* Posts by Chris Williams

207 publicly visible posts • joined 12 Jul 2007


Space boffins save BT's satellite station for Mars missions

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Hemispheres?

"I fail to see how it and Joderell Bank can be part of 'The Largest Telescope in the Southern Hemisphere'"


Please re-read. I did not write that Goonhilly and Joderell Bank will be part of the SKA. The plan is that networking them will be a stepping stone in its development.

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Wrong way up!

Nope. The SKA will be in the southern hemisphere (Africa or Australia). It is a European project.

Anonymous activists to hit the streets

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: «Such doctrine is at odds with reality

"Is this to be taken to mean that Mr Williams thinks - like the Google leadership - that government (not to mention corporate) control over the internet should be subject to protest only when it takes place in, say, China ? That here in Europe and in North America, «we» should be grateful for our respective governments' efforts to protect us from those who would undermine diplomatic secrecy and, not least, monopolistic/oligopolistic profits ?"

No. It should be taken as a statement of reality. Governments and corporations can to varying degrees re-engineer, disrupt, filter, and intercept the internet.

The people can't. They can temporarily inconvenience the webmasters at Visa.

Assange 'threatened to sue' Grauniad over leak of WikiLeak

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Deary me

>Chris Williams, do you work for Wired?

No, I have enough on my plate with shifts at The Reg and the CIA.

I think there's a reasonable chance part of the Guardian's motivation for wanting to publish without Assange's say-so was commercial. So what? It's a business, of sorts. The line about Assange's commercial interest is in my story because it's necessary to explain why he was angry.

Beyond that you don't offer any facts contradictory to the Vanity Fair piece (which by the way is by a very good reporter, Google her), you just say you don't believe the facts it presents.

That's fine. I'd just point out that Rusbridger and Brooke both linked to it uncritically today on Twitter (excepting Brooke's apparently minor gripe, referenced in my article, which she didn't elaborate on), and the Guardian ran its own rundown of the VF piece, repeating the facts.

Renta-spook: GCHQ commercialisation 'is a live issue'

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: There is a more important question here

To qualify under patent law, prior art has to be in the public domain before a patent is granted (or applied for - I'm not sure which). GCHQ's PKE work was classified until 1997, so I think RSA are ok.

There's limited info here: http://www.gchq.gov.uk/history/pke.html

Easynet blames network collapse on dodgy router update

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Was the SLA breached?

The availability guarantee is quarterly. I have added that to the story.

So 6+ hours down is getting on for 0.3 per cent of the quarter.

Wikileaks urges Time death-list spot for Assange

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: And another thing

For Stalin see "Operation Zeppelin". Disastrous failure, but serious in intent.

The attempt on Truman by Puerto Rican separatists was absolutely credible. One of his protection officers was killed.

I think it's hard to argue the attempt on FDR wasn't credible. Five people were shot next to him. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1516.html

Samuel Byck didn't get far in his attempt on Nixon, but it was credible enough that authorities covered up the reason he hijacked the plane.

UK.gov closes wiretap loopholes after Phorm row

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: I suppose that "unintentional interception" applies to Google Street Sniff

I don't think so. The consultation specifies the new law on unintentional interception will only apply to communications providers.

Google wasn't acting as a communication provider when it intercepted that data.

419ers threaten terrorism charges

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: nine out of ten for grammar and spelling?

We believe it's important to reward improvement.


Virgin Media begins 100Mb upgrades

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: "The current top package costs £28 per month on its own."

Typo fixed, thanks.

- Chris

Coalition tears up net snoop plan's £2bn price tag

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Evidence that this is IMP?

The proposals are to be brought forward under terms of "maintaining capability" on communications data. This is exactly the same language used by the previous government in relation to IMP.

The same group of officials, the Communications Capabilities Directorate, are drawing up the consultation. Their forthcoming proposals may yet not be officially called the "Interception Modernisation Programme", but since the Home Office says the aims are the same and the same people are responsible, I think its fair to use the same name until they come up with a new one.

There was a price tag, and now the Home Office says there isn't. That is significant.

Green light for spooks' net snoop plan

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Lets try not to be a moron . . .

Worth noting that for a service such as Facebook, communications data (eg. who your friends are) is contained *in* the payload. There's much debate about whether that actually makes it communications content in law - the gov says no.

Also interception of content in the UK does not require court order, only a signature from the Secretary of State.

Top cyber crime cop lied under oath, says judge

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

Yes. See my earlier comment.

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Nothing to see...

The tribunal awarded damages for hurt feelings, and aggravated damages. Awards for both these types of damages are limited. Shaw asked for exemplary damages, which are unlimited, but was denied.

Employment tribunals can award costs up to £10,000, only where the other side has caused delays or acted un reasonably. In this case the tribunal found there was a short delay while the Met looked for certain documents.

Rogue engineer supplied dodgy power to 1,500 homes

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Clarification needed

Please re-read the article. Particularly this quote from police:

"In many cases we believe that Brown was carrying out work for houses being converted into flats and splitting the connection from the mains in order to allow each property to have a separate supply."

MoD labels Facebook Places a 'targeting pack' for terrorists

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Official Facebook response


As I discussed at length with your PR agency on Friday, I'm afraid the document does label Places as a potential targeting pack, for terrorists.

"This application is almost creating a one stop shop targeting pack, which could potentially be used to target military personnel, family and friends". - MoD

I think that's pretty unequivocal. Unless you think they are concerned about the military and their families being targeted by someone else? Travelling timeshare salesmen, perhaps?

- Chris

419ers take council for £100k

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Daily Mail bandwagon

"Nothing in the story to suggest that this was mastaerminded by anyone from Lagos"

Please read the first sentence of the article.

Lanarkshire councillors have said they believe it was as West African gang.

Police force more suspects to give up crypto keys

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: RE: You didn't think it was necessary ...

"in the JFL case his family were desperately trying to convince him to decrypt his files"

Not the case as far as I'm aware.

UK.gov's phone and net snooping hits record high

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Not impressed

Seems to me your issue is with the interception commissioner, not the Reg.

I would very much like to be able to report those kinds of breakdowns, but as referenced in the article, Sir Paul doesn't see the point of publishing them.

So the analysis you're asking for isn't possible.

Russian spy ring bust uncovers tech toolkit

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Netstumbler

It's a guess, but given the complaint tells us the Russian official detected the surveillance on one occassion, perhaps not a bad one.

- Chris

Police confirm cybercrime budget cut

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: And...

As the story states, PCeU is a national unit, so yes, cuts its budget are more newsworthy than local units.

It is indeed effectively the successor to NHTCU, excepting a circa 2-year hiatus after formation of SOCA.

UK.gov unplugs Lane Fox digiquango

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Karaoke investor?

I'm much more literal than that. It's someone who invests in karaoke bars.

Former heads of HP and eBay win California primaries

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Tat?

"Stop calling it "tat", you lazy HACK."



- Chris

Met lab claims 'biggest breakthrough since Watergate'

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Won't name the case?

"Whilst I can see that the basic theory of the technique is at least feasible, I'm a little more skeptical about the claim that the recorded pattern would be the same from London to Glasgow. Surely local substations and transformers have some effect?"

The research is here. Unfortunately only the abstract is free: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14411

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: I must've missed something somewhere...

"How does 'unique' = 'same in London as it is in Glasgow'?"

Because it is unique in time, not space.

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: All sounds a bit analogue to me

"Hmm, does this only work on magnetic media?"

No, it only works on digital media, as the article says:

"ENF has basically been made possible by the move to digital recording," Dr Cooper said.

"Old magnetic cassette and VHS tapes didn't keep time accurately enough to extract reliable data, but now we can analyse even cheap voice recorders."

Contractors dodge ID cards axe

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Sir

Most of the £4.5bn over 10 years estimate was for operational costs - paying the civil servants to run things and contractors to maintain systems.

UK.gov issues death warrant for ID cards

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: er...

The key is the "next generation" bit. Our obligations are fulfilled by the current generation of chip-carrying passports.

- Chris

Ofcom creates piracy havens at small ISPs

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: C'mon Chris, the whole story...

C'mon, try reading the whole story. E.g. this sentence:

"However, a mass migration of copyright infringers to smaller ISPs is likely to prompt Ofcom to cast its net more widely."

Steelie Neelie batters at China's Great Firewall

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: You do know...

Yes. And we don't care.

Cops back in on BT/Phorm case

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Just BT and Phorm

"Why just BT and Phorm? Haven't other ISPs have performed similar trials with Phorm?"


BT expands fibre rollout

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Possible typo

Right you are. Fixed, thanks.

- Chris

Police IT quango chief to quit

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: That Country Estate in HANTS

Correct, the estate is Bramshill.

The bridge was built by the previous owners, in 1949, and is definitely not a listed structure.

Facebook stands up to UK.gov's cyberbullying

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Oh, FFS.....!


I'm agreeing with Andrea Hall's general point, which seems to me almost a truism. The statement under consideration is:

'Social networks can never do too much to protect users.'

Implicit in that is that the things they are hypothetically doing are protecting users. That would seem to most reasonable people a good thing. It follows that safety measures that don't protect aren't necessarily, which is the point.

Do try to calm down and heed your own advice.

Home Office spawns new unit to expand internet surveillance

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Good question

Yes, they are planning DPI. This has been covered extensively on the Reg. See the related stories.

UK.gov moves to block Hamas kids site

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: this has nothing to do with blocking access

This story is not based on or prompted by a press release. Best,

- Chris

U2 frontman bitchslapped by TalkTalk

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: "Internet industry figures admit in private it would be significant"

"a friend and I bashing out some PHP scripting"

Does that suggest to you that you are a typical consumer broadband subscriber?

Yes, I have seen Broadcast News, many times. I also prefer to quote named people, but for reasons explained earlier in this thread, it's not always possible.

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: As it was then...

Agreed. It's privately accepted that P2P - most of it illegal - was mostly responsible for establishing broadband. And as you say, there's no going back.

Equally, what do people think Virgin Media 50Mbit subscribers pay the premium for today? The people I'm referring to in the story say illegal film and TV downloads.

If Bono had his way, and it was tracked or blocked, would there be a market for that service? Genuine question. Please don't mention Linux distros.

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Another craptastic article.

That is based on conversations over several years with senior executives at ISPs, who for obvious reasons cannot admit as such in public.

Off the record conversations are essential in journalism because they are sometimes the only way to reveal a truth. If you don't like it I suggest you read something else. Or indeed, nothing at all.


- Chris

Unused phone lines to be taxed for rural broadband

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Its not just a 50p per month charge though

"I'm betting HM Gov will nick another 17.5% on top as well.

Please see the first sentence of the article. Thanks,

- Chris

LINX failure slows UK net traffic

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: RE: Eh?

Yes, have tightened that for those who thought it was the most egregious error they have ever suffered witness to. Best,


Villagers revolt over BT chairman's broadband

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Villagers revolt over BT chairman's broadband

The point I sought to make is that don't think it's corrupt for the chairman of BT to ensure he gets BT broadband.

Virgin Media to trial filesharing monitoring system

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

@Steve 70

"As usual there is the assumption and implication here that all file sharing activity is illegal, shame on you Reg for conftributing to the industry / government propoganda, drop the 'illegal' please!"

You've got things a bit backwards there Steve. The "illegal" prefix is used precisely to indicate not all filesharing is illegal.

- Chris

Cybercriminals down five British police forces in a year

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Ahhh

Dear Angry Commenter,

At no point does this story state the PNC was compromised. It merely points out that the police are very reliant on IT and have access to a lot of sensitive data.

The fact that police sytems are being compromised on a fairly regular basis is a matter of public interest. If you'd rather not know, then please move along Sir. Thanks,


Anti-filesharing laws revive crypto fears for spooks

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Does not compute!

I don't think it's either.

As mentioned in the story, a big aim of IMP is to store the comms data (who, what, when, where, how) from third party apps. While IP headers would detail who I contact via vanilla email, details of the people I might contact via Facebook, or online gaming, or what have you, are contained in the payload.

The plan for IMP is to grab this info from the payload in transit using deep packet inspection probes. Encryption would stop this.

You have hit on a contentious part of the debate though. ISPs say because it's in the payload it's content. Home Office says not, so they don't need to rip out and replace the warrant laws.

- Chris

Tabloid hack scum face jail

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: definitely

Please see here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/02/01/the_color_of_irony/

Child porn threat to airport's 'virtual strip search' scanners

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: Not XRays, they are millimeter wave scanners

Incorrect. System is x-ray based.

See here: http://www.theengineer.co.uk/Articles/313581/Airport+tests+full-body+X-ray+system.htm

- Chris

Virgin Media to trial IPTV off-cable network

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: It wont work...

"If it would work then why the hell are BT only just offering upto 20Mb services?"

BT don't have fibre to the cabinet (except current trial in Muswell Hill and Cardiff). When it does it's planning to start by offering up to 40Mbit/s.


For the trial they are using the nearest BT exchange, but will be shortening the sub-loop to the cabinet. Plans for any wider deployment aren't decided.

CCTV website recruits video vigilantes

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: How can we be sure this is for real?

All on Companies House.

Spotify adds PayPal in bid for profitability

Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

Re: half a story

Um, hi Gloria. Can't see any disparaging remarks in the story myself. Personally speaking, I'm a big fan of Spotify.

As a UK publication you'll find that funnily enough most of our stories our written for a UK audience. Hopefully there's a publication wherever you are that you can also offer your considered critique to.