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+ - LiMux user says criticisms of Munich's Linux OS 'simply irrelevant'->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "The new mayor and deputy mayor of Munich don't like its custom-built Linux distribution, citing user complaints. However, the old mayor reported in 2012 monthly complaints dropped from 70 to a maximum of 46 as the LiMux OS was rolled out from 1,500 to 10,000 people — so should we believe the new officials (who may or may not be card-carrying Microsoft supporters)?

One LiMux user posted their views on the Suddeutsche Zeituing, saying the "much of the criticism of the system is simply irrelevant".

They said: "System faults under Windows were quite common before 2004. From my perspective, you have achieved success here — why chuck that in the bin?""

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+ - UK govt's flagship £13bn IT rollout will take 1,222 years->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "The number of people claiming benefits in the UK via the £12.8 billion Universal Credit welfare programme has fallen to the slowest rate for almost a year, according to the latest statistics from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP).

Just 540 people started claiming the benefit in May, the lowest monthly take-up figure since July last year, when 400 new claimants started receiving Universal Credit.

There are approximately 5.4 million people currently claiming working age benefits in the UK.

According to shadow work and pensions minister Rachel Reeves, at the current rate of progress it will take 1,222 years for Universal Credit to be rolled out across the country, meaning the deployment will finish in 3236."

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+ - Why does Gartner think there's such a thing as a 'woman CIO'?->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "Why did Gartner speak to 2,339 CIOs to find out men and women feel pretty much the same about cloud computing, mobility, analytics and overhauling ERP systems? The only thing Gartner reveals in its recent report, which you can buy for $495, is its own ingrained sexism. Researching whether a person's inherent womanliness means they're more likely to want to overhaul an ERP system is not a worthy line of study, in the same way that I would not bother to investigate whether black CIOs prioritise cloud computing to underpin their mobile strategy, or if gay CIOs like to focus on desktop virtualisation.

The CIO research focuses on the differences in budgets, priorities and agendas of male and female CIOs, breaking the shocking news that "our survey data is encouraging in that it shows many positive similarities between women and men in the CIO role".

That's because there's no such thing as a male or female CIO — there are just CIOs, some of whom have two X chromosomes, and some of whom just the one. Of course their priorities are the same, and if you think otherwise you're part of the problem."

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+ - Pre-installed Android Malware Steals Data, Sends It To Russia->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "David Jevans, CTO and founder of Marble Security, recently received some bad feedback from a potential customer testing his company's product, which helps organizations manage and secure their mobile devices. 'They basically said 'Your stuff doesn't work',' Jevans said. 'It thinks Netflix is malicious.' As it turned out, those phones were pre-installed with a fake version of Netflix that steals personal data and sends it to Russia. His company found a fake version of Netflix on Android phones and tablets from at least four different manufacturers, Jevans said. What isn't clear is whether the affected companies bought new or refurbished phones and where the weak link in supply chain security is."
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+ - UK tax authority clarifies Bitcoin policy - VAT exempt for mining and exchange->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "Exchanging or mining Bitcoins is exempt from value-added tax (VAT) in the UK, but accepting the virtual currency for goods and services is subject to it, HMRC said yesterday.

The guidance should give those handling bitcoins a bit more confidence about tax questions, as authorities around the world mull how the five-year-old virtual currency should be regulated.

HM Revenue & Customs described in a brief how it views Bitcoin in light of four taxes: VAT, corporation tax, income tax and capital gains tax.

While Bitcoin miners and those exchanging it for British pounds or foreign currency are exempt from VAT, people selling goods in exchange for virtual currencies are required to collect it. VAT is charged for most goods and services in at a rate of 20%.

When goods are sold for bitcoins, the amount of VAT to be paid will be calculated based on "the sterling value of the cryptocurrency at the point when the transaction takes place."

The guidance is murky on whether other activities involving Bitcoin are subject to corporation tax, income tax or capital gains tax. Like any other activity, the agency said, it "depends on the activities and the parties involved," and each case will be considered on its own."

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+ - Ditch WhatsApp for more secure service, German privacy regulator urges->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "WhatsApp users should switch to a more secure messaging service now that it is being bought by Facebook, a German data protection commissioner urged.

Facebook announced yesterday that it plans to acquire WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service with about 450 million monthly users, for $12 billion in shares, $4 billion in cash as well as $3 billion in stock options.

The deal could raise important data protection issues because the personal data of its users will likely be merged with Facebook data, said Thilo Weichert, data protection commissioner for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

When communication metadata and content of both services is merged, it can be used for profiling and commercially exploited for advertising purposes, Weichert said."

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+ - UK council to send obese people 'motivational' texts telling them to use stairs->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "Stoke-on-Trent City Council is sending texts to obese people in the area to help motivate them to lose weight.

Examples of the texts sent include 'aim to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables each day', 'aim to eat regular meals and keep a check on snacks and drinks' and 'maybe walk to the shops or use the stairs more often'.

Over 100,000 people in the region are overweight or obese, the council said, and the texts are for those who are aged at least 18, have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or over and who have proactively signed up to receive the motivational messages.

They will be sent daily texts, a weekly questionnaire and a follow-up questionnaire. A sample of 500 recipients will also have a telephone interview. All this, plus the licence for the tele-health text service is equal to £10,000. The costs of obesity for the local NHS in terms of increased levels of disability and disease are £50 million a year.


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+ - Typo On British NHS Exposes Users To Malware ->

Submitted by judgecorp
judgecorp (778838) writes "A mistyped link on an site run by Britain's NHS led to a site which installed malware on users' systems. The typo appears to have been bought up on Sunday by a person in the Czech Republic, and the erroneous domain was later seen serving advertising and malware. Seems like an interesting variation on typo-squatting..."
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+ - European Court of Human Rights fast-tracks UK government mass surveillance case->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "The European Court of Human Rights has fast-tracked a complaint alleging that the UK government illegally used internet and telecommunications networks to systematically spy on its citizens, privacy campaigners said.

In October, UK groups Big Brother Watch, Open Rights Group and English PEN together with the German internet campaigner Constanze Kurz filed a complaint with the human rights court to challenge the legality of internet surveillance programmes operated by UK intelligence agency GCHQ and recently revealed in documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The complaint cited the Prism program, developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), and GCHQ's Tempora programme.

The groups claim that by collecting data on millions of people not under any suspicion, GCHQ has infringed on the privacy rights of not only British but also European citizens.

The court has completed its preliminary investigation and has decided to give priority to the application, it informed the campaigners in a letter dated January 9 and released by the campaigners."

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+ - Japan to tax sales of content downloaded from abroad->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "Japan is planning to tax sales of foreign online content such as e-books, apps and downloaded music by late 2015.

Japanese who purchase electronic content from foreign firms like through overseas servers don't have to pay consumption tax, currently at 5% but slated to rise to 8% in April. That has made foreign content cheaper than apps, MP3 downloads, software, and e-books distributed domestically.

Physical products purchased from abroad are hit with consumption tax when they clear customs in Japan, but no such levy exists for online goods.

The government plans to close the loophole and make foreign vendors selling consumer goods register with tax authorities and pay the tax. Japanese corporations that buy foreign electronic content such as business software, however, will have to pay the tax directly to the Japanese tax authorities, Nikkei Asian Review reported this morning."

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+ - EU parliament says Prism part of US econ/polit espionage and not anti-terrorism->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "EU politicians said that they doubt data collection by the US National Security Agency has been purely for the fight against terrorism.

In a draft report from the European Parliament's civil liberties committee, published yesterday, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) say that it is "very doubtful that data collection of such magnitude is only guided by the fight against terrorism," and that there may be other motives such as political and economic espionage.

The document urges EU countries to take legal action against the breach of their sovereignty perpetrated through such mass surveillance programmes."

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+ - Munich open source switch 'completed successfully'->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "Munich's switch to open source software has been successfully completed, with the vast majority of the public administration's users now running its own version of Linux, city officials said today.

In one of the premier open source software deployments in Europe, the city migrated from Windows NT to LiMux, its own Linux distribution. LiMux incorporates a fully open source desktop infrastructure. The city also decided to use the Open Document Format (ODF) as a standard, instead of proprietary options.

Ten years after the decision to switch, the LiMux project will now go into regular operation, the Munich City council said."

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+ - Self-driving cars to be on roads of Swedish capital Gothenburg by 2017->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "Volvo is starting a pilot project that aims to have 100 self-driving cars on Swedish public roads around the city of Gothenburg by 2017.

The project is called "Drive Me" and is a joint initiative between the Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg, Volvo said Monday. Together they will make an effort to eliminate deadly car crashes in Sweden, said Erik Coelingh, technical specialist at Volvo Car Group.

In the next few years, Volvo will develop its Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) in its XC90 model. The goal is to have the first self-driving cars available to 100 consumers by 2017, Coelingh said. They will be able let their cars navigate about 50 typical commuter arteries that include motorway conditions and frequent traffic jams in and around Gothenburg, the country's second largest city."

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+ - $630m 'Obamacare' site lacks most basic optimisation techniques->

Submitted by Qedward
Qedward (2499046) writes "The problematic US website appears to fail the most fundamental of performance optimisation tests, an analysis has found., a key piece of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as ‘Obamacare’, is a website from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that allows uninsured US citizens to shop for new health insurance plans. However, the $630 million website has been plagued with problems since its launch on 1 October 2013, including outages, slow page loads and users not being able to complete applications.

Over a month since the website’s launch, an analysis has found that standard website design optimisation practices, that have been around for years, have still not been applied. This leads to too much content being downloaded by the site, which continues to slow it down."

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An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"