* Posts by Robert M Jones

6 posts • joined 26 Mar 2008

GCHQ outsources net snooping... to EDS

Robert M Jones

Is this meant to inspire confidence?

Oh great. GCHQ outsourced to EDS. That helps me sleep at night. And I hope they have factored in the massive rise in the routine use of encryption by websites and email users, following the loss of confidence in the UK ISPs who signed up with Phorm to snoop on internet traffic using Deep Packet Inspection, and engage in industrial espionage on a hitherto unprecedented scale as they abuse commercial and private copyright. And the similar loss of confidence in the UK government's ability to protect both citizens and commerce from such interception by their facile feeble lackadaisacal attitude to the mass illegal interception of communications in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Enforcement action taken so far against BT, and Phorm - NIL.

Over the last year campaigners against Phorm and BT have warned government repeatedly about the loss of confidence in the internet, and the rise of routine encryption, with the consequential dangers of making life even MORE difficult for LEGAL WARRANTED interceptions carried out for anti-crime and security purposes. But sadly, government do not appear to have listened.

Stop the unwarranted mass interception of communications and you might just slow down the routine adoption of encryption by anyone who wants a measure of privacy for commercial and private personal use of the internet. Ignore the threat and GCHQ better budget for surveillance of an almost wholly encrypted internet. Which won't be easy or cheap. In fact it won't be possible at all at a practical level.

BT puts the 'free' back into 'freephone'

Robert M Jones

BT still confused over their 0845 0870 offer?

Let's hope there is better communication between BT and its customers over this offer, than over the recent and welcome offer to include 0845 and 0870 calls within BT call packages. I'm still not sure whether the offer on 0845/0870 calls extends to BTBroadbandTalk call packages, as I have been given conflicting information by different departments, and sometimes even different forum moderators on the same BT Beta forum


don't seem to be able to agree. One lot of BT staff insist the 0845/0870 offer started for both landline and BTBBTalk VOIP packages, on 16th February, and the other lot insist that BTBBTAlk customers won't benefit till April 1st.

But grumping aside - the offers are welcome, as long as they are not cancelled out by the less publicised simultaneous price rises.

BT silences customers over Phorm

Robert M Jones
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But they removed their own post too...

The strange thing about all this censorship is that BT even removed their OWN announcement about the current Webwise trial. It seems that not only do BT not want to engage with their customers (not a single reply to a customer during the whole life of the Webwise Technical Trial discussion thread) but they are even embarrassed about mentioning Webwise themselves - the moderator posted an announcement about the new Webwise trial on 29th September and even THAT has been deleted.

It's very difficult to hold a constructive discussion with your ISP when they never reply. The only time a BT staff member ever visited that Trial Discussion thread was to censor, delete or edit a post for what they deemed was unacceptable content. As they kept making up new guidelines as they went along it was difficult to keep up. The one consistent thing was - they never engaged with customers about Webwise.

The product that dare not speak its name is hiding under the covers. So much for transparency and openness. Perhaps the ICO will want an explanation, as according to his office, BT are meant to be engaging with their customers. As Adam Liversage might say - "yeah"!

Mandelson's dept mulls UK internet power grab

Robert M Jones
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Get your hands off my domain info please Lord Mandelson

Oh for goodness sake - is there ANY information this government doesn't want to get its careless big hands on? You do not NEED to have this data, and given that you lose every single bit of data I ever entrust you with (today it was my HMRevenue and Customs login information) what on earth is the point of you getting information about the websites I run?

Please - go away and do your IT homework. When you've learned how to look after the information you already have, then we can talk about whether you can be trusted with any more.

NO NO NO NO Nominet for you DBERR.

Fasthosts' dedicated servers go titsup

Robert M Jones
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Guess who BT's Webwise site is hosted by?

Just to add to the general hilarity - BT's Webwise site was having problems earlier today, and it appears to now be hosted by Fasthosts - hence the difficulty. Regular El Reg readers will remember that up till recently it shared IP's with Phorm, 121Media and a variety of other sites with a history of involvement in the lower reaches of the adware industry. If this is the infrastructure BT are relying on for running Webwise on their network, it looks like those browser hijacks that will be needed for the next lot of "trials" could take quite a time to resolve where they are headed.

Nice to know BT are supporting the "budget" end of the hosting market.

BT 'security upgrade' causes email headaches

Robert M Jones

How to fix your BTYahoo Sending mail problem

Users frustrated at the smtp 533 errors and not getting on with the official BTY help page at


may like to go to our unofficial help page here


where they can find user friendly instructions that relate to the BTYahoo interface, and include guidelines for several common email clients.

Two BTY users put this together over the Easter weekend, myself and the host of the website, Andy.

Peer user help is also available at the news.btinternet.com newsgroup, bt.broadband.support

and on the "BT General Broadband support" forums at



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