Posts tagged ‘Censorship’

Krebs on Security: Lorem Ipsum: Of Good & Evil, Google & China

This post was syndicated from: Krebs on Security and was written by: BrianKrebs. Original post: at Krebs on Security

Imagine discovering a secret language spoken only online by a knowledgeable and learned few. Over a period of weeks, as you begin to tease out the meaning of this curious tongue and ponder its purpose, the language appears to shift in subtle but fantastic ways, remaking itself daily before your eyes. And just when you are poised to share your findings with the rest of the world, the entire thing vanishes.

loremipsumThis fairly describes my roller coaster experience of curiosity, wonder and disappointment over the past few weeks, as I’ve worked alongside security researchers in an effort to understand how “lorem ipsum” — common placeholder text on countless Web sites — could be transformed into so many apparently geopolitical and startlingly modern phrases when translated from Latin to English using Google Translate. (If you have no idea what “lorem ipsum” is, skip ahead to a brief primer here).

Admittedly, this blog post would make more sense if readers could fully replicate the results described below using Google Translate. However, as I’ll explain later, something important changed in Google’s translation system late last week that currently makes the examples I’ll describe impossible to reproduce.

CHINA, NATO, SEXY, SEXY

It all started a few months back when I received a note from Lance James, head of cyber intelligence at Deloitte. James pinged me to share something discovered by FireEye researcher Michael Shoukry and another researcher who wished to be identified only as “Kraeh3n.” They noticed a bizarre pattern in Google Translate: When one typed “lorem ipsum” into Google Translate, the default results (with the system auto-detecting Latin as the language) returned a single word: “China.”

Capitalizing the first letter of each word changed the output to “NATO” — the acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Reversing the words in both lower- and uppercase produced “The Internet” and “The Company” (the “Company” with a capital “C” has long been a code word for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency). Repeating and rearranging the word pair with a mix of capitalization generated even stranger results. For example, “lorem ipsum ipsum ipsum Lorem” generated the phrase “China is very very sexy.”

Until very recently, the words on the left were transformed to the words on the right using Google Translate.

Until very recently, the words on the left were transformed to the words on the right using Google Translate.

Kraeh3n said she discovered the strange behavior while proofreading a document for a colleague, a document that had the standard lorem ipsum placeholder text. When she began typing “l-o-r..e..” and saw “China” as the result, she knew something was strange.

“I saw words like Internet, China, government, police, and freedom and was curious as to how this was happening,” Kraeh3n said. “I immediately contacted Michael Shoukry and we began looking into it further.”

And so the duo started testing the limits of these two words using a mix of capitalization and repetition. Below is just one of many pages of screenshots taken from their results:

ipsumlorem

The researchers wondered: What was going on here? Has someone outside of Google figured out how to map certain words to different meanings in Google Translate? Was it a secret or covert communications channel? Perhaps a form of communication meant to bypass the censorship erected by the Chinese government with the Great Firewall of China? Or was this all just some coincidental glitch in the Matrix?

For his part, Shoukry checked in with contacts in the U.S. intelligence industry, quietly inquiring if divulging his findings might in any way jeopardize important secrets. Weeks went by and his sources heard no objection. One thing was for sure, the results were subtly changing from day to day, and it wasn’t clear how long these two common but obscure words would continue to produce the same results.

“While Google translate may be incorrect in the translations of these words, it’s puzzling why these words would be translated to things such as ‘China,’ ‘NATO,’ and ‘The Free Internet,’” Shoukry said. “Could this be a glitch? Is this intentional? Is this a way for people to communicate? What is it?”

When I met Shoukry at the Black Hat security convention in Las Vegas earlier this month, he’d already alerted Google to his findings. Clearly, it was time for some intense testing, and the clock was already ticking: I was convinced (and unfortunately, correct) that much of it would disappear at any moment.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF LOREM IPSUM

Cicero.

Cicero.

Search the Internet for the phrase “lorem ipsum,” and the results reveal why this strange phrase has such a core connection to the lexicon of the Web. Its origins in modernity are murky, but according to multiple sites that have attempted to chronicle the history of this word pair, “lorem ipsum” was taken from a scrambled and altered section of “De finibus bonorum et malorum,” (translated: “Of Good and Evil,”) a 1st-Century B.C. Latin text by the great orator Cicero.

According to Cecil Adams, curator of the Internet trivia site The Straight Dope, the text from that Cicero work was available for many years on adhesive sheets in different sizes and typefaces from a company called Letraset.

“In pre-desktop-publishing days, a designer would cut the stuff out with an X-acto knife and stick it on the page,” Adams wrote. “When computers came along, Aldus included lorem ipsum in its PageMaker publishing software, and you now see it wherever designers are at work, including all over the Web.”

This pair of words is so common that many Web content management systems deploy it as default text. Case in point: Lorem Ipsum even shows up on healthcare.gov. According to a story published Aug. 15 in the Daily Mail, more than a dozen apparently dormant healthcare.gov pages carry the dummy text. (Click here if you skipped ahead to this section).

LOREMipsumhealthcare

FURTHER TESTING

Things began to get even more interesting when the researchers started adding other words from the Cicero text from which the “lorem ipsum” bit was taken, including: “Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit . . .”  (“There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain …”).

Adding “dolor” and “sit” and “consectetur,” for example, produced even more bizarre results. Translating “consectetur Sit Sit Dolor” from Latin to English produces “Russia May Be Suffering.” “sit sit dolor dolor” translates to “He is a smart consumer.” An example of these sample translations is below:

ipsum

Latin is often dismissed as a “dead” language, and whether or not that is fair or true it seems pretty clear that there should not be Latin words for “cell phone,” “Internet” and other mainstays of modern life in the 21st Century. However, this incongruity helps to shed light on one possible explanation for such odd translations: Google Translate simply doesn’t have enough Latin texts available to have thoroughly learned the language.

In an introductory video titled Inside Google Translate, Google explains how the translation engine works, the sources of the engine’s intelligence, and its limitations. According to Google, its Translate service works “by analyzing millions and millions of documents that have already been translated by human translators.” The video continues:

“These translated texts come from books, organizations like the United Nations, and Web sites from all around the world. Our computers scan these texts looking for statistically significant patterns. That is to say, patterns between the translation and the original text that are unlikely to occur by chance. Once the computer finds a pattern, you can use this pattern to translate similar texts in the future. When you repeat this process billions of times, you end up with billions of patterns, and one very smart computer program.”

Here’s the rub:

“For some languages, however, we have fewer translated documents available, and therefore fewer patterns that our software has detected. This is why our translation quality will vary by language and language pair.”

Still, this doesn’t quite explain why Google Translate would include so many references specific to China, the Internet, telecommunications, companies, departments and other odd couplings in translating Latin to English.

In any case, we may never know the real explanation. Just before midnight, Aug. 16, Google Translate abruptly stopped translating the word “lorem” into anything but “lorem” from Latin to English. Google Translate still produces amusing and peculiar results when translating Latin to English in general.

A spokesman for Google said the change was made to fix a bug with the Translate algorithm (aligning ‘lorem ipsum’ Latin boilerplate with unrelated English text) rather than a security vulnerability.

Kraeh3n said she’s convinced that the lorem ipsum phenomenon is not an accident or chance occurrence.

“Translate [is] designed to be able to evolve and to learn from crowd-sourced input to reflect adaptations in language use over time,” Kraeh3n said. “Someone out there learned to game that ability and use an obscure piece of text no one in their right mind would ever type in to create totally random alternate meanings that could, potentially, be used to transmit messages covertly.”

Meanwhile, Shoukry says he plans to continue his testing for new language patterns that may be hidden in Google Translate.

“The cleverness of hiding something in plain sight has been around for many years,” he said. “However, this is exceptionally brilliant because these templates are so widely used that people are desensitized to them, and because this text is so widely distributed that no one bothers to question why, how and where it might have come from.”

TorrentFreak: Ferguson Attacks And Web Censorship Are Parts Of Same Story

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Rick Falkvinge. Original post: at TorrentFreak

The governments around the world are reacting the exact same way today as they did when the printing press arrived 500 years ago. There isn’t really anything new under the sun.

Then, as now, they were used to telling people what was true and what wasn’t, telling whatever story that fit whatever it was they wanted to do.

“Cannabis is dangerous. Tobacco is not harmful at all. Oh, and there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

When police troops in Ferguson launched tear gas grenades at a television team from Al-Jazeera, that is a symptom of the exact same thing as web censorship: governments are losing control of the story. Governments can no longer invent whatever truth that fits what they want to happen. Police firing at press is actually something very rare – even in the worst of war zones, it’s a rare occurrence that press teams are deliberately targeted, and yet, this was precisely what happened in Ferguson, USA.

The reason is the exact same as for web censorship and mass surveillance:

The governments and the people working for them are attacking anybody who exposes what they do, using whatever power they have to do so.

Tear gas grenades against a TV crew may have been both overviolent and counterproductive, but it’s still the same thing. It’s exactly what happened when the printing press arrived, and the penalties for using a printing press – thereby circumventing the truthtellers of that time – gradually increased to the death penalty (France, 1535).

Not even the death penalty worked to deter people from using the printing press to tell their version of events to the world, which more often than not contradicted the official version. The cat was out of the bag. As it is now. Governments and police still don’t understand that everybody is a broadcaster – attacking a TV crew was futile in the first place.

During the initial, hopeful months of the Arab Spring, a lot of photos circulated of young people gathering for protests. What was interesting about the photos were that they were taken with mobile phones, but also that they showed a lot of other people at the protest taking photos of the same crowd at the same time with their own mobile phone. Thus, the photos of the ongoing revolution contained instructions in themselves for how to perpetuate the revolution – take pictures of crowds defying the edicts and dictums.

This is why it’s so puzzling that the police even bother to give special treatment to people from television stations and newspapers. Strictly speaking, they’re not necessary to get the story out anymore, even if they still have some follower advantage for the most part.

“Police are being transformed from protecting the public into protecting government from the public”, as @directorblue just tweeted. That could be said about pretty much anything concerning the net, too — from oppressive applications of copyright monopoly law to strangling net innovations or giving telcos monopolies that prevent the net’s utility.

The attacks on the public by police troops in Ferguson, attacks from the copyright industry against those who want a free net, and web censorship by governments are all different sides of the same story. And all of this has happened before. Last time this happened, it took 200 years of civil war to settle the dust and agree that the printing press may have been a nice invention after all.

Can we please not repeat that mistake?

About The Author

Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy.

Book Falkvinge as speaker?

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TorrentFreak: Immunicity Resurrected by Anti-Censorship Supporters

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

censorshipWhen Immunicity launched last year TorrentFreak spoke with the owner, who told us he created the service as a protest against increasing censorship efforts in the UK.

“We are angered by the censorship that is happening in the UK and in other countries across the globe, so we got our thinking caps on and decided to do something about it,” Immunicity’s operator said.

The site’s core motivation came from the famous John Gilmore quote that was prominently placed on the site’s homepage. “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” And that was exactly what the service offered.

Those who set up their browser to work with Immunicity would gain access to blocked sites, by running their traffic through its proxy server. In just a few clicks the service was able to unblock any censored site, hassle free.

For more than a year Immunicity helped tens of thousands of people to unblock censored websites, but that was brought to an end last week. Tipped off by copyright holders, City of London Police labeled Immunicity a criminal operation and arrested its 20-year old owner.

The idea behind the police action was to send a deterrent message and make it harder for the public to access blocked sites. However, it appears to have resulted in just the opposite.

Just days after the original Immunicity site was taken offline at least two clones have appeared. Both Immunicity.co.uk and Immun.es offer the same unblocking functionality, completely free of charge.

The two new services are a direct result of the Immunicity takedown, once again showing that censorship enforcement may lead to counterproductive results. TorrentFreak spoke with the operator of Immum.es who, considering recent events, has taken the necessary precautions to stay out of police sight.

“When purchasing the domain and server I made steps to protect myself from potential adversaries,” the operator says.

Immun.es uses a hosting service that allows proxies and has unmetered bandwidth, which should guarantee smooth sailing in the short run. The operator informs us that the backend is coded in node.js, which he may release as open source later.

The end result is that the actions of City of London Police have made matters worse, from their own perspective. Instead of one Immunicity, there are now two, and possible many more to come in the future.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Blocking Pirate Bay is Not Censorship, IFPI Chief Says

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

censorshipEarlier this year a landmark ruling from the European Court of Justice confirmed that ISPs can be forced to block “infringing” websites, providing it’s done in a proportionate manner.

The ruling was prompted by a movie distributor case originating in Austria, so it comes as no surprise that local record companies are now seeking to make the most of it.

Earlier this week the local branch of the IFPI wrote to local ISPs with a demands that they block The Pirate Bay, isoHunt, 1337x and H33t within days. While the development was welcomed by many pro-copyright entities, among many in the Internet community the feeling persists that site blocking amounts to censorship.

Now, IFPI Austria CEO Franz Medwenitsch has countered with his opinion, explaining that the term “Internet blocking” is both misleading and controversial, and that web blockades cannot be considered a restriction of free speech.

“Barring is misleading and downright polemical. No one wants to deny access to the Internet!” the IFPI chief explains.

“[Our action is] therefore isolated to prevent access to specific websites that offer illegal content and massively engage in copyright infringement. This is a legitimate means of legal protection, the Austrian Supreme Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union have justified it.”

In his FutureZone piece, Medwenitsch discusses critics’ perception that blocking websites interferes with fundamental rights such as freedom of information.

“Blocking access to illegal sites is explicitly compatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights,” he contends, adding that comments to the contrary cannot be equated with the those shared by “the people of Europe.”

“According to a GfK survey last year, 83 percent of those surveyed in Austria alone – equivalent to more than six million people – held the opinion that artists have a right to their intellectual property and to be paid for the use of their works,” Medwenitsch notes.

But just as it’s clear that the blocking of websites has many opponents on fundamental rights grounds, the notion that blockades amount to censorship is an even more thorny issue. Medwenitsch does not share those feelings.

“Censorship is the suppression of free speech and everyone who lives in a democratic society categorically rejects censorship,” the IFPI chief says.

“But what has freedom of expression got to do with generating advertising revenues by illegally offering tens of thousands of movies and music recordings on the Internet with disregard for creators and artists? And yet the freedom of the author to determine the use of their works themselves is trampled!”

Medwenitsch says that individual freedoms have their limits and must be brought to an end when they begin to limit the freedoms of others. In other words, people can have free access to sites while those operating them aren’t infringing on the rights of the recording industry.

Finally, Medwenitsch criticizes those who accuse the industry of concentrating on blocking sites like The Pirate Bay while failing to adapt their business models. The industry has indeed adapted, the IFPI chief insists, but unauthorized services inhibit growth and need to be dealt with.

“The fact is the digital music services on the Internet today carry 37 million songs. There are 230 digital platforms in Europe – in Austria there are 40 – and the European user numbers have already reached 100 million,” he explains.

“The development of the digital market will take a long time due to the inhibiting factors of illegal offerings. Therefore, on the one hand we will investment in new platforms, and on the other hand, take measures against illegal sites.”

It remains unclear whether site blocking is having any effect on the availability of infringing content or the numbers of people consuming it. Safe to say, no group has yet put their head above the parapet and presented sales figures to clearly show that is the case.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: UK Police Take Down Proxy Service Over Piracy Concerns

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

cityoflondonpoliceSince last year City of London Police have been working together with copyright holders to topple sites that provide or link to pirated content.

The police started by sending warning letters to site owners, asking them to go legit or shut down. Late last year this was followed by a campaign targeted at domain registrars, asking them to suspend the domain names of several “illegal” sites.

Yesterday police started out another round of anti-piracy actions targeted at sites that offer access to pirated content.

Among the new targets is Immunicity, a general proxy server that was set up as a censorship circumvention tool.

The police action against Immunicity is concerning as the service merely allows users to route their traffic through a proxy network, much like other anonimizing services such as TOR and VPNs do. The service itself doesn’t host or link to infringing content.

In addition in Immunicity the Pirate Bay proxy Piratereverse.info and KickassTorrents proxies Kickassunblock.info and Katunblock.com were taken down as well. The same happened with movie2kproxy.com, h33tunblock.info and several other sites. The DNS entries of the domains have all been replaced and now point at a PIPCU IP-address which displays a warning banner.

PIPCU-filecrop

PIPCU has not yet confirmed the nature of the takedowns but at the time of writing the most likely explanation is that the U.S. based registrar suspended the sites in question.

Based on letters that were sent out to registrars previously, the police accuse proxy services and sites of running a criminal operation. While no court order has been obtained, PIPCU claims to have launched an investigation into the sites and has asked the domain registrar to cooperate.

“The owners of the aforementioned domains are suspected to be involved in the criminal distribution of copyrighted material either directly or indirectly and are liable to prosecution under UK law for the following offences: Conspiracy to Defraud, Offences under the Fraud Act 2006, Copyright, Design & Patents Act 1988,” PIPCU states.

“Should a conviction be brought for the above offences, UK courts may impose sentences of imprisonment and/or fines. PIPCU has criminal and civil powers in UK law to seize money, belongings and any property in connection with these offences.”

It’s important to note that with the previous requests the City of London Police did not present a court order or other warrant. However, it turns out that police letterhead is sometimes enough to throw due process concerns overboard.

TorrentFreak has asked PIPCU for a comment on the most recent actions, but we have yet to hear back.

Update: TorrentFreak has received new information suggesting that PIPCU managed to take control of the domains without the involvement of eNom. We will present more details when we are allowed to share it in public.

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TorrentFreak: Piracy Fight Needs Content Available at a Fair Price, Minister Says

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pirate-runningFor close to a decade Australia has been struggling with what the content industries see as a serious online piracy problem but today the country seems closer than ever to a legislative tipping point.

A paper leaked last week revealed that the government is looking towards a range of piracy mitigation measures, from holding ISPs more responsible for their users’ actions to the ISP-level blocking of so-called ‘pirate’ sites.

To coincide with the paper’s official release yesterday, the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA), the trade body representing subscription
television platforms, published (PDF) the results of a survey in which 60% of respondents agreed that people who facilitate piracy should face prosecution.

Whether the respondents understood that those “facilitators” include those who download TV shows and movies using BitTorrent isn’t clear, but the reality on the ground is that a large section of the Australian public has grown weary of being treated as second class consumers. Content not only arrives months adrift on a slow boat from the United States, but also at vastly elevated rates that defy reasonable explanation. This has led many to download TV shows instead, something which has led into today’s debate.

But while some of the Government’s proposals are causing unease due to a perceived reliance on a Big Media “wishlist”, there are signs that ministers understand that the piracy problem doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

In an interview with ABC’s Chris Uhlmann, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnball was put on the spot over what some view as the exploitation of Australian consumers by international entertainment companies. So why do Aussies pay 40% more than those in the US to download movies from iTunes?

“That is, that is a very powerful argument,” Turnball conceded.

“If I can just say so, there is an obligation on the content owners, if their concerns are to be taken seriously and they are by government, and if governments are to take action to help them prevent piracy, then they’ve got to play their part which is to make their content available universally and affordably.”

The argument that content has to be made widely available at a fair price before progress can be made cannot be understated and it will be extremely interesting to see whether the Minister’s acknowledgment of the problem will become a sticking point in negotiations as potential legislation draws closer.

But in the meantime, why are content producers “ripping off” Aussies with inflated prices? Profit, apparently.

“Well, I assume it’s because they feel they can make money out of it,” Turnball said.

Of course, commercial decisions like this get made every day, but as Uhlmann pointed out to the Minister, for Internet content the justification isn’t strong – from a technical standpoint it doesn’t cost any more to make content available for download in Australia than in the United States.

The entertainment companies’ “right” to charge whatever they like is their business, Turnball reiterated, but that approach may come at a price.

“If you want to discourage piracy, the best thing you can do, and the music industry is a very good example of this, the way they’ve responded, the best thing you can do is to make your content available globally, universally and affordably. In other words, you just keep on reducing and reducing and reducing the incentive for people to do the wrong thing,” he said.

Turnball also noted that following the publication of the discussion paper, content owners are going to have to justify why they are charging Australians more than overseas counterparts. That might prove a very interesting discussion.

Finally, the government is now inviting submissions from the public on the issue of online copyright infringement. There is no specific mention of offering content widely at a fair price, however, something which has drawn the ire of the Pirate Party.

“Instead of addressing the reality that Australians are paying more money for less content than other countries, the Discussion Paper is biased towards turning Internet service providers into ‘Internet police’ and censorship in the form of website blocking, neither of which have proven effective overseas,” Pirate Party President-elect Brendan Molloy said in a statement.

Those interested have until September 1 to make their opinions heard – question 9 might prove an opportunity to talk about a fair deal for Australians.

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TorrentFreak: Torrent Sites Stay Blocked Long After World Cup Ends

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

stopstopWhile news of site blockades breaks every month (oftentimes more frequently) reports that sites have been unblocked are far less regular events.

In fact, it’s becoming apparent that aside from isolated instances, once websites get put on national blocklists in the UK or Italy, for example, it is unlikely that they will become readily available again.

Since no one in power is lobbying for blocked sites to be removed from censorship filters, sites such as The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents will probably remain blocked indefinitely. There are no immediately obvious time-out events attached to these injunctions and there’s certainly no one prepared to go to court to argue over the details.

Such sunset clauses are important though, as India is finding out.

Back in July a TV network owned by Sony went to court in India to have hundreds of sites blocked at the ISP level after they allegedly made World Cup matches available online without permission.

The 472 sites requested was reduced to 219 after an appeal by ISPs, but the injunction was still one of the broadest to date anywhere in the world. Whether it reduced piracy or placed money in Sony’s back pocket is anyone’s guess, but now – long after the World Cup ended – the blockades are still in place.

Medianama says it has carried out tests and discovered that The Pirate Bay, Mega.co.nz, TorrentHound, LimeTorrents and TorrentFunk among dozens of others are still inaccessible through local ISPs.

The news outlet also contacted Multi Screen Media, the Sony company behind the blocks, asking whether the company had asked for the blocks to be removed and why Dotcom’s Mega was targeted. The company did not respond.

While some will argue that having sites blocked is a legitimate response to online piracy, it is difficult to maintain that stance long after any infringements cited in court cases have ended. That said, ex parte hearings are by their nature one-side, so it’s unlikely anyone will be looking out for the rights of their rivals anytime soon.

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TorrentFreak: Mail.ru Blasts Italy For Site Blocking Without Transparency

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

stop-blockedEvery few weeks fresh sites are blocked in Italy on copyright grounds, following either court proceedings or hearings as part of the new AGCOM mechanism.

Many of the big ‘pirate’ sites – The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents, for example – have been blocked for years but now the country seems intent on blacking out sites that are definitely not in the piracy business.

As reported here on Saturday, last week a judge sitting in the Court of Rome ordered local ISPs to block a total of 24 websites including Kim Dotcom’s Mega.co.nz and Russia’s largest email provider, Mail.ru.

The size and importance of Mail.ru in its home country and further afield is noteworthy. It’s the fifth most-visited domain in Russia behind only Yandex, Google and social networking giant vKontakte, of which it owns 51.99%. It’s the 39th busiest site worldwide according to Alexa, servicing in excess of 27 million users per day.

In a statement this morning Mail.ru said it has still not been able to establish the specifics that lead to it being blocked in Italy. Eyemoon Pictures, the complainant in the case, made no attempt to discuss any issues with Mail.ru before heading off to court, the email giant said.

“[Eyemoon Pictures] made no attempt to resolve the situation pretrial,” the company said in a statement.

“No notification of illegal content or requirements to remove copies of [Eyemoon's] films has been addressed to Mail.Ru Group from law enforcement agencies and Italy.”

The company only realized there was a problem when users began complaining of accessibility issues on July 17.

“We learned of the court’s decision from our users, as well as publications in the public domain,” Mail.ru added.

Criticizing the effects of the blockade on its userbase, this morning Mail.ru hit out at Italy for taking action without due consideration.

“We believe that this situation is detrimental to the interests of our users, and clearly illustrates the fact that some national laws in this area does not consider the specifics of the Internet companies and do not provide a clear, transparent process for resolving such conflicts,” the company said.

“There needs to be an active dialogue on the development of international pre-trial procedures for resolving disputes between copyright holders and Internet service providers. Their introduction will improve the position of all parties, including users worldwide,” Mail.ru concludes.

At the time of writing, Mail.ru is still inaccessible in Italy with the company having made no progress towards having the censorship lifted.

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TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Traffic Doubles Despite ISP Blockades

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

tpb-logoThe Pirate Bay is without doubt one of the most censored websites on the Internet.

Courts all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site and this list continues to expand.

Denmark was one of the first countries to block The Pirate Bay, but the biggest impact came in 2012 when major ISPs in the UK and the Netherlands were ordered to deny their users access to the site.

The entertainment industries have characterized these blockades as a major victory and claim they’re an efficient tool to deter piracy. The question that has thus far remained unanswered, however, is how Pirate Bay’s traffic numbers are being affected. Is the site on the verge of collapsing?

As it turns out, The Pirate Bay hasn’t stopped growing at all. On the contrary, The Pirate Bay informs TorrentFreak that visitor numbers have doubled since 2011.

The graph below shows the growth in unique visitors and pageviews over the past three years. The Pirate Bay chose not to share actual visitor numbers, but monthly pageviews are believed to run into the hundreds of millions.

Pirate Bay traffic
tpbblockedtraffic

These numbers reveal that the torrent site is still doing quite well, but that doesn’t mean that the blockades are not working. After all, the additional traffic could simply come from other countries.

A better indication for the effectiveness of the blockades are the number of visitors that access the site through proxies. The Pirate Bay told TorrentFreak that roughly 9% of all visitors use proxies. This percentage doesn’t include sites that cache pages.

In other words, a significant percentage of users who don’t have direct access to the site are bypassing court-ordered blockades though proxies.

Interestingly, the United States is by far the biggest traffic source for the notorious torrent site. This is somewhat ironic, as American record labels and movie studios are the driving force behind the blockades in other countries.

All in all it is safe to conclude that censorship is not the silver bullet to stop The Pirate Bay. While it certainly has some impact, there are still millions of people who simply route around the blockades and continue downloading as usual.

Photo

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TorrentFreak: Warner Bros. Censorship of Greenpeace LEGO Video Backfires (Updated)

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

lego-sadEarlier this month Greenpeace released a new campaign in which it targets LEGO for promoting Shell on its toys.

The campaign video titled “Everything is NOT Awesome” is inspired by the popular “Everything is Awesome” song, a callback to the LEGO movie. The video shows LEGO figures drowning in oil with a cover of the song playing in the background.

Over the past several days more than three million people have watched the video on YouTube. However, a few hours ago the video suddenly became unavailable due to a copyright claim by Warner Bros.

Censored
greenpeace-lego

TorrentFreak contacted Greenpeace who informed us that the email YouTube sent doesn’t clarify on what grounds the video was taken down. The group assumes that the use of the song is the culprit, but says it won’t let this case go without a fight.

“Our film was designed as a creative way of letting people know about the threat to the Arctic from Shell and the role LEGO has in the story. It seems to have struck a nerve with some important corporate bigwigs, but this crude attempt to silence dissent won’t work,” Greenpeace’s Ian Duff says.

Greenpeace will appeal the takedown request, a process that can take up to 10 days to complete. In the meantime the group has uploaded the video to Vimeo, along with a call to its millions of social media followers and mailing list subscribers to re-upload it elsewhere.

“We fully intend to challenge this claim, and we’re asking supporters to upload the video wherever they can,” Duff says.

In the appeal Greenpeace will argue that the video uses satire and parody and that it is in the public interest. The video should therefore be protected under the right to free speech.

This is not the first time that Greenpeace has had one of its campaign videos removed from YouTube. Previously a video featuring several Star Wars characters was taken down. The video was later reinstated after Greenpeace successfully appealed the takedown request.

Warner Bros’ motivation for the takedown remains unclear. It seems unlikely that it is an automated request since there are still more than 700 video on YouTube that use the same ‘Everything is Awesome’ song.

Whatever the reason may be, the takedown attempt will clearly backfire.

During the days to come the rift between Greenpeace and Warner Bros. will be widely covered by the media while hundreds of copies of the video will be uploaded and shared.

The censored campaign video

Update: The video is back online.

“18 hours later we’ve seen that the video has been re-instated. WB have withdrawn their complaint. It seems who ever wanted it censored has spotted the error in their ways,” Duff informs TorrentFreak.

Update 2: Warner Bros. now removed the video from Vimeo….

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: CashU Payment Method Starts Banning VPN Services

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

cashuPayment services are increasingly taking action against VPN providers, and as of today CashU can be added to the list.

CashU is a popular payment service in the Middle East and North Africa, where it’s the leading alternative to credit cards. Thousands of merchants accept CashU payments including many VPN providers who are quite popular in the region.

As of recently, however, CashU has stopped connecting new VPN providers to its payment service. The company sees it as a problem that VPN services allow users to browse the Internet anonymously and uncensored, as this could potentially be abused.

VPN provider TorGuard was informed about the new policy after their application was turned down.

“Please note that since VPN Services can support anonymity when being misused, CASHU, as a financial institution, is prohibited from supporting such services as is it going through a transitional stage. Therefore, kindly note that we cannot accept your merchant account registration,” A CashU representative wrote.

The response from CashU suggests that an external party is prohibiting the company from accepting VPN services. It’s unclear who is behind this but TorGuard CEO Ben Van Pelt believes it may be the result of censorship forces in the region.

“Privacy online is a basic human right and fundamental building block of any free, democratic society. Unfortunately, CashU’s Middle Eastern underwriting banks are not located in such a place. Censorship laws enforced by the United Arab Emirate’s Telecom Regulatory Authority borderline on draconian as they decide what content is or is not acceptable,” Van Pelt tells TorrentFreak.

“It seems that this new anti VPN ‘transitional stage’ for CashU is part of a larger issue of increased government censorship and regulation in the region,” he adds.

It’s worth nothing that CashU still accepts payments for VPN providers who have signed up previously. It will be interesting to see whether these merchants can keep their accounts or if they will be disconnected in the future.

For TorGuard this isn’t the only payment method they’re having problems with. The company was also rejected by Alipay, a Chinese based payment solution that is popular among VPN users in Asia. TorGuard is still waiting for an official reply as to why this application was turned down.

In recent years it has become harder and harder for VPN services to get a wide range of payment options. Previously Paysafecard stopped accepting anonymity services and Visa, MasterCard and Paypal have also caused trouble for some anonymity providers.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: UK “Porn Filter” Triggers Widespread Internet Censorship

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

stop-blockedInternet filters are now on the political agenda in many countries around the world. While China and Iran are frontrunners for political censorship, the UK is leading the way when it comes to porn and other content deemed unsuitable for children.

In addition to the mobile restrictions that have been in place for years already, last summer Prime Minister David Cameron announced a default filter for all Internet connections. This means that UK Internet subscribers are now required to opt-in if they want to view ‘adult’ content online.

These default filters have led to many instances in which perfectly legitimate sites can no longer be accessed. This very website, for example, was inaccessible on Sky Broadband after it was categorized as a “file-sharing” site. The false positive was eventually corrected after the BBC started asking questions, but that didn’t solve the underlying problem.

In an attempt to make it easier to spot overblocking the Open Rights Group (ORG) has today launched a new site. The embedded tool runs probes on all the major broadband and mobile filters of UK ISPs, and allows people to check which sites are blocked and where.

The first results are quite scary. A review of the 100,000 most-popular sites on the Internet reveals that 20% are blocked by at least one of the filtering systems.

“We’ve been surprised to find the default filtering settings are blocking around a fifth of the Alexa top 100k websites. That’s a lot more than porn, which accounts for around 4% of that list,” ORG’s Executive Director Jim Killock informs TorrentFreak.

The list of blocked domains includes many legitimate sites that aren’t necessarily harmful to children. TalkTalk file-sharing filter, for example, blocks websites including bittorrent.com and utorrent.com. TorrentFreak also appears to be listed in this category and is blocked as well.

Linuxtracker, which offers free downloads of perfectly legitimate software, is blocked by Sky, TalkTalk and Three’s filters, while the blocked.org.uk tool itself is off-limits on BT, EE and Virgin Media.

Perhaps even worse, the BT and TalkTalk filters also categorize social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter as potentially dangerous to children, and the same applies to Reddit. All these sites are inaccessible if the social networking category of the Kids Safe filter is on.

Reddit is blocked as well
blocked-filter

With the new tool ORG hopes to provide more insight into what these filters do and how many sites they block. The ISPs themselves have thus far failed to reveal the scope of their filters.

“People need to know what filters are, and what they block. They need to know they are inaccurate, and also disrupt people’s businesses and speech,” Killock tells TF.

“If people feel they need them, that is their right, but they should at least know they’re very flawed technology that won’t protect them very much, but will also be likely to cause them problems. In short, they are a bit rubbish,” he adds.

The current results of the tool are based on various filtering levels. This means that the list of blocked sites will be even longer when the strongest settings are used.

It’s worth noting that all ISPs allow account holders to turn filters off or allow certain sites to be unblocked. However, many people may not even be aware that this option exists, or won’t want to unblock porn just to get access to file-sharing software if these are lumped together.

The results of ORG’s new tool show that what started as a “porn filter” has turned into something much bigger. Under the guise of “protecting the children” tens of thousands of sites are now caught up in overbroad filters, which is a worrying development to say the least.

Update: TalkTalk clarified that the file-sharing (with TorrentFreak included) and social networking filters are not enabled by default on their system.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: UK ISPs Quietly Block More Torrent Site Proxies

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

stop-blockedFollowing a series of High Court orders, six UK ISPs are required to block subscriber access to several of the world’s largest torrent sites.

The blocks are somewhat effective, at least in preventing subscribers from accessing the domains directly. However, that doesn’t mean that the sites are completely inaccessible.

With every site that is added to the blocklist several reverse proxies are launched. These proxy sites give people access to the blocked sites and effectively bypass the restrictions put in place by the court.

The copyright holders who demanded the blockades are well aware of these workarounds and continue to ask ISPs to expand their blocking efforts.

This weekend the ISPs quietly added several torrent site proxies to their blocklists. TorrentFreak was able to confirm that Virgin Media and Sky are now blocking access to YTS proxy ytsre.come.in as well as the EZTV equivalent on come.in.

Interestingly, the other torrent site proxies, including ones for the Pirate Bay and Kickass, are still accessible.

YTS proxy blocked
sky-new-block

Whether these measures will be effective has yet to be seen. The Come.in homepage is still accessible and the team behind the site has already replaced the blocked domains with new ones.

“We just set up new proxies and will be watching for any upcoming measures from ISPs,” Come.in’s Nick tells TorrentFreak.

“We monitor such issues on a regular basis. Most of the time we can create new proxies only after current ones are blocked. Come.in visitors should know that we always publish fresh proxy addresses on our homepage,” he adds.

And so the whack-a-mole continues, with copyright holders adding new domains to the blocklists, and site owners hopping from domain to domain.

As with previous additions the newly blocked domains are covered by the High Court order, which provides the movie studios with the option to continually update the list of infringing domains. A Virgin Media spokesperson clarified that no additions are made by the ISP itself.

“We are only blocking those sites we are required to block by the court order,” we were told. “As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media supports the clear, legal framework put in place to protect against copyright infringement and we continue to comply with court orders specifically addressed to the company.”

While the recent additions are permitted under the High Court order, these changes are being made in secret without any form of public oversight, which means that we don’t know precisely how many proxies were added. The full list of blocked domains also remains unknown.

TorrentFreak reached out to both copyright holders and ISPs, but thus far they have refused to make the full scope of their blocking efforts public. It’s unlikely that this will change in the near future.

The full list of domains (that we know of) currently blocked in the UK is as follows:

Main sites: Megashare, Viooz, Watch32, Zmovie, Solarmovie, Tubeplus, Primewire, Vodly, Watchfreemovies, Project-Free TV, Yify-Torrents, 1337x, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Monova, Torrentcrazy, Torrentdownloads, Torrentreactor, Torrentz, Ambp3, Beemp3, Bomb-mp3, Eemp3world, Filecrop, Filestube, Mp3juices, Mp3lemon, Mp3raid, Mp3skull, Newalbumreleases, Rapidlibrary, EZTV, FirstRowSports, Download4all, Movie2K, KickAssTorrents, Fenopy, H33T and The Pirate Bay.

Proxies: Ytsre.come.in, Eztv.come.in, Fp.kleisauke.nl, Fenopy.5gg.biz, H33tunblock.info, H33t.uk.to, H33tproxy.co, H33tmirror.co, Katunblock.com, Katproxy.com, Kat.dashitz.com, Kat.kleisauke.nl, Katmirror.com, Kat.5gg.biz, Kickassunblock.info, Kickassproxy.info, Pirateproxy.net, Proxybay.net, Malaysiabay.org, Piratereverse.info, Pirateproxy.net, Campeche.zapto.org, Tpb.rubenstadman.com, Piratebay.interflective.com, Dashitz.com, Tpb.evrl.com

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Foul!!! Sony Orders Google to Censor The World Cup

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

Soccer fever has been spreading across the globe this week, with dozens of millions tuning in to watch the World Cup via regular TV and an abundance of online services.

While England basked in its somewhat traditional World Cup disappointment Thursday, viewing records were being broken, but amazingly while Brazil sizzles, some want to pour cold water on the excitement.

Allow us to introduce MarkScan, a self-described “consulting boutique dedicated to your IP requirements”. The anti-piracy company is based in India and boasts a wide range of clients including the BBC, HBO, Nokia, and other prestigious brands.

Just recently MarkScan has been doing some work for Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd, a Sony Entertainment Television subsidiary in India. In June, Multi Screen Media launched LIV Sports, a digital sports entertainment site that was chosen by FIFA to be the official mobile and Internet broadcaster for the 2014 World Cup.

This week, MarkScan set off on an inevitable DMCA takedown spree to protect its clients’ and FIFA’s rights. What a disaster it’s been.

Much like FIFA, MarkScan began by sending its first batch of copyright complaints to Google several days before a ball had even been kicked. The notice, which covered 46 domains allegedly streaming the World Cup, was 100% rejected by Google.

One of the complaints targeted a great article by GigaOM which helpfully offered “Where to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup live online, and how to stream it without cable.” The article listed all legal sources, including ESPN, across several countries.

Several subsequent takedown notices targeting more than 700 other URLs saw between 90% and 100% of URLs rejected by Google. One of them was nothing short of a disaster.

Markscan1

livsportsThe notice, sent on behalf of Sony’s Liv Sports via Multi Screen Media, targeted 610 URLs, all of which were rejected by Google. All were claimed to be infringing on Liv Sports’ and FIFA’s rights, yet what the notice actually did was target some of the web’s most respectable news sites and resources.

In the article titled “World Cup 2014: How to watch across BBC TV, radio and online”, the BBC attempted to inform its millions of readers how to legitimately access the World Cup. However, as can be seen from the image below, MarkScan had other ideas.

markscan2

Sadly, this attempted takedown of a purely informational and entirely legal article wasn’t the only casualty of this notice.

An article published by Variety informing its readership that ESPN would be streaming all 64 matches was deemed to be copyright-infringing too, as was a similar attempt by Canada’s CBC.ca.

Other catastrophes would be amusing if they weren’t so awful, such as the attempt to censor this article on Bleacher Report which advised how to watch Uruguay versus Germany – a match from FIFA World Cup 2010 four years ago.

bleacher

Also targeted was this 2013 article from Hollywood Reporter which detailed plans by Sony (ironically) and FIFA to broadcast the World Cup 2014 in Ultra HD. FoxSports’ interactive World Cup Schedule was also marked as infringing. Both are shown below.

Markscan3

Even legitimate traditional broadcasters couldn’t get the word out unhindered. Communications company Cox wanted to let its residential customers know they could “Watch the World’s Biggest Soccer Games. Any Way You Want” but MarkScan told Google the page was illegal.

The whole notice, which can be read here, has many more examples than those listed above, including the attempted censorship of EA Sports’ Twitter account and FIFA’s very own site – for FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012. Brilliant.

But, in its own unique way, one takedown is more disappointing than most.

In a post dated June 9, before the World Cup had even begun, Symantec tried to inform its readers on how to avoid various World Cup related scams. We don’t need to tell you what happened to it.

TorrentFreak contacted MarkScan whose Internet Enforcement Team told us they take care to avoid mistakes.

“We want to assure you that we deploy technology, in addition to best efforts of our teams, to ensure that we do not impact legal content on yours, or any other website,” they explained.

We suspect someone could be seeing at least a yellow card, possibly worse, in the days to come.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: WordPress Demands $10,000 For DMCA Takedown Censorship

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

wordpressAutomattic, the company behind the popular WordPress blogging platform, has seen a rapid increase in DMCA takedown notices in recent years.

Most requests are legitimate, aimed at disabling access to copyright-infringing material. However, there are also many overbroad and abusive takedown notices which take up a lot of the company’s time and resources.

Last November, WordPress decided to take a stand against these fraudulent practices. The company teamed up with student journalist Oliver Hotham who had one of his articles censored by a false takedown notice.

Hotham wrote an article about “Straight Pride UK” which included a comment he received from the organization’s press officer Nick Steiner. The latter didn’t like the article Hotham wrote, and after publication Steiner sent WordPress a takedown notice claiming it was infringing on his copyrights.

Through a lawsuit filed in a California federal court, WordPress and Hotham now hope to be compensated for the damage this abuse caused them.

“The information in the press release that Hotham published on his blog did not infringe any copyright because Hotham had permission to publish it. It was a press release, which by its very nature conveys the intent to ‘release’ information to the ‘press’,” WordPress’ attorney explains to the court.

The company says that as an online service provider it faces overwhelming and crippling copyright liability if it fails to take down content. People such as Steiner abuse this weakness to censor critics or competitors, and they have to be stopped.

“Steiner’s fraudulent takedown notice forced WordPress to take down Hotham’s post under threat of losing the protection of the DMCA safe harbor,” WordPress argues.

“Steiner did not do this to protect any legitimate intellectual property interest, but in an attempt to censor Hotham’s lawful expression critical of Straight Pride UK. He forced WordPress to delete perfectly lawful content from its website.As a result, WordPress has suffered damage to its reputation,” the company adds.

Since Steiner failed to respond in court WordPress and Hotham have requested a default judgment. In a recent filing they demand a total of $10,000 in damages as well as $14,520 in attorneys’ fees.

If the court agrees with the request it will be mostly a symbolic win, and hopefully a signal to other copyright holders that false DMCA takedown requests are not without consequence.

During a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the DMCA takedown system earlier this year, Automattic General Counsel Paul Sieminski also stressed the importance of this issue to lawmakers,

“The system works so long as copyright owners use this power in good faith. But too often they don’t, and there should be clear legal consequences for those who choose to abuse the system,” Sieminski said.

In a few weeks we’ll know if the court agrees.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: MPAA’s Chris Dodd Praises Pirate Site Blockades

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

dodd-laughingThis week many key figures in the copyright protection and enforcement industries gathered for the International IP Enforcement Summit, organized by the UK Government.

One of the main topics of discussion was Internet piracy, and how to prevent people from accessing and sharing copyrighted works without permission.

Website blocking is one of the anti-piracy tools that was mentioned frequently . In recent years the UK has become a leader on this front, with the High Court ordering local ISPs to block access to dozens of popular file-sharing sites, including The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents.

MPAA chief Chris Dodd, who delivered a speech at the Summit, applauded the UK approach. The former U.S. Senator believes that these restrictions are helping to decrease the piracy problem.

“Here in the United Kingdom, the balanced and proportionate use of civil procedures has made tremendous progress in tackling infringing websites. To date, access to over 40 pirate sites focused on infringing copyright for commercial gain, have been blocked,” Dodd said.

According to Dodd these blockades have proven to be one of the most effective anti-piracy measures in the world, made possible by a provision in local copyright law.

“In particular, Section 97A of the Copyright Act allowing courts to issue injunctions against service providers who know their services are being utilized for infringing purposes, has been one of the most effective tools anywhere in the world,” Dodd says.

Despite the MPAA’s faith in website blockades, which is not shared by everyone, the movie group has never attempted to ask a U.S. court for a similar injunction. This is surprising since nearly all the sites that are blocked in the UK have far more users from the United States.

TorrentFreak asked the MPAA to explain this lack of action, but we have yet to hear back from them.

Previously we spoke to an insider who admitted that these type of ISP blockades are harder to get in place under United States law, which is one of the reasons why the copyright holders haven’t tried this yet.

The issue became even more complicated after the copyright holders’ push for SOPA failed early 2012. In part, SOPA was designed to give copyright holders a shortcut to request injunctions against pirate sites.

Putting the law aside, the MPAA has made it clear that it’s keen on maintaining good relationships with the Internet providers. ISPs and copyright holders are taking part in a voluntary agreement to “alert” pirates, which will undoubtedly be harmed if additional blocking demands appear on the table.

For now, it seems that the MPAA and other industry groups will continue to press for more voluntary deals in the U.S. Interestingly, Dodd specifically calls for a cooperation with search engines to indirectly block pirate sites, instead of asking for a more direct blockade from ISPs.

“If we convince these search engines to join our efforts to shut down illegal sites, it would be a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to protect creators,” he said.

Thus far Google and other search engines have refused to remove pirate sites from their search indexes. Also, one has to wonder how effective that would be. Thus far Google has removed more than two million pages from The Pirate Bay, but the site’s traffic continues to expand regardless.

But then again, even an ISP blockade is easy to circumvent, and perhaps not as effective as the MPAA claims.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Schneier on Security: Censorship in China

This post was syndicated from: Schneier on Security and was written by: schneier. Original post: at Schneier on Security

First-person experience of censorship in China.

[Медийно право] [Нели Огнянова]: Правото да бъдеш забравен – Google се готви за прилагане

This post was syndicated from: [Медийно право] [Нели Огнянова] and was written by: nellyo. Original post: at [Медийно право] [Нели Огнянова]

За прилагане на решението Google Spain се изисква компаниите да започнат изрично да извършват оценка на баланса между свободата на изразяване и правото на защита на личните данни и зачитане на личния живот.

Google оповести   (основи на) механизъм  за премахване на резултати от търсене, съответна на това решение. Г-жа Рединг, ЕК,   приветства стъпката - според нея  сега вече става ясно, че страховете за трудностите в практическата реализация са били необосновани.

Но трудности има. Index on Censorship посочва, че  частни организации ще арбитрират достъпа до публична информация и  напомня, че позицията на Съда се различава от заключението на Генералния адвокат.

Пейо Попов коментира  серия  важни въпроси в блога си -  Правото да бъдеш забравен, релизация и ефекти.

Какво е обоснована и пропроционална намеса в личния живот Съдът вече е обсъждал,  например в решенията Комисия/ Bavarian Lager или по повод публикуване на информация за бенефициерите по европейски програми – по съединени дела C‑92/09 и C‑93/09: правата по чл.7 и 8 от Хартата могат да бъдат ограничавани при определени условия:

[50]  член 52, параграф 1 от Хартата допуска налагането на ограничения при упражняването на права като прогласените в членове 7 и 8 от нея, ако тези ограничения са предвидени в закон, зачитат основното съдържание на посочените права и свободи и при спазване на принципа на пропорционалност са необходими и действително отговарят на признати от Съюза цели от общ интерес или на необходимостта да се защитят правата и свободите на други хора.

 Google са създали 7-членна комисия - имената са авторитетни и известни.

  • Bits | NYT  публикува коментар.
  • Също  PanGloss:  дали механизмът на Google напълно покрива обхвата на случаите, предвидени в директивата и решението.
  • Inforrm също с днешна дата: между кои точно права трябва да се извършва балансиране и правилен ли е прочитът на решението от страна на Google, още по темата

 

 

[Медийно право] [Нели Огнянова]: Правото да бъдеш забравен – Google се готви за прилагане

This post was syndicated from: [Медийно право] [Нели Огнянова] and was written by: nellyo. Original post: at [Медийно право] [Нели Огнянова]

За прилагане на решението Google Spain се изисква компаниите да започнат изрично да извършват оценка на баланса между свободата на изразяване и правото на защита на личните данни и зачитане на личния живот.

Google оповести   (основи на) механизъм  за премахване на резултати от търсене, съответна на това решение. Г-жа Рединг, ЕК,   приветства стъпката - според нея  сега вече става ясно, че страховете за трудностите в практическата реализация са били необосновани.

Но трудности има. Index on Censorship посочва, че  частни организации ще арбитрират достъпа до публична информация и  напомня, че позицията на Съда се различава от заключението на Генералния адвокат.

Пейо Попов коментира  серия  важни въпроси в блога си -  Правото да бъдеш забравен, релизация и ефекти.

Какво е обоснована и пропроционална намеса в личния живот Съдът вече е обсъждал,  например в решенията Комисия/ Bavarian Lager или по повод публикуване на информация за бенефициерите по европейски програми – по съединени дела C‑92/09 и C‑93/09: правата по чл.7 и 8 от Хартата могат да бъдат ограничавани при определени условия:

[50]  член 52, параграф 1 от Хартата допуска налагането на ограничения при упражняването на права като прогласените в членове 7 и 8 от нея, ако тези ограничения са предвидени в закон, зачитат основното съдържание на посочените права и свободи и при спазване на принципа на пропорционалност са необходими и действително отговарят на признати от Съюза цели от общ интерес или на необходимостта да се защитят правата и свободите на други хора.

 Google са създали 7-членна комисия - имената са авторитетни и известни.

  • Bits | NYT  публикува коментар.
  • Също  PanGloss:  дали механизмът на Google напълно покрива обхвата на случаите, предвидени в директивата и решението.
  • Inforrm също с днешна дата: между кои точно права трябва да се извършва балансиране и правилен ли е прочитът на решението от страна на Google, още по темата

 

 

Lauren Weinstein's Blog: EU’s “Right to Have The Streisand Effect” Goes Live

This post was syndicated from: Lauren Weinstein's Blog and was written by: Lauren. Original post: at Lauren Weinstein's Blog

Since I’ve at various times over the years expressed both my concerns and disgust for the “right to be forgotten” concept, e.g. “The “Right to Be Forgotten”: A Threat We Dare Not Forget, I’m not going to rehash that discussion here and now. But a look at the ironic situation the EU censorship bureaucrats have created for themselves today, via…

TorrentFreak: Rapidgator Wiped From Google’s Search Results, Again

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

rapidgatorEvery week Google processes millions of DMCA takedown requests, submitted by copyright holders from all over the world.

In most cases the requests are legitimate, but every now and then they also target pages that don’t link to pirated content. As a result some websites have their URLs removed from Google in error, which in turn leads to a decrease in visitors.

This has now happened to Rapidgator.net, one of the largest file-hostings sites on the Internet. For the past few weeks the site has had nearly all its URLs de-listed, including its homepage.

The request responsible for this overbroad censorship was issued by the Publishers Association, a UK-based trade group. Aside from the Rapidgator URLs, the takedown notice in question lists several other pages that have nothing to do with their copyrighted works.

rapidgone

Hoping to get its URLs restored Rapidgator submitted a counter-notification to Google, but several weeks have passed since and the problem remains. TorrentFreak spoke with Rapidgator operator Mike, who is concerned about the lack of response and the ease at which sites can be removed from Google.

“With the procedure Google has in place now any website can be de-listed by anybody,” Mike says.

“When Google receives a DMCA notice they remove URLs within a day, but if you want to have them restored it can take weeks or months. We think that they should restore URLs in the same timeframe as the original removals,” he adds.

Rapidgator’s operator understand that Google can’t process every URL manually due to the massive amount of DMCA notices. However, he believes that they could at least flag requests to remove the homepages of websites so these can be manually verified.

This isn’t the first time that Rapidgator has lost nearly all its listings in Google. The same thing happened late last year and on that occasion it also took several weeks before Google took action, leading to a dip in search traffic for the site.

TorrentFreak asked Google for a comment on the counter-notification process but the company couldn’t say anything about the number of requests it receives, or what the average response time is.

For Rapidgator there’s no other option than to wait until Google responds to its inquiry. In the meantime, only five Rapidgator pages remain indexed by Google.

rapidgator-removed

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TorrentFreak: Student Wins Pirate Bay Domain To Protest Website Blockades

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pirate bayThe Pirate Bay is one of the most popular sites on the Internet and has inspired the creation of many copycat sites, many of which play on Pirate Bay’s imagery, branding, name, or a combination of all three.

While some sites make it obvious that they’re paying homage to the infamous torrent site, others have malicious or financial motives in mind. As a result there are plenty of domains out there looking to capitalize on users’ naivety or simple inability to spell.

Ironically, while many official Pirate Bay domains are blocked in countries around Europe, these unofficial and often fake variants are allowed to continue business as usual. Occasionally, however, the authorities step in.

One such instance involves ThePirateBay.dk, a domain whose most recent registration occurred in August 2010. The domain was owned by a James McAvoy of Bristol, UK, who appears to be a prolific purchaser of domains, as illustrated below.

Pirate-DK

Over in Denmark, where The Pirate Bay has been blocked since 2008, a Danish student had been eyeing the domain. He felt he had a good chance of wrestling it from McAvoy’s control due to the Brit’s failure to adhere to Denmark’s domain name rules.

In his complaint the student told the Complaints Board for Domain Names that he doubted that the contact listed in the WHOIS was a “genuine or real registrant” and criticized the same person’s registration of many “typosquatter” domains (such as youtupe.dk) which are deliberately linked to “advertising traps”.

With Denmark’s Domain Names Act noting that “a domain name which typosquats another domain name may be suspended and subsequently blocked or deleted”, the student’s complaint appeared valid.

Next, the student complained that ThePirateBay.dk had been put up for sale. The Domain Names Act expressly forbids a registrant to “reserve, register and maintain registrations of domain names solely for the purpose of selling or renting to other parties.”

Pirate-sale

In contrast to the owner of ThePirateBay.dk who had no valid use for the domain, the student presented an argument to the domains board that he did.

“I want to use thepiratebay.dk to protest against Danish web censorship in the form of
the blockade of the address thepiratebay.org imposed on the Danish internet providers,” the student wrote.

“I want to create a support page for The Pirate Bay where I criticize the decision and show my support for the blocked page. I am a student, not a trader, and I act as an individual in what I would call a protest against the imposed blockade.”

The complaints board weighed the arguments and in a decision published a few days ago, agreed with the student’s position and upheld his complaint.

“The Board finds that there is hereby created a strong presumption that the purpose of the defendant’s registration of the domain name ‘thepiratebay.dk’ [..] was to gain financially by its reassignment. The Respondent, who has not replied to the Complaints Board’s [attempts at contact] , did not contradict that presumption.”

All things considered it was concluded that James McAvoy’s registration of the domain should be canceled and ThePirateBay.dk should be transfered to the the student by June 13, 2014.

Exactly what form the student’s protest will take using his newly obtained domain remains unknown, but it’s nevertheless interesting that the right to protest against a website blockade of the world’s most infamous torrent site trumps making ad money from a similar looking domain.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay’s Anti-Censorship Browser Clocks 5,000,000 Downloads

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

piratebrowserIn celebration of its 10th anniversary last August, The Pirate Bay presented a gift to its users – the PirateBrowser.

Since The Pirate Bay is censored in countries all around the world, many users have to jump through hoops to access it. The PirateBrowser software allows people to bypass these restrictions, without having to use a proxy site or other circumvention tool.

The browser is based on Firefox and utilizes the Tor network to obfuscate people’s locations. It is meant purely as a tool to circumvent censorship and unlike the Tor browser it doesn’t provide any anonymity for its users.

The browser idea clearly appealed to a wide audience with the number of downloads going through the roof right from the start.

Recently, PirateBrowser achieved a new milestone. The Pirate Bay team informs TorrentFreak that more than five million people have downloaded a copy of the tool from the official website. That’s an average of more than half a million downloads per month.

Since its first release there haven’t been any additions to the software, but this will change in the coming weeks. The Pirate Bay team will push out an update soon with upgraded versions of the software. In addition, the new release will have support for social media sites, to serve users in countries where these services are restricted or blocked.

Another new feature will be to have lists of blocked sites per country, so users are only redirected through a proxy site when it’s needed.

In a separate and even more ambitious effort the team also continues the development of a special BitTorrent-powered application, which lets users store and distribute The Pirate Bay and other websites on their own computers. Instead of bypassing external censors, the new tool will create its own P2P network through which sites can be accessed without restrictions.

This “p2p browser” should be able to keep The Pirate Bay operational, even if the site itself is pulled offline. There is currently no estimated release date set for this second project, but it will take a few more months of development at minimum.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Founder Launches Election Campaign For European Parliament

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

peter-sundeBorn in Sweden but with Finnish roots, Peter Sunde will run as candidate for Finland’s Pirate Party in the European Parliament elections next year.

The Pirate Party movement currently has two Swedish Members of the European Parliament. In the 2014 elections the Pirates are participating in many countries, hoping to expand the success story.

With Sunde the Finnish party definitely has one of the most prominent candidates on the ballot.

As an Internet entrepreneur and the former spokesperson of The Pirate Bay, Sunde’s subversive work is already known to millions of people across Europe. Despite a pending prison term for his involvement with The Pirate Bay, he is determined to disrupt the European Parliament in Brussels.

Today, Sunde launches his run for the European Parliament elections with a rather unusual video. Instead of scolding the competition, the campaign will highlight several personality traits of the Pirate Bay co-founder, starting with his romantic side.

“Most politicians are boring and unromantic. Romance is needed because it means you have a heart and a soul,” Sunde told TF commenting on the relevance of romance in politics.

Most of all, however, Sunde wants to bring back ideology to modern-day politics. Instead of taking notes from powerful lobbyists and bashing other politicians, he wants to let people know what he believes in, and how that should be accomplished.

“I’m tired of careerists in politics who rather talk about what the other guys are doing wrong instead of talking about what our future should be. I see no ideology in politics anymore, but we never needed it more than today,” Sunde tells TF.

“Politicians in general, EU-politicians in particular, are prone to listening to lobbyists and afraid of not getting re-elected. I am clear with what I want, and I will fight for those no matter what lobbyists will say,” he adds.

Running for the Pirate Party, Sunde is in favor of decriminalizing file-sharing for personal use. In addition, he wants to keep the Internet free and open, without needless censorship and restrictions.

“We need a free Internet, an open democratic society, more transparency in governments,” he says.

The Pirate Bay co-founder is well aware of the fact that he is not the typical Parliament member, but that may be a strength rather than a weakness. In any case, he definitely stands out.

“I might be a weird fit for the EU but that’s exactly why I think I’m needed. My campaign videos are probably quite weird too, just for the same reason,” Sunde concludes.

In a few weeks we will know if the Finns agree that Sunde is the right choice to represent them in Brussels.

Photo credit

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TorrentFreak: The Copyright Monopoly’s Fundamental Problem Remains The Same…

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Rick Falkvinge. Original post: at TorrentFreak

copyright-brandedWhen we share knowledge and culture in order to manufacture our own copies of it, this happens in private communications – it happens as part of the ones and zeroes that arrive at and are transmitted from our computers.

However, some part of these transmissions may be in violation of the copyright monopoly. The only way to find if any are is to listen to them and break the postal secret; to open all the digital letters and violate the privacy of correspondence.

There is no way to enforce the copyright monopoly without reading all the private communications in transit – mass eavesdropping and mass surveillance. There is no magic way to just wiretap the violations and ignore the rest; the act of finding which communications may violate the copyright monopoly requires that you sort all correspondence into legal and illegal. The act of sorting requires observation; you cannot determine if something is legal or illegal without looking at it. At that point, the postal secret and the privacy of correspondence have been broken.

(Some proponents of the copyright monopoly would argue that the act of sharing knowledge and culture wouldn’t classify as private correspondence. This is irrelevant, as in any case, it is intermixed with private correspondence that must still be unpacked and looked at in the sorting process.)

So we’re at a crossroads where we as a society must determine which is more important – the right to communicate in private at all, or the obsolete distribution and manufacturing monopoly of an entertainment industry. These two are completely mutually exclusive and cannot coexist. This is, and has been, the problem since the cassette tape.

The copyright industry understands this perfectly, which is why they have been working hard, long, and tenaciously to eliminate the concept of private correspondence online and introduce ubiquitous mass surveillance. A few examples:

In Ireland, the copyright industry (in the shape of the big four record labels) sued the country’s largest ISP, Eircom, for the right to install wiretapping and censorship equipment in the deepest of their core Internet switches: they demanded the ability to detect and prevent communications they didn’t like. Yes, you read that right: a private industry full-out demanded the right to examine all (and prevent any) private correspondence in the entire country.

In Sweden, the copyright industry did a two-pronged approach to get their own access to ISP access logs through a ridiculous over-implementation of the IPRED directive, along with working feverently to get mandatory ISP logging in the shape of Data Retention passed (the mass surveillance mechanism that was just now declared in violation of basic human rights by the highest EU court). The copyright industry (in the shape of IFPI) even demanded independent, extrajudicial access to the mass surveillance data from the Data Retention mechanisms. Yes, you read that right: a private industry demanded independent and unfiltered access to surveillance records of practically every footstep and every correspondence you make in your everyday life.

The copyright industry is very much a part of the mass surveillance industry. Mass surveillance is the only way they can maintain their crumbling monopoly on manufacturing copies.

At the end of the day, these two mechanisms must be weighed against one another: do we prefer the ability to communicate in private at all, or do we prefer the distribution and manufacturing monopoly of an entertainment industry? As is today, they can’t coexist, and this has always been and still remains the key point of contention.

One of the reasons that we’ve gotten to this point is that these two mechanisms are usually handled by different departments. The copyright monopoly tends to be under the Department of Commerce, whereas the fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and privacy of correspondence falls under the Department of Justice in most countries. This means that there has never been anybody with the responsibility of weighing them against each other, and coming to the obvious conclusion that the right to private correspondence far outweighs the distribution and manufacturing monopoly of an entertainment industry.

We need to keep kicking politicians out of office until they realize this enormous blind spot of theirs.

About The Author

Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy.

Book Falkvinge as speaker?

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