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Biting the hand that feeds IT

Copyright: Copyright 2017, Situation Publishing

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

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 13:00:13 GMT

Rudd's message to Hancock must've been intercepted...

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.… departments accused of blanket approach to IR35

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:02:41 GMT

Confusion reigns as some departments apply massive crackdown

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.…

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

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 08:26:02 GMT

Will fork out estimated £300m to rivals who leased unfixed lines

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.…

UK Home Sec: Give us a snoop-around for WhatApp encryption. Don't worry, we won't go into the cloud

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 21:45:10 GMT

Plus: UK needs those with the right 'hashtags' to stop wrong uploads*

The UK government is once again suggesting encryption has no place in citizens' hands, in the wake of revelations that Westminster attacker Khalid Masood was using WhatsApp shortly before murdering pedestrians with his car, and stabbing a police officer to death.…

After London attack, UK gov lays into Facebook, Google for not killing extremist terror pages

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 22:14:50 GMT

PM's spokesman and foreign secretary wave warning finger

In the wake of a terror attack in the heart of London this week that left five dead, the UK government has turned its ire onto online companies – including Google and Facebook – for not doing enough to remove extremist webpages and other content from their services.…

Google pulls Hezbollah YouTube channel after we told them about the drone ads

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:19:58 GMT

All the tools you need

Until just minutes before we hit publish on this story, Google was using a YouTube channel run by a fan of Hezbollah to promote potentially lethal drones.…

Gov may need to splash £245m per year on IT contractors – NAO

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:01:04 GMT

Please come back freelancers, forget IR35: all is forgiven

The government will need to splash £145m per year on 2,000 digital staff - or £244m using contractors - if it is to meet the serious shortfall in skills, according to the National Audit Office.…

First the Rise of the Machines, now this: UK military's Exercise Information Warrior

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 07:03:10 GMT

From drones to smart warships. Well, sort of

Comment Fresh from signing contracts to put artificial intelligence into its warships, the Royal Navy is now running an exercise to demonstrate robotic warfighting tech at work – Ex Information Warrior.…

Australia bins safe harbour, presses ahead with Minister-as-NetAdmin plan

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 01:18:22 GMT

A land where the minister runs the internet and the media runs a minister

Australia this week shelved planned safe harbour reforms to copyright and decided to proceed with laws that would make its attorney-general NetAdmin-in-chief.…

We're 90 per cent sure the FCC's robocall kill plan won't have the slightest impact

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:28:50 GMT

Dumb and dumber, or the lightest of light touches?

The number-one complaint to US comms watchdog the FCC right now is about robocalls – a remarkable 200,000 complaints from consumers last year alone.…

Lloyds Banking Group to hang up on call centre staffers

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:27:08 GMT

95 people at risk so far

Call centre staff at Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) are to be axed in the latest expenses purge, company insiders have told us.…

Three to lawyer up unless Ofcom intervenes in spectrum market

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:32:06 GMT

If we can't buy O2, they must give us MOAR SPECTRUM

Three has renewed calls on Ofcom to intervene in the UK's mobile spectrum market, warning it could lawyer up unless the regulator curbs the proportion of airwaves owned by Vodafone and BT's EE in the forthcoming auction.…

Calling your redundancy programme Baccarat? Immense Bummer, Management

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:48:21 GMT

That's cold, IBM

Word reaches us of Project Baccarat*, IBM’s latest redundancy programme for staffers in the Infrastructure Services Delivery division.…

King Battistelli's swish penthouse office the Euro Patent Office doesn't want you to see

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 07:57:07 GMT

Architect proudly displays work for EPO president, gets told to take it down

Pics Very few people have seen the 10th floor of the European Patent Office's ISAR building in Munich since it's been renovated – and for good reason.…

Info Commish marks own homework, says it didn't break law over Prince Charles request

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 16:00:11 GMT

So that's OK then, nothing to see here

The UK Information Commissioner has cleared the Information Commissioner of an alleged failure to apply Freedom of Information laws correctly, following an investigation into itself.…

ICO scolds UK councils: GDPR is coming. Are you ready? Pop quiz says you're not

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:44:14 GMT

Privacy impact assessments? Anyone? Bueller?

Councils in the UK have work to do ahead of the EU's General Data Protection Regulations, according to the Information Commissioner's Office's department for good practice.…

Plans to force ISPs to filter content branded 'disproportionate'

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:39:14 GMT

Industry bods not keen on Blighty's mandatory filtering

UK government proposals to force internet service providers into blocking content inappropriate for children with filters have been branded "disproportionate" by the industry's representative group.…

Home Office admits it's preparing to accept EU ruling on surveillance

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:58:05 GMT

Doesn't say it's going to, just that it is preparing to do so...

The UK Home Office has acknowledged that it is preparing to accept a landmark EU ruling from last year which restated that access to retained data must only be given in cases of serious crime, unlike the range of cases provided for under the new Investigatory Powers Act.…

Cheap calls gateway operator has been on bail for 7 years

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 13:37:08 GMT

Kent man faces Wireless Telegraphy Act charges

A Kent man has been on bail for seven years over allegations he operated a GSM gateway which allowed consumers to get cheaper calls abroad.…

Google promises policy review after several big brands pull YouTube ads

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 12:00:09 GMT

Wow, who knew? Clients don't like to be associated with jihadis and racists

Google has promised a review of its ad policy on YouTube after a backlash from blue-chip advertisers. It follows a series of reports by The Times demonstrating big brand ads running over content that breaches YouTube guidelines, such as jihadist videos and other inflammatory or racist material.…

MI5 man to steer GCHQ as Trump wiretapping saga continues

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:56:19 GMT

Jeremy 'easy to work with' Fleming is incoming

Jeremy Fleming, the deputy director-general of MI5, is to helm GCHQ following the surprise resignation of Robert Hannigan this January.…

The world's leading privacy pros talk GDPR with El Reg

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 09:28:10 GMT

US law, EU law and post-Brexit what'll UK do law

Interview You know, we know, everyone knows… the EU's General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect May of next year for every member of the European Union, and that will include the United Kingdom.…

Effort to fire Euro Patent Office president beaten back – again

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 08:02:11 GMT

Tactical victory for Battistelli and chair as org falls back on status quo

A determined effort to take action against the president of the European Patent Office, Benoit Battistelli, has faltered again thanks to some strategic maneuvering by his defenders.…

'Australia Card 2.0' is dead: Government ditches plan for one ID to rule them all

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 19:29:34 GMT

If you want 45 IDs for 45 government services, go ahead says minister Taylor

Australia's federal government is sticking with its plans for a federated identity service, but disruption minister Angus Taylor has moved to quell fears of a revived “Australia Card”*.…

Europe will fine Twitter, Facebook, Google etc unless they rip up T&Cs

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 20:53:49 GMT

EC wants language that gives tech giants legal legroom torn down and replaced

The European Commission is threatening to fine Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social networks unless they overhaul their terms and conditions to pull out legal escape clauses.…

GCHQ dismisses Trump wiretap rumours as tosh

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 10:54:46 GMT

Judge Shred

UK intelligence agency GCHQ has dismissed US reports - cited by the White House press secretary - that it was involved in running a surveillance operation on Donald Trump before last year's US election as "utterly ridiculous".…

Algorithms no excuse for cartel behaviour, says European commish

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 14:06:08 GMT

HGTTG's Deep Thought shouldn't be used for price-fixing

European Commissioner has urged competition enforcers to keep an eye out for cartels that use software “to work more effectively”, in a speech about algorithms and competition today.… gears up for IR35 private sector crackdown – say industry folk

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 09:31:11 GMT

You can run, but you can't hide

The UK government is gearing up for a massive tax clampdown on private sector contractors, in an extension of its IR35 regime to hundreds of thousands of freelancers outside the public sector.…

How UK’s GDPR law might not be judged 'adequate'

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 09:02:15 GMT

If it has Data Protection Act's defects, all bets are off

Comment Since 2005, I have tried to use Freedom of Information legislation to find out what is behind the “ongoing” infraction proceedings, commenced by the European Commission against the UK. This is because the UK’s Data Protection Act (DPA) is, according to the Commission, a defective implementation of Directive 95/46/EC.…

Euro Patent Office hit with wave of anti-Battistelli letters

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 08:29:11 GMT

Will you please get rid of him, world+dog asks Admin Council

Another wave of letters condemning the controversial president of the European Patent Office, Benoit Battistelli, has been sent ahead of a meeting of the organization's Administrative Council this week in Munich.…

Australian Taxation and Immigration depts fail infosec audits

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 23:16:59 GMT

They've had years to fix things up, but they can't even deliver on known best practice

Australia's Taxation Office, Department of Human Services and Department of Immigration and Border Protection are heavyweights of the public service, but only one has managed basic infosec protections on its systems.…

National Insurance tax U-turn: Philip Hammond nixes NIC uptick

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 12:25:05 GMT

Finds it's against own party's 2015 manifesto plans

Chancellor Philip Hammond is to scrap a planned hike in UK National Insurance Contributions (NIC) in an embarrassing U-turn today.…

Facebook, Google slammed for 'commercial prostitution'

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 12:01:08 GMT

MPs accuse social media firms of profiting from hate

Google, Twitter and Facebook were hauled over the coals by MPs yesterday in a select committee hearing in where they were accused of "having no shame" and engaging in "commercial prostitution".…

IBM could have made almost all the voluntary redundancies it needed

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 09:38:05 GMT

But... we didn't mean you! Darn it. We'll have to make compulsory layoffs

IBM UK could have almost filled its quota for voluntary redundancies in the Technical Services Support division given the number of folk that had put their hands up to leave, but will make some compulsory cuts instead.…

US Marine Corps chiefs declare WAR on stolen sex snap sharing scum

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 23:44:13 GMT

'We have a problem and we intend to fix it'

Video In a hearing at the US Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington DC, the commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert Neller, promised swift action against those swapping pornographic pictures of his troops.…

DTA: isn't dead, it's resting. Or pivoting, as digi-hipsters say

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 22:23:15 GMT

Look over here! Federated identity! Secure cloud! User-centred design!

The former Digital Transformation Office's vaunted “” project collapsed because it duplicated work that other government departments were already doing for themselves, and didn't do what agencies wanted.…

Germany to Facebook, Twitter: We are *this* close to fining you €50m unless you delete fake news within 24 hours

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 19:30:30 GMT

And hate speech, too

The German government has formally proposed fining Facebook and Twitter up to €50m ($53m) for failing to remove slanderous fake news and hate speech within 24 hours.…

UK to block Kodi pirates in real-time: Saturday kick-off

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 13:06:08 GMT

But will it work? We're about to find out

Analysis Last week in the High Court, Justice Arnold agreed to a request from the Football Association and the Premier League, and supported by the BBC, amongst others, that broke new ground, technically and legally.…

Tech titan pals back up Google after 'foreign server data' FBI warrant ruling

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 12:33:38 GMT

Means providers'll be 'forced to violate foreign privacy law'

The kindly community of benevolent technology corporations has written to a Pennsylvania court to support Google as it fends off a warrant demanding information stored on overseas servers.…

New strategy to curb officials' drone, phone and CCTV snoop jollies

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 10:08:43 GMT

That's the aim, at least, as surveillance cam commish stays on

A national surveillance camera strategy for England and Wales has today been published in an attempt to curb public authorities from excessive meatspace snooping.…

Vodafone to bring 2,100 customer service jobs in-house

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 14:03:06 GMT

See, we do want to stay in Blighty really

Vodafone is to hire 2,100 more staffers in what appears to be a growing trend by telcos to improve customer service by bringing call centre roles back to Blighty.…

Lloyds to outsource 2,000 staff in IBM deal

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 13:01:08 GMT

Deal worth £1.3bn over seven years, says union

Lloyds Banking Group is to offshore nearly 2,000 IT jobs as part of its shift to IBM, according to the Lloyds Trade Union.…

UK Home Office warns tech staff not to tweet negative Donald Trump posts

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 12:15:11 GMT

'We need to be careful here'

Exclusive The UK Home Office is warning staff and contractors not to tweet or retweet negative posts about Donald Trump, in an email about its social media guidance seen by The Register.…

Thank heavens the wrangling over BT's Openreach separation has ended

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 09:05:14 GMT

Might not be everyone's best option, but at least we're not going to Brussels

Analysis When Ofcom announced it had finally reached a settlement with BT over the future of Openreach on Friday, you could practically hear the collective sigh of relief.…

Signature Trump policy - H-1B visa reform - looks to be on the back burner

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 07:03:04 GMT

Visa paperwork is due April 1, but Sean Spicer says visa needs 'comprehensive look'

United States president Donald Trump appears to have gone slow on his campaign pledge to reform H-1B visas, the category of working visa that tech firms often use to bring skilled workers to America.…

Telstra wants civil litigants to pay up front for access to metadata

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 23:27:30 GMT

Submission on extending metadata access proposes making lawyers aware of costs before they subpoena

Telstra has put a new wrinkle on Australia's simmering data retention debate by suggesting that it charges for access to retained telecommunications sought by civil litigants.…

Tim Berners-Lee says privacy needs fixing – and calls for 'algorithmic transparency'

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 22:31:52 GMT

Five-year plan proposes to explain why you're seeing that ad and the fake news it leads to

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, has penned a 28th-birthday letter for his creation in which he identifies three trends he thinks are harming the web, and explains how the Web Foundation that he heads will seek to implement his ideas.…

Force employees to take DNA tests for bosses? We've got a new law to make that happen, beam House Republicans

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 22:00:43 GMT

Give us your genes or pay 50% more for company healthcare

Amid the attention on the new US administration's healthcare plan, a law has been proposed that would force employees to hand over their genetic information if they want company health insurance.…

Volkswagen pleads guilty to three Dieselgate criminal charges

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 19:52:11 GMT

Das Auto be the end of it, says car maker as it coughs up billions in fines

Volkswagen today pled guilty in a Detroit, Michigan, court to scamming the American public through its "Dieselgate" vehicle emissions test cheating.…

Pennsylvania sues IBM for fraud over $170m IT upgrade shambles

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 16:25:05 GMT

High turnover in Big Blue staff contributes

IBM has been accused of fraud for under-delivering an over-budget IT upgrade to Pennsylvania's unemployment compensation systems.…