of a jigsaw of legal cases working their way through the law courts that challenge both the 2015 rules – introduced during the Obama …

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

Poll This week the Bank of England said it was going to put a famous boffin on a new polymer £50 note, and has decided to ask the public who it should be. There is even an online form where you can put in a nomination – it will be open for the next six weeks. There are only two rules attached: they must be a) a scientist – covering …

Dot-com web addresses prices to swell, thanks to sweetheart deal between Uncle Sam, Verisign

The planet's 138 million dot-com addresses are going to get significantly more expensive to renew over the next decade thanks to a contract signed between dot-com operator Verisign and the US government. New dot-com domains are also set to cost more. The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information …
google walkout

This revolution will not be televised – but it will be sanctioned: Googlers walk out over 'sex pest' executive scandals

Pics Thousands of Google employees across the globe marched out of their offices today upset that the advertising giant has paid millions of dollars in exit packages to male executives accused of sexual harassment. Google stayed silent on the reason for those departures, whose beneficiaries included the creator of the Android …
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - JANUARY 18, 2012: Inventor and founder of World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee delivers an address to IBM Lotusphere 2012 conference

Worldwide Web wizard Tim Berners-Lee sticks wellington boot into Worldwide Web's giants: Time to break 'em up?

Worldwide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has had enough of internet giants Google, Facebook and friends, and reckons the time has come to look at breaking them up. Warning of the "danger of concentration", the grumpy 63-year-old Brit said it was often "natural" that one company comes to dominate a particular field, and that …

Supreme Court raises eyebrows at Google's cozy $8.5m legal deal

The US Supreme Court is distinctly unimpressed with a cozy deal cooked up by Google's lawyers after the ad giant lost an $8.5m class action lawsuit for violating user privacy. On Wednesday, the nation's top court was asked to tighten up rules over so-called "cy pres" settlements where most, or sometimes all, of a settlement …
Kieren McCarthy, 31 Oct 2018
Image by beccarra

US government charges two Chinese spies over jet engine blueprint theft

The US Justice Department has charged two Chinese spies with stealing jet engine blueprints through a series of online hacks over the course of five years. Zha Rong and Chai Meng work for the Chinese government's state security ministry (JSSD), the US government claims, and collaborated with six hackers and two moles at the …
Kieren McCarthy, 31 Oct 2018

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