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Christopher Williams

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Brussels quizzes UK on school kiddyprinting

The European Commission has raised "significant concerns" with Britain over schools that collect and store children's fingerprints. Officials in Brussels have written to the government after a father in Scotland, who objected to such a policy at his daughter's school, complained. Chris Halliday, whose case was first covered by …
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Zuckerberg beats Assange to claim Person of the Year™

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has defied WikiLeaks supporters to claim Time magazine's Person of the Year™ crown. Julian Assange came in third, behind the Tea Party, the chaotic but influential agglomeration of US right wingers. WikiLeaks had openly campaigned for him to win, issuing fanciful claims it would protect him from …
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WikiLeaks urged to stop hosting on Russian blackhat ISP

Security watchers have urged Wikileaks to stop hosting its material with a "bulletproof" Russian ISP believed to primarily cater to, or be controlled by, Russian cyber criminals. Wikileaks.org now points to a mirror of the site, mirror.wikileaks.info, hosted by Webalta, a blackhat ISP linked to a company called Heihachi Ltd, …
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ASSANGE GRANTED BAIL

WikiLeaks supremo Julian Assange was granted bail on appeal by a London court this afternoon. After six days in jail he will be released with conditions, including a £240,000 surety. The next hearing in Sweden's attempt to extradite him in relation to alleged sex crimes against two women was scheduled for 11 January. However, …
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BT accidentally chokes bandwidth to 'superfast' customers

BT has said sorry to subscribers to its "Infinity" packages, who have seen their "superfast" broadband connections slowed to a relative crawl in the evening recently. It blamed the problems on a "technical fault", but did not provide any further details. Hundreds of postings on BT's customer forums in the last week report a …
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Beeb ordered to release TV licensing contract sweeteners

The BBC is to be forced to reveal secret sweeteners contained in its licence fee collection deal with Capita within five weeks. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) today gave the corporation a 35-day deadline to disclose the incentives written into the contract. BBC bosses had previously refused requests for the detail …
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BT tests 1Gbit/s broadband

BT hopes to show off the potential of its fibre-to-the-premises technology in the new year, with a trial in Suffolk that will push downstream speeds up to 1Gbit/s. The purely technical exercise in Kesgrave, involving engineers from BT's nearby Martlesham Heath labs, will aim for a downstream speed ten times the 100Mbit/s offered …
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Brits now spend more on debit cards than rustle or jingle money

British shoppers are for the first time spending more on their debit cards than in cash, according to banks. The 1.7 billion debit card transactions in the first eight months of this year were worth £272bn, compared to £269bn for cash, the Payments Council said today. Spending on plastic during the August bank holiday relegated …
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THE TRUTH on the Californian NASA POISON ALIENS

The discovery of a previously unknown lifeform in California that lives on arsenic is prompting astrobiologists to broaden their hunt for alien life. The new bacterium - GFAJ-1, part of the class Gammaproteobacteria, which also includes E.coli - was discovered in samples taken from Mono Lake. The lake is naturally high in …
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Renta-spook: GCHQ commercialisation 'is a live issue'

GCHQ could be turned into a technology incubator under plans being discussed by the government, it's been revealed. The security minister Baroness Neville-Jones told MPs that commercialisation of the Cheltenham spy agency's technology and services is a "live issue". She appeared yesterday before the Science and Technology …
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97% of INTERNET NOW FULL UP, warn IPv4 shepherd boys

Less than three per cent of IPv4 address space is still to be allocated, after two huge chunks were given to American and European ISPs. ARIN and RIPE, which administer IP addresses on either side of the Atlantic, each received two /8 address blocks in November. A fifth block went to their African equivalent. The moves leave …
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Chinese telecoms giant furiously scrubs links to Phorm

Huawei, the giant Chinese telecoms manufacturer, has deleted claims on its own website and by its staff that it is involved in a partnership with Phorm. Nonetheless, the pair are working together, and Phorm is also integrating its behavioural advertising technology with Cisco routing gear as it courts ISPs outside the UK. On …
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Iran admits cyberattack hit nuke programme

The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today seemed to confirm speculation that the Stuxnet worm obstructed his regime's nuclear ambitions. "Several" uranium enrichment centrifuges were damaged by the virus, he told a press conference. "They were able to create problems on a limited basis for some of our centrifuges by …
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Wikileaks exposes Clinton's cyberspy wish-list

Hillary Clinton asked US diplomats to gather the passwords and encryption keys of top United Nations officials, as well as details of the private networks they use to communicate. In one of the most controversial of the first batch of embassy cables released by Wikileaks, she sought information that would be useful for cyber- …
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ISPs under pressure to control online porn

Campaigners will meet with the internet minister, Ed Vaizey, to lobby for ISPs to be forced to control access to pornography. Vaizey issued the invitation to Tory backbencher Claire Perry, who said the availability of sexual material online is "a fire is burning out of control". The minister offered to act as an "honest broker …
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Police to get greater web censorship powers

Police will effectively get more powers to censor websites under proposals being developed by Nominet, the company that controls the .uk domain registry. Following lobbying by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Nominet wants to change the terms and conditions under which domain names are owned so that it can revoke …
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Pentagon braces for Wikileaks' diplomatic dump

The Pentagon expects Wikileaks to expose a huge cache of classified diplomatic communications by as soon as Friday, it has warned politicians. An official told the Senate and House Armed Services Committees the whistleblowing site is working with its regular press partners, The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel on the …
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Sex abuse fax leak costs council £100k

A council that accidentally faxed details of a child sex abuse case to a member of the public was fined £100,000 by the Information Commissioner today, in the first use of his new powers to punish data breaches. Hertfordshire County Council intended to send the fax to barristers in June this year. Once officials realised their …
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Scottish botnet master jailed for 18 months

A Scottish botnet master was this morning jailed for 18 months and ordered to pay £5,000 costs for hijacking many thousands of computers from his mum's front room. Matthew Anderson, 33, from Drummuir, used the global network of compromised machines to send tens of millions of spam emails. The father of five, whose own home was …
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Foreign cyber spies target British defence official

Foreign spies targeted a senior British defence official in a sophisticated spear phishing operation that aimed to steal military secrets. The plan was foiled last year when the official became suspicious of an email she received from a contact she had met at a conference. The official showed the highly personalised message to …
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Anti-piracy lawyers 'knowingly targeted the innocent', says law body

A major law firm knew it sometimes had no reliable evidence of unlawful filesharing when it demanded hundreds of pounds damages from internet users, according to the solicitors' watchdog. London-based Davenport Lyons threatened thousands of people with legal action for alleged copyright infringement between 2006 and 2009. They …
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Sweden to issue international arrest warrant for Assange

Swedish prosecuters plan to issue an international arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, after a court today approved their request to detain him over rape and molestation allegations. Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny said she will seek his arrest via Interpol, AP reports. Assange again denied the …
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Easynet blames network collapse on dodgy router update

Early investigations of a nationwide collapse of the Easynet network have pointed the finger at a software update to a Cisco router. The outage began at 8.32am on Wednesday, and for some customers lasted most of the working day. "An Easynet edge router crashed due to a software bug condition triggered by an invalid update from …
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Swedish prosecutors seek Assange arrest

Updated The Swedish prosecutor leading an investigation of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is today seeking a court order for his arrest, so she can interrogate him on allegations of rape and molestation. Marianne Ny indicated that efforts to question Assange on a voluntary basis have been unsuccessful. "The reason for my request is …
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UK.gov ignores 'net neutrality' campaigners

ISPs will be allowed to charge content providers to prioritise their traffic, the government indicated today. A speech by the communications minister Ed Vaizey confirmed that the concept of "net neutrality" remains irrelevant in the UK under the coalition. As long as providers are open about their policies, he said, the …