Post from: TorrentFreak
A little while ago we reported on a case in the UK where a woman went to the cinema and claimed she was ‘treated like a criminal.’ Searching for movie camming equipment, staff instead found some candy. Because she wouldn’t hand it over, they called security to deal with her and the whole thing descended into farce.
Well, it seems the Canadians have been at it too.
These days cinemas believe that all paying movie-goers are potential Scene pirates, so when a woman took her two daughters to Cinema Guzzo in Montreal to watch Shrek the Third in 2007, they were searched for camming kit. Big trouble ensued.
Finding a stash of illicit smuggled snacks, staff ordered them returned to their vehicle, to be locked securely away so it would be impossible to consume them while watching the movie. The trio complied.
The search of the bags continued and then, jackpot! Although staff didn’t find the latest DV camera, they did find some birth control pills in the older daughter’s bag, an event that didn’t go unnoticed by her mother. Until this point, she had absolutely no idea her child took them. Understandably angry, the mother sued the cinema for invasion of privacy, demanding $60,000 CAD.
Last week a judge ruled that the staff did indeed breach the privacy of the family and ordered the cinema to pay $10,000 CAD ($9,000 USD). Signs at the point of ticket purchase must clearly state that there is a bag search in place and staff must not put their hands inside people’s bags. Cinema Guzzo failed on both counts, not to mention causing sensitive problems within a family and guaranteeing that they never, ever come back as customers. Fail all round then.
It was a good conference after all, and I am glad I attended this event in Iceland. [Yaman Akdeniz]
Reykjavik conference maps out future Council of Europe work on media and the Internet
Reykjavik, 29.05.2009 – Ministers and representatives from the 47 Council of Europe member states today adopted an Action Plan that outlines the direction of the organisation’s future work on media and the Internet.
In a political declaration adopted at the 1st Council of Europe Conference of Ministers Responsible for Media and New Communication Services on 28-29 May, they stated that the Council of Europe should explore the notion of media and, if necessary, review the concept itself, establishing criteria for distinguishing media or media-like services from new forms of personal communication.
The ministers asked the Organisation to assess in consultation with relevant stakeholders whether the existing freedom of expression and information standards for traditional media should apply to new media and service providers, or if new ones should be elaborated. As for traditional media, they supported self-regulation as the basic way for ensuring compliance with freedom of expression standards. They also highlighted that new service providers – such as ISPs, content aggregators or search engines – should be made aware of their rights and their duties and responsibilities.
In the conference, the ministers also adopted resolutions on the new notion of media, critical Internet resources, and the protection of freedom of expression and information with regard to anti-terrorist laws.
The ministers resolved to review national anti-terrorist laws and practice on a regular basis to ensure that any impact on freedom of expression and information is consistent with the Council of Europe standards, in particular the case law of the European Court of Human Rights 1.
They stated that although in some cases it is inappropriate to disseminate particular information in order to prevent terrorist acts in the interest of an ongoing investigation, the protection of the victims or judicial proceedings, ‘reporting on terrorism cannot be equated to supporting terrorism’. They also underlined that concerns have been raised that, in some cases, anti-terrorist laws restricting freedom of expression and information in member states are ‘too broad, fail to define clear limits to authorities´ interference or lack sufficient procedural guarantees to prevent abuse’.
With regard to the Internet, they called on all states and non-state actors to explore ways to ensure that critical Internet resources are managed in the public interest and as a public asset, even by elaborating an international legal instrument. They also asked the Council of Europe to explore the feasibility of elaborating a treaty to further protect cross-border Internet traffic. Finally, they called on the Council of Europe to make more lasting arrangements for organising Pan-European Internet governance events.
Organised under the theme ‘A new notion of media?’ the conference was organised by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Iceland and the Council of Europe.
(1) The Russian Federation supported all the adopted texts with the exception of this undertaking.
– The sessions of the ministerial conference are available in video webcast on www.ministerialconference.is
– For further information, please contact Jaime Rodriguez (Tel. +33 3 89 99 50 42; email@example.com)
Council of Europe Directorate of Communication
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11
On Thursday 14 May 2009, the 5th Criminal Chamber of the Court of First Instance in Tunis convicted the 22-year old ICT Student, Mariam Zouaghi, who was in custody, on separate terrorist-related charges, and sentenced her to six years in prison.
Mariam Zouaghi is the first Tunisian woman to be convicted under The Anti-Terrorism Act of 10 December 2003.
In a phone call with Global Voices Advocacy, defense lawyer, Samir Ben Amor, says Mariam maintained her innocence and denied accusations that she belonged to any terror groups. She also stressed that her case was related to her online activities and her support to the people of Gaza.
(Via Global Voices Advocacy.)
BBC News: Seven million ‘use illegal files’
Page last updated at 23:01 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 00:01 UK
Around seven million people in the UK are involved in illegal downloads, costing the economy tens of billions of pounds, government advisors say.
Researchers found 1.3m people using one file-sharing network on one weekday and estimated that over a year they had free access to material worth £120bn.
The Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (SABIP) warned it may be hard to change attitudes.
The government says work must be done internationally to tackle the problem.
Intellectual Property Minister David Lammy said the report put into context the impact illegal downloads had on copyright industries and the UK economy as a whole.
But he added: ‘This is not an issue confined by national boundaries and I am sure that other [EU] member states and their copyright industries will find this report of use in the development of policy.’
An alliance of nine UK bodies representing the creative industries recently joined trades unions in calling on the government to force internet service providers to cut off persistent illegal file-sharers.
They said more than half of net traffic in the UK was illegal content.
Internet service providers say it is not their job to police the web.
The latest report for the SABIP, said the new generation of broadband access at 50Mbps could deliver 200 MP3 files in five minutes, a DVD in three and the complete digitised works of Charles Dickens in less than 10.
It said the seven million people who access files illegally could not all be students and that many of them were uncertain about what was illegal.
The fact that so much on the internet is free only added to the confusion, it said.
Dame Lynne Brindley, SABIP Board member, said: ‘This report gives us some baseline evidence from which we can develop a clear research strategy to support policy development in this fast moving area.’
This is the English version of a German press release on ak-zensur.de
28 May, 2009
Within 12 hours, 60 child pornography sites were removed from the internet
In the ongoing German dispute over the appropriate action against documented child abuse on the Internet(child pornography), the supporters of a mere blocking solution argued that it is often not or only with considerable effort possible to remove the illegsl content or to get hold of it’s originator.
Alvar Freude of the Working Group against Internet blocking and censorship (AK Zensur) put this argument to the test. He analyzed the various European blocking lists via automatic procedures and wrote to each provider on whose servers child pornography was located according to lists. He received an impressive response: Within 12 hours after sending the first e-mail 60 websites were already deleted.
Further results and insights:
* The first reactions respectively deletions followed after a few minutes and came among others from the USA, Holland, Denmark, Russia and Germany.
* Three of the the deleted websites were located on servers in Germany.
* A total of 348 providers in 46 different countries were contacted automatically and informed of 1943 allegedly illegal websites. A previous individual analysis of the web sites content has not been made. (It is completely illegal in Germany to look at child pornographic content.)
* 250 providers have responded to the request, but they mostly found legal content. Samples that were taken afterwards confirmed the legal content.
* Ten providers indicated that a total of 61 cases of illegal content had been removed. With a simple e-mail you can achieve a lot.
* The examination through the providers showed that the vast majority of websites, including some from Germany, appeared to have no child pornographic content, some do not contain any objectionable material at all – therefore the websites were blocked in error. In Finland several domestic websites were blocked, that contain a critical examination of the blocking issue.
* The providers have not been informed that some of their hosted websites were put on the blocking lists.
* When made aware of this fact, the providers are more than willing to cooperate and remove illegal content as soon as possible.
* A certain part of the illegal material was located on ‘hacked’ websites, ie sites that were exploited through security holes to spread external material. Here too the providers were very grateful for the supplied information.
The process to shut down websites with child pornographic content does not take longer than the transmission of a blocking list. This shows the absurdity of the reasoning behind simple blocking – there is no rational reason to just block criminal content and leave it on the Internet, still accessible for everyone who uses minimal effort to circumvent the block.
What was possible for a citizens’ initiative, such as the Working Group on Internet blocking and censorship, should be even easier for the German government and law enforcement agencies and their results should by far exceed the results of AK Zensur.
Delete, don’t block – the motto of AK Zensur – is possible!
Released by: Working Group against Internet blocking and censorship (AK Zensur)
Web: http://ak-zensur.de/ (in German)
+49 179 13 46 47 1
About the Working Group against Internet blocking and censorship (AK Zensur):
The Working Group on Internet blocking and censorship (AK Zensur) speaks out against the Federal Government’s planned Internet blocking and promotes an effective fight against child abuse instead of ineffective symbolic politics that only promotes ‘looking the other way’, does not help the victims and establishes an infrastructure that restricts basic public rights. AK Zensur coordinates the work of Internet blocking opponents, but is also appreciates the many activities that are happening decentralized in the on- and offline world.
The members of AK Zensur are amongst others: Chaos Computer Club (CCC), FoeBuD Association, Association of Information Technology and Society (FITUG), Forum of Computer Scientists for Peace and Social Responsibility Association (FIfF), Victims Of Abuse Against Internet Blocks (MOGIS), netzpolitik.org, the online platform ODEM.org, Trotz Allem e.V. and numerous individuals.
From Wikileaks, May 26, 2009
The Australian government told a Senate estimates hearing this week that less than 32% of the country’s secret internet censorship list is related to underage images.
During the hearing, the government also stated that the WikiLeaks publication of the full list in March has now been officially referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) ‘blacklist’ is slated to form the backbone of a national, mandatory, internet censorship system.
ACMA admitted that:
* A mere 32% of the secret censorship list is related to a category covering potentially sexually provocative images of persons appearing to be under the age of 18, pages with links to these images or other ‘child abuse’ information. The list is claimed, by the government, to be for tackling child pornography.
* After an unusual delay, the Australian government have now officially referred the publication of the list to the Australian Federal Police. It is alleged that WikiLeaks’ release of the censorship list is illegal under Australian law.
* Subsequent to revelations by WikiLeaks that the secret list contained many harmless or political sites (including WikiLeaks itself) around 150 have been removed from the list. At the time ACMA admitted the list held over 1100 URLs. ACMA now claims the censorship list has 977 URLs.
In light of the Senate testimony, it is worth repeating what WikiLeaks stated when it released the censorship list on the 18th of March, 2009:
‘While WikiLeaks is used to exposing secret government censorship in developing countries, we now find Australia acting like a democratic backwater. Apparently without irony, ACMA threatens fines of upto $11,000 a day for linking to sites on its secret, unreviewable, censorship blacklist — a list the government hopes to expand into a giant national censorship machine.
History shows that secret censorship systems, whatever their original intent, are invariably corrupted into anti-democratic behavior.
This week saw Australia joining China and the United Arab Emirates as the only countries censoring WikiLeaks. We were not notified by ACMA.
In December last year we released the secret Internet censorship list for Thailand. Of the sites censored in 2008, 1,203 sites were classified as ‘lese majeste’ — criticizing the Royal family. Like Australia, the Thai censorship system was originally pushed to be a mechanism to prevent the child pornography.
Research shows that while such blacklists are dangerous to ‘above ground’ activities such as political discourse, they have little effect on the production of child pornography, and by diverting resources and attention from traditional policing actions, may even be counter-productive. For a fascinating insider’s account, see ‘An insight into child porn’.
In January 2009, the Thai system was used to censor Australian reportage about the imprisonment of Harry Nicolaides, an Australian writer, who wrote a novel containing a single paragraph deemed to be critical of the Thai Monarchy.
Most of the sites on the Australian list have no obvious connection to child pornography. Some have changed owners while others were clearly always about other subjects.’
Children depend, even more than their parents, on the quality and viability of government. Corruption of those traditions which keep government honest and accountable – public oversight, natural justice, and protection from state censorship – is not just an affront to Enlightenment ideals, but an assault on the interests of children.
The full Senate transcript follows:
Sweden challenges EU data retention directiveSweden challenges EU data retention directive
By Mikael Ricknäs, May 27, 2009 12:08 PM ET
IDG News Service – Sweden is being sued by the European Commission for not implementing a European Union directive requiring network operators to retain details of phone calls and e-mail messages.
Instead of hurrying the implementation process, some politicians view the suit as an opportunity to challenge the directive’s consistency with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Sweden would show real European leadership if it were to see to it that the data retention directive is consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, wrote Camilla Lindberg, a member of the Swedish parliament for the Liberal Party, and Erik Josefsson, a candidate for the European Parliament for the Left Party, in an article for the newspaper Svenska Dagladet.
The two debated whether general data retention is consistent with what is necessary in a democratic society, and say that the directive is a bad and expensive tool when it comes to protecting citizen freedoms and rights. Lindberg and Josefsson said the directive goes against the European Convention on Human Rights, and that the European Court of Justice would agree.
The two politicians underscored the fact that other countries have been slow to implement the data retention law. Austria, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland are also late, they said.
Swedish Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask told Svenska Dagladet that the implementation of the data retention directive isn’t her favorite project, but a bill is on the way and will be ready soon.
Anything related to personal integrity on the Internet has become a hot-button issue in Sweden in the wake of the Pirate Bay file-sharing trial. The Pirate Party, which is not affiliated with Pirate Bay, received about 8% of the votes, making it the third largest party, in a recent poll ahead of elections to the European Parliament. The party focuses on Internet-related issues.
Also, on Tuesday, Swedish Minister of Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was criticized for praising the guilty verdict handed down against the people behind the Pirate Bay.