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A news resource for CyberLaw and Cyber-Rights issues from around the globe

Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Google boss: anti-piracy laws would be disaster for free speech | Technology | guardian.co.uk

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Google boss: anti-piracy laws would be disaster for free speech guardian.co.uk

Eric Schmidt claims search giant would fight attempts to restrict access to sites such as the Pirate Bay
* Josh Halliday
* guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 18 May 2011 16.24 BST
* Article history

Eric Schmidt described website blocking as similar to China’s restrictive internet regime. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, warned on Wednesday that government plans to block access to illicit filesharing websites could set a ‘disastrous precedent’ for freedom of speech.

Speaking to journalists after his keynote speech at Google’s Big Tent conference in London, Schmidt said the online search giant would challenge attempts to restrict access to the Pirate Bay and other so-called ‘cyberlocker’ sites that encourage illegal downloading – part of government plans to fight online piracy through controversial measures included the Digital Economy Act.

‘If there is a law that requires DNSs [domain name systems, the protocol that allows users to connect to websites], to do X and it’s passed by both houses of congress and signed by the president of the United States and we disagree with it then we would still fight it,’ he added. ‘If it’s a request the answer is we wouldn’t do it, if it’s a discussion we wouldn’t do it.’

Schmidt, who became Google’s executive chairman last month after a decade as its chief executive, described website blocking as akin to China’s restrictive internet regime.

‘I would be very, very careful if I were a government about arbitrarily [implementing] simple solutions to complex problems,’ he said. ‘So, ‘let’s whack off the DNS’. Okay, that seems like an appealing solution but it sets a very bad precedent because now another country will say ‘I don’t like free speech so I’ll whack off all those DNSs’ – that country would be China.

‘It doesn’t seem right. I would be very, very careful about that stuff. If [the UK government] do it the wrong way it could have disastrous precedent setting in other areas.’

Speaking at the same conference, the culture minister, Jeremy Hunt, said plans to block access to illicit filesharing websites were on schedule. He admitted that a ‘challenge’ of the controversial measure is deciding which sites get blocked.

Ofcom is due to present its report on the practicability of the site-blocking measures included in the DEA to Hunt in the coming weeks.

Responding to questions about Facebook secretly hiring the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller to plant scare stories over Google’s privacy policies in the US media, Schmidt said he would not comment.

However, he added: ‘A lot of people – not Google employees – have looked at these claims and generally found them to be false.’

Lights back on for Blogger in Turkey

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Hurriyet Daily News: Lights back on for Blogger in Turkey

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
ERISA DAUTAJ ŞENERDEM
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

tdn2.jpg

Access to the website, a property of Google Inc., was banned two weeks ago by a local court in Diyarbakır upon a complaint by Digiturk.

Access to the website, a property of Google Inc., was banned two weeks ago by a local court in Diyarbakır upon a complaint by Digiturk.

New evidence showing that Google had taken action against copyright violators led a prosecutor’s office in Southeast Turkey to decide Monday to lift the ban on the company’s popular blogging platform Blogger.

The ban, which entered into force Feb. 28 following a court decision, was issued based on a complaint by satellite television provider Digiturk that matches broadcast on its Lig TV channel had been illegally posted by several Blogger users.

‘We applied [to have the ban removed] to the prosecutor’s office, which required that an expert opinion be prepared regarding our case,’ cyber-rights activist Yaman Akdeniz, a lawyer and professor at Istanbul Bilgi University, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Wednesday.

The prosecutor’s office in the Southeast province of Diyarbakır – home of the court that issued the ban – decided to lift the ban after the expert opinion found that the accounts linked to the IP addresses on which Digiturk had filed its complaint had been deactivated by Google, Akdeniz said.

‘The court could have also asked for an expert opinion before making its decision [to issue the ban], but it didn’t,’ Akdeniz said. He added that it was obvious the court worked only ‘[based] on paper,’ not even making the effort to visit the websites it was deciding about.

Despite the prosecutor’s freezing of the Diyarbakır court’s decision, Akdeniz said the risk of being banned again remains for Blogger and other sites.

‘Despite this decision, the risk of banning [Blogger] or any other similar website exists,’ Akdeniz said.

Access to the website, a property of Google Inc., was banned two weeks ago by a local court in Diyarbakır upon a complaint by Digiturk, which owns the broadcast rights to Turkish Super League games. The decision to issue a blanket ban on the site was harshly criticized by thousands of Turkish bloggers, who said it had restricted their fundamental freedom of expression.

An initial appeal of the court’s decision made by Turkish citizens and Blogger users was rejected by the court for procedural reasons. The prosecutor’s office meanwhile accepted a second appeal based on new evidence that access to the blog accounts on that Digiturk had complained about had been blocked by Google.

According to Akdeniz, the law on artistic and intellectual works requires a complainant to warn the owner of a website accused of breaching copyright, and says complainants have the right to file a court case if the site’s owner does not respond within 72 hours.

‘Given that such a [warning] mechanism already exists, at least for the Blogger case, I think people [and companies] should be encouraged to make use of it,’ he said, adding that this would take less time and have less of a cost to all parties.

Google authorities had moved to restore access to Blogger following the court decision, saying in a press release March 3 that the company was concerned about content posted via Blogger that breaches the copyrights of other entities and would take immediate action upon legal notification of such cases.

Thousands of websites are banned in Turkey under the framework of Turkish Law No. 5651, which regulates publications and copyright infringements on the Internet, and Law No. 5846 on artistic and intellectual works. The former has been more common as a basis for court decisions on banning websites.

Turkish Blogspot Blocking Order has been revoked

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Cyber-Rights.Org.TR: Blogspot Blocking Order has been revoked
14.03.2011 – Entry by Dr. Yaman Akdeniz

Today, the Diyarbakir Public Prosecutor’s Office revoked the blocking order issued by the Diyarbakir 5th Criminal Court of First Instance on 14 January 2011 with regards to the popular Blogspot platform used by millions of people around the world. The decision will now be communicated to the Turkish ISPs and access should be back to normal within the next few days.

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Cyber-Rights.Org.TR orchestrated several appeals representing a Blogspot user based in Turkey and these appeals were lodged three days before Google managed to lodge an appeal with the Diyarbakir Public Prosecutor’s Office. As the allegedly infringing blogs (goltvnet.blogspot.com, sportrhd.blogspot.com, trgoals2.blogspot.com, freesoccertrhd.blogspot.com, and izleligtvblog.blogspot.com) were removed by Google there was no further need to block access to the Blogspot Platform. A Court dealing with the appeal requested an expert opinion with regards to the claim of removal of the above mentioned blogs and the expert report backed the claims made by our legal team representing İdil Elveriş, the owner of travelmind-idilka.blogspot.com.

Dr. Yaman Akdeniz issued the following statement: “Blogspot decision should not have been issued in the first place. We hope this will be the last time access to a web 2.0 based platform will be blocked from Turkey. However, it would be naive to believe that this will be the end of it. The future remains bleak in terms of Internet restrictions in Turkey.”

BBC News: Blogspot banned in football row

Friday, March 4th, 2011

BBC News: Blogspot banned in football row

04.03.2011

The row is over who has the right to broadcast Turkish Super League football matches.

A row over who can broadcast football matches in Turkey has led to Google’s Blogger site being blocked.

A court in Turkey issued the ban in response to a copyright complaint by satellite TV firm Digiturk.

It complained when it discovered that some matches it was broadcasting were showing up on blogspot blogs written on the Blogger site.

About 600,000 Turkish bloggers are thought to use the Google tool to publish their personal journals.

The ban has been imposed because Turkey’s copyright protection laws allow for entire services to be shut down.

In October, 2010 Turkey lifted a ban on YouTube that had been in place for two years.

Google confirmed the Blogger ban in a statement and said those with worries about piracy should turn to its easy to use takedown systems rather than seek a wholesale shutdown.

‘The process for making a copyright claim for content uploaded to Blogger is straightforward and efficient, and we encourage all content owners to use it rather than seek a broad ban on access to the service,’ said a spokesperson.

‘That way, people in Turkey can continue to enjoy Blogger whilst we respond to the specific complaint.’

Digiturk said it went to court to protect its right to broadcast Turkey’s Spor Toto Super League games on its Lig channel. Digiturk said the ban had not curbed all piracy as other sites beyond Blogger were still showing pirated streams of football matches.

Cyber-rights activist Yaman Akdeniz told the Hurriyet news site that the ban was a ‘disproportionate response’ that would inconvenience millions of people.

‘I understand there is a legitimate concern regarding Digiturk’s commercial rights but banning all these websites will not solve the issue,’ he told the site.

Blogger becomes latest victim of Turkish Internet bans – Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Blogger becomes latest victim of Turkish Internet bans – Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
ERISA DAUTAJ ŞENERDEM
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

The ban on Blogger is expected to fully go into effect within a few days unless it is successfully challenged in court.

The ban on Blogger is expected to fully go into effect within a few days unless it is successfully challenged in court.

A spat over rights to broadcast Turkish football matches has led a local court to issue a blanket ban on the popular blogging platform Blogger, angering Turkish Internet users with what experts said was a disproportionate response.

The court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır banned the website, a property of Google Inc., in response to a complaint by the satellite television provider Digiturk, which owns the broadcast rights to Turkish Super League games. Matches broadcast on Digiturk’s Lig TV channel had been illegally posted by several Blogger users on their blogs.

‘This is a disproportionate response by the court and undoubtedly has a huge impact on all law-abiding citizens,’ cyber-rights activist Yaman Akdeniz told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Wednesday, adding that millions of Turkish bloggers and blog readers would be affected by the Diyarbakır court decision.

‘[I understand] there is a legitimate concern [regarding Digiturk’s commercial rights] but banning all these websites will not solve the issue. The decision opens the way to collateral damage,’ said Akdeniz, who is also a law professor at Istanbul Bilgi University.

There are more than 600,000 Turkish bloggers actively using Blogger and some 18 million users from Turkey visited pages hosted by the site last month, Akdeniz said. The ban is expected to fully go into effect within a few days unless it is successfully challenged in court.

‘If two people plan a criminal activity on the phone, should we ban the use of telephones all over the country?’ asked Deniz Ergürel, the secretary-general of the Media Association.

‘We believe this is a wrong approach to the issue and deprives millions of bloggers and Internet users from writing and sharing ideas online,’ Ergürel, who is also a regular blogger, told the Daily News on Wednesday. He added that while the violation of Digiturk’s commercial rights should not be ignored, other solutions had to be found. ‘Even cursing, threatening or cheating over the phone is considered a crime, but this does not imply access to phones all over the country would be banned if there is a case against them,’ he said.

In a press release Wednesday, Digiturk said illegal broadcasts of the league games had not stopped despite many warnings about the issue.

‘Digiturk has spent $321 million in order to get the right to broadcast Spor Toto Super League matches. However, matches [whose broadcasting rights] belong to Digiturk and Lig TV are broadcasted by certain websites, disregarding all relevant laws,’ the company said in its statement. ‘Thus, we applied to court to ban these websites, and the court decided to ban access to them, after it was proved that although all legal procedures were conducted, the violations were not stopped.’

Bloggers and their readers reacted angrily and quickly to the court decision, with nearly 9,000 users of the social-networking website Facebook joining a group called ‘Do not touch my blog’ in less than two days after the decision was announced. Similar campaigns have also been created on other websites, such as Twitter.

‘I can understand that a company tries to protect its rights when they are violated. But I cannot make sense of the banning of all blogs for content illegally used on only a few blogs,’ regular blogger Gülşen Çetin, 24, told the Daily News on Wednesday. ‘The company that is involved says it couldn’t handle the issue with Google. Of course, everybody is responsible for their own claims, but this is not an excuse for them to cause such a big censorship event.’

In addition to harming innocent parties, the court decision is unlikely to solve the copyright problem, said another regular blogger.

‘The people doing pirate broadcasting are skilled in this. Shutting down only one or a few [sites] will not solve the problem because they will find other ways to do it,’ said Güldem Zeybek. ‘How about us, the innocent bloggers? Here, without doing anything, we face the charge of [being] criminals and have to [find ways to work around the ban]. No company’s copyrights should come before me expressing my thoughts.’

Cyber-rights activist Akdeniz drew a differentiation between regular websites and platforms for user-generated content such as Blogger, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, saying the courts must be sensitive to this distinction when they make decisions. ‘In my view, access to such platforms should not be banned, whatever the cause,’ he said, adding that other technical solutions could be found to address issues of property and intellectual rights.

‘The [impact of the decision] will be censorship, although it might not have been the court decision’s final purpose,’ said Ergürel of the Media Association. He added that depriving millions of people of a way of communicating and sharing with each other could be considered a kind of censorship.

‘We would not see such a phenomenon [like this court decision] in more developed democracies, such as in the EU countries,’ Akdeniz said.

Google won’t share encryption keys with Indian sleuths – The Economic Times

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Google won’t share encryption keys with Indian sleuths – The Economic Times

16 Dec, 2010, 04.15AM IST, Kalyan Parbat,ET Bureau
Google won’t share encryption keys with Indian sleuths

KOLKATA: Google Inc will not share the encryption keys of its email service with Indian security agencies as it would compromise the privacy rights of millions of Gmail users worldwide, a top company executive said.

The Union home ministry, intelligence agencies and the telecom department are collectively exploring mandatory sharing of software by all communication service companies in India, a sensitive issue with global firms. Some firms have already been asked to comply and Canada’s Research In Motion ( RIM )) is edging closer to January 31, 2011, deadline to hand over the encryption keys for its popular BlackBerry messaging services to intelligence agencies.

Google India products chief Vinay Goel said even if the Indian government requested, it would be impossible to offer real-time access since the Gmail service is governed by US laws. ‘When users entrust their data with us, we are expected to protect it, which is why, user privacy is very important for Google,’ he said.

The Union home ministry or telecom ministry has not asked Google to share the encryption keys for Gmail, but even if the USbased internet search engine giant received such a request, it will be impossible to offer real-time access to Gmail communication, Goel said.

‘But we are not advocating non-compliance and are definitely open to offering the Indian government access to encrypted Gmail communication in the event of a large-scale risk to human life and property,’ he said. Indian authorities are seeking control over communication systems for internal security as intelligence agencies do not have the technical resources to intercept communication services and data transfers on the internet, especially when encryption levels exceed a certain threshold.

The government had two years ago asked all internet service providers in the country to lower encryption levels to better monitor communication systems in the country. Services on low encryption levels are to blame for country’s dismal internet penetration, say internet experts.

Record Labels Blame Google For Piracy, Hint At Censorship

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Record Labels Blame Google For Piracy, Hint At Censorship: “The British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the UK’s main recording industry trade body, came out with guns blazing against Google today. BPI says that search engines like Google are as popular as P2P applications as a source for illegal downloads. The music industry is pressing Google and others to censor their search results in favor of ‘legal’ music services.

google piracyAnyone who searches for music, TV-shows or movies on the Internet will notice that BitTorrent sites and other file-sharing services are usually listed among the top results.

As we have argued before, Google is probably the number one reason why millions of people are using BitTorrent sites today. This trend hasn’t gone unnoticed to the music industry either, and today The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) went as far as blaming Google and other search engines for being a main source for online piracy.

‘Search engines are as popular as P2P applications as a source of illegal downloads,’ BPI stated in a report today. ‘It’s not hard to see why. Key in the name of any popular artist, add search terms like ‘mp3′ or ‘download’ – both neutral terms – and typically the large majority of results that appear are blatant links to illegal downloads.’

As an example of this alleged facilitating behavior by Google, the BPI performed a few test searches. They found that the majority of the top Google search results for popular singles pointed to ‘illicit’ sources.

‘In a single week in November, BPI test searches were made on Google for the UK’s top 20 singles or albums, followed by ‘mp3′. On average 17 of the first 20 Google results for singles and 14 of 20 search results for albums were links to known illegal sites.’

The search results are just one part of the search engine problem though. In addition, the BPI points out that services such as auto suggest and Google’s instant service may drive people towards ‘rogue’ or ‘illegal’ sites.

‘The predictive search tools offered by some search engines go further by actively directing users towards free illegal downloads by auto-completing artist searches with additional phrases like ‘torrent’, or providing specific references to unlicensed sources like Mediafire or mp3raid.’

CENSORED SOON

google censorship

Although the BPI is right in their analysis, they also know that the search results are merely the result of a set of algorithms. Piracy related searches float to the top and are suggested because that’s what people tend to search for. Google has no active role in it.

This is what the BPI hopes to change. They suggest that search engines should actively censor their search results, and move links to ‘authorized’ music stores higher up. According to the music industry this would be a very effective tool to decrease piracy.

‘The music industry continues to press search engines to help consumers stay on the right side of the law and has suggested concrete solutions such as prioritising music search results in favour of legal online services such as those highlighted by the Music Matters campaign,’ the BPI writes.

In part, these lobbying efforts have already been successful. Two weeks ago Google announced several upcoming changes that would benefit copyright holders. Among other things the search mogul said that it would censor ‘piracy’ related words for appearing as auto-complete suggestions.

For Google this is a slippery slope to be on, and the next step could very well be the sort of commercial censorship the music industry is suggesting. And if the music industry is successful, other industries will soon follow. The question is, however, if that will solve the piracy issues or just hide them.

Article from: TorrentFreak.

(Via TorrentFreak.)

WikiLeaked US cables link China to Google hack

Monday, November 29th, 2010

WikiLeaked US cables link China to Google hack: “

Clinton ordered surveillance of UN leadership

A Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing that China’s Politburo ‘directed’ last December’s hack on Google’s internal systems, according to the confidential US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks and various news organizations on Sunday.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

US Senate Hearing on Digital Trade Protectionism

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Senate Hearing on Digital Trade Protectionism: “posted by Heather West, Policy Analyst

This afternoon Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon put the spotlight on an issue close to our heart and business operations: the need to protect and promote the free flow of information in international trade agreements. In a hearing on International Trade in the Digital Economy, Senator Wyden called for the U.S. government and others to come together to combat protectionism against digital exports — a position that mirrors themes we raised in the trade white paper we released earlier this week.

At the hearing, Senator Wyden noted how the international reach of American technology companies directly affects the ability of all American companies to export goods and services, both digital and otherwise. The hearing noted the effect of these restrictions on all kinds of American companies, holding back trade and exports whether it is in digital services or physical goods.

We commend the Subcommittee’s leadership on this issue and agree with the fundamental principle that new trade agreements should require governments to preserve the free flow of information on the Internet. As a company, we’re particularly focused on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, negotiations among the United States and eight Pacific Rim nations that we hope will produce a first-rate modern trade pact for today’s information economy. Embedding the free flow of information into this agreement will be critical.

Testimony and video of the hearing should be online soon at the Subcommittee’s website.

(Via Google Public Policy Blog.)

Online Magazine 2600 Publishes ‘Google Blacklist’

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Online Magazine 2600 Publishes ‘Google Blacklist’: “Online publication 2600: The Hacker Quarterly has published a list of words that are restricted by Google Instant.”

(Via XBIZ.com | News & Articles.)