Tag: data

Government likely to water down EU data regulations

ukflagNow that the UK has voted for Brexit the government is almost certain to water down the EU’s proposed tough data regulations to allow US companies to snoop on UK citizens.

The EU alarmed the US tech companies by drawing up rules, which would insist that European data stay in Europe. The US government wanted its companies operating in Europe to be able to hand over data with a court order. Essentially this meant that any Euro cloud data could end up in the hands of Uncle Sam.

While the Germans and French thing this is a bad idea, the British are less keen. Not only are they closer to the US intelligence communities, but they are also chummier with big US tech.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was due to come into place by 2018 and have been should be a huge shake-up of EU data protection laws. It included tougher penalties for companies in breach of EU data protection law. The UK government had wanted to water down the legislation, but it was not sure if it could get the EU to agree.

With Brexit that has all gone by the wayside. With the UK is out, the government can ignore bringing the laws in completely and can push ahead with its own data sharing plans. These could give data to whoever it likes and spy on whoever it wants. From a supplier perspective it means it will be easier to house data in the UK, but UK customers might have to be happy to have their data snuffled by US spooks.

Suppliers could also be forced to hand over data to US courts, if the UK really does need to suck up to the US government.

Google partners have another Cloud product

LOD_Cloud_Diagram_as_of_September_2011Google is adding another product in its range of big data services on the Google Cloud Platform today.

Dubbed the Cloud Dataproc service, the product is in beta, but Google Beta products normally stay that way for years.

The service sits between managing the Spark data processing engine or Hadoop framework directly on virtual machines and a fully managed service like Cloud Dataflow.

This allows the partner to orchestrate data pipelines on Google’s platform.

Dataproc users can create a Hadoop cluster in under 90 seconds and Google will only charge 1 cent per virtual CPU/hour in the cluster. It is top of the usual cost of running virtual machines and data storage, but you can add Google’s cheaper preemptible instances to your cluster to save a bit on compute costs. Billing is per-minute, with a 10-minute minimum.

Users can set up ad-hoc clusters when needed and because it is managed, Google will handle the administration for them.

It is compatible with all existing Hadoop-based products, and it should be a doddle to port existing workloads over to Google’s new service.

Some punters want total control over their data pipeline and processing architecture and are more likely to want to run and manage their own virtual machines. Dataproc users won’t have to make any real tradeoffs when compared to setting up their own infrastructure.

EMC warns of the perils of masses of small data

zxzzzzd1Guy Churchward, head of EMC’s $20-billion core technologies division, has warned that small data is going to cause even bigger headaches than the big stuff.

Taking to the Economic Times  Churchward said that data challenges for the Internet of Things or driverless cars were huge,

He said that millions of driverless cars, and billions of other internetconnected devices will not be Big Data. “What you have is not big data, it is actually `small data’ – because what it is, is billions and billions of small data objects.”

EMC expects IoT to create a sprawl of billions of autonomous devices, which will create security, storage and management nightmares in future.

Churchward warned that  “small data sprawl” will take the challenges of Big Data and make them 100x more difficult.

Security, storage, management and applications would be completely different in a world filled with billions of devices, each of which will have its own big data. None of the currently available tools and applications would work in such environments.

Part of EMC’s over $2.3-billion research and development budget is being used to address this `small data’ problem but the company thinks that it will take between three to five years to start bearing fruit.


Motorola discovers US does not rule the world

courtroom_1_lgIt appears that Motorola’s US court case against several Asian suppliers for alleged price fixing is coming unstuck.

A US appeals court appeared sceptical of mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility’s attempt to sue  AU Optronics, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, HannStar Display, LG Display, Samsung, Samsung, Panasonic, Sanyo, Sharp and Toshiba.

A three judge panel of the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals questioned whether the allegations had enough connection to the United States to be heard in US courts.

Motorola Mobility is now a unit of China’s Lenovo Group, but it sued the suppliers in Chicago federal court in 2009, saying some of its subsidiaries had overpaid for liquid crystal display screens because of a conspiracy in Asia. Some screens entered the US market, the lawsuit said.

Judge Richard Posner, a member of the appeals panel, pointed out that Motorola treated the foreign subsidiaries as separate for tax reasons, but for antitrust purposes, they are seen as part of Motorola.

Motorola Mobility lawyer Thomas Goldstein said the company should be able to sue under US law because a former Chicago-based parent negotiated its supply contracts.

Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility in October for $2.91 billion from Google which had bought it in 2012. Motorola Mobility says it paid the LCD makers more than $5 billion from 1996 to 2006.

The appeals court ruled against Motorola Mobility in March but agreed to hear the case again after the Obama administration said the ruling threatened its ability to prosecute global price fixing.

The US Justice Department, whose investigation of global LCD price-fixing led to more than $1.3 billion in criminal fines, asked the court to find that the conspiracy directly affected US commerce.

Belgium and Japan filed briefs criticising the reach of US antitrust law and urging the court to rule for the suppliers.

Australia will give your personal data to anyone

van-diemens-land-film1-thumb-630xauto-37783The former British penal colony of Australia is so concerned that terrorists might want to take over its super-hot, poisonous creature-filled, desert that it is going to bring in one of the most elaborate forms of internet monitoring in the world.

Both coppers and communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull have suggested that Australia’s data retention bill will make China look like a liberal hippy commune in comparison.   Under the move, the government is going to hang on to all your browsing history and give it to whoever can get a court order.

However, it seems that terrorists are not the main target of the law. It seems that the whole thing is designed to protect corporates and movie studios from piracy.

Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin said that stored telecommunications metadata would be used to go after people who infringe copyright online.

Turnbull then clarified the position saying that if film studios want to use metadata to sue Torrenters, all they would have to do is ask the courts to give them access to it.  However this makes things even worse.

Currently the Aussie ISPs are resisting legal action trying to force them to reveal subscriber information through the courts to a copyright troll. The logic is that the courts would hand over all your browser history to anyone with the dosh to establish a court case.

It could mean that metadata could be demanded in family law cases and insurance cases. After all what is the best way to make sure your partner should not have custody if it can be shown to a court that he or she spends their days on porn or dating sites.

What is even more alarming is that so far this daft law has not been noticed by the Great Aussie public and no one seems to care.

EU might suspend data agreements with the US

Russia-State-Cultural-Ideological-Policy-Weapon-West-US-Europe-Bodhita-NewsThe EU Justice Commissioner  is considering suspending a commercial data-sharing agreement between the European Union and the United States if Washington  doesn’t stop spying.

Vera Jourova said in written answers to EU lawmakers that the so-called Safe Harbour agreement allowing companies to transfer personal data to the United States could be suspended if negotiations between Brussels and Washington go nowhere.

Jourova said that suspension was an option on the table for me, but we are not yet there.

Under the EU’s strict data protection laws, companies may only transfer personal data outside the 28-member bloc if a country is deemed to have adequate safeguards for that data. Only a handful of countries worldwide meet the required standards and the US is not one of them.

In 2000 the EU adopted a Safe Harbour agreement under which US companies certify themselves that they meet the EU’s data privacy standards.

However the agreement was rendered a joke after last year’s revelations about mass US surveillance programs involving EU citizens which showed that  US technology companies were just handing over data to spooks.

And if negotiations with the US are tough now, it is expected that things will get worse when Jan Philipp Albrecht of the Greens group takes over  in November as the new Justice Commissioner. The Greens have no love of the US’s spying antics.

More than 3,246 companies were certified under Safe Harbour, including Google and Facebook.

The Commission announced a review of Safe Harbour in November last year after former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed details of Washington’s eavesdropping on Europeans’ phone calls, including those of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Commission gave Washington a 13-point list of issues to address before it would put forward a revised data sharing agreement. One of them was that the US would use the national security prerogative to access Europeans’ data only when strictly necessary and in response to a specific threat.

Apparently this is causing a problem because the US sees everyone as a threat, even loyal allies.

Jourova asked for more time to continue working in a constructive spirit with the United States building on the progress made so far. Theoretically, the Commission could roll over and allow the US to have its wicked way with Europe, but it is likely that the European Parliament would throw its toys out of the pram if it did so. Most feel that the Commission is a US lapdog and it is about time it gave the land of the Free a Chinese burn until it stops being such an international douche.

Big Data gets very big indeed

server-racksRevenues for Big Data technology and services will be worth $41.5 billion by 2018 and is growing now at a 26.4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

That’s an estimate by market research company IDC. Ashish Nadkarni, research director at the company, said the hype was simmering down.  “This is a sign that the technologies are maturing and making their way into the fabric of how organisations operate and firms conduct their business,” he said.

This year, infrastructure has a large share of the entire market, with a 48.2 percent slice of the Big Data pie.

While America leads the way in Big Data investment, it isn’t going to stay that way. EMEA and Asia Pacific have nearly 45 percent market share in infrastructure, software, and services.

IDC predicts there will be a mergers and acquisitions boom in the sphere.

Brits wary of trusting bosses with data

ukflagMost employees don’t trust their bosses to keep private information private – or even not to use it against them in any way, according to a survey.

But there is confusion about how much information their employers are able to see generally, with 41 percent of respondents thinking bosses are not able to see anything at all on their personal devices. MobileIron and Vision Critical, which ran the survey, warn that in reality, if devices are used for corporate email, it is possible for employers to see their emails and attachments on mobile devices just as easily as on a PC.

Respondents were worried the most about employers being able to access personal email and attachments, texts and personal contacts. This is very unlikely, but it is possibly to see the make, model and OS of a device, the IMEI, phone number, a complete list of apps installed, the device’s location, battery level, storage capacity, corporate email and attachments and corporate contacts.

Employers are unable to see information contained in apps, unless the app has been set up to send information to the corporate server. Personal emails, attachments, texts, photos, videos, voicemails and web browsing activity should all be safe.

But the fact employees are worried about such access shows a certain level of distrust in business. MobileIron says the key to winning over employee trust is clear communication – with respondents saying they would be keen to understand in detail the purpose of seeing device information and how that is separated from work.

However, 20 percent of respondents said they wanted employers to ask for written consent before they were able to access anything on a personal device, and 18 percent would like written notification about exactly what their bosses can and can’t see.

The survey was carried out in the US, the UK and Germany and talked to just shy of 3,000 randomly selected employed adults. Respondent data shows young workers were more savvy about privacy concerns more than any other identifier.

Brits were the most cynical, with 36 percent agreeing there is “nothing” employers can do to increase trust on privacy.

Salesforce to open UK data centre

Salesforce_Logo_2009Salesforce will be opening a European data centre, based in the UK, in collaboration with NTT Europe.

The data centre should reach completion around 2014, and it will mark Salesforce’s sixth data centre world wide. It will be used to support the company’s cloud services in the EMEA region.

CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement that Europe was the fastest growing region for the company in fiscal 2013, managing to bring in revenue growth of 38 percent. “We are doubling down on Europe,” Benioff said.

Salesforce COO Stephen Kelly praised the UK, calling it one of the world’s “greatest technology centres”. “The UK is in a strong position to support fast growing international companies such as Salesforce,” Kelly said.

At the same time, Salesforce pointed out that there has been ‘unprecedented’ growth in cloud spending throughout Europe, citing an IDC paper that predicts public cloud will grow three times faster than other IT segments for the region.

Acronis makes Craig Dynes the head beancounter

AcAcronis has taken on Craig Dynes as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Dynes will join the data company from his previous role as CFO and SVP of Pegasystems, bringing 30 years of experience to his new role.

Dynes will be responsible for directing Acronis’ long-term strategic growth investments and providing global leadership for financial planning, administrative and business planning, accounting and budgeting requirements.

Acronis said that Dynes’ “extensive background in all aspects of finance”, including treasury, strategic planning, acquisitions and business model transformation made “him a key member of the senior management team”.

Dynes joined Pegasystems in 2006. From 2004 to 2006, he served as CFO of Demandware, at that time a venture-backed enterprise software firm. Prior to that he served as President and CEO of Narad Networks, a manufacturer of equipment for the cable television industry from 2003 to 2004.

From 1997 to 2002, Dynes served as CFO of SilverStream Software, an application development software company. He is also claimed to have held senior financial positions at Sybase and Powersoft.

Iron Mountain makes the UK superbrands list

ironmountainCAInformation management company Iron Mountain has found itself in the 2013 Business Superbrands qualifiers, finding itself among household names such as Samsung, Intel and Apple.

Although it is not in the top 20 – dominated by the heaviest hitters – the company has posted a proud release to let the world know of its increasing brand presence, specifically in the European mid market.

Iron Mountain has been following a strategy that targets European mid market companies. Its campaigns, the company said, have centred on showing off its brand appeal to smaller companies, using a combination of PR, web marketing, direct mail and event channels to raise awareness.

The company said that it works with 150,000 organisations across the world as well as finding itself in the majority of FTSE top 100 businesses for storing and managing critical information. In a statement, the company said despite this reputation, it was “largely unknown in Europe”.

Since 2011, the company has been involved in brand research in the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Hungary.

The long list of the so-called superbrands is available in PDF format here.

Top ten business superbrands, from top to bottom, were Apple, BA, Google, Visa, Virgin Atlantic, IBM, SHell, Microsoft, London Stock Exchange Group, and Mastercard.

Superbrands claims that its league tables are based on the “opinions of marketing experts, business professionals and thousands of British consumers”.

Three tech companies were in the top ten of the consumer index. Apple was in second place, Microsoft in third, and Google at six. We are not clear about the exact metrics used, but Stephen Cheliotis from the council said they’re judged on “quality, reliability and distinction”.

Businesses not clear on cloud responsibilities

cloud 2Uninformed or ignorant businesses believe that once data is stored on the cloud, companies lose their responsibility for it – although EU law says they are culpable.

Confusion over the cloud is not exactly surprising: currently laws differ depending on where in the world your servers are based and where your company is based. A report from Iron Mountain said this shows, with over three quarters of survey respondents claiming their service provider would likely get more flack than their own firm. But when it comes to storing sensitive data, it is probably worth doing your homework.

Although the evidence points in the other direction, the majority of respondents said their approach was “responsible” and said that they do take due dilligence when picking cloud suppliers. A fifth want cloud only storage for all their data.

Respondents were in the UK, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary. Cloud is unsurprisingly a popular option. Iron Mountain urged all companies to understand the specific ins and outs of where their data is stored, whether it could be moved, and who has access to it. They should also consider the core IT infrastructure that is being used and if the providers have a rigorous vetting process in place to check for malware. Businesses should think about just how much data they plan to store, should make back ups, and are warned to seek out multiple providers in a tiered approach, using the cloud, tape, and disk storage.

Cachet to offer Prelert’s Anomaly Detective

holmesBritish reseller Cachet Software has just got the contract to offer Prelert’s predictive analytics software in the automation and operational risk sectors.

Prelert’s Anomaly Detective for Splunk Enterprise will now be on offer from Cachet in the UK, which uses automated intelligence to work out risk and behavioural changes hiding out somewhere in the data. By predicting, finding and fixing this data, Prelert says operational efficiencies are increased “dramatically”.

The MD at Cachet said the analytics technology will fit in nicely with its existing portfolio. Stuart Kenley said in a statement that Prelert’s software provides “fast and efficient” data analytics that will let customers tinker with and improve the availability and performance of their IT systems.

Customers will be able to download and install Anomaly Detective in “minutes” to integrate with Splunk Enterprise. Prelert boasted that the software is completely self learning and as such doesn’t require much configuration.

Indebted 2e2 could be a dead duck

dead duckThe last of the remaining bidders for the broke 2e2 outfit have walked away saying that they are no longer interested in buying any of the company

The IT services group filing for administration and there was some optimism that the Newbury-based group would be sold to either Daisy or Computacenter.

In a statement, FTI, 2e2’s administrators said they had spoken to a number of parties who were interested in acquiring all or parts of the [2e2] business as a going concern.

But FTI said that it could not get an acceptable and deliverable offer to sell the business as a going concern and there is no further funding which can be made available.

Contractors and suppliers will not get paid and 2e2’s data centre clients appear to have been asked to stump up with more dosh to keep the servers switched on. According to Contractor, a letter had been sent out to clients telling them that not paying would result in FTI being “unable to maintain [2e2’s] Data Centre Infrastructure” and the whole lot will be switched off before any customers can get their data back.

However in its letter, FTI hinted that it will be impossible for customers to get their data back in a hurry as it had been hit by a number of requests from customers seeking to gain access to their data immediately. It thinks that the levels of data stored at the company will take up to 16 weeks to get out of the system, and if customers don’t pay up to keep the servers open they will lose everything.