Security

Proton welcomes Sir Tim Berners-Lee to its advisory board – as ProtonMail suffers a privacy backlash

'I am a firm supporter of privacy,' Sir Tim declares - even as the service is lambasted over IP logging


Privacy-centric communications specialist Proton, best known for its ProtonMail encrypted email platform, has announced the appointment of web daddy Sir Tim Berners-Lee to its advisory board.

Founded in Geneva in 2013, ProtonMail - the core product of Proton Technologies AG, which branched out into virtual private networking with the release of ProtonVPN in 2017 - is designed for privacy. All email content is encrypted at the client side, blocking the company itself from accessing it, and the servers are accessible over the Tor network for increased privacy.

Now, the company boasts a new member: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, best known for his work in creating the World Wide Web following a proposal to merge Hypertext with the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Domain Name System (DNS) in 1989.

"I'm delighted to join Proton’s advisory board and support Proton on their journey," Sir Tim said of the appointment. "I am a firm supporter of privacy, and Proton’s values to give people control of their data are closely aligned to my vision of the web at its full potential."

"Having Sir Tim join our advisory board is a nod to our shared past at CERN, where we conceived the initial idea for ProtonMail, and our future," added Andy Yen, Proton's chief exec. "When Sir Tim invented the World Wide Web, he created a new medium through which people could connect with each other. It changed the world.

"We have a similarly audacious goal: we want to create an internet where people are in control of their information at all times. This makes Sir Tim uniquely suited to understanding Proton and advising us as we try to realise this ambitious vision."

Proton could certainly use a little advice right now: the company has found itself at the centre of a storm of criticism after it provided a user's IP address to Swiss authorities - data which, until after the news broke, it had claimed it did not log and which led to the arrest of a left-wing activist in France.

Sir Tim's appointment at Proton isn't his only attempt to boost privacy on the web, either: in 2018 he unveiled Solid, an effort to put users back in control of their own personal data - and to wrest it away from the clutches of internet giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple.

Sir Tim could not be reached for comment on his plans at Proton in time for publication. ®

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AWS admits cloud ain't always the answer, intros on-prem vid-analysing box

Panorama appliance packs Nvidia Jetson Xavier AGX and will be sold – not rented like other AWS on-prem kit

Amazon Web Services, the outfit famous for pioneering pay-as-you-go cloud computing, has produced a bit of on-prem hardware that it will sell for a once-off fee.

The device is called the "AWS Panorama Appliance" and the cloud colossus describes it as a "computer vision (CV) appliance designed to be deployed on your network to analyze images provided by your on-premises cameras".

"AWS customers agree the cloud is the most convenient place to train computer vision models thanks to its virtually infinite access to storage and compute resources," states the AWS promo for the new box. But the post also admits that, for some, the cloud ain't the right place to do the job.

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Remember, remember, the 1st of November: The day Dell VMware spun out

Virtzilla will be just fine – it's finally figured out how to woo developers, and hardware players won't desert it

Analysis Dell and VMware have named the day they'll break up: November 1.

The conscious uncoupling starts on October 29, when VMware will pay a special dividend of $11.5 billion to all current shareholders. On the same day, Dell shareholders will also receive a dividend, in the form of VMware stock, to compensate them for Dell letting go of the 81 per cent of VMware it owns but which isn't publicly traded.

All that paper-shuffling should be finished by November 1.

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Theranos blood-test machine demos for VIPs rigged to hide any failures, court told

Error messages effectively piped to /dev/null, it is alleged

Theranos blood-testing machines, which US prosecutors claim failed over 51 per cent of the time, provided no indication if things went awry during demonstrations for visitors, a court has heard.

Seven weeks into the criminal fraud trial of Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, the feds are trying to show that Holmes, along with her former partner and COO Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani (to be tried next year after denying any wrongdoing), raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors based on misrepresentations about technology that didn't work.

In court on Tuesday, Daniel Edlin, a former Theranos project manager who used to operate Theranos' Edison blood-testing machines, testified that device demonstrations, given mainly to VIP visitors, ran a demo app that hid failure messages.

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Chip shortage forces temporary Raspberry Pi 4 price rise for the first time

Ten-buck increase for 2GB model 'not here to stay' says Upton

The price of a 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer is going up $10, and its supply is expected to be capped at seven million devices this year due to the ongoing global chip shortage.

Demand for components is outstripping manufacturing capacity at the moment; pre-pandemic, assembly lines were being red-lined as cloud giants and others snapped up parts fresh out of the fabs, and the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak really threw a spanner in the works, so to speak, exacerbating the situation.

Everything from cars to smartphones have been affected by semiconductor supply constraints, including Raspberry Pis, it appears. Stock is especially tight for the Raspberry Pi Zero and the 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 models, we're told. As the semiconductor crunch shows no signs of letting up, the Raspberry Pi project is going to bump up the price for one particular model.

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Uncle Sam to clip wings of Pegasus-like spyware – sorry, 'intrusion software' – with proposed export controls

Surveillance tech faces trade limits as America syncs policy with treaty obligations

More than six years after proposing export restrictions on "intrusion software," the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has formulated a rule that it believes balances the latitude required to investigate cyber threats with the need to limit dangerous code.

The BIS on Wednesday announced an interim final rule that defines when an export license will be required to distribute what is basically commercial spyware, in order to align US policy with the 1996 Wassenaar Arrangement, an international arms control regime.

The rule [PDF] – which spans 65 pages – aims to prevent the distribution of surveillance tools, like NSO Group's Pegasus, to countries subject to arms controls, like China and Russia, while allowing legitimate security research and transactions to continue. Made available for public comment over the next 45 days, the rule is scheduled to be finalized in 90 days.

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Global IT spending to hit $4.5 trillion in 2022, says Gartner

The future's bright, and expensive

Corporate technology soothsayer Gartner is forecasting worldwide IT spending will hit $4.5tr in 2022, up 5.5 per cent from 2021.

The strongest growth is set to come from enterprise software, which the analyst firm expects to increase by 11.5 per cent in 2022 to reach a global spending level of £670bn. Growth has fallen slightly, though. In 2021 it was 13.6 per cent for this market segment. The increase was driven by infrastructure software spending, which outpaced application software spending.

The largest chunk of IT spending is set to remain communication services, which will reach £1.48tr next year, after modest growth of 2.1 per cent. The next largest category is IT services, which is set to grow by 8.9 per cent to reach $1.29tr over the next year, according to the analysts.

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Memory maker Micron moots $150bn mega manufacturing moneybag

AI and 5G to fuel demand for new plants and R&D

Chip giant Micron has announced a $150bn global investment plan designed to support manufacturing and research over the next decade.

The memory maker said it would include expansion of its fabrication facilities to help meet demand.

As well as chip shortages due to COVID-19 disruption, the $21bn-revenue company said it wanted to take advantage of the fact memory and storage accounts for around 30 per cent of the global semiconductor industry today.

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China to allow overseas investment in VPNs but Beijing keeps control of the generally discouraged tech

Foreign ownership capped at 50%

After years of restricting the use and ownership of VPNs, Beijing has agreed to let foreign entities hold up to a 50 per cent stake in domestic VPN companies.

China has simultaneously a huge market and strict rules for VPNs as the country's Great Firewall attempts to keep its residents out of what it deems undesirable content and influence, such as Facebook or international news outlets.

And while VPN technology is not illegal per se (it's just not practical for multinationals and other entities), users need a licence to operate one.

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Microsoft unveils Android apps for Windows 11 (for US users only)

Windows Insiders get their hands on the Windows Subsystem for Android

Microsoft has further teased the arrival of the Windows Subsystem for Android by detailing how the platform will work via a newly published document for Windows Insiders.

The document, spotted by inveterate Microsoft prodder "WalkingCat" makes for interesting reading for developers keen to make their applications work in the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA).

WSA itself comprises the Android OS based on the Android Open Source Project 1.1 and, like the Windows Subsystem for Linux, runs in a virtual machine.

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Software Freedom Conservancy sues TV maker Vizio for GPL infringement

Companies using GPL software should meet their obligations, lawsuit says

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a non-profit which supports and defends free software, has taken legal action against Californian TV manufacturer Vizio Inc, claiming "repeated failures to fulfill even the basic requirements of the General Public License (GPL)."

Member projects of the SFC include the Debian Copyright Aggregation Project, BusyBox, Git, GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers, Homebrew, Mercurial, OpenWrt, phpMyAdmin, QEMU, Samba, Selenium, Wine, and many more.

The GPL Compliance Project is described as "comprised of copyright holders in the kernel, Linux, who have contributed to Linux under its license, the GPLv2. These copyright holders have formally asked Conservancy to engage in compliance efforts for their copyrights in the Linux kernel."

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DRAM, it stacks up: SK hynix rolls out 819GB/s HBM3 tech

Kit using the chips to appear next year at the earliest

Korean DRAM fabber SK hynix has developed an HBM3 DRAM chip operating at 819GB/sec.

HBM3 (High Bandwidth Memory 3) is a third generation of the HBM architecture which stacks DRAM chips one above another, connects them by vertical current-carrying holes called Through Silicon Vias (TSVs) to a base interposer board, via connecting micro-bumps, upon which is fastened a processor that accesses the data in the DRAM chip faster than it would through the traditional CPU socket interface.

Seon-yong Cha, SK hynix's senior vice president for DRAM development, said: "Since its launch of the world's first HBM DRAM, SK hynix has succeeded in developing the industry's first HBM3 after leading the HBM2E market. We will continue our efforts to solidify our leadership in the premium memory market."

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