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British IT teacher gets three-year ban after boozing with students at strip club during school trip to Costa Rica • The Register

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An IT teacher at an English private school has been banned from teaching for 36 months for “unacceptable professional conduct” that included getting drunk and visiting a strip club with one or more pupils.

The case of Richard Glenn, employed by Longridge Towers School in Northumberland, was heard by a professional conduct committee of the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) earlier this month. He had been head of his school’s sixth-form pupils – that’s students aged 16 to 18 for non-Brits – and taught computer science for almost 12 years.

The troubles began when he accompanied pupils from his sixth-form year group on a school trip to Costa Rica from 5 to 11 July 2019, led by an external expedition company. Glenn had been due to remain on the trip until 28 July.

“However, on 11 July 2019, the headteacher of the school received a call from the expedition company informing him that Mr Glenn was being sent back to the UK due to his behaviour on the trip,” states the TRA report [PDF], dated this month.

Among the findings of fact: Glenn consumed alcohol with one or more pupils more than once; he made inappropriate comments when under the influence of booze including telling one or more pupils “I’m going to kick your fucking head in,” and “I’ll fucking kill you,” or words to that effect.

On another occasion, he grabbed a student’s head “whilst kissing his forehead and saying ‘you’re alright,'” after acting aggressively toward that student. Glenn said he was unable to remember that incident “due to his state of intoxication at the time.”

“The panel noted that Mr Glenn could not recall the events in question, or making the statements alleged, due to his state of intoxication at the time, but that he did not dispute the recollection of those present,” the report says.

Glenn admitted taking one or more pupils to a strip bar, but TRA said there was also photographic evidence of drink tickets obtained at the club, along with a written statement by the trip leader.

“The panel noted that it was agreed between the parties that there was no malice or sexual intent on the part of Mr Glenn in taking the students to the venue in question, but Mr Glenn admits that it was inappropriate and unprofessional for him to fail to control the situation by allowing students to attend the venue.”

There was no malice or sexual intent on the part of Mr Glenn in taking the students to the venue in question, but Mr Glenn admits that it was inappropriate and unprofessional

The list of shame continued in the report, including Glenn confirming some students that consumed the alcohol were under age – the legal drinking age in Costa Rica is 18. He was also found to have been aggressive toward the trip leader when she told him to return to his tent, and on another occasion exposed his naked body to the female leader in a shared room.

However, even though Glenn admitted this last point, “the panel noted that Mr Glenn stated he often sleeps naked when at home, and accepted the explanation that there was no malice or sexual intent involved.”

The TRA panel concluded the tech teacher had breached his duty of care to pupils, even though the incident took place outside of a school setting. The panel said it was “satisfied that the conduct of Mr Glenn amounted to misconduct of a serous nature which fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession.”

Glenn had a clean track record and had cooperated with the TRA. A number of character references were forthcoming from colleagues, ex-colleagues and former pupils, and he had attended previous trips with no incidents.

As such, the TRA committee decided to ban him from teaching for three years, after which he will need to apply for the ban to be lifted.

“Without a successful application, Mr Richard Glenn remains prohibited from teaching indefinitely,” the TRA concluded. ®

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Amazon Web Services outage hits sites and apps such as IMDb and Tinder | Amazon

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Several Amazon services – including its website, Prime Video and applications that use Amazon Web Services (AWS) – went down for thousands of users on Tuesday.

Amazon said the outage was probably due to problems related to application programming interface (API), which is a set of protocols for building and integrating application software, Reuters reported.

“We are experiencing API and console issues in the US-East-1 Region,” Amazon said in a report on its service health dashboard, adding that it had identified the cause. By late late afternoon the outage appeared to be partially resolved, with the company saying that it was “working towards full recovery”.

“With the network device issues resolved, we are now working towards recovery of any impaired services,” the company said on the dashboard.

Downdetector showed more than 24,000 incidents of people reporting problems with Amazon. It tracks outages by collating status reports from a number of sources, including user-submitted errors on its platform.

The outage was also affecting delivery operations. Amazon’s warehouse operation use AWS and experienced disruptions, spokesperson Richard Rocha told the Washington Post. A Washington state Amazon driver said his facility had been “at a standstill” since Tuesday morning, CNBC reported.

Other services, including Amazon’s Ring security cameras, mobile banking app Chime and robot vacuum cleaner maker iRobot were also facing difficulties, according to their social media pages.

Ring said it was aware of the issue and working to resolve it. “A major Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage is currently impacting our iRobot Home App,” iRobot said on its website.

Other websites and apps affected include the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), language learning provider Duolingo and dating site Tinder, according to Downdetector.

The outage also affected presale tickets for Adele’s upcoming performances in Las Vegas. “Due to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage impacting companies globally, all Adele Verified Fan Presales scheduled for today have been moved to tomorrow to ensure a better experience,” Ticketmaster said on Twitter.

In June, websites including the Guardian, Reddit, Amazon, CNN, PayPal, Spotify, Al Jazeera Media Network and the New York Times were hit by a widespread hour-long outage linked to US-based content delivery network provider Fastly Inc, a smaller rival of AWS.

In July, Amazon experienced a disruption in its online stores service, which lasted for nearly two hours and affected more than 38,000 users.

Users have experienced 27 outages over the past 12 months on Amazon, according to the web tool reviewing website ToolTester.

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South Korea sets reliability standards for Big Tech • The Register

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South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT has offered Big Tech some advice on how to make their services suitably resilient, and added an obligation to notify users – in Korean – when they fail.

The guidelines apply to Google, Meta (parent company of Facebook), Netflix, Naver, Kakao and Wavve. All have been told to improve their response to faults by beefing up preemptive error detection and verification systems, and create back up storage systems that enable quick content recovery.

The guidelines offer methods Big Tech can use to measure user loads, then plan accordingly to ensure their services remain available. Uptime requirements are not spelled out.

Big techs is already rather good at resilience. Google literally wrote the book on site reliability engineering.

The guidelines refer to legislation colloquially known as the “Netflix law” which requires major service outages be reported to the Ministry.

That law builds on another enacted in 2020 that made online content service providers responsible for the quality of their streaming services. It was put in place after a number of outages, including one where notifications of the problem were made on the offending company’s social media site – but only in English.

The new regulations follow South Korean telcos’ recent attempts to have platforms that guzzle their bandwidth pay for the privilege. Mobile carrier SK Broadband took legal action in October of this year, demanding Netflix pitch in some cash for the amount of bandwidth that streaming shows – such as Squid Game – consume.

In response, Netflix pointed at its own free content delivery network, Open Connect, which helps carriers to reduce traffic. Netflix then accused SK Broadband of trying to double up on profits by collecting fees from consumers and content providers at the same time.

For the record, Naver and Kakao pay carriers, while Apple TV+ and Disney+ have at the very least given lip service to the idea.

Korea isn’t the only place where telcos have noticed Big Tech taking up more than its fair share of bandwidth. The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) published a letter from ten telco CEOs asking that larger platforms “contribute fairly to network costs”. ®

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Twitter acquires Slack competitor Quill to improve its messaging services

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As part of the acquisition, Quill will be shutting down at the end of the week as its team joins the social media company.

Twitter has acquired the messaging platform Quill, seen as a potential competitor to Slack, in order to improve its messaging tools and services.

Quill announced that it will be shutting down at the end of the week as its team joins the social media company to continue its original goal “to make online communication more thoughtful, and more effective, for everyone”.

The purchase of Quill could be linked to Twitter’s new strategy to reduce its reliance on ad revenue and attract paying subscribers.

Twitter’s general manager for core tech, Nick Caldwell, described Quill as a “fresher, more deliberate way to communicate. We’re bringing their experience and creativity to Twitter as we work to make messaging tools like DMs a more useful and expressive way people can have conversations on the service”.

Users of Quill have until 11 December to export their team message history before the servers are fully shut down at 1pm PST (9pm Irish time). The announcement has instructions for users who wish to import their chat history into Slack and states that all active teams will be issued full refunds.

The team thanked its users and said: “We can’t wait to show you what we’ll be working on next.”

Quill was launched in February with the goal to remove the overwhelming aspects of other messaging services and give users a more deliberate and focused form of online chat.

In an online post, Quill creator Ludwig Pettersson said: “We started Quill to increase the quality of human communication. Excited to keep doing just that, at Twitter.”

The company became a potential competitor for Slack, which was bought by Salesforce at the end of 2020 for $27.7bn. The goal of that acquisition was to combine Salesforce’s CRM platform with Slack’s communications tools to create a unified service tailored to digital-led teams around the world.

Last week, Salesforce announced the promotion of Bret Taylor to vice-chair and co-CEO, just days after he was appointed independent chair of Twitter after CEO Jack Dorsey stepped down.

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

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