Mirror campaigns? So 1990s….
Swedish spy authorities have taken legal action against a Brussels-based blogger who published a classified document purporting to prove they snooped on individual Swedes more than a decade ago.…
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)
The High Court judge who prompted sharp intakes of breath from newspaper editors when he awarded Max Mosley damages last week has now drawn sighs of relief from website owners, by blocking a web forum libel case that could have suffocated the flame wars that often rouse debate.…
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)
This is an article from: TorrentFreak
This week, ISPs agreed to work with the BPI to reduce file-sharing in the UK. When someone gets ‘caught’ the ISPs will send out a warning, 100% based on music industry provided ‘evidence’. Not even the ISPs know if the claims of the BPI are true, so the evidence is totally unchallenged, a perfect position for the music industry.
On Thursday, every type of media outlet in the UK – newspapers, Internet, radio shows, TV and teletext all bristled with the same news. Six major ISPs had agreed to start sending out warning letters to alleged file-sharers after the government ordered action to decrease online piracy.
Most people seem to be interested in what happens after a letter is received, but who decides who gets a letter in the first place? Well, that’s the self-appointed job of the BPI (the British Phonographic Industry), a completely commercial organization set up to serve the interests of the music business and they don’t want you to know (in any detail) how their file-sharing tracking systems work. The same systems would’ve been used should they have been successful in their demands for ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ yet there is zero transparency – everyone is supposed to blindly accept what they say as truth and that simply can’t be healthy.
In recent comments, a Carphone Warehouse spokesman further indicated that it is expected to take action against its customers based purely on the ‘evidence’ provided by the BPI. ‘What we have agreed to do is to write to our customers and advise them there’s been an alleged infringement,’ he said. ‘We’re very clear that we don’t know if that’s the case or not, we’ve just been told there has been and we want to advise them of that.’
So in a nutshell, the BPI provide all the ‘evidence’, and the ISPs have to blindly believe it and take action against their own customers. To think that a commercial organization like the BPI is allowed to provide its own unchallenged allegations in such a completely non-transparent manner is the real outrage in all of this. If the BPI is to be trusted with such power, it has to be held accountable. If it is to remain credible in its role as the ‘UK MP3 Police’ its systems must be opened up to public scrutiny. Once they are proved to be accurate by a panel of independent experts, then all well and good, but the fact remains that the BPI only give a vague indication of how they operate and have no intentions of elaborating.
Matt Philips, Director of Communications at the BPI refused to tell TorrentFreak how they gather their evidence, so any right-minded individual with an interest in this issue might find themselves asking: ‘What exactly are they afraid of?’
Clearly, it should be possible from their detailed records for an ISP to confirm or deny the technical evidence provided by the BPI. However, they aren’t in a position to do this since it would be a massive breach of customer privacy. Instead, the word of the BPI is taken at face value.
In a response, some Swedish ISPs have voiced their opinions too. ‘We don’t want to act like police and feel that a system similar to that in the UK is a deep invasion of privacy,’ said Annika Kristersson of Tele2, adding: ‘It would entail us having to spy on our customers.’
Everyone makes mistakes and no system is flawless so it’s essential to have a verification process before throwing accusations around. Until then, take comfort in knowing that the file-sharing equivalent of home-made, untested, uncalibrated police speed cameras of unknown design and ability are operated by people with a vested interest and are passing judgment on you, your children and potentially (should the BPI get its way) your whole Internet future. A little transparency to inspire confidence isn’t too much to ask.
Rejoice! ‘Three strikes and you’re out’ is dead in the UK. Music file sharers will no longer face the threat of seeing the household broadband connection severed. The plague that is currently endemic in France won’t be jumping the English Channel.…
(Via The Register – Comms.)
David Edgar: This muddled terror law limits free speech and wrecks innocent lives: Comment is free, The Guardian: The glorification clause of the Terrorism Act has created a climate where artists and academics must watch their words.
Written by David Edgar, The Guardian, Tuesday July 22 2008″
A student downloads an al-Qaida document from a US government website and is held in custody for six days. A shop assistant writes poems about cutting people’s heads off and is tried for being a terrorist. An opera composer is accused of promoting terrorism, objects, and is bankrupted by a national newspaper.
What do these cases have in common? First, none of these people was successfully convicted of any crime. Second, none of them faced charges under the glorification clause of the Terrorism Act 2006. Third, they would not have been arrested and/or tried and/or bankrupted had it not been a climate of opinion created by that clause.
Under Pressure, ISP Admits Secret Web Snooping in Kansas: “Internet service provider Embarq told Congress today that it monitored some 26,000 of its customers without telling them explicitly in a secret test of a controversial online ad service. The revelation comes just weeks after another ISP canceled its test of the technology under congressional pressure.
(Via Wired News.)
Viacom Ignores Promise: Sends Bogus Takedowns To YouTube: “You may recall that back before it sued YouTube, Viacom sent the company 100,000 takedown notices, many of which turned out not to violate Viacom’s copyrights. At first, Viacom tried to brush it off as totally innocent collateral damage, but after the EFF filed a lawsuit pointing out that false positives violate the part of the DMCA where each takedown must swear that the sender is the legitimate copyright holder, Viacom not only backed down, but promised to be much more careful with its takedowns. Specifically, it promised to actually review each video before sending a takedown.
However, it now appears that Viacom may not be living up to that promise. Consumerist notes that Viacom has taken down an independent filmmakers’ movie to which it has no copyright claims whatsoever. The animation in question was the woman’s senior project, and was not a Viacom property at all.
The video remains up for now, but Viacom now gets access to all the viewership stats on a video property it has no rights over, and the filmmaker, Joanna Davidovich, is rightfully worried that the movie is going to get taken down by a big media company who has no right to it at all.
Update: Viacom has now apologized and admitted its mistake, claiming that the video had been included in a Viacom film festival, and Viacom didn’t realize that they did not retain the copyrights to the material. While the filmmaker in question is satisfied with this result, it’s still quite questionable. Viacom still filed a false takedown notice after specifically promising that it would not. Filing false takedowns, even done with good intentions is still a violation of the DMCA and can be quite chilling to content creators.