Monthly Archives: March 2012

Eircom…Worst ISP in the World

Another regurgitated article from TorrentFreak.com -=-

Having originally resisted the notion that it should stop its subscribers sharing copyright works, in a little under 4 years Ireland’s ISP Eircom has come completely about-face. Not only did it come to a private agreement with the music industry to implement a 3 strikes-style regime, but now its asking other ISPs to join them in doing so. It’s lonely being this kind of ‘pioneer’, especially when it puts your company at a commercial disadvantage.

In 2008, the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) took legal action against Eircom, Ireland’s largest ISP.

The so-called Big Four labels – EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner – wanted the ISP to install proactive filtering technology aimed at stopping unauthorized file-sharing among Eircom’s customers. Eircom refused, IRMA sued, and the case ended up in court – but not for very long.

At the 11th hour in February 2009 the companies came to an agreement which would see Eircom introduce a graduated response system for dealing with errant subscribers.

However, Eircom needed something in return. The agreement had left Eircom in the unenviable position of being the only ISP in Ireland with an official policy of disconnecting customers on the mere allegations of the music industry.

But the first recording industry target, ISP UPC, refused to play ball and after being sued it eventually won its case.

While the labels did ‘reward’ Eircom’s compliance with the MusicHub service, the product has been labeled lacklaster and when PaidContent asked how many users the service had, Eircom refused to tell them.

So with Eircom now at a commercial disadvantage and no immediate sign that the industry will force any other ISP to implement 3 strikes, the ISP is being left to go it alone. In making the best out of a bad situation it’s now describing what it is doing as an “obligation”.

“Eircom is of the view that these obligations are part of a role that all responsible companies must serve,” Eircom’s consumer managing director Stephen Beynon said.

Eircom insist that they want to respect their customers’ right to privacy but from fighting IRMA in 2008/9, they now believe that other ISPs should do as they have done, and do a deal with the recording group.

“We think that it would be better for everyone if the industry and the rights-holders found a way to tackle this problem. It’s not going to go away. The current situation is not ideal but we could create something that moved the issue forward if we worked together,” Beynon added.

Or in other words, the water’s great, come on in.

Beynon says that Eircom believes it has an obligation to uphold the law when illegal activity is brought to its attention but it’s taking the word of a private P2P tracking company as final and there is no judicial oversight, something that causes controversy in every jurisdiction it’s suggested.

It’s interesting to note that if Eircom had held its ground back in 2008 when it was sued by the labels to proactively filter subscriber upload data, by now it would have heard Europe’s highest court dismiss what they were being asked to do as illegal.

Had they known that in 2009, would they have felt so compelled to do the 3 strikes deal?

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BREINless

Anti-Piracy Group Shuts Down Pirate Bay Proxies – once again demonstrating a staggering understanding of how the internet works 😉

Hollywood-backed anti-piracy outfit BREIN is trying to stop the massive influx of Pirate Bay proxy sites that circumvent a court-ordered blockade in the Netherlands. The group obtained an injunction against one proxy and has threatened many others with legal action. While BREIN’s efforts appear to have had some effect, the question is for how long.

In January, the Court of The Hague ruled that Ziggo, the largest ISP in the Netherlands, and competitor XS4ALL, must block access to The Pirate Bay.

The ruling was the first to bring broad censorship to the Netherlands, but as always the Internet finds ways to route around such blockades. In the space of a few days hundreds of individuals setup proxy websites that allow customers of the ISPs to continue using The Pirate Bay.

These proxies render the court order useless, which is a thorn in the side of local anti-piracy outfit BREIN. In an attempt to take these proxies offline, BREIN has contacted the owners of these proxy sites, ordering to take down the proxies – or else.

This week the anti-piracy group obtained an injunction from the Court of The Hague which instructs the proxy site tpb.dehomies.nl to shut down. If the site owner continues to offer access to The Pirate Bay he risks a fine of 1000 euros per day.

Armed with the court papers, BREIN also contacted the operators of many other proxy sites including alwaysapirate.org and remastered.nl who quickly took their sites offline and replaced them with a message from the anti-piracy group.

Depiratebay.nl and thepiratebay2.nl were also contacted by BREIN, but these sites remain accessible for now.

The 15-year old operator of the latter site confirmed that he will take the site offline before BREIN’s deadline passes this Friday. While he doesn’t agree with BREIN’s request, he simply doesn’t have the resources to put up a fight in court.

In their letter to the site owners, BREIN threatens legal action against those who continue to keep their proxies online. In many cases, this threat of being sued by a conglomerate of US movie studios is enough to convince proxy owners to fold.

“These sites deliberately offer a service to circumvent a court injunction. If they do not comply, we will hold them liable for damages,” BREIN director Tim Kuik said in a comment to Tweakers.

It will be interesting to see for how long BREIN can continue this cat and mouse game. The proxies targeted so far were all specifically aimed at Dutch visitors and hosted on Dutch servers. Whether it will be as effective against sites hosted elsewhere remains to be seen.

The Pirate Bay team informed TorrentFreak that they are not worried about the fate of their Dutch visitors. They expect that for every proxy that goes offline, new ones will spring up, as is usually the case. There are plenty of free proxy tools available and everyone with a WordPress blog can set one up in a few clicks.

If anything, The Pirate Bay crew believes that BREIN is giving them a helping hand.

“Thanks yet again for the free advertising,” they say.

The Pirate Bay has a point here. All the talk about censorship and blockades only appears to strengthen the notorious torrent site. When there was talk about a UK blockade two weeks ago, local traffic surged. And visitors from Belgium and the Netherlands have massively turned to proxy sites after the torrent site was censored there.

To quote John Gilmore once again: “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”

From Torrentfreak.com

Worlds-first-flying-file-sharing-drones-in-action

http://torrentfreak.com/worlds-first-flying-file-sharing-drones-in-action-120320/

Electronic Countermeasures @ GLOW Festival NL 2011 from liam young on Vimeo.

How The Copyright Industry Drives A Big Brother Dystopia

REPUBLISHED FROM TORRENTFREAK.COM

Original by Rick Falkvinge.

 

Reposted this great piece by Rick F/Torrentfreak

 

All too often I hear that the copyright industry doesn’t understand the Internet, doesn’t understand the net generation, doesn’t understand how technology has changed. This is not only wrong; it is dangerously wrong. In order to defeat an adversary; you must first come to understand their state of mind, rather than painting them as evil. The copyright industry understands exactly what the Internet is, and that it needs to be destroyed for that industry to stay even the slightest relevant.

Look at the laws being proposed right now. General wiretapping. Mandatory citizen tracking. Excommunication, for Odin’s sake. Sending people into exile. All these laws follow one single common theme: they aim to re-centralize the permission to publish ideas, knowledge, and culture, and punish anybody who circumvents the old gatekeepers’ way beyond proportion.

Having this gatekeeper position – having had this gatekeeper position – teaches somebody what power is, in the worst sense of the word. If you can determine what culture, knowledge, and ideas are available to people – if you are in a position to say yes or no to publishing an idea – then it goes much beyond the power of mere publishing. It puts you in a position to select. It puts you in a position where you get to decide people’s frame of reference. It literally gives you the power to decide what people discuss, feel, and think.

The ability to share ideas, culture, and knowledge without permission or traceability is built into the foundations of the net, just as it was when the Postal Service was first conceived. When we send a letter in the mail, we and we alone determine whether we identify ourselves as sender on the outside of the envelope, on the inside for only the recipient to know, or not at all; further, nobody may open our sealed letters in transit just to check up on what we’re sending.

The Internet mimics this. It is perfectly reasonable that our children have the same rights as our parents did here. But if our children have those same rights, in the environment where they communicate, it makes a small class of industries obsolete. Therefore, this is what the copyright industry tries to destroy.

They are pushing for laws that introduce identifiability, even for historic records. The copyright industry has been one of the strongest proponents of the Data Retention Directive in Europe, which mandates logging of our communications – not its contents, but all information about whom we contacted when and how – for a significant period of time. This is data that used to be absolutely forbidden to store for privacy reasons. The copyright industry has managed to flip that from “forbidden” to “mandatory”.

They are pushing for laws that introduce liability on all levels. A family of four may be sued into oblivion by an industry cartel in a courtroom where presumption of innocence doesn’t exist (a civil proceeding), and they’re pushing for mail carriers to be liable for the contents of the sealed messages they carry. This goes counter to centuries of tradition in postal services, and is a way of enforcing their will extrajudicially – outside the courtroom, where people still have a minimum of rights to defend themselves.

They are pushing for laws that introduce wiretapping of entire populations – and suing for the right to do it before it becomes law. Also, they did it anyway without telling anybody.

They are pushing for laws that send people into exile, cutting off their ability to function in society, if they send the wrong things in sealed letters.

They are pushing for active censorship laws that we haven’t had in well over a century, using child pornography as a battering ram (in a way that directly causes more children to be abused, to boot).

They are pushing for laws that introduce traceability even for the pettiest crimes, which specifically includes sharing of culture (which shouldn’t be a crime in the first place). In some instances, such laws even give the copyright industry stronger rights to violate privacy than that country’s police force.

With these concepts added together, they may finally – finally! – be able to squeeze out our freedom of speech and other fundamental rights, all in order to be able to sustain an unnecessary industry. It also creates a Big Brother nightmare beyond what people could have possibly imagined a decade ago. My undying question is therefore why people waltz along with it instead of smashing these bastards in the face with the nearest chair.

On July 12, for instance, we hear that ISPs in the United States of America will start to serve the copyright industry in the treatment of its own customers, up until and including a possible exile of them as citizens, and most likely scrapping their right to anonymity for the already-going industry game of sue-a-granny.

This is bound to become a textbook example of bad customer relationships in future marketing books: making sure that your customers can be sued into oblivion by entire industry organizations in a rigged game where they’re not even innocent until proven guilty. Seriously, what were the ISPs thinking?

Today, we exercise our fundamental rights – the right to privacy, the right to expression, the right to correspondence, the right to associate, the right to assemble, the right to a free press, and many other rights – through the Internet. Therefore, anonymous and uncensored access to the Internet has become as fundamental a right itself as all the rights we exercise through it.

If this means that a stupid industry that makes thin round pieces of plastic can’t make money anymore, they can go bankrupt for all I care, or start selling mayonnaise instead.

That’s their problem.

Stephen Fry talking sense…

Bye Bye BPI

DOJ Sneaking around again, asked For News Site’s Visitor Lists

In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day.

The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Indymedia.us Web site “not to disclose the existence of this request” unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization.

Kristina Clair, a 34-year old Linux administrator living in Philadelphia who provides free server space for Indymedia.us, said she was shocked to receive the Justice Department’s subpoena. (The Independent Media Center is a left-of-center amalgamation of journalists and advocates that – according to their principles of unity and mission statement – work toward “promoting social and economic justice” and “social change.”)

The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded “all IP traffic to and from http://www.indymedia.us” on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to “include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information,” including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers’ Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.

“I didn’t think anything we were doing was worthy of any (federal) attention,” Clair said in a telephone interview with CBSNews.com on Monday. After talking to other Indymedia volunteers, Clair ended up calling the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, which represented her at no cost.

Under long-standing Justice Department guidelines, subpoenas to members of the news media are supposed to receive special treatment. One portion of the guidelines, for instance, says that “no subpoena may be issued to any member of the news media” without “the express authorization of the attorney general” – that would be current attorney general Eric Holder – and subpoenas should be “directed at material information regarding a limited subject matter.”

Still unclear is what criminal investigation U.S. Attorney Morrison was pursuing. Last Friday, a spokeswoman initially promised a response, but Morrison sent e-mail on Monday evening saying: “We have no comment.” The Justice Department in Washington, D.C. also declined to respond.

Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, replied to the Justice Department on behalf of his client in a February 2009 letter(PDF) outlining what he described as a series of problems with the subpoena, including that it was not personally served, that a judge-issued court order would be required for the full logs, and that Indymedia did not store logs in the first place.

Morrison replied in a one-sentence letter saying the subpoena had been withdrawn. Around the same time, according to the EFF, the group had a series of discussions with assistant U.S. attorneys in Morrison’s office who threatened Clair with possible prosecution for obstruction of justice if she disclosed the existence of the already-withdrawn subpoena — claiming it “may endanger someone’s health” and would have a “human cost.”

Lucy Dalglish, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of The Press, said a gag order to a news organization wouldn’t stand up in court: “If you get a subpoena and you’re a journalist, they can’t gag you.”

Dalglish said that a subpoena being issued and withdrawn is not unprecedented. “I have seen any number of these things withdrawn when counsel for someone who is claiming a reporter’s privilege says, ‘Can you tell me the date you got approval from the attorney general’s office’… I’m willing to chalk this up to bad lawyering on the part of the DOJ, or just not thinking.”

Making this investigation more mysterious is that Indymedia.us is an aggregation site, meaning articles that appear on it were published somewhere else first, and there’s no hint about what sparked the criminal probe. Clair, the system administrator, says that no IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are recorded for Indymedia.us, and non-IP address logs are kept for a few weeks and then discarded.

EFF’s Bankston wrote a second letter to the government saying that, if it needed to muzzle Indymedia, it should apply for a gag order under the section of federal law that clearly permits such an order to be issued. Bankston’s plan: To challenge that law on First Amendment grounds.

But the Justice Department never replied. “This is the first time we’ve seen them try to get the IP address of everyone who visited a particular site,” Bankston said. “That it was a news organization was an additional troubling fact that implicates First Amendment rights.”

This is not, however, the first time that the Feds have focused on Indymedia — a Web site whose authors sometimes blur the line between journalism, advocacy, and on-the-streets activism. In 2004, the Justice Department sent a grand jury subpoena asking for information about who posted lists of Republican delegates while urging they be given an unwelcome reception at the party’s convention in New York City that year. A Indymedia hosting service in Texas once received a subpoena asking for server logs in relation to an investigation of an attempted murder in Italy.

Bankston has written a longer description of the exchange of letters with the Justice Department, which he hopes will raise awareness of how others should respond to similar legal demands for Web logs, customer records, and compulsory silence. “Our fear is that this kind of bogus gag order is much more common than one would hope, considering they’re legally baseless,” Bankston says. “We’re telling this story in hopes that more providers will press back and go public when the government demands their silence.”

Update 1:59pm E.T.: A Justice Department official familiar with this subpoena just told me that the attorney general’s office never saw it and that it had not been submitted to the department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. for review. If that’s correct, it suggests that U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison and Assistant U.S. Attorney Doris Pryor did not follow department regulations requiring the “express authorization of the attorney general” for media subpoenas — and it means that neither Attorney General Eric Holder nor Acting Attorney General Mark Filip were involved. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an internal investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility; my source would not confirm or deny that.