Policy > More stories

A BT Openreach van, used by engineers installing and repairing IPTV telephone, broadband, ADSL and SuperFast fibre broadband services. Martin Hoscik / Shutterstock.com
90

East Midlands network-sniffer wails: Openreach, fix my outage-ridden line

An irritated techie from Nottinghamshire, in the East Midlands of England, has hit out at Openreach after what he claimed was a year-long series of daily micro-outages that make it "often impossible" to work from home. Ian Sampson of North Wheatley got in touch with The Register after being driven to distraction by what he …
Gareth Corfield, 11 Jul 2018
32

Former wig-wearing Twitterphobe replaces Hancock as UK.gov's Secretary of Fun

Today's reshuffle of UK politicos sees Jeremy Wright – a man whose parody account has seen more activity in 12 hours than his real one has in the past three years – appointed Secretary of Fun. Wright, a lawyer by training, takes the reins at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from Matt Hancock, who has been …
Rebecca Hill, 10 Jul 2018
48

CEST la vie, IR35 workers: HMRC sets out stall for ignoring Mutuality of Obligation

HMRC has attracted further ire from contractors affected by plans to squeeze them for a bit more tax under IR35 rules. After considerable prodding by contractor consultancies and other groups including freelance advisory service ContractorCalculator.co.uk, the tax agency last week released a new paper on Mutuality of …
Richard Speed, 10 Jul 2018
question
12

Trump's Supreme Court pick will decide critical tech issues for decades – so what are the views of the contenders?

On Monday, President Trump is expected to announce his pick for the next US Supreme Court Justice – a decision that will come with huge implications for technology and privacy. Given the current make-up of the court – and the fact that departing Justice Kennedy was often the swing vote in Supreme Court decisions – whoever is …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Jul 2018
67

Imagine a patent on organizing computer files being used against online shopping sites. Oh, it's still happening

In another sign that corporate America has had enough of patent trolls, this week monster retailers Macy's and OfficeMax accused SpeedTrack in court of creating a "fable" – and asked a judge to kill off its patent infringement claims for good. At a hearing in Oakland, California, lawyers – who are defending web retailers sued …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Jul 2018
throw paper
72

ICANN't get no respect: Europe throws Whois privacy plan in the trash

European data regulators have torn up the latest proposal by internet overseer ICANN over its Whois data service, sending the hapless organization back to the drawing board for a third time. In a letter [PDF] to the US-based internet's naming and addressing systems, the chair of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) makes …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Jul 2018
Kids dressed in pirate costumes
47

European Parliament balks at copyright law reform vote

The European Parliament has kicked back a vote on proposed copyright law changes until September to allow tempers to cool and the agreed text to be re-examined. The decision was forced because 31 MEPs abstained, 318 voted against the European Commission's proposals, and 278 were in favour. Parliamentary rules require a plenary …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Jul 2018
76

Hurry up and make a deal on post-Brexit data flows, would you? Think of UK business – MPs

The UK government has been told to urgently start negotiations for a data adequacy deal with the European Union – or risk damaging business and placing a prohibitive burden on small firms. The warning comes in a report from the House of Commons' Exiting the European Union Committee, which looks specifically at the UK's …
Rebecca Hill, 05 Jul 2018
eyebrow
14

Euro privacy watchdog raises eyebrows at mulled EU copyright law

Europe's top data expert has given a tentative green light to a proposed European copyright law – but warned that it needs to be very carefully written if it's not to distort markets or interfere with fundamental rights. European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Giovanni Buttarelli was asked to contribute his thoughts about …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Jul 2018
The Mosque at the Taj Mahal, shot from within the Taj Mahal through the marble screens
20

India tells WhatsApp to add filters, ASAP

India has warned Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp to do something about abuse of its service that has led to murders. A July 3rd statement from the nation’s Ministry of Electronics & IT says “Instances of lynching of innocent people have been noticed recently because of large number of irresponsible and explosive …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Jul 2018

China wins one, loses one in US trade spats

ZTE has had some good news in America, but China Mobile has had bad news. ZTE's been given a limited reprieve in the form of an authorisation (PDF) from the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security that lets it keep trading. The Department's document allows the company to: Continue operating and maintaining …
Tripping over

Centrelink scheduled maintenance at time clients needed it most

Australia's welfare payments agency couldn't cope with a surge in user traffic it knew was coming last weekend and went TOESUP (Total Outage Ends Support for Usual Performance), with problems continuing until Tuesday, July 3rd. The “users trying to log in attack” occurred after the organisation scheduled weekend maintenance …
Angry man yelling on phone while reading vintage printer paper report. Photo by SHutterstock
39

Call your MEP! Wikipedia blacks out for European YouTube vote

Wikipedia is appealing to its users to swing a knife-edge vote in the European Parliament – even though the crowdsourced encyclopaedia itself won a specific exemption from the legal changes the EU has proposed (PDF). As European Parliament's legal affairs committee mulls over votes to tweak the EU Directive on Copyright in the …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jul 2018
Batman. Credit: DC Comics.

British info watchdog slaps Midlands firm with £4,500 fine. Next time, register

A firm has been fined £4,500 for processing personal data without registering with the UK’s data protection watchdog and failing to comply with the body’s missives. Noble Design and Build, which operates CCTV systems across buildings in Sheffield, was yesterday convicted in their absence at Telford Magistrate’s Court, for data …
Rebecca Hill, 03 Jul 2018
Image by Alexander_P http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-493324p1.html
52

Feds charge Man after FCC boss Ajit Pai's kids get death threat over net neutrality axe vote

A Californian man is accused of threatening the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai and his family, over the decision to rescind net neutrality rules in the US. Markara Man, 33, of Norwalk, just outside Los Angeles, was collared on Friday by the FBI for allegedly sending three threatening emails to Pai's …
Kieren McCarthy, 02 Jul 2018
Man counts pounds and pence. Photo by Shutterstock
30

A £1.3m prize for a plunging share price at BT? Not so fast...

It doesn’t look to be smooth sailing for British Telecom’s outgoing boss, Gavin Patterson, as a recommendation to reject his bonus has arrived in time for the next shareholder meeting. Leading proxy voting and policy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) reckons that Patterson's near £1.3m bonus (a whopping 130 per …
Richard Speed, 02 Jul 2018
Uh oh, someone just got some bad news
130

Google weeps as its home state of California passes its own GDPR

Analysis California has become the first state in the US to pass a data privacy law – with governor Jerry Brown signing the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 into law on Thursday. The legislation will give new rights to the state's 40 million inhabitants, including the ability to view the data that companies hold on them and, …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Jun 2018
Privacy image
13

Wasn't too hard, was it? UK has made 'significant progress' in spy control

The UK's surveillance regime is no longer "worse than scary" – but there are still a number of imperfections, the UN special rapporteur on the right to privacy has said. Over the past week, Joseph Cannataci has met public bodies, spy agencies, civil rights groups, politicians and the judiciary to assess the UK's privacy and …
Rebecca Hill, 29 Jun 2018
70

No more slurping of kids' nationalities, Brit schools told

Schools have been told not to suck up information on kids' nationalities or country of birth – but historic data will not be deleted. The climbdown, which was predicted earlier this year, was revealed in a guide to the schools census – the statutory survey of students that takes place three times a year – that was published as …
Rebecca Hill, 28 Jun 2018
144

UK taxman warned it's running out of time to deliver working customs IT system by Brexit

Plans to implement a new customs system for Brexit are still fraught with risk and the taxman has yet to fully engage with users and traders who rely on them, the UK's spending watchdog has said. Amid growing concerns that the government's systems are not ready to cope with the extra pressures Brexit will bring, the National …
Rebecca Hill, 28 Jun 2018
Dunce

Australian Senate committee dumps on digital transformation

Australia's government is rubbish at computing, according to a new report from the Senate's Finance and Public Administration Committee. The 146-page report tabled yesterday highlights problems in policy, IT skills, implementation, consultancy and spending. Even after taking into account the composition of the committee - …
baby dancing
25

Infamous 'Dancing Baby' copyright battle settled just before YouTube tot becomes a teen

Vid An infamous and long-running copyright lawsuit over a dancing baby has finally come to a close, albeit with a critical legal question unresolved. Lenz v Universal Music was a case brought back in 2007 by Stephanie Lenz after the music industry giant accused her of infringing its copyright in a home video of her toddler dancing …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Jun 2018
schoolkids

ICO seeks views on how tween-friendly websites should be designed

The UK's data protection watchdog is crowdsourcing ideas for the code that will govern how websites and apps aimed at under-16s are designed. Children's use of technology is a recurring problem for the government, which needs to be seen protecting the youth of today without appearing like Luddites to those who value technology …
Rebecca Hill, 27 Jun 2018
young woman looks through blinds
50

Crime epidemic or never had it so good? Drilling into statistics is murder

Britain is in the grip of a crime epidemic, the likes of which we have never seen before. Knife crime. Stabbings. And if you're out after dark, make sure your will is written and posted before you close the front door. Or how about the alternative reality of... we've never had it so good. Violent crime was down last year, down …
Jane Fae , 27 Jun 2018
Hospital patient is annoyed
14

Now NHS Digital is going after data on private healthcare too

The UK government plans to funnel data on private healthcare into NHS systems to address concerns about transparency in private care. Not content with sucking up information on patients and health services across England, NHS Digital – the IT body of the nation's health service – is now angling to get its hands on private …
Rebecca Hill, 26 Jun 2018
Donald trump reading fake news
48

White House calls its own China tech cash-inject ban 'fake news'

The White House has decried as fake news reports that the Trump Administration will institute a ban on Chinese companies investing in US tech companies. "On behalf of @realDonaldTrump, the stories on investment restrictions in Bloomberg & WSJ are false, fake news," read a statement by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin posted …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Jun 2018
59

Uber's London licence appeal off to flying start: No, you cannot do driver eye tests via video link

Updated A contrite Uber told Westminster Magistrates' Court today that it "fully accepts" last year's decision by Transport for London (TfL) to revoke its taxi operating licence as "justified". TfL, the UK capital's transport regulator, wants the ban upheld, in part because of fears that spy-on-regulators tech Greyball was used in …
Gareth Corfield, 25 Jun 2018
Heart falls into crack. Photo by Shutterstock
24

UK.gov outsourcers must prove their 'social value' to win contracts

The UK government has revealed plans to rate outsourcers on "social value", require them to publish KPIs and meet higher cybersecurity standards to tackle the fallout caused by the collapse of Carillion. In a speech at the Reform think tank in London today, Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington announced measures the …
Rebecca Hill, 25 Jun 2018
Hand locking door
165

GDPR forgive us, it's been one month since you were enforced…

A month after the enforcement date of the General Data Protection Regulation – a law that businesses had two years to prepare for – many websites are still locking out users in the European Union as a method of compliance. To celebrate the milestone, El Reg is casting a vulture's eye over the sites that are giving a new …
Rebecca Hill, 25 Jun 2018
Privacy
57

In huge privacy win, US Supreme Court rules warrant needed to slurp folks' location data

In a decision that will define privacy in the digital age, the US Supreme Court decided 5-4 on Friday that the government needs a warrant to access its citizens' mobile phone location data. Written by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by the four liberal justices, the majority opinion extended the Fourth Amendment on …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jun 2018
An angry woman steaming from the ears
30

Facebook sends lowly minions to placate Euro law makers over data-slurp scandal

Facebook has once again irked EU politicos by failing to send sufficiently senior staffers to face another grilling on the data-harvesting saga. Today, it was the turn of the EU Parliament's civil liberties committee (LIBE) to issue a disappointed statement after it was denied access to the execs it had asked for. Since the …
Rebecca Hill, 22 Jun 2018
young man in medieval peasant costume
63

Why the 'feudal' tech monopolies run rings around competition watchdogs

Interview Competition watchdogs need to move faster and consider the bigger picture to deal effectively with transnational tech behemoths like Google, says BT's former chief lawyer. For seven years, Tim Cowen was head of BT's competition and regulatory public policy group, dealing with government threats to the telco monopoly. He's now …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jun 2018
A confused man
79

Do UK.gov wonks understand sci-tech skills gap? MPs dish out Parliamentary kicking

The UK government doesn't know what science and tech skills the economy needs or how Brexit will affect firms' ability to recruit staff, MPs have warned. In a withering report published today, Parliament's influential Public Accounts Committee criticised the government's poor understanding of science, technology, engineering …
Rebecca Hill, 22 Jun 2018
78

US Supreme Court blocks internet's escape from state sales taxes

Internet retailers will soon be required to pay state sales tax across the entire United States following a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court. The decision [PDF] will have a huge impact on American ecommerce, with large companies required to calculate, charge and hand over billions of dollars through dozens of different taxes …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Jun 2018
Access denied
47

EU negotiator: Crucial data adequacy deal will wait until UK hands in homework

The UK will only be able to get a data adequacy decision from the European Union once it has offered up its new legal framework – and won't get access to the bloc's policing and security databases, Michel Barnier has warned. In a speech in Vienna yesterday, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator once again emphasised the importance …
Rebecca Hill, 20 Jun 2018
man gets fingerprinted by gloved person
140

National ID cards might not mean much when up against incompetence of the UK Home Office

The Windrush immigration papers scandal barred Caribbean-born Britons from public services and in some cases deported them because they lacked sufficient documentation. The scandal claimed Amber Rudd's job as Home Secretary. Her replacement, Sajid Javid, is working to sort out the mess. Two of Javid's predecessors, Charles …
SA Mathieson, 19 Jun 2018

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018