Deutsche Telekom said on Sunday that it will buy GTS Central Europe, a 20-year-old telecommunications firm that focuses on the business market. The deal, which requires regulatory approval, is worth €546 million ($731 million). GTS Central Europe is currently owned by a private equity consortium. The buy will provide much-needed fixed-line infrastructure for Telekom in Poland and the Czech Republic in particular, although it’s worth noting that GTS also has a fair amount of data center infrastructure that might come in handy.
Although LinkedIn and Slashdot had no knowledge of it, the GCHQ agency used fake versions of their webpages as way of sneaking malware onto the networks of major mobile connection exchanges. Here’s how that worked. Read more »
The latest Snowden scoop, according to Germany’s Der Spiegel: the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, have thoroughly infiltrated the computer systems of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The NSA has already been shown to be spying on Brazil’s Petrobras.
Meanwhile, reports in Australia indicate the country’s intelligence agency – a regular partner of the NSA and GCHQ – spied on Japanese firms for the benefit of Australian companies during trade negotiations. Particularly favored were “firms that provide employment and cover for spy operatives.”
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have demonstrated an attack that can reveal the PIN codes for sensitive apps, such as those for banking, by tapping into the device’s microphone and camera. Read more »
Google has declared a white space broadband trial in Cape Town, in which it participated, a resounding success. The firm said on Friday that the 6-month trial, which involved running wireless broadband in the fragmented buffer zones between chunks of TV spectrum, did not interfere with the complex TV broadcast set-up in the city. I went to see the pilot in June and am delighted to learn that the network will stay operational for the schools that have been using it, even though the trial is over. Similar experiments are taking place around the world.
It’s not exactly a surprise, but confidence in the cloud has taken a battering in Germany after the Snowden revelations. A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey released on Thursday suggested 22 percent of German companies now see the risk of using cloud services as “very high,” up from 6 percent before the leak; 54 percent say risk is high or very high.
Thirty-eight percent said they were now looking at email encryption and 25 percent at encryption of mobile communications while 15 percent want to switch to European tech providers that won’t cooperate with American or British intelligence services.
The heads of the UK’s highest-profile intelligence services, GCHQ, MI5 and MI6, all appeared before a parliamentary committee on Thursday to not explain why Snowden’s surveillance revelations have harmed the country. Read more »
Coresystems creates apps for mobile field force efforts and software that ties in with SAP Business One. Former SAP exec Peter Zencke participated in the round. Read more »
Gartner says the PC market is shrinking faster than expected in western Europe, and nowhere more so than in Britain. Readers of a sensitive disposition might want to look away now… Read more »
The project’s founder, Scott Thomas, kicked off Wednesday’s proceedings at our Roadmap conference by demonstrating how new, freely available icons could help people from around the world communicate. Read more »
A coalition of lawyers, journalists and internet freedom activists launched legal action against the Dutch government, in an attempt to get it to stop using information about Dutch people gleaned from NSA surveillance. Read more »
Just months after throwing $40 million in Shazam’s direction, Carlos Slim has made another big bet on the startup scene. This time the beneficiary is Mobli, which already has a (mostly) impressive lineup of celebrity backers. Read more »
Robert Brunner, chief designer at headphone powerhouse Beats By Dre, started off our Roadmap conference in fine style, making salient points about tech’s attention-deficit risk, the need for tactility, and why Google Glass’s marketing is failing on the fashion front. Read more »
What’s the sensible reaction to the NSA spying on European countries (with, ahem, some cooperation of those countries’ own intelligence agencies)? According to European Commissioner Viviane Reding, who is in charge of justice, the answer is… more spying!
Reding apparently told a Greek newspaper on Monday that the EU should have a proper counterpart to the NSA — “so we can level the playing field with our U.S. partners” — by 2020. She may have been speaking “off the cuff” and it’s very unlikely to happen (member states handle their own national security), but it’s still an odd suggestion when spying victims such as Germany are trying to rein in the global espionage frenzy, not ramp it up.
There won’t be any commercially-available handsets that support such speeds for at least a year, but EE’s claim to the LTE-Advanced crown is more plausible than most. Read more »
The shuffling of Telefonica’s cards continues: the Spanish telecoms giant is set to sell off a $3.33 billion controlling stake in its Czech and Slovakian operations, with the buyer being Petr Kellner’s investment vehicle PPF Group. Read more »
Privacy International has asked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to investigate whether telecoms giants such as BT and Verizon Enterprise broke human rights rules by cooperating too much with British intelligence and not fighting back on their customers’ behalf. Read more »
The British company, whose software aims to help service providers enter the cloud game, has “opened up” its platform to allow more flexibility. It’s also preparing to support OpenStack, claiming it will make service provider deployments less painful. Read more »
Indonesian leaders and hackers are incensed after it emerged how the Australians worked with the Americans on surveillance in that and other Asian countries. Meanwhile in Europe, the cooperation of various intelligence agencies with the British has been exposed. Read more »
UK supermarket chain Tesco is installing advertising screens that also scan customers’ faces as they stand in line to pay. Once upon a time I may have found that risky, but we’re much further down that slippery slope these days. Read more »
Finally! Now that the FAA over in the U.S. has greenlit the use of electronic devices during all flight stages, the same may soon happen in Europe.
According to a report in The Guardian on Friday, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is set to take the matter to European regulators, with the hope of a decision being made within months. As in the U.S., each airline would need to seek permission individually, proving that its aircraft won’t be affected by the use of phones (with the cellular component turned off), tablets, e-readers and so forth.
Berlin’s 6Wunderkinder has reportedly raised a $30 million Series B round, with heavyweight Sequoia Capital joining existing investors such as Earlybird and Atomico. 6Wunderkinder makes the popular Wunderlist and Wunderlist Pro task management apps, which Techcrunch says have 6 million users. The company will apparently use its fresh funding to push further into the U.S. market.
Secretary of State John Kerry has said the NSA went too far in some of its activities. Meanwhile, Edward Snowden has apparently said he is willing in principle to testify in a potential German case over U.S. spying. Read more »
NSA leaker Edward Snowden will start a job in tech support in November, his lawyer reportedly said. The employer is a “large Russian website”, but we don’t know who, because of security concerns. A representative for web giant Yandex told me on Thursday that it wasn’t them.
We do know that social network VK invited Snowden to join its security team earlier this year, at least partly as a publicity stunt. Snowden is stuck in Russia for now under one-year temporary asylum, since the U.S. cancelled his passport in June.
Creativity comes to the track, as Austria’s Runtastic introduces Story Running. The stories all feature running and have been designed to fit the ideal pace of a run. Read more »
Today’s internet is based on client devices such as PCs or smartphones talking to centralized servers to get their data. If an EU-funded project called Pursuit takes flight, the future could be a whole lot more distributed. Read more »
If the Wall Street Journal‘s sources are correct, then France and Spain’s intelligence agencies have a whole lot of explaining to do. Read more »
Backed by Passion Capital and TransferWise chief Taavet Hinrikus, Coinfloor is the first serious Bitcoin trading operation to open in London’s fintech hub. U.S. customers aren’t allowed in just yet, though. Read more »
The UK’s Open Data Institute, which exists to help the government make its data open and machine-readable, and to incubate private open data companies, has spawned a series of nodes around the world. Read more »
The weekend brought a spate of updates in the ongoing NSA saga. German media reported that Barack Obama had known about the tapping of Angela Merkel’s phone for years despite claiming he hadn’t, prompting fresh denials from Washington. Der Spiegel also published a detailed look at the American agency’s Berlin spying tactics.
Meanwhile El Mundo reported that the NSA had recorded phone call details of millions of Spaniards, and the Kyodo news agency said Japan had rebuffed U.S. requests in 2011 to tap fiberoptic cables going through Japan to China.
Germany and Brazil are pushing forward with proposals for a global right to online privacy. It would have been nice if this action had begun in earnest when it was citizens being spied upon, and not only after Angela Merkel and Dilma Rousseff were revealed as targets. Read more »
3D printing isn’t just going to bleed into the public consciousness through positive things — this sort of raid will leave a lasting impression. Embarrassingly though, the seized components appear to be spare parts for a 3D printer. Read more »
The Irish data protection chief turned down a request to investigate Facebook’s alleged complicity in the NSA’s PRISM scheme, but campaigners Europe v Facebook have won the right to a judicial review of the decision. Read more »
Germany’s leader, Angela Merkel, has confronted U.S. president Barack Obama over the likely tapping of her communications. The White House has said the U.S. “is not monitoring and will not monitor” her communications, but has not denied doing so in the past. Read more »
The European Parliament has asked the European Commission to suspend a deal with the U.S. that allowed the sharing of financial data, in order to track terrorist funding. However, that call appears to have been rebuffed. Read more »
Carriers subsidize handsets when they’re sure that their customers are locked into their contracts. Remove that certainty, and it becomes much less risky to break out the true cost of the handset and have the customer pay it off separately. Read more »
Adoption by Google, Wikipedia and some of the top Linux distros is all good and fine, but SkySQL really wants to see the MariaDB database get picked up in the enterprise. $20 million should help that happen. Read more »
The FlexyCore team, which has apparently already been integrated into the Android team, is notable for making Android run more smoothly. The deal was reportedly worth $23 million. Read more »
The Lumia 2520 is a Windows RT tablet that’s designed to be as usable as possible in bright sunlight, and comes with the option of a keyboard/battery pack cover. The Lumia 1520 features a 6-inch screen and a 20MP PureView camera. Read more »
The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee has endorsed all of Green MEP Jan Phillip Albrecht’s suggestions for tougher privacy legislation, reversing much of the lobbying work done by technology firms and the U.S. government before the NSA scandal broke. Read more »