At issue is the FISA Amendments Act, expiring legislation authorizing the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is outside the United States. The communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”
Archive for May, 2012
Today, exactly six years have passed since The Pirate Bay was raided by the Swedish police. At the time the entertainment industries hoped that this would silence the deviant BitTorrent site for good, but in hindsight we can conclude that they had actually awakened a monster. The raid and the ongoing battle that later unfolded reads like a script for an upcoming Hollywood blockbuster. The Pirate Bay team have already coined an appropriate title: Pirate Independence Day.
The “Flame” computer virus, which wreaked havoc on several major Iranian computer systems, is related to none other than the “Angry Birds” gamePosted: 2012/05/31 in Cybercrime, Education / Awareness, Network Security, Privacy / Data Protection, Stats / reports
According to the report, “Flame” – dubbed “the most sophisticated cyber-weapon ever” – was written in LUA computer language, which the incredibly popular game was written in.
Fact #1: In order to notify Google of an infringement, you first need to find the infringement. But Google places artificial limits on the number of queries that can be made by a copyright owner to identify infringements. These limits significantly decrease the utility of Google’s take down tool given the vast nature of the piracy problem today and the number of titles we are trying to protect. The number of queries they allow is miniscule, especially when you consider that Google handles more than 3 billion searches per day. Yet Google has denied requests to remove this barrier to finding the infringements.
Fact #2: You can’t notify Google about the scope of the problem if it limits the notices it will accept and process through its automated tool. And that is what Google does. On top of the query limitation, Google also limits the number of links we can ask them to remove per day. Google has the resources to allow take downs that would more meaningfully address the piracy problem it recognizes, given that it likely indexes hundreds of millions of links per day. Yet this limitation remains despite requests to remove it.
Fact #3: One needs to consider these numbers and Google’s activities in context. Google says it received requests to remove 1.2 million links from 1000 copyright owners in one month. But consider that Google has identified nearly 5 million new links posted in just the last month in searches for free mp3 downloads of just the top 10 Billboard tracks. The constraints Google has placed on the tools they promote to deter infringement are well below what is necessary to identify and notice infringements on the Billboard top 10, much less the entire catalog of the American creative community.
Fact #4: Google’s “transparency report” calculates the percentage of a site that is infringing – but this data is flawed and of little value on its own. Specifically, Google claims that the DMCA notices it has received for a site represent less than .1% of the links it had indexed for the domains at the top of this list. But this number is misleading given the constraints imposed by Google on a copyright owner’s ability to find infringements and send notices to Google. If these constraints did not exist, how many more links on these sites might be identified? For example, Google calculates that infringing links account for only .1% of links on filestube, a notorious source of infringing links. For anyone who knows filestube, this seems unlikely, especially given that Google’s data doesn’t include DMCA notices sent directly to the site. Moreover, Google’s methodology fails to account for the percentage of traffic to the infringing portion of the site compared to any potential non-infringing portions. Let’s give copyright owners the ability to access all the pages on a site and take down all the infringing links, and then let’s rationally discuss how to categorize the sites.
Fact #5: Google’s data shows why its interpretation of the DMCA makes it ineffective. Let’s take a step back for a moment. Everyone – including Google – knows that the worst sites are repopulated with links to infringing files of the same content as quickly as links are taken down. For example, in a recent one month period, we sent Google, and the site in question, multiple DMCA notices concerning over 300 separate unauthorized copies of the same musical recording owned by one of our member companies. Yet that song is still available on that site today, and we reached it via a search result link indexed by Google. This highlights the futility of the exercise: if “take down” does not mean “keep down,” then Google’s limitations merely perpetuate the fraud wrought on copyright owners by those who game the system under the DMCA.
Megaupload and defendants Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram Van Der Kolk and Finn Batato are demanding the return of some, if not all, of the assets seized by the United StatesPosted: 2012/05/31 in Copyright, Education / Awareness, Enforcement, Illegal File Sharing, Litigation, Public Policy, Stats / reports
China wants to spur greater technological reform in order to boost creativity and drive economic growth through innovationPosted: 2012/05/31 in Education / Awareness, New Business Models, Stats / reports, Tech Evolution
The Ethiopian Telecommunication Corporation, which happens to be the sole telecommunication service provider in Ethiopia, has deployed or begun testing Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) of all Internet traffic. We have previously analyzed the same kind of censorship in China, Iran, and Kazakhstan.
Reports show that Tor stopped working a week ago — even with bridges configured. Websites such as https://gmail.com/, https://facebook.com/, https://twitter.com/, and even https://torproject.org/ continue to work. The graphs below show the effects of this deployment of censorship based on Deep Packet Inspection:
An analysis of data collected by a volunteer shows that they are doing some sort of TLS fingerprinting. The TLS server hello, which is sent by the Tor bridge after the TLS client hello, never reaches the client. We don’t know exactly what they are fingerprinting on, but our guess is that it is either the client hello or the server hello. An illustration can be found in this network flow diagram.
“Without appropriate regulations, Google’s vehicles will be able to gather unprecedented amounts of information about the use of those vehicles. How will it be used? Just as Google tracks us around the Information Superhighway, it will now be looking over our shoulders on every highway and byway”
UK ISP Sky Broadband Blocks Internet Piracy Website The Pirate Bay. Says It Is In Favor Of Copyright ProtectionPosted: 2012/05/31 in Blocking, Copyright, Education / Awareness, Enforcement, Filtering, Illegal File Sharing, Legislation, Litigation, Public Policy, Stats / reports
The move follows an April 2012 ruling by the High Court of Justice in London (here), which imposed a court order upon the ISPs that required them to block the website. The Pirate Bay is one of the world’s largest BitTorrent (P2P / File Sharing) trackers but also allows internet copyright infringement (piracy) to take place.
We have invested billions of pounds in high-quality entertainment for our customers because we know how much our customers value it. It’s therefore important that companies like ours do what they can, alongside the Government and the rest of the media and technology industries, to help protect their copyright. Such protection makes sure that consumers continue to benefit from TV programmes, movies and music both now and in the future. This means taking effective action against online piracy and copyright infringement.
Increasingly content owners are turning to the courts to present evidence of copyright infringement by websites that offer content illegally to users. When they do so, and the court agrees that copyright infringement has occurred, the content owners can seek a court order which compels the internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to those sites over their broadband networks.
To date Sky has received court orders to block the following websites that were found to have breached copyright laws:
* Newzbin 2, which Sky blocked on 13 December 2011
* The Pirate Bay, which Sky blocked on 30 May 2012
Chantilly’s Westfields Marriott hotel is the site of an “unprecedented” security crackdown as the world’s richest and most powerful arrive for the annual Bilderberg conferencePosted: 2012/05/31 in Public Policy, Stats / reports
The official Bilderberg guest list is kept under wraps, as are the specific topics for discussion. Rumored to be at the top of the agenda this year is the European financial crisis.
Frequent attendees, including Henry A. Kissinger and David Rockefeller, are expected again. A copy of last year’s guest list, leaked to a journalist covering the conference, offers a window into just how much influence Bilderberg guests wield.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Greek Minister of Finance George Papaconstantinou were reportedly among those in attendance at the 2011 meeting in Switzerland.
Global business titans, government officials and political figures rounded out the guest list of more than 100, though skeptics suspect dozens of names, especially of high-profile individuals, are kept off of it.
“I talked about making dents in the boundary of human knowledge. This article contains the story of one such dent”Posted: 2012/05/31 in Education / Awareness, Stats / reports, Tech Evolution
XS4ALL Managing Director Theo De Vries: Pirate Bay Blockade Counterproductive Because We’ve Seen Overall BitTorrent Traffic IncreasePosted: 2012/05/31 in Blocking, Copyright, Education / Awareness, Enforcement, Illegal File Sharing, Jurisprudence, Litigation, Stats / reports
In a further effort to desperately try and prevent additional site blocking verdicts, XS4ALL Managing Director Theo de Vries is now claiming that blocking The Pirate Bay is counterproductive because the internet service provider has only seen overall Bittorrent traffic increase as of late. He makes his statement in an article in the Economy section of Dutch magazine Elsevier.
De Vries does not mention specific traffic data and also does not elaborate on whether the website itself has become more popular in The Netherlands. Also, the blocking measure relates to a website, not the entire BitTorrent protocol, so one can expect file sharers to seek out other BitTorrent platforms now that The Pirate Bay has been blocked.
Secondly, XS4ALL isn’t one of the major ISPs active in The Netherlands and the blocking measure has not been widely implemented by every Dutch ISP just yet.
Regardless, The Pirate Bay website’s popularity in The Netherlands has recently dropped from the 27th spot to number 43 on Alexa’s site popularity list for The Netherlands.
In The United Kingdom, similar events are taking place as The Pirate Bay website has recently dropped to the 63rd spot, starting out as the 39th most popular website in that country, before it was subject to site blocking measures very recently. As in The Netherlands, not every ISP in the UK is fully blocking The Pirate Bay website just yet.
Dutch language news article:
XS4ALL Home Page ‘Black Out’ As A Protest Against Imposed Pirate Bay Blockade. Mere Conduit?
Translation of banner text:
Today is a black day
Wednesday 1st February 2012: for the first time in history a Dutch ISP is being forced to render a foreign site inaccessible. On the basis of an order of the Court of The Hague, XS4ALL is required to block a number of IP addresses and domains.
The judge felt that freedom of information – a fundamental right of European citizens – was being outweighed by the interests of the entertainment industry. A wrong judgment. Therefore XS4ALL will appeal the ruling.
Theo de Vries
General Director XS4ALL
In his verdict, the judge noted that he should be careful and even reserved when being asked to impose remedies related to access to the internet. He noted that those remedies can only be applied when it is sufficiently certain that claimed (copyright) infringements have occurred and conditions in relation to proportionality and subsidiarity have been taken into account. The Court felt that those conditions had been met.
The judge specifically noted that this was about a balance between the protection of copyrights and neighbouring rights of the rights owners versus the protection of the freedom of entrepreneurship of ZIGGO and XS4ALL.
Dutch language verdict:
http://www.xs4all.nl/ on 1st February 2012
Dutch language news article:
Every XS4ALL Customer To Receive Free Spotify Premium Subscription
America Movil is looking to acquire a significant say in KPN’s business, bidding on an additional 22.9 percent of its shares where it already owns 4.8 percent.
To prevent hostile takeovers or even situations where buyers would acquire a portion of the company which the Dutch deem to large, KPN has in the past established a foundation that carries the name ‘Protection KPN’. Members of that foundation are:
- Jacques Schraven, former executive at SHELL as well as employers organization VNO-NCW;
- Professor Jan Klaassen, former executive at KPMG and special adviser to the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security;
- Pieter Bouw, former executive at KLM and the Council of Banks at The Dutch Bank (DNB);
- Hans Zwarts, former executive at Randstad and ING Netherlands;
- Peter Wakkie, former executive at Ahold, ABN-AMRO and former partner at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek.
In addition, KPN has asked advisers at Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Allen & Overy to protect KPN and support the work of the foundation in this critical time.
It is clear that Carlos Slim has closed in on the Dutch Crown Jewels.
Dutch Minister of Defense Hans Hillen Admits: Military Intelligence Agency Sometimes Acts In Breach Of The Law When Intercepting Online DataPosted: 2012/05/31 in Education / Awareness, Enforcement, Legislation, Privacy / Data Protection, Public Policy, Stats / reports
Minister wants to amend relevant laws to enable the MIVD to legally intercept internet related data. He confirms that there is tension between what is technically possible and what is legally allowed
Dutch language news article:
Experts Discover That Nobody Cares Whether International Cybercrime Enforcement Is Based On Any Legal Framework Or Not
Dutch Prosecutor Van Zwieten: Remote Investigations Are Illegal, But Inevitable. Laws Need To Be Modernized
Dutch Public Prosecutor Lodewijk van Zwieten: Dutch police was allowed to hack systems of botnet victims. Says that police should also be allowed to hack straight into PCs of cybercriminals in foreign countries
Because Google has behaved itself since the world rose up in outrage against its uninvited Big Brotherism, its behavior before it was spooked into ending its WiFi data collection can go through to the keeperPosted: 2012/05/31 in Google, Privacy / Data Protection, Public Policy, Stats / reports
There is a faint hint that a new investigation wouldn’t be worth the effort under current Australian privacy laws, with Pilgrim noting that the current agreement had to be agreed with Google, because his office can’t impose enforceable undertakings. That agreement includes Google’s apology to Australians for collecting WiFi payload data, conducting a privacy assessment for future changes to StreetView data collection, and consulting with the commissioner about all data collection activities in Australia
Google is apparently compensated by the vendors that appear in its Flight Search and Hotel Finder vertical search enginesPosted: 2012/05/31 in Education / Awareness, Google, New Business Models, Online advertising, Stats / reports
So here’s what that means: Last year, Google launched Hotel Finder and Flight Search, seemingly to compete with Kayak or Hotels.com. Both now appear prominently on Google’s main search results page. At the time, it seemed like Google was just running roughshod over every industry, gathering up precious information while it trampled over the once-profitable fields sown by competitors that couldn’t afford to operate on the slim margins Google does.
Now, though, there’s another layer: Google is collecting money from vendors its search engines point users toward. The results seem to be the same as pure “organic” results, just now companies are paying Google for the referral. So if you grab a Delta flight through Google Flights, Delta will kick back a percentage of your ticket price to Google. Totally fair!
But it also goes against the Google’s fundamental principle that search results should always be organic and transparent.
“There was some indication that that might have been happening,” Sean Parker told Walt Mossberg on stage at D: All Things Digital. “You hear things, people send you emails.”
Though Spotify CEO Daniel Ek didn’t comment, Parker was more forthcoming on Apple’s role: “There was a sense in which Apple was threatened by what we were doing,” Parker said.
The legal team filed the motion on the grounds that the US government had violated MU’s due process rights by destroying its business without properly serving the company. Coincidentally, unlike people, companies cannot be served outside of US territory (like, say, New Zealand). Per the statute, due process rights are harmed when, “a liberty or property interest which has been interfered with by the State and that the procedures attendant upon that deprivation were constitutionally sufficient.”
MU’s legal team is arguing that seizing the company’s domains and data has effectively put it out of business.
A new Web site dedicates itself to making sure all politicians’ deleted tweets don’t get lost in the etherPosted: 2012/05/31 in Education / Awareness, New Business Models, Privacy / Data Protection, Stats / reports
The works of Beatrix Potter, Rudyard Kipling, the Brothers Grimm, and more are here, all of them illustrated, many of them narrated by celebrities
Since “Search Plus Your World” hit the scene, Google traffic to Facebook pages has dropped 51 percentPosted: 2012/05/31 in Education / Awareness, Google, New Business Models, Stats / reports
Studying 500 Facebook fan pages with at least 10,000 fans, the analytics company looked at external referrals from Google and Bing. Before January, Google drove 9.25 percent of external traffic to Facebook and now it drives just 4.52 percent.
Bing’s referral traffic seems to follow a similar trend — dropping by a whopping 59 percent from 2011 to 2012.
So is “Search Plus Your World” to blame? The answer is unclear.
PageLever’s co-founder Jeff Widman points out that Google’s referral traffic to Facebook actually began to mysteriously fall off three days before the January 10 launch of “Search Plus Your World.”
“Referral traffic from both Google and Bing to Facebook Pages started dropping on January 7th. That’s three days before Google rolled out SPYW,” Widman told CNET. “The timing is certainly suspicious, but it doesn’t explain why traffic from Bing plummeted as well.”
A tale of disappearing items, late authenticators, and few concrete answers
Selling majikon-type adapters violates an amendment to Japan’s Unfair Competition Prevention Act, as illegally downloaded games can be written onto the SD cards and run on the DS using the adaptersPosted: 2012/05/31 in Copyright, Education / Awareness, Enforcement, Stats / reports
Lawyer: “Aereo is taking the plaintiffs’ broadcast signals and reprocessing them so they can be streamed over the Internet. That is a violation of copyright law”Posted: 2012/05/31 in Copyright, Education / Awareness, Litigation, Stats / reports
Google doesn’t trust anyone – people, officials, even governments – to understand anything. As a result, it is the most secretive Internet entity – and disingenuous about that secrecyPosted: 2012/05/31 in Education / Awareness, Google, Stats / reports
For the last several years I have been on a quest—see my new book, Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet—to visit the actual, physical Internet: its wires, buildings, and places. We tend to think of infrastructure like this—when we bother to think of it at all—as top secret and obscured, the kinds of places listed in WikiLeaks dumps, protected by rent-a-cops, and generally inscrutable. All those things are undoubtedly true.
Yet the Internet I visited was also a surprisingly friendly place, populated by smart, welcoming people, proud of what they do and eager to tell me about it. Inevitably, when I arrived at some unmarked building crucial to the network’s functioning, the same thing happened: the veil of secrecy didn’t descend, but lifted. My guides happily led me around, and nearly always spent extra time to make sure I understood what I was looking at. This happened dozens of times, all over the world. The cumulative message was clear: It’s my Internet, but it’s your Internet too. You can know how it works. You should know how it works.
The one exception to that openness was Google—and the strange hypocrisy of that is something I’ve yet to get over. This is the company you likely entrust with your personal correspondence, your most intimate instant messages, and a full accounting of your curiosity (going back years). But Google does not trust you.
And it’s not that they don’t trust you to keep a secret, as you trust them, but rather they don’t trust you to understand. Their stance is the corporate equivalent of a 1950s-era gynecologist who believes women can’t comprehend what’s being done to their own bodies. “Don’t worry about a thing” Google purrs. “We’ll take care of you.”