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Take that! FCC will hand net neut to FTC – reports

Analysis Americans may get a less Google-friendly and less-politicised regulatory regime if America's trade watchdog, the FTC, adopts responsibility for "net neutrality provisions", as reports today suggest. But under Trump, will the FTC have any teeth? Both Politico and The Wall Street Journal report that Ajit Pai – chairman of the US …

How their GDPR ignorance could protect you from your denial

We may be leaving the EU, but some EU law – with significant consequences for the IT community – will carry on. One such is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We signed up to it before the referendum, agreed to persist with it after and, if businesses wish to continue to process data belonging to EU firms, as well …
Jane Fae , 7 Apr 2017
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Germany gives social networks 24 hours to delete criminal content

Germany has followed through on its proposal to make social networks remove slanderous hate speech and fake news or face massive fines. The nation's Bundesministerium der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz (Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection) has announced that cabinet approved a plan to force social network …

Twitter sues US govt to protect 'Department of Immigration employee' who doesn't like Trump

Twitter has sued the US Department of Homeland Security over its demands that the microblogging site unmask an anonymous anti-Trump account. In a filing [PDF] with the Northern California US District court, Twitter asks that the DHS be enjoined from requesting identifying information on a "rogue" Twitter account said to be …
Shaun Nichols, 6 Apr 2017
Airbus A350-1000

Aviation regulator flies in face of UK.gov ban, says electronics should be stowed in cabin. Duh

Europe's aviation regulator has warned that electronic devices should not be stowed in an aircraft's cargo hold, advice that contradicts the recent ban on laptops and tablets in cabin baggage on certain flights by UK authorities. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a reminder to airlines that devices containing …
Kat Hall, 6 Apr 2017
Dual lenses on the P10, co-designed with Leica, make the P10 a strong camera phone

Huawei mystery memo (and phone strategy) confirmed

Interview Last weekend Huawei’s flagship P10 (and P10 Plus) smartphones went on sale in the UK, with support from all four major operators for the first time. Huawei UK boasts that it was the only Mobile World Congress launch to get across-the-board support – something LG and Sony had failed to do. Huawei has been more or less the world …
Australian Parliament House Canberra

DTA gets its new CEO, opposition tells gummint to get some 'nous'

Australia's Digital Transformation Agency has a new project-canceller-in-chief, announcing that ex-banker Gavin Slater will succeed interim CEO Nerida O’Loughlin as of May 1. Slater is credited with driving a “widespread digital transformation” at the National Australia Bank, before joining fellow executive Renee Roberts on …

ICO fines 11 big charities over dirty data donor-squeezing deeds

Eleven charities have been fined by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office for their dodgy dealings with donors' personal data. Over the last two years, an ICO investigation into fundraising has found a number of charities operating in breach of the Data Protection Act. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to …
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Speaking in Tech: Verizon, Comcast and AT&T... Trust us, we won't sell you out

Podcast speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise Cloud for less than a penny? Tencent recently won a bid to provide the city of Xiamen with cloud services for one Yuan. The President of Alibaba claims the bid “destroyed the entire industry”. On this week’s podcast we discuss China’s cloud race, privacy rules in the US and …
Team Register, 5 Apr 2017

NY court slaps down Facebook's attempt to keep accounts secret from search warrants

Facebook has lost more skin in its battle to avoid handing over user account details to a US court. In a 5‑1 decision documented by Judge Leslie Stein, the New York State Court of Appeals today said it lacks the jurisdiction to overturn the warrants, and that challenging warrants is none of Facebook’s business – that’s up to …
Woman reads book, sips tea on couch. Photo by Shutterstock

Couchbase swaps CEO for ex-Veritas prez

NoSQL business Couchbase has replaced Bob Wiederhold as its chief executive officer with former Veritas president Matt Cain. Wiederhold had been CEO since 2010, and will remain at the company as its executive chairman, but will no longer be at the helm as Couchbase makes its long-promised initial public offering. Mountain …

Governments could introduce 'made by humans' tags - legal report

Human job quotas and labels which state services or products were explicitly "made by humans" are just some of the measures law-makers could consider in combating the displacement of jobs due to robotics, according to a report by the global forum for the legal profession. One-third of current jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree …
Kat Hall, 4 Apr 2017

Google opens patent pool for Android

Samsung, LG and Foxconn are among the founding members of a patent pool for Android phone makers under Google's benevolent eye. Google hopes the "community-driven clearinghouse" for IP sharing will fend off patent trolls. Google already operates a non-aggression alliance for Android phone makers called License on Transfer, …
Theresa May photo by Frederic Legrand COMEO via Shutterstock

'No deal better than bad deal' approach to Brexit 'unsubstantiated'

The UK government's "no deal is better than a bad deal" approach to Brexit negotiations has been slammed by a cross-party parliamentary committee report, which today called the claim "unsubstantiated". Committee chairman Hilary Benn said Blighty is about to enter into "enormously important and complex negotiations" covering …
Kat Hall, 4 Apr 2017

First EU-US Privacy Shield annual review to take place in September

The inaugural annual review into the operation of the EU-US Privacy Shield is to take place in September this year. EU justice commissioner Věra Jourová confirmed the timing of the review in a speech in Washington late last week. "[The review] will be an important milestone where we need to check that everything is in place …
OUT-LAW.COM, 4 Apr 2017

D'oh! Amber Rudd meant 'understand hashing', not 'hashtags'

It was the cringiest moment in an already gaffe-prone interview on The Andrew Marr Show last week. Speaking about preventing the upload of objectionable content, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the government needs to get people who "understand the necessary hashtags" talking. That was of course in addition to Rudd's widely …
Kat Hall, 3 Apr 2017
Old Bailey Lady Justice

Hundreds of millions 'wasted' on UK court digitisation scheme

Exclusive Hundreds of millions of pounds have been wasted on plans to digitise the criminal justice system due to the mismanagement of a key programme that has so far delivered little value to the taxpayer, according to multiple insiders. The Common Platform Programme (CPP) was supposed to be complete by March 2019. However, a …
Kat Hall, 3 Apr 2017
RAF F-35B ZM137, visiting the UK in 2016. Crown copyright

Head of US military kit-testing slams F-35, says it's scarcely fit to fly

Now-retired Dr Michael Gilmore, until recently the Director of Test and Evaluation for the US military, has published his final evaluation of the F-35 program, and it's a treat. In his parting report (PDF), deliciously dated April 1*, Gilmore details a host of issues remaining with the US$391 billion-and-counting project, with …

Assange™ keeps his couch as Ecuador's president wins election

Julian Assange will sleep easy tonight – assuming he sleeps at all – after Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno Garcés retained power. Opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso, of the Creando Oportunidades, party, had pledged to evict Assange from Ecuador's London embassy within 30 days of an election win. Lasso's planned to find …

Make America Wait Again: Trump hasn't stopped H-1B visas

Applications for the United States' H-1B visas open tomorrow, as usual. Which isn't what many expected after president Donald Trump made reform of skilled workers visas one of his key campaign promises. H-1B visas allow those with a bachelor’s or higher degree in a specialty field, and an employer willing to take them on, to …
BT Tower photo via Shutterstock

Ofcom pressuring BT to slash wholesale prices for superfast broadband

Ofcom could force BT's Openreach to slash the prices it charges rivals for access to its superfast broadband network under plans that could shave millions off consumer bills. With proposals published by the watchdog today intended to encourage "full-fibre" investment, Ofcom said it wants to cut the wholesale price that …
Kat Hall, 31 Mar 2017

Confidence in £70m customs system has 'collapsed', warns Treasury Committee

Confidence in HMRC's £70m Customs Declaration Service, a computer system that HMRC itself describes as "business critical", has collapsed, the Treasury Select Committee warned today. The system is intended to replace the 25-year-old current system – known as Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (Chief). But in the …
Kat Hall, 31 Mar 2017
HMRC photo via Shutterstock

IT contractors behind IR35 calculator to leave HMRC... because of IR35

The IT contractors who built the UK tax collectors' IR35 tool to determine whether freelancers are in the scope of the new tax clampdown have themselves been ruled within the scope of IR35. According to sources, the IT software consultancy responsible for building HMRC's Employment Status Service Tool had a total of 250 …
Kat Hall, 30 Mar 2017
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Russian mega-telco exec: 'No business case' for 5G

While the 5G enthusiasts often hit the headlines with visions of AI-driven robots and virtual reality, many operators remain sceptical of the new business models 5G will drive, at least in the short term. Vasyl Latsanych, CMO at Russia's largest telco, MTS, echoed the sentiments Wireless Watch hears from many of its MNO research …
Wireless Watch, 30 Mar 2017
NBN Co fixed wireless antenna

nbn™ to offer 100Mbps fixed wireless service

nbn™, the entity building and operating Australia's national broadband network (NBN), has announced it will launch a 100Mbps fixed wireless service in 2018. Demonstrated to The Register at a trial site in Ballarat today, the service will require subscribers to update their aerial and modem. Hitting 100Mbps for downloads, and …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Mar 2017

Don't believe the hype: UK's £455m Government Digital Service lacks a clear role – fresh audit

The track record of the UK's Government Digital Service has come under fire by the National Audit Office, which today said it has “unclear accountabilities". Many are bound to read the watchdog's latest report through the prism of their own confirmation bias. Those who believe that everything was great until former head Mike …
Kat Hall, 30 Mar 2017

BDSM sex rocks Drupal world: Top dev banished for sci-fi hanky-panky

A prominent contributor to the open source Drupal content management system has been asked to distance himself from project because "his belief system is inconsistent with [the] project's goals." The beliefs at issue involve participation in the BDSM and Gorean (NSFW) communities, the latter involving people interested in …
Thomas Claburn, 29 Mar 2017
Man in suit performs double facepalm, presumably after witnessing incident of great stupidity. Photo by shutterstock

IBM: Those 2 redundancy schemes? We need to 'improve margins' and right quick

Exclusive IBM UK has tried to justify running two redundancy schemes concurrently in the Infrastructure Services Delivery team, telling staff that financial pressures forced its hand and it may take similar action again. Some 30 roles are to be chopped under Project Baccarat, launched in February, and a newer, overlapping programme …
Paul Kunert, 29 Mar 2017
Money down the drain

Avaya's $3.7m bankruptcy bonus plan slammed by watchdog

The US federal bankruptcy has slammed telco Avaya for its decision to award 11 execs $3.7m (£3m) in bonuses after the company filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year. The US Trustee told a New York bankruptcy court that under the Bankruptcy Code, bonus payments to insiders of the type sought "are subject to a strict …
Kat Hall, 29 Mar 2017

Home Office accused of blocking UK public's scrutiny of Snoopers' Charter

The UK's Home Office has been accused of making "it near to impossible to provide a meaningful response" to the public consultations which campaigners fought legal battles to have included in the Investigatory Powers Act. In an open letter to Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, lawyers and civil society campaigners complained that …

Virgin Media suspends 4 staff over misreporting connections

Virgin Media has admitted to overstating its £3bn Project Lightning superfast broadband rollout by 142,000 premises – a move that has led to the suspension of four staff and a reshuffle of its top brass. Parent company Liberty Global embarrassingly had to revise down the reported number of premises added to Virgin Media's …
Kat Hall, 29 Mar 2017
An RAF Chinook Mk.3 over RAF Odiham, Hampshire, in 2013. Crown copyright

UK's 'homebrew firmware' Chinooks set to be usable a mere 16 years late

The Ministry of Defence has started replacing the flight control software on its all-but-useless Chinook Mk.3 special forces helicopters, a mere 16 years after bungled attempts to bake its own software without involving manufacturer Boeing. Branded "the most incompetent procurement of all time", the Chinook Mk.3 saga began in …
Gareth Corfield, 29 Mar 2017
Man in an orange jumpsuit clutches prison bars. Image by Shutterstock

FBI secures guilty plea from Russian bot-herder

A Russian citizen behind “tens of thousands” of Ebury trojan infections has entered a guilty plea in the US and will face sentencing in August. The US Department of Justice indicted Maxim Senakh, now 41, in January 2015. Ebury was a trojan carrying an SSH rootkit and putting backdoors into its targets, which were Linux, …

Court smacks Telstra over wholesale pricing

Australia's Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is crowing today after the nation's Federal Court agreed with its ruling on how much dominant telco Telstra can charge for wholesale services on its fixed line networks. In 2015 the Commission decreed that Telstra must cut wholesale prices by 9.4 per cent. The …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Mar 2017
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin

Federal Police toss nbn™ under a bus over leaks to Senator

The Australian Senate's Committee of Privileges decided yesterday that documents seized from former Senator Stephen Conroy and a staffer last year are covered by parliamentary privilege, and can't be used in any police investigation into who leaked them. The report was triggered by last year's raids of the offices of …

Your internet history on sale to highest bidder: US Congress votes to shred ISP privacy rules

The US House of Representatives has just approved a "congressional disapproval" vote of privacy rules, which gives your ISP the right to sell your internet history to the highest bidder. The measure passed by 215 votes to 205. This follows the same vote in the Senate last week. Just prior to the vote, a White House spokesman …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Mar 2017
child browsing on tablet outdoors. pHOTO BY SHUTTERSTOCK

EE scrap connection fee... to hike broadband and telly packages

Mobile operator EE has confirmed it will be hiking the prices of new customer contracts on its broadband and TV packages. A spokeswoman said the "small change to the price" to its broadband and EETV packages reflect an investment in content. She said: "This will not affect the price that existing customers pay for their …
Kat Hall, 28 Mar 2017

People may have been wrongly sent back to prison over faulty tags

Offenders may have been wrongly sent back to prison because of faulty electronic tags supplied by G4S, the government admitted today. In a written statement in Parliament today, Sam Gyimah, Under-Secretary of State for Prisons, Probation, Rehabilitation and Sentencing, said 115 tags used to monitor offenders were found to be …
Kat Hall, 28 Mar 2017
Two angry businessmen fighting over agreement signing. Coffee is spilled. .Photo by Shutterstock

ICO fines Flybe, Honda for breaking data rules. They were, um, trying to comply with GDPR

The Information Commissioner's Office is baring its teeth as we rocket towards the EU's General Data Protection Regulation coming into effect. As the relevant data protection authority in the UK, the ICO will be responsible for regulating the nation's data economy when GDPR kicks in, which means ensuring businesses comply with …
Parliament in the clouds

UK digital minister Matt Hancock praises 'crucial role' of encryption

Digital minister Matt Hancock has praised the "crucial role" of encryption in today's society, just a day after Home Secretary Amber Rudd called for an encryption ban on applications such as WhatsApp. Hancock was relaying the story of radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi in a speech at the Institute of Directors. He said when …
Kat Hall, 27 Mar 2017
HMRC photo via Shutterstock

UK.gov departments accused of blanket approach to IR35

Government departments have been accused of applying a blanket approach to tax changes under IR35, meaning the majority of contractors are being found within the scope of the legislation by default. One contractor, who had previously worked for the Intellectual Property Office, said all its IT freelancers had been deemed …
Kat Hall, 27 Mar 2017
BT Tower photo via Shutterstock

BT hit with £42m fine for Ethernet compensation delays to competitors

Updated BT has been smacked with a £42m penalty for its failure via Openreach to compensate other telecoms providers for delays to fixing leased line "Ethernet" services, in a decision from Ofcom today. As a result of the investigation, BT said it estimates it will pay an additional £300m in compensation to the affected communications …
Kat Hall, 27 Mar 2017

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