Kieren McCarthy

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Russia threatens to set up its 'own internet' with China, India and pals – let's take a closer look

Analysis Russia is intending to set up its "own internet" according to a number of Russian news sources citing a document signed by President Vladimir Putin earlier this month. At a meeting at the end of the October, the Russian Security Council ordered its telecoms ministry to look at a "system of backup DNS root name servers, …

We go live to the Uber-Waymo court battle... You are not going to believe this. The judge certainly doesn't

Uber caught one of its employees trying to steal documents and save them to his personal computer. He resigned. And then Uber paid him $2m. And hired him back for a year as a consultant for $1m, offering a $1.5m end-of-contract payoff. And paid his lawyer $3m. If that sounds highly improbable to you, you are not alone. Judge …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Nov 2017
Man confused by laptop

Wondering why your internal .dev web app has stopped working?

Network admins, code wranglers and other techies have hit an unusual problem this week: their test and development environments have vanished. Rather than connecting to private stuff on an internal .dev domain to pick up where they left off, a number of engineers and sysadmins are facing an error message in their web browser …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Nov 2017

FCC boss Ajit defends axing net neutrality by… attacking Cher

Analysis Ajit Pai – the head of America's broadband watchdog, the FCC – has responded to widespread criticism of his plan to tear up net neutrality safeguards by… mocking celebrity tweets. Perhaps we shouldn't expect more in the era of President Trump where Twitter spats replace policy debate and strawmen strangle analysis, but even so …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Nov 2017

Judge stalls Uber trade-secret theft trial after learning upstart 'ran a trade-secret stealing op'

A judge today delayed the start of a trade-secret theft case against Uber – after evidence suggesting the upstart operated a secret trade-secret-stealing unit was revealed at the last minute. US district judge William Alsup said it would be a "huge injustice" for the trial to start as scheduled next week, after he was sent a …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Nov 2017

Facebook bends to pressure, opens German center to l?schen abuse, gets yelled at by spies

Facebook has caved to political pressure and announced a new office in Germany to scrub abusive posts from its social network. The center in Essen, close to Dusseldorf, will be operated by the Competence Call Center (CCC). Some 500 staff that will trawl the online platform and delete any criminal or offensive content they come …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Nov 2017

Net neutrality nonsense: Can we, please, just not all lose our minds?

Analysis Just because it was inevitable doesn't make it bearable. Having announced just before Thanksgiving that the FCC, America's broadband watchdog, was indeed planning to gut its own rules on net neutrality, it took until Monday for the full whirlwind of madness on the topic to pick up speed. And, friend, has it arrived, …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Nov 2017

Then there were four: Another draft US law on 'foreign' (aka domestic) mass spying emerges

The battle over a controversial US government spying program has intensified – with a fourth piece of legislation tackling the surveillance introduced to Congress on Friday. Somewhat confusingly, the latest proposed law – put forward by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) to the US Senate – is understood to be …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Nov 2017

Big Cable's pillow talk with FCC to forbid US states from writing own net neutrality rules

The stomach-churning love-fest between the American cable industry and FCC Ajit Pai continues apace with Big Cable now pillow talking the federal regulator into how to prevent individual US states forming their own net neutrality protections. Pai is expecting to call for a vote on dismantling net neutrality rules on December …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Nov 2017
Stingray

Hey, cop! You need a warrant to stalk a phone with a Stingray – judge

Analysis A New York judge has this month told cops that they need to get a warrant before they can use a controversial Stingray phone-tracking gadget to hunt down suspects. Justice Martin Murphy of the Kings County Supreme Court said the New York Police Department (NYPD) could not use crucial evidence it gathered while trying to locate …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Nov 2017

Amazon Key door-entry flaw: No easy fix to stop rogue couriers burgling your place unseen

Analysis Amazon has pushed out an emergency security update to its door-unlocking system called Key – which is used by couriers to let themselves into people's homes to drop off packages inside when folks are out. Delivery workers show up at a home, and use a smartphone to temporarily disable the lock on the front door so they can pop …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Nov 2017
Hackers

The four problems with the US government's latest rulebook on security bug disclosures

Analysis The United States government has published its new policy for publicly disclosing vulnerabilities and security holes. The new rulebook [PDF] – and the decision to make it public – comes following a tumultuous 12 months in which Uncle Sam's chief spy agency, the NSA, was devastated to discover part of its secret cache of …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Nov 2017
woman laughs in a freaked-out way. Pic by shutterstock

US govt's 'foreign' spy program that can snoop on Americans at home. Sure, let's reauth that...

Analysis The reauthorization of a controversial US government spying program has made further progress with the Senate's intelligence committee putting forward its recommendations to the whole Senate. This follows a similar move by its counterpart in the House of Representatives last week. The report [PDF] from the Senate committee …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Nov 2017

How about that US isle wrecked by a hurricane, no power, comms... yes, we mean Puerto Rico

Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the commissioners at America's broadband watchdog the FCC, has reiterated her call for hearings into what is happening with communications on the hurricane-stricken island of Puerto Rico. In late September, Hurricane Maria smashed into the strangely neglected US territory, leaving it mostly without …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2017

Donald Trump's tweets: Are they presidential statements or not?

They are the most dissected, repeated and analyzed statements in the world – but are Donald Trump's tweets formal statements by the President of the United States, or his own personal reflections? It seems that no one can agree: even the US Department of Justice, which has represented the short messages from his @ …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2017

Metal 3D printing at 100 times the speed and a twentieth of the cost

Comment A new machine will print metal parts at a tenth of the cost of today's manufacturing systems, potentially launching a revolution in small part production, its creators claim. Desktop Metal, based in Boston, USA, has opened up pre-orders for its Studio System which uses inkjet-like technology, rather than laser-based techniques …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Nov 2017

Alexa, please cause the cops to raid my home

We all assume that intelligent devices will either serve our every need, or try to kill us, but what if they just want to party? Well, it could work out pretty expensive as Oliver Haberstroh found out when his Amazon Alexa started its own early-hours party – waking up, and blasting music automatically, while its owner was out …

US domestic, er, foreign spying bill progresses through Congress

A draft law protecting one of the US government's spying programs has passed through the initial markup stage in the Congress, providing one more opportunity to witness the "up is down" world in which American politics currently resides. The USA Liberty Act put forward by House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA …
Double thumbs up photo via Shutterstock

SSL spy boxes on your network getting you down? But wait, here's an IETF draft to fix that

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has just put out a new draft for a standard that would enable folks to effectively bypass surveillance equipment on their networks to maintain secure connections. The working draft from three Cisco employees notes that so-called middleboxes – which intercept and decrypt connections – …

Google on flooding the internet with fake news: Leave us alone, we're trying really hard... *sob*

Comment Google has responded in greater depth after it actively promoted fake news about Sunday's Texas murder-suicide gunman by... behaving like a spoilt kid. On Monday, countless netizens noted that the prominently placed Twitter-fed "carousel" of tweets featured on Google's first page of search results contained links to obviously …

This could be our favorite gadget of 2017: A portable projector

Review Every now and again in the world of gadgets there is a confluence of technologies that make something new possible. A better take on a familiar task. Think Walkmans, or camcorders. Or portable storage devices. Tablets. Drones. Games consoles. GPS navigation. XGIMI's CC Aurora portable projector feels a lot like that. This is …
Lady Shouting into a megaphone with news sheets floating out of the mega phone

Google, Twitter gleefully spew Texas shooter fake news into netizens' eyes

Following the murder-suicide of 26 people in church on Sunday by Texas gunman Devin Kelley, ad giant Google managed to shoot itself in the foot by promoting fake news about the 26-year-old. As countless internet users noticed Monday morning, a search for the gunman's name on Google brought up a special "carousel" of tweets …

Europe's one-patent-court-to-rule-them-all rocked by 'Brexit, EPO reforms, German laws'

Plans to introduce a Europe-wide patent court may be delayed still further after the German parliament, government and patent lawyers asked for an extension on submitting responses to a legal challenge. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) have been on the books for five years, and was supposed to be in place by 2015 although it ran …

ICANN gives domain souks permission to tell it the answer to Whois privacy law debacle

Internet overlord ICANN has hit on an ingenious solution to the impending collision of the domain name system's Whois service and incoming European privacy legislation: let everyone else figure it out. Following a week of testy meetings in which domain registries and registrars complained they face business-destroying fines if …
Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our Future

Tesla share crash amid Republican bid to kill off electric car tax break

Tesla's share price took a dive Thursday morning as Republicans in Congress revealed they were planning to kill off a US federal tax credit for electric vehicles. The proposed US House tax bill calls for an immediate repeal of the $7,500-per-vehicle credit: something that would have an immediate knock-on impact for Tesla given …

Biting the hand that feeds IT ? 1998–2017

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