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Websites discovered using their users’ computers to mine cryptocurrency

By | General, News

Two websites have been discovered to be using their users’ computers and phones to mine cryptocurrency without their consent in a bid to compensate for the continuing collapse in online advertising revenues.

The two sites, BitTorrent search engine, The Pirate Bay, and US video streaming service, Showtime, have now both removed the mining code from their sites after users noticed its existence. The Pirate Bay admitted the practice in mid-September posting that the code was “just a test” and that it was carried out with a view to removing all adverts from the site. Showtime has yet to answer questions about why it was using the code.

The practice is controversial, and has been compared to running malware on user’s computers, as it slows down user’s machines and can also drain their batteries or greatly increase their electricity bills. Meanwhile, the user receives no benefit as all the revenue generated by the mining is collected by the website. The question is whether users will see this as an acceptable trade-off if sites begin to use it as an alternative solution to online ads.

DCMS publishes statement of intent on Data Protection Bill

By | Content Issues, General, News

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has recently published a statement of intent regarding the new Data Protection Bill which will implement the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the EU Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive (DPLED) into UK domestic law.

GDPR will come into effect across all EU member states from 25th May 2018. The main objective of GDPR and the Data Protection Bill is to give individuals greater control over their digital footprint. This entails rights such as individuals being allowed to request social media platforms to delete material taken when they were children to be deleted from the website.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital, said: “The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world. The Bill will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit. We have some of the best data science in the world and this new law will help it to thrive.”

It is believed the incorporation of GDPR into UK domestic law will help prepare the UK for a successful Brexit.

More about the development can be found here.

ISPA 2017 Award winners announced!

By | General, News, Other
The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has recently announced at the 19th Annual UK Internet Industry Awards – colloquially dubbed the “ISPAs” – the Internet Hero Award went to Marcus Hutchins for his role in finding the “kill switch” for the WannaCry ransomware that affected hundreds of thousands of computers earlier this year. He tweets under the Twitter handle @MalwareTechBlog. The less coveted award, the Internet Villain Award, went to President Erdogan of Turkey for his role in “cracking down on online freedom of expression, including blocking Wikipedia and social media”.ISPs that were also honoured at the included Hyperoptic, Storm Internet, Talk Straight, Zen Internet, Luminet, Telappliant, Wifinity, Linksys, Kemp Little and Gigaclear.

ISPA Secretary General Nicholas Lansman said: “I would like to congratulate all the winners at this year’s ISPA Awards. There was strong competition this year, and we saw some real innovation and commitment to development among the nominations. The Hero and Villain Awards are a bit of fun, but – as ever – showcase today’s pressing issues online. Unsurprisingly, cyber security and the encroachment of government censorship online were two issues voters felt passionately about. Here at ISPA we’re pleased to say that they’re two issues we’ve been addressing with our members for a long time, and will, of course, continue to do so.”

A huge congratulations to those awarded!

ITU to hold focus group on standard-setting for Blockchain-type technologies

By | General, News

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is to hold a conference from October 17 to October 19 in Geneva, Switzerland on the issue of establishing standards for distributed ledger technologies. The conference, dubbed the ITU-T Focus Group on Application of Distributed Ledger Technology, will convene with the aim of “identifying the standardized frameworks needed to support the scaling up of applications and services based on DLT globally.”

Distributed ledger technology is the technology that underpins Bitcoin.

The conference follows considerations by the European Commission to set up a blockchain observatory, showing how fashionable the topic is becoming. Other groups that have considered and are working on standards relating to distributed ledger technology include groups such as Hyperledger and the W3C’s Blockchain Community Group.

The conference demonstrates the ITU’s determination to break into standards-setting for information technologies, rather than remain limited to low-level traditional telecommunications standards. However, nimbler and more inclusive groups, led by industry and the technical community rather than governments, continue to lead the way.

More about the conference can be read here.