Archive for 2010/12/14
Guess we’ll be seeing those little “Like” buttons all over Netflix the same way we do everywhere else on the Internet. Perhaps we’ll also see more sharing and recommendations features from inside Netflix similar to what exists in e-book reader applications from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The UK Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), a not-for-profit group that campaigns for the legitimate use of software, has said that it plans to involve its “lawyers in the thought processes to link with the debate” on the controversial Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA).
The DEA threatens to use notoriously unreliable IP address based evidence to identify broadband users “suspected” of unlawful (“illegal“) copyright P2P File Sharing activity to Rights Holders for legal action. It could also lead to the blocking of legitimate websites, service speed restrictions, limits on open Wi-Fi usage or even account disconnection (“suspension“) from your ISP.
However two of the country’s largest broadband internet providers, BT and TalkTalk UK, recently threw a wrench into the machinery by winning an 11th hour style Judicial Review of the act (here). A full hearing is now expected to follow by April 2011 that could result to significant changes.
As a result FAST’s Legal Advisory Group (FLAG) has organised a unique event at the House of Commons on January 12th 2011 (08:45 for 9:30 am start. Close 11:30 am) to discuss hot topics, including the future of the DEA, which will seek to bat the corner of copyright owners against any potential changes to the act’s text.
“Yet again, I’m left noticing the similarities between the US government’s reaction to Wikileaks and the entertainment industry’s reaction to file sharing”, says Mike Masnick (right) on TechDirt.
“Each move that it made, including going legal, backfired in a big, bad way. It’s really quite stunning to watch the US government make the same mistakes.”
Stunning, but hardly surprising, particularly when one considers just how close the Obama administration is to the corporate entertainment industry, and how frequently Big 4 record label and Hollywood demands end up as US government policy.
The seizures over Thanksgiving weekend — most of the 82 sites involved were shut down for selling knockoff handbags, sunglasses and other goods — were made without warning. Internet advocacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have expressed alarm at the precedent the action might set.
Victoria A. Espinel, the White House’s intellectual property enforcement coordinator, said on Dec. 6 that more shutdowns could be expected soon as the government pursued “pirates and counterfeiters.”
Some of the people most surprised by the shutdowns are within the music business itself.
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 recentlyPosted: 2010/12/14 in Bandwidth Management, Education / Awareness
It blamed the problems on a “technical fault”, but did not provide any further details.
An IRS agent from Wisconsin accessed his boss’ computer and added an Outlook rule that forwarded her messages to him. Was it wiretapping? Two courts say yes.
A group of attackers managed to trick both Google and Microsoft into showing malicious ads containing a drive-by download last week. A cunningly misspelled domain name appears to have been sufficient to persuade the companies to display the ads in question.
A new study on the psychology of P2P file sharing challenges governments that want to discourage the practice. While three strikes laws may scare off the typical “leecher,” who downloads files but posts no new content, it notes, they won’t have much effects on “first seeders,” who often see themselves as the Robin Hoods or “masked philanthropists” of the digital age.
Addresses, phone numbers, and even Social Security numbers of 200,000 individuals have made their way onto the Internet thanks to a data leak in Colorado. Even worse, the list includes police informants, victims, suspects, and others.
Groups representing Japanese publishers have made a public plea to Apple to work harder to rid the App Store of pirated works by notable Japanese authors.
One week after he was arrested in London to answer allegations of rape and molestation, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was granted conditional bail by a British judge Tuesday on his sexual to the tune of 240,000 pounds ($378,000 dollars).
Shortly after posting, American filmmaker Michael Moore posted a statement on his website explaining why he donated $20,000 of his own money into the bail fund.
A self-funded group of former European Union officials, activists and media-sector workers based in Belgium say they’ve set up an EU version of WikiLeaks.
Brusselsleaks.com has invited people to anonymously send in sensitive EU-related documents using an encrypted contact form, EUobserver reported Tuesday.
Unlike WikiLeaks, Brussels Leaks will not publish any material itself but will instead check the documents’ authenticity and pass them on to selected media, similar to the policy of OpenLeaks and several other copycat sites that have sprung up.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted bail but is facing another 48 hours in jail as Swedish authorities appeal the decisionPosted: 2010/12/14 in Education / Awareness, Litigation
After being granted bail Assange must now stay in custody for another two days during the Swedish appeal.
“They want to put Mr Assange through more hurdles and expense,” Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens told reporters outside court.
“This is really turning into a show trial and we will be in court again within the next 48 hours,” Mr Stephens said.
Journalists allowed to tweet from Julian Assange bail hearing
Julian Assange: Bail granted and judge gives permission to tweet
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has been released on bail with strict conditions.
He was granted conditional bail for £240,000, thanks in large part to an address being put forward where the Australian national could reside.
Vaughn Smith, a former Army captain who founded and runs the journalist Frontline Club, offered his 600-acre country estate as a bail address as well as a financial surety.
“Pedo website” taken down following the discovery of a child porn ring in Amsterdam, The NetherlandsPosted: 2010/12/14 in Blocking, Education / Awareness, Enforcement, Organized Crime, Public Policy
Dutch newspaper Telegraaf.nl reports that international “pedo website” Boyhood-magazine.org has been taken down, after authorities discovered it had been one of several sites used to lure customers to a secret internet environment where child abuse images were exchanged. Customers from America to Indonesia were attracted in this way.
The site had been registered to one of the suspects in The Netherlands who are believed to have been playing a crucial role in the production and commercial distribution of child abuse images in Amsterdam, involving more than 50 children aging 0-4. Another suspect is said to be a crypto-specialist, IT specialist and website designer. Other Dutch media are reporting that the content of the laptop of the IT specialist has been unlocked / decrypted which resulted in the find of many more child abuse images.
The Amsterdam child porn ring had been discovered as a result of investigations by US authorities.
(my summary and translation)
Dutch language article: http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/8487175/__M._spil_in_wereldwijd_pedonet__.html
Amsterdam pedophile caught on US tip
Dutch police seek help for information on possible child pornography ring; teacher arrested
WikiLeaks co-producer Rop Gonggrijp not welcome in India? “Involved in activities that could not be considered tourism”Posted: 2010/12/14 in Education / Awareness
Two researchers – Alex Halderman and WikiLeaks co-producer Rop Gonggrijp – who had carried out a study demonstrating the flaws in India’s electronic voting machines (EVMs), were denied entry into the country, despite holding valid visas, when they arrived at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Sunday night. However, both put their foot down and demanded to know the reason why they were being asked to go back from the airport; after hours of confusion the Union Home Ministry lifted the restriction on their entry Monday afternoon, a newspaper report claimed Tuesday.
Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan, and Rop Gonggrijp, a Dutch activist and technical expert, had co-authored a study — Security Analysis of India’s Voting Machines — with Hyderabad-based researcher Hari Prasad in July this year, demonstrating two different ways of “manipulating” the EVMs. While the foreign nationals headed back home, Prasad was arrested for stealing a voting machine and was subjected to police interrogation for weeks.
The study had created uproar on the reliability of the machines which were dubbed as tamper-proof. And as a result, the Election Commission of India did initiate a number of steps to enhance their security features.
As per their original plan, Halderman and Gonggrijp has applied for conference visas to take part in an event at the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, but were denied the same.
“Since we had bought airline tickets, we thought we would travel anyway and see our friends here,” Halderman was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
A senior Ministry of Home Affairs official has been quoted as saying that the duo was initially denied entry because of violations of visa terms they had committed during their previous visit to India. “They had come earlier on a tourist visa, but were involved in activities that could not be considered tourism,” he said.
The Home Ministry had asked the missions in their respective countries to not issue them visas in the future, but they were issued visas again inadvertently and since they were issued visas, the ministry decided “to let them in”.
“I arrived in India from New York at 10 pm last night. The immigration officer examined my passport and his eyes grew bigger. He told me he couldn’t let me in and I would have to go back on the same flight, which was leaving in 90 minutes,” Halderman said.
Gonggrijp, who arrived from Holland at about 2 am on Monday, was also similarly detained. No reason was given as to why they were being denied entry. Halderman and Gonggrijp were hoping to speak at a conference at the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, but could not get conference visas.
Halderman has a five-year multiple entry tourist visa and Gonggrijp has a single-entry tourist visa. The Election Commission was contacted by the local contacts of the two researchers under the impression that the EC might in some way be responsible for the entry restriction. The commission subsequently wrote to the home ministry on Monday morning saying it was in no way opposed to the entry of the two researchers to India.
“We had never raised this issue with any ministry of the government of India,” deputy election commissioner Alok Shukla said. “Since we were contacted after they were denied entry, the commission felt we should clarify our position, and hence we wrote to the home ministry saying we were not opposed to the entry of anyone to India irrespective of the views they held about India’s electoral system. We are all for free speech,” Shukla said.
Alex de Joode, Security Officer for LeaseWeb was keen to accentuate the expanding role that the LeaseWeb abuse handling department would be undertaking with the NetDirekt acquisition. In an email to HostExploit, as a beneficiary of LeaseWeb’s ‘Community Outreach Project’, Alex explained,‘LeaseWeb will institute LeaseWeb abuse handling procedures and most of LeaseWeb policies at NetDirekt.’
From a security point of view, this particular move can only be seen as good news for Netdirekt customers and bad news for the cybercriminal fraternity. Although not by any means the worst host in terms of levels of cybercriminal activities, NetDirekt has had its fair share of problems as HostExploit’s October ‘Top 50 Bad Hosts Report’ as illustrated in the comprehensive analysis of badness levels on each of the world’s 35,000+ public Autonomous Systems(new report due in early 2011 ). NetDireckt AS28753 was number 30 in the list of worst performing hosts in the world. Now NetDirekt can directly benefit from the policies that LeaseWeb has employed in cleaning up their service. LeaseWeb has continued to make significant improvements in the prevention of cybercriminal activity dropping down to number 70, in the last quarter report, having formerly been at 24. An up to date list of the top 100 ‘Bad Hosts’ can be found on SiteVet, our tool for providing data on domains and Autonomous Systems. SiteVet is currently in Beta development.
LeaseWeb Acquires Germany’s netdirekt
netdirekt’s most popular websites: http://serversiders.com/as28753
Leaseweb’s most popular websites: http://serversiders.com/as16265
WikiLeaks’ Assange Distances Himself From Cyberattacks, said he was not happy about the cyberattacks because he believes in openness and free speechPosted: 2010/12/14 in Cybercrime, Education / Awareness
The comments are the closest the US president has come to making a public statement on the release of US embassy cables by Wikileaks.
“My administration has pursued a new era of engagement around the world – an engagement that’s grounded in mutual interest and mutual respect. It depends on trust. It depends on candour. That’s the essence of our diplomacy,” he said.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will make a fresh appeal to be granted bail when he returns to court todayPosted: 2010/12/14 in Education / Awareness, Litigation
He is due to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a second hearing this afternoon. If Assange is denied bail a second time he is expected to appeal at the High Court. The former hacker, who is accused of sexually assaulting two women in Sweden, turned himself in to Scotland Yard detectives last week.
WikiLeaks’ expenditures have risen dramatically from a paltry $38,000 between October 2009 and July 2010 to more than $495,000 in the last five months, according to a foundation that manages most of the organization’s donations.
The jump in expenses appears to be due to salaries the organization recently began paying staff members. WikiLeaks said in the past — before it began paying salaries — that its operating costs run only about $200,000 annually.
“The decision to disclose one archive rather than another is now, as we all know, more a matter of negotiation between hackers and the press then between the press and global leaders. In this three party game, those in charge are the data thieves, second are those who impose their selections on behalf of their own ethics, and third are those who negotiate with the seconds to try and stay ahead of something they cannot control.”