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UK privacy chief warns wearables must comply with data law

Britain's privacy regulator has warned that wearable tech must comply with existing privacy laws, in the wake of a Google Glass soft launch in the UK.

 

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Andrew Paterson, senior officer at the Information Commissioner's Office, said in a blog post that there's a danger wearable tech could intrude on the privacy rights of everyday citizens. He asserted that there's a debate to be had surrounding how comfortable the public feels with pervasive wearable devices that are always connected and capable of filming at any time.

 

"If you are using a wearable technology for your own use then you are unlikely to be breaching the [UK Data Protection] Act," Paterson wrote. "This is because the Act includes an exemption for the collection of personal information for domestic purposes. But if you were to one day decide that you'd like to start using this information for other purposes, for example to support a local campaign, then this exemption would no longer apply."

Continue reading 'UK privacy chief warns wearables must comply with data law' (full post)

Dodgy USB charger suspected of killing a woman in Australia

The Australian State of New South Wales' Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe, has issued a statement to Australian's warning them to not purchase chargers that don't feature the required certification marks, after "the recent death of a consumer where an unapproved USB charger was potentially implicated".

 

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One store in Sydney, New South Wales has had their chargers, travel adapters and power boards removed by the Fair Trading agency. Stowe's warning however, came after "a young woman wearing headphones and holding her laptop was found dead with burns on her ears and chest, in an apparent electrocution". Fair Trading's advice is to not purchase non-standard adapters, informing consumers to make sure the chargers they buy meet standards and have "insulation on the pins of the plug".

 

The agency also tells consumers that "As a general safety rule, consumers should not use any devices while they are plugged in and charging". While this news is from Australia, the warning should apply to all consumers, all across the world.

Julian Assange could make London Fashion Week runway debut this year

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is going to take a break from releasing classified documents to make his modelling debut for London Fashion Week.

 

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Assange will walk a runway at the Ecuadorian embassy, where he has been granted asylum for the last two years, for Ben Westwood, the son of Dame Vivienne Westwood. It's rumoured that the show will also include celebrity guests like George Clooney and Clooney's lawyer fiancee, who has worked on Assange's defence team.

 

Westwood told the Telegraph that the point is not exactly to launch Assange's career as a model, but to promote him. It won't be a formal event, but more of a "dress up, mill about and have a drink" kind of affair. "The point is to promote Julian Assange," Westwood said.

Continue reading 'Julian Assange could make London Fashion Week runway debut this year' (full post)

Almost half of UK cop calls involve social media complaints

British police are having to spend more and more time investigating abuse online, a chief constable has claimed.

 

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Speaking with the BBC, the College of Policing's Alex Marshall said that as people have moved their shopping and communications online, so too have threats, insults and abuse. "I see that it won't be long before pretty much investigation that the police conduct will have an online element to it," Marshall said. He added that a typical day will see a dozen inbound phone calls, and at least half of them will involve "antisocial behavior or abuse or threats of assault" that "may well relate to social media,Facebook, Twitter or other forms."

 

Another officer, Det Con Roger Pegram of the Greater Manchester Police, said that it's not so much the nature of the offences that are changing - just the medium of deliver. "You don't need to actually front someone up face-to-face to threaten them," Pegram said. "This can all be done from the comfort of your own home, a coffee shop with wi-fi, and these people can commit crime anywhere to anybody."

Teens walk up to ATM, get to admin mode with default password

A pair of Winnipeg teenagers were able to "hack" an ATM simply by entering a default administrator passcode.

 

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Matthew Hewlett and Caleb Turon headed online to look for an operators manual that would tell them how to get into a Safeway ATM. The BMO machine still used the factory default password, and, once in, the two were able to see how much money was in the machine, how many transactions had happened, and other private information.

 

"We thought it would be fun to try it, but we were not expecting it to work," Hewlett told the Winnipeg Sun. "When it did, it asked for a password."

Continue reading 'Teens walk up to ATM, get to admin mode with default password' (full post)

UK plans road reform to allow driverless cars

The United Kingdom is tinkering with its existing laws to allow self-driving cars onto British roads.

 

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MP and transport minister David Willets has apparently been talking with Britain's Department for Transport to make self-driving cars road safe in Britain.

 

The aim is to get British companies designing and building driverless cars - as well as getting roads ready for the upcoming push for the technology.

Continue reading 'UK plans road reform to allow driverless cars' (full post)

Relatives of those missing on MH370 launch whistleblowing reward fund

It has been a very long three months since the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing, with grieving families of the passengers on-board the plane now offering up $3 million to anyone who will step forward with key information.

 

 

Offering up $3 million for someone to step forward as a whistleblower is quite the step for the families, but with authorities, the Malaysian government and others not coming up with anything, they have run out of things to do. The families are convinced that authorities are covering up the truth of the missing plane, so they've launched a crowd-funding campaign through Indiegogo.

 

The campaign started after Malaysia's acting Transport Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, bagged Boeing and Rolls Royce for their part in the search for MH370, saying that the responsibility for the entire investigation should fall on Malaysia, Australia and China. Sarah Bajc told The USA Today: "We are taking matters into our own hands. There is no credible evidence that the plane is in the southern Indian Ocean, where planes, boats and a mini-sub have searched in vain for week. I'm convinced that somebody is concealing something".

Continue reading 'Relatives of those missing on MH370 launch whistleblowing reward fund' (full post)

CIA joins Twitter, posts half-creepy, half-amusing first tweet

America's CIA has joined Twitter with official verification from the social network.

 

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The shadowy intelligence organisation has posted just a single tweet so far, which reads: "We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet," with over 61,000 retweets and over 30,000 favorites.

 

Having only emerged on the social media platform today, the agency has already garnered 73.3K followers at time of publication. It follows just 25 accounts - all of which are related to the US government, including the FBI, Homeland Security, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Continue reading 'CIA joins Twitter, posts half-creepy, half-amusing first tweet' (full post)

Google's Laszlo Bock admits biz is "miles" from workforce diversity

Google has admitted in a blog post that its entire workforce suffers from a clear lack of gender and racial diversity.

 

Senior vice president of People Operations at Google, Laszlo Bock, penned a blog post - in which he says Google is the first to admit it's "miles" from where the company wants to be in terms of diversity.

 

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In the opening paragraph, Bock says the company has generally been reluctant to disclose official figures on the diversity of its workforce. And it's not difficult to see why from a PR point of view - the official numbers in a new report break down the workforce by gender and ethnicity. Just 30 percent of Google are women, while 61 percent are of a white ethnicity, and 30 percent Asian, leaving just ten percent who are "two or more races," Hispanic, Black or "other" all together.

 

Bock says for Google's part, it is working with "historically black colleges and universities to elevate coursework and attendance in computer science," and that since 2010 it has donated "40 million to organizations working to bring computer science education to women and girls."

 

"We're the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be," Bock writes, adding that "being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution."

Truck driver pulled over for Skyping on busy UK motorway

A truck driver was caught in the middle of a Skype conversation while on one of the UK's busiest motorways.

 

The driver was reported by a member of the public, who was subsequently stopped by police near Heathrow airport. A 35 year old man, whose vehicle had French number plates, was given a £500 fine.

 

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The police officer who stopped the driver could do nothing but send him on his way - to appear in court at a later date.

 

"We have no power to seize the vehicle and the roadside deposit negated the need to arrest the driver," said officer Dan Pascoe. "Once he had paid the fine he was allowed on his way. He was also reported for summons to appear in court at a later date and if he does not appear then he will not get his deposit back."

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