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Biting the hand that feeds IT

Copyright: Copyright 2017, Situation Publishing

UK Home Office re-bans cheap call gateways because 'terrorism'

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:03:06 GMT

Ofcom would have done this itself but didn't have the power

Security minister Ben Wallace has signed a direction banning commercial multi-user phone gateways over terrorism fears, barely a week after the only ever prosecution for operating one flopped following years of Kafkaesque wrangling.…

US Homeland Security Dept to collect immigrants' social media handles and more

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 05:31:08 GMT

In @realdonaldtrump's America, you'll be Googled at the border

The United States Department of Homeland Security will soon add “social media handles” and plenty more information to immigration records.…

More than half of small firms plan on using Privacy Shield – survey

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:40:09 GMT

But it’s still not the most popular way to zip data across the pond

Almost half of the organisations surveyed by the International Association of Privacy Professionals say they will use the Privacy Shield data-sharing framework in the next year.…

It's high time we extend Freedom of Information Act to outsourcers

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:13:10 GMT

UK Information Commissioner's speech renews issue of transparency

Comment "You idiot. You naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop. There is really no description of stupidity, no matter how vivid, that is adequate. I quake at the imbecility of it," Tony Blair famously said.…

Australia commits to establish space agency with no budget, plan, name, deadline …

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 03:57:27 GMT

Mission plan: retrieve lost votes from deep within black hole of democratic disillusionment

Australia's government has committed to starting a space agency, but there are no details about its mission other than a vague commitment to helping industry.…

Air traffic 'glitch' grounds Sydney flights

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 01:42:34 GMT

Power outage of software crash, depending on who you listen to

Sydney airport was in chaos on the first Monday of the Australian state of New South Wales' spring school holidays, after air traffic controllers had to revert to manual operations.…

Spanish govt slammed over bizarre Catalan .cat internet registry cop raid

Sat, 23 Sep 2017 09:15:09 GMT

Heavy-handed tactics during lead up to independence referendum

The Spanish government has come under increasing criticism for raiding the offices of the .cat internet registry in the lead-up to a referendum on Catalans' independence.… lays down rules for cross-Whitehall data slurps

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:58:08 GMT

Consultation opens on codes of practice for Digital Economy Act

The UK government has offered more detail on how public authorities can pass around the data they hold on citizens – a mere five months after the Digital Economy Act passed into law.…

How Apple is taming the ad biz. Just don't expect Google or Zuck to follow

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:17:10 GMT

Inside ITP, Safari's third-party cookie zapper

Can the world's biggest tech company tame the Wild West of the digital ad industry as its data slurping becomes ever more intrusive? Since Facebook and Google are essentially colluding with behavioural data collection, and Microsoft has given up the fight for user privacy, few companies have Apple's means or incentive. But for Apple, privacy doesn't hit its bottom line, and might even increase it.…

Shock: Brit capital strips Uber of its taxi licence

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:41:39 GMT

That could mean 40,000 drivers out of work

Uber's application for a new taxi licence in the UK capital has been rejected. In a shock move, Transport for London today said the app biz is not "fit and proper" to hold a licence.…

First big Privacy Shield review has ended – and yep, it's great! Just don't ask about mass spying

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 06:03:07 GMT

Surprise – a thumbs up to private info flying over the Pond

The much-heralded first review of the EU‑US Privacy Shield Framework that governs the flow of personal information across the Atlantic has concluded – and would you believe it? Representatives of the EU and US think it's doing fine.…

Cloudflare coughs up a few grand for prior-art torpedoes to sink troll

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:14:18 GMT

DDoS blocker well on its way to nuking Blackbird Tech in patent showdown

Cloudflare says its efforts to wipe out a patent troll using prior art have already yielded more than a dozen examples.…

Facebook, Twitter sucked into US Senate's Russian meddling probe

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:44:13 GMT

Politicians want to know what happened with those fake accounts and advertising dollars

They may still view themselves as open purveyors of free speech, but increasingly social media giants are being pulled into the US Senate's investigation of Russian interference in the American presidential elections.…

Something good about Brexit? Errr, more teeth for Ofcom! – report

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:14:12 GMT

But elsewhere fear and uncertainty reigns. Ahhh!

Brexit could hand UK watchdog Ofcom more powers to intervene in the retail telecoms markets while simultaneously creating uncertainty over mobile roaming charges, according to a wide-ranging discussion paper.…

UK data watchdog swots automated marketing call pest with £260k fine

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:56:08 GMT

Easyleads applies to be struck off after investigation

Blighty's Information Commissioner's Office is claiming another big win after fining marketing firm Easyleads Ltd £260,000 for being a royal pain in the ass – or, more specifically, for making 16.7 million automated marketing calls.…

UK Prime Minister calls on internet big beasts to 'auto-takedown' terror pages within 2 HOURS

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:29:05 GMT

And you thought 24 hours would be tough…

The UK's Prime Minister has once again raised the tech stakes in the fight against online terror, with her latest, er, bright idea being for internet giants to stop extremist content before it's even online.…

EU watchdog: Govt bods are seeking 'legal knockouts' to dodge transparency

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:29:13 GMT

Increasingly 'legalistic' approach goes against intentions for openness, says ombudsman

Public bodies are taking an increasingly “legalistic” approach to disclosing information that doesn’t always support transparency, the European Union’s dodgy management watchdog has said.…

Congress battles Silicon Valley over upcoming US sex trafficking law

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:47:13 GMT

Crunch hearing reveals wide gulf in views, evildoer is Backpage

The first Congressional hearing into a proposed law that would make American companies liable for online sex trafficking has lain bare the depths of the disagreement between lawmakers and tech giants.…

Google parks old pay-to-play auction in front of European Commission – reports

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:09:12 GMT

You want a remedy? Here's our remedy

Google appears to have revived an "auction-based fix" to vertical search competition complaints, according to Reuters.…

BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:54:12 GMT

Norgrove was right: post-Brexit gross £350m a week? Nope

As we all know, there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics". No doubt that line will be pulled out again to bolster the case for British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson against Sir David Norgrove, head of the UK Statistics Authority, who has made it clear he's unimpressed with Boris's use of the stats.…

Google, Bing, Yahoo! data hoarding is like homeopathy. It doesn't work – new study claims

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 07:02:13 GMT

Boffins find search quality unaffected

Data, it has been argued, is the new oil – the fuel for the information economy – but its importance to search engines may be overstated.…

Bloke fesses up: I forged judge's signature to strip stuff from Google search

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 20:53:27 GMT

Jewelry exec faces up to five years in the clink for SEO backfire

It may have seemed like a good idea at the time – treating a judge's takedown order as a Photoshop template that could be modified as needed to demand that Google remove any unwanted information.…

Grab your popcorn: The first annual Privacy Shield review is go

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:57:07 GMT

Trump administration’s views on privacy to come under scrutiny

Transatlantic data-transfer agreement Privacy Shield is facing its first major political hurdle as the inaugural joint review kicks off this week.…

New HMRC IT boss to 'recuse' herself over Microsoft decisions

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 09:12:01 GMT

UK taxman's CDIO Jacky Wright currently on 'sabbatical'

Exclusive The UK's incoming Chief Digital Information Officer of HMRC is to recuse herself from making any decisions regarding Microsoft, as she is on sabbatical from the company under a two-year placement with the taxman.…

Senators call for '9/11-style' commission on computer voting security

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 23:00:36 GMT

Horse, meet stable door

Two US senators on Friday introduced legislation to set up the National Commission on the Cybersecurity of the United States Election Systems, to examine the possibility that people tried to hack the 2016 election.…

EU's tech giant tax plan moves forward

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 19:57:17 GMT

All options on the table, and Apple, Facebook, Google ain't gonna like any of 'em

A proposed plan to make sure that digital giants like Apple, Google and Facebook pay more in tax within Europe has moved forward with remarkable speed and a paper will be put to European governments at the end of the month.…

Just how are HMRC’s IT systems going to cope with Brexit?

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 15:32:12 GMT

Answers on a postcard, please

"Unprecedented challenge" was the phrase which kept being repeated in a recent Treasury Select Committee hearing regarding Brexit, the customs union and HMRC.…

DoJ: Look! Google is giving up overseas data for warrants outside Second Circuit

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 13:54:12 GMT

Go on, Supremes, have another look at that Microsoft ruling, wouldya?

Updated Google will not contest new warrants for overseas data - as long as they are made outside the Second Circuit, according to the US Department of Justice.…

ICO whacks Welsh biz with £350k fine for 150 MEEELLION nuisance calls

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:26:14 GMT

Not that data watchdog expects to get that money paid

A Welsh firm responsible for 146 million nuisance PPI calls has been slapped with a £350,000 fine by the Information Commissioner’s Office - not that the data watchdog is confident that penalty will be paid.…

UK attorney general plans crackdown on 'trial by social media'

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:01:11 GMT

Oi: Less contempt of court on Facebook and Twitter, says gov law bloke

The UK's Attorney General is pondering whether to tighten up contempt of court laws and target Facebook and Twitter users who comment about live criminal trials.…

Tech biz must be more export-focused, says defence kit minister

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 08:00:07 GMT

We like your startups – now help post-Brexit UK and start selling abroad

DSEI 2017 Britain should ramp up exports of defence tech wares after Brexit - and this means more than the traditional guns ‘n’ spyware, according to defence procurement minister Harriett Baldwin MP.…

UK Data Protection Bill lands: Oh dear, security researchers – where's your exemption?

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 12:50:12 GMT

So if re-identifying folk from anonymised data is to be a crime...

The UK’s Data Protection bill has landed with a hefty thud, offering up 200-plus pages of legislation for the geeks and wonks to sink their teeth into.…

Drones aren't evil and won't trigger the Rise of the Machines: MoD

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 10:37:08 GMT

Doctrine? More like advocacy

The Ministry of Defence has issued a new strategy document for its drones, stating humans will be kept in the decision-making loop – yet critics are unhappy with the questions the doc sidesteps.…

Tick, tock motherf... erm, we mean, don't panic over GDPR

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 09:08:04 GMT

Eight months sound like enough? No?

Welcome back from the summer. Feeling refreshed? Good, now let’s talk General Data Protection Regulation from the European Union, due to swing into effect on May 25, 2018. You now have eight months to get your data infrastructure, tech policies and related procedures ship-shape. Not feeing so refreshed now, are you?…

DARPA lays out cash-splash to defibrillate Moore's Law

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 06:02:08 GMT

Electronics resurgence program gets US$75 million more for 2018

The United States' Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to find the electronics industry's next iteration of Moore's Law and has loaded up a US$75 million defibrillator to jolt industry into making it happen.…

Intelligence director pulls national security BS on spying question

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 23:28:53 GMT

Senator Wyden not happy with continued obfuscation

The director of national intelligence (DNI) has refused to say whether US spying agencies are using legislation specifically intended to cover only foreigners in order to spy on American citizens.…

US government sued by 11 pissed-off travellers over computer searches

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 19:26:23 GMT

Searching your phone should require a warrant, says lawsuit

The US Department of Homeland Security is being sued by 11 travellers who had their smartphones and laptops seized and searched at the US border.…

Cops' use of biometric images 'gone far beyond custody purposes'

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 16:04:14 GMT

Lord Scriven says response 'not worth the paper it is printed on'

The use of 20 million facial images by British police "has said gone far beyond using them for custody purposes," according to the UK Biometric Commissioners’ annual report.…

UK's new Data Protection Bill will be 'liberal' not 'libertarian', says digi minister

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 12:22:25 GMT

Matt Hancock uses speech on the internet to pontificate about liberalism...

Digital minister Matt Hancock has confirmed that the Data Protection Bill will be published tomorrow, in a speech promising internet laws "based on liberal and not libertarian values" that "cherish freedom yet prevent harm to others".…

Act fast to get post-Brexit data deal, Brit biz urges

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 09:16:07 GMT

Last major data deal between EU and third country took 4 years

The UK is risking a data economy worth £240bn if it doesn’t secure a “simple” transition deal that minimises disruption of data flows after Brexit, the Confederation of British Industry will warn today.…

ICO slaps cab app chaps for 10-day spam crap

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 13:30:46 GMT

Cambridge-based biz facing £45k fine for 700,000 marketing mailers

The company behind a taxi comparison app that sent more than 700,000 spam texts in the space of 10 days is facing a £45,000 by the UK's data protection watchdog.…

Monkey selfie case settles for a quarter of future royalties

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 04:58:07 GMT

PETA and photog agree that 'Legal rights for nonhuman animals' remain unresolved

The curious case of the monkey that took a selfie and was denied copyright for its efforts has come to an end, with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and photographer David Slater agreeing on a future stream of royalty payments to simian charities.…

Totally uncool California bureaucrats shoot down drone weed delivery

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 22:03:36 GMT

Regulators harshing the buzz

California says its impending legalization of recreational marijuana will not include skies full of herb-toting drone delivery bots.…

Hi Amazon, Google, Apple we might tax you on revenue rather than profit – love, Europe

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 18:54:44 GMT

Ministers fed up with multinational tax avoidance

Fed up with how Amazon, Google and other American digital giants pay tiny amounts in tax, European ministers are proposing a big change: tax based on revenues rather than profits.…

Users shop cold-calling telco to ICO: 'She said she was from Openreach'

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 15:01:06 GMT

Dartford-based True Telecom fined £85,000

A Dartford-based telco has been handed an £85,000 fine for two years’ of nuisance and "misleading" calls - despite a warning from the UK’s data protection watchdog.…

Google will appeal €2.9bn EU fine

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 14:22:10 GMT

But has less than three weeks to comply with Brussels

Alphabet will appeal the €2.9bn fine imposed by the European Commission in June for abusing its market dominance in search.…

Lord Sugar phubbed in peers' debate on 'digital understanding'

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 08:04:34 GMT

We trawled through 32 Lords debating so you don't have to

Fellow peers phone snubbed (or phubbed) Lord Sugar's speech in a debate last week, which included calls for an ID card system to be resurrected and plenty of hand-wringing about the Government Digital Service.…

Scientists, free software bods still worried about EU copyright proposals

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 04:58:08 GMT

An upload filter would break GitHub builds, warn FSFE, OpenForum Europe

European digital rights groups and open science advocates are mobilising against proposed EU copyright changes they say would hamper information sharing.…

EU court must rule on legality of UK's mass surveillance – tribunal

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 17:01:05 GMT

Court suggests recent EU ruling on bulk data retention could put national security at risk

The UK's Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which oversees the country's spy agencies, has said the European Court of Justice should rule on the legality of the government's mass-surveillance legislation.…

FBI probing Uber over use of 'Hell' spyware to track rival biz Lyft

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 16:05:07 GMT

Beleaguered company says it's 'cooperating' with investigation

The FBI is investigating allegations that Uber used its "Hell" program to track drivers from rival firm Lyft.…