The Register Columnists

Rebecca Hill

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed

UK local gov: 37 cyber attacks a minute but little mandatory training

Britain's local governments were hit by almost 100 million cyber attacks in the last five years, while one in four councils’ systems were successfully breached, according to research. Privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch sent Freedom of Information to all the UK's local authorities, asking for details of cyber attacks and …
Rebecca Hill, 20 Feb 2018
A picture of a US mail box

Facebook's big solution to combating election ad fraud: Snail mail

In the face of increasing public pressure to address election fraud, Facebook has come up with a novel way to check who's buying advertising on its site – snail mail. As the Zuckerborg's shine rapidly fades, and governments and users wake up to the effects it has had on society, the firm is engaged in a battle to prove it can …
Rebecca Hill, 19 Feb 2018

UK.gov's Brexiteers warned not to push for divergence on data protection laws

British government ministers have been told not to peddle the idea that trade agreements are incompatible with continued compliance with European data protection laws. As the country's ruling Conservative Party continues to grapple with Brexit negotiations and internal frictions, tech industry bodies have said that diverging …
Rebecca Hill, 19 Feb 2018

Farts away! Plane makes unscheduled stop after man won't stop guffing

An elderly man's flatulence forced his flight to make an emergency stop after a fight broke out over his barrage of bottom burps. Passengers flying with budget Dutch airline Transavia from Dubai to Amsterdam were reportedly put out by the man's continued farting, and asked him to stop. But the man failed to hold it in, and …
Rebecca Hill, 19 Feb 2018
A picture of a satellite dish next to St Peter's Dome

UK.gov calls on the Big Man – GOD – to boost rural broadband

The governent is looking towards the heavens in its bid to redeem rural broadband speeds, having exhausted all other options. The inspirational idea is an agreement between the Church of England and the government to encourage parishes to use their buildings to boost broadband, mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity. According to the …
Rebecca Hill, 19 Feb 2018
Facebook

Facebook told to stop stalking Belgians or face fines of €250k – a day

Facebook has been told to stop tracking Belgian citizens' online habits, and to delete all the data it holds on them, or it could be fined up to €100m. The Brussels Court of First Instance today ruled that Facebook doesn't provide users with enough information on what data it gathers on people's web use or how long that data …
Rebecca Hill, 16 Feb 2018
spies_648

PM urged to protect data flows post-Brexit ahead of Munich speech

Security experts have warned that Brexit could lead to data flows between the UK and European Union being "substantially curtailed". The community is amping up the pressure on government to ensure there is a legal basis for data transfer ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech at the Munich security conference …
Rebecca Hill, 16 Feb 2018
Big Ben and Underground sign. Pic: Crown copyright/MoD

Transport for London to toughen up on taxi firms in the Uber age

Private-hire cab firms that want to operate in the UK capital will have to demonstrate how they protect riders' safety and data – and may still only get short-term licences, Transport for London has said. Under new rules proposed by TfL, private-hire firms will have to specify who is accountable for passenger and driver safety …
Rebecca Hill, 16 Feb 2018

Oracle slurps bot-wrangling security minnow Zenedge

Oracle is to gobble security outfit Zenedge for likely less than CTO Larry Ellison spends on tanning lotion each year an unspecified sum. Zenedge flogs, er, 'integrated management of businesses' cybersecurity', centred on bot management and protection against malware and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. The deal …
Rebecca Hill, 15 Feb 2018
Facepalm, photo via Shutterstock

Charity accused of leaving sensitive notes behind after office move

Updated A counselling charity has been accused of breaching Blighty's data protection law after confidential files were discovered in an old office building. The UK's data protection watchdog has confirmed it is investigating the suspected blunder, in which sensitive case histories relating to child sexual exploitation and drug …
Rebecca Hill, 15 Feb 2018
currywurst sausage covered in sauce and accompanied by fries/chips

Arrrgh! Put down the crisps! 'Ultra-processed' foods linked to cancer!

A study has suggested a link between diets high in ultra-processed foods and an increased risk of cancer – but academics have warned against over-interpreting the results. The work, published in the BMJ, assessed the diets – as reported through a survey – and cancer risk of a group of almost 105,000 French men and women. It …
Rebecca Hill, 15 Feb 2018
perplexed woman on phone

Stop calling, stop calling... ICO goes gaga after home improvement biz ignores warnings

A Welsh home improvement firm has been fined after ignoring a warning to stop contacting people who had opted out of marketing calls. In March last year, Swansea-based Direct Choice Home Improvements was handed a £50,000 fine after 167 people complained about nuisance calls. On top of the civil monetary penalty, Blighty's …
Rebecca Hill, 14 Feb 2018
Pixellated Facebook thumb

Roses are red, Facebook is blue. Think private means private? More fool you

Privacy settings on Facebook do not protect users from handing over photos, posts or metadata that is relevant to a court case, a New York judge has ruled. In a decision (PDF) handed down yesterday, chief judge Janet DiFiore said that a court could ask someone to hand over any relevant materials as part of discovery ahead of a …
Rebecca Hill, 14 Feb 2018
ISIS fighters

Despite the headlines, Rudd's online terror takedown tool is only part of the solution

Analysis The UK government launched its swish new tool to fight online extremist content to much fanfare this week – leading news bulletins and generating reams of coverage. But it also faced a whole host of criticism and concern. Underneath the claims made by Home Secretary Amber Rudd yesterday, there are many questions yet to be …
Rebecca Hill, 14 Feb 2018
Man holding money

Data scientist wanted: Must have Python, spontaneity not required

The average salary offered to data scientists in the past year was £47,000, with Python being the most desirable programming language, according to an analysis of job ads. The assessment, carried out by listings site Joblift, looked at 8,672 data scientist vacancies posted in the UK over the last 12 months. It found that data …
Rebecca Hill, 13 Feb 2018

Let's get to know each other first: Joe Public won't share their data with just anyone

The British public are much more likely to hand over personal data to an organisation they know than one they don't, and are willing to accept a trade-off if it will help science – or themselves. That's according to a survey carried out by pollsters YouGov for the Open Data Institute (ODI), which asked it to find out what the …
Rebecca Hill, 13 Feb 2018
Oracle OpenWorld cloud

Oracle: We've stuffed automation in 'pretty much' all our services

Oracle has announced plans to roll out its self-described autonomous technology to all of its Platform-as-a-Service products. The company launched its self-driving database, available in the latest version, 18c, at the OpenWorld conference last year. At the time, execs promised customers "a freedom from drudgery", as the …
Rebecca Hill, 12 Feb 2018
finger pointing

Yorkshire cops have begun using on-the-spot fingerprint scanners

A police force in England has been kitted out with fingerprint scanners to run identity checks in the street. Some 250 scanners have been handed to West Yorkshire Police officers, who will be able to run fingerprint checks against two criminal and immigration biometric databases. In an announcement slipped out over the …
Rebecca Hill, 12 Feb 2018

Hortonworks: Woo! We're breakeven – just don't focus on the $46m operating losses

Data biz Hortonworks shaved $50m off its operating losses in 2017, describing the year as "pivotal", as it continues efforts to rebrand itself as more than just Hadoop. In the quarter ended December 31, and four years since going public, Hortonworks pulled in revenue of $75m and had operating losses of $45.8m – but for the …
Rebecca Hill, 9 Feb 2018

Why aren't you being arbiters of truth? MPs scream at Facebook, YouTube, Twitter

No matter their protestations, the big tech firms will always be asked to do more to tackle the manifestations of society's problems on their platforms. And yesterday's four-hour evidence session in front of British parliamentarians was no different. In an intense hearing – for which the members of the digital, culture, media …
Rebecca Hill, 9 Feb 2018
Call centre worker looks frustrated and unhappy. Photo by Shutterstock

UK worker who sold customers' data to nuisance callers must cough up £1k

A staffer at an accident repair biz has had to pay almost £1,000 after he sold customers' personal data to cold-calling firms. Phillip Bagnall, who worked at Nationwide Accident Repair Services in Greater Manchester, England, was found to have snaffled up at least 2,700 customers' personal details, which were then used to …
Rebecca Hill, 8 Feb 2018
FLAMING BASEBALL WITH JUSTICE SCALES LOGO

Former HP workers one small step closer to throwing one giant sueball at tech goliath

A group of ex-HP staffers who claim they were discriminated against due to their age have been granted the right to together keep fighting an arbitration case against the IT giant. The biz tried to block them from taking joint action in the latest phase of the saga, which began back in August 2016 – a tactic it has used before …
Rebecca Hill, 8 Feb 2018
EU egg timer, photo via Shutterstock

Austrian privacy chief handed leash to EU's data protection beast

The leader of the Austrian data protection authority has been elected chair of the body responsible for helping organisations follow European privacy laws. Andrea Jelinek will take the reins at the Article 29 Working Party from the French authority's president, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, who has led the body for the past four …
Rebecca Hill, 7 Feb 2018
globe with magnifying glass

CLOUD Act hits Senate to lube up US access to data stored abroad

Tech giants including Microsoft, Google and Apple have given a proposed US law on overseas data sharing the thumbs-up. The bipartisan Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (PDF), introduced to the Senate yesterday, aims to iron out confusion around which laws apply when governments want access to data stored in the cloud …
Rebecca Hill, 7 Feb 2018
Game of Thrones

UK Home Office grilled over biometrics, being clingy with folks' mugshots

Brit Home Office bods have denied that retaining millions of custody images of people who were never charged falls foul of case law, while asserting that automatic deletion is not technically possible. In an intense evidence session with MPs this morning, Home Office minister Susan Williams and the department's director of …
Rebecca Hill, 6 Feb 2018

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018