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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 12th Jan 2016

Dell has found that many enterprise projects involving the Internet of Things (IoT) are being held back owing to a clash of cultures, as they are typically driven by a line of business in the organisation instead of the firm's IT department.

The term 'IoT' has been adopted to cover a diverse range of use cases, but the technology is typically being used in the business arena to drive the digital transformation of physical infrastructure and the environment, to control heating, lighting and other systems, for example.

This may require connecting equipment to the network that has not traditionally been connected, and sensor-enabling objects and the environment to gather data for the purposes of analysis and driving greater efficiencies.

But while this involves technologies and equipment that may be familiar to the organisation's IT department, it is not the IT department that drives the adoption of the IoT, and IT may even be hindering it, according to Dell.

Andy Rhodes"There are two different organisations that are clashing in the customers we have seen. One is the traditional IT department and they are not the catalyst of these projects. It's not like the CIO wakes up one day and says: ‘Hey. I need smarter asset management for my shipping containers.' Instead it's the business side or the operations technology side," said Andy Rhodes (pictured), executive director for IoT solutions at Dell.

This leads to problems because the two departments have often operated in their own silos and traditionally had little contact with each other, Rhodes explained.

"We have about 150 proof-of-concepts based on our gateway devices, and in a lot of those meetings, when we pitched the concept, the customer's IT and operations technology people were in the same room for the first time," he said.

This has to change, otherwise a lot of such projects risk foundering or seeing critical areas such as security neglected, he added, or firms will end up replicating existing areas of competency, such as in analytics.

Meanwhile, Rhodes said that, although he may be head of Dell's IoT division, he dislikes the term ‘IoT' because it has become such a vague catch-all label that is often misused and misapplied.

"When you get to the right people involved with these projects, they don't call it ‘IoT' at all. They're doing fleet management or asset management of containers or building management," he said.

Whatever you call it, IoT deployment calls for special requirements, because the kit will be expected to operate in often harsh everyday environments, rather than the air conditioned clean rooms typically used to house servers and other traditional IT equipment.

"We have this philosophy at Dell that we want to make the gateways and the rest of the solution look like operations technology on the outside, but look like IT on the inside," Rhodes said.

"The operations people need to know what they are plugging in and how and where it plugs in, plus it needs to meet industrial specs because in building management the gateway will probably be in the boiler room or in a wiring closet. But everything then comes onto the network, and if the gateway looks like IT on the inside, IT can manage it just like every other device on the network with the same tools and the same protocols."

One result of this approach is the recently launched Dell Edge Gateway 5000 Series, which is based on Intel's IoT Gateway reference platform and thus uses similar technology to a PC on the inside, but encased in an industrial-grade enclosure for mounting on a wall or a DIN rail.

A gateway device such as this is intended to serve as the linchpin of an industrial IoT deployment. It is designed to control sensors and other hardware, while linking to the network to relay data and link with central management systems.
Dell Gateway 5000 Series

Crucially, the gateway is also expected to have enough local intelligence to keep things running if the network goes down, often requiring it to carry out local analysis of the data it gathers from sensors.
Local processing is also key because the potential time and cost of collecting all the data from numerous sources may simply be too much, according to Rhodes.

"People say that everything can be done with wireless networks, but the reality is that you soon start generating petabytes of data, and transmitting that in its raw state across the world is just cost prohibitive in some of the business models," he said.

Interestingly, while Dell is set to support Windows 10 IoT and Intel's Wind River Linux on the Gateway 5000 Series, its platform of choice is Canonical's Ubuntu Snappy Core, a slimmed down version of the firm's Linux aimed at devices and which supports a "transactional" update model that allows easy deployment and rollback of software.

"It's Linux-based and that makes it easy to work with, and we're using Ubuntu Snappy because that makes it easy to layer on the services the end user wants. And it's ‘maker' community-friendly at the same time as coming from an enterprise-grade brand name," Rhodes said.

Meanwhile, Dell is keen to repeat its usual mantra that it is all about customer choice. So while the firm has tools such as the Dell Boomi integration platform and Statistica analytics software available for back-end processing of data, it is willing to build the solution that customers want.

However, IoT solutions have proved to be a slightly different kettle of fish to the services Dell has been used to offering its clients. For one thing, IoT covers such a broad range of use cases that each customer deployment is often very different from the next one.

In addition, IoT solutions often involve a rethink about who exactly the customer is. As an example, KMC Controls is a building automation specialist that has started using Dell's Gateway 5000 Series and other products in its portfolio, but the end user of the technology could ultimately be a property management company or the organisation that occupies the building.

"It's a complex supply chain, and that's why you can't have strict boundaries because every scenario is slightly different, the business model is different and the technology is different and the way each company is deploying it is different," Rhodes said.

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 12th Jan 2016

Microsoft has now stopped providing support for several versions of Internet Explorer, meaning that Windows users will need to run IE 11 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.

Specifically IE 8, 9 and 10 are now not supported by Microsoft, and the company has urged users of these browsers to update to IE 11 or the new Edge browser at once.

"End of support means there will be no more security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates," the firm warned.

Microsoft first detailed this change of policy in August 2014, but the firm has issued reminders over the past weeks and months to encourage customers to upgrade to the most recent version of IE for the platforms they operate.

"IE 11 is the last version of IE and will continue to receive security updates, compatibility fixes and technical support on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10," the company said.

This means IE 11 for the majority of Windows users. The exceptions are Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2, for which the latest available version is IE 9, and Windows Server 2012, for which the latest available version is IE 10.

The reminder is most pertinent to those running Windows 7, which is still the most widely used version of the platform and pre-dates IE 11. Upgrading the browser may be of little consequence for consumers, but could have implications for businesses if applications they rely on have been developed to work with specific versions of IE.

"Many businesses are still running browsers that will fall out of support in January 2016," said Ed Shepley, solutions architect at Camwood, a UK firm specialising in migration services, speaking to V3 towards the end of last year.

"These businesses run a risk of falling out of compliance with their third-party suppliers or from a regulatory compliance position, and as a result will need to upgrade their browser estate."

However, it is not simply a case of deploying a new browser, as customers will have to perform web application testing to ensure that everything will continue to function as before.

"An upgrade of the browser estate without web application testing runs the risk of breaking functionality in these web applications," Shepley warned.

"At Camwood we are seeing increased interest from organisations on browser migration and we are recommending a two-stage testing process to address critical and non-critical web applications."

Microsoft is also seeking to address this problem. "We understand many customers have web apps and services designed specifically for older versions of IE, so we're continuing to improve our set of Enterprise Mode tools to help you run those applications in IE 11," wrote Jatinder Mann and Fred Pullen, executives involved with Microsoft's browser development, in a posting on the Microsoft Edge Dev Blog.

Enterprise Mode is a feature for business customers in IE 11 that enables the browser to emulate the way older versions handle web pages, and thus allow legacy browser-based enterprise applications to continue to run unmodified.

Microsoft said that the firm "continues to make significant improvements to Enterprise Mode, helping customers upgrade more easily to IE 11 while extending the ability to run older web apps".

New features include explicit support for HTTP ports in Enterprise Mode, so that customers can specify an HTTP port directly in their Enterprise Mode Site List, along with a Web Application Compatibility Lab Kit.

The latter offers IT managers a walk-through of how to configure and set up Enterprise Mode; use the Enterprise Site Discovery toolkit to analyse which web apps are in use on a customer's site; test web apps using the F12 developer tools; and manage the Enterprise Mode Site List with the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager utility.

Microsoft also detailed improvements in Windows 10 to better support compatibility. The platform comes with the new Microsoft Edge browser that is used by default, but business customers have been able to specify IE instead.

The firm has updated Enterprise Mode for IE 11 to open Microsoft Edge for these customers if they navigate to a modern site that calls for the latest web platform features. This feature has a similar user experience to the analogous feature in Microsoft Edge to open IE 11, Microsoft said.

Finally, Microsoft said that, following feedback from customers, it is overhauling the XML schema used for the Enterprise Mode Site List to make it simpler and easier to use. Starting with the Windows 10 November Update, the firm has already begun supporting a new v.2 Enterprise Mode XML schema, although IE 11 and Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 will continue to support the existing v.1 XML schema for compatibility.

However, this will not be supported in older versions of Windows until sometime alter in 2016, to avoid burdening IT departments with extra work to support the new XML schema while customers are trying to upgrade to IE 11 on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 before the 12 January deadline.

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 11th Jan 2016

When I first picked up Samsung's newest laptop, I almost sent it shooting out of my hand and into the ceiling. At first glance, it looked like a normal laptop, so I expected it to be heavy.

But it's deceptively light. And it totally tricked me into using more oomph to lift it than I actually needed.

It comes in two sizes: one with a 15-inch screen and another with a 13-inch screen. They both run Windows 10. The 13-incher weighs just 1.85 pounds. The 15-incher is a bit heavier at 2.84 pounds.

It's basically Samsung's answer to the new super-thin MacBook that launched last year.

The Notebook 9's shell is made out of magnesium, which keeps things light. It also has about 10 hours of battery life per charge, which is more than enough to get you through a day.

And that's really about it. The Notebook 9 isn't totally ready yet, but it should be out during the first half of the year. It's also impressive to see how far laptops have come in recent years.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 11th Jan 2016

If you use Twitter a lot, you're either really excited or really appalled by the idea that Twitter might soon ditch its 140 character limit.

Almost since the beginning, Twitter has required all messages be a maximum of 140 characters long. That's because Twitter was based on SMS, and SMS messages had to be that short to be sent.

(Actually, SMS allowed for 160 characters, but Twitter's founders wanted to allow room for Twitter handles before each message.)

So, we all went with it. And sometimes, that 140-character limit sparks creativity:

But more often, it's a pain.

It's led to never-ending tweet storms, which can be good and informative, but difficult to follow as each one lands between a jumbled feed of other tweets in your feed. For example, this one from Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen is insightful, but it's 13 tweets long!

Twitter's 140 character cap can also force you to quote a tweet to avoid hitting the limit, simply so you can have your own 140 characters on top of someone else's.

Often, it encourages people to screenshot a bunch of text and upload it as a photo which isn't fun to do, and it isn't actually useful for Twitter. Text, as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey points out, is much more useful when it isn't a .png or .jpg file. Currently none of this text gets indexed by Twitter — it can't be searched or analyzed.

The argument for keeping Twitter unchanged is that people tend to be long winded and overly wordy. Twitter users love that it's fast and brief; everything is to the point.

Yup, lifting the ban could make Twitter harder to skim. But it sounds like Twitter will still let you write speedy tweets if you want, and it may unfurl the extra text beyond 140 characters so it's there if you want to read more, but not forced upon you. Kind of like an article. You can see the headline, then click if you're intrigued and want to learn more.

Either way, if you're complaining about the idea of Twitter embracing change — and the company needs some strong innovation if it wants to onboard more users — then ask yourself:

"Have I ever tweetstormed, quoted someone else's tweet, or taken a screenshot of text and tweeted it?"

If you answered yes to any of that, then whether you admit it or not, you're already supporting a 140-character free Twitter.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 11th Jan 2016

Apple is expected to cut its iPhone 6S and 6S Plus production by 30 percent in the January to March quarter, Japan's Nikkei reported Tuesday.

The report said the cut is due to the excess level of inventories of the latest iPhone models, which in part was due to the higher exchange rate that made iPhones more expensive in emerging countries.

It added the iPhone production level is expected to get back to normal levels in the April to June quarter, citing foreign suppliers.

Nikkei's report is the latest in a series of gloomy projections that predicted a drop in iPhone sales in the coming months. Last month, a number of Wall Street analysts forecast that iPhone sales will drop for the first time ever, citing a decline in sales by some of the major iPhone component makers.

Gene Munster of PiperJaffray wrote in a note Tuesday that investor concerns of an iPhone sales drop is growing, with some thinking sales for the March quarter could be as low as 50 million units, way below the 58.5 million estimate.

But Munster added that suppliers and production cuts have historically had little correlation to actual reported units, and that Apple's own December guidance is still the best read on overall iPhone sales. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that iPhones would grow year-over-year, according to the note, and Apple hasn't missed a guide in nearly three years.

"Overall, this data point, albeit old, lends us confidence that March may not be as bad as expected assuming that if iPhone demand is up slightly in December and the overall smartphone market is stable with a large upgrade base of existing iPhone users, we would expect narrower change in the December and March growth rates," Munster wrote.

Apple stock finished Tuesday's regular trading session down 2%. Apple wasn't immediately available for comment.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 4th Jan 2016

It's very easy to turn your TV into a roaring fire (and not by setting light to it)

As the cold winter nights draw in, you might want to warm up your house with a real fire. But don't despair if you don't have one – a few household bits of technology will have you sitting cosily in front of some burning logs in no time.

If you have a smart TV or a set-top box connected to your television, then you can quickly fire up one of the many fireplace that are online, and pretend that you're watching a burning fire rather than a video of one.

The best way to instantly give your living room a log fire is to use Netflix's 'Fireplace For Your Home'. That series – which comes in three parts, each with different music – shows a burning fire from its beginning as logs into a full-blown and cosy hearth.

For 2015, Netflix has uploaded new episodes of Fireplace For Your Home in 4K, making them extra realistic. The fires are much the same, but can be seen in much more detail – and the company has also added a birchwood edition, for a little more variety.

YouTube has a huge range of other fireplaces, if you're looking for a free option. The best one is probably PBS Newshour's, which was the first ever in 4K when it was uploaded last year.

Finding a fireplace on YouTube is much riskier, since lots of the ones uploaded there tend to have little watermarks in their corners to say who they were made by, spoiling the realism. PBS Newshour's does feature a Christmas greeting at the start, but is otherwise believable – though it is perhaps let down a little by not showing the fire from the very beginning, as Fireplace In Your Home does, and starting in media res.

None of the videos promise any heat, though the experience of watching them can induce a feeling of cosiness and warmth.

Another option for increasing the realism of your virtual fireplace is to install Philips Hue lightbulbs. They are smart and wi-fi controlled, so you can do what you want with them, and they can show a range of colours.

Downloading the app OnSwitch and using it with smart lights means that you can create the feel of a candlelit room with none of the danger or bother. OnSwitch is free to download but makes you pay for some purposes – but that doesn't include the candlelight option.

Source: independent.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 4th Jan 2016

I am delighted to present my eighth annual Boxing Day Family Puzzler - a festive quiz that rewards intuition and inspired guesswork as much as knowledge and memory.

No-one should be expected to rack their brains on Boxing Day, so in this game no-one is expected to know any of the answers.
The questions relate to events in the past 12 months and all the solutions are numbers. Contestants must use wisdom and judgment to get as close to the right figure as they can.

There are 20 questions and, to make it fair, each player/team should write their guesses down before revealing them. One mark for the closest answer and three if, by some fluke or genius, you get it spot on.
Good luck.

Answers at the bottom

1) The Queen became Britain's longest-reigning British head of state this year. During the course of her 63 years on the throne, how many Christmas puddings has she given to her staff?
Christmas pudding genericImage copyrightiStock
2) In June, the northern England railway company First TransPennine Express published an audit of lost property found on its trains in a year. Among the odder items were a 6ft inflatable dinosaur, a bag of haggis and a framed picture of Mary Berry. Of the 28.6m passengers that year, how many left behind their false teeth?
3) As a nation we are increasingly shopping online - but someone still has to deliver the goods. According to the Department of Transport, the number of miles driven by vans in the UK has risen 70% in the last 20 years. How many miles is it expected to be in 2015?
4) A teenage boy band member was hospitalised in July after wearing a case-load of clothes on to an Easyjet flight rather than pay £45 for the excess baggage. James McElvar, from the group Rewind, became violently sick and required oxygen on the journey from Stansted to Glasgow. How many layers did he have on?
5) In May this year, Steve Easton (no relation) from Camberley in Surrey had a sneezing fit and, much to his amazement, the sucker from the end of a child's dart shot out. He'd been suffering from a blocked nose and head-aches, unaware of the item stuck in his nasal cavity. How many years had it been up there?
6) Jeremy Clarkson left the BBC's Top Gear programme in controversial circumstances this year, only to announce he is to present a motoring programme on Amazon Prime. What is Clarkson reportedly getting paid (in pounds) for each episode of the new show?
7) Liverpudlian showbiz legend Cilla Black died at the age of 72 this year. A chart-topping singer, she went on to become the face of Saturday night TV. How many couples did our Cilla send on blind dates?
8) The Office for National Statistics announced this year that the UK population had exceeded 64.5m. How many of those did they calculate were aged 100 or more?
9) On an average day, 205 billion emails are sent and received around the world. According to a Direct Marketing Association tracking study, what percentage of British emails are deleted before they are even opened?
10) Australian David Richards - known locally as Christmas Lights Man - broke his own record this year for the number of individual lights on an artificial tree. How many?
11) At the UK General Election this year, 34,244 Conservative votes were cast on average for each Conservative MP elected. What was the equivalent figure for UKIP?
12) The average day in Britain sees 2-3mm of rain. According to the Met Office, how many millimetres fell in Honister Pass in Cumbria on 5 December this year?
13) The most viewed YouTube clip of 2015 was Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth performing See You Again. How many views has the official video had since being posted in April?
14) In 1964, 93% of UK births occurred within marriage. Including civil partnerships, what is the percentage now?
15) The amount spent globally on eradicating poverty is estimated to be $66bn. According to the UK Ministry of Defence, what is the amount spent globally on the military (in dollars)?
16) On Anglesey, what percentage of the population has not been online for at least three months, according to official statistics this year?
17) The most-watched TV show of 2015 was the final of the Great British Bake Off in October, won by Nadiya Jamir Hussain. According to market research, by what percentage did baking product sales increase during the series?
18) In his autumn statement George Osborne announced an extra 3% on stamp duty for new buy-to-let landlords. What percentage of MPs are already landlords?
19) In the Rugby World Cup this year, the teams racked up 2,439 points. How many came from drop goals?
20) The new Bond film, Spectre, broke box-office records around the world when it was launched in October. In it, 007 is seen drinking his favourite vodka martini as well as champagne, fine wine and single malt whisky. On average, across all the Bond films, how long elapses between each of 007's alcoholic drinks (in minutes and seconds)?

Answers: 1. Queen's Christmas puddings: 95,800 2. False teeth: 8 3. Delivery miles: 46.9 billion 4. Layers of clothing: 12 5. Years item stuck up nose: 44 6. Clarkson cash: £833,333 7. Cilla's blind-date couples: 746 8. 14,450 9. Emails deleted: 21% 10. Christmas Lights Man's Christmas lights: 518,838 11. UKIP votes: 3,881,129 12. Honister Pass rain (mm): 341 13. See You Again views: 1.25bn 14. Percentage of births: 53% 15. Global military spend: $1776bn 16. Anglesey offline: 41% 17. Bake Off baking increases: 214% 18. MP landlords: 21% 19. Drop goals: 24 20. Bond's drinks interval: 10m53s

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 4th Jan 2016

Hamburg conference hears that Red Star intranet allows Pyongyang to control citizens’ access to websites

North Korea’s homegrown computer operating system mirrors its political one – marked by a high degree of paranoia and invasive snooping on users, according to two German researchers.

Their investigation, the deepest yet into the country’s Red Star OS, illustrates the challenges Pyongyang faces in trying to embrace the benefits of computing and the internet while keeping a tight grip on ideas and culture.

The operating system is not just the pale copy of western ones that many have assumed, said Florian Grunow and Niklaus Schiess of the German IT security company ERNW, who downloaded the software from a website outside North Korea and explored the code in detail.

“[The late leader] Kim Jong-il said North Korea should develop a system of their own. This is what they’ve done,” Gunrow told the Chaos Communication congress in Hamburg on Sunday.

North Korea, whose rudimentary intranet system does not connect to the world wide web, but allows access to state media and some officially approved sites, has been developing its own operating system for more than a decade.

This latest version, written around 2013, is based on a version of Linux called Fedora and has eschewed the previous version’s Windows XP feel for Apple’s OSX – perhaps a nod to the country’s leader Kim Jong-un who, like his father, has been photographed near Macs.

But under the bonnet there’s a lot that is unique, including its own version of encrypting files. “This is a full blown operation system where they control most of the code,” Grunow said.

The researchers say this suggests North Korea wants to avoid any code that might be compromised by intelligence agencies.

“Maybe this is a bit fear-driven,” Grunow said. “They may want to be independent of other operating systems because they fear back doors,” which might allow others to spy on them.

Grunow and Schiess said they had no way of knowing how many computers were running the software.

Private computer use is on the rise in North Korea, but visitors to the country say most machines still use Windows XP, now nearly 15 years old.

The Red Star operating system makes it very hard for anyone to tamper with it. If a user makes any changes to core functions, like trying to disable its antivirus checker or firewall, the computer will display an error message or reboot itself.

Red Star also addresses a more pressing concern - cracking down on the growing underground exchange of foreign movies, music and writing.

Illegal media is usually passed person-to-person in North Korea using USB sticks and microSD cards, making it hard for the government to track where they come from.

Red Star tackles this by tagging, or watermarking, every document or media file on a computer or on any USB stick connected to it. That means that all files can be traced.

“It’s definitely privacy invading. It’s not transparent to the user,” Grunow said. “It’s done stealthily and touches files you haven’t even opened.”

Nat Kretchun, an authority on the spread of foreign media in North Korea, said such efforts reflected Pyongyang’s realisation that it needs “new ways to update their surveillance and security procedures to respond to new types of technology and new sources of information”.

There is no sign in the operating system of the kinds of cyber-attack capability North Korea has been accused of, the researchers say.

“It really looks like they’ve just tried to build an operating system for them, and give the user a basic set of applications,” Grunow said. That includes a Korean word processor, a calendar and an app for composing and transcribing music.

North Korea is not the only country to try to develop a bespoke operating system. Cuba has National Nova, and China, Russia and others have also tried to build their own.

Source: theguardian.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 4th Jan 2016

Which of the band's hits is the most popular?

All of The Beatles' studio albums were made available to stream on Christmas Eve (December 24), and now the most popular tracks over the first few days have been revealed.

Of course, other streaming services may vary, but on Spotify the most streamed track in both the US and the UK was 'Come Together', taken from 1969's Abbey Road, Billboard reports.

The top 10 Beatles tracks in the US are as follows:

1. 'Come Together'

2. 'Hey Jude'

3. 'Here Comes The Sun'

4. 'Let It Be'

5. 'Twist And Shout'

6. 'Blackbird'

7. 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'

8. 'In My Life'

9. 'She Loves You'

10. 'Help!'

The top 10 Beatles tracks on Spotify globally are as follows:

1. 'Come Together'

2. 'Let It Be'

3. 'Hey Jude'

4. 'Love Me Do'

5. 'Yesterday'

6. 'Here Comes The Sun'

7. 'Help!'

8. 'All You Need Is Love'

9. 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'

10. 'Twist And Shout'

Bringing The Beatles' music to streaming platforms has proven complicated since the rights to their albums and songs are held by different sources, including the band members, their estates, Apple Corp and Universal.​

Meanwhile, Andy White, who played drums on The Beatles' first hit 'Love Me Do', recently passed away at the age of 85.

Source: digitalspy.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 4th Jan 2016

Last week, it was reported that Yahoo had become the latest company that promised to alert users who it suspected were being spied on by state-sponsored actors. Twitter, Facebook and Google had previously assured their users that they would also warn them of any potential government spying. The UK, it seems, isn’t happy about this, and is pushing through a bill that will see the bosses of any company that warns its members that British agencies are monitoring them face up to two years in prison.
Specifically, UK ministers want to make it a criminal offence for tech firms to warn users of requests for access to their communication data made by security organizations such as MI5, MI6 and GCHQ (the Government Communications Headquarters).

A June report by David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, revealed that Twitter’s policy requires it to notify its users of requests to access their data “unless persuaded not to do so, typically by a court order.” But a note to the bill would make this illegal.

The note says it “will ensure that a communication service provider does not notify the subject of an investigation that a request has been made for their data unless expressly permitted to do so.”

The controversial Investigatory Powers Bill, nicknamed the snooper’s charter, was unveiled by home secretary Theresa May in November. Part of the proposed legislation would require tech firms to store users’ data for up to twelve months, including a record of every internet site visited, and allow government agencies unfettered access to the data. While the bill is being put forward as a deterrent against terrorism, online monitoring at this level has been banned in the US, Canada, and every other European nation.

The bill could also allow the UK government to demand that companies weaken the encryption on messaging services such as WhatsApp and iMessage to enable agencies to evesdrop on conversations, a proposal that Apple is strongly against. “We believe it would be wrong to weaken security for hundreds of millions of law-abiding customers so that it will also be weaker for the very few who pose a threat,” Apple said. “In this rapidly evolving cyber-threat environment, companies should remain free to implement strong encryption to protect customers.”

Source: techspot.com
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