Remote searches of suspects’ computers could become a mainstay of cybercrime investigations under a new EU strategy announced last week.…
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)
1 December, 2008
Remote searches of suspect computers will form part of an EU plan to tackle hi-tech crime.
The five-year action plan will take steps to combat the growth in cyber theft and the machines used to spread spam and other malicious programs.
It will also encourage better sharing of data among European police forces to track down and prosecute criminals.
Europol will co-ordinate the investigative work and also issue alerts about cyber crime sprees.
The five-year plan won the backing of the EU ministers at a meeting which also granted 300,000 euros (£250,000) to Europol to create the system to pool crime reports and issue alerts about emerging threats.
The ministerial meeting also backed the anti-cyber crime strategy that will see the creation of cross-border investigation teams and sanction the use of virtual patrols to police some areas of the net.
Other “practical measures” include encouraging better sharing of information between police forces in member nations and private companies on investigative methods and trends.
In particular the strategy aims to tackle the trade in images of children being sexually abused. In a statement outlining the strategy the EU claimed “half of all internet crime involves the production, distribution and sale of child pornography”.
Forces will also take part in “remote searches” and patrol online to track down criminals. The EU said controls were in place to ensure that data protection laws were not breached as this information was gathered and shared.
“The strategy encourages the much needed operational cooperation and information exchange between the Member States,” said EC vice-president Jacques Barrot in a statement.
“If the strategy is to make the fight against cyber crime more efficient, all stakeholders have to be fully committed to its implementation,” he added.
Another interesting article from TechDirt…
Singapore Fines The WSJ For Editorials It Considered Contempt Of Court: “The Wall Street Journal is running a story about how it’s been fined by Singaporean courts for two editorials the paper published over the summer. The story notes how nearly every foreign publication distributed in Singapore has been sued in court at one point or another, and the article goes through detailing the specific charges against it by Singapore. Obviously, the WSJ’s story can be seen as biased since they were a party in the lawsuit, but from the description, it sounds like Singapore was upset that the WSJ accurately reported on a defamation lawsuit by a former government official against an opposition party candidate, and later a critical study by the International Bar Association on the rule of law in Singapore. It’s difficult to see how those reports can be said to be ‘contemptuous of the judiciary,’ but in a country that isn’t known for taking criticism well, perhaps it’s not that surprising.
Still, what’s most interesting is that in response to this, the Wall Street Journal has chosen not to publish this particular story about the decision in the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal — though, the story is obviously available online. Apparently the WSJ recognizes, probably accurately, that if they published the story about the decision, where they are somewhat critical of that decision, they would probably be in for yet another ‘contempt’ charge. To some extent, this decision makes you wonder how effective suppression of the press can be going forward. Yes, countries can build filters and block out certain publications, but online content can always be filtered through eventually. The very fact that the WSJ is purposely leaving the editorial out of Asian editions of the paper seems more likely to draw more attention to the story from within Singapore as well, accomplishing exactly the opposite of what the country thinks it’s doing in fining the paper.
YouTube modifies its community guidelines and that means stricter standard for “mature content”, polite way of saying “porn”. Looks like YouTube is tidying its backyard.
A YouTube for All of Us: “As a community, we have come to count on each other to be entertained, challenged, and moved by what we watch and share on YouTube. We’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to make the collective YouTube experience even better, particularly on our most visited pages. Our goal is to help ensure that you’re viewing content that’s relevant to you, and not inadvertently coming across content that isn’t. Here are a few things we came up with:
The preservation and improvement of the YouTube experience is a responsibility we share. Let’s work together to ensure that the YouTube community continues to thrive as a positive place for all of us.
(Via YouTube Blog.)
Interesting article from TechDirt about Justin.TV and the live pirate transmission of English Premier League games.
Will Justin.tv Destroy Sports TV Rights Deals?: “Last month, Mike wrote about how the English Premier League was making threatening overtones towards Justin.tv, after it discovered some users on the site were streaming broadcasts of its soccer matches. It’s the usual stuff from sports leagues, complaining that the sites aren’t doing enough to stop piracy, and that their safe harbor shouldn’t protect them, and that the DMCA takedown process isn’t good enough. Now, a piece in The Guardian wonders if the large-scale piracy, along with a spending slowdown, will hit the value of TV rights deals when they come up for renewal, with broadcasters unable to justify the same level of spending should viewer figures fall.
This scenario isn’t hard to imagine, but should it occur, it will be thanks to a lack of business acumen, not piracy. These sites exist, and thrive, because they serve demand untapped by the Premier League and its rightsholders. For instance, the rights situation means that in England — where the league’s based and its games played — fewer games are broadcast on TV than in many places in the world. Here in the US, nearly every match is broadcast each weekend; just a handful make it onto UK TV screens. British pub owners tried to serve the untapped demand for this by buying satellite systems from foreign countries, but the EPL shut that avenue off in the courts. Likewise, users in the UK and elsewhere turn to sites like Justin.tv because they don’t have other options. The match they want to see isn’t available on television, or they’re not near a TV set when the match is being played. I’d argue this drives use of the services much more than a desire for free content does.
The rights situation domestically in the UK is the way it is because of the long-held view that putting games on TV will hold down attendance; but the small stadium sizes and increasingly geographically distributed fan bases (along with high ticket prices) do this already. And indeed, the experience of other sports leagues around the world would indicate that giving fans the ability to watch their teams’ games on television does little, on its own, to hurt attendance. That sort of view seems to color the entire TV rights situation for the Premier League: it tries to manufacture some sort of scarcity in an attempt to increase its revenues. But the popularity of sites that make broadcasts available online makes it clear they’d be better off answering this demand with services of their own.
Here’s a novel idea: instead of trying to crack down on the likes of Justin.tv, why not require rightsholders to offer free streams of games as parts of their deals? Then, the Premier League and its broadcast partners get to serve this demand, instead of Justin.tv or Chinese P2P services, and get to capitalize on it through advertising or other means. It might have some effect on pay services by giving fans with the least willingness to pay a free service to use, but again, I’d argue that most people would still prefer to watch their teams’ games on a bigger screen and in higher quality enough to pay for it. And the additional fans the services would reach could make new converts to paid services as well. Whatever the EPL decides to do, it’s impossible to understand how it thinks it can benefit by alienating fans and making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to follow their teams.