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The Register - Business: Policy

Biting the hand that feeds IT

Copyright: Copyright 2017, Situation Publishing

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube create anti-terror group

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 01:58:11 GMT

'Avengers' and 'Justice League' are taken. 'Suicide Squad' won't fly. So meet 'The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism'

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube have created a super-team to tackle terrorism.…

Queensland Police want access to locked devices

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 23:24:06 GMT

Protecting from terrorists, naturally

The Australian State of Queensland wants the power to force citizens to unlock their devices during a declared terrorist emergency.…

Robocall spammers, you have one new voicemail message: CUT IT OUT!

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:10:05 GMT

Senator Schumer asks Ajit Pai to protect Americans. Good luck with that

A US Senator is looking to turn up the heat on a particularly annoying new robocall practice.…

Northern Ireland bags £150m for broadband pipes in £1bn Tory bribe

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:02:12 GMT

Theresa showers DUP with gold to prop up minority government

The Democratic Unionist Party is to receive an extra £1bn in funding from Brit taxpayers, including £150m to spend on broadband infrastructure, after it agreed to prop up Theresa May's minority government.…

Dell drops optical drive price-fixing lawsuit against Hitachi

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:38:06 GMT

Let off the hook

Dell has agreed to drop its suits against Hitachi and Hitachi LG Data Storage after previously alleging it had been part of a conspiracy to fix prices for optical disk drives. There has been no mention of any settlement.…

Florida Man to be fined $1.25 per robocall... all 96 million of them

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:25:01 GMT

Record $120m penalty will be doled out by FCC for bonkers binge of junk dialing

America's comms regulator, the FCC, will fine a Florida Man $120m for flooding the country with nearly 100 million robocalls in three months.…

ZX Spectrum reboot firm gets £52k court costs order quashed

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:03:12 GMT

Up and down goes the Retro Computers Ltd litigation yoyo

The £52,000 costs order granted against troubled ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd has been set aside by the Senior Courts Costs Office, a branch of the High Court, as the wrangle between RCL and two former directors rumbles on.…

Google to remove private medical data from search results

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:22:01 GMT

As DeepMind slurps up more more patient data for Streams

Google has decided to wipe people’s medical records from its search results - just as its AI branch DeepMind extends its grips on UK patients’ medical records.…

ICO fines 'Wolf of Wall Street' electrical survey biz for nuisance calls

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:02:19 GMT

That's a £50k penalty and another shaming for Kent-based MyHome Installations

Electrical survey provider MyHome Installations Ltd, which entered the hall of shame on the Beeb's Rogue Traders for pressure selling to pensioners, is facing a £50,000 fine for nuisance calls.…

Tory-commissioned call centres 'might have bent data protection laws'

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:02:10 GMT

Party can expect a call from the Information Commissioner

The UK Conservative Party has been accused of pushing its message on potential voters in a way that may have breached data protection laws.…

Doormat junk: Takeaway menus, Farmfoods flyer, NHS data-sharing letter... wait, what?

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:35:08 GMT

Effort to notify patients falls flat – under pizza pamphlet

A Midlands NHS group has committed face-palm after face-palm in its efforts to inform residents about its patient data-sharing plans.…

Algorithmic pricing raises concerns for EU competition law enforcement

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:22:10 GMT

Illegal offline? It's illegal online

Analysis Algorithms used to track or adapt prices online raise competition concerns, according to a recent submission to the OECD by the European Union.…

UK and Ecuador working on Assange escape mechanism

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 03:58:12 GMT

There's an opening and good will to use it, says Ecuadorian foreign minister

Ecuador's foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa says the country is working with the UK to find a way for Julian Assange to leave its embassy.…

Lordy! Trump admits there are no tapes of his chats with Comey

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:38:28 GMT

Strangely lucid and lawyerly statement from Tweeter-in-Chief

President Trump has, in a tweet-burst today, backtracked on his earlier menacing claim that he may have secretly recorded his meetings with then-FBI boss James Comey.…

Oz senate committee says 'robo-debt' program was 'set up to fail'

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 23:18:23 GMT

Government senators play the 'this is fine' card

Federal Government senators have rejected a Senate report that describes its “robo-debt” program as “set up to fail”.…

US Air Force resumes F-35A flights despite not knowing why pilot oxygen systems failed

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 16:32:09 GMT

Take a deep breath. You might have to hold it for a while

The US Air Force has today restarted flights of F-35As that were grounded by oxygen supply problems, even as it admits that it still doesn’t know what caused the life support systems to malfunction.…

Queen's speech announces laws to protect personal data

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 12:07:11 GMT

Tories dump a number of manifesto pledges

The government is to pass new laws to protect personal data and create a commission for countering extremism on the internet, the Queen announced in the annual state opening of Parliament today.…

Gov digitisation plans happening too slowly, say IfG policy wonks. Hear that, GDS?

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 11:35:12 GMT

Verify needs to be addressed, Pope is Catholic, etc

In what might seem like an exercise stating the blindingly obvious, a report by policy wonks at think tank The Institute for Government has found that gov tech transformation is "happening too slowly" and the online identity platform Verify needs some urgently intervention.…

Conservative manifesto disappears offline – then mysteriously reappears

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:17:11 GMT

SNAFU or something more sinister going on?

The Conservative Party’s 2017 manifesto was briefly deleted from its website this morning – on the same day that political Britain downs tools for the State Opening of Parliament.…

BT problems impact Department for Work and Pensions services

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:02:29 GMT

Users say they can't access Child Maintenance Service

Users trying to get through to the Child Maintenance Service have been unable to do so for the past two days because of problems with BT.…

Ego stroking, effusive praise and promise of billions: White House tech meeting in full

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 21:55:13 GMT

Somewhere in there is the germ of a good idea

Monday afternoon saw the first meeting of the "American Technology Council" at the White House, during which most of the country's top tech CEOs gathered around to talk about what could be done to modernize the US government's abysmal IT systems.…

Oxford profs tell Twitter, Facebook to take action against political bots

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 12:55:08 GMT

It's just the future of democracy at stake, no biggie

The use of algorithms and bots to spread political propaganda is "one of the most powerful tools against democracy", top academics have warned.…

Guess who's just locked up £1.5bn Australian prison mega-contract? Our very own Serco

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:51:45 GMT

UK prisoner escort scandal? They paid that money back!

Business Process Outsourcing behemoth Serco is part of the NewPathways consortium that will sketch out, erect and run the largest prison in Australia under a mega-contract dished out today.…

Australian Dept Defence pulling kit out of China-owned Global Switch

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 00:25:37 GMT

Cites security concerns as justification for AU$200m migration

Paranoia will set the Australian government back AU$200 million between now and 2020, with the country's defence department deciding Chinese part-ownership of data hotel Global Switch represents a security risk.…

You can't take the pervs off Facebook, says US Supreme Court

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 20:25:42 GMT

First Amendment rights and dancing babies

Facebook is a sex offender-friendly zone – by order of the Supreme Court.…

2 kool 4 komputing: Teens' interest in GCSE course totally bombs

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 15:32:07 GMT

Concern teachers can't handle tougher syllabus

The number of pupils signing up for GCSE computing has plateaued just years after the qualification was introduced, raising concerns that not enough is being done to help teachers with more difficult courses.…

Scottish govt mulled scrapping £178m car-crash IT system

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:15:10 GMT

Fujitsu report slams Common Agricultural Payments system

The Scottish government has considered scrapping its disastrous £178m rural payments IT system, according to an internal report.…

Brit uni blabs students' confidential information to 298 undergrads

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 09:53:10 GMT

Spreadsheet of extenuating circumstances attached to email

The University of East Anglia has sent almost 300 undergraduates an email detailing other students' extenuating circumstances.…

Google plans to scrub 'inflammatory' and terror vids from youTube

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 02:58:13 GMT

AI isn't good enough for the job, so more mods and Google ads will get into the grey areas

Google's revealed its plans to remove terror-related content from YouTube and decided the investment community should hear about it before the rest of us.…

Backdoor backlash: European Parliament wants better privacy

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 01:04:09 GMT

Less tracking, more consent, and stronger encryption says privacy committee

A committee of the European Parliament is pushing back against the anti-encryption sentiment infesting governments around the world, with a report saying citizens need more protection, not less.…

Wanted: broadband crash-test dummies for ACCC's speed tests

Sun, 18 Jun 2017 22:44:30 GMT

Competition regulator wants you to help tag slack ISPs

Having beaten off opposition from carriers and ISPs, Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission has kicked off its broadband speed monitoring program.…

Yet more reform efforts at the Euro Patent Office, and you'll never guess what...

Sat, 17 Jun 2017 10:36:04 GMT

Yep, King Battistelli wants to award himself more power

Another raft of reforms at the troubled European Patent Office has come to light and, yet again, the main purpose appears to be to enhance the power of EPO president Benoit Battistelli.…

Teen girl who texted boyfriend to kill himself guilty of manslaughter

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 17:24:13 GMT

Michelle Carter responsible for beau's sucide, decides court

The teenager who repeatedly urged and encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself with hundreds of text messages has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.…

EU regulators gearing up to slap Google with €1bn fine – reports

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 12:23:05 GMT

First decision of three probes expected in coming weeks

The EU is preparing to fine Google €1bn (£875m) over claims the company abused its search market dominance to build the Google Shopping service.…

ICO fines Morrisons for emailing customers who didn't want to be emailed

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 11:33:42 GMT

You’ve opted out of marketing emails. Can we just send you a marketing email to check?

Supermarket chain Morrisons has been fined £10,500 by the UK's data protection watchdog for sending marketing emails to people who had unsubscribed from marketing bumf.…

When we said don't link to the article, Google, we meant DON'T LINK TO THE ARTICLE!

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 21:46:13 GMT

One click, or two? How about no clicks, German court tells search company

A German court has given Google a hearty slap over its grudging response to "right to be forgotten" laws, telling it that not linking to information means exactly that: not linking to information.…

Uber sued after digging up medical records of woman raped by driver

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 19:14:33 GMT

Toxic trash taxi biz accused of obtaining files to smear sex assault victim

Adding to its litany of disasters, Uber, CEO Travis Kalanick, and former executives Emil Michael and Eric Alexander were sued on Thursday for privacy violations and defamation by the unnamed woman raped in 2014 by an Uber driver in India.…

Trump nominates a pro-net-neutrality advocate as FCC commish

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 18:00:03 GMT

Hang on, what's going on here?

President Donald Trump has nominated former FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to rejoin the US federal telecom regulator, filling a seat made empty by... herself.…

Labour says it will vote against DUP's proposed TV Licence reforms

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 11:25:08 GMT

Changes to funding model would 'jeopardise the BBC'

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has said his party will vote down any Parliamentary changes to the TV Licence fee, following the Conservatives entering coalition talks with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.…

Australian oppn. leader wants to do something about Bitcoin, because terrorism and crypto

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 22:25:26 GMT

Bill Shorten says there are things 'we do not know enough about to deal with properly'

Australia's opposition leader Bill Shorten has suggested that governmental action to deny use of encryption to terrorists should extend to Bitcoin.…

Damian Green now heads up UK Cabinet Office

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 13:30:11 GMT

But what does the department of odds and sods actually do these days?

Analysis Damian Green’s appointment as Cabinet Office minister this week makes him the fourth MP to hold the role over the last seven years. He takes the helm from former Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer, who was ousted as an MP in the general election last week.…

Congressman drafts COVFEFE Act to preserve Trump's Twitter tantrums

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 12:59:07 GMT

Bigly ambitious bill would archive the President's social media dealings

A US congressman has written up a bill that calls for the President's social media activity to be archived alongside other official communications.…

France and UK want to make web firms liable for users' content

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 11:58:26 GMT

Anti-terror crackdown, evil tech biz to blame yadda yadda, we're told

Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron are planning to issue multi-million pound fines to technology companies that don’t act fast enough to remove material that governments and police forces disapprove of.…

Oh snap! Election's made Brexit uncertainty worse for biz, says BT CEO

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 09:46:22 GMT

'If it was unstable and uncertain this time last week, it’s gone up a notch'

The outcome of the general election has created greater uncertainty over the impact of Brexit on the telecommunications sector, BT chief exec Gavin Patterson has said.…

Germany puts halt on European unitary patent

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 09:01:24 GMT

Constitutional Court slams brakes on UPC – but why?

Europe's effort to create a single patent system has been thrown into confusion following a decision by Germany's constitutional court to halt legislation ratifying it.…

From landslide to buried alive: Why 2017 election forecasts weren't wrong

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 08:02:08 GMT

Swing when you're winning

In the aftermath of almost every recent election, two types of story get written based on the outcome. One is how the polls "got it wrong", how the forecast – surprise! – failed to match the actual result. The other, usually written by someone with at least basic statistical skills, explains why the polls mostly didn't "get it wrong."…

Lockheed, USAF hold breath as F-35 pilots report hypoxia

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 05:59:12 GMT

Toothless Tiger Moths at Arizona base grounded

A quarter of the world's F-35s have been temporarily grounded after starving their pilots of oxygen.…

Australian carriers seek lower regulatory hurdles for taller towers

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 01:42:41 GMT

And if you don't like it, off to the Ombudsman you go

Australia's Department of Communications wants to make it easier for carriers to build radio towers – and with everything on the table from heritage building access to objection procedures, there's likely to be a Battle Royale on the way.…

Oz government says UK's backdoor will be its not-a-backdoor model

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 22:24:46 GMT

Investigatory Powers Act suggested as good model for local crypto workaround

The issue of lawful access to encrypted communications featured in Australia's news over the long weekend, but we're none the wiser to what our government has in mind beyond it being based on the UK Investigatory Powers Act.…

Uber board: We accept all recommendations. Any execs left to carry them out?

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 18:50:12 GMT

Now looking for COO, CFO, CMO, general counsel, SVP of business; maybe temp CEO

Uber's board has accepted all the recommendations made in a report into sexual harassment – which may include giving its controversial CEO a leave of absence.…