UK Government Announces Winners Of The GREAT Tech Awards
Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor LONDON | Wed Oct 2, 2013 2:43am EDT LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco (TSCO.L), Britain’s biggest grocer that is 18 months into a recovery plan, posted flat quarterly sales in its home market on Wednesday, as 1 billion pounds ($1.62 billion) of investment failed to boost its fortunes. The country’s biggest retailer and the world’s third largest said sales at UK stores open over a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, showed zero growth in the 13 weeks to August 24, its fiscal second quarter. That compared to analysts’ forecasts in a range of flat to down 0.5 percent and does represent an improvement on a first quarter decline of 1 percent. First-half group trading profit fell 7.6 percent to 1.59 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) in the six months to August 24 – in line with analysts’ forecasts. That was hit by a particularly poor performance in Europe, where trading profit in the first half was down 68 percent. “We are continuing to make good progress on building a better Tesco in the UK and the investments we have made in our international businesses have started to feed through into an improved trading performance in the second half,” the group said. “However, challenging economic conditions overseas, particularly in Europe, have held back consumer confidence and spending, leading to a lower level of sales than expected.” Once the envy of British retailers Tesco has been hurt by falling profits and asset write-downs, a costly retreat from U.S. and Japanese markets and revelations that horsemeat had been found in some meat products sold by it and other retailers. In Britain it was hit hard by the economic downturn because compared to rivals it sells a higher proportion of non-food items, where consumers have cut back the most and also following years of underinvestment that resulted in it losing ground to Wal-Mart’s (WMT.N) Asda, the No. 2, and J Sainsbury (SBRY.L), the No. 3. Tesco is also the most affected by the growth of discounters Aldi ALDIEI.UL and Lidl LIDUK.UL, according to JPMorgan Cazenove, until recently Tesco’s house broker. Though the firm has invested heavily in store upgrades, product ranges, more staff and its online offer for a British market which contributes over two-thirds of group revenue, its share of the market is still showing a year-on-year decline, monthly industry data showed last week.
Beyond effective legal scrutiny In the 67-page filing, the appellants argue that the communications interception is in direct violation of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights , Europes rough analog to the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Unlike the Fourth Amendment, however,Article 8 specifically carves out a national security exception. It states: Article 8 Right to respect for private and family life 1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. 2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. In their filing , the appellants argue that because the newly revealed data collection is indiscriminate, it cannot possibly be subject to any sufficiently precise or ascertainable legal framework and is beyond effective legal scrutiny. More precisely: In effect, the power to obtain and use external communications data by means of intercept is unfettered in published law, as long as it is thought broadly to be in the interests of [national] security or other of the specified generic purpose. There are no adequate criteria by which a court of tribunal could assess the legality of use of any particular intercept material even if the courts had jurisdiction to do so, which they do not. Holding the powerful accountable Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said in a statement that British laws have been interpreted far more broadly than how they originally were intended. The laws governing how Internet data is accessed were written when barely anyone had broadband access and were intended to cover old-fashioned copper telephone lines, he said. Parliament did not envisage or intend those laws to permit scooping up details of every communication we send, including content, so its absolutely right that GCHQ is held accountable in the courts for its actions. The court, which is composed of 47 judges from each of the member states of the Council of Europe, may take months (or years) to render a decision. However, this case likely will be heard by a smaller committee composed of three or seven judges. The ECHRs own flow chart shows a long process (PDF) that likely awaits this application, along with the 50,000 other new applications that it receives each year.
UK gears up for cyberwarfare offensives
2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The winners of the UK Government’s inaugural GREAT Tech Awards were announced tonight at The GREAT Tech Awards Gala at The McKittrick Hotel in New York City. The GREAT Tech Awards, an international technology competition celebrating the best of UK and US technology start-ups, is hosted by UK Trade & Investment. New York-based tech start-ups applied over the summer to win one of five custom UK expansion packages in the education, finance, hardware, lifestyle, and media sectors. “The technology sector is of utmost importance to the UK, and is bolstered by our commitment to innovation, entrepreneurialism, and a dynamic business climate,” said HRH The Duke of York, whose official work includes supporting the economic success of the UK. “The GREAT Tech Awards offer an unparalleled opportunity for the winners to use the UK as their next step towards international expansion and success. I wish the winners the best of luck on their exciting new journey across the Atlantic.” The US award winners were handpicked by a panel of judges representing the finest industry leaders, influencers, and entrepreneurs. The winners are: Media: ADstruc The Advisors’ Choice Award, awarded to Blippar , recognizes a British technology company that has successfully established a New York office. Sponsors of the competition include Virgin Atlantic Airways, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), TaylorWessing, BritishAmerican Business (BAB), and Blick Rothenberg. “We are thrilled to announce the winners of The GREAT Tech Awards tonight, which represent the best of the UK-US tech industry,” said Danny Lopez, British Consul-General to New York. “We have seen exponential growth in tech clusters in both UK and US cities in recent years, and it’s no coincidence. Winners will embark on a journey of international expansion in the best country in Europe to grow a business, and these bespoke development packages will provide a helpful boost for these companies to succeed.” The five category winners receive a customized package that includes: a premium economy round-trip airplane ticket provided by Virgin Atlantic Airlines departing from JFK on October 14, and returning from LHR on October 19, 2013; a meeting with a senior representative at the UK Prime Minister’s Office, No. 10 Downing Street; over $4,000 worth of legal services courtesy of TaylorWessing; $3,000 worth of accountancy/business advisory services provided by Blick Rothenberg LLP; a two-day customized business development program in London (15-16 October); three classes at General Assembly in London; one entry pass to London’s Wired 2013 Conference (17-18 October 2013); an introductory meeting with a major British brand to be selected by a sponsor; a tour of co-working and shared office spaces in London; a free annual corporate membership with BAB in either London or New York’s chapters; a complimentary Gold Ticket Registration to the BAB Christmas Luncheon (in either London or New York); inclusion in a feature on the winners in BAB New York’s Network magazine. The Advisors’ Choice winner’s prize package includes: a business reception hosted by the British Consul-General New York at the British Residence; a free annual corporate membership with BAB in either London or New York’s chapters; three classes at General Assembly in London; a complimentary Gold Ticket Registration to the BAB Christmas Luncheon (in either London or New York); inclusion in a feature on the winners in BAB New York’s Network magazine. Judges include: Ben Lerer, CEO/Co-founder of Thrillist Media Group and partner at Lerer Ventures; David Karp, CEO/Founder of Tumblr; John Borthwick, CEO/Co-founder of Betaworks; Margaret Dohnalek, Global Head of Technology Scouting, PepsiCo; Simon Bradley, Vice President Marketing, North America, Virgin Atlantic Airlines. The Advisory Board consists of: Elizabeth Gould, Senior Producer at Bloomberg Media; Paul Murphy, Senior Vice President at Betaworks; Shivon Zilis, VC at Bloomberg Beta; Tarek Pertew, CEO/Founder of Wakefield Media and Uncubed; Ziv Navoth, CEO/Co-founder of Paragraph and Tech City Investment Organisation Advisor.
Tesco posts flat UK sales as turnaround plan struggles for growth
by Charlie Osborne September 30, 2013 8:08 AM PDT The UK government is planning to recruit hundreds of computer specialists to defend core infrastructure against cyberthreats, Conservative Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said Sunday. Speaking at the annual Conservative party conference, Hammond said the United Kingdom was dedicating additional resources and funds to building a strong cyber intelligence and surveillance network, according to Reuters . As cybercrime continues to prove a lucrative way for hackers to steal valuable data for profit or as part of state-sponsored jobs — and many governments struggle to catch up and protect networks adequately against rising attacks — defense budget funds now need to not only consider physical threats, but digital warfare as well. Hammond commented: “Last year our cyber defenses blocked around 400,000 advanced malicious cyber threats against the government’s secure internet alone, so the threat is real. But simply building cyber defenses is not enough: as in other domains of warfare, we also have to deter. Britain will build a dedicated capability to counterattack in cyberspace and if necessary to strike in cyberspace.” In February, the National Audit Office named “addressing the UK’s current and future ICT and cybersecurity skills gap” as a “key challenge.” The NAO report was published as part of the UK’s 650 million pound ($1.09 billion) Cyber Security Strategy scheme, and said it could take “20 years” to address the skills gap at all levels of education. Not only could a dedicated task force of offensive security experts deter hackers in the future, but the Defence Secretary told the Mail on Sunday that cyberstrikes could work “alongside conventional weapons in future conflicts,” disabling communications, nuclear weapons, ships and critical hardware. To establish the new cybersecurity force, the UK will recruit experts in their hundreds from a number of fields. The recruitment drive will include civilian computer experts who will be part of the “Joint Cyber Reserve,” and their role will be to work alongside members of the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ to protect critical infrastructure and prevent data theft. The cost of the program was not disclosed, but recruitment is due to begin in October. Hammond commented : “Increasingly, our defense budget is being invested in high-end capabilities such as cyber and intelligence and surveillance assets to ensure we can keep the country safe. The cyber reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyber-space. This is an exciting opportunity for Internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities.” The UK is also seeking ways to train the next generation of cyberspecialists. In May, two UK universities — Oxford and Royal Holloway — were granted 7.5 million pounds in funding to help develop the country’s skills in online security.