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Peter Lemkin
12-23-2011, 07:09 AM
All About SOPA, the Bill That Wants to Cripple Your Internet Very Soon

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, is another one of those bills that sounds like it's going to do something mildly positive but, in reality, has serious potential to negatively change the internet as we know it. It puts power in the hands of the entertainment industry to censor sites that allegedly "engage in, enable or facilitate" copyright infringement. This language vague enough to encompass sites you use every day, like Twitter and Facebook, making SOPA a serious problem. Here's how it works and what you can do about it.

SOPA's coming to a vote very soon. In fact, it was supposed to come to a vote today but was delayed, likely because of all the pushback. Reddit users have already started compiling a list of the IP addresses of popular sites in case SOPA passes and access will be restricted within the United States. A decision is going to be made soon, so if you still don't know what SOPA is or haven't done anything to stop it, read on to learn how you can help beat the bill.
How Does SOPA Work, and Why Should I Care?

The idea behind SOPA sounds reasonable. It came about in order to try to snuff out piracy online, as the entertainment industry is obviously not excited about the many people downloading their product without their permission. The issue is, however, that it doesn't really matter whether you're in support of piracy, against it, or just don't care. SOPA makes it possible for companies to block the domain names of web sites that are simple capable of, or seem to encourage copyright infringement.

This means that if Lifehacker happened to have an article or two that could be interpreted as piracy-friendly, our domain could be blocked so it's unaccessible by visiting lifehacker.com. What the bill can't do is block numeric IP addresses, so you could still access Lifehacker, or any other site that could be censored, if you knew that address. This is important because it means this bill can't do much to stop downloaders of pirated content. If a domain name is blocked, everything will still work via the numeric IP address. Basically, the bill will be no good at stopping piracy—what it was apparently designed to do—but excellent at censoring any web site capable of providing its users with the means of promoting pirated content or allowing the process. This includes sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and many more. If it's possible to post pirated content on the site, or information that could further online piracy, a claim can be brought against it. This can be something as minor as you posting a copyrighted image to your Facebook page, or piracy-friendly information in the comments of a post such as this one. The vague, sweeping language in this bill is what makes it so troubling.

In the event of SOPA-based censorship, any site can submit an appeal so long as they do so within five days. This isn't a lot of time to handle a legal matter, and if you've ever dealt with a copyright infringement takedown notice you know how ineffective an appeal can be. When a threat of legal action is posed, a company is generally going to prefer to err on the side of caution and remove infringing content indefinitely. It's far cheaper to run the risk of removing perfectly legal content than to battle the issue in court. If your web host censors your site because of a SOPA-based claim, you can expect the same sorts of problems.

If you want to learn more about how SOPA works, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) posted a great overview. You can also view the exact contents of SOPA. For a quick overview, be sure to watch the video at the top of this post.
What Can I Do About SOPA?

Currently Twitter, Google, Reddit, Kickstarter, Tumblr, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL, eBay, Zynga, Facebook, and several other sites have spoken out in opposition of SOPA. If you'd like to as well, there are a couple of things you can do.

First, call your congressperson on the phone. This is especially important if you live in Texas, Michigan, Vermont, or Iowa. You can also send a letter to your congressperson by visiting the American Censorship Day web site. To activate the contact widget, you have to click the "Try it out" link that's wedged between two screenshots of a censored logo and the "Website Blocked" widget you're trying to open. This will provide you with a form and allow you to send a letter.

Second, get the word out. Post this article, the American Censorship Day web site, or any other information about SOPA on your social media accounts. Send emails to friends and family. If you oppose the bill, help others to understand why they should oppose it as well.

SOPA is on the fast track, so if you want to fight it you need to do so today. We do, however, recommend you get to know the bill so you you can make an informed decision regarding how you feel about it.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqlBR0s2DMY&feature=player_embedded

Albert Doyle
01-17-2012, 06:29 AM
Wikipedia is going to shut down for 24 hours in protest of the Intellectual Property Piracy Act:



http://thewrap.com/media/column-post/wikipedia-shut-down-protest-sopa-34457

Peter Lemkin
01-17-2012, 09:40 AM
Wikipedia is going to shut down for 24 hours in protest of the Intellectual Property Piracy Act:



http://thewrap.com/media/column-post/wikipedia-shut-down-protest-sopa-34457

Well, as much as I do NOT like Wikipedia for censoring and control over many controversial and deep political topics, give credit where credit is do...on this!

Albert Doyle
01-18-2012, 10:03 PM
Now Google has its logo redacted as a sign of protest (January 18th).

Magda Hassan
01-19-2012, 04:04 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uvXo4sGB7zM

Albert Doyle
01-19-2012, 02:39 PM
And now Michael Moore has darkened his site in protest:


http://www.michaelmoore.com/


.

Keith Millea
01-19-2012, 03:24 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uvXo4sGB7zM

Hahahaha:

At the 3 minute mark:

"Don't cry,Disney owns that emotion"........The Hitler videos are so fricking good!!!!!

Albert Doyle
01-19-2012, 04:15 PM
While hysterical, the problem with the video is it uses Hitler and his outrage to represent the protester side. Wasn't Hitler a bad guy?

Keith Millea
01-19-2012, 04:27 PM
While hysterical, the problem with the video is it uses Hitler and his outrage to represent the protester side. Wasn't Hitler a bad guy?


Satire Is A Better Guy!!!!!!!:dance:

Ed Jewett
01-21-2012, 02:09 AM
U.S. Government’s Takedown of Megaupload ‘Sets a Terrifying Precedent’ (http://cryptogon.com/?p=27078)January 20th, 2012Of course, the sycophantic New Zealand government went along with Uncle’s whims.
Via: AP (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/apnewsbreak-feds-shut-file-sharing-website-15396093#.Txh4V28V2I4):
One of the world’s most popular file-sharing sites was shut down Thursday, and its founder and several company officials were accused of facilitating millions of illegal downloads of films, music and other content.
A federal indictment accused Megaupload.com of costing copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue. The indictment was unsealed one day after websites including Wikipedia and Craigslist shut down in protest of two congressional proposals intended to make it easier for authorities to go after sites with pirated material, especially those with overseas headquarters and servers.
The news of the shutdown seemed to bring retaliation from hackers who claimed credit for attacking the Justice Department’s website. Federal officials confirmed it was down Thursday evening and that the disruption was being “treated as a malicious act.”
A loose affiliation of hackers known as “Anonymous” claimed credit for the attack. Also hacked was the site for the Motion Picture Association of America and perhaps others.
Megaupload is based in Hong Kong, but some of the alleged pirated content was hosted on leased servers in Ashburn, Va., which gave federal authorities jurisdiction, the indictment said.
The Justice Department said in a statement said that Kim Dotcom, 37, and three other employees were arrested Thursday in New Zealand at the request of U.S. officials. Three other defendants are at large.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which defends free speech and digital rights online, said in a statement that, “This kind of application of international criminal procedures to Internet policy issues sets a terrifying precedent. [COLOR=#ff0000]If the United States can seize a Dutch citizen in New Zealand over a copyright claim, what is next?”
Posted in Dictatorship (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=22), Economy (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=8), Elite (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=39), Technology (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=12)

Magda Hassan
01-21-2012, 02:28 AM
Crazy stuff. Why don't they shut down Ford motors because their cars are used as get away vehicles in bank robberies, or driven by pedophiles? Or shut down Hilton and Sheriton hotel chains because prostitution takes place there and crimes are planned in their bars and restausrants?

Seamus Coogan
01-21-2012, 04:26 AM
Certainly not my proudest day. Remember though NZ has always been a test ground for a whole lot of stuff. This new internet clampdown and the policing of it is scary stuff and we are the Guinea Pig. It is very worrying. John Key is an asshole, but I doubt very much that any NZ PM would have the nads to stand up for anything. Whats concerning here is the amount of material American corporations have taken off of NZers creative property over the years. If your a kiwi the chances of you getting a patent without having US backing is sweet fanny Adams. Further that a lot of Maori names and designs have been ripped off by everything from toy companies to Hollywood. Its okay for the US to rip off and flay anything when they want but nooooooooooooo if your someone else it's see yah later. I mean Ed, if I had an idea all documented and you pinched it by right of you being a US citizen I would likely get done like a dogs dinner. Further that if you had an idea Ed and some dude with big Moolah saw it-well good night Vienna old son.

Magda Hassan
01-21-2012, 04:48 AM
C'mon Seamus! I lay the blame firmly at John Key's feet being the spineless jellyfish he is. As a good colonial lackey he knows his place. And that is grovelling outside the doors of the US embassy in Wellington. (Don't worry the door mat at the US embassy in Canberra is worn out from all our polititians grovelling here too trying to deliver the head of Julian Assange to Washington) Under David Lange and the old Labor Party New Zealand was the little mouse that roared and told the US stick their nuclear arsenal up their bottom.

Magda Hassan
01-21-2012, 04:58 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zGM8PT1eAvY#!

Magda Hassan
01-21-2012, 05:58 AM
Really, some one needs to tell the US to have a cold shower, take a bex and have a good lie down. Completely over the top. The internet has been around 20 years and they're only now getting their act together? We lend books to each other. We used to make copies of all our records on cassette. The sky did not fall.

Seamus Coogan
01-21-2012, 06:02 AM
C'mon Seamus! I lay the blame firmly at John Key's feet being the spineless jellyfish he is. As a good colonial lackey he knows his place. And that is grovelling outside the doors of the US embassy in Wellington. (Don't worry the door mat at the US embassy in Canberra is worn out from all our polititians grovelling here too trying to deliver the head of Julian Assange to Washington) Under David Lange and the old Labor Party New Zealand was the little mouse that roared and told the US stick their nuclear arsenal up their bottom.

The mouse that roared then proceeded under threat of a coup de tat to accept US spy bases on their soil. Oh yeah, we're hard we are. Nope Labour are pretty freaking spineless in a few ways. I doubt they'd have done anything. Oh and yeah I agree we all shared tapes and burned discs. All this is going to do is increase the amount of discs are burnt and portable hard drives are going to be used. It's bloody stupid lol.

Magda Hassan
01-21-2012, 06:09 AM
Yes, I expect that today's NZ Labor party is like our ALP and little different from the right wing parties and would have all the strength of wet spagghetti in standing up for New Zealand against the US. Still it can be done. Should be done.

Seamus Coogan
01-21-2012, 06:15 AM
All About SOPA, the Bill That Wants to Cripple Your Internet Very Soon

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, is another one of those bills that sounds like it's going to do something mildly positive but, in reality, has serious potential to negatively change the internet as we know it. It puts power in the hands of the entertainment industry to censor sites that allegedly "engage in, enable or facilitate" copyright infringement. This language vague enough to encompass sites you use every day, like Twitter and Facebook, making SOPA a serious problem. Here's how it works and what you can do about it.

SOPA's coming to a vote very soon. In fact, it was supposed to come to a vote today but was delayed, likely because of all the pushback. Reddit users have already started compiling a list of the IP addresses of popular sites in case SOPA passes and access will be restricted within the United States. A decision is going to be made soon, so if you still don't know what SOPA is or haven't done anything to stop it, read on to learn how you can help beat the bill.
How Does SOPA Work, and Why Should I Care?

The idea behind SOPA sounds reasonable. It came about in order to try to snuff out piracy online, as the entertainment industry is obviously not excited about the many people downloading their product without their permission. The issue is, however, that it doesn't really matter whether you're in support of piracy, against it, or just don't care. SOPA makes it possible for companies to block the domain names of web sites that are simple capable of, or seem to encourage copyright infringement.

This means that if Lifehacker happened to have an article or two that could be interpreted as piracy-friendly, our domain could be blocked so it's unaccessible by visiting lifehacker.com. What the bill can't do is block numeric IP addresses, so you could still access Lifehacker, or any other site that could be censored, if you knew that address. This is important because it means this bill can't do much to stop downloaders of pirated content. If a domain name is blocked, everything will still work via the numeric IP address. Basically, the bill will be no good at stopping piracy—what it was apparently designed to do—but excellent at censoring any web site capable of providing its users with the means of promoting pirated content or allowing the process. This includes sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and many more. If it's possible to post pirated content on the site, or information that could further online piracy, a claim can be brought against it. This can be something as minor as you posting a copyrighted image to your Facebook page, or piracy-friendly information in the comments of a post such as this one. The vague, sweeping language in this bill is what makes it so troubling.

In the event of SOPA-based censorship, any site can submit an appeal so long as they do so within five days. This isn't a lot of time to handle a legal matter, and if you've ever dealt with a copyright infringement takedown notice you know how ineffective an appeal can be. When a threat of legal action is posed, a company is generally going to prefer to err on the side of caution and remove infringing content indefinitely. It's far cheaper to run the risk of removing perfectly legal content than to battle the issue in court. If your web host censors your site because of a SOPA-based claim, you can expect the same sorts of problems.

If you want to learn more about how SOPA works, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) posted a great overview. You can also view the exact contents of SOPA. For a quick overview, be sure to watch the video at the top of this post.
What Can I Do About SOPA?

Currently Twitter, Google, Reddit, Kickstarter, Tumblr, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL, eBay, Zynga, Facebook, and several other sites have spoken out in opposition of SOPA. If you'd like to as well, there are a couple of things you can do.

First, call your congressperson on the phone. This is especially important if you live in Texas, Michigan, Vermont, or Iowa. You can also send a letter to your congressperson by visiting the American Censorship Day web site. To activate the contact widget, you have to click the "Try it out" link that's wedged between two screenshots of a censored logo and the "Website Blocked" widget you're trying to open. This will provide you with a form and allow you to send a letter.

Second, get the word out. Post this article, the American Censorship Day web site, or any other information about SOPA on your social media accounts. Send emails to friends and family. If you oppose the bill, help others to understand why they should oppose it as well.

SOPA is on the fast track, so if you want to fight it you need to do so today. We do, however, recommend you get to know the bill so you you can make an informed decision regarding how you feel about it.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqlBR0s2DMY&feature=player_embedded

Cheers man very informative!

Magda Hassan
01-21-2012, 10:25 AM
SOPA Opera Update: Opposition Surges by Dan Nguyen (http://www.propublica.org/site/author/dan_nguyen/)
ProPublica, Jan. 19, 2012, 12:39 p.m.


Update: Both SOPA and PIPA have been indefinitely postponed. We will continue to take updates about lawmakers at sopa@propublica.org
As popular Internet sites (http://www.craigslist.org/about/SOPA) shut down or blacked out in protest on Wednesday, users flooded our SOPA Opera news application (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/) and inboxes to let us know what their members of Congress were saying about SOPA.



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Support ProPublica’s award-winning investigative journalism.
Donate (http://www.propublica.org/site/donate/)




When we first launched SOPA Opera (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/), few members in Congress – besides the bills' co-sponsors and its initial opponents – had made their opinion known on the proposed laws to regulate the Internet. That changed on Wednesday. Responses from constituents and Congressional staffers kept us busy updating the site past midnight.
The response was overwhelmingly one-sided against the bill. This graphic (http://s3.amazonaws.com/propublica/assets/images/sopa-opera-count.png) (also at right) shows the likely vote tallies for SOPA Opera at the beginning of the day Wednesday and the likely tallies as of early Thursday.
http://s3.amazonaws.com/propublica/assets/images/sopa-opera-count.png (http://s3.amazonaws.com/propublica/assets/images/sopa-opera-count.png)
Before Wednesday, Sen. Jerry Moran (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/M000934) and Rep. Ben Quayle (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/Q000024) were the only co-sponsors to have withdrawn their support of either SOPA or PIPA (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/sopa#roll_call) (Quayle did so without announcement just the day before (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR03261:@@@P)). By the end of the Wednesday, at least six other co-sponsors had announced they had withdrawn their support. In total, at least 70 additional members of Congress voiced strong opposition to SOPA (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/sopa#roll_call) or PIPA (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/pipa#roll_call).
Besides those 70, there were 41 additional politicians who we've categorized as "leaning no." That is, they've spoken strongly against the bills as they are currently written, but leave open the possibility that they may support the bills after they've been amended. (To see a full tally of positions, visit our separate pages dedicated to SOPA (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/sopa#roll_call) and PIPA (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/pipa#roll_call).)
How many politicians announced they would be co-sponsoring or otherwise outright supporting SOPA/PIPA on Wednesday?
By our count: Zero.
Advocates for PIPA and SOPA have rightfully boasted about the bipartisan makeup of their co-sponsors and supporters. The backlash against the bills was just as bipartisan, and far more boisterous.


Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/B000574) joined the blackout with his official Congressional website.
"I add my loud voice to those opposed to #SOPA! We don't need SOPA...we need FREEDOM!" tweeted Rep. Jeffrey Duncan (R-S.C.) (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/D000615)
"Thank God twitter isn't blocked today so I can tell you that I refuse to vote for #SOPA," tweeted Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/W000811)

Here's the tally as it stood early Thursday (our inbox continues to receive reader updates as we publish this):


Support
80
65


Oppose
31
101


Leaning No
0
41


Unknown/Undecided
429
332


Note: We didn't have a "Leaning No" category until Wednesday.
We're relying on our readers to help keep this fast-changing count up-to-date. If you can document any changes of position -- either by tweet, news report, or another published source -- send it to us at sopa@propublica.org
Some Questions, Answered Among the most frequent questions is: "Why is my member of Congress listed as supporting SOPA even after he/she made a statement against it?"
A broad answer: Some SOPA (and PIPA) backers pledge to heavily revise the bill, so the line between an opponent of SOPA and a supporter of an altered version of SOPA is not always clear.
For example, Sen. Mark Udall (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/U000038) (D-Colo.) recently made a statement against PIPA (http://markudall.senate.gov/?p=blog&id=1909), saying that he would not vote for it "if it is not significantly improved." So we have classified his stance as "unsupportive," a category that doesn't show up on the front page of the news application.
Along similar lines, Sen. Ben Cardin (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/C000141) (D-Md.) expressed the same sentiment (http://cardin.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/cardin-statement-on-protect-ip-act) as Udall (emphasis added): "I would not vote for final passage of PIPA, as currently written, on the Senate floor." However, we have listed him (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/C000141) as a "supporter," because he has not withdrawn his co-sponsorship of PIPA (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:SN00968:@@@P).
So far, we've used the "opponent" designation for members of Congress who either back the proposed OPEN Act, which is fundamentally different than SOPA/PIPA -- like Senators Ron Wyden (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/W000779) and Maria Cantwell (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/C000127) -- or who have stated their opposition to SOPA/PIPA in unqualified terms, like Sen. Scott Brown (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/B001268) and Rep. Ron Paul (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/P000583).
As it stands, we can never be certain of each member's true position until a full vote is called. For Sen. Udall and other members of Congress, we've posted a link to their full statements (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/timeline) so that readers can take into account the full context of their statements. We have also created a page listing all the statements and actions recorded so far (http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/timeline) so that readers can see the continuum of support and opposition.
http://www.propublica.org/nerds/item/sopa-opera-update

Peter Lemkin
01-21-2012, 11:37 AM
Yes, shows what social networking via internet CAN do!...However, they [THEY!] will wait a few weeks until all calms down and do an 'end run' - Amrican football term] and hide something similar in another bill...until it sneaks through! Watch! The problem can ONLY be solved by a complete change of Governance and new Paradigms!!!! endless fingers in the dikes will not work!

Magda Hassan
01-22-2012, 05:59 AM
3529

Magda Hassan
01-22-2012, 06:06 AM
3530

Magda Hassan
01-26-2012, 01:30 AM
Was Megaupload Targeted Because Of Its Upcoming Megabox Digital Jukebox Service? http://0.gravatar.com/avatar/c921fdee122025b0436360dc6bb7322d?s=60&d=identicon&r=G Matt Burns (http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/24/was-megaupload-targeted-because-of-its-upcoming-megabox-digital-jukebox-service/#)

posted yesterday
28 Comments (http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/24/was-megaupload-targeted-because-of-its-upcoming-megabox-digital-jukebox-service/#comment-box)

http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/megabox.jpg?w=640
Last Thursday the US Justice Department came down hard on Megaupload (http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/19/megaupload-taken-down-on-piracy-allegations/) and its mega founder, Kim Dotcom. In the days since, there has been a shake-up of sorts in the digital storage realm. Several smaller sites have drastically changed (http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/23/megaupload-bust-causes-cyberlocker-panic-but-its-only-temporary/) their business models. Others, like MediaFire, reached out to me after I published this post (http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/20/megaupload-computer-abuse-reinforcement-education/) attempting to distance themselves from Megaupload.
However, yesterday, a new theory surfaced (http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/otpbu/was_this_the_real_reason_why_megaupload_was/) that indicates Megaupload’s demise had less to do with piracy than previously thought. This theory stems from a 2011 article detailing Megaupload’s upcoming Megabox music store and DIY artist distribution service that would have completely disrupted the music industry.
http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/megabox1.jpg?w=200&h=231 (http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/megabox1.jpg)TorrentFreak first reported (http://torrentfreak.com/riaa-label-artists-a-list-stars-endorse-megaupload-in-new-song-111209/) about the service in early December 2011. Megabox was just in beta at that time with listed partners of 7digital, Gracenote, Rovi, and Amazon. Megaupload was in a heated marketing battle with the RIAA and MPAA who featured Kim Dotcom in an anti-piracy movie (5:10 mark (http://vimeo.com/32592166)). The site had just sued Universal Music Group for wrongly blocking Megaupload’s recent star-studded YouTube campaign. Things were getting vicious in December but the quiet launch of Megabox might have been the straw that broke the millionaire’s back.
Dotcom described Megabox as Megaupload’s iTunes competitor, which would even eventually offer free premium movies via Megamovie, a site set to launch in 2012. This service would take Megaupload from being just a digital locker site to a full-fledged player in the digital content game.
The kicker was Megabox would cater to unsigned artists and allow anyone to sell their creations while allowing the artist to retain 90% of the earnings. Or, artists could even giveaway their songs and would be paid through a service called Megakey. “Yes that’s right, we will pay artists even for free downloads. The Megakey business model has been tested with over a million users and it works,” Kim Dotcom told TorrentFreak in December. Megabox was planning on bypassing the labels, RIAA, and the entire music establishment.
Megaupload was likely large enough to actually find success. Other services have tried what Megabox was set to do, but Megaupload was massive. Prior to its closure last week, the site was estimated to be the 13th most visited site on the Internet, accounting for 4% of all worldwide Internet traffic. It boasted 180 million registered users with over 50 million visiting the site daily. Megaupload was already a seemingly trusted service for artists to distribute their work. Megabox would have a monetized that popularity by passing on the bulk of the earnings back to the artists.
“You can expect several Megabox announcements next year including exclusive deals with artists who are eager to depart from outdated business models,” said Dotcom late last year. But that’s probably not going to happen. Kim Dotcom and several other Megaupload executives are now awaiting trial on various charges including racketeering, money laundering, and various counts of piracy. It seems they flew too close to the sun. High on success and a half a world away in New Zealand and Hong Kong, they attempted to take on the music industry head-on. Now they’re in jail.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/24/was-megaupload-targeted-because-of-its-upcoming-megabox-digital-jukebox-service/

Magda Hassan
01-28-2012, 06:09 AM
What is ACTA? ACTA is an international trade agreement currently being negotiated by the European Union, the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Australia as well as a few other countries, whose aim is to enforce copyright and tackle counterfeited goods (hence its acronym: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement).
The main problem with this treaty is that all the negotiations are done secretly. Leaked documents show that one of the major goal of the treaty is to force signatory countries into implementing anti file-sharing policies under the form of three-strikes schemes and net filtering practices.
Help stop ACTA

Inform about ACTA (http://www.stopacta.info/)
Use the ACTA alert box (http://www.stopacta.info/alertbox) on your website
If in the EU, help collect signatures of Members of the European Parliament for the Written Declaration 12 (http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Help_sign_the_Written_Declaration_12/2010_about_ACTA)



Intellectual property must be protected, but it should not be placed above individuals' rights to privacy and data protection. Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), issued a report on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), claiming that it could prove unworkable under current European Union data protection laws.

ACTA is legislation laundering on an international level of what would be very difficult to get through most Parliaments Stravros Lambrinidis, Member of European Parliament, S and D, Greece
The European Parliament has had no representation in ACTA negotiations. Just accepting or rejecting an agreement is not an exercise of democracy as under the Lisbon Treaty. Zuzana Roithova, Member of European Parliament, EPP, Czech Republic

It is extremely regrettable that democratic debate has been eliminated from talks that could have a major impact on such a fundamental freedom as free expression. Reporters without Borders, European Parliament Sakharov Prize Winners

Any measures concerning people's right to go online need to be brought in through the proper democratic channels, not via self-regulation, and made into EU law Andrea D?Incecco, public affairs manager from EuroISPA (Business association of European Internet Service Providers)

Third party liability for Internet Server Providers is like making the post office responsible for what is inside the letters they send. Alexander Alvaro, Member of European Parliament, ALDE, Germany.

We can only assume that the final text could do great harm in developing countries and undermine the balance between the protection of intellectual property and the need to provide affordable medicines for poor people. Rohit Malpani, OXFAM, from a press release criticising possible impact of ACTA.

We are in danger of ending up with the worst of both worlds, pushing IP rules, which are very effective at stopping access to life-saving drugs but are very bad at stopping or preventing fake drugs. Michelle Childs of Médecins Sans Frontières, Nobel Peace Prize winners, has issued a very critical statement on ACTA.

Magda Hassan
01-28-2012, 06:11 AM
http://falkvinge.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/iStock_000018716992Small-646x363.jpg (http://falkvinge.net/2012/01/26/eu-acta-chief-resigns-in-disgust-over-disrespect-at-citizens-next-steps/)
EU ACTA Chief Resigns In Disgust Over Disrespect At Citizens; Next Steps
http://falkvinge.net/wp-content/themes/WpNewspaper/images/callout-60px.png

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This just in: the European Parliament’s rapporteur of the ACTA agreement, an agreement which is about as bad as SOPA and creates seriously repressive legislation – that rapporteur has just quit in disgust over how the whole process has been designed to keep citizens and lawmakers in the dark.
From the website of La Quadrature (https://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/ACTA_rapporteur_denounces_ACTA_mascarade), which quotes and translates Numérama (http://www.numerama.com/magazine/21424-acta-demissionnaire-kader-arif-denonce-une-mascarade.html) interviewing Kader Arif, former rapporteur for ACTA:

”I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament’s demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly.”
“As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens’ legitimate demands.”
“Everyone knows the ACTA agreement is problematic, whether it is its impact on civil liberties, the way it makes Internet access providers liable, its consequences on generic drugs manufacturing, or how little protection it gives to our geographical indications.”
“This agreement might have major consequences on citizens’ lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this mascarade.”
I’ve never seen words this strong from a Member of European Parliament before. He’s essentially saying that parliament was deliberately kept in the dark – this description comes very close to describing a coup d’état.
Next Steps It is important to know that today’s signing of the ACTA agreement by the EU member states accounts for absolutely nothing. It is for show. A ceremony. Theater. The legally binding action happens in votes in parliaments; the national parliaments across Europe, and notably the European Parliament. That’s the final line of defense, and that’s where we must win.
The vote in European Parliament is estimated to happen somewhere around June 10. On the road there, it needs to pass through three or four subcommittees of the European Parliament. I expect similar mechanisms to happen in the national parliaments.
Expect lies.
The Polish minister of digitization, Michal Boni, was lying through his teeth (http://christianengstrom.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/polish-minister-telling-lies-to-get-acta-signed/) yesterday, saying that Poland “had no option” but to sign the agreement, and that Poland would submit “an addendum clarifying Poland’s conditions”. These are blatant lies. He also claimed that all other EU countries had already signed it, which as another blatant lie.
First, if no vote in parliament was needed, you can be damn sure it wouldn’t be held in the first place. If parliament says no, any parliament, then no it is. And the Members of Parliament push exactly the button they want to – there is no “must push yes”. Nobody holds a gun to their head.
Second, there are no addendums or appendixes which may appease the public. The ACTA text is closed. There is no more adding to it. What remains is a yes or a no to the text exactly as it is written.
Make Noise This is where we come in. We must take everything we learned from defeating SOPA and apply it to national parliaments in Europe in general, and the European Parliament in particular.
Activism on the streets. Flood them with phone calls and emails. (Do not overload their servers, though: that will be seen as borderline terrorism and just make them more determined that more Internet control is the right thing to do.) Citizens of Poland have been exemplary here in taking to the streets.
SOPA is dead, and nobody in the US legislature wants to touch copyright monopoly issues. If we win ACTA – and we know that we can – then that may be the beginning of the end for the copyright industry and its attempts to kill our freedom of speech. Yes, really.
http://falkvinge.net/2012/01/26/eu-acta-chief-resigns-in-disgust-over-disrespect-at-citizens-next-steps/

Magda Hassan
01-28-2012, 06:23 AM
Who Really Stopped SOPA, and Why?








http://blogs-images.forbes.com/larrydownes/files/2012/01/network-300x166.jpg (http://blogs-images.forbes.com/larrydownes/files/2012/01/network.jpg)I split my time these days between Silicon Valley and Capitol Hill, and last week was a very good week to be in Washington. In the fall, I witnessed the beginnings of a unique revolt over proposed legislation that would have dramatically changed the Internet’s business landscape. Last week, that revolt achieved a stunning victory, sending Congress into a tailspin of retreat from bills that seemed certain, only months ago, to pass with little notice or resistance.
The two bills were the Senate’s Protect IP Act and the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act, or #PIPA and #SOPA as they became known on Twitter, where millions of Tweets condemned them and their supporters in and out of Congress. Heavily backed by D.C. favorites including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the music and motion picture industries, the legislation was superficially aimed at combating the scourge of foreign websites selling unlicensed or counterfeit American goods to U.S. consumers outside the legal reach of criminal and civil enforcement.
But to Internet users, the proposed legislation and the process by which it was steamrolled through a supine Congress took on mythic attributes. By the end of last week the firefight had morphed into a battle of old economy vs. new, of business as usual in Washington vs. the organized chaos of online life, of K Street lobbyists vs. ordinary users.
(http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2012/01/24/the-reddit-revolution-how-a-site-for-sharing-lolcats-became-a-major-political-player/)

The Internet was having its Howard Beale moment—users were mad as hell, and they weren’t going to take it anymore.The legislation needed to be stopped, by any means necessary. PIPA and SOPA became nothing less than a referendum on who controlled the evolution of digital life. And amidst the smoke on noise on the field, it was hard to tell who was really directing the troops.
One thing is now entirely clear. The Internet won–at least for now. Two weeks ago, at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, lawmakers and industry representatives were clearly in retreat, calling at last—but with panic in their eyes—for constructive dialogue. Sandra Aistars, executive director of the Copyright Alliance, even complained that the technology community had failed to propose concrete “tweaks” to fix the bills. “A lot of the response has been amped up rhetoric that misstates the bills and the intentions of its proponents,” Aistars said. “It is not directed to particular fixes.”
But the time for constructive dialogue, which Congress and industry groups had overtly snubbed all year, was over. As CES attendees made their way home over the holiday weekend, the Obama administration, which had been notably silent, weighed in (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/01/14/obama-administration-responds-we-people-petitions-sopa-and-online-piracy) against the bills in their current form. “While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response,” administration officials said, “we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.” Another nail.
By the time the Congressional Internet Caucus convened its annual “State of the Net” meeting a few days later, it was clear that something dramatic was happening. Defections accelerated to an unprecedented rate as advocacy groups opposed to the bills shuttled between Congressional offices. Co-sponsors were now condemning the legislation. By Tuesday, it was no longer clear if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) even had enough votes to stop a promised filibuster from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Jan. 24th, when Reid intended to force a floor vote on PIPA.
On Wednesday, the rebels detonated their nuclear option. Wikipedia and Reddit, along with other popular websites, went black, generating thousands of calls and millions of emails (http://www.sopastrike.com/numbers), many from constituents who had likely never heard of the legislation the day before. Online petitions picked up 10,000,000 signatures, members of Congress received 3,000,000 emails and a still-unknown number of phone calls. Thirty-four Senators felt obliged to come out publicly against the legislation. That night, all four Republican candidates condemned the bills during a televised debate.
The State of the Net, as I said at one of several events that week, was very very annoyed.
By Friday, what had long been seen even by opponents as a done deal had become a deal undone. Both Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tx.), chief sponsors of PIPA and SOPA respectively, threw in the towel. Scheduled votes were off, planned markups were canceled; the legislation was dead. The war was over, at least for now, and perhaps until after the 2012 elections.
After sixteen successful efforts to extend or enhance copyright law over the last thirty-five years, the content industry’s perfect winning streak had finally ended. There was only now to cart off the dead and count up the wounded, and the battle would be over. At least until the next time.

Who Were Those Masked Men?



Meanwhile, now seems as good a time as any to ask what last week’s uprising really meant. Who was behind the remarkable campaign to stop the bills? How did they turn a bi-partisan majority against the legislation? Why did they care?
These are not merely academic questions. A new and profoundly different political force has emerged in the last few months, a constituency that identifies itself not by local interests but as citizens of the Internet. Understanding who they are and what they want is essential for both the winners and losers in last week’s slugfest. Ignore the lessons of the great uprising—of the dramatic introduction of “bitroots” politics—at your peril.
While there was plenty of traditional interest group politics at work here, the big story of last week (largely missed by traditional media) was the great awakening of Internet users. To be sure, the Consumer Electronics Association and advocacy organizations including NetCoalition were early in sounding the alarm about the proposed legislation early last year.
And a joint letter (http://www.protectinnovation.com/downloads/letter.pdf) to Congress in mid-November from leading technology companies including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and EBay expressing concern over PIPA and SOPA was clearly one of many key events in turning momentum against the proposed laws. Visits from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists played a role as well.
But to imagine that the millions of Internet users who took to the virtual streets over the last few months were simply responding to the clarion call of technology companies misses the real point–dangerously so.
Rather, it was the users who urged and sometimes pressured technology companies to oppose the bills, not the other way around. While the big companies eventually came on board, the push for them to do so came largely from activists using social networking and social news sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit, to build momentum and exert leverage, sometimes on the very companies whose tools they were using.
If there is a first mover in this creation story, it would start with the influential blog Techdir (http://www.techdirt.com/)t and its founder Mike Masnick. When PIPA passed out of a Senate committee in May (http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2011/05/16/leahys-protect-ip-act-why-internet-content-wars-will-never-end/) without any debate, Masnick started writing every day (sometimes many times a day) about the potential danger of the bill and the disingenuous process by which it was being railroaded through Congress.
Progress seemed to be made. Over the summer, House leaders promised to fix the many problems in PIPA in their soon-to-be-introduced version of the bill. The technology community had been heard.
But when SOPA was unveiled in October, the seventy-page draft was worse—far worse—than PIPA, offering a virtual Christmas list of new legal powers and technical remedies for copyright and trademark holders, none of which would have done much to stop infringement even as they rewrote basic rules of digital life.
In the name of combating rogue foreign websites, SOPA would have allowed law enforcement agencies and private parties to force U.S. ISPs to reroute user requests, force search engines to remove valid links, and require ad networks and payment processors to cut ties with condemned sites.
Users who streamed a minimal amount of licensed content without permission, including through YouTube, would face felony charges. And most of the new powers made use of short-cut legal procedures that strained the limits of due process.
That’s when the activists, online and off, shifted into high gear (http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2011/11/28/the-revolt-against-congresss-new-internet-piracy-proposals/). The crusade was picked up on the social news site Reddit, which in turn drove protests at Tumblr and Mozilla, among others. At one point, Reddit users organized a boycott of domain registrar GoDaddy, which was forced to beat a hasty retreat from its longstanding support for the bills in a very public and embarrassing about-face.
The rebels had learned the Death Star’s fatal design flaw, and were massing at the border to exploit it.
It was this groundswell of opposition—the first signs of a coherent and powerful bitroots movement–that pushed executives at these companies and later their more established peers to go public with what had been more discreet opposition to the bills. In particular, Google, which had hedged on PIPA earlier in the year (http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-20064545-261.html), took up the anti-SOPA flag and ran it through anyone on Capitol Hill who got in the way. And they brought many of their competitors along for the fight.


What are they Fighting for?
In Washington, the accepted wisdom by year-end was that the technology industry had matured at last into a lobbying force commensurate with its size and pocketbook. But what everyone missed was that the users had opened a third front in this fight, and clearly the one that determined its outcome.
The bitroots movement wasn’t led by Google. It wasn’t led by anyone. Even to look for its leaders is to miss the point. Internet users didn’t lobby or buy their way into influence. They used the tools at their disposal—Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and the rest—to make their voices heard. They encouraged voluntary boycotts and blackouts, and organized awareness days. This was a revolt of, by and with social networks, turning the tools that organized them into groups in the first place into potent new weapons for political advocacy. The users had figured out how to hack politics.

Now that the prototype has proven effective, we can expect similar responses to proposed legislation and regulation affecting other aspects of digital life in the future. And Internet activists will continue to co-opt the latest technology in singular pursuit of their goals and agendas.
Which are what, exactly? The answer is easy to find. And necessary. Those who are serious about channeling the energies of the PIPA and SOPA revolt into productive uses need to understand not just the how but also the why of last week’s victory.
The political philosophy of the Internet, though still largely unformed, is by no means inarticulate. The aspirations of Internet users largely reflect the best features of the technology itself—open, meritocratic, non-proprietary and transparent. Its central belief is the power of innovation to make things better, and its major tenet is a ruthless economic principle that treats information as currency, and sees any obstacle to its free flow as inefficient friction to be engineered out of existence.
Those seeking to understand what kind of governance Internet users are willing to accept would do well to start by studying the engineering that establishes the network and how it is governed. The key protocols and standards that make the Internet work—that make the Internet the Internet–are developed and modified by voluntary committees of engineers, who meet virtually to debate the merits of new features, design changes, and other basic enhancements.
The engineering task forces are meritocratic and open. The best ideas win through vigorous debate and testing. No one has seniority or a veto. There’s no influence peddling or lobbyists. The engineers are allergic to hypocrisy and public relations rhetoric. It’s a pure a form of democracy as has ever been implemented. And it works amazingly well.
Today’s Internet activists have adopted those engineering principles as their political philosophy. In that sense, their core ideals have not changed much since 1996, when John Perry Barlow published his prophetic “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace (https://projects.eff.org/%7Ebarlow/Declaration-Final.html)” in response to an equally ill-considered law that banned “indecent” content from the then-primitive World Wide Web. (The U.S. Supreme Court quickly threw it out as unconstitutional.) “We have no elected government,” Barlow wrote, “nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks.”
Barlow went on to “declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.” Barlow explains both the good and the bad, the productive and destructive, of the spirit that brought Congress to its knees last week. And does so, as with Jefferson two hundred years before, in the language of a poet. (Seriously, just follow the link and read the whole thing.)
In their political youth, Internet users are still profoundly idealistic and even a little naïve. They believe in democracy, freedom of expression and transparent governance; they have little tolerance for draconian rules, for back-room deals, or for imposed legalistic “solutions” to poorly-defined problems that might be better solved with more technology. They are, if anything, more libertarian than anything else. But even that label implies a willingness to engage in traditional political theater, a willingness that doesn’t exist.
Like most online communities, this political activism is largely nonhierarchical, relying on consensus and open debate rather than delegation. Titles and resumes play little part in deliberations—each users and her point of view is evaluated on the strength or weakness of their argument.
And there are no permanent allegiances or mutual back-scratching. Google has been on both sides of similar, albeit smaller, outbursts, as has Apple, Facebook, and other leading technology companies. In their stampede for Internet freedom, users will trample anyone perceived to stand in the way – Republicans, Democrats, mainstream media, technology companies, industry groups, and governments from local to international.
In the bitroots community, engineers play a unique role as trusted and objective commentators on what is and is not good for the Internet’s underlying technology. They are the shamans who interpret the cryptic (and encrypted) messages of the gods, and they must be consulted before making any great or small change to the architecture that has delivered the users into the new world.
Engineers are trusted because they have proven themselves objective. They simply don’t have the capacity for double-talk. Ask them how the network will respond to a proposed alteration – whether of technology or law – and they will tell you. Their candor may be novel for those used to governments built on subterfuge, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable.
One of the unforgivable sins of the PIPA and SOPA process, consequently, was a complete failure to engage with anyone in the engineering community; what lawmakers on both sides of the issue regularly referred to as “bringing in the nerds.”
And engineers were essential to getting it right, assuming that’s what the bills’ supporters really wanted to do. Both bills would have required ISPs to make significant changes to key Internet design principles—notably the process for translating web addresses to actual servers. Yet lawmakers freely admitted that they understood nothing of how that technology worked. Indeed, many seemed to think it was cute to begin their comments by confessing they’d never used, let alone studied, the infrastructure with which they were casually tinkering.


The Next Internet Revolt

Internet users have revolted in the face of earlier efforts to regulate their activities, but never on this scale or with this kind of momentum. Perhaps that’s because PIPA and SOPA presented a perfect storm. The draft legislation was terrible, the legislative process was cynical and undemocratic, and the public relations efforts of supporters fell flat on every level.

Yet it’s already clear that the losers in the PIPA/SOPA fight have learned nothing from the profound activation of Internet users. Last week, Rep. Lamar Smith, SOPA’s chief sponsor, dismissed the Wikipedia blackout as a “publicity stunt,” while Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), PIPA’s author, blamed defecting Republicans (defections were bi-partisan, as was opposition to both bills from the beginning). And supporters are already looking for opportunities to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. “My hope is that after a brief delay, we will, together, confront this problem,” Leahy said yesterday (http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/205891-leahy-blames-republicans-for-scuttling-pipa?utm_campaign=HilliconValley&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter).
The content industry has proven equally tone deaf. Speaking this week at the Sundance Film Festival, MPAA President (and former Senator) Chris Dodd called last week’s protest “white noise” that “has made it impossible to have a conversation.” That is, now that the industry has deigned to lower itself to having a conversation at all.
John Fithian, CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, unintentionally summed up everything that was wrong (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120124/10084517526/movie-theaters-top-lobbyist-resorts-to-making-up-facts-concerning-sopapipa.shtml) with the process from the beginning, “The backlash occurred,” he said, “Google made its point, they’re big and tough and we get it. Hopefully now reasonable minds will prevail.”
They don’t get it at all. It wasn’t Google who made “the point,” it was the company’s millions of users. The sponsors of SOPA and PIPA don’t even know who stopped them cold. But supporters of the proposed laws are retrenching (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/01/after-terrific-year-music-biz-demands-that-world-adopt-sopa-plus.ars) anyway, preparing to launch a new assault on an enemy it hasn’t identified.
Given both their arrogance and ignorance, it goes without saying that the content industries are unlikely to avoid similar catastrophes in the future, let alone find a way to work collaboratively with a political force they don’t know—or believe–exists.
On the other side, it’s hardly time to declare victory and go home. Last week’s win aside, the future success of the bitroots movement is far from certain. Whether the next issue is rogue websites, electronic surveillance, FCC oversight or government censorship (foreign or domestic), it may not always be so easy to call the Internet faithful to put up a united front.
Right now, it takes little more than a few key phrases – “open,” “censorship,” “privacy,” “break the Internet” – to hook the outrage of the Internet masses. But maintaining momentum requires something more sophisticated. And the accusations have to prove true.
To become a permanent counterbalance to traditional governments, the bitroots movement will need to become more nuanced and more proactive. To avoid the very real possibility of mob rule, Internet activists must use their power responsibly. SOPA was a gimme. But legislators and regulators won’t go quietly from this or future efforts to exert their influence over the Internet.
As the information economy increasingly becomes the economy that matters, we’ll need to find ways to accommodate Internet values to traditional rulemaking, to bridge the expanding chasm between Capitol Hill and Silicon Valley. The stakes are high—the future of the economy as well as the technology depends on getting it right. We can’t afford to mess it up. And we can’t afford to dismiss the bitroots movement as a sporadic, random outburst.
It’s worth remembering that some legislative interference has been valuable to the infant digital economy. These include protections in the U.S. against holding websites responsible for third party content (hard to imagine Facebook or Twitter or Reddit existing without that) and laws that minimize the authority of the Federal Communications Commission to work its particular brand of poison against broadband providers (they still oversee dial-up Internet services, and look how healthy that is).
Those acts of happy foresight seem far from the minds of tomorrow’s would-be regulators, however. In an interview Thursday (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/technology/dodd-calls-for-hollywood-and-silicon-valley-to-meet.html), former Senator Dodd called for a summit between “Internet companies” and content companies, in hopes of finding a compromise on PIPA and SOPA. “The perfect place to do it is a block away from here,” said Dodd, pointing to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
No, Mr. Dodd, the White House is not the “perfect place” to engage with Internet companies. And it isn’t the companies who matter the most. If you really want a “conversation,” you need to engage with Internet users, and you need to do so nearly anywhere except inside the beltway.
The only place to really engage your new adversaries is where they live—online, in chat rooms and user forums and social networks, on Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr and Reddit and whatever comes next. If you want to understand what went so horribly wrong with your business-as-usual efforts, you’ll need to take up residence in the digital realm and learn its new rules of engagement.
And if you want to persuade Internet users to help you innovate solutions for your industry’s many problems, you’ll need to come without your handlers and spin doctors, and without any expectation that your credentials or past accomplishments will carry weight in a serious debate about the costs and benefits of changing the architecture of the Internet to reduce copyright infringement. Come armed with facts, not rhetoric. Bring an open mind. And some engineers.
Oh, and if you’re serious about making real progress, stop calling us nerds.
Do you think “bitroots” activism is here for the long haul, or was last week just a flash in the pan? Let us know. And follow me on Twitter @LarryDownes.



http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2012/01/25/who-really-stopped-sopa-and-why/3/

Peter Lemkin
01-28-2012, 06:54 AM
I agree with the article above. It is not what one thinks of megaupload et al. It is that without a trial, the govt. has acted to extinguish a website. They are just getting everyone 'used' to this. the next gleam in their eyes are all the politically annoying sites, like this one...or most of the bloggers in the USA they don't like, news stories they don't approve. Big Brother would have loved this. It is Hitlerian for sure. They claim the right to close down sites outside the USA, as well as those in.

Magda Hassan
01-28-2012, 09:27 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jrdNKcUpJPg#!

Peter Lemkin
01-28-2012, 10:39 AM
Clearly, where they hope and plan this will 'go' is to where in a year or three, people all over the world can be and will be arrested [then heavens knows what will happen to them!] for a blog entry; website article, forum post against the Empire.......time to fight back was yesterday, but today will have to do!

Magda Hassan
01-30-2012, 12:53 AM
Megaupload users to sue US government You stole our data 27 Jan 2012 10:52 | by Edward Berridge (http://www.techeye.net/about-us/edward-berridge) | Filed in Internet (http://www.techeye.net/internet) USA (http://www.techeye.net/topic/usa)

[/URL] (http://www.reddit.com/submit?url=http://www.techeye.net/internet/megaupload-users-to-sue-us-government)


http://www.techeye.net/assets/upload/arrrpirates.jpg Users of Megaupload who legally stored their data on the site are suing the US government for data theft.
The US Department of Justice switched off Megaupload servers at the request of Big Content and they also cut of millions of legitimate users from their backed-up content.
To be fair, the DoJ had been told that the site was only being used by pirates to distribute illegal content and for some reason it forgot that it might actually be being used legitimately.
According to TorrentFreak (http://torrentfreak.com/megaupload-users-plan-to-sue-the-fbi-over-lost-files-120126/)those users are fuming that the Government did not warn them to take their data off the site before they shut it down and they might have a point.


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Ironically the legal campaign is being organised by the Pirates of Catalonia who are working with Pirate Parties International.
A posting on the Pirates of Catalonia Website said that the widespread damage caused by the sudden closure of Megaupload was unjustified and completely disproportionate to the aim intended.
It has created a form where users can register their complaints, and plans to "facilitate submission of complaints against the US authorities in as many countries as possible, to ensure a positive and just result.
At the moment it is not clear what legal action the group can take. The only specific statutes the Pirates of Catalonia mention are Articles 197 and 198 in the Spanish law which govern the misappropriation of personal data.
At the moment the group said that it is only investigating "potential breaches of law."
What might stop them being successful is that Megaupload's terms of service said that users who stored data on the site did so at their own risk. While that might have protected Megaupload from being sued, it could be used by the DoJ to say that legitimate users should have backed up anyway.


Read more: [URL]http://news.techeye.net/internet/megaupload-users-to-sue-us-government#ixzz1ktlP9BaA

Peter Lemkin
02-04-2012, 10:48 PM
Beyond SOPA: The Past, Present and Future of Internet Censorship
by grtv

In recent weeks the general public has mobilized to face US legislative threats to Internet freedoms. Far from a conclusive victory, however, the death of SOPA and PIPA only highlight the latest in a series of measures that are seeking to create a legal framework for government-administered Internet censorship.

Find out more about this contentious topic in this week's GRTV Backgrounder on Global Research TV.

TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCES: http://www.corbettreport.com/?p=3827

When legislators in the US abandoned their support of SOPA and PIPA in the wake of mass popular protest earlier this month, many of those who had been mobilized by the legislation–which would have granted the US government almost total power to block access to foreign websites accused of so much as linking to copyrighted material–did not have long to enjoy their “victory.” The very next day the New Zealand police swooped in to the million-dollar estate of MegaUpload.com founder Kim Dotcom, arresting him and three others at the US government’s request for alleged racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering. The Department of Justice is now seeking the MegaUpload CEO’s extradition to the US.

Some amongst those who had been campaigning against SOPA and PIPA did not know that the US government already had the authority to shut down entire websites and in fact has exercised that authority on numerous occasions. What many are now learning is that, far from some potential future threat, internet censorship already exists in a variety of legislation that is already on the books in the United States and in nations around the world.

Although most commonly associated with China, which has implemented strict internet filters that prevent its citizens from finding politically sensitive material, various internet censorship programs have already been implemented by countries around the globe.

In 2010, Japan passed amendments to its copyright law making it illegal to download copyrighted material. The move has yet to curtail file-sharing in the country, so the Japanese government recently announced that they are going to begin putting fake copies of popular tv dramas on file-sharing websites that, when opened, remind users that it is illegal to download such material.

In July of 2010, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized the domains of 8 websites that it accused of hosting illegal copies of copyrighted material as part of an investigation dubbed Operation In Our Sites. The seizures came before any trial took place, and six of the websites did not actually host any of the copyrighted material in question, only linking to it. That November, ICE acted once again, this time seizing 82 domains. In December of 2011, over one year later, the agency returned one of the domains, Dajaz1.com, to its owner, after admitting that it had not in fact breached any laws.

In May of last year, the US Justice Department began seeking the extradition of one of the website’s operators, Richard O’Dwyer, from the UK. O’Dwyer is a British citizen who established TVShack.net in December of 2007. The DOJ is hoping to bring O’Dwyer to the US under the Extradition Act of 2003 to face charges of copyright infringement in the Southern District of New York.

Late last year, a number of nations signed a new global copyright agreement known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement or ACTA. Signatories include the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, South Korea, and, as of this past week, 22 member states of the European Union.

Purported to be a treaty against counterfeit goods, generic drugs and copyright, it threatens to fundamentally alter the internet as it has so far existed.

When the Polish government announced its intention to sign earlier this month, protests sprang up around the country.

While the public is only beginning to understand the implications of ACTA, which has already been signed by a number of countries, others are pointing to these types of agreements as only the thin edge of the wedge for the implementation of outright totalitarian control over the internet as a whole. Indeed, perhaps even more worrying than the existing legislation and agreements for internet censorship are the numerous proposals for even more restrictive measures that have been made time and again by political leaders in a variety of contexts.

In October of 2008, the Labor government in Australia proposed a mandatory filter for the entire Australian internet. The proposal, dubbed “Clean Feed” would ostensibly block any content deemed to break Australia’s media regulations. When a list of the websites supposed to be banned under the scheme was released in early 2009, it included the websites of numerous innocuous Australian businesses, as well as overtly political websites that had no illegal or offending material. The current government has said they would not vote for any such legislation, and the proposal would be unlikely to reach parliament until 2013.

In 2010 the UK passed the Digital Economy Act, which theoretically allows for the UK government to ban copyright violators from the Internet. In August of 2011, parts of the legislation proposing the blocking of sites believed to be linking to copyrighted material was declared to be unenforceable and were dropped from the legislation.

In March of 2009, Senator Jay Rockefeller opined during a subcommittee hearing that the internet is proving to be such a threat to America’s national security that it would have been better if it had never existed.

In June of 2010, Senator Joe Lieberman stated that he believed the US needed the same ability to shut down the internet as China currently has.

While these proposals are sometimes couched in business-friendly rhetoric about protecting intellectual property, sometimes as a national security question about defending cyber infrastructure from foreign enemies and sometimes as attempts to protect children or stop the spread of child pornography, the proponents of internet censorship are becoming increasingly honest about their real worry: the free spread of ideas amongst a public that is allowed to choose for themselves what information to believe and what to discard.

Last year, Bill Clinton advocated the idea that the US government create an agency for “fact-checking” websites on the internet.

Earlier this month, Evgeny Morozov of Stanford, who previously served as a Fellow of George Soros’ Open Society Institute, wrote an article calling on Google and other search engines to use banners to warn users about websites that are deemed to be pseudoscientific or conspiratorial. Perhaps realizing that the proposal sounds drastic, Morozov concludes:

“such a move might trigger conspiracy theories of its own—e.g. is Google shilling for Big Pharma or for Al Gore?—but this is a risk worth taking as long as it can help thwart the growth of fringe movements.”

Here we see the real danger of the internet for those who seek to control the spread of information. The internet, like every other medium that has come before it, changes not just the way in which people create, distribute and receive information, but the information itself. Just as the printing press led to the widespread publication of the Bible in the vernacular and ultimately to the Reformation which forever transformed the power structure in European society, so too has the internet allowed the public to receive, correlate and distribute information that challenges official government narratives in a way that threatens to transform the power structure of our society. And as the traditional media has begun to bleed away the remains of its increasingly dissatisfied customer base, self-immolated on the fantastic failure to challenge the status quo on issues like Saddam’s WMD or the growing apparatus of the police state or the never-ending bailouts of the too-big-to-fails, a new, independent media has arisen to take its place, empowered by technologies that allow for the instantaneous and nearly costless transmission of ideas to the farthest corners of the globe.

When situated in this context, the recent struggle over the SOPA and PIPA bills are seen for what they are: one battle in a much larger war for internet freedom, and ultimately, the cognitive liberty of the American public. But it is possible to win the battle and yet lose the war, as the millions of MegaUpload users who just had all of their files seized by the FBI found out the hard way. The only hope is that the movement that has arisen to face this, the greatest threat to the rise of this new era of mental independence, does not wane in the wake of the SOPA and PIPA “victory,” but instead rises to meet the even greater internet clampdown that awaits. After all, all the authorities are waiting for is for the public to fall back asleep.
Recommended Articles

INTERNET FREEDOM; ACTA: Worse Than SOPA and PIPA.
by Stephen Lendman

SAY NO TO SOPA AND PIPA. What’s Happening With the Web Censorship Bills?
by Washington's Blog

Another Blow To Media Freedom: British Regulators Pull Press TV
by Danny Schechter

BREAKING: Copyright Lawyers Oppose SOPA … And Say It Won’t Even Work
by Washington's Blog

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA): The Corporate Usurpation of the Internet
by Nile Bowie

Magda Hassan
04-04-2012, 01:12 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya2TmSmbUQI

Magda Hassan
04-04-2012, 01:15 AM
Forget SOPA, You Should Be Worried About This Cybersecurity Billfrom the this-is-not-good deptDDocument here (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120402/04425118325/forget-sopa-you-should-be-worried-about-this-cybersecurity-bill.shtml)

While most folks are looking elsewhere, it appears that Congress is trying to see if it can sneak an absolutely awful "cybersecurity" bill through Congress. We've discussed how there's been somefighting (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120216/17430217786/senators-ramp-up-fear-mongering-to-try-to-rush-through-cybersecurity-bill.shtml) on the Senate side concerning which cybersecurity bill to support, but there's a similar battle going on in the House, and it appears that the Rogers-Ruppersberger bill, known as CISPA (for Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) or HR 3523 (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3523) is winning out, with a planned attempt to move it through Congress later this month. The bill is awful -- and yet has somehow already gained over 100 sponsors (http://intelligence.house.gov/press-release/co-sponsors-top-100-rogers-ruppersberger-bipartisan-cyber-bill). In an attempt to pretend that this isn't a "SOPA-like" problem, the supporters of this bill are highlighting the fact that Facebook, Microsoft and TechAmerica are supporting this bill.

However, this is a terrible bill for a variety of reasons. Even if we accept the mantra that new cybersecurity laws are needed (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120308/12180318040/slow-down-homeland-security-does-everyone-really-agree-that-we-need-cybersecurity-legislation-now.shtml) (despite a near total lack of evidence to support this -- and, no,fearmongering (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120216/17430217786/senators-ramp-up-fear-mongering-to-try-to-rush-through-cybersecurity-bill.shtml) about planes falling from the sky doesn't count), this bill has serious problems. As CDT warned (https://www.cdt.org/blogs/greg-nojeim/112cyber-intelligence-bill-threatens-privacy-and-civilian-control) when this bill first came out, it's way too broad and overreaching:
However, the bill goes much further, permitting ISPs to funnel private communications and related information back to the government without adequate privacy protections and controls. The bill does not specify which agencies ISPs could disclose customer data to, but the structure and incentives in the bill raise a very real possibility that the National Security Agency or the DOD’s Cybercommand would be the primary recipient.If it's confusing to keep track of these different cybersecurity bills, the ACLU has put together ahandy dandy (scary) chart (http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/aclu_cs_info_sharing_leg_chart_march_2012__final.p df) (pdf) comparing them all. And what comes through loud and clear is that the Rogers-Ruppersberger CISPA bill will allow for much greater information sharing of companies sending private communication data to the government -- including the NSA, who has been trying very, very hard to get this data (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120317/00381118147/terrifying-look-into-nsas-ability-to-capture-analyze-pretty-much-every-communication.shtml), not for cybersecurity reasons, but to spy on people. CISPA has broad definitions, very few limits on who can get the data, almost no limitations on how the government can use the data (i.e. they can use it to monitor, not just for cybersecurity reasons) and (of course) no real oversight at all for how the data is (ab)used.

CDT has put together a reasonable list of 8 things that should be done (https://www.cdt.org/blogs/greg-nojeim/2803cybersecuritys-8-step-plan-internet-freedom) if politicians don't want to turn cybersecurity into a new SOPA, but so far, Congress is ignoring nearly all of them. Similarly, EFF is asking people to speak out against CISPA (https://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/9042/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8444), noting that it basically creates a cybersecurity exemption to all existing laws. If the government wants your data, it just needs to claim that it got it for "cybersecurity purposes" and then it can do pretty much whatever it wants.

This is a really bad bill and it looks like it's going to pass unless people speak up.

Magda Hassan
04-10-2012, 07:43 AM
Wrong paperwork used to seize Megaupload property, judge says

Law enforcement admitted filing the wrong paperwork under which they seized Kim Dotcom's property

By Jeremy Kirk

March 19, 2012 12:10 AM ET


IDG News Service - An order granted to law enforcement allowing them to seize luxury cars and other personal effects from the estate of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is invalid, a judge in New Zealand ruled on Friday.
A police commissioner applied for the wrong type of seizure order, requested by the U.S., which now is "null and void and has no legal effect," Judge Judith Potter ruled.
The ruling means Dotcom has a chance to recover some of the items, which reportedly included a Rolls Royce and a pink Cadillac, seized during his Jan. 20 arrest at his mansion outside Auckland. It was unclear on Monday the next step Dotcom would have to take to get his property returned, and his attorneys could not immediately be reached.
Dotcom, 38, faces extradition to the U.S. on various copyright infringement and money laundering charges relating to his website Megaupload, a file-sharing and storage website, which was shutdown in January.
New Zealand police applied for a second order to seize more of Dotcom's property and, after realizing the mistake, tried to include the property improperly seized under the first order, Potter wrote.
Dotcom's attorneys argued that some or all of their client's property should be released. But representatives acting for the U.S. said the subsequent seizure order, dated Feb. 1, is sufficient for holding Dotcom's property.
Extradition proceedings for Dotcom, who is free on bail but subject to electronic monitoring, are expected to begin in August.
The U.S. Department of Justice alleges Megaupload collected US$175 million in criminal proceeds, rewarding users for uploading and sharing content without the permission of copyright holders.
Also charged are Megaupload defendants Finn Batato, Julius Bencko, Sven Echternach, Mathias Ortmann, Andrus Nomm and Bram Van Der Kolk.
http://www.computerworld.com/s/artic...rty_judge_says (http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9225295/Wrong_paperwork_used_to_seize_Megaupload_property_ judge_says)

Peter Lemkin
04-10-2012, 10:54 AM
Wrong paperwork used to seize Megaupload property, judge says

Law enforcement admitted filing the wrong paperwork under which they seized Kim Dotcom's property

By Jeremy Kirk

March 19, 2012 12:10 AM ET


IDG News Service - An order granted to law enforcement allowing them to seize luxury cars and other personal effects from the estate of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is invalid, a judge in New Zealand ruled on Friday.
A police commissioner applied for the wrong type of seizure order, requested by the U.S., which now is "null and void and has no legal effect," Judge Judith Potter ruled.
The ruling means Dotcom has a chance to recover some of the items, which reportedly included a Rolls Royce and a pink Cadillac, seized during his Jan. 20 arrest at his mansion outside Auckland. It was unclear on Monday the next step Dotcom would have to take to get his property returned, and his attorneys could not immediately be reached.
Dotcom, 38, faces extradition to the U.S. on various copyright infringement and money laundering charges relating to his website Megaupload, a file-sharing and storage website, which was shutdown in January.
New Zealand police applied for a second order to seize more of Dotcom's property and, after realizing the mistake, tried to include the property improperly seized under the first order, Potter wrote.
Dotcom's attorneys argued that some or all of their client's property should be released. But representatives acting for the U.S. said the subsequent seizure order, dated Feb. 1, is sufficient for holding Dotcom's property.
Extradition proceedings for Dotcom, who is free on bail but subject to electronic monitoring, are expected to begin in August.
The U.S. Department of Justice alleges Megaupload collected US$175 million in criminal proceeds, rewarding users for uploading and sharing content without the permission of copyright holders.
Also charged are Megaupload defendants Finn Batato, Julius Bencko, Sven Echternach, Mathias Ortmann, Andrus Nomm and Bram Van Der Kolk.
http://www.computerworld.com/s/artic...rty_judge_says (http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9225295/Wrong_paperwork_used_to_seize_Megaupload_property_ judge_says)

What is with this new trend - started in USA; spreading worldwide - at least in English-speaking colonies - of seizing property BEFORE trial and a finding of guilt. What EVER HAPPENED to the presumption of innocence until PROVEN guilty. Now it is the inverse! Now, punishment comes from the 'get go' and trial [if you are lucky enough to be granted one] much later - possibly followed by more punishment, but never redress for pre-trial punishment/seizures/invasion of privacy/torture/rendition/etc.

And while were on the subject of alleged intellectual property theft...the major corporations regularly steal DNA, genonomes, even whole organisms for their own profit - giving the originator or region of origin nothing...more usually legal threats...such as when some Big Pharma companies took naturally growing indiginous used substances from plants, patented them and turned around and told the indiginous people they couldn't use them any more - even in nature. If corporations are 'people' [I don't buy it for a second], they are mean, evil son-of-a-bitch 'people', for sure! Montsanto has done similare with seeds and the Feds don't even think to go after them or Big Pharma or any large mulitnationals.....fascism folks.

Peter Lemkin
04-26-2012, 07:52 PM
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: A legislative battle has erupted on Capitol Hill over a controversial House bill that critics say would allow private internet companies to hand over troves of confidential customer records and communications to the National Security Agency and other agencies. In a letter on Monday, 18 Democratic House members warned that unless specific limitations were put in place, the bill, quote, "would, for the first time, grant non-civilian federal agencies, such as the National Security Agency, unfettered access to information about Americans’ internet activities and allow those agencies to use that information for virtually any purpose." The bill is titled the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or simply CISPA.
Backers of the legislation say it is needed to help private companies crack down on foreign entities—including the Chinese and Russian governments—committing online economic espionage that is stealing trade secrets from U.S. corporations and the government. But the bill has faced widespread criticism from online privacy advocates and even the Obama administration.
AMY GOODMAN: On Thursday, the White House threatened to veto the legislation, saying, quote, "The sharing of information must be conducted in a manner that preserves Americans’ privacy, data confidentiality and civil liberties and recognizes the civilian nature of cyberspace. Cybersecurity and privacy are not mutually exclusive," they said. Critics also say the bill would essentially legalize a secret domestic surveillance program already being run by the National Security Agency.
Last week, a former top NSA official appeared on Democracy Now! to give his first TV interview (http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/20/whistleblower_the_nsa_is_lying_us). William Binney said domestic surveillance is already expanding under the Obama administration.

WILLIAM BINNEY: Actually, I think the surveillance has increased. In fact, I would suggest that they’ve assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about U.S. citizens with other U.S. citizens.

AMY GOODMAN: How many?

WILLIAM BINNEY: Twenty trillion.

AMY GOODMAN: Where do you get the number 20 trillion?

WILLIAM BINNEY: Just by the numbers of telecoms, it appears to me, from the questions that CNET posed to them in 2006, and they published the names and how—what the responses were. I looked at that and said that anybody that equivocated was participating, and then estimated from that the numbers of transactions. That, by the way, estimate only was involving phone calls and emails. It didn’t involve any queries on the net or any assembles—other—any financial transactions or credit card stuff, if they’re assembling that. I do not know that.
AMY GOODMAN: National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney. To see the full interview (http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2012/4/20) with him, you can go to our website at democracynow.org.
We’re joined now by two guests. Michelle Richardson is with us in Washington, D.C., legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. Jacob Appelbaum is back with us again here in Democracy Now!’s studios in New York, computer security researcher, developer and advocate for the Tor Project, a system that enables its users to communicate anonymously on the internet.
Michelle, let’s begin with you. Talk about this legislation, this bill that is expected to be voted on this week, debates beginning today.
MICHELLE RICHARDSON: CISPA, the bill that will come up later today and probably be voted on tomorrow, will create an exception to all existing privacy laws so that companies can share very sensitive and personal information directly with the government, including military agencies like the National Security Agency. And then, once the government has it, they can repurpose it and use it for a number of things, including an undefined national security use. The violations of privacy are just amazing under this bill, and it’s even invoked a veto threat from the Obama administration.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And specifically in terms of the new powers that this grant, what does this do to existing laws that protect the privacy of American citizens and requires the government to get even FISA warrants when it wants to actually do surveillance in particular situations?
MICHELLE RICHARDSON: Right. Current law now creates a presumption of privacy in our phone calls, emails and internet records, and they say that companies have to keep them private unless there’s an emergency or the government serves them with a subpoena or warrant. And in one fell swoop, this bill will say that these privacy laws simply no longer apply. So, all of the process afforded under those laws, the protections, the congressional reporting, the role of a judge, all of that is swept away in one bill and will allow companies to decide how much and what type of information they want to turn over to the government. And it can include incredibly sensitive information, like the content of emails or internet use history. There’s no obligation on the companies to extract the personally identifiable information. And that’s the important thing to remember here, that information sharing may be a good thing. There are ways that it could be done, where companies would share technical data with the government that wouldn’t invade privacy. But that’s not what we’re talking about. This bill is incredibly broad and will allow the companies to turn over even the personally identifiable information.
AMY GOODMAN: The chief author of CISPA, Republican Congress Member Mike Rogers, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee and a former FBI agent, when he introduced the bill in November, predicted privacy advocates would oppose the legislation.

REP. MIKE ROGERS: I expect that some will allege that the bill creates a new wide-ranging government surveillance program. This is false. The bill has nothing to do with government surveillance. It simply provides clear authority to the private sector, not the government, to identify and share cyber threat information. And remember what the threat is: up to a trillion dollars a year in lost intellectual property. The one thing that has set America apart from every other nation is our innovation in our intellectual property. If we lose that game, we lose this fight.

Moreover, the bill only permits sharing of cybersecurity threat information when a company is engaged in the protection of its own systems or networks or those of the corporate customer. Our bill does not require anyone to provide information to the government. Any sharing of information with the government is completely voluntary every step of the way. A government surveillance program that doesn’t require any information privileged to the government shouldn’t be a very good surveillance program. Now, I couldn’t believe it. As an old FBI guy, we would say that is an unworkable event.
AMY GOODMAN: House Intelligence chair, Michigan’s Republican Congress Member Mike Rogers, unveiling the legislation at a meeting hosted by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, a lobbying powerhouse. The association’s president, Michael Powell, praised the legislation. Powell is the former chair of the Federal Communications Commission and the son of former secretary of state, General Colin Powell.

MICHAEL POWELL: It’s not an exaggeration to say, when it comes to cybersecurity, what you don’t know can hurt you. And one of the most valuable aspects of this legislation is it deals with the most critical problem when industries and government face a challenge like this: inadequate information flow. You can’t fix what you don’t know. You can’t work in cooperation and coordination with others when you’re not able to effectively share information. I think the legislation we’ll hear about today takes a dramatic and important step.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Michael Powell, formerly chair of the FCC. Michelle Richardson, your response?
MICHELLE RICHARDSON: Well, the advocacy and civil liberties community is united in their opposition to this bill. We all believe that this is an unjustifiable infringement on privacy. And while the sponsors speak about limitations, they’re just not in the bill. We’re being asked to just trust the companies and the NSA to work in secret and protect our privacy. And we know from the warrantless wiretapping scandal after 9/11, when these groups are allowed to work in private like this, they’re going to invade our privacy.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Michelle Richardson, there’s been apparently a series of amendments proposed, some of them by liberal Democrats like John Lewis and others who are hoping to make portions of this legislation more palatable. Your sense of these attempts at soothing the rough edges of this legislation, but leaving it essentially intact?
MICHELLE RICHARDSON: Well, last night, the House Rules Committee decided which amendments would actually get a vote on the floor tomorrow, and they decided that amendments offered by Mr. Lewis or Jan Schakowsky or some of the other progressive members simply will not get a floor vote. And these were incredibly important amendments that would have squarely made Congress decide whether the military and the NSA would be able to collect internet records on innocent Americans. But Congress will not be able to vote on that this week, and instead they’ll just have to vote no on the entire bill, to send the message that they don’t want the military surveilling internet.
AMY GOODMAN: Interestingly, the legislation was co-sponsored by Democratic Congress Member Dutch Ruppersberger, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He has denied the bill would increase surveillance.

REP. DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER: What the bill basically does is—in 1947, there was a bill, the intelligence bill, that really created what the rules or regulations were for CIA, NSA and all of the intelligence agencies. And what this bill basically does is allow a government entity—in most situations, the NSA here—it allows them to give information to the private sector. The 1947 bill says, if it’s classified information, you cannot give it to the other side. And how the bill really came together was this DIB pilot program. It’s a pilot program that allowed the NSA, working with the providers, the—I believe it was AT&T, it was Verizon and Qwest—and allowed them to give that information over to the private companies to work to protect themselves. That worked extremely well. And as a result of that, we kind of—we kind of modeled our bill after that.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, interestingly, the Obama administration at this point says that they would veto this, but that’s Democratic Congress Member Dutch Ruppersberger. And among those who are supporting the legislation are major companies, ones that have actually opposed SOPA, the Stop Online [Piracy] Act—for example, Google, and then there’s Facebook and these other companies. What do they have to gain, and what are the companies that are supporting it?
MICHELLE RICHARDSON: Last I heard, all of the major corporations that are involved with the internet are supporting this CISPA, the Rogers bill. And frankly, they’re going to make out like bandits. Under this bill, if they share our private information, they get complete protection from liability. Consumers will no longer be able to assert their privacy rights that exist under current law and hold them accountable in court. They can’t be prosecuted by the government like they currently can for illegal wiretapping or sharing information. They’re getting FOIA exemptions, so that no one will ever know about these breaches or the things that they share with the government. They’re really walking away here with maximum flexibility to share our personal information with minimum accountability and no enforcement to make sure that they are not oversharing and infringing on our privacy.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Michelle Richardson, what are the prospects of this legislation passing, first in the House, and obviously then it would also have to pass in the Senate? And how would the White House react to its possible passage?
MICHELLE RICHARDSON: Well, we were very, very pleased to see that the Obama administration issued a veto threat yesterday and said, in very clear terms, that they believe that control of the internet needs to remain civilian, and the military shouldn’t be routinely collecting information on innocent people. We expect the bill to probably pass tomorrow, but we expect a strong no vote. And even just a month ago, if this bill had been brought to the floor, it probably would have sailed through without much amendment at all. But the online organizing and the organizing by the advocacy community over the last month has really changed the game, and the members are more educated. And I think we’re going to see a very strong no vote from both Democrats and Republicans tomorrow.
AMY GOODMAN: Michelle Richardson—
MICHELLE RICHARDSON: Now, the Senate has its own alternative and is slated to vote on their bill in May. And it does include more protections, so it will come down to a conference between the House and the Senate to see which bill prevails.
AMY GOODMAN: Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

AMY GOODMAN: Our guest, Jacob Appelbaum, is back with us from last Friday. He’s a computer security researcher, developer and advocate for the Tor Project, a system that enables its users to communicate anonymously on the internet. He’s going to be holding a public education seminar today in New York City for people to protect themselves online and using their phones, using their computers. But right now, this legislation.
When SOPA was put forward, Jacob, the Stop Online Privacy sic Act, the Congress members, Republican and Democrat, thought it would sail through. And then there was just a wildfire on the internet, and they backed off. Michelle Richardson said she thinks it is possible it will pass tomorrow in the House, but the Obama administration has said it would veto it. They also said they’d veto the National Defense Authorization Act, and they ultimately didn’t. But what are your thoughts? What kind of online activism is happening right now?
JACOB APPELBAUM: Well, I think a lot of people are organizing around this. I think the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in particular, deserves a great deal of respect for the work that they’ve done and what they’ve written about this. For example, they show pretty clearly that this is a dramatic expansion of essentially powers of surveillance, not just in terms of the government, but in terms of corporations and their ability to be held liable. So there is this extremely scary part of the bill with a two-year statute of limitations. And the problem is that in the cases that the EFF has been fighting with the NSA, the government—
AMY GOODMAN: That’s the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
JACOB APPELBAUM: Yeah. So they—essentially, the government has said that they invoke state secrets privilege, and so they’ve been in litigation for six years on some of their cases. So, a two-year statute of limitation, it’s unlikely that we would even discover that our rights had been violated in that time frame. Additionally, FOIA exemptions would mean that companies wouldn’t even be able, maybe, or would not disclose that information. So it’s—the deck is essentially stacked against regular people. And this is basically what Bill Binney was talking about last week when he was talking about the warrantless wiretapping program. It’s as if this week they decided to legalize all the stuff that Bill warned about and said that was already occurring. So that’s a pretty scary prospect.
AMY GOODMAN: I just want to correct one thing: I said the "Stop Online Privacy Act"; it’s the Stop Online Piracy Act.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Piracy Act, right.
AMY GOODMAN: Juan?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about a recent report by the Brookings Institute, not exactly a liberal or progressive think tank. But they did a paper (http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2011/1214_digital_storage_villasenor.aspx) called "Recording Everything: Digital Stories as an Enabler of Authoritarian Governments." And some of the quotes here are astonishing. They say, quote, "Plummeting digital storage costs will soon make it possible for authoritarian regimes to not only monitor known dissidents, but to also store the complete set of digital data associated with everyone within their borders."
They go on to say, "When all of the telephone calls in an entire country can be captured and provided to voice recognition software programmed to extract key phrases, and when video footage from public spaces can be correlated, in real time, to the conversations, text messages and social media traffic associated with the people occupying those spaces, the arsenal of responses available to a regime facing dissent will expand. ... Pervasive monitoring will provide what amounts to a time machine allowing authoritarian governments to perform retrospective surveillance."
This is where the United States is heading, where other authoritarian regimes, much more authoritarian regimes than ours, are heading around the world. And yet, the level of public opposition, especially among some young people, to this continued invasion of their privacy is not that—I mean, it’s strong, it’s growing, but it’s not where it should be.
JACOB APPELBAUM: It’s pretty concerning. I think one thing that’s important to note here is that it’s not a theoretical thing. For example, the WikiLeaks "Spy Files" showed that this kind of dragnet surveillance of all the phone calls of a country is in fact a product that is often sold. I believe it was Libya that purchased some of this equipment from a company called Amesys in France. So, it seems to me that people will try to dismiss it and say, "Well, they’ll never be able to analyze that kind of data." But that’s the problem they’ve been working on for the last 20 years, but especially in the last 10 years. So it’s not only that this data is being collected, but now they want to share it with the Department of Homeland Security, with the FBI and the NSA, essentially legalizing military surveillance over U.S. civilians—and the whole planet, frankly. So this has dramatic international implications in addition to national implications. And this is the same FBI that abuses the national security letters that have been given to them in the USA PATRIOT Act that abuses their authority on a regular basis. And they want to be without some kind of judicial oversight for all of their actions.
AMY GOODMAN: Last week, Laura Poitras, the filmmaker, and you, Jacob Appelbaum, and the NSA former official, William Binney, were on the show, and we played that clip from the Open Society meeting that you attended two Mondays ago. Can you introduce this clip for us? Who is this?
JACOB APPELBAUM: So, my understanding is that this is the deputy general counsel of the FBI.
AMY GOODMAN: And you questioned her.
JACOB APPELBAUM: I did.

JACOB APPELBAUM: Are you including national security letters in your comment about believing that there is judicial oversight with the FBI’s actions?

FBI DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL: National security letters and administrative subpoenas have the ability to have judicial oversight, yes.

JACOB APPELBAUM: How many of those actually do have judicial oversight, in percentage?

FBI DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL: What do you mean by that? How many have—

JACOB APPELBAUM: I mean, every time you get a national security letter, you have to go to a judge? Or—

FBI DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL: No, as you well know, national security letters, just like administrative subpoenas, you don’t have to go to a judge. The statute does allow for the person on whom those are served to seek judicial review. And people have done so.

JACOB APPELBAUM: And in the case of the third parties, such as, say, the 2703(d) orders that were served on my — according to the Wall Street Journal — my Gmail account, my Twitter account, and my internet service provider account, the third parties were prohibited from telling me about it, so how am I supposed to go to a judge, if the third party is gagged from telling me that I’m targeted by you?

FBI DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL: There are times when we have to have those things in place. So, at some point, obviously, you became aware. So at some point, the person does become aware. But yes, the statute does allow us to do that. The statute allows us.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, again, that’s the deputy general counsel for the FBI talking to you, who was just in the audience, Jacob Appelbaum. She said, "as you know," so she must know you sounded like you had a national security letter, one of, what, hundreds of thousands given by the FBI, and if you even reveal that you have one, you could face five years in jail. Have you been handed an NSL?
JACOB APPELBAUM: So, to the best of my knowledge, no, though there’s some speculation that perhaps she was hinting at the national security letter which Google is trying to unseal right now in the Fourth Circuit, I believe. So it could be that she just accidentally disclosed that there is a national security letter about me, and "as I well know" could be some kind of allusion to that, which, if that’s the case, then I hope that they hold her accountable for that kind of disclosure, since that seems to be something like they like to do to lots of people. So we’ll see if they hold their own accountable, if that’s true. And otherwise, maybe she was just suggesting I know quite a lot about this.
AMY GOODMAN: But then the content of what she said and how this fits in with this legislation?
JACOB APPELBAUM: I mean, it sounds to me like they are trying to expand that power to include all facets of the government, including the military, over civilian life with regard to surveillance and essentially to make it impossible for anyone to resist or to have judicial oversight. And that is a serious problem, in my opinion.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And how would legislation, for instance, that—like this House legislation, affect the work of your organization, the Tor Project, or would it, if it was enacted? Because you are set up to be able to protect the anonymity of people communicating over the internet.
JACOB APPELBAUM: Well, I’d like to think that it would mean that we’d have a lot more people using Tor every day. But—
AMY GOODMAN: That’s T-O-R Project-dot-org (https://www.torproject.org)?
JACOB APPELBAUM: Yeah. I mean, the network is made up of people who care, right? So someone downloads it and says, "I want to help," and then the network gets bigger. We don’t run the network like Google runs the network. So, different people make it up. The problem is that if the U.S. government was allowed to spy on everything, they can try to watch all of the network. And that’s where it starts to break down. So one of the scary things here is that we’re just not even sure how to exist in a complete—what’s called "global passive adversary world," where they can watch the entire internet. And so, this is, I think, an existential threat to anonymity online, to privacy and to security of everyday people.
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, basic privacy practices that EFF recommends, like using the anonymizing service of Tor or even encrypting your emails, could be considered an indicator of a threat, under the Senate bills.
JACOB APPELBAUM: Yeah, I think that that’s a really interesting tell about this. They suggest that people who protect themselves online, especially from the state, which is known to abuse its authority and power against innocent people on a regular basis—to suggest that that means that you’re a threat is an absolute scary, scary prospect.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to William Binney, who you were on with last week (http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/20/whistleblower_the_nsa_is_lying_us), the National Security Agency whistleblower who appeared on Democracy Now! We asked him about the NSA’s practice of collecting and storing emails.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you believe all emails, the government has copies of, in the United States?

WILLIAM BINNEY: I would think—I believe they have most of them, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: And you’re speaking from a position where you would know, considering your position in the National Security Agency.

WILLIAM BINNEY: Right. All they would have to do is put various Narus devices at various points along the network, at choke points or convergent points, where the network converges, and they could basically take down and have copies of most everything on the network.
AMY GOODMAN: That, again, National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney. He spent nearly 40 years at the agency but retired about a month after September 11, 2001, due to concerns over unchecked domestic surveillance.

WILLIAM BINNEY: But after 9/11, all the wraps came off for NSA, and they decided to—between the White House and NSA and CIA, they decided to eliminate the protections on U.S. citizens and collect on domestically. So they started collecting from a commercial—the one commercial company that I know of that participated provided over 300—probably, on the average, about 320 million records of communication of a U.S. citizen to a U.S. citizen inside this country.

AMY GOODMAN: What company?

WILLIAM BINNEY: AT&T. It was long-distance communications. So they were providing billing data. At that point, I knew I could not stay, because it was a direct violation of the constitutional rights of everybody in the country. Plus it violated the pen register law and Stored Communications Act, the Electronic Privacy Act, the intelligence acts of 1947 and 1978. I mean, it was just this whole series of—plus all the laws covering federal communications governing telecoms. I mean, all those laws were being violated, including the Constitution. And that was a decision made that wasn’t going to be reversed, so I could not stay there. I had to leave.
AMY GOODMAN: That was NSA whistleblower William Binney. I mean, he’s saying some explosive stuff. Six years later, in 2007, the FBI raided his home, pushing aside his son, his wife, held—he was in the shower. He also is a diabetic amputee. They put a gun to his head, the FBI. He was never charged with anything. This is a man who worked for the NSA for almost 40 years. Talk about the significance of what he’s saying here, from Narus to reading all the email.
JACOB APPELBAUM: Sure. I mean, basically what he’s saying is that the government is lying about what they are doing and what they have done, and they have not been held accountable in the last 10 years. And so, when they want to dramatically expand their ability to do these things in a so-called legal manner, it’s important to note what they’re trying to do is to legalize what they have already been doing and to suggest that they will be held accountable in a system where they already are not held accountable when they’re breaking the law. So if it were legal, it seems incredibly fishy that things would change and it would somehow improve, when in fact it seems to be just getting worse.
So what Binney is saying here is amazing, because he spent 40 years at the NSA. To get a guy like that to come onto a show like this and to talk with us is an incredible thing. I mean, that says to me that he believes that it is a threat to national security in a way that everyone should be concerned about.
AMY GOODMAN: We have to wrap up, but I want to go to the Whitney event you had, the Whitney Art Museum on Friday night, where a document was handed out listing the addresses of eight possible domestic NSA interception points. What are these points? What are they?
JACOB APPELBAUM: Well, I think it’s important for people to recognize the agency that they have every day in their life. And so, if the NSA is doing surveillance, as Mark Klein showed from AT&T’s side, I thought it would be interesting to—
AMY GOODMAN: He exposed AT&T spying on Americans’ phone calls.
JACOB APPELBAUM: With the NSA. So these addresses are addresses I believe are potential domestic NSA interception points, similar to the ones that Mark Klein exposed. And there’s a website (http://www.ixmaps.ca). IXmaps is the name of it, and it’s a Canadian site. And they actually show when your internet traffic goes through potential NSA interception points, so you can actually test your internet connection. And that’s the Internet Exchange Maps project.
AMY GOODMAN: Where are they?
JACOB APPELBAUM: They are all listed on that website now as a result of it being released at the Whitney thing.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you know the cities? What the pamphlet said: St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Bridgeton, Missouri.
JACOB APPELBAUM: Yeah. It would be great if people actually went and photographed these buildings and talked to the employees there and see if they’re NSA people going in and out. They’re not confirmed. This is something where people now have something that they can do. I mean, what they also need to do is visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website, eff.org (https://www.eff.org), and actually take action against CISPA. We have to stop this legislation from passing. It is an incredible threat to our privacy, and it is a militarization of cyberspace.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to point out one last thing, and that is that the chair of the Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers—he’s the former FBI agent—he made headlines in August of 2010 when he called for the execution of accused Army whistleblower Bradley Manning for allegedly leaking secret documents to WikiLeaks. Rogers appeared on MSNBC.

REP. MIKE ROGERS: Any of the operations of a soldier in the field that’s released could lead to their death. That is an act of treason. And an act of treason is a capital offense, and it should be. That’s my point. I argue that anyone that releases information of a classified nature to the enemy, to a third party that our enemy uses, is an act of treason.
AMY GOODMAN: That is the chair of the Intelligence Committee, Republican Congress Member Mike Rogers of Michigan, who is the author of CISPA. Final comment, Jacob Appelbaum?
JACOB APPELBAUM: Blowing the whistle on war crimes should not be a crime.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there. Jacob Appelbaum is doing a public security lesson today from 12:00 to 3:00 at 56 Walker Street in New York City. Jacob Appelbaum, computer security researcher, developer and advocate for the Tor Project—that’s T-O-R Project-dot-org—which enables its users to communicate anonymously on the internet.

Magda Hassan
04-27-2012, 01:23 AM
House Passes CISPA Spying Bill (http://torrentfreak.com/house-passes-cispa-spying-bill-120426/)http://torrentfreak.com/images/spy.jpgCISPA, the cybersecurity bill that can put an end to people’s privacy on the Internet was approved by the House of Representatives today.The bill that can turn the Internet into an anti-piracy spying machine was widely protested online and in Washington.Despite this opposition CISPA was passed 248 to 168.The vote was initially scheduled for Friday, but the House decided to speed up the approval process.Several amendments to the original proposal were accepted during the hearing today. However, critics of the bill still believe it’s a major threat.“CISPA is a dangerous piece of legislation and it’s worrisome that the House has passed such an overreaching bill,” said Free Press Action Fund Policy Director Matt Wood.“The bill still lacks effective oversight and accountability for companies and government agencies collecting massive amounts of our personal data. It would curtail Internet openness and freedom by stripping away crucial privacy protections, and without providing any guarantee of protection for critical infrastructure.”Among other things, CISPA would make it easier for ISPs to share personal information of alleged copyright infringers with third parties.Over a million people signed petitions urging their representatives not to pass the bill, but without success.
http://torrentfreak.com/house-passes-cispa-spying-bill-120426/

Albert Doyle
04-27-2012, 02:17 AM
"Representatives"???

Peter Lemkin
04-27-2012, 04:31 AM
"Representatives"???

Yeah, of the Oligarchy/Corporatocracy/Security State/War State - only! :hitler: Its Deja Vue all over again!

Magda Hassan
04-27-2012, 11:47 PM
#CISPA, #SOPA, #PIPA and #BigLobbying
By Russ Choma (http://opensecrets.org/news) on April 27, 2012 6:42 PM Share on f (http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2012/04/cispa-sopa-pipa-and-biglobbying.html#)
http://www.opensecrets.org/news/assets_c/2012/01/InternetPiracy-thumb-200x202-7455.jpg (http://www.opensecrets.org/news/assets_c/2012/01/InternetPiracy-7455.html)In an era when Republicans and Democrats can agree on almost nothing, one issue in the last three months has been providing common ground: rewriting the rules of the Internet. Privacy and free speech advocates have unleashed a groundswell of outrage as they've rushed to rally the public against the measures. But corporate backers of the proposals have fought back hard.



According to an OpenSecrets.org (http://www.opensecrets.org/) analysis of the most recent lobbying disclosure information, five of the top ten bills (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?showYear=2012&indexType=b) that have been lobbied the most intensely so far this year are Internet-related, and most have bipartisan and industry backing. Major cash is being laid out to push their passage.



The most recent bill to stir things up is the Cyber Intelligence and Sharing Protection Act (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/billsum.php?id=129763)(CISPA), which would allow private companies to share far more data on users with the federal government in what backers say is an effort to improve cybersecurity. Opponents claim it would severely undermine the privacy rights of many Americans. The bill was passed by the House last night and now faces a tougher battle in the Senate (and the threat of a veto by President Obama).

A list of companies and organizations that have sent letters of support (http://intelligence.house.gov/hr-3523-letters-support) for the bill to the House Intelligence Committee, where the legislation was created, meshes closely with the list of top lobbying groups so far this year -- not to mention groups that lobbied on SOPA and PIPA (http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2012/01/sopa-and-pipa-create-lobbying-spike.html).


For example, AT&T, which sent this letter (http://intelligence.house.gov/sites/intelligence.house.gov/files/documents/ATT113011.pdf), spent more money lobbying in the first three months of 2012 than any other single corporation ($7 million, second only to the mega-trade organization Chamber of Commerce (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientbills.php?id=D000019798&year=2012), which also lobbied on CISPA though to a lesser extent). The telephone utilities (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?id=B08&year=2012) industry as a whole, which includes AT&T and Verizon (http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000079) (which sent this letter (http://intelligence.house.gov/sites/intelligence.house.gov/files/documents/Verizon113011.pdf)) spent $15.3 million in the first quarter of this year, increasing its lobbying expenditures by 35 percent over the previous three months. The total laid out for lobbying by the computer/Internet industry (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/alphalist_indus.php), which includes some of the biggest backers of CISPA, SOPA and PIPA, fell 6 percent in the first quarter -- but at $32.1 million, the industry was still the sixth-largest spender on lobbying amont all industries so far in 2012.



It's hard to assess how much each of these companies spent lobbying Congress specifically on CISPA -- or other hot-button Internet bills -- because many of these companies have a variety of issues they're pursuing on Capitol Hill, but are required to report just one dollar amount covering everything. AT&T, for instance, spent its $7 million talking to lawmakers about 121 separate pieces of legislation.


But it's clear that the lobbying firepower on the other side of the issue is a fraction of what supporters have. One of the most vocal opponents of CISPA is the American Civil Liberties Union (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?id=D000046971&year=2012) -- which has spent $507,000 lobbying so far this year, a 28 percent increase from the last three months of 2011. But the group used that money to lobby on 109 different bills, almost as many as AT&T. Another group that has taken a prominent stand against CISPA is the American Library Association (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?id=D000046971&year=2012), which has spent $54,000 so far this year, spread over 56 different pieces of legislation.


Another indication of the collective influence of backers of CISPA is the amount of money individuals or PACs affiliated with the organizations have given to key lawmakers on the issue. Last week we reported that the bill's original sponsor, Mike Rogers (http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00009668&cycle=2012) (R-Mich.), had received $104,000 from groups that lobbied on the bill. With new campaign finance reports filed since that story, OpenSecrets.org data now shows that Rogers has received at least $175,000 from organizations that have lobbied on the bill. That's about 15 percent of the total $1.1 million he has reported raising this election cycle. The top two groups: defense contractor SAIC (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientbills.php?id=D000000369&year=2012) (whose PAC has given Rogers $20,000 this election cycle) and Koch Industries (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientbills.php?id=D000000186&year=2012) (whose PAC has given Rogers over $14,500.)


Check out all of the donations Rogers has received on our profile of him here (http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?type=C&cid=N00009668&newMem=N&cycle=2012), and the entire list of organizations that have lobbied on CISPA here on our profile of the legislation (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/billsum.php?id=129763).


Categories:

Computers/Internet (http://www.opensecrets.org/news/influence-lobbying/industries/computersinternet/),
Industries (http://www.opensecrets.org/news/influence-lobbying/industries/),
Influence & Lobbying (http://www.opensecrets.org/news/influence-lobbying/),
Issues and Legislation (http://www.opensecrets.org/news/issues-and-legislation/),
Lobbying (http://www.opensecrets.org/news/influence-lobbying/lobbying/),
PACs (http://www.opensecrets.org/news/influence-lobbying/pacs/),
Telephone utilities (http://www.opensecrets.org/news/influence-lobbying/industries/telephone-utilities/)


http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2012/04/cispa-sopa-pipa-and-biglobbying.html

Magda Hassan
05-01-2012, 01:37 PM
Court returns MegaUpload founder’s cash, cars

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, April 30, 2012 16:48 EDT

Kim Dotcom, the eccentric founder of cyber-locker website MegaUpload, will have more than $800,000 in assets returned to him thanks to a decision Monday by the High Court of New Zealand, according to Radio New Zealand (http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/102564/judge-reserves-decision-megaupload-case).The decision comes on the wake of a fresh political scandal set off by Dotcom (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/30/kim-dotcom-in-new-zealand-political-donation-row/), who toldThe New Zealand Herald that he donated NZ$50,000 to ACT Party leader John Banks, currently a key government figure. He, along with prime Minister John Key, serve as leaders of the ruling coalition government, but that could all change if he’s toppled.Dotcom claimed that Banks had even thanked him for the donations, which were split up into two installments to help conceal the tech entrepreneur’s name. Banks claimed Monday that he was not aware of any donations from Dotcom, and that he never called to thank him. Police said they were investigating the claims.Meanwhile, police who staged a raid on Dotcom’s home are sure to be seething at Monday’s High Court decision, which hinged upon a faulty warrant that police later tried to amend. New Zealand Justice Judith Potternoted last month (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/19/judge-megaupload-founders-property-seized-with-bogus-warrant/) that it wasn’t until hours after the raid that police realized their mistakes and actually applied for the proper court order, seeking to make it retroactive by listing targeted assets that had already been seized.Dotcom, who legally changed his name from Kim Schmitz, has denied all wrongdoing (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/01/23/megaupload-founder-denies-piracy-demands-release/) and called the case against him “malicious (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/02/29/megaupload-boss-kim-dotcom-calls-u-s-charges-malicious/)” and “political.” He even claimed earlier this month that once his company’s files are returned to him, they would reveal names of U.S. government officials (http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57395912-93/megauploads-users-may-include-u.s-government-officials/) who allegedly used MegaUpload. Dotcom said they include Department of Justice and U.S. Senate employees.To make matters more complicated for the prosecution, police were recently said to have “lost” a video of the raid on Dotcom’s mansion (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/09/police-mysteriously-lose-video-of-megaupload-raid/), and Dotcom has claimed that several key pieces of evidence against him were actually files he legally owned (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/26/megaupload-founder-copyright-charges-include-songs-i-own/).He’s since been granted bail (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/02/21/megauploads-kim-dotcom-granted-bail-in-n-zealand/) and remains on house arrest in New Zealand, pending an extradition request from the U.S. — which becomes more difficult thanks to Monday’s ruling. Dotcom was previously only allowed a small monthly allowance in interest from New Zealand government bonds he owns, whereas the assets that will be returned to him, some $614,000 in cash and two vehicles worth over $250,000, will significantly bolster his legal defense.Dotcom further claims that MegaUpload, which had more than 50 million users when it was shut down, was preparing for a “multi-billion dollar” public offering (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/17/megaupload-close-to-multi-billion-dollar-public-offering-before-raid-report/) on Wall Street, and was waiting in line to have its internals thoroughly examined by one of the major accounting firms (http://www.big4accountingfirms.org/big-four-accounting-firms/) that helps companies go public. Those efforts were reportedly still ongoing in January, when U.S. and New Zealand officials shut the site down based upon damage claims from U.S. movie and music studios.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/30/court-returns-megaupload-founders-cash-cars/

Peter Lemkin
05-07-2012, 08:33 PM
FBI Pushes National Electronic Surveillance Strategy

The website CNET is reporting the FBI is asking internet companies not to oppose a controversial proposal that would require firms, including Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and Google, to build in backdoors for government surveillance. The FBI has drafted a proposed law that would requiring social-networking websites and providers of instant messaging and web email alter their code to ensure their products are wiretap-friendly. The legislation is reportedly one component of what the FBI has internally called the "National Electronic Surveillance Strategy."

Magda Hassan
06-29-2012, 01:22 AM
Mega-victory: Kim Dotcom search warrants "invalid," mansion raid "illegal"A New Zealand judge savages the process used to target Megaupload's Kim Dotcom.by Nate Anderson (http://arstechnica.com/author/nate-anderson/) - June 28 2012, 7:57pm AUSEST1 (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/06/mega-victory-kim-dotcom-search-warrants-invalid-mansion-raid-illegal/?comments=1#comments-bar)


MEGAUPLOAD

Updated: Kim Dotcom meets with Woz, restarts launch of MegaBox music sharing (http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/06/kim-dotcom-meets-with-woz-restarts-launch-of-megabox-music-sharing/)
US argues it shouldn't have to give Megaupload user his legit files (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/06/us-argues-it-shouldnt-have-to-give-megaupload-user-his-legit-files/)
The MPAA would be OK seeing legit Megaupload files restored (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/06/the-mpaa-would-be-ok-seeing-legit-meagupload-files-restored/)
Kim Dotcom lampoons New Zealand MP in his new rap song (http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/05/kim-dotcom-lampoons-new-zealand-mp-in-new-rap-song/)
Government trying to deny Megaupload fair legal representation (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/04/government-trying-to-deny-megaupload-legal-representation/)
On January 20, New Zealand police showed up in style at the mansion of flamboyant Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/01/mega-man-the-bizarre-rise-and-sudden-downfall-of-kim-dotcom/), swarming over the property and bringing along two police helicopters. They cut their way through locks and into the home's "panic room," where Dotcom was hiding in apparent fear of a kidnapping or robbery. They seized 18 luxury vehicles. They secured NZ$11 million in cash from bank accounts. And they grabbed a whopping 150TB of data from Dotcom's many digital devices.
"It was definitely not as simple as knocking at the front door," said Detective Inspector Grant Wormald in apolice press release (http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/30638.html) at the time.
It was also totally illegal (http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/dotcom-search-warrants-ruled-illegal-20120628-214ps.html). That's the ruling of New Zealand High Court judge Helen Winkelmann (http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/front-page/cases/dotcom-ors-v-attorney-general), who today ripped the "invalid" warrant and the subsequent search and seizure in a 56-page decision.
The ruling marks a major win for the Kim Dotcom defense, which is trying to prevent their client from being extradited to the US on a host of copyright and money laundering charges (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/01/why-the-feds-smashed-megaupload/). Still, it's not yet clear if Dotcom will actually get his data back; the FBI already flew to New Zealand, imaged much of the data in March, and FedExed it back to the US.
"The search and seizure was therefore illegal”At the instigation of groups like the MPAA, the FBI opened an investigation two years ago into Megaupload's activities. The online file locker had become a popular place to store and share large files online, some which were copyrighted and shared without authorization.
By January, the FBI had elevated its informal contacts about the case with New Zealand officials into an official "government to government" request for legal assistance under an extradition treaty between the two countries. The US would prosecute the case in Virginia, where a grand jury had been convened, but it needed New Zealand cops to actually arrest Dotcom and search his property.
The goal was to swoop in during Dotcom's birthday in mid-January, since several of his Megaupload co-defendants were going to be at his mansion outside of Auckland. On January 17, the New Zealand Deputy Solicitor-General issued an authorization for local police to apply for warrants. They did so the next day, showing up with affidavits at the North Shore District Court—but the duty judge didn't have time to deal with the request. The matter was held over until January 19, when the warrants to search Dotcom's house and two other properties were approved; police had 14 days in which to execute them.
They needed only a day; on January 20, they arrived at the house. Dotcom later told the court (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/02/i-was-punched-in-the-face-kim-dotcom-says-police-used-excessive-force-in-raid/) he had no idea that the people he saw flooding into his property were police, so he fled to his home's secure room. After realizing they were cops, he says he decided to stay put rather than take the risk of popping out and perhaps getting shot.
"Not once did they say they were police," he testified. "They had civilian clothes on. The only things that I saw were flack jackets with a lot of pistols and automatic weapons."
Once they arrived at the panic room, Dotcom said, "I was punched in the face. I was kicked down on the floor. One guy was standing on my hand so my nail was ruptured and my hand was bleeding. It was quite aggressive."
In the police view, however, Dotcom was hiding from them—and had retreated to a room with a weapon "which had the appearance of a shortened shotgun." CCTV footage from the house, which might show more of what really happened, has been seized by police and not yet returned.
In any event, with the initial unpleasantness of the raid behind them, New Zealand investigators pored over the house and began packing up evidence. They showed Dotcom the judicial warrant, as required, but it was a confusing document. The warrant didn't make clear, for instance, very basic facts like: under which country's laws was he being targeted? The actual warrant application didn't even make clear that the US was involved. As Judge Winkelmann put it:

The failure to refer to the laws of the United States on the face of the warrants, would no doubt cause confusion to the subjects of the searches. They would likely read the warrants as authorizing a search for evidence of offenses as defined by New Zealand's law. The only clue that they are not is that each one is headed "the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992." That is not much of a clue.
And what were the cops looking for? They didn't know, exactly. Because they were not investigating the case—the FBI was doing that—the police executing the search had limited knowledge of what was truly useful and necessary. As the judge put it, the people executing the warrant "were not the investigating officers and had limited knowledge of the operation," despite being briefed before the raid went down.
They had the warrant document to guide them, of course—but it was a remarkably open-ended piece of work. Dotcom was accused of "breach of copyright," but in what way? The warrant didn't say.
“Copyright can exist in many things," wrote the judge. "A breach of copyright can be affected in many ways."
Warrants need to allege specific crimes for which evidence is being gathered; it's the difference between rummaging through a home looking for evidence of "murder" and rummaging through a home looking for evidence about "the murder of such-and-such, killed on such-and-such a date, by such-and-such a weapon."

The requirement imposed by [New Zealand law] is not to describe the type of offense, but rather the offense or offenses in respect of which the warrant was sought and obtained.
Without the specific allegation of a crime, a warrant might veer into over-broad territory, becoming a "general warrant" so vague as to be illegal. According to Judge Winkelmann, that's exactly what happened here. "These were general warrants both in form and reality," she wrote. Proper warrants must be “framed with as much specificity as the relevant context permits."
Local laws applyIn this case, the broad nature of the alleged crimes was combined with a broad list of things to grab. For instance, the warrant targeted "all digital devices, including electronic devices capable of storing and/or processing data in digital form."
This was pretty indiscriminate. Everyone involved admits that police must be allowed to grab some information that turns out later to be irrelevant to their case; otherwise, the standard for searches would be so high that much useful material would never be found. But the key point is that the cops need to quickly triage the material taken and return everything not relevant to the investigation.
In this case, the cops had a problem doing so. Because the actual investigators were the FBI, local New Zealand police had no idea which data was relevant. Besides, they had grabbed 150TB of material, and analysts admitted to the court that they couldn't process such a volume without spending a substantial sum of money for more workers and equipment. So the idea was: we'll just ship it all to America and let the FBI do the minimization there.
But that's not an option. The warrant was executed in New Zealand under New Zealand law against a New Zealand resident, and cops can't simply act as agents for another country and then tell aggrieved parties that they have to go deal with that country if they want their irrelevant data back.
"In this day and age computers (and even phones) are used by individuals and families to store a wide range of material information, family photos and films; personal correspondence (e-mails) and generally information of a private and purely personal nature," wrote the judge. Such information must be promptly returned.
Instead, the police "exceeded what they could lawfully be authorized to do. This is because they continue to hold, along with the relevant, material they concede will be irrelevant. They've taken few steps to identify the material, and no steps where the material resides on the computer hard drives... They intend to allow the FBI to do that in the United States. That is an approach that is not available to them.”
Instead, the judge noted that the police could have invited FBI officials to come to New Zealand and assist with the initial data triage. Simply offloading their legal responsibility for "minimization" to the FBI won't wash, however.
The rule of lawTo sum up the ruling: the warrants were "general warrants, and as such, are invalid.” Because the police relied on invalid warrants, "The search and seizure was therefore illegal.” And the data should not have been imaged wholesale by the FBI without Dotcom's consent, which the judge found no evidence of.
New Zealand's government took one last stab at keeping Judge Winkelmann away from the whole issue of the warrant's validity and argued that local courts should not review the warrant; only the trial court—in this case, the Virginia District Court in the US—had that power. Winkelmann was having no truck with this, for reasons much like those surrounding data minimization.
"It would not be consistent with the object of promoting the rule of law internationally, were the domestic courts to refuse to review the lawfulness of warrants" obtained in this manner, she noted.
"If having conducted a review, it is determined that there was a fundamental defect in the warrant, it is difficult to see why a Court should decline to declare as much, even where trial processes are engaged in another jurisdiction.”
What comes nextWinkelmann is proceeding cautiously, given the complexity of the case. Today's ruling does make clear both that the warrants were illegal and that removing the cloned data to the US was "unlawful."
But how to proceed? The FBI already has the data it wants; is Winkelmann going to ask US law enforcement to return all cloned copies to New Zealand, as Dotcom's lawyers would like? Will she set up a New Zealand-based process to vet all the data and only then release relevant information to the US?
Tricky questions, and all potentially expensive. Winkelmann will hear further arguments on how to proceed on July 4. Until then, though, Dotcom can celebrate an important early victory in the case. Perhaps he can even look forward to getting his home's CCTV footage back from police (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/04/raid-of-dotcom-mansion-was-videotaped-but-the-footage-is-nowhere-to-be-found/)—and we can get a better picture of what went down on January 20.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/06/mega-victory-kim-dotcom-search-warrants-invalid-mansion-raid-illegal/

Seamus Coogan
06-29-2012, 03:17 AM
Well its pretty humbling when an Aussie knows more about current events in you're country than you do. I heard about this last night but I have been following Magda's posts on the topic. Yes, I have to commend the NZ courts for not bowing to the FBI. Its a crazy story WTF do you need helicopters for? The Kim.Dotcom guy is a goddamn blimp of a man lol. Totally over the top. Good post and great links Mags!

Magda Hassan
07-04-2012, 12:24 PM
ACTA killed: MEPs destroy treaty in final vote



Published: 04 July, 2012, 15:00


http://www.rt.com/files/news/acta-eu-parliament-vote-400/parliament-vote-trade-european.n.jpg

Members of the European Parliament hold placard reading "Hello democracy goodbye ACTA" as they take part in a vote on Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on July 04, 2012. (AFP Photo/Frederick Florin)

The European Parliament has rejected ACTA, a controversial trade agreement, which was widely criticized over its likely assault on internet freedoms.
Supporters of the treaty suggested postponing the crucial voting at the Parliament plenary on Wednesday, but members of the parliament decided not to delay the decision any further.
MEPs voted overwhelmingly against ACTA, with 478 votes against and only 39 in favor of it. There were 146 abstentions.
Many members of parliament held anti-ACTA banners or wore anti-ACTA T-shirts during the session.

Earlier all five parliament committees reviewing ACTA voted in favor of rejecting the international treaty.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is aimed at protecting copyright over a wide range of industries. The main focus of criticism was targeting the impact it would cause to internet freedom.
ACTA would require signatory states to impose draconian restrictions on online privacy in the drive to eradicate content piracy and the sale of counterfeit branded goods through the internet.
ACTA was developed with the participation of a number of countries, including the US, Japan, European counties, Australia, South Korea and others since 2007. When the ramifications of the agreement came to wider public knowledge this year, a wave of protests hit several countries. The EU suspended the ratification of ACTA in February to reconsider it.
http://www.rt.com/files/news/acta-eu-parliament-vote-400/afp-florin.jpg
AFP Photo/Frederick Florin
http://www.rt.com/files/news/acta-eu-parliament-vote-400/image.jpg
Image from Twitter/@judithineuropa
http://www.rt.com/files/news/acta-eu-parliament-vote-400/afp-florin-59.jpg
AFP Photo/Frederick Florin

http://www.rt.com/news/acta-eu-parliament-vote-400/

Magda Hassan
07-06-2012, 02:34 AM
MegaVeep: Biden behind MegaUpload shutdown – Kim Dotcom

Published: 05 July, 2012, 05:50

TAGS: Biden (http://www.rt.com/tags/biden/), Politics (http://www.rt.com/tags/politics/), Law (http://www.rt.com/tags/law/), Internet (http://www.rt.com/tags/internet/),Information Technology (http://www.rt.com/tags/information-technology/), USA (http://www.rt.com/tags/usa/), Oceania (http://www.rt.com/tags/oceania/)
MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom says that a “credible source” has indicated that US Vice President Joe Biden ordered the cloud-sharing website to be taken down in January.
“I do know from a credible source that it was Joe Biden, the best friend of former Senator and MPAA boss Chris Dodd, who ordered his former lawyer and now state attorney Neil MacBride to take Mega down,” Kim Dotcom told weblog Torrentfreak.

MacBride, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, is the lead prosecutor in the case against Dotcom and his associates.

Dotcom believes that the White House discussed the MegaUpload case with major studio bosses, as well as the CEO of the MPAA Chris Dodd, as early as last summer.

“After we received information from an insider we scanned the White House visitor logs for all meetings of Chris Dodd and studio bosses with Joe Biden and Obama,” Dotcom stated. “It is interesting that a man by the name of Mike Ellis of MPA Asia, an extradition expert and former superintendent of the Hong Kong police, was also at a meeting with Dodd, all studio bosses and Joe Biden. The same Mike Ellis met with the Minister of Justice Simon Power in New Zealand.”

These visitor logs are publicly available on the White House website. (http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/disclosures/visitor-records)

The names in the list include Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer, Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey, as well as Jeff Blake, the Vice President of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The MPAA, an abbreviation for the Motion Picture Association of America, is a trade association made up of six mammoth Hollywood studios – Walt Disney, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. Eager to curb what they claim is copyright infringement that costs them a hefty sum, the MPAA is known to target peer-to-peer file sharing websites, as well as hosting services such as MegaUpload.

Biden’s close relationship with MPAA boss and former fellow Senator Chris Dodd, as well as his relentless stance against piracy may have played a role in his involvement in the MegaUpload case. The MPAA is also known to have spent $400,000 lobbying influential government departments, including the Office of the Vice President, who in 2010 stated that “Piracy Is Theft, Clean and Simple.”

Kim Dotcom, along with five of his associates, was arrested by police in New Zealand in January. The arrests followed an indictment of Dotcom on charges of criminal copyright infringement filed by the United States. MegaUpload was taken offline, and authorities raided its offices and Dotcom’s mansion, seizing hard drivers from computers as evidence. The United States later took hold of copies of that evidence, despite an agreement between the prosecution and the defense in New Zealand that the evidence was to remain in the country.

The prosecution still needs to prove that Dotcom and his associates personally facilitated and profited from the piracy that took place on the website.

Last week, the plaintiff received a major blow after New Zealand’s High Court ruled that the raid on Kim Dotcom’s house was illegal (http://rt.com/news/megaupload-raid-unlawful-dorcom-938/), along with the seizure of computer data that was later cloned and taken to the United States by the FBI.
http://www.rt.com/news/biden-megaupload-shutdown-dotcom-442/

Magda Hassan
07-06-2012, 02:35 AM
https://twitter.com/KimDotcom/status/220552354108411904

SOPA is dead. PIPA is dead. ACTA is dead. MEGA will return. Bigger. Better. Faster. Free of charge & shielded from attacks. Evolution! (https://twitter.com/KimDotcom/status/220552354108411904)

Peter Lemkin
07-15-2012, 09:54 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD-cS3ho5sw&feature=player_embedded

Magda Hassan
07-15-2012, 10:41 AM
What part of 'No' don't they understand?

Peter Lemkin
07-15-2012, 12:57 PM
What part of 'No' don't they understand?

...ALL OF IT!angryfire

Peter Lemkin
07-15-2012, 01:55 PM
[/URL]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3n5lGdiFL8&amp;feature=player_detailpage[URL="http://<br />Find more videos like this on Occupii"] (http://<br />Find more videos like this on Occupii)

Magda Hassan
07-25-2012, 03:11 AM
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Facing extraditon and possibly decades in U..S. prison, Megaupload founder and filesharing kingpin Kim Dotcom is fighting back, internet-style, launching kim.com (http://wired_threatlevel.contextly.com/redirect/?id=D1OHTGTrip&click=inbody), in an attempt to foment a protest movement on his behalf.Dotcom, currently on bail in New Zealand, argues the “the U.S. government has declared war on the internet” and is trying to convince the netroots community to vote against President Obama on Nov. 5 if the case isn’t dropped.Cleverly, Dotcom includes the slogan “SOPA PIPA ACTA MEGA,” trying to make the argument that the case against his site was motivated by the same forces that unsuccessfully tried to pass stringent copyright agreements (http://wired_threatlevel.contextly.com/redirect/?id=h9fjCzqBxq&click=inbody) in the United States and internationally earlier this year, until they were defeated by a groundswell of protest.But he’s not stopping with just a website. Dotcom also recorded a song and accompanying video called “Mr President,” (http://wired_threatlevel.contextly.com/redirect/?id=2o7pAx5Ytz&click=inbody) which is addressed to Obama, asking “Whatever happened to change, Mr. President?” As of publication, the video has over 475,000 views on YouTube.Dotcom told Wired that he set up the site to “inform about the unreasonable actions and phony charges against Megaupload and its management.”“It is important for people understand how dangerous the Megaupload case is,” he said, adding that there “is no due process or rule of law, just politically driven aggression and destruction lobbied for by the MPAA.”According to Dotcom, the FBI picked his business (http://wired_threatlevel.contextly.com/redirect/?id=7zXXwWkDUy&click=inbody) as “an easy target” with the goal being the total destruction of it without a trial.“Megaupload was a good corporate citizen and we have always cooperated with rights holders and authorities,” Dotcom said. The indictment charges that Megaupload was dedicated to copyright infringement and that the founders knew this and encouraged it in order to increase subscriptions and ad revenue.But Dotcom says the United States’ case is weak.“They had good reason to seize every penny and to try and keep me locked up. They can’t win this case simply because there was never any criminality,” Dotcom said.Dotcom earned a small fortune from Megaupload (http://wired_threatlevel.contextly.com/redirect/?id=Sq4GEYYfd7&click=inbody); he lived in a mansion in New Zealand, paid for a fireworks show in Auckland and had a collection of sports cars that were seized in a January raid on his house. Now all of his assets have been seized, but he says that he is not soliciting donations to pay for the court case. At least, not yet.“We are still working on unfreezing our own assets in order to pay for our defense. Asking for donations will be our last resort,” Dotcom says.“The reaction to the site has been overwhelmingly positive,” Dotcom said. “The support we are getting is very important to us. “The number of people following the developments of this case is growing daily. Everyone can see that something is terribly wrong here. It’s easy to fight back when you have so much support and know that you have done nothing wrong. And I would say my confidence is a reflection of the confidence in our legal team. They are looking forward to this battle.”Asked if the “(c) 2012 All Rights Reserved” notice on the site and the site’s terms of service agreements sections on rights and copyrights could be seen as ironic considering the case against Megaupload, Dotcom replied:“Lawyers.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=MokNvbiRqCM
Starting Aug. 1, Dotcom will start a campaign trying to rally 200 million former Megaupload users using their e-mail addresses, according to the site.Meanwhile, the extradition process for Dotcom and his Megaupload co-defendants Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk drags on.District Court Judge Nevin Dawson has been selected to replace Justice David Harvey, after the latter recused himself from the case following a public remark that could be construed as revealing bias against the United States.The Megaupload Four face up to 20 years in prison and hundreds of millions of dollars in damages if convicted.
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/07/kim-com/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Top +Stories%29

Magda Hassan
07-28-2012, 06:05 AM
Government: we can freeze Mega assets even if case is dismissedJudge is weighing argument that Megaupload is beyond reach of US criminal law.by Timothy B. Lee (http://arstechnica.com/author/timothy-b-lee/) - July 28 2012, 3:54am AUSEST

GOVERNMENT (http://arstechnica.com/discipline/government-2)
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (http://arstechnica.com/discipline/intellectual-property)

147 (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/07/government-we-can-freeze-mega-assets-even-if-case-is-dismissed/?comments=1#comments-bar)

The United States government said today that even if the indictment of the Megaupload corporation is dismissed, it can continue its indefinite freeze on the corporation's assets while it awaits the extradition of founder Kim Dotcom and his associates.
Judge Liam O'Grady is weighing a request to dismiss the indictment (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/05/megaupload-claims-it-is-beyond-the-reach-of-us-criminal-law/) against Megaupload because (in Megaupload's view) the federal rules of criminal procedure provide no way to serve notice on corporations with no US address. At a hearing in Alexandria, VA, he grilled both attorneys in the case but did not issue a ruling.
O'Grady speculated, with evident sarcasm, that Congress intended to allow foreign corporations like Megaupload to "be able to violate our laws indiscriminately from an island in the South Pacific."
But Megaupload's attorney insisted that this may not be too far from the truth. Megaupload, they said, is a Hong Kong corporation with no presence in the United States. He argued it was perfectly reasonable for Megaupload to be subject to the criminal laws of Hong Kong, but not the United States.
"It's never had a US address"For its part, the government suggested that it could sidestep the mailing requirement in one of several ways. For example, it could wait for Kim Dotcom to be extradited to the United States and then mail notice to him, as Megaupload's representative, at his address in prison. Or, they suggested, the government could send notice of the indictment to Carpathia Hosting, a Virginia company that has leased hundreds of servers to the locker site.
The government also mentioned the possibility that it could use the provisions of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_legal_assistance_treaty) to send notice to Megaupload's Hong Kong address.
But Judge O'Grady seemed skeptical of these argument. He noted that the "plain language" of the law required sending notice to the company's address in the United States. "You don't have a location in the United States to mail it to," he said. "It's never had an address" in the United States.
And Megaupload pointed out that the government hadn't produced a single example in which the government had satisfied the rules of criminal procedure using one of the methods it was suggesting in this case. Most of the precedents the government has produced were in civil cases, which have different rules. And most involved serving a corporate parent via its subsidiary. That's a very different relationship than, for example, the vendor-customer relationship between Megaupload and Carpathia.
The government brought up one new example during the hearing: an instance in which a judge allowed notice to be sent via e-mail to the Columbian guerilla group FARC. But Megaupload's attorneys dismissed this example as well, pointing out that FARC was not a corporation and that the propriety of that service was never tested in court.
The government also argued that it could keep Megaupload in legal limbo indefinitely. "None of the cases impose a time limit on service," the government's attorney told the judge. Therefore, the government believes it can leave the indictment hanging over the company's head, and keep its assets frozen, indefinitely.
Not only that, but the government believes it can continue to freeze Megaupload's assets and paralyze its operations even if the judge grants the motion to dismiss. That's because in the government's view, the assets are the proceeds of criminal activity and the prosecution against founder Kim Dotcom will still be pending. The fact that the assets are in the name of Megaupload rather than its founder is of no consequence, the government claimed.
Hollywood, at least, seems nervous that Judge O'Grady might buy Megaupload's argument. In a conference call held Wednesday in advance of today's hearing, a senior vice president at the Motion Picture Association of America argued that the dismissal of the case against Megaupload would have little practical impact, since the company's principals would still be facing indictment. And he rejected Kim Dotcom's efforts to frame the case as a test of Internet freedom, describing Dotcom as a "career criminal" who had grown wealthy stealing the work of others.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/07/government-we-can-freeze-mega-assets-even-if-case-is-dismissed/

Peter Lemkin
10-10-2012, 07:11 PM
Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Hold Telecom Companies Accountable for Domestic Spying


The Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a 2008 law granting immunity to telecom companies that aided the George W. Bush administration’s warrantless domestic spy program. Groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union had brought the case, consolidating 33 different lawsuits against the companies after a lower court ruled that the firms are protected by congressionally mandated retroactive immunity. An appeals court upheld the case’s dismissal last year, and on Tuesday the Supreme Court declined to hear it without comment. The ruling could mark the end of legal attempts to hold the telecom firms accountable for the spying. In a statement, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said: "After 11 years and multiple congressional reports, public admissions and media coverage, the only place that this program hasn’t been seriously considered is in the courts."

Magda Hassan
01-19-2013, 02:11 PM
http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwkjx8xxnbpjpg/xlarge.jpg





MEGA (http://gizmodo.com/mega/) MEGAUPLOAD (http://gizmodo.com/megaupload/) KIM DOTCOM (http://gizmodo.com/kim-dotcom/) PRIVACY (http://gizmodo.com/privacy/)
JAN 18, 2013 2:59 PM








Hands On With Kim Dotcom’s New Mega: This Service Could Dismantle Copyright Forever

http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/188uik3xv10tfgif/avt-small.gif Mario Aguilar

Kim Dotcom's Mega officially launches tomorrow, but we're already in. From the membership plans we showed you this morning (http://gizmodo.com/5977085/heres-our-first-look-at-kim-dotcoms-mega-updating), the service might look like it's just another online storage locker like Dropbox or Google Drive. But it's way more than that. Mega is a weapon aimed straight at copyright rights holders. It's maybe the most private, invincible file-sharing service of all time.
When you first sign in, you see (instead of a big red button coyly promising to change the world (http://gizmodo.com/5976879/kim-dotcoms-new-file-sharing-service-users-will-have-50gb-free-storage?tag=kimdotcom)) a simple drag-and-drop upload tool. A Mega upload tool.
http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwkhw8so3oqjpg/xlarge.jpg (http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwkhw8so3oqjpg/original.jpg)
From there, you're immediately prompted to agree to terms and conditions. Our resident lawyer (http://www.twitter.com/jessema)told us they're not very well written, but in essence, they absolve Mega for any liability whatsoever for and naughty things you might do with the service. Smart Move, Kim.
http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwkhy7peqf1jpg/xlarge.jpg (http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwkhy7peqf1jpg/original.jpg)
After agreeing, you arrive at your Cloud Drive—the file manager where all of your everything lives. When you select one of your files or folders to upload you realize how fast this thing is. I went ahead and uploaded Metallica's Kill Em All in just a few minutes.
From there, with a single right-click, I can generate a download link for the album. And then I can send it to whoever I want. It's Megaupload with a file manager.
http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwkhy7x53v7jpg/xlarge.jpg (http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwkhy7x53v7jpg/original.jpg)
So what's to stop Mega from going down just the way Megaupload did? Mega's privacy, which is a no-foolin' stroke of genius. See, all of your files are encrypted locally before they're uploaded, so Mega has no idea what anything is. It could be family photos or work documents, or an entire discography of your favorite band. Poof: online and easy to share. And importantly, Mega doesn't have the decryption key necessary to get in. See? It's a masterstroke of copyright subversion.
http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwkia23ar6qpng/xlarge.png (http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwkia23ar6qpng/original.png)
To explain further, Mega's terms say that nobody can access your stuff without your personal decryption key. And they don't have it. Only you do. The company does, however, stipulate in the privacy policy that they might cooperate with law enforcement. But big deal; what are they going to turn over? When Twitter and Facebook cooperate with the authorities, they have access to your data. All Mega has is an encrypted file.
http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwki25zdknojpg/xlarge.jpg (http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwki25zdknojpg/original.jpg)
So why is this a copyright killer? Well, actually, it's way way more than a copyright killer; it enables the most private data exchanges of any online service available to the public. Prying eyes will have a hard time getting to them.
That's important because the private exchange of your data has always been a huge problem with online services. Take Google for example: Big G sometimes complies with requests to hand over your data—the data you thought was private. Google does it because it can be compelled to do so, and because it has access. Conversely, if authorities wanted to compel Kim Dotcom and company to hand over your data, they wouldn't be able to do it. And getting other information out of Mega—like the technical details about how its keys work—is legally problematic, to say the least.
http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwki06ret8bjpg/xlarge.jpg (http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18bwki06ret8bjpg/original.jpg)
So now two very big questions remain, and we can't answer them from simply demoing the site. The first, is how secure is Mega? Can hackers break in? Can the FBI?
The second question, is what are Kim Dotcom's future plans for this service? He's provided a vague roadmap for what lies ahead, but we can't be sure. We're looking forward to hearing what Kim Dotcom has to say at the launch press conference at 2:30AM EST Sunday morning. We'll be there, red-eyed and struggling to write coherently.
http://gizmodo.com/5977163/hands-on-with-kim-dotcoms-new-mega-this-service-could-dismantle-copyright-forever

Peter Lemkin
02-05-2013, 07:59 PM
NERMEEN SHAIKH: A federal appeals court has ruled the government can continue to keep secret its efforts to pursue the private information of Internet users without a warrant as part of its probe into the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. The case involved three people connected to WikiLeaks whose Twitter and email records were sought by the government, including computer security researcher Jacob Appelbaum and Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir .

AMY GOODMAN: The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represented the account holders, argued that the subpoena violated their privacy rights, and they should know why the government wanted their information. However, late last month, the court rejected a request to unseal all orders relating to the three individuals that may have been sent to companies other than Twitter.

For more, we’re joined by Jacob Appelbaum himself. He’s a developer and advocate for the Tor Project system enabling its users to communicate anonymously on the Internet.

Jacob Appelbaum, welcome to Democracy Now! I’m glad we didn’t have to subpoena you to get you here.

JACOB APPELBAUM: Well, I imagine I would have to know about it in order to show up, so...

AMY GOODMAN: Well, talk about this federal court ruling that came down two Fridays ago.

JACOB APPELBAUM: Essentially, we—we lost, actually, quite some time ago about the data being revealed to the U.S. government—that is, metadata. And the government essentially argues that metadata is not the same as content, therefore they can issue an administrative subpoena, a so-called 2703(d) order, and this administrative subpoena has a much lower bar than, let’s say, a search warrant. And it can also have a gag. In fact, most of them seem to have a gag. Twitter was able to unseal this so that we could begin to fight it. We lost. And it’s quite sad. They received the data. But we appealed again about secrecy of docketing. That is to say that we believe that courts should have to keep accurate records of this type of an order and other orders like it. And we were hoping that we would be able to learn that there were other companies out there and that we would be able to challenge this fishing expedition.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what happened to you. Why did they get your account, all your information in Twitter?

JACOB APPELBAUM: Well, I mean, many people from the government have said, during detainments and other times in which they have confronted me, that I should understand why this is happening. But the reality is that I don’t understand why it’s happening, in a legal sense—at least until now. Now the government argues that I should understand that this is the case, and it’s this case because it’s as secret as a grand jury proceeding. And there is, in fact, a WikiLeaks grand jury, where they have been pressuring people. In some cases, people have been threatened with, effectively, indefinite detention, if they don’t comply, that, you know, they let people know there’s really not—

AMY GOODMAN: What does it mean to comply?

JACOB APPELBAUM: Well, if they ask them a question, they’ll either forcibly immunize them or they will—maybe they’ll, you know, threaten them with just detaining them without really explaining what will happen. There’s a lot of pressure coming from a lot of different angles. So, what the government is effectively saying with this ruling is that they want to have not just secret laws and secret interpretations, but no accountability. And this is something which I think is pretty scary, and I think we should have public laws, public interpretations and public accountability. And this is—what we see is more of the same. I mean, we see this with the targeted assassination, the indefinite detention in NDAA. And this is just the Internet version of that, where they’ve decided they don’t even have to get a search warrant, and I have no right to resist it.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So what do you think—what are the implications of this ruling for government surveillance, and what the limits are on government surveillance, if any?

JACOB APPELBAUM: Well, I think in the United States the gloves are off. And when I was here with Bill Binney last, I think he pretty much explained that this is the case.

AMY GOODMAN: The former NSA, National Security Agency—

JACOB APPELBAUM: Yeah, I mean, the secret interpretation of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act seems to be that anything that the government wants is fair game without a warrant. And that’s terrifying. And this seems to be the tip of the iceberg. You know, as we know from that video with the FBI woman that I met, she seemed to indicate that there was a national security letter. So I think these 2703(d) orders, they’re important to be considered as the tip of an iceberg of an investigation, so there are probably other types of legal orders. And so, I think it’s important to stress: Metadata in aggregate is content.

AMY GOODMAN: If people are having trouble understanding you, metadata in aggregate is content.

JACOB APPELBAUM: It’s—yeah, absolutely. What that means is that if you look at one event, that I talk to you via email, in theory, that we talked is a piece of metadata. The content—that is, what I wrote in the email—that is, in theory, protected, and you need a search warrant for it. But if they know that I talk to you every single morning, that tells a story, maybe even, you know, a really important story. And maybe if they see that I talk to Dan or they see that I talk to other people, that also tells a story that is equal to content when it’s viewed in an aggregate. And that’s something that’s quite terrifying, because the court doesn’t seem to recognize that, nor do they recognize the location privacy issues with the Internet. And that is to say, they watch and see every place that I’ve been. They get this data, and then they have a tracking device, effectively. Now, in my case, I use the Tor network in order to protect my location anonymity needs, but most people don’t, and they expect the rule of law to do that for them. So imagine their surprise when it doesn’t.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was awarded the Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts in absentia this weekend. Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, fighting extradition to Sweden. In a ceremony at the Museum of Modern Art, artist and activist Yoko Ono paid tribute to Assange.

YOKO ONO: This 2013 Courage Award for the Arts is presented to Julian Assange. With your courage, the truth was revealed to us—thank you—and gave us wisdom and power to heal the world. On behalf of the suffering world, I thank you. Yoko Ono Lennon. Thank you.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: That was Yoko Ono giving an award to Julian Assange in absentia. Jacob Appelbaum, could you comment—

AMY GOODMAN: You were there.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: —on Assange’s case? You were there.

JACOB APPELBAUM: Yeah, I think Julian Assange is a—he’s a hero. And, you know, he’s a personal friend of mine, and I think that people should support him. And I believe that that award from Yoko Ono is quite an honor, and I’m really happy to see so many people supporting Julian. And I hope that the British government will grant him safe passage to Ecuador, as he is effectively a political prisoner in Her Majesty’s surveillance state.

AMY GOODMAN: A lawsuit challenging a controversial statute that gives the government the power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens is back in federal court this week. On Wednesday, a group of academics, journalists, and activists will present oral arguments in court against a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, authorizing the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: In a landmark ruling last September, Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York struck down the indefinite detention provision, saying it likely violates the First and Fifth Amendments of U.S. citizens. The judge rejected the Obama administration’s argument that the NDAA merely reaffirmed an existing law recognizing the military’s right to perform certain routine duties. However, President Obama quickly appealed Judge Forrest’s ruling and sought an emergency stay on the injunction.

Well, for more, we’re joined now by Daniel Ellsberg, one of the plantiffs in the NDAA lawsuit who will be attending Wednesday’s hearings. He’s perhaps the country’s most famous whistleblower, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, the secret history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Daniel Ellsberg, welcome to Democracy Now!

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Thank you.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, can you talk about this case?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Yes. Well, as an American citizen, I’m really almost whipsawed by emotions this morning. On the one hand, I’m here to attend the court hearing at the circuit court on Wednesday at the Federal Court Building, where I expect to see the Obama administration color itself with shame in arguing that an American citizen can be detained indefinitely in military custody without charges, indefinitely, violating really the core principles of law that go back to the Magna Carta. On the other hand, I was up late last night reading the 112-page document of Katherine B. Forrest, and I have to say, at the end of that—

AMY GOODMAN: The judge.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: The judgment, again, granting an injunction, saying that these provisions of the law that will be argued and defended by—shamefully, by the Obama administration and by three U.S. senators, who will be claiming that the detention is constitutional and legal—her argument was that it was facially unconstitutional. And when I read her detailed argument, 112, taking each point of the prosecution over a period now of nearly a year—their evidence, their lack of evidence, their argument—taking each argument that this was constitutional and smashing it on this, I felt pride as an American. I thought, this is the American citizen that I fought for as a marine. This is a constitutional order, a rule of law, a judge, appointed by Obama, who’s willing to say that her boss was mistaken in claiming that this rule is compatible with our rule of law.

It really says to me, at last, I think, that President Obama, who was a constitutional teacher, like Professor John Yoo, Y-O-O, of Berkeley, who authored most of these torture memos in the first place—I think that, like Yoo, Obama has to be seen as either a rotten constitutional lawyer or a man who, like Yoo, believes that the Constitution simply does not bound an American prisoner in any way in an indefinite law of torture. And either way, I believe we have here impeachable offenses by all of the people arguing this case, including the three senators—McCain, others—who will be arguing today on this. We should be looking at Brennan and the other people connected with the torture program not in terms of confirmation hearings, but in terms of impeachment hearings and convictions.

AMY GOODMAN: The case is called Hedges v. Obama. A number of people are involved—Chris Hedges, the writer, who says if—you know, he’s one of the—part of a team at The New York Times who won a Pulitzer Prize—

DANIEL ELLSBERG: He’s pressed this case, to his great credit. I have great admiration for Hedges.

AMY GOODMAN: —says that if he is talking to someone who the United States deems terrorist, he could end up in jail himself, as a journalist. Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, you yourself, Dan Ellsberg, the premier whistleblower of this country.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: For talking to Jake Appelbaum, right here, who has been identified at one point, an earlier point, as a spokesperson from WikiLeaks. Bradley Manning right now is on trial in military court with the absurd and unconstitutional charge of aiding the enemy without any element of intent, merely that his information would get to Obama—I’m sorry, to Osama bin Laden or to al-Qaeda eventually, thus making it, in effect, a terrorist organization. But giving it to WikiLeaks is very like saying that WikiLeaks is the enemy he’s aiding and affecting.

Now, simply by associating with Jake, whom I’m proud to do and I’m learning from, or supporting WikiLeaks or Manning as I do, it’s very clear that my speech, my First Amendment activities in support of their activities, can be interpreted by the vague, broad terms of this unconstitutional 1021(b)(2) section of the National Defense Authorization Act as, quote, "substantial support to an organization associated with terrorism." These vague terms make it possible—really there’s no one at this table who could be exempt from some informed official, who we’ve now learned has the power to defend—to condemn us to death. And, of course, if you can do that, I’m sure they can feel quite easy about simply putting us in military custody like Bradley Manning, even though we’re not in the military.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, this law is unprecedented in U.S. history. Can you talk about what—

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Well, as a law, it’s unprecedented, but as a practice—what we’ve seen for the last 10 years is a systematic assault on the Constitution of the United States in every aspect—in the aspects of the illegal surveillance, the warrantless surveillance, which was conducted against me 40 years ago by President Nixon and then led to his impeachment proceedings, but is now regarded as legal. That’s the way the law has changed. Efforts to assault me or kill me on the steps of the Capitol on May 3rd, 1972, a presidential hit squad of the kind that the president now takes pride in proclaiming that he runs all over the world.

AMY GOODMAN: But explain, for people who don’t know your story, how was it 40 years ago that you’re saying you could have been—

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Well, 40 years ago, I was on trial for the same offense, essentially, as Bradley Manning, though he was in the military. As a former civilian official, I released 7,000 pages of top-secret documents demonstrating lies, crimes, treaty violations by the American government that had lied us into a wrongful and hopeless war and were killing Americans and others at a great rate as it went on. For that, I was facing 115 years in prison, just as Bradley Manning is now facing life charges, essentially the same. In my case, the crime—the then-crimes against me of illegal surveillance, warrantless surveillance, the use of the CIA against me, now legal under the PATRIOT Act, and a hit squad against me, now allegedly legal by the president, all those things figured in impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.

AMY GOODMAN: We have 10 seconds.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: And it led to his resignation. They should lead, right now—we’ve seen this assault. The time has come—and Katherine Forrest has shown the way, I think—to defend the Constitution and try to restore it to the rights of Americans.

Peter Lemkin
02-05-2013, 08:04 PM
Reform the Patriot Act | Section 215

What is Section 215?
Section 215 allows the FBI to order any person or entity to turn over "any tangible things," so long as the FBI "specif[ies]" that the order is "for an authorized investigation . . . to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities."
Section 215 vastly expands the FBI's power to spy on ordinary people living in the United States, including United States citizens and permanent residents.
The FBI need not show probable cause, nor even reasonable grounds to believe, that the person whose records it seeks is engaged in criminal activity.
The FBI need not have any suspicion that the subject of the investigation is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power.
The FBI can investigate United States persons based in part on their exercise of First Amendment rights, and it can investigate non-United States persons based solely on their exercise of First Amendment rights.
For example, the FBI could spy on a person because they don't like the books she reads, or because they don't like the web sites she visits. They could spy on her because she wrote a letter to the editor that criticized government policy.
Those served with Section 215 orders are prohibited from disclosing the fact to anyone else. Those who are the subjects of the surveillance are never notified that their privacy has been compromised.
If the government had been keeping track of what books a person had been reading, or what web sites she had been visiting, the person would never know.
Is Section 215 Constitutional?
Normally, the government cannot effect a search without obtaining a warrant and showing probable cause to believe that the person has committed or will commit a crime. Section 215 violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing the government to effect Fourth Amendment searches without a warrant and without showing probable cause.
The violation of the Fourth Amendment is made more egregious by the fact that Section 215 might be used to obtain information about the exercise of First Amendment rights. For example, the FBI could invoke Section 215 to require a library to produce records showing who had borrowed a particular book or to produce records showing who had visited a particular web site.
Section 215 might also be used to obtain material that implicates privacy interests other than those protected by the First Amendment. For example, the FBI could use Section 215 to obtain medical records.
The provision violates the First Amendment by prohibiting those served with Section 215 orders from disclosing that fact to others, even where there is no real need for secrecy.
The provision violates the First Amendment by effectively authorizing the FBI to investigate U.S. persons, including American citizens, based in part on their exercise of First Amendment activity, and by authorizing the FBI to investigate non-U.S. persons based solely on their exercise of First Amendment activity.
The provision violates the Fourth and Fifth Amendments by failing to require that those who are the subject of Section 215 orders be told that their privacy has been compromised.
Doesn't the government need these powers?
The government already has the authority to prosecute anyone whom it has probable cause to believe has committed or is planning to commit a crime. It also has the authority to engage in surveillance of anyone whom it has probable cause to believe is a foreign power or spy - whether or not the person is suspected of any crime.
Section 215 takes away a great deal of our liberty and privacy but isn't likely to get us any security in return.
There's a real possibility that setting the FBI loose on the American public will have a profound chilling effect on public discourse. If people think that their conversations and their e-mails are their reading habits are being monitored, people will inevitably feel less comfortable saying what they think, especially if what they think is not what the government wants them to think.

Albert Doyle
04-23-2013, 04:28 AM
CISPA passed on April 18th.

Magda Hassan
04-23-2013, 04:42 AM
Somewhere Everywhere, Big Brother Is Smiling: Congress Sells Your Privacy For A Cool $84 Millionfrom the $84M-isn't-money;-it's-a-motive-with-a-universal-adapter deptIn case you were wondering why so many Democrats switched sides during the most recent CISPA vote (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130418/10170622751/cispa-passes-house-as-288-representatives-dont-want-to-protect-your-privacy.shtml), the answer is exactly what you think it is: $$$. And lots of it. Last year's CISPA vote only managed to secure 40 Democrat supporters. This time around, the number leapt to 92 (http://www.dailytech.com/After+84M+USD+Payout+Congress+Passes+Big+Brother+W rit+CISPA/article30389.htm).
[A] new coalition of special interests, which include America's two largest cellular service providers AT&T, Inc. and Verizon Wireless -- jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group Plc. -- as well as two of the nation's largest software firms Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., came together to create a similar data grab bill (Microsoft has since renounced its support). Security firms like Symantec Corp. also backed the bill.

Pushing the bill through was $84M USD in funding from special interest backers (http://maplight.org/us-congress/bill/112-hr-3523/1061747/total-contributions).$84 million is change-of-heart money, although one imagines those contributing checked and double-checked their "sponsored" representatives to make sure they were all on the same page. As DailyTech points out, nearly $86 million went into the SOPA push (http://maplight.org/us-congress/bill/112-s-978/954321/total-contributions) and most of that turned out to be wasted money.

Last Monday, two hundred IBM executives visited the White House to make a last minute push for CISPA. Whatever they said or did must have been very persuasive. By the end of the day, 36 new sponsors had signed on to the bill, up from a very lonely two previous to IBM's visit. Unsurprisingly, financial motivation was involved, according to numbers gathered by Maplight (http://maplight.org/content/73226).
New co-sponsors have received 38 times as much money ($7,626,081) from interests supporting CISPA than from interests opposing ($200,362).

Members of the House in total have received 16 times as much money ($67,665,694) from interests supporting CISPA than from interests opposing ($4,164,596).Now, it's up to Senate to come up with some sort of cyber-security bill that has a chance to get passed and dodge a Presidential veto. Fortunately, there's no clear favorite at the moment (although Lieberman's bill (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120214/15002817761/cybersecurity-bill-backers-insist-this-isnt-sopa-is-it-needed.shtml) seems to have the President's blessing) and with the limited number of voters, the Senate is much more prone to be gridlocked by partisan politics. Of course, a daylong visit by a few lobbyists could win over just enough hearts and minds to be dangerous. In the meantime, it would probably do these senators a world of good to hear from their constituents, if only to remind them that there are plenty of actual people out there who have to live with the consequences of bad legislation.
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130419/17153622773/everywhere-big-brother-is-smiling-congress-sells-your-privacy-cool-84-million.shtml

Magda Hassan
04-23-2013, 04:44 AM
Oh Look, Rep. Mike Rogers Wife Stands To Benefit Greatly From CISPA Passing...
Document at link below.
from the no-conflict,-no-interest deptIt would appear that Rep. Mike Rogers, the main person in Congress pushing for CISPA, has kept rather quiet about a very direct conflict of interest that calls into serious question the entire bill. It would appear that Rogers' wife stands to benefit quite a lot from the passage of CISPA, and has helped in the push to get the bill passed. It's somewhat amazing that no one has really covered this part of the story, but it highlights, yet again, the kind of activities by folks in Congress that make the public trust Congress less and less.

It has seemed quite strange to see how strongly Rogers has been fighting for CISPA, refusing (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130417/09330122741/cispa-renders-online-privacy-agreements-meaningless-sponsor-sees-no-reason-to-fix-that.shtml) to even acknowledge the seriousness of the privacy concerns. At other times, he can't even keep his own story straight (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130410/11570822664/cispas-sponsor-cant-even-keep-his-story-straight-about-nsa-having-access-to-your-data.shtml) about whether or not CISPA is about giving information to the NSA (hint: it is). And then there was the recent ridiculousness with him insisting that the only opposition to CISPA came from 14-year-old kids in their basement (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130416/13354422728/cispa-sponsor-claims-opposition-is-14-year-olds-their-basement.shtml). Wrong and insulting.

Of course, as we've noted all along, all attempts at cybersecurity legislation have always been about money (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100302/1024048361.shtml). Mainly, money to big defense contractors (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100517/1141179445.shtml) aiming to provide the government with lots of very expensive "solutions" to the cybersecurity "problem" -- a problem that still has not been adequately defined beyond fake scare stories. Just last month, Rogers accidentally tweeted (and then deleted) a story about how CISPA supporters, like himself, had received 15 times more money from pro-CISPA group that the opposition had received from anti-CISPA groups.

So it seems rather interesting to note that Rogers' wife, Kristi Clemens Rogers, was, until recently, the president and CEO of Aegis LLC a "security" defense contractor company, whom she helped to secure a $10 billion (with a b) contract with the State Department. The company describes itself as "a leading private security company, provides government and corporate clients with a full spectrum of intelligence-led, culturally-sensitive security solutions to operational and development challenges around the world."

Hmm. Sounds like a company like that would benefit greatly to seeing a big ramp up in cybersecurity FUD around the globe, and, with it, big budgets by various government agencies to spend on such things. Indeed, just a few months ago, Rogers penned an article for Washington Life Magazine all about evil hackers trying to "steal information." (http://www.c5i.com/index.php/latest-industry-news/halting-hackers-with-good-cyber-hygiene) In it, there's a line that might sound a wee-bit familiar, referring to the impression of hackers as being "the teenager in his or her parent's basement with bunny slippers and a Mountain Dew." Apparently, both of the Rogers really have a thing about teens in basements. The article is typical FUD, making statements with no proof, including repeating the NSA's ridiculous allegation that hackers have led to the "greatest transfer of wealth in American history." It's such a good line, except that it's completely untrue. The top US companies have recently admitted to absolutely no damage (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130409/15372222650/as-congress-debates-cispa-companies-admit-no-real-damage-cyberattacks.shtml) from such attacks. The article also lumps in "hacktivists" like Anonymous, as if they're a part of this grand conspiracy that needs new laws.

Tellingly, in the print version of Washington Life that this article appeared in, which you can see embedded below, you'll note that there's a side bar right next to her article about the importance of passing cybersecurity legislation in Congress. Guess what's not mentioned anywhere at all? The fact that Kristi Rogers, author of the fear-mongering article, happens to be married to Rep. Mike Rogers, the guy in charge of pushing through cybersecurity legislation. That sure seems like a rather key point, and a major conflict of interest that neither seemed interested in disclosing. Oh, and Kristi Rogers recently changed jobs as well, such that she's now the "managing director of federal government affairs and public policies" at Manatt (http://www.manatt.com/KristiRogers.aspx) a big lobbying firm, where (surprise, surprise) she's apparently focused on "executive-level problem solving in the defense and homeland security sectors." I'm sure having CISPA in place will suddenly create plenty of demand for such problem solving.

A few months ago, on one of his FUD-filled talks about why we need cybersecurity, Rogers claimed that it was all so scary that he literally couldn't sleep at night (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121004/14540520597/cispa-author-ramps-up-fud-claims-he-cant-sleep-night-due-to-unusual-source-threatening-us.shtml) until CISPA was passed due to an "unusual source" threatening us. The whole statement seemed odd, until you realize that his statement came out at basically the same time as his wife's fear-mongering article about cybersecurity. I guess when your pillow talk is made up boogeyman stories about threats that don't actually exist, it might make it difficult to fall asleep.

Either way, even if we assume that everything here was done aboveboard -- and we're not suggesting it wasn't -- this is exactly the kind of situation that Larry Lessig has referred to as soft corruption (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110113/14141312658/what-corruption-looks-like-87-congressional-reps-supporting-comcastnbc-merger-got-money-comcast.shtml). It's not bags of money shifting hands, but it appears highly questionable to the public, leading the public to trust Congress a lot less. At the very least, in discussing all of this stuff, when Mrs. Rogers is writing articles that help the push for CISPA, it seems only fair to disclose that she's married to the guy pushing for the bill. And when Mr. Rogers is pushing for the bill, it seems only right to disclose that his wife almost certainly would benefit from the bill passing. And yet, that doesn't seem to have happened... anywhere.
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130417/16253022748/oh-look-rep-mike-rogers-wife-stands-to-benefit-greatly-cispa-passing.shtml

Albert Doyle
04-23-2013, 02:08 PM
Wolf Blitzer said the kids used the internet to learn about pressure cooker bombs. They'll use this to justify CISPA.

Magda Hassan
04-23-2013, 11:33 PM
Wolf Blitzer said the kids used the internet to learn about pressure cooker bombs. They'll use this to justify CISPA.
Yeah, but he would be the sort to probably burn books as well.

Lauren Johnson
04-24-2013, 02:19 AM
Wolf Blitzer said the kids used the internet to learn about pressure cooker bombs. They'll use this to justify CISPA.
Yeah, but he would be the sort to probably burn books as well.

Well, how about this. NPR was "reporting" how much the internet sleuths, according to investigators, had interferred with the investigation by all of their endless analysis of photos and video. Although this was not said, the obvious solution is to outlaw something or other on the internet because that would be interferring with an investigation. Oh, wait. And since the a federal agency is involved, it would have to be a federal offence. And we know how those turn out.

Just my speculation.

Magda Hassan
04-24-2013, 03:36 AM
Wolf Blitzer said the kids used the internet to learn about pressure cooker bombs. They'll use this to justify CISPA.
Yeah, but he would be the sort to probably burn books as well.

Well, how about this. NPR was "reporting" how much the internet sleuths, according to investigators, had interferred with the investigation by all of their endless analysis of photos and video. Although this was not said, the obvious solution is to outlaw something or other on the internet because that would be interferring with an investigation. Oh, wait. And since the a federal agency is involved, it would have to be a federal offence. And we know how those turn out.

Just my speculation.
NPR ain't what it used to be either....

Magda Hassan
05-03-2013, 11:36 AM
Megaupload says US trying to change rules to allow prosecution Government is tacitly admitting it can't prosecute now, Megaupload says. by Timothy B. Lee (http://arstechnica.com/author/timothy-b-lee/) - Apr 20 2013, 6:50am AUSEST

The shuttered file-sharing site Megaupload has accused the United States government of trying to change criminal court procedures to make it easier to prosecute the firm for copyright infringement (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/01/why-the-feds-smashed-megaupload/). In addition to naming CEO Kim Dotcom as a defendant in the criminal case, the US government also named Megaupload, a corporation based in Hong Kong, as a separate defendant.
Megaupload has argued (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/05/megaupload-claims-it-is-beyond-the-reach-of-us-criminal-law/) that US law doesn't allow criminal prosecution of corporations based entirely overseas. Federal rules require notice of an indictment to be sent to a corporation's last known US address. But Megaupload has never had a US address, the firm argues, so it can't be prosecuted.
Judge Liam O'Grady rejected that argument (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/megaupload-to-remain-under-indictment-pending-dotcom-extradition/) in October, reasoning that the government may be able to satisfy the notice requirement by serving papers on Kim Dotcom after he has been extradited to the United States.
On Thursday, Megaupload pressed its case again (http://torrentfreak.com/u-s-flip-flopping-proves-us-right-megaupload-tells-court-130419/) by pointing to a letter (http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/RulesAndPolicies/rules/Agenda%20Books/Criminal/CR2013-04.pdf) that Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer wrote to the chair of the Advisory Committee on the Criminal Rules, which is part of the judicial branch. The government's attempts to change the criminal rules are an implicit admission that Megaupload is actually correct on the law, the company argues.
"When the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure entered into force in March 1946, organizations, including corporations, were rarely charged as defendants in and of themselves," Breuer wrote. "Organizations, such as domestic corporations, were established, conducted activities, and expectedly maintained a presence in the United States."
Today, in contrast, "the economy is global. Electronic communications continue to displace ordinary mail. Organizations can maintain no office or agent in the United States, yet conduct both real and virtual activities here. This new reality has affected federal criminal practice fundamentally."
Breuer argues that the rules should be updated to allow for an alternative process for serving notice on corporations that do not maintain a US address. A footnote mentions the Megaupload case as an example.
Megaupload argues that Breuer's letter basically concedes the Hong Kong company's argument. According to Megaupload, the letter "contradicts the Government’s repeated contention that it can validly serve Megaupload—a wholly foreign entity that has never had an office in the United States—without regard for Rule 4’s mailing requirement. To the contrary, the Government explicitly acknowledges in the letter that it has a “duty” under the current Rule to mail a copy of the summons to a corporate defendant’s last known address within the district or to its principal place of business elsewhere in the United States."
"By seeking to have the mailing requirement eliminated, the Government implicitly admits it cannot validly serve Megaupload consistent with Rule 4 as currently written," Megaupload claims.
The issue matters because the United States has frozen millions of dollars in assets belonging to Megaupload. The asset freeze is what completely shut Megaupload down, making it impossible for the company to pay its legal bills, hire employees, or run servers. (Although, it hasn't stopped founder Dotcom from raising money for a new company, launched at an over-the-top party (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/01/mega-launch-a-fake-fbi-raid-dancing-girls-oh-and-human-rights/) at his New Zealand mansion.) Getting the case against Megaupload dropped wouldn't save Dotcom from extradition, but recovering company assets might cover some legal costs while Megaupload's founder and other officials fight their own court battles.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/04/megaupload-says-us-trying-to-change-rules-to-allow-prosecution/

Magda Hassan
06-01-2013, 03:39 AM
New Zealand police will have to return any digital material seized during a raid on Megauploads founder Kim Dotcom’s mansion not related to his prosecution, a judge has ruled.
Police stormed the internet mogul’s Auckland home last January in a raid that was later decreed unlawful by High Court Chief Justice Helen Winkelman who is presiding over the case.
She ruled that all of the digital material that was seized in the illegal police operation as part of a US investigation into allegations of online piracy should be returned to Dotcom if it does not directly pertain to the case against him.

Police will now have to sift through all the data taken during the operation and separate out the irrelevant data in a “lengthy and expensive process.”

Winkelman also said New Zealand police were obliged to provide Dotcom with copies of any digital equipment already sent to the FBI in connection with a probe into allegations of mass internet piracy against the internet tycoon.

US authorities have claimed video streaming website Megaupload stole over $175 million from copyright holders and a further $500 million through the sharing of pirated films and TV shows. The video sharing site was shut down in January 2012 by the US State Department in connection with the allegations against its founder.
The charges set against Dotcom which include racketeering, fraud, money-laundering and copyright theft, carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Kim Dotcom denies all of the allegations set against him and is currently free on bail in New Zealand awaiting his extradition trail in August.

Back in March Dotcom was granted the right to sue the Zealand secret services agency. It was found that the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) were illegally eavesdropping on the tycoon prior to his arrest in the raid in January 2012.
The ruling forced New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to issue a public apology to Dotcom last month, although he claims he has no knowledge that the GCSB snooped on the internet mogul. A subsequent inquiry released in April revealed that another 88 New Zealanders may have been illegally monitored, though details of the cases have not been released.
http://rt.com/news/kim-dotcom-police-return-038/

Magda Hassan
08-23-2013, 12:45 PM
NZ police affidavits show use of PRISM for surveillance

By Juha Saarinen (http://www.itnews.com.au/Author/224495,juha-saarinen.aspx) on Aug 23, 2013 5:46 AM (16 hours ago)
Filed under Security (http://www.itnews.com.au/Category/32,security.aspx)

Live traffic capture.
Police affidavits related to the raid on Kim Dotcom's Mega mansion appear to show that New Zealand police and spy agencies are able to tap directly into United States surveillance systems such as PRISM to capture email and other traffic.
The discovery was made by blogger Keith Ng (http://www.itnews.com.au/News/319137,blogger-finds-nz-ministry-network-wide-open.aspx) who wrote on his On Point (http://publicaddress.net/onpoint/ich-bin-ein-cyberpunk/) blog that the Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (OFCANZ) requested assistance from the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), the country's signals intelligence unit, which is charge of surveilling the Pacific region under the Five-Eyes agreement.
A list of so-called selectors or search terms were provided to GCSB by the police [PDF, redacted (http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1304/AFFIDAVIT_OF_DISCLOSURE.pdf)] for the surveillance of emails and other data traffic generated by Dotcom and his Megaupload associates.
'Selectors' is the term used for the National Security Agency (NSA) XKEYSCORE categorisation system that Australia and New Zealand contribute to and which was leaked (http://www.itnews.com.au/News/349370,snowden-leaks-which-aussie-spy-bases-contribute-to-nsa.aspx) by Edward Snowden as part of his series of PRISM revelations.
Some "selectors of interest" have been redacted out, but others such as Kim Dotcom's email addresses, the mail proxy server used for some of the accounts and websites, remain in the documents.
Megaupload co-founders Bram van der Kolk and Sven Ecthernach was were also targeted for electronic surveillance, ditto Dotcom's wife Mona.
Dotcom's mansion was raided by NZ police last year for crimes related to online piracy, based on indictments filed in the US.
One note on the reports generated from the surveillance points to the system used capturing real-time traffic.
Several of the documents are classified as "CONFIDENTIAL COMINT/NEW ZEALAND EYES ONLY" with one being marked as "SECRET/COMINT/REL TO NZL, AUS, CAN, GBR, USA".
The spying on Dotcom, his wife and van der Kolk was deemed (http://www.itnews.com.au/News/316746,new-zealand-investigates-unlawful-spying-on-dotcom.aspx) to be illegal as all three are residents of New Zealand and the GCSB is precluded by current law from intercepting their communications.
In the United States, declassified government documents have been released (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/08/eff-victory-results-expected-release-secret-court-opinion-finding-nsa-surveillance) to the Electronic Frontier Fourndation that show the NSA operates an eavesdropping program that has direct access to internet communications.
The documents are part of a statement by the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) which berates the NSA for misleading the tribunal on the extent of domestic spying on innocent people, saying such collection was unconstitutional.
http://www.itnews.com.au/News/354407,nz-police-affidavits-show-use-of-prism-for-surveillance.aspx

Peter Lemkin
01-15-2014, 02:31 PM
JANUARY 14, 2014 | BY MITCH STOLTZ (https://www.eff.org/about/staff/mitch-stoltz) EFF



To Safeguard the Public Domain (and the Public Interest), Fix Copyright’s Crazy Penalties




https://www.eff.org/files/2014/01/12/copyright-square-1.png (https://www.eff.org/copyrightweek)In the week leading up the two-year anniversary of the SOPA blackout protests, EFF and others are talking about key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day, we'll take on a different piece, exploring what’s at stake and and what we need to do to make sure the law promotes creativity and innovation. We've put together a page where you can read and endorse the principles yourself (https://www.eff.org/copyrightweek). Let's send a message to DC, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Brussels, and wherever else folks are making new copyright rules: We're from the Internet, and we're here to help.
What if a single parking ticket carried a fine of up to a year's salary? What if there were no way to know consistently how much the fine would be before you got it? And what if any one of hundreds of private citizens could decide to write you a ticket? What would happen? People would start avoiding public parking, and stay home more often. Business would decline. The number of false or unfair tickets would rise. Everyone would lose confidence in the system—and in the law—as parking became a huge gamble.
Something very close to this scenario is a reality in copyright law. Copyright holders who sue for infringement can ask for "statutory damages" and, if they win, let a jury decide how big of a penalty the defendant will have to pay—anywhere from $200 to $150,000 per copyrighted work. That's a big problem for Internet users, and everyone else who wants to use creative works in lawful but non-traditional ways. Authors of remix video and fan fiction, bloggers, coders, entrepreneurs and others who create, inform, and empower on the fuzzy edges of copyright law must gamble every day. They risk unpredictable, potentially devastating penalties if a court disagrees with their well-intentioned efforts.
People from across the spectrum of opinion on copyright—including many who generally support more restrictive copyright law—agree that copyright damages are broken and need fixing. In today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing (http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/113th/hear_01142014.html) on the scope of copyright, Professors David Nimmer and Glynn Lunney agreed on almost nothing—but both agreed that copyright’s penalty regime makes no sense today.
Different from almost all other areas of the law, plaintiffs in copyright cases don’t have to present anyevidence that they were harmed. And aside from setting some broad ranges of amounts for "willful" and "innocent" infringement, the only guidance that the Copyright Act gives to juries in picking an amount is to say that it should be "just."
So, not surprisingly, penalties in actual cases are hugely unpredictable. Sometimes judges and juries try to set a penalty at approximately the value of the infringing goods, or the loss suffered by the plaintiff. When the defendant is a repeat infringer or behaved egregiously, some courts award a small multiple of actual harm, such as double or triple damages, much like in other areas of the law.
Other times, judges and juries set massive penalties with no relationship to either the actual harm caused or the degree of moral condemnation that the defendant deserves. A website owner who copied two copyrighted poems, earning no profit and causing no more than minuscule economic harm, was ordered to pay $300,000.1 (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/01/safeguard-public-domain-and-public-interest-fix-copyrights-crazy-penalties#footnote1_p3u74cn) More famously, single mother Jammie Thomas-Rasset was ordered to pay $222,000 for sharing 24 songs online, even though the trial judge believed that the record labels' actual harm was about $50.2 (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/01/safeguard-public-domain-and-public-interest-fix-copyrights-crazy-penalties#footnote2_jw1ka60)0.
Without guidelines, the penalties awarded change radically from case to case. One music industry company that sued three different defendants in separate suits for the same type of infringement won $10,000 per song in one case, $30,000 in another, and $50,000 in a third.3 (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/01/safeguard-public-domain-and-public-interest-fix-copyrights-crazy-penalties#footnote3_cf591lf)
This uncertainty, and the possibility of ridiculously high penalties, is toxic to creativity and innovation. High and unpredictable copyright damages are why many filmmakers struggle to obtain the liability insurance their financial backers require. They're part of why entrepreneurs with new products for using and interacting with creative work don't get funded. And they're a big reason why innovative companies like Aereo, Dish, Pandora, and software developers large and small must spend so much time and money on copyright lawyers instead of artists and engineers.
Massive penalties are also one of the main reasons why so many shady lawyers have turned to copyright trolling. Threats of six-figure penalties for sharing a movie or song are credible, because they have actually happened. For a home Internet subscriber, paying a troll $3,000 to go away can look like a better option than gambling with $150,000. Copyright damages can turn a failing movie into a lucrative shakedown scheme—with a cost in human misery. It's no wonder the public has a low opinion of copyright law.
People should be able to use copyrighted work in ways that benefit us all, without worrying that a court will bankrupt them if the court later decides they crossed a fuzzy line. And copyright's penalties should have some connection to actual harm, to keep trolls from using copyright suits as a shady business model. As Congress continues talking about fixing copyright, the penalties should be one of the first things they look at.


1. (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/01/safeguard-public-domain-and-public-interest-fix-copyrights-crazy-penalties#footnoteref1_p3u74cn)Macklin v. Mueck

Magda Hassan
12-14-2014, 05:44 AM
Leaked Emails Reveal MPAA Plans To Pay Elected Officials To Attack Googlefrom the holy-fuck dept Okay, it's no secret that the MPAA hates Google. It doesn't take a psychology expert to figure that out. But in the last few days, some of the leaks from the Sony Pictures hack have revealed the depths of that hatred, raising serious questions about how the MPAA abuses the legal process in corrupt and dangerous ways. The most serious charge -- unfortunately completely buried by this report at The Verge -- is that it appears the MPAA and the major Hollywood studios directly funded various state Attorneys General in their efforts to attack and shame Google (http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/12/7382287/project-goliath). Think about that for a second.

There's a lot of background here that's important (beyond just the MPAA really hates Google). First, as you know, the MPAA has certainly not given up on its SOPA desire to get certain websites completely blocked. The leaked emails reveal a lot more about that (which we'll get to). Second, a year ago, the MPAA hired a pitbull of an anti-piracy lawyer in naming Steve Fabrizio (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/mpaa-taps-steven-fabrizio-as-656092) its General Counsel. Fabrizio has spent the last decade and a half or so deeply involved in litigating a bunch of anti-piracy battles at both the RIAA and the MPAA/RIAA's favorite big law firm, Jenner & Block. This is not a guy you hire if you're looking to innovate. This is a guy you hire if you want to get into knock-down, dirty legal fights.

Third, there is the role of state Attorneys General. A recent NY Times article detailed how lobbyists have figured out ways to effectively "lobby" state Attorneys General to do their bidding (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/us/lobbyists-bearing-gifts-pursue-attorneys-general.html?_r=0). Frequently, this is around getting the state AGs to drop investigations (and potential lawsuits) against companies. The article is somewhat eye-opening, as it's hard to distinguish much of what's discussed from straight up bribery. There is talk of lavish events, travel and dinners all paid for by corporate lobbyists for state AGs, often followed soon after with dropped, or reduced investigations. In one case, an AG told staff not to start an investigation into a public company without first getting his approval. Campaign funding is a big part of it as well, as these lobbyists dump lots of money into AG campaigns. And it's no secret that the state Attorney General position is often seen as a stepping stone to a Governorship or US Senate job.

We've discussed in the past that state Attorneys General are often the biggest grandstanders, as their main goal in certain investigations seems to be about generating headlines for themselves, rather than any real legal basis. More than four years ago, we wrote about Topix CEO Chris Tolles' experience (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100820/18033710718.shtml) being hounded by state Attorneys' General so they could get a bunch of headlines out of something in which everyone admitted Topix wasn't actually doing anything illegal. Along those lines, we've noted that popular tech companies have increasingly been a target for state AGs -- because they're almost sure to generate headlines. We've also noted that state AGs have been pushing for changes to federal laws (https://www.techdirt.com/blog/innovation/articles/20130618/11332223519/states-attorneys-general-want-to-special-exception-to-blame-sites-actions-users.shtml), like Section 230 of the CDA, to allow them to further go after big tech companies for things like actions of their users.

Not surprisingly, Google has been a popular target for some state AGs. In the past, we've written about state Attorneys General from Nebraska and Oklahoma (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130702/15401523697/clueless-state-ags-attack-google-over-youtube-videos-instead-pursuing-criminals-who-made-them.shtml) blaming Google for videos made by users, and about Texas' Attorney General going after Google for supposed antitrust violations (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100905/16132410911.shtml) (based on the same claims that the FTC later dropped entirely (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130103/10491421570/as-expected-ftc-announces-close-google-investigation-with-no-antitrust-charges-minor-tweaks-to-biz-practices.shtml)). But the state Attorney General with the biggest chip on his shoulder for Google has absolutely been Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who seemed to think that it was Google's fault (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130607/09095223361/mississippi-attorney-general-says-its-googles-fault-he-can-find-infringing-counterfeit-items.shtml) that he could find counterfeit goods via search. A few months later, he was back blaming Google (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131210/17110625525/mississippi-attorney-general-jim-hood-thinks-google-is-to-blame-infringement-web.shtml) for infringement online as well.

This was no accident. What's come out of the Sony Pictures Leak is not just that the MPAA was buddying up to state Attorneys General, but that the MPAA was funding some of this activity and actively supporting the investigation. The leaked emails reveal that rather than seeing that NY Times article about corporate/AG corruption as a warning sign, the MPAA viewed it as a playbook. But not for preventing investigations but for encouraging and funding them. This appears to go way beyond that NY Times article. This isn't campaign donations or inviting AGs to speak at lavish events and paying for the travel. This is flat out paying AGs to investigate Google (even on issues unrelated to copyright infringement) and then promising to get extra press attention to those articles.

Here's the Verge's summary of a key email (which the Verge doesn't even seem to realize why it's so damning):
May 8, 2014: Fabrizio to group. "We’ve had success to date in motivating the AGs; however as they approach the CID phase, the AGs will need greater levels of legal support." He outlines two options, ranging from $585,000 to $1.175 million, which includes legal support for AGs (through Jenner) and optional investigation and analysis of ("ammunition / evidence against") Goliath. Both options include at least $85,000 for communication (e.g. "Respond to / rebut Goliath's public advocacy, amplify negative Goliath news, [and] seed media stories based on investigation and AG actions."). "Goliath" is the MPAA's rather transparent "codename" for Google. CID stands for a "civil investigative demand" -- which is a form of an administrative subpoena, demanding information from a company, related to an investigation.

What seems to come out from these emails is that the MPAA, in coordination with the major Hollywood studios, agreed to willfully pay tons of money indirectly to state AGs (and Hood in particular) to get them to investigate Google (using the time and labor of the MPAA's favorite law firm -- and the one that Fabrizio just left). That goes way beyond anything discussed in that NY Times articles, and certainly smacks of serious illegality. It's difficult to see how this isn't bribing a public official to attack a company they dislike.

Not only that, but it shows that the MPAA and the studios were aware of Hood's plans well before they happened, suggesting that he or his office has been coordinating with Hollywood on their plans and that the specific CIDs are actually written by the MPAA's lawyers themselves:
A report from the previous February suggests that the Goliath group drafted civil investigative demands (similar to a subpoena) to be issued by the attorneys general. "Some subset of AGs (3-5, but Hood alone if necessary) should move toward issuing CIDs before mid-May," the email says. And, more recent emails (from just in October) show that they know that another CID is apparently coming and that the MPAA intends to use that CID for negotiating leverage against Google. This follows a claim that Google was pissed off (http://torrentfreak.com/furious-google-ended-mpaa-antipiracy-cooperation-141212/) at the MPAA for mocking its recent search algorithm changes to further push down sites that may link to infringing materials (it's not like we didn't warn everyone that the MPAA wouldn't be satisfied (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141017/12041928858/google-continues-to-try-to-appease-hollywood-though-it-is-unlikely-to-ever-be-enough.shtml) with Google's changes). Either way, the MPAA's Fabrizio brushes off concerns that Google has, telling the studios not to worry, that Google should be more willing to talk after Hood sends out his next CID:
After a dispute over Google’s most recent anti-piracy measures in October, Fabrizio suggested further action may be yet to come. "We believe Google is overreacting — and dramatically so. Their reaction seems tactical (or childish)," the email reads. "Following the issuance of the CID [civil investigative demand] by [Mississippi attorney general Jim] Hood (which may create yet another uproar by Google), we may be in a position for more serious discussions with Google." While the Verge report is focused on the "sexy" topic of the MPAA having an "anti-Google' (er... "Goliath") working group, the real story here is that it appears that this infatuation with taking down Google has extended to funding state politicians in their investigations and attacks on Google, even when it's on totally unrelated issues (the initial CID was about counterfeit drugs -- which is an issue that the MPAA likes to mock Google over by totally misrepresenting some actual, but historical, bad behavior).

And beyond that, the MPAA is showing that part of its plan is to fund "media stories based on" the Attorneys General investigations. Remember, so much AG activity these days is driven by what's going to get them into the headlines. Setting aside nearly $100,000 from the MPAA to get a state AG some headlines for an investigation paid for by the MPAA, using administrative subpoenas written by the MPAA... all designed to attack a company they don't like (which actually has done pretty much exactly what they'd been asking for in downranking sites that lead to infringing works), is really stunning.

I get that it's natural to dislike a company or organization that has undermined your business model. It happens. But there are different ways to respond to it. One is to innovate and compete. Another is to use the legal process to throw hurdles in their path. This is the distinction between "market entrepreneurs" and "political entrepreneurs" that Andy Kessler has described (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110130/00441512884/entrepreneurs-who-create-value-vs-entrepreneurs-who-lock-up-value.shtml). What the MPAA appears to have done in the last few months, however, certainly suggests that the organization, with the help of the major studios, went beyond just lobbying and political pressure, to actually funding elected officials to try to attack a company they didn't like. And, at the very least, this also has to raise serious questions about Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and who he takes orders from. Is he really "protecting" the people of Mississippi? Or is he focused on gobbling up Hollywood's money and promotion?

Magda Hassan
12-14-2014, 05:59 AM
Leaked Emails Reveal MPAA Plans To Pay Elected Officials To Attack Googlefrom the holy-fuck dept Okay, it's no secret that the MPAA hates Google. It doesn't take a psychology expert to figure that out. But in the last few days, some of the leaks from the Sony Pictures hack have revealed the depths of that hatred, raising serious questions about how the MPAA abuses the legal process in corrupt and dangerous ways. The most serious charge -- unfortunately completely buried by this report at The Verge -- is that it appears the MPAA and the major Hollywood studios directly funded various state Attorneys General in their efforts to attack and shame Google (http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/12/7382287/project-goliath). Think about that for a second.

There's a lot of background here that's important (beyond just the MPAA really hates Google). First, as you know, the MPAA has certainly not given up on its SOPA desire to get certain websites completely blocked. The leaked emails reveal a lot more about that (which we'll get to). Second, a year ago, the MPAA hired a pitbull of an anti-piracy lawyer in naming Steve Fabrizio (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/mpaa-taps-steven-fabrizio-as-656092) its General Counsel. Fabrizio has spent the last decade and a half or so deeply involved in litigating a bunch of anti-piracy battles at both the RIAA and the MPAA/RIAA's favorite big law firm, Jenner & Block. This is not a guy you hire if you're looking to innovate. This is a guy you hire if you want to get into knock-down, dirty legal fights.

Third, there is the role of state Attorneys General. A recent NY Times article detailed how lobbyists have figured out ways to effectively "lobby" state Attorneys General to do their bidding (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/us/lobbyists-bearing-gifts-pursue-attorneys-general.html?_r=0). Frequently, this is around getting the state AGs to drop investigations (and potential lawsuits) against companies. The article is somewhat eye-opening, as it's hard to distinguish much of what's discussed from straight up bribery. There is talk of lavish events, travel and dinners all paid for by corporate lobbyists for state AGs, often followed soon after with dropped, or reduced investigations. In one case, an AG told staff not to start an investigation into a public company without first getting his approval. Campaign funding is a big part of it as well, as these lobbyists dump lots of money into AG campaigns. And it's no secret that the state Attorney General position is often seen as a stepping stone to a Governorship or US Senate job.

We've discussed in the past that state Attorneys General are often the biggest grandstanders, as their main goal in certain investigations seems to be about generating headlines for themselves, rather than any real legal basis. More than four years ago, we wrote about Topix CEO Chris Tolles' experience (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100820/18033710718.shtml) being hounded by state Attorneys' General so they could get a bunch of headlines out of something in which everyone admitted Topix wasn't actually doing anything illegal. Along those lines, we've noted that popular tech companies have increasingly been a target for state AGs -- because they're almost sure to generate headlines. We've also noted that state AGs have been pushing for changes to federal laws (https://www.techdirt.com/blog/innovation/articles/20130618/11332223519/states-attorneys-general-want-to-special-exception-to-blame-sites-actions-users.shtml), like Section 230 of the CDA, to allow them to further go after big tech companies for things like actions of their users.

Not surprisingly, Google has been a popular target for some state AGs. In the past, we've written about state Attorneys General from Nebraska and Oklahoma (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130702/15401523697/clueless-state-ags-attack-google-over-youtube-videos-instead-pursuing-criminals-who-made-them.shtml) blaming Google for videos made by users, and about Texas' Attorney General going after Google for supposed antitrust violations (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100905/16132410911.shtml) (based on the same claims that the FTC later dropped entirely (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130103/10491421570/as-expected-ftc-announces-close-google-investigation-with-no-antitrust-charges-minor-tweaks-to-biz-practices.shtml)). But the state Attorney General with the biggest chip on his shoulder for Google has absolutely been Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who seemed to think that it was Google's fault (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130607/09095223361/mississippi-attorney-general-says-its-googles-fault-he-can-find-infringing-counterfeit-items.shtml) that he could find counterfeit goods via search. A few months later, he was back blaming Google (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131210/17110625525/mississippi-attorney-general-jim-hood-thinks-google-is-to-blame-infringement-web.shtml) for infringement online as well.

This was no accident. What's come out of the Sony Pictures Leak is not just that the MPAA was buddying up to state Attorneys General, but that the MPAA was funding some of this activity and actively supporting the investigation. The leaked emails reveal that rather than seeing that NY Times article about corporate/AG corruption as a warning sign, the MPAA viewed it as a playbook. But not for preventing investigations but for encouraging and funding them. This appears to go way beyond that NY Times article. This isn't campaign donations or inviting AGs to speak at lavish events and paying for the travel. This is flat out paying AGs to investigate Google (even on issues unrelated to copyright infringement) and then promising to get extra press attention to those articles.

Here's the Verge's summary of a key email (which the Verge doesn't even seem to realize why it's so damning):
May 8, 2014: Fabrizio to group. "We’ve had success to date in motivating the AGs; however as they approach the CID phase, the AGs will need greater levels of legal support." He outlines two options, ranging from $585,000 to $1.175 million, which includes legal support for AGs (through Jenner) and optional investigation and analysis of ("ammunition / evidence against") Goliath. Both options include at least $85,000 for communication (e.g. "Respond to / rebut Goliath's public advocacy, amplify negative Goliath news, [and] seed media stories based on investigation and AG actions."). "Goliath" is the MPAA's rather transparent "codename" for Google. CID stands for a "civil investigative demand" -- which is a form of an administrative subpoena, demanding information from a company, related to an investigation.

What seems to come out from these emails is that the MPAA, in coordination with the major Hollywood studios, agreed to willfully pay tons of money indirectly to state AGs (and Hood in particular) to get them to investigate Google (using the time and labor of the MPAA's favorite law firm -- and the one that Fabrizio just left). That goes way beyond anything discussed in that NY Times articles, and certainly smacks of serious illegality. It's difficult to see how this isn't bribing a public official to attack a company they dislike.

Not only that, but it shows that the MPAA and the studios were aware of Hood's plans well before they happened, suggesting that he or his office has been coordinating with Hollywood on their plans and that the specific CIDs are actually written by the MPAA's lawyers themselves:
A report from the previous February suggests that the Goliath group drafted civil investigative demands (similar to a subpoena) to be issued by the attorneys general. "Some subset of AGs (3-5, but Hood alone if necessary) should move toward issuing CIDs before mid-May," the email says. And, more recent emails (from just in October) show that they know that another CID is apparently coming and that the MPAA intends to use that CID for negotiating leverage against Google. This follows a claim that Google was pissed off (http://torrentfreak.com/furious-google-ended-mpaa-antipiracy-cooperation-141212/) at the MPAA for mocking its recent search algorithm changes to further push down sites that may link to infringing materials (it's not like we didn't warn everyone that the MPAA wouldn't be satisfied (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141017/12041928858/google-continues-to-try-to-appease-hollywood-though-it-is-unlikely-to-ever-be-enough.shtml) with Google's changes). Either way, the MPAA's Fabrizio brushes off concerns that Google has, telling the studios not to worry, that Google should be more willing to talk after Hood sends out his next CID:
After a dispute over Google’s most recent anti-piracy measures in October, Fabrizio suggested further action may be yet to come. "We believe Google is overreacting — and dramatically so. Their reaction seems tactical (or childish)," the email reads. "Following the issuance of the CID [civil investigative demand] by [Mississippi attorney general Jim] Hood (which may create yet another uproar by Google), we may be in a position for more serious discussions with Google." While the Verge report is focused on the "sexy" topic of the MPAA having an "anti-Google' (er... "Goliath") working group, the real story here is that it appears that this infatuation with taking down Google has extended to funding state politicians in their investigations and attacks on Google, even when it's on totally unrelated issues (the initial CID was about counterfeit drugs -- which is an issue that the MPAA likes to mock Google over by totally misrepresenting some actual, but historical, bad behavior).

And beyond that, the MPAA is showing that part of its plan is to fund "media stories based on" the Attorneys General investigations. Remember, so much AG activity these days is driven by what's going to get them into the headlines. Setting aside nearly $100,000 from the MPAA to get a state AG some headlines for an investigation paid for by the MPAA, using administrative subpoenas written by the MPAA... all designed to attack a company they don't like (which actually has done pretty much exactly what they'd been asking for in downranking sites that lead to infringing works), is really stunning.

I get that it's natural to dislike a company or organization that has undermined your business model. It happens. But there are different ways to respond to it. One is to innovate and compete. Another is to use the legal process to throw hurdles in their path. This is the distinction between "market entrepreneurs" and "political entrepreneurs" that Andy Kessler has described (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110130/00441512884/entrepreneurs-who-create-value-vs-entrepreneurs-who-lock-up-value.shtml). What the MPAA appears to have done in the last few months, however, certainly suggests that the organization, with the help of the major studios, went beyond just lobbying and political pressure, to actually funding elected officials to try to attack a company they didn't like. And, at the very least, this also has to raise serious questions about Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and who he takes orders from. Is he really "protecting" the people of Mississippi? Or is he focused on gobbling up Hollywood's money and promotion?

Magda Hassan
12-14-2014, 11:07 PM
Leak Exposes Hollywood’s Global Anti-Piracy Strategy (http://torrentfreak.com/leak-exposes-hollywoods-global-anti-piracy-strategy-141212/)

By Ernesto (http://torrentfreak.com/author/ernesto/)
on December 13, 2014



Leaked documents reveal in detail how Hollywood plans to take on piracy in the years to come. One of the top priorities for the MPAA are cyberlockers and illegal streaming sites, with lawsuits planned in the UK, Germany and Canada. Torrent sites are a medium priority, which the MPAA hopes to fight with criminal prosecutions, domain seizures and site blocking.

http://torrentfreak.com/images/mpaa-logo.png (http://torrentfreak.com/images/mpaa-logo.png)The Sony Pictures leak has caused major damage to the Hollywood movie studio, but the fallout doesn’t end there.
Contained in one of the leaked data batches is a complete overview of the MPAA’s global anti-piracy strategy for the years to come.
In an email sent to top executives at the major Hollywood studios earlier this year, one of the MPAA’s top executives shared a complete overview of Hollywood’s anti-piracy priorities.
The email reveals key areas of focus for the coming years, divided into high, medium and low priority categories, as shown below.
http://torrentfreak.com/images/piracy-strategy-page.png (http://torrentfreak.com/images/piracy-strategy-page.png) The plan put forward by the MPAA is the ideal strategy. Which elements are to be carried out will mostly depend on the funds made available by the studios.
High priority For cyberlockers and video streaming sites the MPAA plans to reach out to hosting providers, payment processing companies and advertising networks. These companies are urged not to work with so-called rogue sites.
Part of the plan is to create “legal precedent to shape and expand the law on cyberlockers and their hosting providers,” with planned lawsuits in the UK, Germany and Canada.
Cyberlocker strategy

http://torrentfreak.com/images/mpaa-cyberlocker.png (http://torrentfreak.com/images/mpaa-cyberlocker.png) Other top priorities are:
Apps: Making sure that pirate apps are taken down from various App stores. Google’s removal of various Pirate Bay apps may be part of this. In addition, the MPAA wants to make apps “unstable” by removing the pirated files they link to.
Payment processors: The MPAA wants to use government influence to put pressure on payment processors, urging them to ban pirate sites. In addition they will approach major players with “specific asks and proposed best practices” to deter piracy.
Site blocking: Expand site blocking efforts in the UK and other countries where it’s supported by law. In other countries, including the U.S., the MPAA will investigate whether blockades are an option through existing principles of law.
Domain seizures: The MPAA is slowly moving toward domain seizures of pirate sites. This strategy is being carefully tested against sites selling counterfeit products using trademark arguments.
Site scoring services: Developing a trustworthy site scoring system for pirate sites. This can be used by advertisers to ban rogue sites. In the future this can be expanded to payment processors, domain name registrars, hosting providers and search engines, possibly with help from the government.
Copyright Notices: The MPAA intends to proceed with the development of the UK Copyright Alert System, and double the number of notices for the U.S. version. In addition, the MPAA wants to evaluate whether the U.S. Copyright Alert System can expand to mobile carriers.
Mid and low priority BitTorrent is categorized as a medium priority. The MPAA wants to emphasize the role of BitTorrent in piracy related apps, such as Popcorn Time. In addition, illegal torrent sites will be subject to site blocking and advertising bans.
BitTorrent strategy

http://torrentfreak.com/images/mpaa-bittorrent-strategy.png (http://torrentfreak.com/images/mpaa-bittorrent-strategy.png) Other medium and low priorities are:
Search: Keep putting pressure on search engines and continue periodic research into its role in facilitating piracy. In addition, the MPAA will support third-party lawsuits against search engines.
Hosting: The MPAA sees Cloudflare as a problem and is developing a strategy of how to deal with the popular hosting provider. Lawsuits against hosting providers are also in the agenda.
Link sites: Apart from potential civil lawsuits in Latin America, linking sites will only be targeted if they become “particularly problematic.”
In the email the MPAA’s top executive does not consider the above strategies to be “final” or “set in stone”. How much the MPAA will be able to carry out with its partners depends on funds being availble, which appears to be a subtle reminder that the studios should keep their payments coming.
“…the attached represents priorities and activities presuming online CP is adequately resourced. Your teams understand that, depending upon how the budget process plays out, we may need to lower priorities and activities for many sources of piracy and/or antipiracy initiatives,” the email reads.
The leaked strategy offers a unique insight into Hollywood’s strategy against various forms of online infringement.
It exposes several key priorities that were previously unknown. The MPAA’s strong focus on domain name seizures for example, or the plans to target cyberlockers with lawsuits in the UK, Germany and Canada.

http://torrentfreak.com/leak-exposes-hollywoods-global-anti-piracy-strategy-141212/

Magda Hassan
12-21-2015, 02:57 AM
In the wake of a series of humiliating cyberattacks, the imperative in Congress and the White House to do something — anything — in the name of improving cybersecurity was powerful.

But only the most cynical observers thought the results would be this bad.
The legislation the House passed on Friday morning is a thinly disguised surveillance bill that would give companies pathways they don’t need to share user data related to cyberthreats with the government — while allowing the government to use that information for any purpose, with almost no privacy protections.
Because Speaker of the House Paul Ryan slipped the provision into the massive government omnibus spending bill that had to pass — or else the entire government would have shut down — it was doomed to become law. (This post has been updated to reflect the vote, which was 316 to 113 (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/19/us/congress-spending-bill.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news).)
The text of the bill — now known as the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, formerly known as CISA — wasn’t released until shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, giving members of Congress essentially no time to do anything about it.
The bill removes a restriction on direct information sharing with the National Security Agency and the Pentagon; eliminates a restriction on the government’s use of that information for surveillance activities; allows law enforcement to use the information to prosecute any and all crimes; and leaves it up to the individual agencies to scrub personally identifying information when they feel like it.
“If someone hacks a health insurance company like Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and they get scared and hand over all the medical records that were exposed in the hack, the NSA could share those records with the DEA, who could use them in ongoing investigations that have nothing to do with cybersecurity or terrorism,” wrote Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future, a digital rights advocacy group.
The House Homeland Security Committee chaired by Rep. McCaul, R-Texas, had proposed a series of privacy protections from a previous House version of the cyber bill, but they were stricken from the new version that emerged from the Speaker’s office.
“The bill is all the worst parts” of the different cybersecurity bills negotiated in recent months, Nathan White, senior legislative manager for Access Now, told The Intercept. “It was negotiated in secret. … It’s a sneaky process they’ve used.”
Because of the last-minute timing, members of Congress “are not even going to know what they’re passing,” White said. “We don’t have time to get an informed vote, they’re pulling a fast one on the Senate.”
And the White House is reportedly on board. According to a leaked document (http://www.scribd.com/doc/293369570/Summary-administration-priorities-for-CISA) published by Dustin Volz of Reuters, titled “Summary administration priorities for CISA”, the White House’s priorities line up with the new version of the bill — despite the fact that the administration threatened a veto over very similar legislation in 2013.
According to (https://theintercept.com/2015/01/20/obamas-cyber-proposals-sound-good-totally-clueless/) several technologists, information sharing isn’t a real solution to preventing cyberattacks. The best defense is better cyber hygiene. “When you’ve got an epidemic, the answer is you should be washing your hands every time you use the bathroom. It’s just not a sexy thing to say,” Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Intercept last January following President Obama’s State of the Union address, which focused heavily on cybersecurity.
Some opposition to the new bill has emerged among digital rights-supporting lawmakers and organizations, both Democratic and Republican. But they face off against the immensely powerful intelligence committees in the House and the Senate, congressional leadership, and the White House.
“Members of Congress are intentionally kept in dark so we don’t have time to rally opposition to particular measures,” Libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., wrote on Twitter (https://twitter.com/justinamash/status/676797198697414656?lang=en).
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., warned that the bill would “accomplish little more than increased unwarranted surveillance of U.S. persons, sharing private information with prosecutors and feeding the NSA dragnet.”
“This ‘cybersecurity’ bill was a bad bill when it passed the Senate and it is an even worse bill today,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. “Americans deserve policies that protect both their security and their liberty. This bill fails on both counts. Cybersecurity experts say (https://medium.com/@RonWyden/this-bill-won-t-protect-you-from-hackers-6aff1d250f67#.u7vsoxti3) CISA will do little to prevent major hacks and privacy advocates know that this bill lacks real, meaningful privacy protections,” Wyden wrote in a press release.
Overall, there was never much hope among the conservative groups. “We certainly would have liked more time to bring this issue to the attention of libertarians and conservatives. Unfortunately, the way the final bill was conferenced — keeping Chairman McCaul out of any substantive discussions and disregarding many of his concerns around the reconciliation process — moved it quicker than we anticipated,” wrote Ryan Hagemann of the Niskanen Center in an email to The Intercept.


https://theintercept.com/2015/12/18/last-minute-budget-bill-allows-new-privacy-invading-surveillance-in-the-name-of-cybersecurity/

Michael Barwell
12-21-2015, 04:42 PM
EXPLOITATION OF MILLIMETER WAVES FOR THROUGH-WALL SURVEILLANCE DURING MILITARY OPERATIONS IN URBAN TERRAIN - http://marshallthomas.org/uploads/millimeter-e_doctrine_milliwave_radar.pdf

Don't forget Ranger-R type systems. They use it to watch you in the shower, and apophenically schiz 'train' people/harrass & traumatize people. Cyber- is just such a small part of SS diahorrea.