The Register Columnists

Christopher Williams

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed
The Register breaking news

Ace Reg reporter in career suicide shock

After almost five years, I'm rejoining the massed ranks of the Reg readership. Assuming my crippling hangover has subsided by then, I'll be reading from Monday in my new post as technology correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. It's been an absolute pleasure to serve this unique and esteemed organ, which has some of the most …
The Register breaking news

Sarko to use G8 presidency to promote net regulation

Nicolas Sarkozy plans to use France's presidency of the G8 this year to promote international cooperation on greater regulation of the internet, according to reports. "How do you respond to the problem of terrorism, of paedophilia, to subjects such as the right to be forgotten?" an unnamed source in Sarkozy's entourage was …
The Register breaking news

ISPs battle EU child pornography filter laws

ISPs are battling proposals by officials in Brussels that would force them to block access to child pornography, arguing that such systems only hide the problem. The European Commission has drafted new laws that will be voted on by the European Parliament next month. The technical solutions envisaged are broadly based on …
DVD it in many colours

Fire safety gaffe knocks out Webfusion data centre

A bungling fire safety contractor caused a complete shutdown at hosting firm Webfusion's data centre today, crippling thousands of websites. The firm's domain name arm, 123-Reg, was also temporarily offline. "An external third party was carrying out routine maintenance in our data centre, and testing our systems for fire …
The Register breaking news

Space boffins save BT's satellite station for Mars missions

Space scientists will redevelop BT's historic Goonhilly satellite station in Cornwall to allow communication with missions to Mars, it is revealed today. The mothballed site will also become a centre of cutting-edge astronomical research as part of a network of huge radio telescopes. Arthur, the world's first parabolic …
The Register breaking news

Assange bailed again

Julian Assange has been bailed again by a London magistrate ahead of a full extradition hearing next month. The WikiLeaks founder walked free from Belmarsh Magistrates' Court this morning following a brief hearing, in which only minor changes were made to his bail conditions. Assange, who is wanted by Swedish authorities over …
The Register breaking news

Anonymous activists to hit the streets

Protestors associated with the online activism group Anonymous will hit the streets of London twice this week, in criticism of Scientology and in support of Julian Assange. Buoyed by its current high profile, a result of interest in its recent DDoS attacks on Visa, Mastercard and Amazon, the group has issued a call for global …
The Register breaking news

'Methanotroph' bacteria feasted on blown BP rig's methane belch

Scientists believe they have solved the mystery over what happened to the hundreds of thousands of tons of methane that belched into the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion last April. According to a study published in Science Xpress, the gas served as a feast for methanotrophs: bacteria able to use …
The Register breaking news

Google battles Derby cops over access to Street View data

Google has turned the boys in blue red with rage by refusing to hand over private data except by court order. Police want to trace a vehicle snapped by Google's Street View cameras next to a caravan that was stolen shortly afterwards. The thief struck in June 2009, while the Soanes family, from Linton, Derbyshire, were out. …
The Register breaking news

Assange 'threatened to sue' Grauniad over leak of WikiLeak

Julian Assange threatened to sue The Guardian last year when he learned it planned to publish stories based on leaked US diplomatic cables without his permission, it's claimed today. The Wikileaks founder's gripe: That the paper had obtained the documents it intended to use not via him, but from a leaker within his …
The Register breaking news

US gov funds censorship-busting tech alternatives to Wikileaks

The US State Department, still reeling from its own battle with the online activists of Wikileaks, is nevertheless offering cash grants for technology to circumvent internet censorship by the Chinese and Iranian governments. The call for applications follows a high-profile speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a year …
The Register breaking news

BT confirms broadband upgrades for rotten boroughs

Six communities where an online poll claimed every single BT customer voted for the local exchange to be upgraded will get faster broadband, the firm has confirmed. The "Race to Infinity" called on small towns and villages – about 25 per cent of its national network – to petition BT to be included in its ongoing fibre optic …
hands waving dollar bills in the air

BT fibre-up-your-exchange poll in 6-way Mugabe style pileup

Today is the last day of BT's "Race to Infinity" broadband upgrade competition, and the result already looks improbable. BT launched the competition in early October, offering small towns and villages nationwide the chance to win a fibre upgrade for their local exchange. Any community overlooked by the firm's commercial …
The Register breaking news

Labour moots using speed cameras to reward law-abiding drivers

The new shadow transport minister has suggested that the country's network of average speed cameras could be used to monitor and reward careful drivers with prizes, cheaper car tax, or by deducting penalty points from their licence. Conscious that her party was perceived as anti-motorist when in government, Angela Eagle …
The Register breaking news

Standard smartphone charger to dominate in two years

A new generation of smartphones capable of using the same charger - from manufacturers including Apple, Nokia and RIM - will begin appearing in the new year, following the release of European technical standards. The standards, based on Micro-USB, have been welcomed today by the European Commission, which says they will be a …
The Register breaking news

Masked Santas disarm Swedish royal guard

Two masked men dressed in Santa hats robbed a royal guard of his automatic weapon in Stockholm last night. The pair mounted a successful surprise attack on the guard, The Local reports. "This is serious. I have a hard time believing it is a prank. It might be premeditated," said appropriately-named local police commander Anders …
The Register breaking news

Santander mixes up 35,000 bank statements

The High Street bank Santander has blamed printers for a blunder that saw it send 35,000 bank statements to the wrong addresses. It has written to customers to warn them, but played down potential security problems. "Due to a technical error at our printers, a number of current account statements dated December 18 have …
The Register breaking news

School caretaker harassed after Islamists hack EDL

A school received hatemail targeting its caretaker after he was wrongly identified as a fascist by opponents of the English Defence League, based on data stolen by an Islamist hacking group. The headmaster of the comprehensive school in Dorset, which The Register has agreed not to name, summoned the caretaker to his office early …
channel

Christmas shoppers hit by BT fire

A flood and fire in one of BT's major exchanges in London's west end has left stores on Oxford Street and Regent Street unable to process card payments in the last few shopping days before Christmas. The small blaze overnight at the Gerrard Street facility in Soho has left thousands of businesses without broadband and …
The Register breaking news

Senior Guardian hacks turn on Assange

An intriguing mini-drama has emerged from backstage at the WikiLeaks theatre. Julian Assange has fallen out with the two senior Guardian journalists who have been central figures in the global publishing of classified US military and diplomatic documents this year. Arguably, he's not a man who can afford to lose friends at the …
The Register breaking news

'Porn lock' heralds death of WikiLeaks, internet, democracy, universe

Analysis The British government wants to gag WikiLeaks, and is drawing up Orwellian plans to exploit fears over the effect of online smut on children to achieve that aim. That was the snap conclusion drawn yesterday in fruitcake-friendly corners of the web in response to a Sunday Times front page splash, which reported that the …
The Register breaking news

English Defence League membership list stolen

The personal details of English Defence League supporters have been stolen in a hacking attack on its website, it was reported today. The far-right group's leadership emailed members in recent days to warn them of the breach, the Daily Telegraph reports. "As you may have become aware the English Defence League clothing site was …
The Register breaking news

Prosecutors kick Phorm case upstairs

Prosecutors have further delayed a decision on whether anyone will be prosecuted over BT's secret trials of Phorm's web monitoring system. The case is now under consideration "at a senior level", the Crown Prosecution Service said in a letter to Alex Hanff, the privacy campaigner who complained after police refused to …
The Register breaking news

Assange to be released

A High Court judge has rejected a call to keep Julian Assange in jail while the courts consider Sweden's extradition request. The Wikileaks founder, wanted in Sweden for questioning in relation to alleged sex crimes, was granted bail on Tuesday, but was held in prison pending today's appeal by the Crown Prosecution Service. …
The Register breaking news

Police probe British Anonymous activists

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it is investigating the activities of Anonymous, the online activism movement recently under the spotlight for its DDoS attacks in support of WikiLeaks. The probe was launched several months ago, apparently following complaints about Anonymous' attacks on the website of ACS:Law, a London …