Posts tagged ‘sweden’

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Moves to GS, LA, VG, AM, MN and GD Domains

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

tpb-logoThe Pirate Bay has long been associated with Sweden but soon the popular torrent site will stop using a Swedish domain name.

Earlier today the Stockholm District Court ordered the seizure of both thepiratebay.se and piratebay.se, arguing that they were linked to copyright crimes.

Potential appeals aside the domains in question will be handed over to the Swedish Government, but the ruling is unlikely to hamper Pirate Bay’s availability, quite the contrary.

The TPB team informs TF that they have already begun redirecting the .SE address, rotating it to six new domain names.

As of now, the notorious torrent site is available through new GS, LA, VG, AM, MN and GD domain names.

Pirate Bay homepage (.VG didn’t fit the hydra)
tpblogo

This means that all the effort that went into the lawsuit, as well as at least $40,000 in legal costs, have done very little to stop the site.

“Congratulations to Prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad. Two years hard work to get us to change two little letters at a cost of $20,000 per letter,” the TPB team tells TF in a comment.

“He could have given us $35,000 and we would have left the domain, thus saving the Swedish tax payer $5,000. All he had to do was ask nicely,” they add.

With six new domains one can argue that The Pirate Bay has become even more resilient. There will undoubtedly be attempts to seize or suspend the new domains, but there are also plenty more domains TPB can register.

And so the Whack-a-Mole continues.

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

TorrentFreak: Key Pirate Bay Domains Must Be Seized, Court Rules

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

tpb-logoIn keeping with a global strategy to disrupt the operations of unauthorized file-sharing sites by attacking their infrastructure, Swedish authorities have been eying two domains operated by the notorious Pirate Bay.

In 2013, Prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad, the man behind the operation that took the site down in December, filed a motion targeting ThePirateBay.se (the site’s main domain) and PirateBay.se (a lesser used alternative).

Filed against Punkt SE, the organization responsible for Sweden’s top level .SE domain, the case reasoned that since The Pirate Bay is an illegal operation, its domains are tools used by the site to infringe copyright. Noting that Punkt SE supplies and controls the domains and is therefore liable for their (mis)use, the domains should be dealt with in the same way that other criminal tools would be, Ingblad argued.

Punkt SE, on the other hand, took the position that holding a registry responsible for infringement has no basis in law. Furthermore, disabling domains is an ineffective way to deal with infringement.

After two years preparation the case was heard at the end of April 2015 and just a few minutes ago the decision was handed down.

After a week-long delay the Stockholm District Court ruled that The Pirate Bay will forfeit its Sweden-based domains – ThePirateBay.se and PirateBay.se.

For now, however, The Pirate Bay will continue business as usual. An insider informs TorrentFreak that the site has plenty of other domains in reserve and will make a switch when required.

Both the domain registry and prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad are preparing statements for TorrentFreak and this article will be continuously updated as soon as further details become available.

Breaking news story

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Helps Puts Sweden on the Map, Govt. Agency Says

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

tpb-logoAs countries fight for prominence on the international stage, being recognized among trading partners and the global general public is an important part of the battle.

For example, London imagery and the royal family are powerful overseas marketing tools for the UK while superstar movie and music icons ensure that United States branding is funneled into hundreds of millions of overseas homes every single day.

In Sweden the government has its own agency tasked with understanding overseas cultures and promoting Sweden and Swedish issues globally. Founded in 1945, the Swedish Institute has approximately 140 employees.

This morning the Swedish Institute made an appearance at the Swedish consulate in Istanbul as part of a Curators of Sweden event discussing freedom of expression, the Internet and democracy. As part of a slideshow the organization highlighted a number of Swedish brands responsible for raising Sweden’s profile on the world stage.

As can be seen from the slide below (thanks Erkan Saka) some of Sweden’s most iconic companies sit front and center. Adorned in Sweden’s national colors, furniture giant IKEA makes a key appearance, closely followed by clothing outlet H&M and motoring legend Volvo. The final three need little introduction.

si-istanbul

Interestingly, all three of the tech companies above have close connections to the file-sharing scene.

First up is Swedish-founded communications software Skype. While millions have used the tool since its launch in August 2003, most probably aren’t aware that its backend was first utilized by infamous P2P tool Kazaa. Indeed, Niklas Zennström co-founded them both.

And Spotify has close connections to file-sharing too. In addition to publicly admitting its service was “designed from the ground up” to be a product with appeal to pirates, one of its engineers is Ludvig Strigeus (Ludde), a Swedish programmer best known for developing BitTorrent client µTorrent.

And last – but certainly not least – sits the infamous The Pirate Bay. As famous for pirating music in 2015 as Swedish pop sensation ABBA were for creating it 40 years earlier, the site has certainly raised the profile of Sweden around the globe. Of course, some will argue that boost hasn’t always been for the best.

At the same time as gathering tens of thousands of headlines focusing on Sweden, the country’s connections to The Pirate Bay have also strained relations with key allies, including the United States.

However, what cannot be denied is how the site has raised global interest in Sweden and ensured that when it comes to discussion and progression in the digital age – especially concerning entertainment distribution – this small Scandinavian country (currently 90th in the world by population) remains at the cutting edge.

Soon, however, the Swedish legal system will decide whether to sever the country’s ties with the infamous file-sharing system. It’s unlikely the country’s overseas profile will diminish as a result though – that part of history has already been written and won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

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

TorrentFreak: Trial of Torrent Site Admin and Hosting Provider Concludes

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

In 2009 during the wake of the original Pirate Bay trial and the jail sentences for its operators, Swedish anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån sent out a batch of warnings to other sites hosted in Sweden.

One of the sites that initially decided to shut down was known as The Internationals, or TTi for short. In the event the closure was short-lived and just a month later the 26,000 member site was back online and operating largely as usual. The return lasted for more than two years, but then it all fell apart.

A police investigation led to November 2011 raids against TTi in two locations in Sweden, Borås and Växjö. In addition to the seizure of servers housing the site’s tracker and community data, two men were also arrested.

The man detained in Borås was the alleged operator of TTi but interestingly the second individual, Patrik Lagerman from Växjö, was the person providing TTi’s webhosting.

The owner of local web-hosting outfit Patrikweb, Lagerman previously gained worldwide attention for being involved in bandwidth supply to The Pirate Bay.

In the TTi case, Lagerman was handed a demand by Antipiratbyrån to disconnect the tracker. He requested a court order but none was forthcoming. The reaction almost a year later was an 06:30am alarm call carried out by five police officers followed by several hours of questioning.

“Trying to prosecute the hosting provider for assisting [in infringement] shows just how stupid they are,” Lagerman said at the time.

But this week that’s exactly what happened when Lagerman and the as-yet unnamed TTi sysop went on trial for their alleged crimes. The hearing lasted for two days.

“Two men were prosecuted,” prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad informs TorrentFreak.

“The alleged main administrator of the TTi site and the second one – Lagerman – was prosecuted for aiding and abetting the infringement, by renting out server space, Internet services etc, and helping the administrators in some other ways (as an intermediary).

“The rights holders contacted [Lagerman] and informed him of the site and the infringement, but he still continued with his services to the site owner,” the prosecutor notes.

Although the site tracked many more titles including plenty of Hollywood blockbusters, the case itself now involves just 28 Swedish films.

TorrentFreak spoke with Lagerman who said he’d hold back on a comment until the verdict is handed down in two weeks time. Fortunately for both defendants he should be able to do that as a relatively free man since the prosecution are not pressing for custodial sentences.

“Due to the long time that has passed since the crimes (the investigation unfortunately took a bit too long), I didn´t request for an unconditional imprisonment,” Ingblad says.

“I requested for a conditional sentence and community services for the alleged main administrator, and a conditional sentence plus fines for Mr. Lagerman.”

The case is an intriguing one and the eventual decision will be of great interest to other local ISPs in similar positions.

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

TorrentFreak: Historic Pirate Bay Domain Decision Will Arrive Early May

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

tpb-logoA small Scandinavian country in Northern Europe, Sweden has become a key battleground for international copyright holders looking to stamp their authority on millions of BitTorrent users. Attacking the sites they populate is a key strategy and above all others the destruction of The Pirate Bay is paramount.

Born and developed in Sweden, the now notorious site is no longer the most popular in the world (that crown is currently worn by KickassTorrents) but its profile ensures it remains a target with massive propaganda value. When The Pirate Bay is crushed a corner will have been turned, Hollywood and the record labels believe.

Over the years the site has been squeezed out of Sweden, and Sweden has been squeezed out of the site. Numerous court orders and raids have ended its physical presence in the country and its Swedish management have long since gone.

Indeed, as far as its operations at this moment are concerned, the only big connection the site has with Sweden is its domain name – ThePirateBay.se – and authorities are now doing whatever they can to break that most visible link.

ThePirateBay.se (the site’s main domain) and PirateBay.se (a lesser used alternative) are being targeted by Prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad, the man behind the operation that took the site down in December. Filed back in 2013 at the District Court of Stockholm, the motion targets Punkt SE, the organization responsible for Sweden’s top level .SE domain.

This week the parties met in the Stockholm District Court, each putting forward their side of the argument. Ingblad didn’t respond to TorrentFreak’s offer to contribute to this article, but we know that he believes that Pirate Bay domains are criminal tools that enable copyright infringement, tools that should be confiscated by the state.

Punkt SE, on the other hand, maintains that holding a registry responsible for infringement has no basis in law. Furthermore, disabling domains is an ineffective way to deal with infringement.

“We believe it is wrong to pursue legal action against a top-level administrator like .SE to take away a service from the internet,” Punkt SE’s Maria Ekelund informs TF.

“To confiscate a domain name is ineffective and disproportionate to achieve the impact of the earlier judgment, that is, to suspend access to the service itself.”

In 2009, Swedish ISP Black Internet was ordered to stop providing Internet access to The Pirate Bay. The ISP initially declined to appeal the ruling but appeared to change its mind after its infrastructure was subjected to a huge cyber-attack.

While the appeal was granted, the ISP failed to have the original decision overturned and subsequently blocked all traffic into and out of the IP addresses used by The Pirate Bay. For The Pirate Bay, the dream of trouble-free hosting in Sweden was largely over.

But still, the site has found a way to stay online, no matter where in the world it has thrown anchor. Punkt SE believes that taking away Pirate Bay’s domain will do little to change that.

IIS SE“To remove a domain name can be likened to taking away a sign that shows the address to a store operating illegally. Just because the sign disappears, does not mean the business disappears,” Ekelund adds.

“However, we think it is good that the issue should be examined because the legal situation is unclear. This case differs from previous cases because it is not only directed against the holder, but also directly against .SE.”

So now the waiting begins. In less than two weeks the Stockholm District Court will hand down its decision. Victory for Punkt will underpin the registry’s stance on limited liability and will buy The Pirate Bay more time. A win for the prosecutor will deliver a fairly serious blow to the site and draw a line in the sand for others looking to embark on similar adventures.

But, perhaps more importantly, in the event the Court sides with the prosecution, Sweden will at last rid itself of the site that put the country in the crosshairs of the United States. No longer serviced from Swedish soil, with hardware or domain names, The Pirate Bay will be cut adrift to float at sea.

Where will it dock next? That will remain a secret, at least for now.

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

TorrentFreak: Fate of Pirate Bay Domains Hang in the Balance

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

Some of the key strategies employed by anti-piracy groups around the world involve attacking the infrastructures of so-called pirate sites.

Pressuring hosting companies to cut off sites is one of the oldest and perhaps easiest method of disrupting activities, but finding a new host – even for the most blatant of infringers – is usually countered in a few hours. It’s a nuisance, but one that can be handled relatively easily.

Blocking domains at the ISP level presents more of a problem for sites but actually seizing a domain or rendering it entirely useless really takes things to the next level. It’s a strategy being actively pursued in a number of cases, most recently by the RIAA in an important case against MP3Skull reported here yesterday.

Next week in a separate action, a Swedish court will be required to decide whether The Pirate Bay will be allowed to keep control of two of its most important domains.

ThePirateBay.se (the site’s main domain) and PirateBay.se (a lesser used alternative) are being targeted by Prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad, the man behind the now-famous operation that took the site down in December.

Filed back in 2013 at the District Court of Stockholm, the motion targets Punkt SE, the organization responsible for Sweden’s top level .SE domain.

Ingblad’s position is that since The Pirate Bay has been deemed an illegal site, its domain names are assisting in those crimes and should be subject to action, just like a tool used in any other crime

In a case against both the .SE registry and former Pirate Bay operator Fredrik Neij, Ingblad wants the Court to order the domains to be forfeited.

“That is, in practice, that the state should take them over, or at least that .SE should not rent them out again, Ingblad says.

In parallel The Pirate Bay is also facing its first web blocking action in Sweden. Last November, Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Nordisk Film and the Swedish Film Industry filed a lawsuit against Swedish service provider Bredbandsbolaget. The ISP intends to fight the demand.

In the meantime the blocking case is certainly one to watch, with Punkt SE CEO Danny Aerts framing the action as unique in Europe.

“There are no previous cases of states suing a registry for abetting criminal activity or breaching copyright law,” Aerts notes.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay’s Fredrik Neij Can’t Play Nintendo Classics In Prison

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

fredrik-neijFredrik Neij, also known as Tiamo, was one of the key operators of The Pirate Bay and often referred to as one of the site’s co-founders.

In 2010 Fredrik received a prison sentence for his involvement with the notorious site, which he initially avoided.

Last November he was eventually arrested by Thai immigration authorities and later transferred to a prison in Skänninge, Sweden.

Under the circumstances, Fredrik has been doing relatively well. However, prison life lacks distraction and entertainment, not to mention a digital connection to the outside world.

To kill time The Pirate Bay’s former operator put in a request to play games on an old Nintendo 8-bit console. Not the most advanced gaming experience, but a real treat for someone with virtually no access to entertainment.

Unfortunately, however, Fredrik’s request was outright denied by the prison administration. While gaming isn’t against the rules, they state that there’s no way to open the box to check it for concealed items.

“The console is sealed in such a way that it can not be opened without the machine being destroyed,” the prison wrote in a reply.

In light of this, the institution can’t implement the necessary control of the game console and it is therefore impossible to ensure that it does not contain prohibited items.”

Fredrik doesn’t agree with the decision decided to appeal the case before the administrative court.

Pirate Bay’s former operator doesn’t believe that a game console from the 80s without any network connectivity poses a threat, and points out that the prison only has to buy a simply screwdriver to check the box.

“That the institution lacks a screwdriver which costs 100 kroner can not be considered reasonable,” Fredrik writes.

“One has to wonder how many other victims there are when all video-game units of the brand Nintendo have the same screwdriver,” he adds.

This isn’t the first time that Fredrik has appealed a decision from the prison. Earlier this month he filed an appeal after the institution denied a request to print three documents.

TF note: The Nintendo case can actually be opened with a pen and a cigarette lighter

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay’s Fredrik Neij Appeals Denial to Print In Prison

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

fredrik-neijFredrik Neij, also known as Tiamo, was one of the key operators of The Pirate Bay.

In 2010 Fredrik received a prison sentence for his involvement with the notorious site, which he initially avoided.

After being on the run for several years he was eventually arrested by Thai immigration authorities late last year, and later transferred to a prison in Skänninge, Sweden.

While reportedly doing well, prison life has many limitations. Access to technology is limited, for example, but Fredrik recently managed to get a tablet so he could read the details of a preliminary investigation.

According to Fredrik, he was also given verbal approval to write text documents on the device and make printouts for personal use, but the prison administration now denies this.

In a response the former Pirate Bay operator has now filed an appeal at the Administrative Court.

“When I received the e-reader I specifically asked if I could use it to write letters and make notes in the tablet’s word processing programs. I was told that it would be okay,” Fredrik writes.

In addition to writing he was also promised that he could make several printouts.

“The answer I got was that there wouldn’t be a problem,” Neij notes.

Printing three files doesn’t seem to be a major issue, especially if the same documents are already available digitally. However, in prison things rarely come easy.

The good news for Fredrik is that his prison sentence is half done, and he’s scheduled to be released later this year.

Worryingly, however, there are more problems on the horizon. The former Pirate Bay operator is also facing hacking allegations as well as a criminal referral of his ISP, DCP Networks.

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

TorrentFreak: Major Labels Sue Music Leaker After FBI Investigation

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

nickiIf there is one issue guaranteed to incense recording labels and artists alike it’s the premature public availability of pre-release music.

Over the years leaks from popular artists have featured in countless online piracy cases, painted by the labels as some of the most damaging forms of unauthorized distribution.

While some believe that leaks are useful for creating buzz, labels often argue that availability amounts to unfair competition and the undermining of an artist’s decision as to when and where content should be heard.

Pre-release leaks can happen anywhere in the supply chain, usually towards the retail environment, but a case set to be heard next month is unusual in several respects, not least the point at which the music was obtained.

Between 2010 and 2013 it’s alleged that unreleased music began leaking from industry-affiliated email accounts based in the United States. Tracks from some of the world’s biggest stars was targeted, including those from Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Mary J Blige.

It’s claimed that the music began turning up in public after being sold to DJs worldwide, events which heralded the involvement of the FBI and a trail to Sweden.

“In the United States an investigation was launched into the stolen songs. The tracks led to Sweden through bank accounts and IP addresses. Therefore, we were contacted,” says prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad.

Further investigation led Swedish authorities to a 25-year-old local man who is said to have hacked the email accounts, obtained the music, and sold it on for a profit.

“He hacked into the email accounts and got hold of unreleased songs, and songs that might have never been released. That makes this case unusual,” Ingblad adds.

The prosecution claims that the man, who denies the charges, made around $12,000 from sales of the tracks. He will go on trial in Sweden next month and will face fines and up to two years in prison. Labels including Sony, Warner and Universal are suing the man and will be seeking damages.

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

Errata Security: Pin-pointing China’s attack against GitHub

This post was syndicated from: Errata Security and was written by: Robert Graham. Original post: at Errata Security

For the past week, the website “GitHub” has been under attack by China. In this post, I pin-point where the attack is coming from by doing an http-traceroute.

GitHub is a key infrastructure website for the Internet, being the largest host of open-source projects, most famously Linux. (I host my code there). It’s also a popular blogging platform.

Among the zillions of projects are https://github.com/greatfire and https://github.com/cn-nytimes. These are mirrors (copies) of the websites http://greatfire.org and http://cn.nytimes.com. GreatFire provides tools for circumventing China’s Internet censorship, the NYTimes contains news stories China wants censored.

China blocks the offending websites, but it cannot easily block the GitHub mirrors. Its choices are either to block or allow everything on GitHub. Since GitHub is key infrastructure for open-source, blocking GitHub is not really a viable option.

Therefore, China chose another option, to flood those specific GitHub URLs with traffic in order to pressure GitHub into removing those pages. This is a stupid policy decision, of course, since Americans are quite touchy on the subject and are unlikely to comply with such pressure. It’s likely GitHub itself can resolve the issue, as there are a zillion ways to respond. If not, other companies (like CloudFlare) would leap to their defense.

The big question is attribution. Is this attack authorized by the Chinese government? Or is it the work of rogue hackers?

The company Netresec in Sweden partially answered this problem by figuring out most of the details of the hack. The way the attack worked is that some man-in-the-middle device intercepted web requests coming into China from elsewhere in the world, and then replaced the content with JavaScript code that would attack GitHub. Specifically, they intercepted requests to Baidu’s analytics. The search-engine Baidu is the Google of China, and it runs analytics software like Google in order to track advertising. Everyone outside China visiting internal pages would then run this JavaScript to attack GitHub. Since the attack appears to be coming “from everywhere”, it’s impractical for GitHub to block the attack.

Netresec could clearly identify that a man-in-the-middle was happening by looking at the TTL fields in the packets. TTL, or time-to-live, is a field in all Internet packets that tracks the age of the packet. Each time a router forwards a packet, one is subtracted from the field. When it reaches zero, the packet is discarded. This prevents routing loops from endlessly forwarding packets around in circle.

Many systems send packets with a starting TTL of 64. Thus, when a packet arrives with a value of 46, you know that that there are 18 hops between you and the sender (64 – 18 = 46).

What Netresec found was a situation shown in the following picture. This picture shows a sequence of packets to and from the server. My packets sent to the Baidu server have a TTL of 64, the starting value I send with. The first response from the server has a value of 46 — because while they transmitted the packet with a value of 64, it was reduced by 18 by the time it arrived at my computer. After I send the web request, I get weird TTLs in response, with values of 98 and 99. These obviously did not come from the original server, but some intermediate man-in-the-middle device.

I know this man-in-the-middle is somewhere between me and Baidu, but where? To answer that, we use the concept of traceroute.

Traceroute is a real cool trick. Instead of sending packets with a TTL of 64, the tool sends them with a TTL of 1, then 2, then 3, and so on. Because the TTL is so low, they won’t reach their destination. Instead, the TTL will eventually reach 0, and routers along the way will drop them. When routers do this, they send back a notification packet called a Time-Exceeded message — using the router’s Internet address. Thus, I can collect all these packets and map the routers between me and a target.

The tool that does this is shown below, where I traceroute to the Baidu server from my machine:

The second column is time. As you can see, it takes almost 80-milliseconds for my packets to reach Los Angeles, and then the delay jumps to 230-milliseconds to reach China. Also note that I can’t quite reach the server, as there is a firewall after hop 16 that is blocking traceroute from working.

So where along this route is the man-in-the-middle interception happening? To answer this question, I had write some code. I wrote my own little traceroute tool. Instead of sending a single packet, it first established a connection with normal TTLs, so that it would reach all the way to the target server. Then, when it sent the web request packet, it used a smaller TTL, so it would get dropped before reaching the server — but hopefully after the man-in-the-middle saw it. By doing these with varying TTLs, I should be able to discover at which hop the evil device is lurking.

I found that the device lurks between 11 and 12 hops. The web request packets sent with a TTL of 11 are not seen, while packets with TTL of 12 are, generating a response, as shown below:

The black line above shows the packet I sent, with a TTL of 12. The orange line (and the two packets above it) show the packets received from the man-in-the-middle device. When I send packets with a TTL of 11, I never get a response from that evil device.

By looking at the IP addresses in the traceroute, we can conclusive prove that the man-in-the-middle device is located on the backbone of China Unicom, a major service provider in China.

The next step is to traceroute in the other direction, from China to a blocked address, such as the http://www.nytimes.com address at 170.149.168.130. Using the website http://www.linkwan.net/tr.htm, I get the following:

This shows that the Great Firewall runs inside the China Unicom infrastructure.

Conclusion

Using my custom http-traceroute, I’ve proven that the man-in-the-middle machine attacking GitHub is located on or near the Great Firewall of China. While many explanations are possible, such as hackers breaking into these machines, the overwhelmingly most likely suspect for the source of the GitHub attacks is the Chinese government.

This is important evidence for our government. It’ll be interesting to see how they respond to these attacks — attacks by a nation state against key United States Internet infrastructure.

TorrentFreak: Pirate Party Becomes Iceland’s Most Popular Political Party

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

pirate-iceOn January 1, 2006, Rick Falkvinge founded the Swedish and first Pirate Party. The party has survived more than nine turbulent years while provoking heated discussion on copyright reform, privacy and freedom of speech.

The party is currently enjoying its second term in the European Parliament and in January 2014 Julia Reda MEP released her draft report for the overhaul of EU copyright. As pointed out by Falkvinge himself, that fact is worthy of a double take.

“A Pirate Party representative is writing the European Union’s official evaluation of the copyright monopoly, and listing a set of necessary changes,” he wrote in a TF column.

And today brings yet more news which prompts a second look at a surprising headline. According to a poll carried out in Iceland over the past week, the Pirate Party is now the country’s most popular political party. For a party founded locally less than two and a half years ago, that’s an astounding achievement.

Run between the 13th and 18th of March by MMR, a company experienced in measuring support for local political parties, the survey places the Pirates ahead of even the most established of political movements.

According to Visir, total public support for the Pirate Party is currently riding at 23.9%, that’s up from the 12.8% reported in the last MMR survey.

The Pirates have snatched the lead from the Independence Party, who led during the last poll with 25.5% but have now dropped to 23.4%. While that is a slim lead of just 0.5%, it is a lead nonetheless, and the gap between the Pirates and other parties is even more pronounced.

The Social Democratic Alliance polled at 15.5% and the Progressive Party now sits at just 11.0%, marginally ahead of the Green Party with 10.8% of the support.

Today’s results are an improvement over those reported in a separate survey published last week which put the Pirates in a marginal second place. That prompted cautious excitement from Pirate MP Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson.

“I’m happy to see such a reception, but you also need to keep this in mind. Firstly, it’s not self-evident that this will be the result of the elections and not self-evident that this will go on. It’s important not to become arrogant because of this,” he said.

Speaking with TorrentFreak, Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge says the results of the poll are inspiring.

“This is an extraordinary accomplishment. Where we had the proof-of-concept in Sweden in 2009, and additional sparks of success in Germany in the following years, I didn’t really anticipate a Pirate Party measuring as its country’s very largest within a decade of founding the first one in 2006,” Falkvinge says

“The suddenly-within-reach prospect of actually taking up a prime ministry in the near term shows what you can accomplish when you’re calling out stale policies and governmental backroom shadiness for what they are. It also shows how the net generation just won’t stand for the holier-than-thou attitude that’s still being displayed by an old self-appointed elite toward the young future.

“Still, to get to this point requires extraordinary hard work, commitment, and dedication. Far more than just congratulations are in order. The Icelandic Pirate Party is an inspiration for the net generation of the entire world,” Falkvinge concludes.

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

[Медийно право] [Нели Огнянова] : Класация на университетите в света 2014 – 2015

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

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015

Класация на университетите

2015 rank 2014 rank Institution
1 1 Harvard University (US)
2 4 University of Cambridge (UK)
3 5 University of Oxford (UK)
4 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)
5 3 Stanford University (US)
6 6 University of California, Berkeley (US)
7 7 Princeton University (US)
8 8 Yale University (US)
9 9 California Institute of Technology (US)
10 12 Columbia University (US)

Класация на университетите по области

Top 100 за социални науки

А ако се интересувате от социалните науки в Европа – ето началото:

 

Rank Institution Location Overall score change criteria
3 University of Oxford United Kingdom
93.2
5 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
92.0
9 Imperial College London United Kingdom
87.5
13 ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich Switzerland
84.6
22 University College London (UCL) United Kingdom
78.7
29 Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich Germany
71.9
34 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland
70.9
34 London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) United Kingdom
70.9
36 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
70.4
40 King’s College London United Kingdom
69.4
44 Karolinska Institute Sweden
66.8
52 University of Manchester United Kingdom
64.5
55 KU Leuven Belgium
63.7
61 École Polytechnique France
62.2
63 Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa Italy
61.9
64 Leiden University Netherlands
61.3
67 Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Germany
61.0
70 Heidelberg University Germany
59.6
71 Delft University of Technology Netherlands
59.2
72 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
59.1
73 Wageningen University and Research Center Netherlands
59.0
74 University of Bristol United Kingdom
58.9
75 Universität Basel Switzerland
58.4
77 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
58.2
78 École Normale Supérieure France
58.1
79 Utrecht University Netherlands
58.0
80 Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
57.9
81 Free University of Berlin Germany
57.6
83 Durham University United Kingdom
56.9
90 Ghent University Belgium
56.2
94 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
55.3
98 Stockholm University Sweden
54.6
98 Technical University of Munich Germany
54.6
98 Uppsala University Sweden
54.6
101
Maastricht University
Netherlands
54.3
103 University of Helsinki Finland
53.9
103 Université Pierre et Marie Curie France
53.9
103
University of Warwick
United Kingdom
53.9
103 University of Zürich Switzerland
53.9
107 Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
53.8
107 University of Geneva Switzerland
53.8
111 University of St Andrews United Kingdom
53.6
111 University of Sussex United Kingdom
53.6
113 University of York United Kingdom
53.4
113 Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen Germany
53.4
117
University of Groningen
Netherlands
53.1
118 Royal Holloway, University of London United Kingdom
53.0
119 Lund University

TorrentFreak: Peter Sunde: File Sharing is Politics, Propaganda and Control

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

sharing-caringI remember when one of the biggest Spanish file-sharing sites was shut down. These file sharers had nowhere to go but The Pirate Bay (TPB). All of a sudden the top list of TPB was flooded with Spanish content except for one peculiar audiobook. It was a Swedish language course.

We decided to translate the site. Not just into English but into as many languages as possible. We found people from lots of countries to chime in and help. I remember the Portuguese translation especially interesting as it was carried out by a man from Brazil. We decided that we’d make two different buttons for the translation – one for Portuguese and one for Brazilian-Portuguese. These languages differ a little. The actual gettext translation file was the same though.

There were words that had never been translated to Portuguese before (like “seeder”, “leecher” and “torrent” as technical terms) and for us it was funny to see that Brazil, a former colony of Portugal, had a say in how their former mother state developed their native language.

The Swedish translation gave me a similar experience. A Finnish person did most of the translation. Finland, which was part of, and ruled by, Sweden for a very long time, still has Swedish as an official language. A few words in the Swedish translation of TPB were so new that they had to be invented. Some ended up in dictionaries.

And the same thing happened for the Norwegian translation. There are two of them, since Norway has two main languages. But the main Norwegian translation was done by a person who speaks the minority language (whom just happens to also be really good at the main language). It has an effect on how the language develops.

A few years later another thing made me think quite a lot. During the height of TPB’s struggles I noticed that for the first time ever, more than 50% of the top 100 listing were things from India. Previously when TPB was localized for Sweden it felt natural that it had mostly Scandinavian or English things. But when it had become an international success, and the things being shared were not from where one thought they might be, it said something about the way the world is moving.

I just watched the movie India’s Daughter. The movie is about a gang rape (and murder) in India in 2012. The first thing that struck me was that I wanted to put it up on The Pirate Bay’s frontpage to make sure that people all over the world could see it – especially in India. Why? It’s being censored there. It’s a film that everyone needs to see. But not only is there a copyright issue, but there’s also a country-wide ban on the movie. People have tried putting it up on YouTube multiple times, but YouTube always takes the movie down due to their need to follow court orders in India.

This all puts things into perspective for me. De-centralized file sharing by virtue of peer-to-peer technology is obviously a way to get important information in and out of countries in a time of need. It’s a way to make sure that global data is not being blocked due to local corruption. It transcends the ideas of national borders. And it is highly political.

It has multiple angles. I understand now that one of the key reasons for the US to fight file-sharing might be that they don’t want India to take over their place as the number one culture. If Bollywood passes Hollywood in interest, it will be a huge loss for the US.

I am also upset that no one in TPB is doing their part. No one cares about politics anymore. It’s a technical site that is not helping a movement. I’m not talking about the file-sharing movement. But for me it’s strange that TPB is not promoting India’s Daughter to everyone globally. Especially on the international women’s day.

Sharing is political. Words are political. Communication is political. And if we don’t use the powers and voices we have, we’re on the wrong side of the struggle.

About The Author

Peter Sunde is the former spokesperson of The Pirate Bay. He’s currently working for the micro-payment service Flattr, the encrypted chat client Heml.is and several other technology startups.

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

[Медийно право] [Нели Огнянова] : 5G

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

Европейската комисия представя днес възгледа на ЕС за 5G.

Какво да очакваме от 5G:  от ЕК   и от шефа на Ериксон .

За сведение, преди година според Блумбърг положението с 4G LTE e било такова –  по страни 

Rank Country/Territory Penetration
1  South Korea 62.0%
2  Japan 21.3%
3  Australia 21.1%
4  United States 19.0%
5  Sweden 14.0%
6  Canada 8.1%
7  United Kingdom 5.0%
8  Germany 3.0%
9  Russia 2.0%
10  Philippines 1.0%

TorrentFreak: Which VPN Services Take Your Anonymity Seriously? 2015 Edition

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

spyBy now most Internet users are well aware of the fact that pretty much every step they take on the Internet is logged or monitored.

To prevent their IP-addresses from being visible to the rest of the Internet, millions of people have signed up to a VPN service. Using a VPN allows users to use the Internet anonymously and prevent snooping.

Unfortunately, not all VPN services are as anonymous as they claim, as several incidents have shown in the past.

By popular demand we now present the fourth iteration of our VPN services “logging” review. In addition to questions about logging practices, we also asked VPN providers about other privacy sensitive policies, so prospective users can make an informed decision.

1. Do you keep ANY logs which would allow you to match an IP-address and a time stamp to a user of your service? If so, exactly what information do you hold and for how long?

2. Under what jurisdiction(s) does your company operate?

3. What tools are used to monitor and mitigate abuse of your service?

4. Do you use any external email providers (e.g. Google Apps) or support tools ( e.g Live support, Zendesk) that hold information provided by users?

5. In the event you receive a DMCA takedown notice or European equivalent, how are these handled?

6. What steps are taken when a valid court order requires your company to identify an active user of your service? Has this ever happened?

7. Does your company have a warrant canary or a similar solution to alert customers to gag orders?

8. Is BitTorrent and other file-sharing traffic allowed on all servers? If not, why?

9. Which payment systems do you use and how are these linked to individual user accounts?

10. What is the most secure VPN connection and encryption algorithm you would recommend to your users? Do you provide tools such as “kill switches” if a connection drops and DNS leak protection?

11. Do you use your own DNS servers? (if not, which servers do you use?)

12. Do you have physical control over your VPN servers and network or are they outsourced and hosted by a third party (if so, which ones)? Where are your servers located?

Below is the list of responses we received from various VPN providers, in their own words. In some cases we asked for further clarification. VPN providers who keep logs for longer than 7 days were excluded, and others who simply failed to respond.

Please note that several VPN companies listed here do log to some extent. We therefore divided the responses into a category of providers who keep no logs (page 1/2) and one for who keep usage and/or session logs (page 3). The order of the VPNs within each category holds no value.

We are also working on a convenient overview page as well as dedicated review pages for all providers, with the option for users to rate theirs and add a custom review. These will be added in the near future.

VPNs That keep No Logs

Private Internet Access

piavpn1. We do not log, period. This includes, but is not limited to, any traffic data, DNS data or meta (session) data. Privacy IS our policy.

2. We choose to operate in the US in order to provide no logging service, as there is no mandatory data retention law in the US. Additionally, our beloved clients are given access to some of the strongest consumer protection laws, and thus, are able to purchase with confidence.

3. We do not monitor our users, period. That said, we have a proprietary system in place to help mitigate abuse.

4. We utilize SendGrid as an external mailing system and encourage users to create an anonymous e-mail when signing up depending on their adversarial risk level. Our support system is in-house as we utilize Kayako.

5. We have a proprietary system in place that allows us to comply in full with DMCA takedown notices without disrupting our users’ privacy. Because we do not log our users’ activities in order to protect and respect their privacy, we are unable to identify particular users that may be infringing the lawful copyrights of others.

6. We do not log and therefore are unable to provide information about any users of our service. We have not, to date, been served with a valid court order that has required us to provide something we do not have.

7. We do not have a warrant canary in place at this time as the concept of a warrant canary is, in fact, flawed at this time, or in other words, is “security theater.”

8. We do not attempt to filter, monitor, censor or interfere in our users’ activity in any way, shape or form. BitTorrent is, by definition, allowed.

9. We utilize a variety of payment systems including, but not limited to, PayPal, Stripe, Amazon, Google, Bitcoin, Stellar, CashU, Ripple, Most Major Store Bought Gift card, PIA Gift cards (available in retail stores for “cash”), and more. We utilize a hashing system to keep track of payments and credit them properly while ensuring the strongest levels of privacy for our users.

10. The most secure VPN connection and encryption algorithm that we would recommend to our users would be our suite of AES-256, RSA 4096 and SHA1 or 256. However, AES-128 should still be considered quite safe. For users of Private Internet Access specifically, we offer addon tools to help ensure our beloved clients’ privacies including:

– Kill Switch : Ensures that traffic is only routed through the VPN such that if the VPN connection is unexpectedly terminated, the traffic would simply not be routed.
– IPv6 Leak Protection : Protects clients from websites which may include IPv6 embeds which could leak IPv6 IP information.
– DNS Leak Protection : This is built in and ensures that DNS requests are made through the VPN on a safe, private no-log DNS daemon.
– Shared IP System : We mix clients’ traffic with many clients’ traffic through the use of an anonymous shared-IP system ensuring that our users blend in with the crowd.

11. We are currently using our own DNS caching.

12. We utilize third party datacenters that are operated by trusted friends and, now, business partners who we have met and completed our due diligence on. Our servers are located in: USA, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Sweden, Paris, Germany, Romania, Hong Kong, Israel, Australia and Japan. We have over 2,000 servers deployed at the time of writing with over 1,000 in manufacture/shipment at this time.

Private Internet Access website

TorGuard

1. No logs are kept whatsoever. TorGuard does not store any traffic logs or user session data on our network because since day one we engineered every aspect of the operation from the ground up, permitting us full control over the smallest details. In addition to a strict no logging policy we run a shared IP configuration that provides an added layer of anonymity to all users. With hundreds of active sessions sharing a single IP address at any given time it becomes impossible to back trace usage.

2. At the time of this writing our headquarters currently operates from the United States. Due to the lack of data retention laws in the US, our legal team has determined this location to be in the best interest of privacy for the time being. Although TorGuard’s HQ is in the US, we take the commitment to user privacy seriously and will uphold this obligation at all costs, even if it means transferring services or relocating company assets.

3. Our network team uses a combination of open source monitoring apps and custom developed tools to mitigate any ongoing abuse of our services. This allows us to closely monitor server load and uptime so we can pinpoint and resolve potential problems quickly. If abuse reports are received from an upstream provider, we block them in real-time by employing various levels of firewall rules to large blocks of servers. Should these methods fail, our team is quick to recycle entire IP blocks and re-deploy new servers as a last resort.

4. For basic troubleshooting and customer service purposes we utilize Livechatinc for our chat support. TorGuard staff does make use of Google Apps for company email, however no identifying client information like passwords, or billing info is ever shared among either of these platforms. All clients retain full control over account changes in our secure member’s area without any information passing through an insecure channel.

5. Because we do not host any content it is not possible for us to remove anything from a server. In the event a DMCA notice is received it is immediately processed by our abuse team. Due to our shared network configuration we are unable to forward any requests to a single user. In order to satisfy legal requirements from bandwidth providers we may temporarily block infringing protocols, ports, or IPs.

6. If a court order is received, it is first handled by our legal team and examined for validity in our jurisdiction. Should it be deemed valid, our legal representation would be forced to further explain the nature of a shared IP configuration and the fact that we do not hold any identifying logs. No, we remain unable to identify any active user from an external IP address and time stamp.

7. No, at this time we do not have a warrant canary.

8. Yes, TorGuard was designed with the BitTorrent enthusiast in mind. P2P is allowed on all servers, although for best performance we suggest using locations that are optimized for torrents. Users can find these servers clearly labeled in our VPN software.

9. We currently accept over 200 different payment options through all forms of credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, altcoins (e.g. dogecoin, litecoin + more), Paysafecard, Alipay, CashU, Gift Cards, and many other methods. No usage can be linked back to a billing account due to the fact that we maintain zero logs across our network.

10. For best security we advise clients to use OpenVPN connections only and for encryption use AES256 with 2048bit RSA. Additionally, TorGuard VPN offers “Stealth” protection against DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) interference from a nosey ISP so you can access the open web freely even from behind the Great Firewall of China. These options are available on select locations and offer excellent security due to the cryptography techniques used to obfuscate traffic. Our VPN software uses OpenVPN exclusively and features built in DNS leak protection, an App Killswitch, and a connection Killswitch. We have also just released a built in WebRTC leak block feature for Windows Vista/7/8 users.

11. Yes, we offer private, no log DNS servers which can be obtained by contacting our support desk. By default we also use Google DNS and OpenDNS for performance reasons on select servers.

12. TorGuard currently maintains 1000+ servers in over 44 countries around the world and we continue to expand the network every month. We retain full physical control over all hardware and only seek partnerships with data centers who can meet our strict security criteria. All servers are deployed and managed exclusively by our in house networking team via a single, secure key. We have servers in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA, and Vietnam.

TorGuard website

IPVanish

ipvanish1. IPVanish has a zero-log policy. We keep NO traffic logs on any customer, ever.

2. IPVanish is headquartered in the US and thus operates under US law.

3. IPVanish monitors CPU utilization, bandwidth and connection counts. When thresholds are passed, a server may be removed from rotation as to not affect other users.

4. IPVanish does not use any external support tools that hold user information. We do, however, operate an opt-in newsletter that is hosted at Constant Contact. Customers are in no way obligated to sign up for the newsletter.

5. IPVanish keeps no logs of any user’s activity and responds accordingly.

6. IPVanish, like every other company, follows the law in order to remain in business. Only US law applies.

7. No.

8. P2P is permitted. IPVanish does not block or throttle any ports, protocols, servers or any type of traffic whatsoever.

9. Bitcoin, PayPal and all major credit cards are accepted. Payments and service use are in no way linked. User authentication and billing info are also managed on completely different and independent platforms.

10. We recommend OpenVPN with 256 bit AES as the most secure VPN connection and encryption algorithm. IPVanish’s service and software also currently provide DNS leak prevention. We are developing a kill switch in upcoming releases of our software.

11. IPVanish does use its own DNS servers. Local DNS is handled by the server a user connects to.

12. IPVanish is one of the only tier-1 VPN networks, meaning we own and operate every aspect of our VPN platform, including physical control of our VPN servers. This gives IPVanish users security and speed advantages over other VPN services. IPVanish servers can be found in over 60 countries including the US, UK, Canada, Netherlands and Australia.

IPVanish website

IVPN

ivpn1. No, this is fundamental to the service we provide. It is also in our interests not to do so as it minimizes our own liability.

2. Gibraltar. In 2014 we decided to move the company from Malta to Gibraltar in light of the new 2015 EU VAT regulations which affect all VPN service providers based in the EU. The EU VAT regulations now require companies to collect two pieces of non-conflicting evidence about the location of a customer; this would be at a minimum the customer’s physical address and IP address.

3. We have built a number of bespoke systems over the last 5 years as we’ve encountered and addressed most types of abuse. At a high level we use Zabbix, an open-source monitoring tool that alerts us to incidents. As examples we have built an anti-spam rate-limiter based on iptables so we don’t have to block any email ports and forked a tool called PSAD which allows us to detect attacks originating from our own network in real time.

4. No. We made a strategic decision from the beginning that no company or customer data would ever be stored on 3rd party systems. Our customer support software, email, web analytics (Piwik), issue tracker, monitoring servers, code repo’s, configuration management servers etc. all run on our own dedicated servers that we setup, configure and manage.

5. Our legal department sends a reply stating that we do not store content on our servers and that our VPN servers act only as a conduit for data. In addition, we never store the IP addresses of customers connected to our network nor are we legally required to do so.

6. That would depend on the information with which we were provided. If asked to identify a customer based on a timestamp and/or IP address then we would reply factually that we do not store this information, so we are unable to provide it. If they provide us with an email address and asked for the customer’s identity then we reply that we do not store any personal data, we only store a customer’s email address. If the company were served with a valid court order that did not breach the Data Protection Act 2004 we could only confirm that an email address was or was not associated with an active account at the time in question. We have never been served with a valid court order.

7. Yes absolutely, we’ve published a canary since August 2014.

8. Yes, we don’t block BitTorrent or any other protocol on any of our servers. We do kindly request that our customers use non-USA based exit servers for P2P. Any company receiving a large number of DMCA notices is exposing themselves to legal action and our upstream providers have threatened to disconnect our servers in the past.

9. We accept Bitcoin, Cash and Paypal. When using cash there is no link to a user account within our system. When using Bitcoin, we store the Bitcoin transaction ID in our system. If you wish to remain anonymous to IVPN you should take the necessary precautions when purchasing Bitcoin (See part 7 of our advanced privacy guides). With Paypal we store the subscription ID in our system so we can associate incoming subscription payments. This information is deleted immediately when an account is terminated.

10. We provide RSA-4096 / AES-256 with OpenVPN, which we believe is more than secure enough for our customers’ needs. If you are the target of a state level adversary or other such well-funded body you should be far more concerned with increasing your general opsec than worrying about 2048 vs 4096 bit keys. The IVPN client offers an advanced VPN firewall that blocks every type of IP leak possible (DNS, network failures, WebRTC STUN, IPv6 etc.). It also has an ‘always on’ mode that will be activated on boot before any process on the computer starts. This will ensure than no packets are ever able to leak outside of the VPN tunnel.

11. Yes. Once connected to the VPN all DNS requests are sent to our pool of internal recursive DNS servers. We do not use forwarding DNS servers that forward the requests to a public DNS server such as OpenDNS or Google.

12. We use dedicated servers leased from 3rd party data centers in each country where we have a presence. We employ software controls such as full disk encryption and no logging to ensure that if a server is ever seized it’s data is worthless. We also operate a multi-hop network so customers can choose an entry and exit server in different jurisdictions to make the adversaries job of correlating the traffic entering and exiting our network significantly more complicated. We have servers located in Switzerland, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Romania, France, Hong-Kong, USA, UK and Canada.

IVPN website

PrivateVPN

privatevpn1.We don’t keep ANY logs that allow us or a 3rd party to match an IP address and a time stamp to a user of our service. The only thing we log are e-mails and user names but it’s not possible to bind an activity on the Internet to a user on PrivateVPN.

2. We operate in Swedish jurisdiction.

3. If there’s abuse, we advise that service to block our IP in the first instance, and second, we can block traffic to the abused service.

4. No. We use a service from Provide Support (ToS) for live support. They do not hold any information about the chat session. From Provide support: Chat conversation transcripts are not stored on Provide Support chat servers. They remain on the chat server for the duration of the chat session, then optionally sent by email according to the user account settings, and then destroyed.

5. This depends on the country in which we’re receiving a DMCA takedown. For example, we’ve received a DMCA takedown for UK and Finland and our response was to close P2P traffic in those countries.

6. If we get a court order to monitor a specific IP then we need to do it, and this applies to every VPN company out there.

7. We’re working on a solution where we publish a statement that we haven’t received legal process. One we receive a legal process, this canary statement is removed.

8. Yes, we allow Torrent traffic.

9. PayPal, Payson, 2Chrckout and Bitcoin. Every payment has an order number, which is linked to a user. Otherwise we wouldn’t know who has made a payment. To be clear, you can’t link a payment to an IP address you get from us.

10. OpenVPN TUN with AES-256. On top is a 2048-bit DH key. For our Windows VPN client, we have a feature called “Connection guard”, which will close a selected program(s) if the connection drop. We have no tools for DNS leak but we’re working on a protection that detects the DNS leak and fixes this by changing to a secure DNS server.

11. We use a DNS from Censurfridns.

12. We have physical control over our servers and network in Sweden. All other servers and networks are hosted by ReTN, Kaia Global Networks, Leaseweb, FDCServers, Blix, Zen systems, Wholesale Internet, Creanova, UK2, Fastweb, Server.lu, Selectel, Amanah and Netrouting. We have servers located in: Sweden, United States, Switzerland, Great Britain, France, Denmark, Luxembourg, Finland, Norway, Romania, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, Canada and Ukraine.

PrivateVPN website

PRQ

1. No

2. Swedish

3. Our own.

4. No

5. We do not care about DMCA.

6. We only require a working e-mail address to be a customer, no other information is kept.

7. No.

8. As long as the usage doesn’t violate the ToS, we do not care.

9. None of the payment methods are linked to a user.

10. OpenVPN, customers have to monitor their service/usage.

11. Yes.

12. Everything is inhouse in Sweden.

PRQ website

Mullvad

mullvad1. No. This would make both us and our users more vulnerable so we certainly don’t. To make it harder to watch the activities of an IP address from the outside we also have many users sharing addresses, both for IPv4 and IPv6.

2. Swedish.

3. We don’t monitor our users. In the rare cases of such egregious network abuse that we can’t help but notice (such as DoS attacks) we stop it using basic network tools.

4. We do use external providers and encourage people sending us email to use PGP encryption, which is the only effective way to keep email somewhat private. The decrypted content is only available to us.

5. There is no such Swedish law that is applicable to us.

6. We get requests from governments from time to time. They never get any information about our users. We make sure not to store sensitive information that can be tied to publicly available information, so that we have nothing to give out. We believe it is not possible in Swedish law to construct a court order that would compel us to actually give out information about our users. Not that we would anyway. We started this service for political reasons and would rather discontinue it than having it work against its purpose.

7. Under current Swedish law there is no way for them to force us to secretly act against our users so a warrant canary would serve no purpose. Also, we would not continue to operate under such conditions anyway.

8. Yes.

9. Bitcoin (we were the first service to accept it), cash (in the mail), bank transfers, and PayPal / credit cards. Payments are tied to accounts but accounts are just random numbers with no personal information attached that users can create at will. With the anonymous payments possible with cash and Bitcoin it can be anonymous all the way.

10. OpenVPN (using the Mullvad client program). Regarding crypto, ideally we would recommend Ed25519 for certificates, Curve25519 for key exchange (ECDHE), and ChaCha20-Poly1305 for data streams but that suite isn’t supported by OpenVPN. We therefore recommend and by default use RSA-2048, D-H (DHE) and AES-256-CBC-SHA. We have a “kill switch,” DNS leak protection and IPv6 leak protection (and IPv6 tunnelling).

11. Yes, we use our own DNS servers.

12. We have a range of servers. From on one end servers lovingly assembled and configured by us with ambitious physical security in data centers owned and operated by people we trust personally and whose ideology we like. On the other end rented hardware in big data centers. Which to use depends on the threat model and performance requirements. Currently we have servers hosted by GleSYS Internet Services, 31173 Services and Leaseweb in Sweden, the Netherlands, USA and Germany.

Mullvad website

BolehVPN

bolehvpn1. No.

2. Malaysia. This may change in the near future and we will post an announcement when this is confirmed.

3. We do monitor general traffic patterns to see if there is any unusual activity that would warrant a further investigation.

4. We use ZenDesk and Zopim but are moving to use OSTicket which is open source. This should happen in the next 1-2 months.

5. Generally we work with the providers to resolve the issue and we have never given up any of our customer information. Generally we terminate our relationship with the provider if this is not acceptable. Our US servers under DMCA jurisdiction or UK (European equivalent) have P2P locked down.

6. This has not happened yet but we do not keep any user logs so there is not much that can be provided especially if the payment is via an anonymous channel. One of our founders is a lawyer so such requests will be examined on their validity and we will resist such requests if done without proper cause or legal backing.

7. Yes.

8. Yes it is allowed except on those marked Surfing-Streaming only which are restricted either due to the provider’s policies or limited bandwidth.

9. We use MolPay, PayPal, Coinbase, Coinpayments and direct deposits. On our system it is only marked with the Invoice ID, the account it’s for, the method of payment and whether it’s paid or not. We however of course do not have control of what is stored with the payment providers.

10. Our Cloak configurations implement 256 bit AES and a SHA-512 HMAC combined with a scrambling obfuscation layer. We do have a lock down/kill switch feature and DNS leak protection.

11. Yes we do use our own DNS servers.

12. Our VPN servers are hosted by third parties however for competitive reasons, we rather not mention our providers (not that it would be hard to find out with some digging). However none of these servers hold anything sensitive as they are authenticated purely using PKI infrastructure and as long as our users regularly update their configurations they should be fine. We do however have physical control over the servers that handle our customer’s information.

BolehVPN website

NordVPN

nordvpn1. Do we keep logs? What is that? Seriously, we have a strict no-logs policy over our customers. The only information we keep is customers’ e-mail addresses which are needed for our service registration (we keep the e-mail addresses until the customer closes the account).

2. NordVPN is based out of Panama.

3. No tools are used to monitor our customers in any case. We are only able to see the servers’ load, which helps us optimize our service and provide the best possible Internet speed to our users.

4. We use the third-party live support tool, but it is not linked to the customers’ accounts.

5. When we receive any type of legal notices, we cannot do anything more than to ignore them, simply because they have no legal bearing to us. Since we are based in Panama, all legal notices have to be dealt with according to Panamanian laws first. Luckily they are very friendly to Internet users.

6.If we receive a valid court order, firstly it would have to comply with the laws of Panama. In that case, the court settlement should happen in Panama first, however were this to happen, we would not be able to provide any information because we keep exactly nothing about our users.

7. We do not have a warrant canary or any other alert system, because as it was mentioned above, we operate under the laws of Panama and we guarantee that any information about our customers will not be distributed to any third party.

8. We do not restrict any BitTorrent or other file-sharing applications on most of our servers.

9. We accept payments via Bitcoin, Credit Card, PayPal, Banklink, Webmoney (Paysera). Bitcoin is the best payment option to maintain your anonymity as it has only the paid amount linked to the client. Users who purchase services via PayPal are linked with the usual information the seller can see about the buyer.

10. We have high anonymity solutions which we would like to recommend to everyone seeking real privacy. One of them is Double VPN. The traffic is routed through at least two hoops before it reaches the Internet. The connection is encrypted within two layers of cipher AES-256-CBC encryption. Another security solution – Tor over VPN. Firstly, the traffic is encrypted within NordVPN layer and later sent to the Tor network and exits to the Internet through one of the Tor exit relays. Both of these security solutions give a great encryption and anonymity combination. The benefit of using these solutions is that the chances of being tracked are eliminated. In addition, you are able to access .onion websites when connected to Tor over VPN. Furthermore, our regular servers have a strong encryption which is 2048bit SSL for OpenVPN protocol, AES-256bit for L2TP.

In addition to that, we have advanced security solutions, such as the “kill switch” and DNS leak protection which provide the maximum possible security level for our customers.

11. NordVPN has its own DNS servers, also our customers can use any DNS server they like.

12. Our servers are outsourced and hosted by a third parties. Currently our servers are in 26 countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Netherlands, Panama, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

NordVPN website

TorrentPrivacy


1. We don’t keep any logs with IP addresses. The only information we save is an email. It’s impossible to connect specific activity to a user.

2. Our company is under Seychelles jurisdiction.

3. We do not monitor any user’s traffic or activity for any reason.

4. We use third-party solutions for user communications and emailing. Both are running on our servers.

5. We have small amount of abuses. Usually we receive them through email and all of them are bot generated. As we don’t keep any content we just answer that we don’t have anything or ignore them.

6. It has never happened for 8 years. We will ignore any requests from all jurisdiction except Seychelles. We have no information regarding our customers’ IP addresses and activity on the Internet.

7. No, we don’t bother our users.

8. Yes we support all kind of traffic on all servers.

9. We are using PayPal but payment as a fact proves nothing. Also we are going to expand our payment types for the crypto currencies in the nearest future.

10. We are recommending to use the most simple and secure way — OpenVPN with AES-256 encryption. To protect the torrent downloads we suggest to create a proxy SSH tunnel for your torrent client. In this case you are encrypting only your P2P connection when your browser or Skype uses your default connection. When using standard VPN in case of disconnection your data flows unencrypted. Implementing our SSH tunnel will save from such leaking cause traffic will be stopped.

11. Yes. We are using our own DNS servers.

12. We use third party datacenters for VPN and SSH data transmission in the USA, UK and Netherlands. The whole system is located on our own servers.

TorrentPrivacy website

Proxy.sh

proxy1. We do not keep any log at all.

2. Republic of Seychelles. And of course, every jurisdiction where each of our servers are, for their specific cases.

3. IPtables, TCPdump and Wireshark, for which their use is always informed at least 24 hours in advance via our Network Alerts and/or Transparency Report.

4. All our emails, panels and support are in-house. We host our own WHMCS instance for billing and support. We host server details, project management and financial management on Redmine that we of course self-run. The only third-party connections we have are Google Analytics and Google Translate on our public website (not panel), for obvious convenience gains, but the data they fetch can easily be hidden or faked. We may also sometimes route email through Mandrill but never with user information. We also have our OpenVPN client’s code hosted at Github, but this is because we are preparing to open source it.

5. We block the affected port and explain to upstream provider and/or complainant that we cannot identify the user who did the infringement, and we can therefore not pass the notice on. We also publish a transparency report and send a copy to the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse. If there are too many infringements, we may block all ports and strengthen firewall rules to satisfy upstream provider, but this may lead us to simply drop the server on short-term due to it becoming unusable.

6. We first post the court order to public and inform our users through our blog, much-followed Twitter account, transparency report and/or network alert. If we are unable to do so, we use our warrant canary. Then, we would explain to the court that we have no technical capacity to identify the user and we are ready to give access to competent and legitimate forensic experts. To this date, no valid court order has been received and acknowledged by us.

7. Yes, proxy.sh/canary.

8. We do not discriminate activity across our network. We are unable to decrypt traffic to differentiate file-sharing traffic from other activities, and this would be against our ethics anyway. The use of BitTorrent and similar is solely limited to the fact you can whether open/use the ports you wish for it on a selected server.

9. We support hundreds of payment methods, from PayPal to Bitcoin through SMS to Ukash and Paysafecard. We use third-party payment providers who handle and carry themselves the payments and the associated user information needed for them (e.g. a name with a credit card). We never have access to those. When we need to identify a payment for a user, we always need to ask him or her for references (to then ask the payment provider if the payment exists) because we do not originally have them. Last but not least, we also have an option to kill accounts and turn them into completely anonymous tokens with no panel or membership link at all, for the most paranoid customers (in the positive sense of the term).

10. We currently provide Serpent in non-stable & limited beta and it is the strongest encryption algorithm we have. We also openly provide to our experienced users ECDH curve secp384r1 and curve22519 through a 4096-bit Diffie-Hellman key. We definitely recommend such a setup but it requires software compiling skills (you need OpenVPN’s master branch). This setup also allows you to enjoy OpenVPN’s XOR capacity for scrambling traffic. We also provide integration of TOR’s obfsproxy for similar ends. Finally, for more neophyte users, we provide 4096-bit RSA as default standard. It is the strongest encryption that latest stable OpenVPN provides. Cipher and hash are the strongest available and respectively 256-bit CBC/ARS and SHA512. Our custom OpenVPN client of course provides a kill switch and DNS leak protection.

11. Yes, we provide our own OpenNIC DNS servers as well as DNSCrypt capacity.

12. We use a mix of collocation (physically-owned), dedicated and virtual private servers – also known as a private/public cloud combination. All our VPN servers are running from RAM and are disintegrated on shutdown or reboot. About two-third of them are in the public cloud (especially for most exotic locations). Our network spans across more than 40 countries.

Proxy.sh website

HideIPVPN

hideipvpn1. We have revised our policy. Currently we store no logs related to any IP address. There is no way for any third-party to match user IP to any specific activity in the internet.

2. We operate under US jurisdiction.

3. We would have to get into details of each individual point of our ToS. For basics like P2P and torrent traffic on servers that do not allow for such transmissions or connecting to more than three VPN servers at the same time by the same user account. But we do not monitor users’ traffic. Also, since our users use shared IP address of VPN server, there is no way any third party could connect any online activity to a user’s IP address.

4. We are using Google apps for incoming mail and our own mail server for outgoing mail.

5. Since no information is stored on any of our servers there is nothing that we can take down. We reply to the data center or copyright holder that we do not log our users’ traffic and we use shared IP-addresses, which make impossible to track who downloaded any data from the internet using our VPN.

6. We would reply that we do not have measures that would us allow to identify a specific user. It has not happened so far.

7. Currently not. We will consider if our customers would welcome such a feature. So far we have never been asked for such information.

8. This type of traffic is welcomed on our German (DE VPN) and Dutch (NL VPN) servers. It is not allowed on US, UK and Canada servers as stated in our ToS – reason for this is our agreements with data centers. We also have a specific VPN plan for torrents.

9. Currently HideIPVPN accepts the following methods: PayPal, Bitcoin, Credit & Debit cards, AliPay, Web Money, Yandex Money, Boleto Bancario, Qiwi.

10. We would say SoftEther VPN protocol looks very promising and secure. Users can currently use our VPN applications on Windows and OSX systems. Both versions have a “kill switch” feature in case connection drops. Also, our apps are able to re-establish VPN connection and once active restart closed applications.

Currently our software does not provide DNS leak protection. However a new version of VPN client is in the works and will be updated with such a feature. We can let you know once it is out. At this time we can say it will be very soon.

11. For VPN we use Google DNS servers, and for SmartDNS we use our own DNS servers.

12. We don’t have physical control of our VPN servers. Servers are outsourced in premium datacenters with high quality tier1 networks. Countries now include – US/UK/NL/DE/CA

HideIPVPN website

BTGuard

btguard1. We do not keep any logs whatsoever.

2. United States

3. Custom programs that analyze traffic on the fly and do not store logs.

4. No, all data is stored on servers we control.

5. We do not have any open incoming ports, so it’s not possible for us to “takedown” any broadcasting content.

6. We would take every step within the law to fight such an order and it has never happened.

7. No.

8. Yes, all types of traffic our allowed with our services.

9. We accept PayPal and Bitcoin. All payments are linked to users’ accounts because they have to be for disputes and refunds.

10. We recommend OpenVPN and 128-bit blowfish. We offer instructions for some third party VPN monitoring software.

11. We use our own DNS servers.

12. We have physical control over all our servers. Our servers we offer services with are located in the Netherlands, Canada, and Singapore. Our mail servers are located in Luxembourg.

BTGuard website

SlickVPN

slickvpn1. SlickVPN does not log any traffic nor session data of any kind.

2. We operate a complex business structure with multiple layers of Offshore Holding Companies, Subsidiary Holding Companies, and finally some Operating Companies to help protect our interests. We will not disclose the exact hierarchy of our corporate structures, but will say the main marketing entity for our business is based in the United States of America and an operational entity is based out of Nevis.

3. We do not monitor any customer’s activity in any way. We have chosen to disallow outgoing SMTP which helps mitigate SPAM issues.

4. No. We do utilize third party email systems to contact clients who opt in for our newsletters.

5. If a valid DMCA complaint is received while the offending connection is still active, we stop the session and notify the active user of that session, otherwise we are unable to act on any complaint as we have no way of tracking down the user. It is important to note that we ALMOST NEVER receive a VALID DMCA complaint while a user is still in an active session.

6. Our customer’s privacy is of top most importance to us. We are required to comply with all valid court orders. We would proceed with the court order with complete transparency, but we have no data to provide any court in any jurisdiction. We would not rule out relocating our businesses to a new jurisdiction if required.

7. Yes. We maintain a passive warrant canary, updated weekly, and are investigating a way to legally provide a passive warrant canary which will be customized on a “per user” basis, allowing each user to check their account status individually. It is important to note that the person(s) responsible for updating our warrant canary are located outside of any of the countries where our servers are located.

8. Yes, all traffic is allowed.

9. We accept PayPal, Credit Cards, Bitcoin, Cash, and Money Orders. We keep user authentication and billing information on independent platforms. One platform is operated out of the United States of America and the other platform is operated out of Nevis. We offer the ability for the customer to permanently delete their payment information from our servers at any point. All customer data is automatically removed from our records shortly after the customer ceases being a paying member.

10. We recommend using OpenVPN if at all possible (available for Windows, Apple, Linux, iOS, Android) and it uses the AES-256-CBC algorithm for encryption.

Our Windows and Mac client incorporates IP and DNS leak protection which prevents DNS leaks and provides better protection than ordinary ‘kill-switches’. Our IP leak protection proactively keeps your IP from leaking to the internet. This was one of the first features we discussed internally when we were developing our network, it is a necessity for any good VPN provider.

11. Yes.

12. We run a mix. We physically control some of our server locations where we have a heavier load. Other locations are hosted with third parties until we have enough traffic in that location to justify racking our own server setup. To ensure redundancy, we host with multiple providers in each location. We have server locations in over forty countries. In all cases, our network nodes load over our encrypted network stack and run from ramdisk. Anyone taking control of the server would have no usable data on the disk. We run an algorithm to randomly reboot each server on a regular basis so we can clear the ramdisk.

SlickVPN website

OctaneVPN

octane1. No. We cannot locate an individual user by IP address and timestamp. There are no logs written to disk on our gateways.

The gateway servers keep the currently authenticated customers in the server’s RAM so they can properly connect and route incoming traffic to those customers. Obviously, if a server is powered down or restarted, the contents of the RAM are lost. We keep gateway performance data such as CPU loading, I/O rates and maximum simultaneous connections so that we can manage and optimize our network.

2. We operate two independent companies with different ownership structures – a network operations company and a marketing company. The network operations company operates out of Nevis. The marketing company operates under US jurisdiction and manages the website, customer accounts and support. The US company has no access to network operations and the Nevis company has no customer account data.

3. We are not in the business of monitoring customer traffic in any way. Spam emails were our biggest issue and early on we decided to prevent outgoing SMTP. Otherwise, the only other abuse tools we use are related to counting the number of active connections authenticated on an account to control account sharing issues. We use a NAT firewall on incoming connections to our gateways to add an extra layer of security for our customers.

4. No. We do use a service to send generic emails.

5. Due to the structure of our network operations company, it is unusual that we would receive a notice. There should be no cause for the marketing company to receive a notice. If we receive a DMCA notice or its equivalent based on activity that occurred in the past, we respond that we do not host any content and have no logs.

If we receive a DMCA notice based on very recent activity and the customer’s current VPN session during which it was generated is still active on the gateway, we may put the account on hold temporarily and notify the customer. No customer data is used to respond to DMCA notices.

6. Our customers’ privacy is a top priority for us. We would proceed with a court order with complete transparency. A court order would likely be based on an issue traced to a gateway server IP address and would, therefore, be received by our our network operations company which is Nevis based. The validity of court orders from other countries would be difficult to enforce. The network company has no customer data.

Our marketing company is US based and would respond to an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction. The marketing company does not have access to any data related to network operations or user activity, so there is not much information that a court order could reveal. This has not happened.

7. We are discussing internally and reviewing existing law related to how gag orders are issued to determine the best way to offer this measure of customer confidence.

8. Yes. We operate with network neutrality except for outgoing SMTP.

9. Bitcoin and other cryptocurriences such as Darkcoin, Credit/Debit Card, and PayPal. If complete payment anonymity is desired, we suggest using Bitcoin, DarkCoin, or a gift/disposable credit card. Methods such as PayPal or Credit/Debit card are connected to an account token so that future renewal payments can be properly processed and credited. We allow customers to edit their account information. With our US/Nevis operating structure, customer payment systems information is separate from network operations.

10. We recommend using the AES-256-CBC cipher with OpenVPN, which is used with our client. IPSec is available for native Apple device support and PPTP is offered for other legacy devices, but OpenVPN offers the best security and speed and is our recommended protocol

We provide both DNS and IP leak protection in our Windows and Mac OctaneVPN client. Our OpenVPN based client’s IP leak protection works by removing all routes except the VPN route from the device when the client has an active VPN connection. This a better option than a ‘kill switch’ because our client ensures the VPN is active before it allows any data to leave the device, whereas a ‘kill switch’ typically monitors the connection periodically, and, if it detects a drop in the VPN connection, reacts.

11. Yes and we physically control them. You can choose others if you prefer.

12. In our more active gateway locations, we colocate. In locations with lower utilization, we normally host with third parties until volume at that location justifies a physical investment there. The hosted locations may have different providers based on geography. We operate gateways in over 44 countries and 90 cities. Upon booting, all our gateways load over our encrypted network from a master node and operate from encrypted ramdisk. If an entity took physical control of a gateway server, the ramdisk is encrypted and would vanish upon powering down.

OctaneVPN website

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

TorrentFreak: Torrent Sites Shut Down After Swedish Police Arrest Five

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

swedpoliceIt’s been just over two months since Swedish police carried out a dramatic raid that took the infamous Pirate Bay offline. While the action certainly had an impact on its raid-proof reputation, the torrent site rose from the ashes two weeks ago with its databases largely intact.

While that resurrection must’ve been a blow to Swedish authorities, action against torrent sites is far from over. As the investigation into The Pirate Bay and former operator Fredrik Neij continues, police have struck again in the notorious torrent site’s backyard. In common with December’s raid, local authorities are providing a bare minimum of details.

“We have made ​​significant seizures, but I will not say more than that,” said prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist.

It is known that five people are in police custody under suspicion of being involved in the unlawful distribution of copyrighted movies. While it’s yet to be confirmed, the investigation will almost certainly have been launched at the behest of the major Hollywood studios and local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance.

One of the sites targeted is Tankafetast, Sweden’s second largest torrent site. It’s been hit before, at least a couple of times, but has always managed to reappear. This time the situation seems more serious.

Also down is torrent site PirateHub and streaming portal Tankefetast Play. The latter is currently redirecting to the same political site as its namesake.

Promotional image previously released by Tankafetast

tankafetast

While confirming that an investigation into PirateHub had been ongoing for some time, Ljungqvist did not reveal whether equipment such as servers had been seized in the latest operation. When quizzed about the downtime of the sites listed above, however, the prosecutor said that they’d been disabled by their operators.

“It is not us who have taken down the sites, it is they themselves who did so in order to prevent further crime,” Ljungqvist said.

dreamfilmIf that is indeed the case, the development has clear parallels with the news last week concerning streaming portal DreamFilm.se. The operators of that site reported that after one of their admins was arrested the site did a deal with police to close down voluntarily.

While that didn’t go quite to plan, with some admins leaving to start a new venture with a similar name, it’s possible that the replacement URL won’t be reported on the old DreamFilm.se homepage for long. According to IDG, the prosecution in the case has now filed a motion at the district court in Linköping for that domain name to be forfeited.

As reported earlier this week, two Pirate Bay domain names are also under threat, with authorities targeting the Punkt SE registry with pioneering legal action to have the domains revoked and/or seized by the state.

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

TorrentFreak: Peter Sunde: Pirate Bay Still Has The Right To Defend Itself

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

pirate bayThe .SE registry targeted in the prosecutor’s case does not want to take this action. They look at it as removing a street address on the basis that a crime was committed there.

But they’re all making it so simple. The fact is that, even though I despise the current version of The Pirate Bay, nothing illegal happens there. And actually, no such case has even been tried as the case against me and the others a few years back was about a totally different version of TPB.

The technology back then was different and the verdicts handed down referenced the fact that three separate parts of the system were in play in order to breach copyright. First the search engine (which is still there), then a tracking system (which was removed many years ago) and a database of .torrent files (which was removed years ago too).

This means that TPB today is in a totally different technical state than it was in the previous (and also very corrupt) court case. It also means that there’s no relevant court case to reference today, the system just looks the same to the users – and the prosecution and judges might have a hard time to understand that.

Essentially today’s TPB is similar to any other search engine. The court case in Sweden could just as well talk about Google.se as a domain name instead, since they also link to material that might breach copyright. But, actually, Google show you parts of that content, not just metadata about it.

Obviously this would be considered a ludicrous case and would be thrown out, but everything regarding TPB scared the shit out of the Swedish government because of pressure from the United States of America. Just look at how the first raid happened.

But the biggest threat against the Internet is that the state is going after the .SE registry and not the “perp” itself. It means that no one can come and defend TPB’s case in a court of law and point out the flaws in the prosecutor’s thinking. The .SE registry has no interest (and should not have any either) in going into details about the actions of their customers.

The points I’ve mentioned here, and the fact that, at least during my time, most material on TPB was not violating copyright, will not be mentioned in this court case, because the people who should have a right to defend themselves are not invited to the case. Where’s the democracy in that?

These court cases where the real defendants are not invited have only happened a few times in The Pirate Bay’s history as I can recall – in China, Denmark and Saudi Arabia. All world-renowned champions of free speech and democracy.

About The Author

Peter Sunde is the former spokesperson of The Pirate Bay. He’s currently working for the micro-payment service Flattr, the encrypted chat client Heml.is and several other technology startups.

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

TorrentFreak: The Pirate Bay Domains Targeted in Legal Action

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

While it is technically possible to operate without one, domain names are considered vital for any mainstream website. Domains give a web service an identity and make them easy to find.

This is exactly what authorities in Sweden are now trying to deny The Pirate Bay.

Prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad, the man behind the now-famous operation to take the site down in December, is now spearheading the drive to shut down The Pirate Bay’s access to a pair of key domains. ThePirateBay.se and PirateBay.se are Ingblad’s targets, the former being the only domain currently being used by the site.

Originally filed at the District Court of Stockholm back in 2013, the motion targets Punkt SE, the organization responsible for Sweden’s top level .SE domain. Ingblad’s assertion is that since The Pirate Bay is acting illegally, domain names are necessarily part of that site’s ‘crimes’ and should be tackled like any other part of its infrastructure.

“A domain name is an aid for a site. When a site is used for criminal activities a domain is aiding crime,” Ingblad said.

While actions against domain names aren’t unprecedented in Sweden, this case is unique. Punkt SE (also referred to as the Internet Infrastructure Foundation) informs TorrentFreak that while two earlier actions targeted the owners of Swedish domain names, this is the first time that the prosecutor has targeted the .SE / IIS registrar directly.

“There have been two legal cases regarding forfeiture of domain names from the domain name holder (ikonm.se and [torrent site] xnt.nu). In the Pirate bay case the prosecutor wants to forfeit the domain names directly from .SE,” Punkt SE’s Maria Ekelund told TF.

Also of interest is Inglblad’s demands for the domains should he prevail. The prosecutor says that Punkt SE should at the least be forbidden from allowing anyone to register the domains in future or, preferably, they should be placed under control of the Swedish government.

“It is not our intention to impose any monitoring responsibility on Punkt SE. The best outcome is that the state takes over the domain,” Ingblad told DN.se.

At this point it’s worth noting how far removed Punkt SE are from any online infringement. In the original Pirate Bay criminal trial the site’s former operators were found guilty of assisting in copyright infringements carried out by the site’s users. In the current case Punkt SE are being accused of assisting people who were previously found guilty of assisting other people to commit copyright infringement.

Punkt SE CEO Danny Aerts previously noted that the case is unique.

“In the eyes of the prosecutor, .SE’s catalogue function has become some form of accomplice to criminal activity, a perspective that is unique in Europe as far as I know,” Aerts said.

“There are no previous cases of states suing a registry for abetting criminal activity or breaching copyright law.”

Frederick Ingblad agrees that the case is complicated.

“It is about fundamental rights versus the need to prevent crime online. It’s a balancing act, and ultimately it’s for the legislature to decide.”

A few moments ago Punkt SE told us that the case will be heard at the end of April, two years since its original filing in 2013.

“The serving of all the counterparties has taken a long time,” Maria Ekelund concludes.

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Site’s Deal With Police Backfires Massively

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

dreamfilm-polisWhile BitTorrent is considered the king when it comes to obtaining video online, there are other ways to obtain content that eclipse it in ease of use.

So-called ‘streaming’ sites have grown massively in popularity in recent years, largely due to the way they’re presented. Rather than the text-heavy indexes associated with large volume torrent sites, streaming portals present the latest movies and TV shows in a user-friendly interface with plenty of graphics.

What’s more, for the novice ‘pirate’ these sites are simplicity itself. Find a movie, click it, deal with the pop-ups, and in a few moments the latest blockbuster plays in a browser-based YouTube-style window. Even the Swedes, largely proud supporters of The Pirate Bay, have embraced the concept. Sadly for them, however, they’re now one sizable portal down.

In the wake of The Pirate Bay raid in December, Swedish police intensified their focus on one of the country’s top streaming portals, Dreamfilm.se. The site had been growing in popularity for some time but it appears that in recent weeks police had been homing in.

Early January everything seemed fairly normal when the site ran a promotion offering 100 movie tickets to fans who shared the picture below on Facebook. Plenty of people participated.

dreamfilm-polis

On January 14 the site published the Facebook links of 100 winners and requested that they send in their names and addresses to claim their prizes. But just a few weeks later and it’s now all over for Dreamfilm.

“After an administrator was detained and interrogated, it has been mutually agreed that dreamfilm.se will be shut down for good,” the site reveals in a statement.

“The police gave us an ultimatum, to shut down the site and be free, or to keep it online and be detained again.”

It seems that after an extended period trying to close the site, the authorities finally had the upper hand.

“Following controversial interrogation methods it was decided that the site and everything to do with it will be shut down for good. With this, all other administrators decided to resign altogether from the site’s operations with immediate effect,” the site’s operators add.

Thanking users for their dedication over the years, the admins bid farewell to the site and its members. Well, sort of…..

It appears that while some of the site’s admins agreed to close down the site, others did not give the police the same undertakings. They have now broken ranks and created a brand new venture. Today, DreamFilm.se is dead but DreamFilmHD.com lives on in its predecessor’s form.

“By the way, if you are film-goers, then that part of the crew who chose not to resign cloned [DreamFilm.se] to continue on their own,” the former admins say. “The administrators of DreamFilm.se do not in any way endorse this move, but the site is available at: DreamfilmHD.com.”

Sure enough, the replacement site at that address is more or less identical to the site now closed down following an agreement with the police. How this will be viewed by the authorities remains to be seen, but it’s a safe bet that this outcome wasn’t the one they’d hoped for.

At the time of publication Rights Alliance, the anti-piracy outfit behind most file-sharing site complaints in Sweden, had not responded to TorrentFreak’s request for comment.

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

TorrentFreak: The Pirate Bay Left Moldova Before Government Piracy Meeting

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

phoenix1The Pirate Bay is without doubt the most controversial file-sharing site ever to hit the Internet. Even Napster, still mentioned nearly 15 years after its demise, fails to eclipse the sheer number of headlines generated by The ‘Bay.

Throughout the site’s roller-coaster history, one element has remained constant. Sooner or later, one way or another, companies and organizations that provide infrastructure to the notorious site all come under the spotlight.

The latest Internet service provider to become associated with The Pirate Bay is Moldovan-based Trabia, the country’s largest datacenter. In January the ISP said that it supports freedom of speech and “barrier-free Internet usage” but noted that clients – Pirate Bay included – have to obey local and international laws.

It goes without saying that The Pirate Bay has rarely been associated with that kind of compliance so when the site came back online last Saturday, Trabia would’ve had good reasons to expect trouble. However, in the event, it did not do so from the company’s servers, Trabia has announced.

Trabia founder Sven Wiese says the operator of the infamous site contacted the ISP in January to inform the company that it would move to another location. While there’s no real reason to doubt Wiese’s word, it is now fairly difficult to backup the move with hard facts since, as usual, TPB is obfuscating its true location.

Speaking with Moldova.org, Wiese notes that The Pirate Bay is now ‘hosted’ with Cloudflare. While that’s not strictly true (the actual site is bound to be located in a separate hidden location), Cloudflare services are indeed providing a ‘front-end’ to the site.

It’s an interesting situation. After Hollywood pumped cash into Sweden to have local anti-piracy outfit Rights Alliance investigate and then raid The Pirate Bay in December, the site has not only resurrected itself but has boldly planted some of its infrastructure firmly in the studios’ backyard.

Use of U.S.-based Cloudflare is not without its issues and has certainly helped the conspiracy theorists. Earlier this week several large publications bought into the notion that The Pirate Bay is now an FBI honeypot. It’s not (and the site will discontinue using it soon) – but if simply using Cloudflare is a cause for concern, let the nail-biting begin.

In addition to the original Pirate Bay, many of the largest Pirate Bay clones and alternatives also use Cloudflare. They include ThePirateBay.com.ua, ThePirateBay.co.in, ThePirateBay.cr, ThePirateBayv2.org and ThePirateBay.lv. Even the largest of them all – OldPirateBay.org – uses Cloudflare in its setup.

Cloudflare hasn’t commented on The Pirate Bay’s use of its services but for Trabia over in Moldova, associations with the site are set to put piracy discussions back on the agenda. According to the State Agency for Intellectual Property (AGEPI), the hosting of the Pirate Bay in the country may have “boosted the notoriety” of Moldova overseas.

“In our country no one doubts that a thief who stole something must be arrested,” said AGEPI deputy Ion Tiganas. “We want to be considered as a country that has laws and where these laws are respected.”

Tiganas says that this month there will be a meeting to discuss intellectual property rights and as a result of The Pirate Bay’s foray into the country, the site will be on the agenda.

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

TorrentFreak: Italy Launches Largest Ever Pirate Site Blockade

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

guardiaAlongside the United Kingdom, Italy is the most aggressive country in the world when it comes to blocking websites on copyright infringement grounds.

Over the past several years dozens of domains have been censored locally and a new operation has upped that tally significantly following a complaint from a major broadcaster.

Sky Italia is a digital satellite television platform owned by Sky Plc, the TV company founded by Rupert Murdoch. 21st Century Fox owns a controlling 39% of the shares in Sky Plc and with a turnover of more than £7.6 billion ($11.41 billion) it’s one of the largest media companies in the world.

To protect its bottom line, in 2014 Sky Italia filed a complaint with authorities against more than 120 websites said to broadcast sporting events, concerts, music, plus film and television works without rightsholders’ permission.

A subsequent investigation was coordinated by the Public Prosecutor of Rome and entrusted to deputy prosecutors Nello Rossi and Eugenio Albamontes. Assistance was provided by the Special Unit for Broadcasting and Publishing (Nucleo Speciale Radiodiffusione Editoria).

Authorities say that pirate content was offered by the sites in a number of ways but streaming in particular, both of live events and via on-demand. Many provided helpful schedules to assist users with planning.

With all sites operating outside Italian territory, local authorities decided to take action to render them inaccessible in the country. A sweep was ordered by magistrate Gaspare Sturzo and this morning 124 websites are reported blocked via local Internet service providers.

The names of most sites hit in ‘Operation Match Off’ have not been released but authorities have pointed out that ‘sportlemon.tv’ was registered in the name of Gottfrid Svartholm. It seems unlikely that the Pirate Bay founder had any operational connections to the site but the domain was registered by PRQ, his former company in Sweden.

In common with previous cases, advertising is being blamed for the revenue generated by these unauthorized sites. The Guardia di Finanza (GdF), the law enforcement agency responsible for dealing with financial crime and whose Special Command Unit carried out the operation, said site users were met with aggressive ads and click-fraud techniques.

Italy has been working hard to counter the rise of advertising on pirate sites. Last summer a Memorandum of Understanding between the online advertising industry (including Google) and the music and movie industries signaled the creation of a central body to tackle the piracy issue.

But despite the agreement it was found that “known brands” were still advertising on the now-blocked sites. As a result authorities are now conducting an investigation into the agencies that placed the ads for companies in the financial, real estate, betting, retail and communications sector.

Enzo Mazza, chief of FIMI, Italy’s answer to the RIAA, said the action against the domains was welcome.

“The Fiscal Police from Rome carried out a very sophisticated operation including the economic angle of the case. This is the largest criminal action involving site blocking ever carried out,” Mazza told TorrentFreak.

“Some sites were also offering music concerts in addition to soccer and sport. We congratulate the special unit of the Fiscal Police and the public prosecutor from Rome for the operation.”

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

TorrentFreak: Men Tried for Extortion After Porn Download Threats

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

badtrollFor more than a decade copyright holders around the world have been doing their best to extract money from those who download content without permission. The RIAA were probably the pioneers but today it’s the adult industry making the most noise.

Porn is a convenient weapon in this landscape. Few people want their adult content viewing habits to be made public so the chances of targets paying up following an unauthorized download are anecdotally higher than for regular entertainment content.

Out to make as much money as possible, this assumption wasn’t lost on a group of adult business ‘entrepreneurs’ based in Sweden.

Operating out of the region of Skåne, two years ago the individuals began sending threatening communications to people they claimed had downloaded pornographic content from sites without permission. The websites in question were all operated by the men.

In total around 4,000 people all over Sweden received ‘invoices’ for alleged illegal downloads. Each were warned that if they failed to pay the amounts stipulated they would be reported to the police and their activities made public.

While some people paid, others decided to take action. According to SR.se, police received 1,000 complaints from members of the public ranging from 10-year-old children to pensioners.

After an investigation the police began to view the case as criminally motivated. As a result this week six men went on trial in the Malmö district court accused of generating around $240,000 via extortion and blackmail. During a break in proceedings one of the accused defended his actions.

“If people are stealing and taking things that do not belong to them they must face the consequences. It also applies to porn,” said Dennies Pettersson, one of the main defendants in the case.

In an article published in Nyheter24 this week, former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde said he hopes the men get convicted but wonders if the type of content involved affected the way the case was being handled.

“What I think is interesting and worth a little thought is how the situation would be if it were not porn but possibly pop music or Hollywood movies that had been downloaded? Who would’ve been the deceiver in the state’s eyes in that situation?” Sunde asks.

Due to the numbers of victims to be heard and its complexity (the investigation documents run to 20,000 pages) the Malmö district court has set aside a whole month to handle the case.

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

TorrentFreak: Police Seized 50 Servers in Pirate Bay Raid

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

The first major raid on The Pirate Bay took place on May 31 2006 in Stockholm, Sweden. It was a dramatic affair, with dozens of police involved, hardware seized and individuals arrested.

But while authorities previously shut down the ‘Bay in a blaze of glory while pressing the maximum publicity button (most probably to send a signal to the United States), this time around things were markedly different. Announcements, when they arrived, were much more considered – vague even.

“There has been a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm. This is in connection with violations of copyright law,” read a statement from Paul Pintér, police national coordinator for IP enforcement.

It seems likely that the more modest tone was the product of 12 years of virtual humiliation at the hands of the world’s most arrogant torrent site. Big announcements of raids and permanent closures are hard to retract when a site returns in 72 hours as it did following the raids in 2006.

This time around the raid was confirmed as taking place in a datacenter located in Nacka outside Stockholm, but very few details have been made available since. However, according to new information, police left no stone unturned to ensure that The Pirate Bay was properly taken down.

A witness to the raid has now confirmed that more than 10 officers turned up at the datacenter which, rather dramatically, is itself embedded into the side of a mountain just outside the capital.

Alongside regular law enforcement officials were a forensics team tasked with securing all available related digital evidence on site. Previously prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad said the investigation into the site would take months and now it’s becoming clear why that’s the case.

To ensure no piece of evidence was left behind, on December 9, 2014 the officers present seized around 50 servers under suspicion of being connected to The Pirate Bay. That’s somewhat more than the 21 virtual servers the site previously claimed to operate.

According to a source familiar with events last month, police not only took away servers that had been live at the time of the raid, but they also gained access to the datacenter’s storage rooms. From there officers seized old equipment, just in case any of it had been used to operate The Pirate Bay.

While shutting down the site was the main goal of the police, evidence is now being sifted through as part of a criminal investigation. Earlier this month prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad confirmed that the process would like take months to complete.

With that underway, speculation continues as to whether The Pirate Bay will ever return. Various hints and suggestions have been appearing on the site’s temporary homepage but as yet not a single torrent or magnet link has been indexed.

Nevertheless, the site remains massively popular. Understandably ThePirateBay.se took a massive hit in traffic when it stopped offering content in December but against all the odds the site is still attracting millions of visitors. According to Alexa, the site is still the 159th most-trafficked in the world.

tpb-traffic

Finally, as reported earlier this week, the site’s homepage was recently hosted in Moldova but protected by Cloudflare. While the anti-DDoS service is still in place, the site does not appear to be operational from its earlier IP address.

On the move already? Only eight days to find out…….

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

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay’s Fredrik Neij Wants You to Write Him a Letter

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

fredrik-neijFredrik Neij, also known as Tiamo, was one of the key players behind The Pirate Bay during its early years. Without him, the site might have never recovered from the first raid in 2006.

As with Peter Sunde and Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik’s involvement with the site eventually resulted in a prison sentence and a hefty fine.

After being on the run for two years he was arrested by Thai immigration authorities last November when he tried to cross the border from Laos. A few days later he flew to Sweden where he was transferred to a prison in Skänninge.

With several weeks now passed, TF has learned that Fredrik is doing well considering the circumstances. His wife and two kids are allowed to visit now, which must be a welcome distraction to monotonous prison life.

With a sentence of 10 months Fredrik will not be released before summer. Worryingly, he also has to face hacking allegations as well as a criminal referral of his ISP DCP Networks.

Considering the above, Fredrik won’t mind having some things to entertain himself. In a message sent to TF he signaled that it would be nice to receive letters, cards and other stuff from people all over the world.

Anything goes, the more mail arrives the better.

People who want to write Fredrik should use the address listed at the bottom of this article. Keep in mind though, all incoming mail will be checked by the authorities before he receives it.

Besides Fredrik, Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm also remains in prison. Last October he was convicted of hacking into the systems of IT company CSC and sentenced to 3.5 years.

TF spoke with Gottfrid’s mother Kristina who informed us that her son is being held in better conditions than before. He is allowed to receive books and his letters are no longer read by the police, but access to a computer or the Internet is still off-limits.

Gottfrid has officially appealed his sentence and these proceedings are scheduled to start in April. In the meantime, he too would love to receive mail.

The addresses of Gottfrid and Fredrik are listed below.

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg
Arresthuset i Koege
Kongsberg Allé 6
Dk4600 Koege, DENMARK

Fredrik Neij 14-514
Box 213
596 21 Skänninge
SWEDEN

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

TorrentFreak: Torrent Admins Get Probation But Face Millions in Damages

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

disney-pirateFive years ago, pressure was building against Swedish private torrent tracker ‘eXcelleNT’. The site, known to its users as XNT, had been on the radar of local anti-piracy outfits for some time, but had chosen not to shut down.

Behind the scenes, Swedish anti-piracy group Rights Alliance (then Antipiratbyrån) was closing in and early 2011 the group filed an official police complaint.

In May that year authorities pounced, arresting a man in Borlänge, Sweden, and another in the Stockholm area a day later. The site’s server was seized in Germany.

What followed was a wait of more than three years as the authorities prepared their case and in December the men went on trial. The pair were accused of making available more than 1,000 different movies and TV shows without permission from rightsholders including Warner Bros. and Disney.

Yesterday the verdict was handed down by the Falu District Court and it’s mixed news for the pair.

Although 1,050 titles were referenced in the case (an unusually large amount), the court only found the men guilty of copyright infringement in 28 cases. In the remaining 1,022 cases there was no proof that infringement had been committed.

This meant that rather than the hefty jail sentences demanded by the prosecutor, the 24 and 25-year-olds received probation and were ordered to complete 120 hours of community service instead.

Speaking with DN.se, prosecutor Frederick Ingblad, the man also running the case against The Pirate Bay, says he has not decided if he will appeal the decison.

“I think the sentence was low, but it’s good that they still got community service and not just probation,” Ingblad said.

But while probation is probably a relief to the men, another significant challenge lies ahead.

The judgment reveals that film company Nordisk Film has also filed a claim for damages amounting to some 18 million kronor ($2.2 million). This will be dealt with through a separate legal process handled by Rights Alliance.

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