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The Register - Business: Policy

Biting the hand that feeds IT

Copyright: Copyright 2017, Situation Publishing

Now German companies are beating the drum over poor patent quality

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:56:06 GMT

New European Patent Office chairman gets it in the ohr

The issue of falling patent quality at the European Patent Office (EPO) has again reared its head, this time thanks to German intellectual property lawyers.…

Australian senator wants devilish scam calls to flash '666'

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:03:17 GMT

And that's not the evil bit, because there's an IETF standard that could help

An Australian senator has come up with a cunning plan to stop phone scammers: any call from an unregistered VoIP line should show the caller's number as “666”.…

Dying! Yahoo! loses! fight! to! lock! dead! man's! dead! account!

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 23:27:10 GMT

Sure, now they care about protecting email

Yahoo! may be compelled to hand over the contents of a dead man's email account to his surviving family, Massachusetts's top court has ruled.…

Review pins blame for Medicare ID breach on you. All of you

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 23:08:48 GMT

Gov wants us to protect Medicare numbers. In return it will protect something

Comment The Australian government's review of an incident that saw health care customer numbers offered for sale on a Tor “darknet” site has recommended retaining the numbers as acceptable proof of identity.…

Super Cali goes ballistic, small-cell law is bogus. School IT outsourcing is also... quite atrocious

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:31:25 GMT

So much for only one Super Cali headline per month

California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed a state bill that would have allowed telcos to put up loads of small-cell antennas, and thus boost phone coverage, against city officials' wishes.…

Huge power imbalance between firms and users whose info they grab

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 14:08:07 GMT

Pervasive data-gathering needs urgent action – report

Mass commercial data gathering and opaque decision-making processes have a “massive potential” to damage personal autonomy and dignity, a report has said.…

'Cyber kangaroo' ratings for IoT security? Jump to it, says Australia's cyber security minister

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 03:02:04 GMT

Proposed labelling scheme will try to match similar efforts in UK, USA

Australia's government hopes that somewhere in the world, a vendor of consumer-grade connected electronics is willing to admit it's rubbish at security by giving itself a low score in a proposed safety rating system.…

Drone smacks commercial passenger plane in Canada

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 01:03:42 GMT

Everyone safe, except drone pilot who ignored local rules

Canada's transport minster has told drone operators to stay away from airports after a remotely piloted craft bonked a passenger plane during its final approach to Jean Lesage International Airport in Québec City.…

Facebook, Twitter slammed for deleting evidence of Russia's US election mischief

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 20:02:02 GMT

They have an honest explanation, of course

Facebook and Twitter have come under attack for deleting tens of thousands of posts that may provide vital clues to how and to what extent the Russian government was able to able to influence the US presidential elections.…

Uber begins appeals process to claw back taxi licence in London

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 12:59:09 GMT

Ride-hailing biz free to continue operating until negotiations end

Londoners can keep on using the Uber ride-hailing app. For now.…

Dear America, you can't steal a personality: GDPR godfather talks privacy with El Reg

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 12:17:13 GMT

Jan Philipp Albrecht on transatlantic data flows, anonymity and AI

Interview "Now I've heard that one before. Let me think, where was it... Ah yes. It was Google!"…

Scouse marketing scamps scalped £70k for 100,000+ nuisance calls

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 10:59:08 GMT

Denies automated dialling then files to strike company off government register. Hmm

A firm promising to generate leads for businesses has been fined £70,000 for making more than 100,000 nuisance calls – although it has denied using automatic dialling.…

Beware the GDPR 'no win, no fee ambulance chasers' – experts

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 08:35:10 GMT

Companies told to quit hoarding customer data and get a grip on where it's held

The UK's incoming data protection laws could bring with them a wave of "no win, no fee"-style companies, experts have said.…

Twitter: Why we silenced Rose McGowan after she slammed alleged sex pest Harvey Weinstein

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 23:05:02 GMT

Woman stands up to powerful bully. What happened next will not shock you

Analysis Twitter was today accused of censorship after it froze the account of actress Rose McGowan – who had just publicly slammed alleged sex fiend Harvey Weinstein.…

Screw the badgers! Irish High Court dismisses Apple bit barn appeals

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 16:06:13 GMT

€850m data centre given go-ahead after two-year delay

Ireland's High Court has dismissed planning appeals preventing the construction of Apple's County Galway data centre, Reuters reports.…

Q. Why's Oracle so two-faced over open source? A. Moolah, wonga, dosh

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 08:02:05 GMT

And lobbying US government against it is NOT modernising IT

Oracle loves open source. Except when the database giant hates open source. Which, according to its recent lobbying of the US federal government, seems to be "most of the time".…

European Patent Office's document churning snatches Germany's attention: 'We are concerned about quality'

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 07:03:08 GMT

Don't blame staff, blame...

A row has broken out at the European Patent Office over the quality of its work.…

Fuming Qualcomm smashed with 23 BILLION DOLLAR fine in monopoly abuse probe

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:28:20 GMT

Wait, wait, this just in... make that 23 billion Taiwanese dollars

Trade officials in Taiwan have hit American chip designer Qualcomm with a NT$23.4bn (US$774m) fine for abusing its dominant position in the wireless electronics world.…

Oz military megahack: When crappy defence contractor cybersecurity 'isn't uncommon', surely alarm bells ring?

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 23:54:06 GMT

30GB of data nicked in 'Alf's Mystery Happy Fun Time' attack

While Australia's federal government scrambles to hose down a hacking incident, it's important to ask why a defence contractor of any size could run a network so insecure it exposed default administrative interfaces to the Internet.…

To Russia, with love: Greek court now says Bitcoin fraud suspect could be tried at home

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 16:02:09 GMT

US and Moscow both want to extradite Alexander Vinnik, 38, but minister of justice will decide

A judicial appeals court in Thessaloniki, Greece, has backed Moscow's extradition request for Russian citizen and suspected Bitcoin launderer Alexander Vinnik, The Greek Observer reports.…

Give us cash and think about the kids, UK tells Facebook and Twitter

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 15:02:06 GMT

Abuse tax mooted as 'online safety' rhetoric ratchets up

The British government is now proposing a direct tax on social media companies while inviting everyone else to hush and think of the children.…

Concerns raised about privacy, GDPR as Lords peer over Data Protection Bill

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:10:43 GMT

'Incredibly hard to read and even harder to understand'...

Fears over privacy and the application of GDPR, concern over lax rules for spies, and the omission of regulation on fake news, were just some of the issues raised at the second reading of the UK Data Protection House Bill in the House of Lords.…

European Patent Office staff rep blames prez for 'slipping quality'

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 07:02:09 GMT

Overseers told of low morale, poor performance and even suicides

Fed up with years of willful ignorance, staff at the European Patent Office publicly called out their president in front of the organization's overseeing body.…

Google: This may shock you, but we also banked thousands of dollars to run Russian propaganda

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 20:22:36 GMT

Big sums spent on shady search ads amid US elections

Joining Facebook and Twitter, Google has now been sucked into an investigation into how Russia influenced the US presidential elections last year.…

Brit bank fined £75k over 1.5 MEEELLION text and email spamhammer

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 13:44:11 GMT

And London advertising firm spanked for similar campaign

A Bradford-based bank has been fined by the UK's data privacy watchdog for sending illegal marketing texts and emails.…

Australia launches critical infrastructure security reforms

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 01:06:01 GMT

Part 1: find out who owns what. Part 2: get them to take security seriously ... or else

Sysadmin-in-chief of Australia's telecommunications industry, Attorney-General George Brandis, has released plans to anoint himself in a similar role in other critical infrastructure sectors, starting with an ownership register.…

UK spy oversight body updates rules to include right of appeal

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 10:00:11 GMT

Hearings without complainant still A-OK though

IPA The UK government is planning a number of “significant” changes to the rules governing spy oversight body the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.…

Moon trumps Mars in new US space policy

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 07:29:13 GMT

Veep Pence calls for Luna to become stepping stone for farther missions, constant US presence in low-Earth orbit

The United States' National Space Council Policy has met for the first time in 25 years and issued a new “Policy for Future American Leadership in Space”.…

BT fined £25,000 over second unsafe London roadworks this year

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 15:58:13 GMT

Pre-Openreach split badness lands biz with five-figure fine

BT has been fined £25,000 after being found guilty of carrying out unsafe roadworks in the UK capital, following a prosecution by Transport for London.…

Leicestershire teen admits attempting to hack director of the CIA

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 15:36:08 GMT

Faces sentencing in December

A teenager from Leicestershire, England, has admitted to trying to hack US government officials including the director of the CIA and Obama's Director of National Intelligence.…

Online criminal records checks to take a punt on troubled Verify system

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 12:28:12 GMT

You know that even HMRC ditched this, right?

The Disclosure and Barring Service, responsible for processing requests for criminal records checks, has taken the gamble of using the Government Digital Service's online ID system authentication portal.…

Australia approves national database of everyone's mugshots

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 02:27:10 GMT

Federal Police won't need to wait a week any more to see you smile

Updated Australia is to build a national database of as many citizens' images as it can, with state premiers rubber-stamping prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's plan to add drivers' licenses to a national facial recognition database.…

Facebook, Google, Twitter are the shady bouncers of the web. They should be fired

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 22:00:48 GMT

You can't come in... oh, $20? Right this way, Vlad

Analysis Social media giants Twitter and Facebook remain at the end of severe criticism from US Congress and elsewhere as investigations into Russia's interference in America's presidential elections highlight the depth to which the tech giants' platforms continue to be abused.…

Amazon told to repay €250m in 'unfair state aid' from Luxembourg

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 13:51:12 GMT

EU competition commish cracks whip twice in a day

The European Commission has ordered Amazon to repay €250m (£222m) for benefiting from illegal and unfair state aid courtesy of Luxembourg.…

European Commission refers Ireland to court over failure to collect €13bn in tax from Apple

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 10:24:12 GMT

Decision 'extremely regrettable', says Irish government

The European Commission has lobbed Ireland into the Euro Court of Justice for refusing to extract from Apple illegal tax benefits worth up to €13bn (£11.5bn, $15bn).…

White House plan to nuke social security numbers is backed by Equifax's ex-top boss

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 01:32:23 GMT

We meant it, nothing matters any more. Nothing at all

White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce has won the backing of Equifax's ex-CEO for a plan to stop using social security numbers as personal identifiers in the US.…

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull hints at surveillance expansion

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 22:55:29 GMT

Drivers' licenses pics shared with States? You ain't seen nothing yet: the private sector might get your mugshot, too

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has hinted that the expansion of the nation's facial recognition databases could include private sector access.…

BBC Telly Tax petition given new Parliament debate date

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 10:06:12 GMT

125k refuseniks to have their say after all

Parliament has rescheduled its debate on the BBC TV Tax, after it was quietly canned thanks to the UK's snap general election earlier this year.…

Home Sec Amber Rudd: Yeah, I don't understand encryption. So what?

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 09:05:07 GMT

Techies! Will you please stop patronising and sneering! ;_;

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has once again demonstrated she does not know how encryption works, this time by explicitly admitting it to delegates at a Tory party fringe conference where she also hit out at "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians.…

Audit office finds Telstra's universal services were good politics, bad deals

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 01:27:17 GMT

AU$297 million a year bought co-operation as much as services, says ANAO

Australia's National Audit Office (ANAO) says Telstra isn't delivering value for money under contracts it won to deliver subsidised telecommunications services in remote areas under the nation's universal service obligation (ISO) program.…

Tech VCs sue Uncle Sam over President Trump's immigration chill

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 20:18:07 GMT

We can't throw money at nerds if they can't get here, wail Silicon Valley's sugar daddies

A group of technology venture capitalists are suing the US government for, effectively, preventing them from investing in startups due to immigration red tape.…

Cost of Africa's internet shutdowns? $1m a day – quarter of a billion total

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 18:56:27 GMT

New report digs into economic damage caused by over-zealous governments

A new report estimates the cost to African countries routinely pulling the plug on their citizens' internet access is around $1m a day.…

Ofcom head Sharon White slams 5G hold-up in spectrum auction

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 13:17:14 GMT

But sources say critique is 'politically expedient'

Head of Ofcom Sharon White has come out swinging against providers' legal challenges to its spectrum auction proposals – accusing them of derailing Britain’s “golden opportunity” to take a lead in 5G.…

Brit prosecutors fling almost a million quid at anti-drone'n'phone ideas

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 09:57:05 GMT

Kill or capture, and get £50k for trying

The UK's Ministry of Justice is offering up to £50,000 for bright ideas to stop drones and mobile phones from getting into prisons.…

Telco forgot to renew its web domain, broke deaf folks' video calls – now gets a $3m paddlin'

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 23:58:10 GMT

Sorenson dinged after cockup blocked emergency calls

A US telco will cough up $3m after a web domain screwup caused it to drop potentially emergency and other essential video calls from deaf and hearing-impaired people.…

FCC big cheese given Congressional roasting in reconfirmation bid

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 19:14:51 GMT

But Ajit Pai still expected to clear US Senate hurdle next week

For a man who repeatedly criticized his predecessor at the Federal Communications Commission for dragging the US watchdog in a bi-partisan direction, in his eight months as FCC chairman Ajit Pai has done more than anyone to infect it with Washington politics.…

Joint Committee on the NBN splits, as National Party member sides with opposition

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 05:24:54 GMT

Liberal MPs say FTTN is fine, the rest call for FTTP or FTTC from now on

Australia's Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network has released its first report [PDF] of the new Parliament, with a majority of members urging that the rest of the network be built with either fibre-to-the-curb or fibre-to-the-premises instead of fibre-to-the-node.…

South Korea bans Initial Coin Offerings

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 04:30:20 GMT

Financial regulator worries about speculative investments going bad, fraud and crime

South Korea has banned initial coin offerings (ICOs), the practice of taking cash for Blockchain-powered services.…

Twitter: We also made a shedload of cash from Russia's trolling during US White House race

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 00:13:21 GMT

What's 'Kerr-ching!' in Russian?

Like Facebook before it, Twitter has acknowledged that, during the US presidential elections, it collected hundreds of thousands of dollars for ads supporting Russian media messaging, and that it has identified Twitter accounts tied to Facebook profiles known for promoting pro-Russia views.…

Australian PM Turnbull's AU$1.1bn 'Ideas boom' revealed as a bust

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 23:50:04 GMT

Policy hastily cobbled together using woolly advice, lacked clear objectives, measurements

Australia's National Audit Office has published a rather unflattering assessment of prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's signature policy, the “National Innovation and Science Agenda”.…