EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

12.18.13

Copyright Infringement/Sharing is the New ‘Terrorism’, No Laws Required for Authorities to Take Extreme (and Sometimes Illegal) Action

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not a terrorist

Gottfrid Svartholm

Summary: Police and secret agencies resort to actions which demonstrate that corporate profits — not safety of citizens — is their real priority

WE HAVE seen it all before. Jailing a whole class of people (imprisoned by the millions for free-as-in-no-cost labour and private gain [1]) is wise not just as a warning sign to all and a tool of imposing conformity; it also helps justify hiring a lot of policemen (domestic army for the upper class) and conducting limitless surveillance on almost everyone. An atmosphere of fear and distrust divides and thus weakens popular uprise. Whether the excuse is drugs or disruptive protests, or even — GASP — sharing of files, the corporate media always plays along with the Establishment, demonising whatever the class stereotype du jour happens to be (e.g. the type of drug (alcohol good, pot bad), the type of political opinions (war good, equality for all races bad)).

“It often seems like printers and wires are the new rifles and bullets now that the governments of the West virtually equate sharing with “privacy” and copyright violation with terrorism (in terms of severity of punishment).”In the West, law enforcement now lacks consistency; justice is in a state of disarray. To give some new examples from this month’s news, no courts are needed anymore to establish guilt regarding copyrights [2,3,4] and the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, Rick Falkvinge, thinks that censorship without due process [5] is a symptom of dying business models [6]. In his country, Sweden, the authorities are not going after violent “Nazi” attacks (with stabbings) [7] and instead focus on some people who run Web sites. These authorities show that they don’t care about the law (and Julian Assange should know) as they resort to illegal confinement of citizens [8-10]. Even special forces from allies in the West get involved [11] while showing that they are hypocrites [12]. In the East, specifically in New Zealand, “Customs [Got] Asked to Leak Kim Dotcom Secrets to FBI” [13], essentially treating Megaupload like it was some kind of terrorist Web site [14], never mind if many site users were legitimate, law-abiding businesses [15]. Watch what has just happened to Hotfile [16] (Hotfile is in a similar business) and over in Sweden everyone should pay attention to news that a “Torrent Site Uploader [Was] Ordered to Pay $652,000 For Sharing One Movie” [17,18]. The authorities are going after people who download, not just upload [19], so the war on sharing clearly got worse, throwing in the same net almost everyone who surfs the Web (browsers are tools of text and binary downloads, plus rendering). When everyone is at the verge of going to jail or going bankrupt (surveillance contributes to this), a reign of terror solidifies control by the ruling minority (exempted from these abuses).

Copyright law has become a misused mess [20,21] and some people in high positions in the UK acknowledge this [22,23]. There are better ways to arrange attribution [24] and existing copyright law is not just about attribution, it is also about physical use of devices [25]. It often seems like printers and wires are the new rifles and bullets now that the governments of the West virtually equate sharing with “privacy” and copyright violation with terrorism (in terms of severity of punishment).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Land of the Free? America Has 25 Percent of the World’s Prisoners

    The United States has about five percent of the world’s population and houses around 25 percent of its prisoners. In large part, that’s the result of the “war on drugs” and long mandatory minimum sentences, but it also reflects America’s tendency to criminalize acts that other countries view as civil violations.

  2. Pirate Bay Moves to Guyana After Domain Suspension, 70 Domains to Go
  3. UK Police: Domain & Advert Suspensions For Dozens of Pirate Sites

    As part of their ongoing effort to disrupt the activities of sites said to offering unauthorized access to copyrighted content, this morning UK police claimed successes on two key fronts. Operation Creative, the initiative backed by the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the BPI, is said to have secured the suspension of 40 ‘pirate’ domains in addition to a reduction in major brands advertising on the sites.

  4. Measures to Black Out Pirate Sites Unanimously Approved

    Measures proposed by Italy’s independent Electronic Communications Authority to tackle ‘pirate’ sites and their owners have passed with unanimous approval. The new system, which mandates the speedy removal of copyrighted content by hosts and the blocking of file-sharing sites by ISPs, will come into force on March 31 2014. Uploaders of infringing content and service providers who fail to take action face penalties of up to 250,000 euros.

  5. Our Free Society Stands Or Falls With Our Defense Of Sharing Knowledge And Culture

    Yet once more, The Pirate Bay has switched domain names, this time to Peru. In its promise to make DNS restrictions obsolete, The Pirate Bay creates a greater promise against all censorship.

  6. Rick Falkvinge’s 2013 List Of Stone Dead Industries
  7. Nazi group attacks peaceful rally: two stabbed
  8. Pirate Bay founder is being held in solitary confinement without a warrant

    ONE OF THE FOUNDERS of The Pirate Bay website is being held by Denmark under harsh conditions in solitary confinement without a warrant, and has no access to comforts like books to read or telephone privileges.

  9. Pirate Bay Founder Held in Solitary Confinement Without a Warrant

    Since his arrival in Denmark to face hacking charges Gottfrid Svartholm has sat in solitary confinement, denied free access to mail and denied access to his books. The situation has outraged Wikileaks’ Julian Assange who says Gottfrid is now a political prisoner. Meanwhile Gottfrid’s mother Kristina has written to Amnesty hoping that they will take notice of her son’s plight.

  10. Pirate Bay founder kept as ‘political prisoner’ in solitary

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has slammed Sweden over Gottfrid Svartholm’s case. Since his transfer to a Danish prison, the Pirate Bay founder has been kept in solitary confinement and denied access to mail and reading material.

  11. U.S. Military Warns of German Copyright Troll Attacks

    In Germany legal threats against file-sharers have been put on the radar of the U.S. Military. In a letter of advice prepared by the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, soldiers and civilians stationed in Germany are warned about the consequences of unauthorized file-sharing. The corps advises those who are affected not to ignore the threat but to seek further legal assistance.

  12. U.S. Government Caught Pirating Military Software, Settles For $50 Million

    For years the U.S. military operated pirated copies of logistics software that was used to protect soldiers and shipments in critical missions. Apptricity, the makers of the software, accused the military of willful copyright infringement and sued the Government for nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in unpaid licenses. In a settlement just announced, the Obama administration has agreed to pay $50 million to settle the dispute.

  13. Customs Asked to Leak Kim Dotcom Secrets to FBI for “Brownie Points”

    The ongoing case against Kim Dotcom and Megaupload continues to reveal unusual levels of surveillance. This week an email released after a freedom of information request reveals that a customs official offered “brownie points” for leaking sensitive information about Kim Dotcom to the FBI. The scandal follows on from last week’s news that Dotcom is still being spied on.

  14. Megaupload Slams U.S. Secret Move to Share Evidence With Copyright Holders
  15. Former Megaupload Users Are Victims Too, EFF Tells Court

    To address the rights of victimized copyright holders, the U.S. Government has recently obtained a secret court order. The sealed order allows it to share Megaupload evidence with industry trade groups who may want to take legal action. At the same time, however, the Government refuses to assist former Megaupload users. In a letter to the court the Electronic Frontier foundation is now pointing out that these users are victims too.

  16. Hotfile Shuts Down and Takes User Files With It

    A few hours after news broke that Hotfile had signed a $80 million settlement agreement with the MPAA, the file-hosting service has completely shut down. The drastic decision to deny access to millions of files without warning will come as a shock to the countless individuals who used Hotfile to store their personal and business documents. Hotfile has yet to comment on the controversial move which does nothing to help the image of cloud hosting providers.

  17. Torrent Site Uploader Ordered to Pay $652,000 For Sharing One Movie

    A moderator and uploader of one of Sweden’s oldest but now defunct private torrent sites has been hit with a huge damages award. For uploading a single pre-release movie the 28-year-old is now required to pay $652,000, the equivalent amount the studio would have charged for a license to distribute the movie for free. For sharing more than 500 others he received a suspended jail sentence plus 160 hours community service.

  18. Swedish Man Sentenced to Half-Million Euro In Damages For Sharing ONE Movie

    A Swedish man has been sentenced to the highest damages ever in Sweden, and possibly in the entire world, for sharing culture: 4.3 million SEK (€475,000) for sharing ONE movie. The movie Beck – Buried Alive, a typical Swedish taxpayer-subsidized B-movie, was uploaded to the culture-sharing hub Swebits. This represents a heavy escalation in the war over sharing knowledge and culture.

  19. Panic as Thousands Receive ‘Fines’ For Streaming RedTube Videos
  20. How Not To Deal With Plagiarism

    We’ve had a few posts about plagiarism here on Techdirt, and how it differs from copyright infringement. One important question that needs to be considered is: what’s the correct way to acknowledge and correct plagiarism when it is discovered? Probably not like this…

  21. Copyright As Censorship: Lawyers Tell Show Inspired By ‘The Princess Bride’ To Prepare To Die

    The Princess Bride remains quite the iconic book and movie for tons of people who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s (and, hopefully, other ages as well… but I can only speak from experience). A huge number of lines have lived on from that movie and become mainstays in popular culture. And like all sorts of great culture, it has inspired plenty of additional creativity around the original as well.

  22. Reply from Lord Younger
  23. Lord Younger promises right to parody

    We received a reply from Lord Younger today, who is the minister responsible for copyright reform. He says that the government plans to legislate for all the copyright changes in the New Year, including parody.

  24. Next Generation Creative Commons Released
  25. Supreme Court hears aftermath of long-dead DMCA printer cartridge case

    A case that went before the Supreme Court yesterday has a very long history. Lexmark sued Static Control Components (SCC) in 2002, arguing that SCC shouldn’t be allowed to reverse-engineer its printers to help others create replacement toner cartridges, because of copyright law. In 2004, an appeals court ruled in favor of SCC, and that ruling has become a cornerstone of DMCA-era copyright law.

More Calls to Boycott Elsevier

Posted in Action at 11:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Elsevier denies access to the fruit of other people’s knowledge

Summary: Fresh attacks on Open Access by Elsevier trigger new calls for a boycott of everything Elsevier offers

Big journals have formed a sort of exploitative cartel which derives “value” from volunteering academics and then upsells access to work that should all along belong to taxpayers who funded it. We wrote about Elsevier going beyond exploitation and into corruption [1, 2] — a problem which is hardly unique and continues to make some headlines this month [1]. In order to sell all sorts of placebos [2] there is either bribery of journals of of academics who submit papers to journals (I have personally heard of such stories in other universities, not mine). Elsevier, however, is in many ways unique and a lot worse than its counterparts, which is why some people have started boycotting Elsevier. It turns out that Elsevier has become quite aggressive in its crackdown on Open Access [3-5], so even the people whose work Elsevier publishes are apparently of no value to Elsevier.

Boycott Elsevier. It’s really that simple. There is already a Facebook group (walled gardens ironically enough) called “Boycott Elsevier”, the New York Times has an article titled “Researchers Boycott Elsevier Journal Publisher” and Nature, a competitor, has an article titled “Elsevier boycott gathers pace,” so Elsevier must already be feeling the pinch.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals

    Randy Schekman says his lab will no longer send papers to Nature, Cell and Science as they distort scientific process

  2. Medical Journal: Vitamins Are a Scam That Wastes Your Money and Has No Health Benefits
  3. Elsevier is taking down papers from Academia.edu
  4. One little tweet…

    Either way as much as I can I will be avoiding Elsevier both for publication and peer review and hopefully impressing on my colleagues to do the same. They say all publicity is good publicity but I really don’t think Elsevier can push a positive spin on their previous conduct nor on their recent conduct. 2800 requests is 2800 pieces of research that have now become inaccessible to the public for no good reason. If one little (open, accessible, free) tweet can generate this amount of interest over a Friday and a weekend then just think how much interest and knowledge you can impart on the world by not publishing with Elsevier and making any articles that you have published with them available and free to access online. Hello Elsevier – leonard_et_al_2011 – *waves*!

  5. Elsevier Continues Its Efforts To Stifle The Sharing Of Knowledge To Pump Up Its Own Profits

    In the academic publishing world, I’m not sure if there’s any company quite as hated as Elsevier. You may recall the big campaign by academics to boycott Elsevier over its opposition to rules that would make federally funded research publicly available at some time period (six months to a year) after the original publication. Or the time they removed free access to journals in Bangladesh (until academics made enough noise and Elsevier brought them back). Or, how about the fact that Elsevier had an entire division devoted to publishing fake medical journals that were used by big pharmaceutical companies to write ad copy which they could then pretend was from a prestigious medical journal that was really just junk science made to look nice. Oh, and then there was the time Elsevier was caught publishing ghostwritten articles by the pharmaceutical industry that were supposed to be “reviews” of all the research about certain treatments, but which instead played down the negative research and played up the positive kinds.

New Examples of Censorship in West Europe, Facebook, Google, Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, and North America

Posted in News Roundup at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • The UK Government Is Already Censoring The Global Internet

    Today, a special police unit can decide that a certain website needs to disappear from the Internet, and threaten its domain name registrar into revoking the address “until further notice”, without any legal basis whatsoever.

    The name of the unit is PIPCU (Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit) and it has just reported on the success of Operation Creative – a three month long campaign that resulted in 40 websites accused of copyright infringement shutting down, or at least moving to a new Web address.

  • Who decides what we can read?

    Speaking at the Internet Service Providers Association, Security Minister James Brokenshire said that an announcement on blocking extremist websites is ‘forthcoming.’

  • Will French Parliamentarians Consent to a Democratorship?

    Numerous reactions are now being voiced against the inclusion in the 2014-2019 Defense Bill of article 13 whose provisions enable a pervasive surveillance of online data and communications. Gilles Babinet, appointed in 2012 as French Digital Champion to Nellie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe, was quoted [fr] in the French newspaper Les Echos, “This law is the most serious attack on democracy since the special tribunals during the Algerian War” (our translation).

  • German Court Tells Wikimedia Foundation That It’s Liable For Things Users Write
  • Facebook Uses “Social Signals” and Profile Information to Stop Piracy

    Social networking giant Facebook has been granted a patent to use profile information to analyze whether shared files are “pirated” or not. The data is carefully analyzed using several social indicators including the interests of the poster and recipient, their geographical location, and their social relationship. According to Facebook the patent can help the company to “minimize legal liabilities,” but whether users will be happy remains to be seen.

  • Facebook Needs To Learn It Can’t Teach Tolerance By Acting As An Overzealous Censor

    Facebook is developing a speech impediment. The recent fracas over beheading videos was marked by severe bouts of waffling from the social media giant. On one hand, it seems to want to ease unfettered expression. On the other hand, it’s set itself up as the content police.

    These two aspects often collide with disastrous results. Beheadings are a go, but breast cancer groups can’t post photos of mastectomies. Recent partnerships with government agencies see Facebook willing to censor by proxy, even as it attempts to roll back its control in other areas. Giving 800+ million users access to a “report” button is well-intended, but the reality is more troubling. Something that’s simply unpopular can be clicked into oblivion in nearly no time whatsoever.

  • Condom to sex: Google’s weird list of banned words for Android 4.4 KitKat

    It seems that Google now wants you to make use of words in a more careful and responsible way, and thus, has drawn off many words, including a bunch of profane words, from its built-in dictionary for Android. With the rollout of Android 4.4 KitKat, Google has now stopped giving you predictive suggestions for a raft of words.

  • Saudi Arabia: Popular sci-fi novel banned

    Last Tuesday (26 Nov) representatives from the country’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — the Haya’a — raided several bookshops selling the novel H W J N by Ibraheem Abbas and Yasser Bahjatt’s, demanding it’d be taken off the shelves. H W J N is a “fantasy, sci-fi and romance” novel about a genie who falls in love with a human, and is a best-seller in Saudi Arabia.

  • China’s rumor crackdown has ‘cleaned’ Internet, official says

    China’s campaign against online rumors, which critics say is crushing free speech, has been highly successful in “cleaning” the Internet, a top official of the country’s internet regulator said on Thursday.

  • Japan Reacts to Fukushima Crisis By Banning Journalism
  • Japan’s Dangerous Anachronism

    The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this month rammed through Parliament a state secrecy law that signals a fundamental alteration of the Japanese understanding of democracy. The law is vaguely worded and very broad, and it will allow government to make secret anything that it finds politically inconvenient. Government officials who leak secrets can be jailed for up to 10 years, and journalists who obtain information in an “inappropriate” manner or even seek information that they do not know is classified can be jailed for up to five years. The law covers national security issues, and it includes espionage and terrorism.

  • Japan’s New ‘Fukushima Fascism’

    Fukushima continues to spew out radiation. The quantities seem to be rising, as do the impacts.

    The site has been infiltrated by organized crime. There are horrifying signs of ecological disaster in the Pacific and human health impacts in the U.S.

  • Chris Hedges: Journalism is Being Pushed To the Fringes of Society
  • Canadian Cyberbullying Bill Expands Scope, Targets Open WiFi Over Terrorism, Child Porn Fears

    The drawn-out process in which a bill becomes a law lends itself to harmful things, like mission creep and bloating. Canada’s new cyberbullying legislation, problematic in its “purest” form, is now becoming even worse as legislators have begun hanging language aimed at other issues (child porn, terrorism, cable theft [?]) on the bill’s framework.

    As was noted earlier, language aimed at punishing revenge porn had already been attached to the bill. But the urge to target as much as possible with a broadly written bill is too much for Canada’s politicians to resist. Michael Geist notes that Bob Dechert (Secretary to the Minister of Justice) took a moment during the debate to speculate about the “dangers” of “stolen” cable.

  • The Government’s Secret Plan to Shut Off Cellphones and the Internet, Explained

    This month, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Department of Homeland Security must make its plan to shut off the Internet and cellphone communications available to the American public. You, of course, may now be thinking: What plan?! Though President Barack Obama swiftly disapproved of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak turning off the Internet in his country (to quell widespread civil disobedience) in 2011, the US government has the authority to do the same sort of thing, under a plan that was devised during the George W. Bush administration. Many details of the government’s controversial “kill switch” authority have been classified, such as the conditions under which it can be implemented and how the switch can be used. But thanks to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), DHS has to reveal those details by December 12 — or mount an appeal. (The smart betting is on an appeal, since DHS has fought to release this information so far.)

New Threats of ‘Gentle’ Internet Censorship as Even Regulators Speak for Corporations

Posted in Action at 11:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Verizon

Summary: Net neutrality, or the principle that all traffic from everyone should be treated equally, is under attack not just from corporations but also from European and US regulators

Regulators are supposed to represent citizens’ interests while corporations and their lobbyists try to warp politics for personal gain/profit. But right now we find that not even so-called ‘regulators’ cannot speak for us.

In the US, Internet providers run amok [1] and bogus arguments [2] make it into the mouth of the new FCC head, who is somewhat of a mole. As FOSS Force put it with the words of another [3,4,5], “Wheeler (a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries) spoke positively about the [Open Internet] order but said he wouldn’t mind if Netflix has to pay for a faster lane to consumers while answering questions Monday after a policy speech at Ohio State University.” Tom Wheeler and his professional background are very telling. No need to speculate, it’s all out there in the open.

Things are not much better here in Europe, especially when even the famed Kroes parrots talking points from the lobbyists and is now part of a threat to net neutrality in Europe [6-8], reports Quadrature du Net, which needs support [9].

The fight for net neutrality has lost some of its momentum and this is being exploited not just by corporations and their lobbyists (even Google) but also regulators. It should be clear that net neutrality is a form of censorship, so inability to fight back will make censorship more of a norm in the West.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Unless the FCC protects net neutrality, the biggest Internet providers will run amok.

    The Internet is the world’s largest shopping mall, library, video store, post office and town square. When you turn on your computer, you’re in the driver’s seat, choosing what you want to read, watch, and hear.

  2. Anti-Net Neutrality Advocates Back To Making Bogus Arguments

    A month or so ago, a PR person sent me a ridiculously misleading (to potentially dishonest) Forbes piece by Ev Ehrlich, former undersecretary of commerce for President Bill Clinton, arguing against net neutrality. The piece was so ridiculous that I asked the PR person whether or not Ehrlich, in his current job as a consultant/think tank person, was working with any broadband providers. The PR person said he didn’t know, and I figured I’d just ignore the piece. However, having now listened to a radio debate on KCRW about net neutrality that included Ehrlich making the same basic argument in a discussion with Tim Lee from the Washington Post, Harold Feld from Public Knowledge and Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, it seems worth highlighting just how confused and, well, wrong, Ehrlich is.

  3. Linux 2K, Troll University & More…
  4. New FCC chairman Tom Wheeler appears to have conflicting views on net neutrality
  5. FCC chair: ISPs should be able to charge Netflix for Internet fast lane
  6. Net Neutrality: EU Parliament Must Amend Kroes’ Dangerous Proposal

    On Monday 9th December, the rapporteur Pilar del Castillo Vera (EPP – Spain) will present to the “Industry” (ITRE) Committee of the European Parliament her draft report on Neelie Kroes’ proposal for a Regulation on the Telecom Package. Citizens must urge MEPs to amend this report in order to accurately define what qualifies as ‘specialised services’ with ‘enhanced’ quality of service, and ensure that the Regulation will guarantee a genuine and unconditional Net neutrality principle.

  7. Crucial Moment Ahead for Net Neutrality at the EU Parliament

    On September 11th, the European Commission adopted an important legislative package geared to achieve the European Single Market of telecommunication and build thereby a connected continent.

  8. Net Neutrality’s Fate in Europe in the Hands of a Few MEPs?

    A few days before the deadline for Members of the European Parliament to table amendments on the anti-Net neutrality Kroes’ proposal, within the ITRE committee, La Quadrature du Net sent them out its own proposal of amendments. From now and until December 17th, citizens must contact their representatives and urge them to alter Neelie Kroes’ proposal and ensure that European citizens can definitely benefit from a genuine and unconditional Net neutrality.

  9. Surveillance or Privacy… ? Support La Quadrature du Net!

    Today we find ourselves at a crossroads: surveillance or privacy? Net neutrality or discrimination of our communications? “Copywrong” threatening the public or copyright reform to sanctuarize our cultural practices? These decisions will have a radical impact on our relationship with technology and power and affect society as a whole. We all know this. And we also know that without a concerted effort by citizens, the political and economic powers will take the line that will lead us to the worst case scenario.

Links 18/12/2013: KDE News

Posted in News Roundup at 10:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 18/12/2013: GNOME Desktop News

Posted in News Roundup at 10:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Governments Increasingly Leaning Towards Free Software in the Wake of NSA Scandals and Economic Pressures

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software at 10:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New examples of governments’ embrace of Free/libre software, despite bribes from software oligarchs like Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle

NOT only South Korea ponders a migration to freedom-respecting software. Quietly (for fear of interference from software oligarchs) some governments around the world are moving to Free/libre programs, one program/piece at a time. Several people have told us that they are aware of this happening in Finland and it sure is happening in the UK. Among the migrations that we are publicly told about here are some that made headlines.

We previous wrote about what Microsoft was doing in Hungary (Ballmer got egged there for corruption) and now there are signs of an Hungarian shift towards Free/libre software [1], based on this English translation. There was something similar happening in Polynesia, where the same source says activists worked to make a difference and “the local Linux Users’ Group had distributed 5000 CDs” [2]. Watch how GNU/Linux usage soared to double-digit (%) figures. In the United States, as one might expect, things are a bit more murky [3,4] as proprietary software oligarchs have a lot of influence (they usually come from there and they have moles in positions of power).

In the UK, the Universal Credit chief cannot keep lying [5], so moves to Free/libre software are seen, echoing what we see in Budapest (Hungary) [6]. We previously compared the UK and HU (Hungary) policy, saying that it was not being actively followed. This in itself is a form of corruption. There are a couple of new articles in europa.eu about Hungary’s slow embrace of Free/libre software [7,8]. This is a logical move [9], which is being followed by south American countries [10], US allies like Australia [11], and even the US itself [12] (to a limited extent, usually in the military industrial complex which wants real security only for itself). Over in the government France, where mischief is seemingly more common than people care to realise [13], there are sign of progress also [14].

Given these slow strides towards software freedom it is easier to become optimists and hope that within a few years taxpayers will get to see (and use or even redistribute) the software that are paying for. For the public sector the rules should be very different from whatever applies to private businesses. Governments, for example, are liable if not indebted to the taxpayers. Citizens’ interests and collective will should drive procurement. We now know (with evidence) that Microsoft bribes government officials in exchange for pricey deals (IBM and Oracle also got caught), so we expect many deals to be signed for the benefit of corrupt politicians, not the nations which they claim to represent.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The Latest Hungarian Revolution
  2. The FIght For Free Software In French Polynesia

    It may seem strange to think of war in a tropical paradise but it’s happening, thanks to M$’s global conspiracy to prevent free use of personal computers. In 2008, the local Linux Users’ Group had distributed 5000 CDs of FLOSS and caused quite a spike in usage. Wintel fought back but today

  3. Open-Source Benefits to Govt Outweigh Misconceptions, Report Says

    Security challenges, lack of education, interoperability concerns and licensing and legal concerns are some of the top obstacles government officials see for adopting open-source software in agencies, according to a survey in a recent report from GovLoop.

    In the survey of 233 government professionals, 73 percent mentioned security issues, 60 percent lack of education, 58 percent interoperability concerns and 50 percent licensing and legal concerns. They survey focused on U.S. respondents but also included some respondents from outside the U.S.

  4. Koha wins trademark stoush with US defence contractor

    After a protracted legal battle, the Horowhenua Library Trust, the birthplace of the open source Koha integrated library system, has succeeded in preventing an American defence contractor from poaching its trademark.

  5. Open source ‘wasn’t available’ two years ago, says Universal Credit chief

    The head of delivery for the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) flagship welfare reform project, Universal Credit, has said that the department didn’t adopt open source and web-based technologies at the beginning of the project because “such things weren’t available” two and a half years ago.

    Howard Shiplee told the Work and Pensions Committee this week that the department is now using open source technologies in its enhanced version of Universal Credit, which was initially developed by the Government Digital Service (GDS) and will be rolled out nationally by 2017 for most claimants.

    The existing system being used in pathfinder pilots and developed by the likes of IBM, HP and Accenture will be largely be replaced by the digital version.

  6. Budapest District Loves FLOSS
  7. Budapest district debunks misgivings over open source

    Habits and anxieties are holding back public administrations from switching to free software, says Tivadar Karay, head of the IT department of the 18th district of Budapest. The district commonly uses this type of ICT solutions, and has been for the past five years: “For pretty much everything, there is an open source alternative. Fear is unnecessary.”

  8. Hungary’s open source centre kicks off website

    The Hungarian government’s resource centre on open source unveiled its new site in mid-November, kicking off the next phase in the centre’s activities, focussing on information dissemination. Last week the centre organised its first conference in the capital Budapest, opened by Gábor Fekete, deputy secretary of state. In the next few weeks, the centre’s six staffers will be travelling around the country, presenting on the advantages of free and open source in the country’s largest cities, Győr, Szeged, Debrecen and Pécs.

  9. Using Free/Libre Open Source Software Is A “No-Brainer”

    It’s obvious but there are still some people who don’t understand that FLOSS is the right way to do IT:

    Using software you can run any way you want is the right way to do IT.
    Using software you can examine in detail to see how it works is the right way to do IT.
    Using software you can modify is the right way to do IT.
    Using software you can distribute is the right way to do IT.

  10. Roundup: Ecuador open-source software, Brazil antitrust, Venezuela TDT applications

    An open-source software forum has been held in Ecuadorian capital Quito, with a focus on how governments in the region can collaborate to develop open-source…

  11. Open source option wins WA cloud deal

    The Western Australian Institute for Medical Research will today take ownership of a private cloud solution built almost entirely of open source technologies to prepare for an influx of researchers over the coming weeks.

  12. Federal Agencies Embracing Use Of Open Source Software Code

    Federal agencies that previously relied on expensive, built-to-order software are now following a growing trend to embrace open source code.

  13. French agency caught minting SSL certificates impersonating Google
  14. French Isère department encourages open source use

    The Isère department in France’s Rhône-Alpes region is encouraging its public administrations to use free and open source software. In October, the Secretary-General of the prefecture sent a letter to all local authorities. The letter included a warning to make sure procurement requests do not include discriminatory requirements.

Another 2 Reasons to Boycott BT: Censorship by Default, Back Doors for the US

Posted in Europe at 8:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Serving the Crown, not customers

English coins

Summary: BT finds itself embroiled in two more scandals, one relating to Internet censorship and another relating to back doors in people’s home networks (in the UK)

OVER the years I have composed about a dozen short articles condemning BT for their technical ineptitude (sometimes their staff wrongly blames connection issues on GNU/Linux), inability to send out repair engineers when they are needed (to reduce cost to themselves), poor service, etc. There was another angle to the criticism: BT’s special relationship with Microsoft and the patent attacks on Linux. Then there’s DPI/Phorm, but that’s mostly hidden by proxy (former BT staff creating companies for deep-packet inspection, supposedly for corporate gain). But today, now that BT is claimed to have lost their most famous member of staff (Bruce Schneier), there are two more reasons to condemn BT. The stories are self-explanatory and they can be summarised by “censorship” (the British press uses euphemism to dodge this word [1-5]) and apparent back doors, which facilitate surveillance even by foreign nations [6-10]. That’s quite an abuse of Linux, which powers the equipment and only acknowledges this after legal threats (BT didn’t want to comply with the GPL).

BT cannot be trusted anymore. It’s obvious who BT is serving, and it’s clearly not so-called ‘customers’ (the real customer is the government and those in power).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Torservers awarded $250,000 by Digital Defenders
  2. BT answers our questions about parental controls

    Today BT launched their new Parental Controls service, the latest ISP to roll out network level filters following the Government’s push this summer.

  3. BT will automatically block porn for new customers
  4. BT Forces Customers To Make Parental Controls Choice

    BT will offer network level parental controls to new and existing customers, which restrict or block access to pornography and other content deemed unsuitable for children.

    It is widely reported that BT Parental Controls are on by default; in fact, new customers will have to choose whether or not to enforce the block when they set up their Internet connection for the first time. On the set-up screen, the option to activate the controls is pre-selected by default. BT says this simply requires users to confirm whether or not they want them enforced.

  5. BT internet filter to protect all devices including smartphones and tablets
  6. Report accuses BT of supplying backdoors for GCHQ and NSA
  7. [As above] Report accuses BT of supplying backdoors for GCHQ and NSA

    A paper released earlier this month by a group of security researchers has outlined the technical details behind a potential Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) program likely used by the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and their American counterpart, the NSA.

  8. [As above] Report accuses BT of supplying backdoors for GCHQ and NSA
  9. BT modems have NSA back-door, claim researchers

    In what appears to be purely coincidental timing, Bruce Schneier has left his post of Security Futurologist at BT after seven years. According to an email sent to Ars Technica, the move has nothing to do with the supposed back-door or any potential NSA/GCHQ input into BT’s affairs: ‘No, they weren’t happy with me, but they knew that I am an independent thinker and they didn’t try to muzzle me in any way,’ Schneier wrote of his former employers. ‘It’s just time. I spent seven years at BT and seven years at Counterpane Internet Security, Inc before BT bought us. It’s past time for something new.’

  10. Do BT modems really contain NSA back-doors?

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts