Articles about Government

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You're Donald Trump's sysadmin. You've got data leaks coming out the *ss. What to do

Sysadmin Blog Imagine yourself as Donald Trump's sysadmin. Trump's first month as President of the United States of America has been notable for the number of information leaks that have occurred. Trump has called these leaks criminal and seems intent on rooting out whistleblowers. Some poor sysadmin is going to be told to prevent these leaks …
Trevor Pott, 27 Feb 2017
HMRC photo via Shutterstock

Tech contractors begin mass UK.gov exodus in wake of HMRC's IR35 income tax clampdown

Public sector contractors in the UK are starting to down tools across a range of projects ahead of the new tax regime in April, leaving numerous projects hanging in the balance. Multiple sources have been in touch with The Register to report that professionals are leaving in droves rather than face the IR35 tax changes. From …
Kat Hall, 27 Feb 2017
Heartbeat graph

Failed cancer data integration project means labs can't see patient histories

The Australian government's attempt to rush the rollout of a privatised cancer registry has backfired, with Telstra Health unable to meet a March deadline for data integration. As a result, the May 1 launch for the National Cancer Screening Register has been ditched. Telstra Health won the AU$180 million contract in May 2016 …

Uncle Sam needs you... to debug, improve Dept of Defense open-source software at code.mil

The US Department of Defense wants you to contribute unclassified code to software projects developed in support of national security. Toward that end, it has launched Code.mil, which points to a Github repository intended to offer public access to code financed by public money. But at the moment, the DoD's repo lacks any …
Thomas Claburn, 25 Feb 2017

UK cops can keep millions of mugshots of innocent folks on file

After unlawfully hoarding millions of mugshots of one-time suspects, UK police chiefs were this week told to delete the snaps – but only if people in the photos complain. And even then, requests can be easily waved away. This is all set out in the Home Office's "Review of the Use and Retention of Custody Images" [PDF], which …
A businessman in handcuffs

Surveillance software boss thrown in the clink for cooking the books

The head of a defunct surveillance and communications software company has been given the longest-ever prison sentence for back-dating stock options. Jacob "Kobi" Alexander will spend the next 30 months behind bars, ordered by Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the US District Court in Brooklyn, New York. Alexander had been the CEO …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Feb 2017

Oh, irony of ironies: Gov.UK's transparency report reveals... nothing

The British government has published a transparency report into the use of disruptive and investigatory powers by State actors, which ironically reveals absolutely nothing about the use of said powers. Introducing the 110-page report [PDF], the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, wrote that the government "is committed to increasing …
Robot drives a car. Conceptual illustration from Shutterstock

New UK laws address driverless cars insurance and liability

Insurers would be primarily responsible for paying out damages stemming from accidents caused by "automated vehicles" under new UK legislation laid before the UK parliament. The Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill sets out how the liability for accidents involving automated vehicles should be apportioned, and factors in …
OUT-LAW.COM, 24 Feb 2017
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BT, Ericsson square up to Arqiva, Samsung over 5G arms race

Hot on the heels of Arqiva revealing plans for a 5G trial with Samsung this morning, Ericsson and BT have also announced a partnership to develop 5G projects. Mobile phone and broadcasting towers biz Arqiva is best known for infrastructure broadcasting. Simon Beresford-Wylie, Arqiva chief exec, said the business has been " …
Kat Hall, 24 Feb 2017

South Korea targeted by cyberspies (again). Kim, got something to say?

The South Korean public sector is once again in the firing line of a sophisticated – and likely government-backed – cyberattack. The campaign was active between November 2016 and January 2017 and relied on exploiting vulnerabilities in a Korean language word processing program and a spoofed document from the Korean Ministry of …
John Leyden, 24 Feb 2017
A man buried in paperwork

How to nuke websites you don't like: Slam Google with millions of bogus DMCA takedowns

Analysis Big corporations are abusing the system for taking down files and links to copyright-infringing content by sending millions of fake links, according to Google. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), online providers are given legal protection from having illegal content on their servers if they respond to requests …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Feb 2017

US 'security' biz trio Sentinel Labs, Vir2us, SpyChatter accused of lying about certification

Three US companies have settled with the FTC after they were accused of lying about the security safeguards on their customer information. Sentinel Labs, SpyChatter, and Vir2us have all agreed to adhere to the US trade regulator's settlement terms after they were formally charged with falsely claiming certification with the …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Feb 2017
Parliament photo by Shutterstock

Brit lords slip 30Mbps Universal Service Obligation into UK Digital Economy Bill

An eleventh-hour amendment has been added to the UK government's Digital Economy Bill, proposing an increase of the Universal Service Obligation from 10Mbps to 30Mbps. Labour peer Lord Mendelsohn managed to slip in the increase in the Bill yesterday, which would also set upload speeds of 6Mbps per second. He said: "Everyone …
Kat Hall, 23 Feb 2017

IBM: Voluntary redundo offer? Ticked. Min stat terms? Ticked

Exclusive IBM is hoping to lighten monthly payroll costs by, er, dangling minimum statutory redundancy terms in front of UK staff who volunteer to cut short their career at the creaking tech titan. As El Reg revealed yesterday, Big Blue told staff in the Technical Services Support unit it was forming an Employee Consultation Committee …
Paul Kunert, 23 Feb 2017
Peter Sage, principal of Space Energy, giving a talk in 2012. He is currently imprisoned for contempt of court

Alleged $17.5m fraudster accused of duping HPE out of 42,000 servers

Peter Sage, the imprisoned "serial entrepreneur" and one-time principal of the company Space Energy, is said to have defrauded Hewlett Packard Enterprise out of tens of thousands of servers in a scam that unfolded over three years. Court documents obtained by The Register reveal that HPE sold Sage's Space Energy venture a …
Gareth Corfield, 23 Feb 2017
warrant

US judge halts mass fingerprint harvesting by cops to unlock iPhones

Analysis An Illinois judge has rejected a warrant sought by the US government to force everyone in a given location to apply his or her fingerprints to any Apple electronic device investigators happen to find there, a ruling contrary to a similar warrant request granted last year by a judge in California. Under current law, the …
Thomas Claburn, 23 Feb 2017
Falling profits

Infosec firm NCC Group launches review over crap financials

Cybersecurity firm NCC Group has launched a strategic review after issuing a profit warning. The company announced on Tuesday that the performance of its assurance division will be significantly lower than anticipated. This will hit its overall financial results for the full year ending 31 May, 2017. NCC now expects that the …
John Leyden, 22 Feb 2017
Snooping image via Shutterstock

London Internet Exchange members vote no to constitution tweak

Members of LINX, the London Internet Exchange – the UK's largest net peering point – have rejected proposals that would reshape the company’s constitution and could block members from being consulted about government tapping instructions. The vote, on Tuesday, followed a Reg report revealing that members had been given less …
Duncan Campbell, 22 Feb 2017

How's your online bank security looking? The Dutch studied theirs and... yeah, not great

The Dutch banking industry is doing a terrible job of online security, according to the company that runs the country's .nl internet domains. In a new report published Tuesday, the internet registry SIDN was surprised to find that just six per cent of banks using .nl internet addresses have the security protocol DNSSEC in …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Feb 2017

'Hey, Homeland Security. Don't you dare demand Twitter, Facebook passwords at the border'

Over 50 human rights and civil liberties groups, nearly 100 law professors and security experts, and lawmakers have launched a campaign against digital searches at the US border. An open letter condemns recent comments by Homeland Security secretary John Kelly in which he proposed requiring selected non-citizens entering the …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Feb 2017
Paul Berg, at the Open Source Leadership Summit

Meet the chap open-sourcing US govt code – Paul, an ex-Microsoft anti-piracy engineer

Interview In the months ahead, Idaho National Laboratory aims to open-source software for analyzing the quality of cow manure. "It runs a whole bunch of scenarios and numbers and determines what is the most profitable use of the manure that comes out of cows," explained Paul Berg, senior research and development software licensing …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Feb 2017

$350m! shaved! off! sale! price! as! Verizon! swallows! Yahoo!

Yahoo! will be gobbled by Verizon for $4.48bn, $350m cheaper than the initial deal, apparently due to the damage done to the company's value by widely reported successful cyber-attacks. Verizon slashed its acquisition offer in the wake of Yahoo! confessing to cyber-attacks, and the companies will now share the liability for …

Big data should be 'part of UK's core national infrastructure' – Civil Service chief exec

The chief executive of the Civil Service, John Manzoni, says the UK needs to begin to consider the "collection and storage of data as part of [our] core national infrastructure". In a speech delivered this morning, Manzoni articulated the Civil Service's dreams about "public service modernisation", which focused on how …
European flag with sad face

EU privacy gurus peer at Windows 10, still don't like what they see

The EU’s top privacy body has been probing Windows 10, but isn’t satisfied, even after Microsoft agreed to tweak the consent settings. Microsoft unveiled new privacy controls as part of its forthcoming “Creators Update” to Windows 10 due this spring. However, Reuters reports that the Article 29 Working Party, which represents …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Feb 2017
Sulphur-crested cockatoo

Australia commences critical infrastructure protection consultation

Last month, Australia's federal government established a Critical Infrastructure Centre. Now it's decided to ask what the centre should protect. Attorney-General George Brandis has announced a month-long consultation into the security of the country's critical infrastructure. The statement says the consultation includes …
Man in an orange jumpsuit clutches prison bars. Image by Shutterstock

NZ High Court rules US can extradite Kim Dotcom after all

The businessman otherwise known as Kim Schmitz, aka "Kimble", aka "Kim Dotcom", has lost his High Court appeal in New Zealand to be extradited to the USA. In January 2012, Schmitz's mansion and property were confiscated in raids relating to an investigation of his Megaupload.com website, a file-sharing site that is accused of …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Feb 2017
hacker

Is your child a hacker? Liverpudlian parents get warning signs checklist

Hot on the heels of Liverpool being awarded the European Capital of Culture for 2008 comes a charity programme, run by YouthFed, titled Hackers to Heroes. The programme, which encourages youngsters to develop useful computer skills, is also informing parents of the signs they may encounter if their children are on the path to …
Handshake

BT and Virgin Media claim 'broadband' tax will cost £1.3bn

Rivals BT and Virgin Media have joined hands to collective moan that a forthcoming hike to business rates will result in tripling of their collective tax bill to £1.3bn over the next five years. The Valuation Office Agency‘s revaluation of business rates will come into force on 1 April 2017. But Virgin and BT complained the …
Kat Hall, 20 Feb 2017
Pirate ship in Croatia with a hole blown through it. For editorial use only. Photo by shutteretsock/s-mart

Google agrees to break pirates' domination over music searches

UK government-hosted talks spanning two Parliaments have culminated in Google and Bing at last agreeing to tweak their search results in response to copyright-holders' concerns, thereby heading off threatened legislation on their conduct. The code means Google, Bing and other search engines will demote illegal sites from the …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Feb 2017
NBN

Competition and wholesale costs, not lack of fibre, crimp broadband in Australia

Like the sun rising, the release of a new Akamai State of the Internet report inevitably leads to opinion columns bemoaning Australia's slide on global league tables for broadband speed, most attributing it to the much-hated “multi-technology model” NBN. We're going to swim against the tide and suggest otherwise: the problem …
POTUS

Probe President Trump and his crappy Samsung Twitter-o-phone, demand angry congressfolk

Fifteen members of US Congress have asked the House Oversight Committee to investigate whether President Trump is putting national security at risk by using an insecure phone and holding sensitive meetings in public. In a letter to the committee, the congressfolk say [PDF] they were inspired by reports that the Commander in …
Iain Thomson, 17 Feb 2017
Wire wastepaper bin filled with scrunched up paper. Photo by Shutterstock

Round-filed 'paperless' projects: Barriers remain to Blighty's Digital NHS

It was hard to hear UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s recent backtracking over his plans for a paperless NHS by 2018, without wondering to what extent digital health documents have contributed to global forest depletion over the last decades. To some extent all tech programmes in the NHS are still overshadowed by the …
Kat Hall, 17 Feb 2017
Official gag photo via Shutterstock

UK Snoopers' Charter gagging order drafted for London Internet Exchange directors

Exclusive London Internet Exchange (LINX) – Europe's major internet traffic hub – faces a growing backlash over changes to its rules that would gag its directors applying secret government orders to monitor networks, under Britain's Investigatory Powers Act. LINX members – hundreds of internet companies – have been given less than two …
Duncan Campbell, 17 Feb 2017

Yee-haw! It's the Friday storage round-up

Not every story is NetApp making a hyperconverged product, or Oracle possibly canning tape products. Here's a roundup of several pieces of news that are nevertheless significant. We wrote about data management startup Komprise some time ago. It tells us it released its product last year, has partnerships with NetApp, EMC, …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2017

Déjà vu: Euro Patent Office prez ignores yet another formal rebuke

The president of the European Patent Office, Benoit Battistelli, is ignoring yet another formal rebuke of his policies by disregarding two decisions by the International Labour Organization. In letters going back and forth between EPO management and the organization's main staff union, SUEPO, representatives are refusing to …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Feb 2017
Gangnam calling for punishment of president Park Geun-hye and Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong

Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong cuffed in $40m corruption, perjury bust

Samsung Group vice chairman Lee Jae-yong has been arrested, accused of bribery, embezzlement, and perjury, and taken to jail near Seoul in South Korea. The Seoul Central District Court issued a warrant for Lee's arrest on Friday, after rejecting a warrant request from prosecutors last month for lack of evidence. A Samsung …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Feb 2017
Facebook Lite app

US visitors must hand over Twitter, Facebook handles by law – newbie Rep starts ball rolling

A newbie congressman has floated his first ever US law bill – one that demands visitors to America hand over URLs to their social network accounts. House Rep Jim Banks (R-IN) says his proposed rules – dubbed the Visa Investigation and Social Media Act (VISA) of 2017 – require visa applicants to provide their social media …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Feb 2017
Photo by Cat Walker / Shutterstock

Zuckerberg thinks he's cyber-Jesus – and publishes a 6,000-word world-saving manifesto

Comment Whatever Mark Zuckerberg's taking, we want some, too. Because last night it looks like the Zuck stayed up late with a couple of university freshmen and solved the world's problems, making sure they wrote it down so they didn't wake up in the morning and forget it. Behold a 6,000-word manifesto from the CEO and cofounder of …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Feb 2017
zombie_648

Corpse of US anti-spying law unearthed, reanimated, pushed blinking into the sunlight

US Congressional lawmakers on Wednesday reintroduced legislation to establish rules limiting how American government agencies can obtain a person's whereabouts. The Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (GPS Act), sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich), was …
Thomas Claburn, 16 Feb 2017
Eric Schmidt

THE SCHMIDT HITS THE BAN: Keep your gloves off AI, military top brass

RSA USA Alphabet exec chairman Eric Schmidt is worried that the future of the internet is going to be under threat once the world’s militaries get good at artificial intelligence. Speaking at the RSA security conference in San Francisco, Google's ultimate supremo said he is worried the internet will be balkanized if countries lock …
Iain Thomson, 16 Feb 2017
US Federal Communications Commission Headquarters in Washington, DC. Pic: editorial use only/Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock

Why I had to sue the FCC – VoIP granddaddy Dan Berninger

Interview One of the grandaddies of VoIP is taking America's comms watchdog, the FCC, to the US Supreme Court over net neutrality – and he's told us why. It’s life or death, says Dan Berninger, whose startup works on high quality voice services, and could be killed by the regulator at a stroke. Berninger led the Bell Labs team that …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Feb 2017
NSA

Former NSA techies raise $8m for their data governance startup

Immuta, a data governance startup run by former US National Security Agency technicians, has announced the conclusion of its Series A funding round, pulling in $8m. The funding round was led by Drive Capital – whose partner Andy Jenks has been given a board seat – with participation from Greycroft Partners and Conversion …
Parliament photo by Shutterstock

Identity disorder: Does UK govt need Verify more than we do?

Comment One problem writing about government IT is that after a while it feels a bit like Groundhog Day – a syndrome that must be even more pronounced for the folk working in it. Six years ago I remember clearly being walked through the reasons why the British government needed an online identification tool to enable citizens to use …
Kat Hall, 16 Feb 2017

Cloud industry body sets up new data protection code

A number of cloud infrastructure providers operating in Europe have signed up to a new data protection code of conduct. The code, established by Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe (CISPE), places restrictions on the processing of personal data that cloud customers store with providers, defines responsibilities …
OUT-LAW.COM, 16 Feb 2017

Revealed: Web servers used by disk-nuking Shamoon cyberweapon

A detailed analysis of the Shamoon malware – which is playing a huge role in the cyberwar between Saudi Arabia and Iran – has identified servers used to spread the software nasty. Shamoon surfaced in 2012 when it infected 30,000 workstations in the world’s largest oil production firm, Saudi Aramco, wiped their hard drives, and …
Iain Thomson, 16 Feb 2017

Republicans send anti-Signal signal to US EPA

US House Republicans Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) have demanded a probe into staff at the US Environmental Protection Agency who are apparently using private encrypted communications. Earlier this month, insiders at the EPA, the US Department of Labor, the Foreign Service, and possibly other agencies and …

OK, it's time to talk mass spying again: America's Section 702 powers are up for renewal

Analysis While the entire US political machinery has been caught up with one Trump-based scandal after another over the past three weeks, larger underlying issues are starting to re-emerge. And top of the list is mass surveillance. Section 702 of America's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expires at the end of the year – …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Feb 2017

You know IoT security is bad when libertarians call for strict regulation

RSA USA We all know the vast majority of Internet-of-Things devices haven’t anything more than a fig leaf for protection. Now the unlikeliest of folks are calling for rules to improve IoT security: libertarians. In a session today at the RSA infosec conference in San Francisco, Olaf Kolkman, the Internet Society’s chief internet …
Iain Thomson, 15 Feb 2017

Rasputin whips out large intimidating tool, penetrates uni, city, govt databases – new claim

A Russian-speaking miscreant dubbed "Rasputin," who potentially hacked into the US Election Assistance Commission and sold access to its systems, has struck again, it is claimed. Rasputin has allegedly infiltrated database servers within 60 organizations, US government agencies, and international universities. These victims …
John Leyden, 15 Feb 2017
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Hutchison's 3UK and Google push 3.5 GHz on both sides of the pond

Analysis Some are talking about 3.5 GHz as a 5G band, but Hutchison’s deal to acquire UK Broadband to bolster its 3UK arm is all about the good old fight for LTE spectrum. This deal shows that it is not just the US’s opening of its 3.5 GHz band, via its CBRS scheme, that has thrust this spectrum into the limelight. In many parts of the …
Wireless Watch, 15 Feb 2017