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Bitcoin

EU Plans To Create Database of Bitcoin Users With Identities and Wallet Addresses (softpedia.com) 130

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: "The European Commission is proposing the creation of a database that will hold information on users of virtual currencies," reports Softpedia. "The database will record data on the user's real world identity, along with all associated wallet addresses." The database will be made available to financial investigation agencies in order to track down users behind suspicious operations. The creation of this database is part of a regulatory push that the EU got rolling after the Paris November 2015 terror attacks, and which it officially put forward in February 2016, and later approved at the start of July 2016. Legally, this is an attempt to reform the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD). The current draft is available here. The current AMLD draft reads: "The report shall be accompanied, if necessary, by appropriate proposals, including, where appropriate, with respect to virtual currencies, empowerments to set-up and maintain a central database registering users' identities and wallet addresses accessible to FIUs, as well as self-declaration forms for the use of virtual currency users."
EU

EU To Give Free Security Audits To Apache HTTP Server and Keepass (softpedia.com) 67

An anonymous reader writes: The European Commission announced on Wednesday that its IT engineers would provide a free security audit for the Apache HTTP Server and KeePass projects. The two projects were selected following a public survey that included several open-source projects deemed important for both the EU agencies and the wide public.

The actual security audit will be carried out by employees of the IT departments at the European Commission and the European Parliament. This is only a test pilot program that's funded until the end of the year, but the EU said it would be looking for funding to continue it past its expiration date in December 2016.

Blackberry

BlackBerry CEO 'Disturbed' By Apple's Hard Line On Encryption (theinquirer.net) 202

An anonymous reader writes: BlackBerry CEO John Chen said he is "disturbed" by Apple's tough approach to encryption and user privacy, warning that the firm's attitude is harmful to society. Earlier this year, Chen said in response to Apple resisting the government's demands to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters: "We are indeed in a dark place when companies put their reputations above the greater good." During BlackBerry's Security Summit in New York this week, Chen made several more comments about Apple's stance on encryption. "One of our competitors, we call it 'the other fruit company,' has an attitude that it doesn't matter how much it might hurt society, they're not going to help," he said. "I found that disturbing as a citizen. I think BlackBerry, like any company, should have a basic civil responsibility. If the world is in danger, we should be able to help out." He did say there was a lot of "nonsense" being reported about BlackBerry and its approach to how it handles user information. "Of course, there need to be clear guidelines. The guidelines we've adopted require legal assets. A subpoena for certain data. But if you have the data, you should give it to them," he said. "There's some complete nonsense about what we can and can't do. People are mad at us that we let the government have the data. It's absolute garbage. We can't do that." Chen also warned that mandatory back doors aren't a good idea either, hinting at the impending Investigatory Powers Bill. "There's proposed legislation in the U.S., and I'm sure it will come to the EU, that every vendor needs to provide some form of a back door. That is not going to fly at all. It just isn't," he said.
EU

UK 'Emergency' Bulk Data Slurp Permissible In Pursuit Of 'Serious Crime' (theregister.co.uk) 48

An anonymous reader writes: Bulk collection of data from phone calls and emails by carriers acting under government orders could be permissible in the pursuit of 'serious crime'. That's the preliminary ruling in a case brought by Brexit chief minister David Davis against PM Theresa May before the European Union's highest court. The ruling suggests bulk collection and retention of customer data might not be in breach of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights -- if it's done legally and with safeguards. Davis with Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson and others brought their case to the European Court of Justice in February.
Google

Google Is Spending Half a Billion Dollars To Curry Europe's Favor (cnet.com) 72

An anonymous reader writes: Google has ratchet up its investment in European goodwill, aiming to spend about $450 million from 2015 to 2017 as EU regulators narrow their gaze on the search giant, according to a report by the New York Times. The company is pouring money into wide-ranging sponsorships, like an exhibition at a Belgian museum incorporating virtual reality, a fund to help European news publishers amp up their web savvy, a digital training course for Irish teachers, and YouTube-backed concerts, according to the report.
Opera

Chinese Consortium's $1.24B Bid To Acquire Opera Software Fails, $600M Deal Agreed Instead (tech.eu) 85

The $1.24 billion takeover of Opera Software by a Chinese consortium of internet firms has failed, Opera said on Monday. The deal did not receive the required regulatory approval in time of a final deadline. But they will be doing some business. The consortium will now acquire only certain parts of Opera's consumer business, including its mobile and desktop browsers, for $600 million on an enterprise value basis. Tech.eu reports: What will not be acquired by the consortium is: Opera Mediaworks, Apps & Games and Opera TV. In 2015, Opera says these business units combined delivered revenues of $467 million. The company will report second-quarter results on August 31, 2016.
EU

Sir Tim Berners-Lee Makes a Last-Minute Plea To Save Net Neutrality in Europe (theverge.com) 44

An anonymous reader shares a report on The Verge: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the world wide web, is calling on regulators in Europe to protect net neutrality and "save the open internet." In a letter released this week, Berners-Lee, Stanford law professor Barbara van Schewick, and Harvard law professor Larry Lessig urged European regulators to implement guidelines that would close loopholes in net neutrality legislation that the European Parliament approved in October 2015. They also called on internet users to voice their opposition online, before the public consultation period on the guidelines ends on July 18th. "Network neutrality for hundreds of millions of Europeans is within our grasp," the letter reads. "Securing this is essential to preserve the open Internet as a driver for economic growth and social progress. But the public needs to tell regulators now to strengthen safeguards, and not cave in to telecommunications carriers' manipulative tactics."
Businesses

Theresa May Reshuffles Cabinet, Warns Amazon and Google of Power Shift (arstechnica.co.uk) 227

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: British Prime Minister Theresa May has given a stern warning to big business, telling the public to "think not of the powerful, but you." Specifically, she singled out Google and Amazon for dodging taxes and creating a lot of parliamentary scrutiny. Ars Technica reports: "May has been quick to stamp her brand of conservatism on her party by letting go of key members of Cameron's cabinet. She has so far sacked big hitters such as chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne, justice secretary Michael Gove, and culture secretary John Whittingdale. Philip Hammond now has the keys to Number 11, but we're still waiting to hear who will replace Whittingdale, whose remit included the rollout of super fast broadband in the UK. He's also the man behind the White Paper on the future of the BBC, which sought radical changes at the public service broadcaster. So far, 10 cabinet positions have been announced by May. They include Justine Greening as secretary of state for education, and Liz Truss becomes justice secretary, while former London mayor and key Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson -- to the surprise of many -- now heads up the foreign office. May has handed her home secretary job to Amber Rudd -- who will now be responsible for the government's push for greater online surveillance laws. Rudd was previously the minister for energy and climate change." David Davis is now in charge of withdrawing the UK from the European Union. David has for many years "opposed the government's attempts to bring in a so-called Snoopers' Charter." Ars Technica writes, "He's also currently suing the UK government over DRIPA -- legislation that was rushed through by the Tories after the European Court of Justice had ruled that the Data Retention Directive was invalid for failing to have adequate privacy safeguards in place."
Google

Google Hit By New Round Of Antitrust Charges In Europe (bloomberg.com) 39

The European commission has filed a third antitrust charge against Google -- this time it is against the Mountain View-based company's AdSense advertising business. The EU regulator is accusing Google of abusing its dominance in search to benefit its own advertising business, one of company's main revenue stream. A Bloomberg article explains the whole situation: While this is an escalation for the advertising probe, the statement of objections focused on comparison shopping bolsters a case the European Commission first laid out in an antitrust complaint in April 2015. Both of these investigations are in addition to an ongoing antitrust case against Alphabet Inc. for the alleged market-dominance of its Android mobile operating system that the EU filed in April. The antitrust issues are just one strand of a net of regulatory problems entangling the company in Europe. It is facing a separate inquiry into its use of copyrighted content from European publishers and complaints about its compliance with European "right to be forgotten" rules. A bevy of individual European governments are also investigating the company for alleged underpayment of tax. In response to the latest EU antitrust complaints, Google said that its products "increased choice for European consumers and promote competition," and that will provide a detailed response to the European Commission's claims in the coming weeks. In the past, Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt has said European officials should spend more time trying to promote Europe's own tech sector and less time trying to punish successful American companies.
News

How Technology Disrupted the Truth (theguardian.com) 259

A day after the Brexit, former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage admitted he had misled the public on a key issue. He admitted that UK's alleged 350M Euro weekly contribution to the EU would not be directed to the National Health Service, and that this commitment was never made official. Journalists worldwide tweeted photos of the campaign ads -- posted in conspicuous places like the sides of buses -- debunking the lie. This incident illustrates the need for more political fact-checking as a public service, to enable the voters to make more informed and rational decisions about matters affecting their daily lives. Fact-checking is supposed to be a part of the normal journalistic process. When gathering information, a journalist should verify its accuracy. The work is then vetted by an editor, a person with more professional experience who may correct or further amend some of the information. A long-form article on The Guardian today underscores the challenges publications worldwide are facing today -- most of them don't have the luxury to afford a fact-checker (let alone a team of fact-checkers), and the advent of social media and forums and our reliance (plenty of people get their news on social media now) have made it increasingly difficult to vet the accuracy of anything that is being published. From The Guardian article:When a fact begins to resemble whatever you feel is true, it becomes very difficult for anyone to tell the difference between facts that are true and "facts" that are not.Global Voices' adds:But the need for fact-checking hasn't gone away. As new technologies have spawned new forms of media which lend themselves to the spread of various kinds of disinformation, this need has in fact grown. Much of the information that's spread online, even by news outlets, is not checked, as outlets simply copy-past -- or in some instances, plagiarize -- "click-worthy" content generated by others. Politicians, especially populists prone to manipulative tactics, have embraced this new media environment by making alliances with tabloid tycoons or by becoming media owners themselves. The other issue is that many people do not care about the source of the information, and it has become increasingly hard to tell whether a news article you saw on your Facebook is credible or not. This, coupled with how social networking websites game the news feed to show you what you are likely to find interesting as opposed to giving you news from trustworthy sources, has made things even worse. As you may remember, Facebook recently noted that it is making changes to algorithms to show you updates from friends instead of news articles from publications you like. The Guardian adds:Algorithms such as the one that powers Facebook's news feed are designed to give us more of what they think we want -- which means that the version of the world we encounter every day in our own personal stream has been invisibly curated to reinforce our pre-existing beliefs. [...] In the news feed on your phone, all stories look the same -- whether they come from a credible source or not. And, increasingly, otherwise-credible sources are also publishing false, misleading, or deliberately outrageous stories.
Medicine

A Medical Mystery of the Best Kind: Major Diseases Are In Decline (nytimes.com) 321

Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes an article from the New York Times: Something strange is going on in medicine. Major diseases, like colon cancer, dementia and heart disease, are waning in wealthy countries, and improved diagnosis and treatment cannot fully explain it...it looks as if people in the United States and some other wealthy countries are, unexpectedly, starting to beat back the diseases of aging. The leading killers are still the leading killers -- cancer, heart disease, stroke -- but they are occurring later in life, and people in general are living longer in good health.
The Times cites one researcher's pet theory that the cellular process of aging itself may be gradually changing in humans' favor.
EU

Telecoms Promise 5G Networks If EU Cripples Net Neutrality (theverge.com) 194

An anonymous reader quotes The Verge: A group of 20 major telcos including Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, Vodafone, and BT promise to launch 5G networks in every country in the European Union by 2020 -- so long as governments decide to weaken net neutrality rules. The coalition's plans are outlined in its "5G Manifesto," a seven-page document that details how the companies will roll 5G out across the continent over the next few years. However, by warning against regulation that would ensure an open internet and encouraging nations to water rules down, the companies are effectively holding the new technology for ransom... "The EU must reconcile the need for open Internet with pragmatic rules that foster innovation," reads the manifesto. "The telecom industry warns that current net neutrality guidelines, as put forward by [the Body of European Regulators], create significant uncertainties around 5G return on investment..."
The EU is asking the public to share their feedback on the manifesto.
United Kingdom

Brexit: Government Rejects Petition Signed By 4.1 Million Calling For Second EU Referendum (independent.co.uk) 621

An anonymous reader shares an Independent report: The Government has rejected a call for a second referendum on European Union membership in a petition that was signed by more than 4.1 million people following the Brexit vote. It was the most-signed Government petition since the process was introduced in 2011. However in an official reply, the Foreign Office said 33 million people had had their say and "the decision must be respected. [...] We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU," it said. The petition, which was set up by a Brexit supporter before the referendum was held, had called for the Government to annul the results if the Remain or Leave vote won by less than 60 per cent on a turnout of less than 75 per cent. Government petitions which reach over 100,000 signatures must be considered for debate in parliament.
EU

Privacy Shield Data Pact Gets European Approval (bbc.com) 19

A commercial data transfer pact provisionally agreed by the EU executive and the United States in February received the green light from EU governments on Friday, the European Commission said, paving the way for it to come into effect next week. This will end months of legal limbo for companies such as Facebook, Google, and MasterCard after the EU's top court struck down the previous data transfer framework, Safe Harbour, on concerns about intrusive U.S surveillance. BBC reports: Member states of the European Commission have given "strong support" to the Privacy Shield said the EC's Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova in a statement. Ms Jourova said the approval paved the way for the formal adoption of the agreement early next week. "The EU-US Privacy Shield will ensure a high level of protection for individuals and legal certainty for business," said Commissioner Jourova. "It is fundamentally different from the old Safe Harbour." The adoption of the Privacy Shield ends months of uncertainty for many tech companies such as Google and Facebook after the European court found the Safe Harbour agreement wanting. The agreement covers everything from personal information about employees to the detailed records of what people do online, which is often used to aid targeted advertising. The Safe Harbour pact let US companies skirt tough European rules that govern how this data can be treated, by letting them generate their own reports about the steps they took to stop it being misused.Ars Technica's report further explains the matter.
EU

European Union's First Cybersecurity Law Gets Green Light (bloomberg.com) 89

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: The European Union approved its first rules on cybersecurity, forcing businesses to strengthen defenses and companies such as Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. to report attacks. The European Parliament endorsed legislation that will impose security and reporting obligations on service operators in industries such as banking, energy, transport and health and on digital operators like search engines and online marketplaces. The law, voted through on Wednesday in Strasbourg, France, also requires EU national governments to cooperate among themselves in the field of network security. The rules "will help prevent cyberattacks on Europe's important interconnected infrastructures," said Andreas Schwab, a German member of the 28-nation EU Parliament who steered the measures through the assembly. EU governments have already supported the legislation. The EU Parliament also noted that network-securitiy incidents resulting from human error, technical difficulties, technical failures or cyberattacks cause annual losses of upwards of $377 billion (340 billion euros).
United Kingdom

Will Brexit Hurt International Cyber-Security? (helpnetsecurity.com) 197

The Brexit shock continues to reverberate throughout the global economic and policy worlds. Andrea Limbago from the security company Endgame responds to a poll showing that most security professionals have concerns about Brexit: Will it weaken cybersecurity because of additional bureaucratic hurdles to information sharing with the EU, as well limited cross-national collaboration in fighting cyber criminals? There is also concern about the possibility of a brain drain -- in-demand security talent pool fleeing the UK -- which could increasingly impact security and data protection.
Limbago suggests tech workers in Britain's financial sector may feel the impact, "with Bitcoin surging and the pound dropping.... London's role as the financial hub is now threatened thanks to the Brexit, the rise of digital currencies, and the EU's move toward greater digital integration." And there's also the possibility of "a push for digital sovereignty and greater national control over the Internet." But another poll found that 64% of information security professionals didn't think Brexit would affect Britain's ability to defend against cyber-attacks. Can security professionals continue their inter-nation cooperation, elevating data and security concerns over new administrative differences between Europe and the U.K.?
IOS

Spotify Says Apple Won't Approve New Version Of Its App Because It Doesn't Want Competition For Apple Music (recode.net) 327

According to a report on Recode, Apple has rejected an update to Spotify's iOS app, and that this has caused a "grave harm to Spotify and its customers." The Swedish-based music company competes with Apple's Music streaming app and service. In a letter to Apple's top lawyer, Spotify says that Apple turned down a version of the app citing "business model rules" and demanded that Spotify uses Apple's billing system if it wants to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions. From the report:The letter, sent by Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez to Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell on May 26, suggests that Spotify intends to use the standoff as ammunition in its fight over Apple's rules governing subscription services that use its App store. "This latest episode raises serious concerns under both U.S. and EU competition law," Gutierrez wrote. "It continues a troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple's previous anticompetitive conduct aimed at Spotify ... we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors."
Network

UK Has Fastest Mobile Internet While US Lags Behind, Says Report (theverge.com) 136

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Content delivery network Akamai says the UK has the best average mobile connection speeds in the world. The State of the Internet report claims that British mobile users were able to get average speeds of 27.9 Mbps when connecting to Akamai's HTTP/S platform in Q1 2016, beating most countries in Europe by an average of more than 10 Mbps, and the United States' average speed by more than 20 Mbps. For comparison, the U.S. had an average connection speed of 5.1 Mbps, which was lower than Turkey, Kenya, and Paraguay, and on par with Thailand. Many European countries more than doubled the average U.S. speed, including Slovakia with 13.3 Mbps, France with 11.5 Mbps, and Germany with 15.7 Mbps. Algeria was only 2.9 Mbps slower than the United States' average with 2.2 Mbps, and they had the lowest average speed of countries included in the report. Akamai says its data shows that regular internet connections have continued to increase in speed, jumping 12 percent from Q4 2015 to 6.3 Mbps in Q1 2016, which is a year-on-year boost of 23 percent. Peak connection speed also rose to 34.7 Mbps, a 6.8 percent increase from the last quarter, and a 14 percent increase year-on-year. In addition, mobile data traffic is rising from just over 3,500 petabytes per month in Q1 2015 to more than 5,500 petabytes per month in the same period this year.
The Almighty Buck

Vacationing Security Researcher Exposes Austrian ATM Skimmer (carbonblack.com) 181

While vacationing with his family in Vienna, Ben Tedesco (from security company Carbon Black) discovered an ATM skimmer "in the wild", perfectly crafted to look like the original card reader. New submitter rmurph04 shares Ben's story: I went to grab some cash from an ATM. Being security paranoid, I repeated my typical habit of checking the card reader with my hand as I have hundreds of times. Today's the day when my security awareness paid off!
Ben's blog post includes a video demonstrating the ATM skimmer, as well as close-ups showing the device had its own control board, strip reader, and even its own battery.
EU

UK Tech Sector Reacts To Brexit: Some Anticipate Slow Down, Some Contemplate Relocation 535

In the aftermath of the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union, UK's technology industry is reassessing its position, with many of them considering moving to a continental location. According to reports, Samsung, LG, and Acer have noted that the UK leaving the EU will affect their operations. From a BBC report:As news of Brexit broke, tech firms including BT, TalkTalk and software firm Sage reported share price falls. [...] "I have concerns that the local market might slow down," said Drew Benvie, founder of London-based digital agency Battenhall. From a report on The Guardian:Britain's financial technology sector is particularly hard-hit, with the prospect of losing access to European markets an unappealing one. "Fintech" has long been one of the UK's most promising growth areas, in part due to London's position as the financial capital of Europe. [...] Not one of the 14 billion-dollar tech firms based in the UK the Guardian asked said leaving the EU would be good for their business.Toby Coppel, the co-founder of venture capital firm Mosaic, said: "The next entrepreneur who's 22 years old, graduating from a technical university in Germany may, instead of moving to London to do their Fintech startup, decide to go to Berlin instead. I think that's one of the biggest concerns I have about the trajectory of the London technical ecosystem."

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