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UK regulator has ‘huge concerns’ over Uber breach

Uber appImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is unclear whether UK citizens‘ data was breached as Uber has not said.

The UK‘s information commissioner has “huge concerns about Uber’s data policies and ethics” following a breach that exposed the details of 57 million customers and drivers.

Uber did not tell anyone about the breach and paid a ransom to hackers to delete the data.

Deputy commissioner James Dipple-Johnson said these actions were unacceptable.

The ride-sharing company has a resource page for those who may be affected.

“It’s always the company’s responsibility to identify when UK citizens have been affected as part of a data breach and take steps to reduce any harm to consumers. Deliberately concealing breaches from regulators and citizens could attract higher fines for companies,” Mr Dipple-Johnson said.

“If UK citizens were affected, then we should have been notified so that we could assess and verify the impact on people whose data was exposed.”

He said the Information Commissioner’s Officer (ICO) would work with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to determine the scale of the breach and how it affected people in the UK, as well considering the next steps that Uber needed to take to comply “with its data protection obligations”.

Next year, EU countries will radically alter data protection laws to offer consumers greater control over the data they share with companies.

Ransom ‘astonishing’

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aims to impose huge fines on companies that conceal data breaches.

Under the new rules, companies have to notify data regulators about a breach within 72 hours of becoming aware of a hack.

They face fines of 4% of their global annual turnover or 20 million euros (£18m), whichever is higher, if they are found to be in breach of the regulations.

Dean Armstrong, a cyber-law barrister at Setfords Solicitors, said: “As Uber hasn’t released its figures, we can’t speculate as to the potential final cost of the fine, but it is fair to say the regulator would come down hard and under the regulations it would likely be in the tens of millions.

“The greater cost to Uber however would and will be in terms of reputation, which although harder to quantify than a fine could far outstrip any penalty handed to them by a regulator.”

David Kennerly, director of threat research at security company Webroot, criticised Uber for paying a ransom to the hackers.

“Given the current climate around data security and breaches, it is astonishing that Uber paid off the hackers and kept this breach under wraps for a year.

“The fact is there is absolutely no guarantee the hackers didn’t create multiple copies of the stolen data for future extortion or to sell on further down the line.”

Raj Samani, chief scientist at security company McAfee said, as a regular Uber user, the news made him “incredibly angry”.

“Uber has treated its customers with a complete lack of respect,” he said.

“Millions of people will now be worrying over what has happened to their personal data over the past 12 months, and Uber is directly responsible for this.”

“In opting to not only cover up the breach, but actually pay the hackers, Uber has directly contributed to the growth of cybercrime and the company needs to be held accountable for this.”

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Historic city centre former college building up for auction

A HISTORIC former college building in Bradford city centre, dating back to the 1870s, will be sold at auction next month.

The Grade II listed former Cathedral School on Captain Street has been empty since August, and it is among the properties that will go under the hammer at an auction by Pugh on December 7.

The building dates back to the 1872 when it was opened as a Cathedral School.

More recently the building was the home to Forster Community College. However, this summer the college moved its services to the upper floors of the City Training Services building in Little Germany, leaving the grand Captain Street school empty.

The building, a short distance from Napoleon’s Casino and the Corn Dolly pub, is in one of the quieter areas of the city centre. It is owned by the Church of England Diocese of Leeds, and the guide price is between £120,000 and £130,000.

It is currently divided into offices, training rooms and classrooms, but a local group says the building should ideally be converted into “high quality” housing.

Alan Hall, Vice Chair of Bradford Civic Society, hopes the building finds a buyer willing to give the building the investment it deserves. He said: “As a listed building it shouldn’t be demolished or just left to decay.

“Bradford Civic Society would like to encourage a higher standard of housing in the city centre, and Captain Street could be the perfect site to show how this can be done.

“The building would be suitable for genuinely high quality, spacious housing as it’s in a relatively peaceful part of the city centre and really near Forster Square station.”

The school building is next to the site of a major development of flats. Last month Bradford Council granted planning permission to Michael Exley to build on a 125 space car park on Captain Street. His proposals would see a 90 flat, six storey building constructed on the site, as well as two storeys of underground parking.

There will be 75 two-bedroom flats and two three-bedroom flats for sale on the open market, and seven one-bed flats and six two-bedroom flats sold as intermediate housing.

Other local lots going under the hammer at the auction, at Leeds United Football Club, include a 330 square metre piece of land at Kelmore Grove/Moresby Road, Woodside, currently owned by Bradford Council. The guide price for the lot is £15,000.

An empty Council owned former hairdressing salon in Greengates, 36 New Line, will have a guide price of £40,000.

Care home group introduces stress-busting training for staff

SALTAIRE based Czajka Care Group has become one of the UK’s first care operators to guard against workplace stress by including dedicated anxiety-busting training into the induction programmes of all its new employees.

The company plans to offer the training to its entire team who work across Fairmount Nursing Home, Brookfield Care Home and Staveley Birk Leas Nursing Home, which are all in Nab Wood near Shipley, as well as Currergate Nursing Home in Steeton and Beanlands Nursing Home in Cross Hills. The company also operates The Clubhouse at Fairmount Park, which is a members’ only club with a wide range of leisure facilities and a renowned restaurant.

All new starters at Czajka Care Group participate in a minimum four day induction programme at the firm’s training centre, located next to its Saltaire headquarters which includes a specialist stress buster training course is provided by My Wellbeing College, which is part of Bradford District Care Foundation Trust.

Konrad Czajka, managing director of Czajka Care Group, said: “Work-related stress is a major health hazard in any workplace. We work hard to create a relaxed and calm atmosphere throughout our homes but it’s always good to take a proactive rather than a reactive approach to our people’s welfare, which is why we have opened up the training to all of our frontline nursing team, our catering staff, maintenance personnel and management teams.

“It’s fair to say that due to the nature of our work, some stressful and unpredictable events can occur. This training is designed to give our people the skills to remain calm in all types of scenarios and communicate with other members of team if they feel they’re struggling, so they don’t have to deal with challenging situations on their own. It’s already having a positive impact across our operations and we’re looking forward to rolling it out across our entire team.”

300 sign petition against plan for waste asbestos transfer site

MORE than 300 people have signed a petition opposing plans for a waste transfer facility for asbestos on an industrial site in Cleckheaton.

Check Environmental has submitted a change-of-use application for premises at Brookside Works, Brick Street, that were previously used by a stone-cutting firm which left in August.

The petition warns of the potential health risks associated with coming into contact with asbestos.

It states: “Who should be worried about this? Everyone in the Cleckheaton and surrounding area. Newborn babies and young children are at significant risk. Your family, friends, pets – even the animals we eat. WE DO NOT WANT high levels of asbestos anywhere near housing estates, schools, offices, care homes: our community.”

It also warns that the majority of other asbestos waste sites are located on industrial estates, well away from housing and schools, or in rural areas.

The Brick Street site backs on to homes on cul-de-sacs off West End Drive.

The proposed facility would house up to ten containers at any one time.

Documents submitted with the application to Kirklees Council state that the process will be for individuals to bring asbestos to the site in small vehicles.

“It must be wrapped properly and or double bagged and sealed,” say the documents. “The asbestos waste will be received by trained staff and loaded into a container that is completely sealed.

“Once the container is full it will be collected by an HGV skip lorry and taken to landfill.”

Containers would also be hired out to demolition sites or sites where asbestos is being stripped from buildings.

Steve Dawson, managing director of Check Environmental, which already runs two similar sites in the North, said there was a lot of misunderstanding about asbestos and the associated risks.

“The risks are controllable with the correct procedures. Asbestos can be deadly and there are diseases associated with it, but we have standard operating procedures in place to mitigate this.

“We also operate within an Environment Agency permit which has strict rules and regular assessments.”

“We have never had any safety issues at our other sites.”

Mr Dawson said the firm had been running HGV operations from a site on Brick Street for the last six to eight months, and the change of use application was the next step in bringing its asbestos operations to the site.

The plans would see the asbestos transfer station open from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday.

There are expected to be two HGV trucks based at the site which may leave the site early in the morning to take skips to sites where asbestos is being removed.

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They would then return at the end of the working day to park up. Small delivery vans would also be on site and are expected to create between two and four vehicle movements a day.

The full containers would only be taken to landfill between 7am and 3pm, Monday to Friday.

People have until Thursday, December 7, to comment on the application and a decision is expected to be made by Kirklees planners shortly afterwards.

Hinkley Point will ‘hit the poorest hardest’, say MPs

Hinkley Point CImage copyright EDF Energy

A group of MPs has said that the £18bn cost of the UK‘s new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will hit the country’s poorest the hardest.

The Public Accounts Committee said that households had been “locked into an expensive deal lasting 35 years”.

In a report, it said there were no plans for Hinkley Point to provide wider benefits such as jobs and skills.

But EDF, the French firm funding two thirds of the project, said it would bring “huge benefits” to Britain.

The government gave the green light to Hinkley Point near Bridgwater in Somerset last year, in a deal which guarantees EDF a fixed price of £92.50 per megawatt hour for the electricity it produces for 35 years.

If it falls below that level, consumers will pay the difference.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy estimates that top-up payments will cost consumers around £30bn.

In its report examining the deal, the Public Accounts Committee said: “Over the life of the contract, consumers are left footing the bill and the poorest consumers will be hit hardest. Yet in all the negotiations no part of government was really championing the consumer interest.”

The committee’s chair Meg Hillier said: “Bill-payers have been dealt a bad hand by the government in its approach to this project.

“Its blinkered determination to agree the Hinkley deal, regardless of changing circumstances, means that for years to come energy consumers will face costs running to many times the original estimate.

“It doesn’t know what UK workers and business will gain from this project, and appears to have no coherent idea of what to do about it.”

Public Accounts Committee recommendations

The committee has proposed that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

  • Needs to draw up a plan to create wider economic benefits from Hinkley Point and explain how they will prove they have been achieved.
  • Should commission an independent assessment of its effect on consumers
  • Publish a strategic case for nuclear before any more plants are agreed
  • Ensure proper cost/risk analysis of the funding options for all future big infrastructure projects
  • Provide a Plan B for the UK’s energy security if Hinkley Point runs into trouble
  • Ensure thorough monitoring of Hinkley Point’s construction

EDF Energy said: “The cost of Hinkley Point C for customers has not changed and they will pay nothing for its reliable, low carbon electricity until the station is completed.

“The agreed price is lower than 80% of other low carbon capacity contracted so far and the project has restarted UK nuclear construction after a quarter century. Construction is fully underway and is already delivering a huge benefit to British jobs, skills and industrial strategy.

The company said: “It is drawing on firms from across Britain and the South-West with 2,400 employees at the site and is on track to meet its next milestones.”

The Committee’s proposals follow a report in June by the National Audit Office which called Hinkley Point C “a risky and expensive project” and said the costs and risks for consumers had not been sufficiently considered.

Bingley-born Likely Lads actor Rodney Bewes dies aged 79

BINGLEY-born Likely Lads star Rodney Bewes has died aged 79, his agent confirmed.

The actor – best known for his role as Bob Ferris in the BBC sitcom – died on Tuesday morning, a representative has said.

Bewes became best known as the character Bob Ferris, from The Likely Lads and Whatever happened to the Likely Lads, starring alongside James Bolam, Brigit Forsyth and Sheila Fearn.

In a statement on Twitter, his agent Michelle Braidman described him as a “true one off”.

She added: “It is with great sadness that we confirm that our dear client, the much loved actor Rodney Bewes, passed away this morning.

“We will miss his charm and ready wit.”

Bewes would have turned 80 next week, his agent said.

The actor spend his early childhood in Bingley before moving with his family to Luton.

One of the last occasions he came back to his roots was in February 2013 when he performed his one man show A Boy Growing Up as a BBC radio man at Bingley Arts Centre.

Charles Bronson refused parole at HMP Wakefield

Charles Bronson in 1992Image copyright PA
Image caption Charles Bronson in 1992 – that year, he spent 53 days outside prison before being arrested again

One of the UK‘s most violent prisoners, Charles Bronson has been refused parole.

A board ruled that Bronson, now called Charles Salvador, should not be released from HMP Wakefield or moved to an open prison.

The 63-year-old is serving a life sentence for robbery and kidnap and has gained notoriety for a history of violence inside and outside jail.

He must now wait another two years for a review of his case.

Bronson’s bride: ‘We’re very similar creatures’

Luton-born Bronson recently got married to former Emmerdale and Coronation Street actress Paula Williamson inside the West Yorkshire prison.

Image copyright BBC, Paula Williamson
Image caption Paula Williamson wrote to Bronson in 2013 after reading his book on living in Broadmoor psychiatric hospital

Speaking after the decision, his 37-year-old wife said: “He’s not going to be released any time soon.”

She told Talk Radio: “Charlie has admitted his wrongdoings and he’s served his time for every single offence that he’s committed, and well over that time, and it’s time now for him to move forward. He’s an OAP.”


Bronson’s jail history

  • 1974 First jailed, age 22, for armed robbery and wounding
  • 1975 Attacked a fellow prisoner with a glass jug
  • 1985 Carried out a three-day rooftop protest
  • 1988 Returned to prison for robbing a jewellery shop
  • 1992 Released, but found guilty shortly afterwards of conspiracy to rob
  • 1994 Holds a prison librarian hostage, demanding a helicopter and tea
  • 1998 Takes three inmates hostage at Belmarsh
  • 1999 Given a life sentence with a three-year tariff for kidnapping
  • 2014 Assaulted prison governor Alan Parkins

The parole hearing was on 7 November.

A Parole Board spokesman said: “We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board has not directed the release of Charles Salvador.

“Under current legislation, Mr Salvador will be eligible for a further review within two years. The date of the next review will be set by the Ministry of Justice.”

Out now: Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, your new mobile gaming obsession

Just when you thought you’d got over your crippling Pokémon Go addiction, along comes Nintendo’s latest mobile phone game.

And judging on first impressions, it’s great.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp came out today on iOS and Android and is set to be the next big thing in mobile games.

It’s a mobile spin-off of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing console games, which gave you a virtual house in a picture-postcard cartoon town populated by adorable animals, gave you a virtual mortgage to pay off (yes, really) and then gave you the freedom to potter about at your own leisure.

For this mobile outing the setting has changed to a camp site but the general idea of the game – wander around, make friends with animals, shake a tree to pick apples, maybe do a little fishing – is very familiar.

It’s a little oasis of calm in your pocket and exudes charm in spades.

And going mobile has made it much easier to interact with friends – you can visit their camps, they can visit yours (although inevitably they all look pretty much the same at this early stage) and you can buy and sell unwanted items.

However, AC:PC is also afflicted with one of the less savoury aspects of mobile gaming: in-app purchases.

Nintendo describe the game as “free-to-start“, and as far as we could gather in our limited play time so far it seems pretty much everything in the game can be accessed without paying real money.

But that comes at the cost of waiting for stuff to happen.

For instance, pick an apple for your new pal Goldie the golden retriever and a timer appears over the tree showing how long it’ll take them to grow back – three hours in real time, or you can use a bag of fertiliser on the apple tree to speed things along. The fertiliser costs ‘leaf tickets’, which can be bought using real-world money in transactions ranging from 99p to £38.99.

In the early game this doesn’t seem too much of a worry, but experience in similar games suggest the waiting times will get longer and longer for the more desirable items later on.

Parents will want to make sure in-app purchases are turned off.

But much of the charm of earlier Animal Crossing games has always been the leisurely pace, and waiting for events in real time – certain insects only come out at night, or events only happen on certain days of the week. Even the in-game seasons progress at the same pace as real life.

So unless you’re impatient, you’ll be able to enjoy Pocket Camp in small doses – and there’s plenty to enjoy.

Anger as ‘mindless vandals’ damage rugby pitch

OTLEY Rugby Club is offering a £300 reward to catch vandals who have ruined one of its pitches.

The incident – caught on CCTV by the nearby Stephen H Smith’s Garden Centre – happened just after 10pm on Thursday.

Two vehicles went onto the playing and training field, off Pool Road, and proceeded to repeatedly drive over it, leaving deep ruts.

The rugby club, which has reported the attack to the police, says the damage has put the pitch out of action for a long time and left it facing a hefty repair bill.

The club has also put a reward notice up on social media, addressed directly to those responsible, in a bid to track them down.

It says: “£300 REWARD!

“I know you probably have nothing else to do and it is very exciting driving a car round a field but you have ruined the pitch where children, possibly your brother or sister, plays rugby.

“It will cost many hundreds of pounds to put right and that is why we are going to the police.

“The garden centre has you on CCTV and someone knows who you are – that is why we are offering the reward.”

Chairman Nick Girling said: “The CCTV at Stephen H Smith’s shows what looks like a Fiat 500 and a small 4×4 driving down the lane next to their premises, towards our back training pitch.

“Local residents heard the vehicles at about 10.15pm, on Thursday night but by the time we were able to get there the culprits had gone.

“The pitch is next to the garden centre, set back from the road, and is used for both senior and junior matches and training – but this damage will take about a year to repair itself.

“The police have been informed.”

Otley Town Council Chair Councillor Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield) said: “I share the anger expressed by Otley Rugby Club at this act of mindless vandalism.

“That pitch is so well used by our community, providing great opportunity for children to have well organised, fun sport.

“I hope those responsible are quickly identified and brought to book.”

Otley residents have also been quick to express their condemnation of the vandalism online.

Posting on the Otley – The Community We Live In Facebook page, Suzanne Freer said: “Oh this so saddens me.

“Good people spend a lot of their free time working hard to get pitches in order for others to enjoy and then someone comes along and within seconds it is ruined.

“Really hope you catch him and name and shame him/ her/them.

“Come on you good folk of Otley, someone knows who’s done this.”

Simon Fisher added: “Make them repair the field when they are found, out of their own pocket and time.”

Drug made student ‘think he could fly’

Thomas MillwardImage copyright Millward family/PA
Image caption Thomas Millward died of a brain injury the day after he fell from a stairwell at Girton College

A Cambridge University student fell to his death after taking a drug which can make users believe they can fly, an inquest has heard.

Thomas Millward, 19, was found unconscious and naked after falling from a stairwell at Girton College on 5 March last year.

He is thought to have taken a variant of hallucinogenic LSD beforehand, an inquest in Huntingdon heard.

Mr Millward died in hospital the next day of a traumatic brain injury.

Cambridgeshire assistant coroner Simon Milburn said the engineering student and his girlfriend Daniella Mieloszyk took a substance which was probably 1P-LSD, a legal high at the time which has since been banned.

A toxicology expert told the court that people can believe they can fly after taking the drug.

Mr Milburn said the couple took the drug at around 15:00 GMT and Mr Millward was found to have fallen four hours later.

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Fellow Cambridge student Tessa Duff, 20, told the court Ms Mieloszyk had previously mentioned to her that the couple had considered taking drugs.

“After that, neither of them mentioned it to me again until they knocked on my door after they had already taken it,” she told the inquest in Huntingdon.

She said their condition “wasn’t particularly alarming”, but “they just seemed confused”.

“If I tried to engage with them they would partially respond then look at me, and look at each other, and say ‘this is so strange, is this real?'” she said.

Image copyright Rodney Burton/Geograph
Image caption Mr Millward, from Cheltenham, was a first year engineering student at Girton College

After about 45 minutes the pair returned to Mr Millward’s room, she said.

She later heard an “echoey bang” but she stayed in her room, the inquest heard.

‘Mind-altering’

Dr Susan Paterson, head of toxicology at Imperial College, London, said analysis of blood samples showed Mr Millward had taken either LSD or 1P-LSD.

But, she said, it was not possible to determine which drug had been taken nor the concentration consumed.

She described it as “the most potent mind-altering substance there is”.

“You lose your perceptions, your senses become confused, your senses of colour and sound become distorted,” she said.

“It’s possible to think you can actually fly. That’s well-recorded with this drug,” she added.

She said effects typically start within 30 to 90 minutes of taking the drug and last between three and 12 hours.

The inquest continues.