U.S. Surveillance Society Running Rampant: “The U.S. government has doled out about $300 million in grants to local governments that have used the money to create a nationwide surveillance society filled with electronic cameras. The American Civil Liberties Union asks: ‘Do we want a society where people are comfortable with constant surveillance?
(Via Wired News.)
Child Porn Laws Used Against Kids Who Photograph Themselves: “Civil-liberties advocates and child-protection groups warn that law enforcement authorities are misusing laws against child porn, by targeting the very people the laws are supposed to protect
(Via Wired News.)
Post from: TorrentFreak
Swedish file-sharers have traditionally enjoyed a certain amount of freedom, but that could all change if the government gets its way. At the moment, the police can’t go after uploaders of copyright works, unless their activities could attract a jail sentence of two years or more.
Now, according to a Dagbladet report, Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask will receive a report from the police this Friday, which will recommend that they should be able to investigate file-sharers whose actions would have previously only been punishable by a fine.
The proposed legislation, based on the controversial Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) we previously reported on, will give the police (and private companies) more power to go after individual file-sharers. It would also enable the police to find out who sent an email to who, along with details of telephone calls. The IPRED proposals, which have faced widespread opposition, aim to increase penalties and criminalize breaches of intellectual property law inside the EU.
The new law was already heavily opposed by Swedish Pirate Party Chairman Rick Falkvinge, who told TorrentFreak: ‘These laws are written by digital illiterates who behave like blindfolded, drunken elephants trumpeting about in an egg packaging facility. They have no idea how much damage they’re causing, because they lack today’s literacy: an understanding of how the Internet is reshaping the power structures at their core.’
Addressing fears that any legislation could be applied retroactively, i.e file-sharers could be pursued for previous breaches, Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask already asked for the deletion from the proposals of any such provisions. She further told Dagbladet that her ministry wont comment before they receive the interim report from the police on Friday. However, they are clear on one thing – there will definitely be new legislation.
Post from: TorrentFreak
Ignited by the Comcast fiasco in the US, the concept of net neutrality has certainly been brought into the mainstream. ISPs are rarely transparent when it comes to their throttling, capping and otherwise interfering behavior, but in Canada they had to come clean due to a CRTC investigation.
The Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is currently looking into the traffic management practices of Canadian ISPs, which came to a head as a result of a dispute between CAIP, and its wholesale provider, Bell. The core objectives of the investigation are to examine the Internet traffic management practices being used, and check that they are in accordance with the Telecommunications Act.
The CRTC is looking at the effects of filtering on both regular customers and wholesalers, and the results of the first round of questions are just in. Even though some of the responses are filed in confidence (summarized by Chris Parsons), there is enough information to conclude that all major ISPs slow down customers, with most specifically targeting peer-to-peer traffic.
In their response to the CRTC investigation, Bell, Cogeco, Rogers and Eastlink all admit to slow down P2P traffic, arguing that it negatively affects network performance. Shaw, one of the other big players, admitted that customers are slowed down, but most of its responses were filed in confidence and P2P was not specifically mentioned.
Bell was more open about its practices, and admits using deep packet inspection (DPI) to throttle its individual customers and wholesalers. On Bell Wireline, P2P traffic is slowed down between 4.30 PM and 2 AM. To cope with the increasing bandwidth demands of its customers, they further plan to disconnect heavy users and introduce metered plans where customers pay for the bandwidth they use.
Cogeco started to throttle P2P users back in 2001, when they were only using a tiny fraction of what they do now. However, it was seen as necessary because of the increasing load these users put on the network. Like other ISPs, Cogeco considered other options such as metered plans, but these would not solve the network ‘abuse’ by P2P users. Furthermore, the ongoing battle with P2P users who strive to evade their management solutions led the ISP to use deep packet inspection (DPI) as well.
Rogers claims it has to throttle P2P users to prevent their network from becoming ‘the world’s buffet,’ as they like to call it. Not only does this affect their network, their bandwidth bills also increased due to the growing popularity of BitTorrent and other filesharing networks. Similar to Bell and Cogeco, Rogers is also known to use DPI. Upstream P2P traffic is slowed down across their entire network, regardless of congestion,
Shaw filed most of its answers in confidence, but provided a rather paradoxical statement which clearly shows that they slow down upstream traffic. ‘The traffic management technologies have reduced the rate of upstream consumption to a more manageable rate,’ they write, claiming that this allows their customers to reach their full contract speeds. Similar to the other ISPs Shaw is predicting that bandwidth usage will grow, and that traffic shaping is essential to manage their network.
In summary, we can conclude that there is no such thing as net neutrality in Canada. All of the larger ISPs slow down their customers, with most of them specifically targeting P2P traffic through deep packet inspection. Because of this, P2P users can’t enjoy the speeds they were promised, and several legitimate businesses whose income depends on delivering content through BitTorrent or other filesharing networks are unable to compete with those who don’t. It’s now up to the CRTC to draw the right conclusions.
Post from: TorrentFreak
In 2003, Silvio Berlusconi’s government passed some of the most aggressive copyright laws in Europe, but ultimately the authorities didn’t give them the support demanded by the entertainment industries. Then in January 2007, Rome’s top criminal court announced that downloading films, music or software from the Internet should not be considered a crime if done for no profit, backing the likes of the IFPI and MPAA into a corner with fewer options.
Today, in 2009, the situation is moving quickly. In common with situations in many countries around the world, the entertainment industries have all but given up chasing down individual file-sharers, declaring that their new focus will be on ISPs, who they will pressure to clamp down on pirates on their behalf.
In October 2008 a technical roundtable got underway in Italy which promoted collaboration between the music, movie and ISPs. In basic terms, in part it was a discussion about the mechanics of implementing a ‘3 strikes’ or ‘graduated response’ to deal with piracy on P2P networks.
France has one of the toughest approaches to the ‘problem’ in Europe, so it will be of concern to many Italian citizens that their country appears to be taking the lead from Sarkozy’s vision of copyright enforcement.
According to a THR report, yesterday Italy’s Ministry of Culture signed an agreement with French officials to cooperate on anti-piracy issues. Furthermore, in an indication of how Italy sees its legislation progressing in the future, Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi said that Italian laws will ‘follow the French model’ in providing strict protection and controls for copyright works.
As we previously reported, plans for a ‘3 strikes’ regime had already been touted in Italy by the movie industry during meetings in Venice, with the MPAA’s President Robert Pisano stating: ‘Maybe the first couple of times they get a warning e-mail, then perhaps the speed on their account is reduced, and if they keep doing it then maybe their account is closed.’
With this announcement that Italy will follow the ‘French model’ and Sandro Bondi previously going on record saying that the fight against piracy is a priority for the government, it looks like the entertainment industries are getting closer to their aims, not just in Italy but in countries around Europe, and others across the world.
Government file-sharing options rejected by industry: “None of the Government’s proposed solutions to illegal file-sharing received the backing of the two main industries involved, the internet service provider (ISP) and content industries. The Government will publish fresh plans by the end of the month.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
New Parliament, new legislation – and time for the government’s favourite pastime of ‘closing loopholes’. This time it’s about even more dangerous pictures, or maybe less dangerous, given that the subject matter is – allegedly – cartoons.…
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)