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Easynet network goes titsup

Updated Easynet's core network is down this morning, leaving thousands of businesses and homes without internet access. A message posted to the firm's status page at 8.45am reports a nationwide outage, affecting all connections. Customers have turned to Twitter - presumably via a secondary connection - to complain and compare notes. …
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Head of UK.gov IT quits

John Suffolk, the official in charge of the government's overall IT strategy, has resigned. He will leave the £207,000 post at the end of the year, after just under five years as Whitehall's Chief Information Officer, based at the Cabinet Office. He has campaigned for radical reform of government IT, including slashing the …
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Wikileaks urges Time death-list spot for Assange

Wikileaks is calling for supporters to vote for its founder Julian Assange as Time magazine's "Person of the Year™". In terms of news coverage generated in the last 12 months, he's certainly a contender. The Afghanistan and Iraq documents got global exposure, as did the fate of their alleged leaker, Private Bradley Manning. …
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Scareware cold-callers target 1 in 4

A quarter of internet users have received a cold call from cyber criminals falsely claiming their computer is infected with a virus, the government said today. The con is designed to obtain banking credentials and control of the target machine. Victims are told they need to download software that will remove the infection, but …
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MoD battles copycat hackers

The Ministry of Defence is battling a wave of copycat attacks after a hacker took down the Royal Navy's public website this week. Simon Kershaw, head of defence security and assurance services, said IT staff have been monitoring many more attempts to penetrate military sites than usual since the hack, which emerged on Monday. …
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Sky confirms UK Online closure

Sky has confirmed it will completely shut down UK Online, its second string ISP brand, in January. The expected move follows the sale of Easynet, which originally bought UK Online to sell consumer access via its well-regarded network. A Sky spokesman said: "Since 2005 Sky has operated two residential broadband services, Sky …
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Netezza pays to shut down CIA killer drone lawsuit

Netezza has settled a lawsuit in which it was accused of supplying inaccurate, illegally hacked software to the CIA's drone assassination programme. The potentially explosive case was brought by Intelligent Integration Systems (IISi), a Boston-based software firm. It was seeking an injunction which could have forced the CIA to …
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High Court to probe Digital Economy Act

Updated Senior judges are to review the Digital Economy Act following a complaint from BT and TalkTalk that it was rushed through Parliament before the election. The pair's application for a judicial review, filed at the High Court in July, was granted today. The review is likely to at least delay the Act's anti-unlawful filesharing …
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UK.gov closes wiretap loopholes after Phorm row

The Home Office is scrambling to close loopholes in wiretapping law, revealed by the Phorm affair, ahead of a potentially costly court case against the European Commission. It is proposing new powers that would punish even unintentional illegal interception by communications providers. Officials in Brussels are suing the …
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Government abandons benefit-cheat lie detectors

The government has abandoned plans to use a telephone-based lie detector to catch benefits fiddlers, following criticism by scientists that the technology is no more reliable than tossing a coin. Analysis of "Voice Risk Analysis" (VRA) software did not conclude it is effective, the Department of Work and Pensions said. "The …
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Counter-terror review to consider net jihadis

The government has today launched a review of its controversial "Prevent" counter-terrorism strategy, which includes measures to tackle extremist material online. The wide-ranging review could lead to greater censorship of the web. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said today: "I believe the Prevent programme isn't working as …
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Vodafone flogs stake in Japanese carrier for £3.1bn

Vodafone is to sell its non-controlling stake in the Japanese carrier Softbank for £3.1bn, it announced today. It follows the disposal of its 3.2 per cent interest in China Mobile in September. The cash from both sales will be used to pay down debts and placate investors with share buybacks. The group said it will now focus on …
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UK.gov plans net surveillance by 2015

Government measures to massively increase surveillance of the internet will be in place within five years. In its departmental business plan, published today, the Home Office said it aims that "key proposals [will be] implemented for the storage and acquisition of internet and e-mail records" by June 2015. The plan is the …
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GCHQ goes Google

Britain's digital spies have turned to Google for help making sense of the floods of data now inundating their powerful computing resources. GCHQ, the Cheltenham-based signals intelligence agency, is recruiting an expert on MapReduce, the patented number-crunching technique previously behind the dominant web search engine. The …
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Assange could claim Swiss asylum

Transparency campaigner Julian Assange may seek political asylum in notorious Alpine secrecy stronghold Switzerland, he has claimed. Apparently without irony, the Wikileaks founder told a Swiss TV news programme he is mulling throwing himself on the mercy of the hush-hush cash stash. "That is a real possibility," he said. "I'm …
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Brussels blocks UK from biometric superdatabase

European judges have rejected an attempt by British security officials to gain access to a huge new store of visa application data being set up to combat illegal immigration, organised crime and terrorism. The government went to court to force the EU to allow agencies such as MI5, SOCA and the UK Border Agency to use the Visa …
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BT network goes titsup up north

The BT network has failed for the second time in a few days, again cutting off users in and Scotland and northern England. The ongoing outage is also affecting third party ISPs who use resell access via the national telco. According to ADSL24, BT is blaming the latest problems on an unnamed hardware vendor. Andrews and Arnold …
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London Stock Exchange investigates IT 'sabotage'

The London Stock Exchange is investigating a suspected sabotage after a trading platform was crippled for two hours. The outage hit the Turquoise system yesterday. "Investigations... have revealed that human error was to blame for the disruption that began at 0823am this morning," the LSE said in a statement. "Preliminary …
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UK nuke station denies Stuxnet shutdown

A British nuclear power station suffering an "unplanned outage" has categorically denied any link to the sophisticated Stuxnet worm. One of two reactors at Heysham 1, owned by French energy giant EDF, was taken offline yesterday. Parts of the site are run by Siemens S7 systems, prompting suggestions the sophisticated worm is to …
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Spending cuts force police IT merger

Cash-strapped police in the East Midlands will merge IT services in an effort to protect front line spending. Five forces - Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, and Northamptonshire - have agreed to work together to see what savings can be made. Each force currently runs its own staff administration system …
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UK.gov plans net censor service

The minister responsible for internet regulation is planning a new mediation service to encourage ISPs and websites to censor material in response to public complaints. Ed Vaizey said internet users could use the service to ask for material that is "inaccurate" or infringes their privacy to be removed. It would offer a low cost …
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First tube station to get Wi-Fi next week

Charing Cross will become the first London Underground station to offer wireless internet access from next week. BT Openzone will run a six-month trial in the ticket hall area and on Northern and Bakerloo line platforms. There won't be any access on trains. The service will be offered on the same basis as other BT Openzone …
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MP slams ICO for 'lily-livered' Google probe

The Information Commissioner faces sharp criticism in Parliament over his handling of an investigation into Google's Street View Wi-Fi data harvesting operation. Tory MP Robert Halfon admonished Christopher Graham ahead of a backbench debate on Google and internet privacy today. "The UK Information Commissioner has been lily- …
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Prosecutors prep decision on BT-Phorm case

The Crown Prosecution Service is close to settling on whether to prosecute anyone over BT and Phorm's secret interception and profiling of internet traffic. Prosecutors have disclosed they plan to announce their decision at the end of November, following an investigation lasting more than two years. They are deciding whether to …
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Virgin Media begins 100Mb upgrades

Virgin Media today said it will begin increasing the maximum downstream broadband speed available via its network to 100Mbit/s, and maximum upload speed to 10Mbit/s. The gradual programme will take more than 18 months to cover the country, it said, and is due for completion in mid-2012. The first areas scheduled for upgrade, in …
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Trucker jailed for deadly motorway gamble

A lorry driver who killed a man on the M25 by crashing into his car while using a laptop has been jailed for five years. Stephen Cook, 42, from mid-Glamorgan, was playing a poker app on Facebook when he hit Peter Kendall's Astra in September last year. The 39-year-old died of head injuries in hospital two days later. Cook was …
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Coalition tears up net snoop plan's £2bn price tag

The coalition government has torn up figures that pegged the cost of plans by the intelligence services to store records of every online communication at £2bn. A Home Office spokesman told The Register that the previous government's estimate of the cost of the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) has been abandoned. He …
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Schmidt: I 'misspoke' over Street View

Google CEO Eric Schmidt today said he "misspoke" when he suggested that people who don't like pictures of their homes appearing on Street View should "just move". A Google spokeswoman contacted The Register this morning with further musings from her gaffe-prone boss. "As you can see from the unedited interview, my comments were …
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Easynet axes 1 in 20 staff

Easynet's new private equity owners plan to make one in 20 staff redundant, they announced this week. Some 55 jobs are to go as the firm aims to focus on corporate networking customers. Insiders fear more roles are yet to be cut. They said the first casualties include the UK hosting team, the global marketing director and head …
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Green light for spooks' net snoop plan

The coalition government has approved a multibillion-pound plan by the intelligence agencies to store details of every online conversation. The reemerging Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) means internet providers will be forced to install interception equipment in their networks to capture details of who contacts whom …
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Scientists dodge Osborne's axe

Scientists are today expressing relief that the government's deep cuts have left them relatively unscathed. The Chancellor George Osborne said the £4.6bn science budget, administered by the the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, will be maintained over the next four years. He accepted that research will be key to …
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Osborne details painful cuts for UK

After months of phoney war, George Osborne has detailed the coalition's battle plan to beat Britain's £109bn deficit, confirming hundreds of thousands of casualties across the public sector. The Chancellor also announced sweeping reforms to the welfare system, saying "fairness" is the government's guiding principle. Osborne …
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Top cyber crime cop lied under oath, says judge

Exclusive The head of the national police unit set up to tackle internet crime told lies under oath about her involvement in a plot to damage the career of a junior detective, a judge has said. Detective Superintendent Charlie McMurdie, of the Met's high-profile Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), falsely claimed that conversations she …
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Cameron to spend £1bn+ on cyber security

David Cameron will next week allocate more than a billion pounds to a cross-government effort to bolster Britain's cyber security, Whitehall sources have told The Register. The funding will be announced by the Prime Minister as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. The largest share of the three-year budget will be …
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CEOP chief accuses UK.gov of putting kids at risk

Britain's most senior anti-paedophile policeman, who resigned last week in a row with the Home Secretary over the future of his organisation, has told MPs he quit because a proposed new structure will put children at risk. Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), today appeared …
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Rogue engineer supplied dodgy power to 1,500 homes

A former electricity engineer is believed to have illegally supplied power to more than 1,500 addresses in a scam lasting years. Derek Brown, 45, from Tottenham, London, was yesterday handed an eight-month suspended sentence and 150 hours community service for criminal damage offences at Wood Green Crown Court. Police also …
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Feds asked to probe Google's leaky search terms

The FTC is considering a complaint that Google conceals the fact that users' search terms are handed over to the websites they visit. Christopher Soghoian, a well-known privacy campaigner and former FTC employee, charges that the dominant search engine's privacy policy does not explain that referral headers - which include full …
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Provincial outrage over BT's broadband upgrade race

The early standings in BT's competition to find the five communities where faster broadband is most in demand aren't encouraging for anyone living outside the M25, or indeed Zone 1, if an email to entrants today is to be believed. It claims the current top five in the "Race to Infinity" are Bermondsey, Bishopsgate, Canonbury, …
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TalkTalk reveals faster broadband plans

TalkTalk has broken cover as the first major ISP with plans to use BT's faster broadband infrastructure. Boss Charles Dunstone said it is preparing packages based on wholesale access to new fibre optics, the FT reports. The move is not surprising, but is good news for BT, which is investing £2.5bn in fibre-to-the-cabinet and …
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McCanns join CEOP quango row

Theresa May is sticking to her plan to merge the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) into a larger law enforcement agency, despite further protests from Kate and Gerry McCann. The couple's intervention follows the resignation of CEOP chief executive Jim Gamble, who quit after the Home Secetary made it clear …
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Internet firms welcome CEOP chief's exit

Exclusive Jim Gamble's resignation as Britain's most senior child protection policeman has today been welcomed by a broad coalition of internet firms, who said they had been alienated by his aggressive approach. Major ISPs and websites joined to criticise the former Northern Ireland intelligence chief's strategy at the head of the Child …
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Met chief fears Brit cybercrime gangs

Britain's most senior police officer has raised fears that home-grown organised gangs are waking up to the low risks and high rewards of cybercrime. Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, issued the warning in a Sunday newspaper article highlighting the importance of specialist officers. Debate around …
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MoD labels Facebook Places a 'targeting pack' for terrorists

Exclusive Security chiefs have cautioned army, navy and RAF personnel to disable Facebook Places, over fears it could be used by terrorists to identify and track targets. The new service could act as a "one stop shop targeting pack", particularly in Northern Ireland, they warn. The Ministry of Defence is concerned about how it could be …
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Video vigilante site emerges from legal battles

Internet Eyes, a controversial service that invites web users to provide low-cost monitoring of CCTV cameras in exchange for prizes, will finally launch next week. Following claims last year that its plans were illegal, the start-up firm now says it has satisfied privacy regulators that it will comply with the Data Protection …
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EU sues UK.gov over Phorm trials

The European Commission is suing the UK government over authorities' failure to take any action in response to BT's secret trials of Phorm's behavioural advertising technology. The Commission alleges the UK is failing to meet its obligations under the Data Protection Directive and the ePrivacy Directive. The action follows 18 …
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Virgin Media introduces P2P throttling

Virgin Media will for the first time target peer-to-peer traffic for throttling on its cable network, joining most DSL broadband providers. In a phased introduction due to be completed by next summer it will cut the bandwidth available to peer-to-peer protocols and Usenet at peak times, for all customers. Until now the firm had …
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ACS:Law's mocking of 4chan could cost it £500k

Off-the-cuff bravado aimed at internet pranksters has led to what must already rank as one of the worst ever data leaks, by the anti-filesharing solicitors ACS:Law. The personal details of thousands of ISP customers accused of unlawfully sharing pornography, as well as video games, are now freely available online. The …
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Wikileaks' Assange to reenter the fray

Julian Assange will step back onto the public stage this week with an appearance in London. Wikileaks' spokesman and de facto leader is scheduled to speak on Thursday at City University. He will debate the rights and wrongs of the whistleblowing site's release of tens of thousands of frontline intelligence reports from …
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419ers take council for £100k

A Scottish local authority lost £102,000 to an African gang after being duped by a targeted letter scam. The letter, received at the end of July, purported to come from one of South Lanarkshire Council's legitimate suppliers, and requested that payments be made into a different account. The finance department complied, …
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CIA used 'illegal, inaccurate code to target kill drones'

The CIA is implicated in a court case in which it's claimed it used an illegal, inaccurate software "hack" to direct secret assassination drones in central Asia. The target of the court action is Netezza, the data warehousing firm that IBM bid $1.7bn for on Monday. The case raises serious questions about the conduct of Netezza …