Censorship is always bad, right? Not to many people around our connected globe, and there is sometimes validity to their views. Unfortunately the tension between those views places a profound and perhaps dangerous dilemma at the heart of the internet. Read more »
The Baseline Study is a collaboration between the Google X “moonshot” organization and various clinical and academic partners. The work should fit in well with the health-monitoring aspects of Google’s wearable efforts. Read more »
The flaw could de-anonymize many users, but it’s not a vulnerability in Tails itself, as I2P isn’t used by default in the live operating system. Read more »
North Rhine-Westphalia has decided to enforce a ban on biker gangs’ logos being displayed on websites. It is not at all clear how this is supposed to happen. Read more »
The London startup’s product, Overleaf, lets researchers collaborate on scientific papers that use the LaTeX markup language. Read more »
The law requires web services operating in Russia to store citizens’ data in local facilities. It’s supposed to protect Russians from overseas hackers, but the censorship potential is clear. Read more »
When Yelp and the European Consumer Organisation joined the 4-year-old EU antitrust case against Google, it became pretty clear that competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia would not get his wish of settling the case before his departure later this year. And lo, it comes to pass: According to the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, the European Commission is now planning to reopen its settlement arrangements with Google for an unprecedented fourth round of revisions. A Wednesday letter from original complainant Foundem expressed clear dissatisfaction with existing settlement proposals, and it seems the NSA mess is providing political pressure as well.
Tom Watson and David Davis are teaming up with Liberty to launch a legal challenge against the data retention law, which was barely debated but which allows the UK authorities to monitor all kinds of web services. Read more »
OpenNebula’s new “Lemon Slice” beta makes it possible to chuck VMs from OpenNebula infrastructure into more public clouds as needed. Read more »
In a significant upset for the European publishing industry, the Amsterdam district court has refused to order the closure of secondhand ebook store Tom Kabinet, saying EU law isn’t clear enough on digital media resale rights to take that step. Read more »
Suspected “pirates” will get told they’ve been spotted — but that’s it. This appears to be little more than a consumer awareness campaign, with no threatened disconnections. Read more »
Google has made concrete moves to protect consumers — particularly the parents of Android-toting kids — from accidentally racking up huge in-app purchase bills. Apple and iOS, not so much. Read more »
The former NSA sysadmin said in a Guardian interview that cloud providers can earn users’ trust by building their services around encryption and being clear about “where they draw the lines.” Read more »
The House of Lords passed the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill on Thursday without a vote, and it received royal assent hours later. That means DRIP is law after just a few days’ scrutiny. Read more »
If the search engines insist on playing judge and jury on so-called “right to be forgotten” requests in Europe — something they could sidestep in many cases — then they have to be clear about how they do so. Read more »
Tado, the European Nest competitor, has taken $13.6 million in fresh investment from Target Partners, Shortcut Ventures – both of which have already invested — and others. According to CEO Christian Deilmann, the home climate control firm will use the money to expand to all major European countries and beyond. Currently, the Tado smart thermostat is available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the U.K., while the more recently launched Tado Cooling box, which connects legacy air-conditioning units to the firm’s app, is already a worldwide proposition.
Though no names were named, a report from the United Nations human rights chief has stressed that mass surveillance clashes with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights — and that over-cooperative tech companies may be complicit in human rights abuses. Read more »
Deutsche Telekom has its own German cloud storage service, TelekomCloud, so it’s no surprise to see its big Dropbox partnership exclude the carrier’s home turf. Read more »
FiftyThree, the U.S. startup that produces the designer-friendly drawing app Paper, has now brought out the accompanying Pencil stylus in Europe, 8 months after it was released in North America. Pencil connects with the user’s iPad via Bluetooth to enable features like palm rejection, finger blending and switching to the erase function without needing to change tools in the app. Variable surface pressure will be added with the upcoming release of iOS 8. In the U.K., the graphite version of Pencil is priced at £49.99 ($85.64) and the walnut version at £64.99 ($111.34).
Stepping in where the banks won’t or don’t dare, Elliptic now has funding for its secure and insured Vault service, and it wants to expand its repertoire. Read more »
The UK Data Retention and Investigation Powers (DRIP) Bill, which is being fast-tracked through the legislative process, cleared the first stage in the House of Commons by 498 votes to 31 after a sparsely-attended “debate” (pictured). As previously reported, DRIP expands the authorities’ surveillance powers so that foreign web communications service providers can be forced to hand over user information – despite the assurances of the U.K. government that it only maintains the “status quo”. Lawyers and web law experts (and Edward Snowden) strongly oppose it. DRIP, which all major parties agreed to support before the public got to see it late last week, now goes for a second reading in the evening, then the House of Lords on Wednesday.
The agreement will make it easier for companies using Thinfilm’s NFC barcodes and sensor-equipped labels on their products to manage the data flowing from those items, through Evrythng’s identity management platform. Read more »
A newly-published list of GCHQ tools that were in operation or being developed a couple years back, provides a fascinating insight into modern propaganda and disinformation techniques. Read more »
The German parliamentary committee investigating NSA activities in the country may use non-connected, mechanical typewriters to protect its work, committee chairman Patrick Sensburg suggested on Monday. Sensburg also said he was advising members to check their smartphones, after the uncovering of spies working for the U.S. The committee is looking into the revelations of Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers. In response, committee member Martina Renner of The Left party tweeted: “Before I use a typewriter [and] burn notes after reading, I’d rather abolish the secret services.” Russian spies also reacted to Snowden by investing in typewriters — largely due to their utility in tracking leaks.
Samsung has suspended business with a supplier called Dongguan Shinyang Electronics, after China Labor Watch (CLW) exposed the apparent use of child labor in Shinyang’s factory (along with other labor violations including a lack of necessary safety equipment) four days ago. On Monday, Samsung said it had regularly audited the factory and found no cases of child labor, but an investigation following the CLW report showed “evidences of illegal hiring practices.” If the investigation concludes child labor was used, Samsung said it will scrap its contract with Shinyang. Chinese authorities are also examining the allegations, the manufacturer added.
The Raspberry Pi Model B+ is different enough to warrant new cases, and has valuable new features, but the processor and RAM are the same as the Model B. The price remains the same too, at $35. Read more »
Contrary to the explanation of the man who the U.K. government granted rights to sell .io domain addresses, back in the 90s, the government now says it doesn’t get anything from those sales, and therefore has no plans to share profits with the people it expelled from the Chagos Islands. Read more »
Chinese media, which tend to toe the government line, have already cast aspersions on Microsoft’s Windows 8, IBM’s servers and pretty much the entire U.S. tech industry. Read more »
The World Wide Web Foundation, the British Law Society, the Financial Times and a host of digital rights campaigners all think rushing through the DRIP Act as “emergency” legislation is a terrible idea. Read more »
Encrypted communications outfit Silent Circle, which has telco distribution deals for its secure voice app and $30 million funding in the bank, has introduced the ability to call out to regular phone numbers while maintaining a modicum of security. The “Out-Circle” feature lets users make calls to 79 countries that are encrypted between the device and Silent Circle’s servers, then sent out to the normal phone network. That means calls are secure in the country where the caller is, even if they’re not on the recipient’s side – useful in certain circumstances, and certainly more secure than Skype. Plans start at $12.95 for 100 minutes.
Spying on the German public? Not a problem. Spying on Chancellor Merkel? Kind of a problem. Turning a German intelligence employee and German army officer? It seems the German government has had enough. Read more »
The Data Retention and Investigation Powers (DRIP) Act will reinstate powers taken away from the government in a ruling by Europe’s top court. However, it would also expand those powers in terms of territory and scope — despite what the government is saying. Read more »
Ads from the U.K. government, charities and multinational corporations have been running ahead of jihadi recruitment videos on sites like YouTube and Dailymotion, a BBC investigation has revealed. That may mean the likes of the National Citizen Service (NCS) and Oxfam have been unwittingly putting money into the pockets of Islamist extremists, as uploaders get a cut of the ads shown before their videos. Following the investigation, NCS, Oxfam and the BBC itself – in a similar position – have complained and/or had their ads removed from the offending videos. YouTube said it removes violent extremist videos when users flag them up.
The web giant’s investment arm is setting up a London office. Details are pretty sketchy when it comes to the type of investments it will make, and it certainly isn’t the biggest pot in town, but Google says European startups have “enormous potential”. Read more »
The Nairobi-based startup will start shipping its super-tough routers, which boast an impressive series of features, next week. Read more »
Swedish Square competitor iZettle has added an extra €5 million ($6.8 million) to the Series C round it announced back in May, bringing the total for the round to €45 million ($61.2 million), and iZettle’s total investment thus far to €85 million ($118 million). The new cash comes from Hasso Plattner Ventures, the SAP co-founder’s investment vehicle, while existing investors include banking and payment giants American Express, MasterCard and Banco Santander. As usual, iZettle says it will use the money to sell its little card readers in more countries.
It’s not just the U.S. that wants air passengers to prove their electronic devices aren’t bombs by turning them on – the same now goes in the U.K., according to an update from aviation authorities on Tuesday. The authorities refused to say which routes were affected, so all passengers flying into and out of the U.K. will have to charge their devices before traveling, on pain of having those phones, tablets and laptops confiscated. Meanwhile British Airways announced even more restrictive measures on Monday – passengers with dead devices wouldn’t be able to fly, whether or not they offer to abandon the devices — but later backed down.
Competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia was already facing resistance in his quest to wrap up the long-running Google antitrust case, but Yelp’s new front-and-center involvement will almost certainly see the case continue. Read more »
A major new report from The Intercept has identified 5 respected individuals whose emails were targeted by the NSA and FBI. NSA leaker Edward Snowden said he leaked the list to enable targets to challenge the constitutionality of their surveillance. Read more »