Roman Seleznev was apparently picked up by U.S. agents in the Maldives, then sent to Guam for his first court appearance. He is alleged to have been involved in the theft and sale of credit card details from U.S. targets, but Russia is incensed at the manner of his arrest. Read more »
Airbnb has been fined €30,000 ($41,000) by the Catalonian authorities in Spain, who say the short-term rental marketplace has been illegally making money off properties that aren’t registered for tourist usage. The authorities, who are partly trying to protect traditional hotels, want Airbnb to stop listing unregistered properties and any individual rooms, which are illegal to rent to tourists. It’s a complex situation – many people in Barcelona make a lot of much-needed cash from renting out rooms and apartments to holiday-goers, but many of their neighbors aren’t so keen on seeing their residential buildings filled with late-partying tourists. There are vocal campaigners on both sides, and echoes of Airbnb’s struggles with New York regulators.
The Spanish firm filed for bankruptcy protection after due diligence-focused investment outfit Gotham City Research exposed phoney revenues and inflated hotspot claims. Read more »
In the wake of Europe’s top court invalidating the Data Retention Directive for having insufficient privacy safeguards, the British government is set to pass emergency laws allowing the core functions to continue there. According to a Sunday report in The Guardian, all major political parties support forcing providers to store and provide law enforcement access to details of who called or emailed whom and when, as has been the case since 2009. However, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are reportedly against expanding existing powers to also take in details like which web pages people visit. This “snooper’s charter” idea has been repeatedly suggested and shot down, but the government remains keen to see it put into practice.
The investment gives Randstad a way into the new world of online freelance recruitment, and Twago a way into Randstad’s considerable enterprise customer base. Read more »
The British hydrogen fuel cell company Intelligent Energy (IE) has floated on the London Stock Exchange at a valuation of $1.1 billion. The firm raised $69 million in the Thursday IPO for 8.8 percent of its shares, along with $27 million from Singaporean wealth fund GIC, which now owns around 10 percent of the firm. IE will use the money to sell backup power units for cellular base stations in India, and to support the launch of its Upp personal energy generator (pictured), according to the Financial Times. Early reviews suggest one Upp hydrogen cartridge can charge a mobile device 5 times. IE, which has been developing its technology for 13 years, also plans to make fuel cells for vehicles.
The European Banking Authority, which has already pointed out that consumers using bitcoin do so without regulatory protection, has issued an opinion listing 70 risks of virtual currencies and laying out the legislative measures needed to make regulation possible. Read more »
In what may turn out to be the biggest diplomatic upset yet to emerge from the surveillance scandal, German authorities have arrested a German intelligence employee who reportedly confessed to spying on a parliamentary NSA inquiry committee, on behalf of U.S. intelligence. Read more »
BMW is 3D-printing “finger cots” for some of its factory workers, the German carmaker said this week. Working alongside ergonomics researchers from the Technical University of Munich, BMW uses mobile 3D hand scanners to create tailored thumb-protectors for each worker. The printing is done with a selective laser sintering (SLS) process, using a precisely targeted laser to form a pre-modelled solid mass out of a thermoplastic polyurethane powder. The cots act as splints to counter thumb joint stress, helping workers who are fitting rubber plugs.
Observers might be forgiven for thinking that EU privacy law allows links to serious journalism to be removed from Google’s results if the subject complains. That’s really not the case, as Google knows very well. Read more »
German media reported on Thursday that, based on analysis of the source code of a key NSA surveillance tool, it is clear that the agency targeted a student who is involved in the Tor anonymization project. Read more »
The app tells users what services like Facebook can figure out about their personality and intentions. In the future, it wants to encourage people to feed that data to advertisers for cash rewards. This is an attempt to improve rather than reinvent the current internet model. Read more »
Telefonica’s takeover of KPN’s German carrier E-Plus has moved closer to finalization after the European Commission gave its blessing on Wednesday. However, the Commission’s approval is highly conditional – because the merger will reduce the number of network-owning German operators to three, Telefonica would need to sell 30 percent of the merged company’s network capacity to small virtual operators. It would also need to sell a new player some of its spectrum and other assets, and offer wholesale 4G services to “all interested players,” in order to preserve competition in the German market.
Reacting to our revelation this week about where the profits from .io web addresses go, Seats.io has said it will donate money to the dispossessed Chagossian people. Read more »
Small, activist-friendly providers from around the world have joined Privacy International in suing GCHQ over its malware-aided surveillance of telecommunications networks. Read more »
A measure passed first reading in the Duma on Tuesday, that would force the likes of Google and Twitter to store the personal data of Russians in Russia if they want to continue trading there. Read more »
Facebook’s emotional manipulation study has shocked many people for its apparent breach of research ethics (700,000 subjects had no idea they were being manipulated), and it has raised the alarm among Europe’s privacy regulators too. As The Register first reported on Tuesday (and I confirmed on Wednesday morning), the UK Information Commissioner intends to speak with Facebook about it, and will also be liaising with his Irish counterpart, who has jurisdiction over Facebook’s activities across Europe. The Irish Data Protection Commissioner said he is awaiting a “comprehensive report” from the social network over privacy issues relating to the study, including consent.
It’s now cheaper for Europeans to use the mobile internet, voice and SMS while traveling within the European Union. However, the plan is for the price difference between domestic and roaming mobile use to be completely eliminated. Read more »
The Switzerland-based startup, established by MIT, Harvard and CERN researchers, couldn’t access money that crowdfunding backers have given it, because PayPal had frozen its account. A PayPal rep apparently asked if ProtonMail had asked the government for permission to offer encryption. Read more »
Google’s earliest social network, the decade-old Orkut, will shut its virtual doors at the end of September, the company said on Monday. This mainly affects Brazilians, as the service has been more or less specific to that country for the last six years (it was also successful in India for a while). Seriously, Orkut was huge in Brazil — Facebook only overtook it there two and a half years ago — but now it has well under 1 percent of the market. In a blog post on Monday, Google said new Orkut registrations were now closed and people could export their photos and other data using Google Takeout.
The .io domain is a hit, but few startups using it appreciate the associations it carries — a mass expulsion that took place within living memory, and a crucial staging-post for the “War on Terror”. Read more »
Cisco has bought a Danish firm called Assemblage for its skills in wrangling browser technologies like WebRTC for real-time collaboration that don’t require the user to download any programs or plugins. Assemblage currently offers a range of tools including Kollaborate (for videoconferencing), Presentation and Same (for screen-sharing), and says it will continue to do so for now. In a blog post on Friday, Cisco — purveyors of expensive telepresence equipment that plays in the same space — said it was after the startup’s engineering prowess and third-party integration record.
The device’s release will be a test case both for bundling privacy-centric tools in a user-friendly way, and for carving out a niche in the modern mobile platform wars. Read more »
A new site called Tom Kabinet sells secondhand ebooks. Publishers say this is illegal, and with a deadline passing on Friday the case looks set to go to court. Read more »
The German secure server outfit only set out to raise €500,000, but it ended up with 6 times that amount. Since investors get a cut of future profits, and as Protonet has more than enough to internationalize now, it was time to press pause. Read more »
The U.S. firm’s contract for running Germany’s federal administrative infrastructure will be allowed to expire next year, and the NSA revelations are a big, explicit reason. Read more »
The search provider has started complying with a recent ruling that says it must de-link some personal information, if the data subject asks and if the information isn’t in the public interest. Read more »
Yandex.Disk can now import photos from and share photos to Facebook and other social networks — Yandex hopes the latter feature will help it strike deals with printing and stock photo services down the line. Read more »
Germany’s Moviepilot has taken an unusual trajectory, beginning as a film recommendation site called Moviepilot.de and expanding into the U.S. and elsewhere with a fan site called Moviepilot.com. Now it’s going to focus on the newer company with a fresh $20 million cash infusion that comes from French media firm Webedia, the proud new owners of Moviepilot.de. The German site has 5 million monthly users and 2 million Facebook fans, along with popular German-language YouTube channels. Moviepilot CEO Tobias Bauckhage said the sale would let his team “press ahead with even more energy and focus on our expansion into the U.S. market.”
EU justice chief Viviane Reding has welcomed a proposal by the Obama administration to give Europeans a right to judicial redress if their data, sent to the U.S. by authorities in their home country, has been abused. Read more »
The Norwegian browser vendor now has pole position on the Linux-based handsets Microsoft is selling in emerging markets and beyond. Read more »
The Respect Network’s creators claim to have found “a scalable business model for privacy on the internet.” You’ll need to pay to get in during the early days, but the concept may actually be sustainable. Read more »
The move, reported in local media, could dent the business of x86 processor makers in Russia. Read more »
Having dropped Linux support around the time of its root-and-branch revamp, Opera is now offering its first developer version for Linux users in over a year. Read more »
EBlink provides wireless “fronthaul” technology, which could help Alcatel-Lucent sell its vision of sticking the base station into the cloud. Read more »
Details continue to emerge confirming how the NSA’s mass surveillance efforts often rely on the cooperation of other governments, reportedly including those of Germany and Denmark. Read more »
The defense research agency’s information innovation director reckons the internet of things will need a “fundamentally new security model”. Read more »
The investment in the Parisian outfit may help the German publishing giant “see how search works”, it says. Read more »
The massive Target data breach last December was a “clarion call” for retail executives, according to Gap’s senior director of infrastructure architecture. That’s unsurprising, seeing how the breach lost Target’s CIO and CEO their jobs. Read more »
The Berlin-based startup’s first consumer app is finally out. It provides a fine-grained way to browse through different app types, but Read more »