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03.26.14

Law No Longer Matters When it Comes to Copyrights, as the Copyright Monopoly is Above the Law, Uses Anti-Terrorism Instruments

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Law at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Counterterrorism becomes terrorism

Apache raid

Summary: More new examples of the draconian and unthinkable state of copyright law and especially its enforcement, which now co-opts anti-terror laws

A READER has diverted our attention to “secret evidence in NZ courts,” in reference to [1] and [2]. Read [3] (a news site not blocked by default by some British ISPs, unlike [1,2]). It’s amazing. Here we have not just SWAP-type raiders being used by the copyright monopoly (Hollywood) but also secrecy laws, clearly confusing/conflating terrorism with copyright allegations. What have we come to?! Copyright allegations are now equated not just with “piracy” (misnomer) but with “terrorism”. Also see [4] for ransom/bounty examples; monetary rewards are put on the heads of alleged copyright infringers. If some of these alleged copyright infringers are suitable to run for European Parliament [5], then surely they are not as bad as pirates or terrorists. A “European Pirate Party” may well be on its way [6] as reforms for copyright law are sought. Groups like Chilling Effects [7] and the British Open Rights Group also join such efforts [8-10], boosted to some degree by some recent court cases [11], including the billion-dollar YouTube lawsuit against Google [12,13]. Just watch how copyright continues to induce censorship inside Google [14]; and it’s spiraling out of control (“Google Takedown Notices Surge 711,887 Percent in Four Years”). Does anyone think this really makes sense?

When copyright infringement (or allegation thereof) is treated as an offence as serious as terrorism it should be rather clear that the law is broken and needs fixing.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Sssh! Dotcom’s Use of Twitter Problematic, Court Told

    Days after the Supreme Court denied Kim Dotcom access to evidence held by the FBI, the Megaupload founder’s legal team were back in court seeking other documents in connection with a compensation claim. During the hearing, however, a Crown lawyer took the opportunity to complain about Dotcom’s use of Twitter.

  2. Supreme Court Denies Kim Dotcom Access to U.S. Evidence

    Kim Dotcom and his alleged Megaupload co-conspirators have been denied access to the evidence gathered by U.S. authorities against them. Megaupload’s legal team argued that this information is essential to mount a solid defense, but the Supreme Court ruled that full disclosure is not required under New Zealand law.

  3. Kim Dotcom loses key evidence ruling at NZ Supreme Court

    Dotcom and his lawyers have lost a bid to force the United States to show them the evidence they plan to use in making their argument that he should be extradited. The Supreme Court of New Zealand published a 123-page ruling today, detailing their decision that the US isn’t required to hand over to Dotcom and his lawyers copies of the documents it refers to in its arguments.

  4. WWE Lawyer Offers Gifts to Obtain Streaming Pirate’s Home Address

    World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) “apologized” last week to a streaming links site owner for wrongfully taking down his Facebook page on copyright grounds. On offer was a compensatory WWE gift bag, but it quickly became clear that nicely wrapped presents were probably the last thing the wrestling outfit had in mind.

  5. Pirate Bay Founder Gets Ready to Run for European Parliament

    In two months time citizens of all European Union member states will vote on who can represent them in the European Parliament. Pirate Parties will join the election race In several countries, with Finland having the most prominent candidate in Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde, who is also picked by the European Pirate Party as candidate for the European Commission presidency.

  6. My Address To The European Pirates

    This weekend, hundreds of pirates from all over Europe gathered in the European Parliament to formally found the European Pirate Party. It was an amazing gathering of determined activists, many of which were absolutely electrified at realizing the sheer scale of this movement, seeing 400 of Europe’s brightest activists gathering for the occasion. I had the honor of giving one of the opening keynotes (below).

  7. Copyright Alliance Attacks ChillingEffects.org As ‘Repugnant,’ Wants DMCA System With No Public Accountability

    Sandra Aistars of the Copyright Alliance issued a statement during the recent DMCA-related hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee. As was noted earlier, a bunch of effort was made to turn the “notice and takedown” system into a “notice and stay down” system, and weirdly, the word “free” was thrown about as if it was synonymous with “infringement.”

  8. Will ‘voluntary’ copyright enforcement protect users’ rights?

    It is approaching four years since the Digital Economy Act was passed, and still measures within it to deal with individuals alleged to have infringed copyright have not been implemented. It’s an Act that was so poorly conceived, planned and written that it has proven almost impossible to implement in practice.

  9. Why UK copyright reform is needed

    It is fitting that last week heralded the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Web. It is also 25 years since the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act received Royal Assent. Since 1989, the Internet and other types of new technology have changed the world dramatically. The copyright framework needs to reflect these changes and fit with the digital world so that information is preserved, respect for the law is regained and opportunities are not lost to competitor countries who have more flexible frameworks.

  10. Bingo and beer spoofs show that our copyright laws are a joke

    Unlike Germany, France, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA, the UK does not have an exception from copyright law for parody. This means that thousands of us are engaging in illegal activity everyday. Upload a film of you singing Adele’s Someone Like You, create a Downfall spoof or make a meme based on a well-known advert, and you’re infringing copyright law.

  11. Judge Highlights Bogus Collusion By ASCAP, Publishers In Rejecting Their Attempt To Jack Up Pandora’s Rates

    Last month, we wrote about the rate court fight between ASCAP and Pandora as ASCAP attempted to massively increase Pandora’s rates through moves that were quite clearly collusive. ASCAP had already lost an earlier ruling showing that it had violated its consent decree by letting publishers selectively remove certain works in order to force Pandora into paying much, much higher rates. However, the details of ASCAP and the publishers’ deception became much clearer during the rate court battle. Last week, the judge handed ASCAP a huge loss, keeping the rate where it had been, at 1.85%, rather than jacking it up to ASCAP’s requested 3%.

  12. Billion-Dollar YouTube Suit Ends With a Whimper
  13. Viacom, Google settle long-running YouTube copyright lawsuit

    Ending a long-running legal battle, search giant Google has settled a landmark copyright lawsuit in which Viacom, the parent company of such television networks as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon, accused the former of posting its films and television shows on YouTube without permission.

  14. Google Takedown Notices Surge 711,887 Percent in Four Years

03.12.14

Censorship Watch: Default Filtering in the UK, Censorship Using Copyrights, Links as Crime

Posted in Law at 3:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The latest flavours of censorship around the world, including the Western world where even links to sites are now treated like offenses

ORG

Arab World

  • Saudi Arabia Threatens to Lay Siege to Qatar: Cooperation or Confrontation?

    Saudi Arabia has threatened to blockade its neighbouring Gulf State Qatar by land and sea unless it cuts ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, closes Al Jazeera, and expels local branches of two prestigious U.S. think tanks, the Brookings Doha Center and the Rand Qatar Policy Institute.

  • Google battles legal fallout of copyright ruling on anti-Islamic film (copyright linked to censorship)

    The video had flimsy production values and was just 14 minutes long, but internet service providers fear they will pay a lasting price for Innocence of Muslims. A court order to remove the anti-Islamic film from YouTube has paved the way for attempts to menace other creative visual works under cover of copyright, some legal experts have warned.

  • Turkey may ban Facebook and YouTube if Erdoğan wins elections

    The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said Facebook and YouTube could be banned following local elections in March after leaked tapes of an alleged phone call between him and his son went viral, prompting calls for his resignation.

    Erdoğan claims social media sites have been abused by his political enemies, in particular his former ally US-based Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who, he says, is behind a stream of “fabricated” audio recordings posted on the internet purportedly revealing corruption in his inner circle.

Link Censorship

  • EFF Statement on Dismissal of 11 Charges Against Barrett Brown

    The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas today filed a motion to dismiss 11 charges against Barrett Brown in a criminal prosecution that would have had massive implications for journalism and the right of ordinary people to share links. EFF has written extensively about the case and had planned to file an amicus brief on Monday on behalf of several reporters groups arguing for the dismissal of the indictment.

  • Barrett Brown: The Criminalization of Web Links

    This– A LINK– could have sent me to jail. Another link came very, very close to sending Barrett Brown to jail.
    First, a quick recap of how the internet works. People from all over the world put stuff on the web (“posts”). In many cases you the viewer do not know who posted something, when they did it, where they live or where they obtained the information they posted. It is just there on your screen. If the info is of interest, you can link to it, sending instructions via chat, email, HTML, Facebook or whatever to someone else, telling them where to find the information.

    The act of linking is analogous to saying “Hey, did you see that article in the Times on page 4? Check it out.” It is kind of what the internet is about. Here’s how the government seeks to criminalize linking from one article on the web to another.

03.06.14

GoDaddy, Go Away: How This SOPA Backer is Censoring the Internet Despite SOPA’s Death

Posted in Law at 11:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Political censorship now in the West, but overlooked by statistics that omit domain-level cutoffs

Remember the boycott against GoDaddy over SOPA (pro-censorship bill) support? Well, guess what? Even without SOPA GoDaddy is censoring Web sites and the EFF is up in arms [1]. iophk says that it’s “like when ODF sites were censored in 2008 via a different registrar. Back then it was blamed on a contract dispute but somehow got cleared up within hours of the critical deadline having gone.”

The last thing we need on the Internet is censorship and we wrote many posts about the reasons. Here in the UK we have paedophiles claiming that we need censorship to protect us from paedophiles [2] and in central Europe too politicians like Neelie Kroes continue to pretend adults are children [3] and require government supervision on the Web.

This new Internet censorship world map [4] totally fails to take into account the type of ‘soft’ censorship we now have in the UK, including domain-level interception of Web sites without due process. It’s really quite bad and Reddit too is not in the censorship business [5,6], basically burying stories that reveal government interference in Web sites. Twitter is also censoring sites now (at domain level even [7]), YouTube continues to facilitate censorship through bogus copyright claims [8,9] or utterly fictional claims [10] (iopkh says that “the film was blamed after the fact and that the actual violence had the hallmarks of long and careful planning, including selection and casing of the target”), and in India domain-level censorship was achieved (hiding political corruption) only after a court had gotten involved [11]. What a disgusting trend. How long before many ISPs in Western nations block sites like Wikileaks (some parts of the US public sector have done this for years)? If we don’t protect free speech, then the rich and powerful will continue to take it away, eliminating the advantage of the Web (speaking truth to power, bypassing gatekeepers).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Mexican Protest Site Censored by GoDaddy — with the U.S. Embassy’s Help
  2. Top UK official involved in national porn filter arrested for child porn

    A top British government aide who helped create 10 Downing Street’s controversial policy to censor online pornography for the majority of British Internet users has resigned from his post on Monday after being arrested last month on charges of possessing child pornography.

  3. A free media needs regulators to be independent

    In each EU country, audiovisual services like TV benefit from oversight by independent regulators. And yesterday we convened the first ever meeting of all those regulators, from across the EU.

  4. The most important thing you’ll see today: Internet censorship world map
  5. Why Reddit mods are ‘censoring’ Greenwald’s latest bombshell

    In the article, Greenwald provides images from a Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) documents that show how the clandestine agency has tried to “control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the Internet itself.”

    Greenwald also provides a great deal of context and explanation in his article, comparing it to similar programs allegedly carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA). Greenwald’s story was subsequently picked up on Boing Boing, RT.com, Daily Kos, Zero Hedge, and Der Speigel.

    The removals have been the subject of numerous threads on r/subredditdrama (where redditors discuss “Internet fights and other dramatic happenings from other subreddits”) and r/undelete (home to submissions that moderators remove from the top 100 in r/all). Redditors are calling it an act of censorship.

    [...]

    Moderator BipolarBear0 responded to the Daily Dot to add that Greenwald’s original story was removed because “it breaks our preexisting rules as to analysis and opinion.”

    “As it stands, the Firstlook story is almost entirely comprised of analysis and a lack of objectivity. Not to say that’s necessarily a bad thing—in fact, the Firstlook story by Greenwald is, at least in my opinion, a great piece of investigative journalism.”

  6. Reddit Censors Big Story About Government Manipulation and Disruption of the Internet

    The moderators at the giant r/news reddit (with over 2 million subscribed readers) repeatedly killed the Greenwald/Snowden story on government manipulation and disruption of the Internet … widely acknowledged to be one of the most important stories ever leaked by Snowden.

  7. Twitter Blocks Kickass.to Links, Says They’re Unsafe

    Twitter is refusing to link users to Kickass.to, the second largest torrent index on the Internet. People who attempt to access the site through Twitter get a warning that the site may be unsafe and potentially harmful. Questions to Twitter about the reason for this unusual blockade remain unanswered.

  8. YouTube Ordered to Remove ‘Illegal’ Copyright Blocking Notices
  9. Bad Facts, Really Bad Law: Court Orders Google to Censor Controversial Video Based on Spurious Copyright Claim

    It’s an old legal adage that bad facts lead to bad legal decisions, and today we’ve got a classic example in Garcia v. Google—the “Innocence of Muslims” case. Based on a copyright claim that is dubious at best, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered Google to take offline a video that is the center of public controversy. We can still talk about it, but we can’t see what we are talking about. We’re hard-pressed to think of a better example of copyright maximalism trumping free speech.

  10. YouTube ordered to remove film that sparked violence in Middle East

    US appeals court said anti-Muslim video infringed actress Cindy Lee Garcia’s copyright to her role and she could order its removal

  11. Court blocks Tamil ‘Assange’ Shankar’s website savukku.net

    Justice CT Selvam of the Madras High Court has ordered the Chennai City Police to block the website www.savukku.net immediately. He has directed all those affected by savukku.net to file complaint with police. Senior Tamil Nadu police officer Jaffer Sait is likely to be the first complainant in the case. Savukku.net, which is known as a Tamil Wikileaks is likely to face a huge trouble after this order.

03.03.14

Open Source Initiative, Free Software Foundation, SFLC, Red Hat and Others Fight Against Software Patents at SCOTUS Level

Posted in America, FSF, Law, OIN, OSI, Patents, Red Hat at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The debate about software patents in the United States is back because many Free software advocacy groups and companies (not Open Invention Network though) are getting involved in a Supreme Court (SCOTUS) case

OVER THE past 6 months or so there have not been many debates about software patents. There were debates about trolls and other such distracting debates; many of them were ‘pre-approved’ by corporations and covered by the corporate press. We had highlighted this appealing trend several dozens of times before pretty much abandoning this debate and giving up on involvement; generally speaking, providing coverage for these debates is basically helping those who create obstacles for small players (monopolies/oligopolies) just shift the public’s attention away from patent scope.

Debates about software patents returned about a week ago. The Open Invention Network (OIN) was mentioned in the article “Software patents should include source code”, but it’s such an offensive idea because it helps legitimise software patents, which is what the Open Invention Network often does anyway. To quote the article: “Computer-implemented inventions that are patented in Europe should be required to fully disclose the patented invention, for example by including working, compilable source code, that can be verified by others. This would be one way to avoid frivolous software patents, says Mirko Boehm, a Berlin-based economist and software developer working for the OpenInvention Network (OIN).”

Why on Earth does the Open Invention Network get involved in pushing the idea of software patents in Europe? Source code or not, software patents are not legal in Europe and the same goes in most of the world, including India where lawyers’ sites still try to legitimise them.

In another blog post, one from a proprietary software company, the ludicrous notion of “Intellectual Property” is mentioned in the context of Free software and patents. The author is actually pro-Free software, but the angle he takes helps warp the terminology and warp the discussion somewhat. To quote him: “My usual response to the question, “Do I have to worry about patent trolls and copyright infringement in open source software?” is another question, “Does your proprietary vendor offer you unlimited liability for patent trolls and copyright infringement and what visibility do you have into their source code?” In the proprietary world I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a vendor who provides unlimited liability for their products against IP infringement, or even much over the cost of the products or services rendered. How often do you review their source code and if given the opportunity are you able to share your findings with other users. In open source that’s simply table stakes.”

Contrary to all the above, the Software Freedom Law Center, together with the FSF and the OSI (Simon Phipps and Luis Villa) actually fight the good fight. To quote Phipps: “How important are software patents? We know they’re a threat to the freedom of developers to collaborate openly in communities, chilling the commercial use of shared ideas that fuels engagement with open source. We know that the software industry was established without the “incentive” of software patents. But the importance of the issue was spotlighted yesterday in a joint action by two leading open source organizations.”

Here is how Phipps concludes his article at IDG: “I endorse and welcome this joint position calling for firm clarity on software patents. (I was obviously party to the decision to take it, although I’m not writing on OSI’s behalf here.) With 15 years of history behind us, there’s far more that unites the FSF and the OSI than divides us. We’ve each played our part in the software freedom movement that has transformed computing. Now all of us in both communities need to unite to end the chilling threat of software patents to the freedom to innovate collaboratively in community.”

Red Hat too is joining this battle and announcing this to shareholders, making some press coverage in the process amid many articles about SCOTUS in the post-Bilski case era (see some coverage in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 910]).

Software patents are finally in the headlines again (not much sympathy for them), but there is also some focus on trolls, courtesy of companies like Samsung and Apple. Other recent reporting about patents covered patent lawyers’ business, the role of universities in patents (they help feed trolls these days), and also USPTO reform (that was a fortnight ago). None of this dominated the news, however, as much as the debate was on software patents. So, perhaps it’s time to get back to covering patents on an almost daily basis.

Software patents are the most important issue as they are the biggest barrier to Free software. We just need to have the subject of software patents and their elimination publicly discussed.

02.20.14

Verizon Makes the Death of Net Neutrality in the US More Official

Posted in Law at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another blow from Verizon helps show that Net Neutrality is going the way of the dodo, destroying the very principles of the Internet as we once knew it

Verizon

Summary: Net Neutrality is under serious attacks in the United States, where giant corporations try to make up new fees for Internet utility, putting enormous burden even on poor publishers

EUROPE, and by extension the rest of the world, typically follows the trajectory of the US lawmaking when it comes to law. US corporations, backed by NSA espionage which they secretly love, spread their legislation to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK, and then to the rest of Europe, Asia, and even Africa (which depends on all those).

Defending Europe from Tiered Web has become important because there are lobbying attempts which try to destroy any chance of “Internet for the People”, or an Internet which serves anyone but the telecom backbones in the US (originally set up with Pentagon involvement). A French Internet advocacy site says that Net Neutrality talks in Europe are “taking a disastrous turn” [1] after the EU Parliament Civil Liberties Committee reportedly “pave[d] the way for real Net Neutrality.” [2]

The European Commission recently tried to gain more control over the Internet, capitalising on the NSA fiasco [3] that we have covered here very closely for years (even before Snowden showed up).

Net Neutrality is gradually dying even in Europe and clearly quite dead in the US (despite empty rhetoric from the FCC [4] and weak action from politicians [5]). We previously covered the topic in posts such as:

The ever-growing Comcast [6] and companies like AT&T or Verizon [7] are now going a step further and pass costs of traffic to the transmitter (publisher), not the receiver, in their greedy attempts to boost their profits at expense of users of the Internet. One headline states that “Verizon wants Netflix to pay for traffic”. Is this the official end of Net Neutrality in the US?

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. EU Parliament Negotiations on Net Neutrality Taking a Disastrous Turn

    On 24 February, the “Industry” (ITRE) committee of the European Parliament will take a crucial decision for the future of Net Neutrality in Europe, by adopting its report, on the basis of which the whole Parliament will vote. As things currently stand, Members of the European Parliament in ITRE still have the possibility to ensure a genuine and unconditional Net Neutrality principle, as proposed by others committees, so as to protect freedom of expression and online innovation. But instead, all might be lost because the liberal (ALDE) and socio-democrat (S&D) political groups seem ready to adopt the disastrous proposals made by Pilar Del Castillo Vera, the lead rapporteur in charge of this dossier. Unless citizens act and key MEPs show political leadership, we may be about to lose the Internet as we know it.

  2. EU Parliament Civil Liberties Committee Paves the Way for Real Net Neutrality

    Today, the “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) committee of the European Parliament adopted its opinion report on the European single market for electronic communications. Key amendments were adopted which, if included in the final text, would guarantee that network neutrality becomes an enforceable rule across all of the European Union. La Quadrature du Net warns against attempts in the Industry committee (ITRE), the lead committee on this dossier, to adopt watered-down amendments that would allow telecommunication operators to distribute specialised services in a way that would radically undermine freedom of communication and innovation on the Internet.

  3. European Commission declares itself an “Honest broker in future global negotiations on Internet Governance”

    For more than a decade there has been active resistance in some quarters to the continuing custody by the U.S. of the root domain registries of the Internet. Those directories (which control the routing of Internet traffic into and out of nations) are administered by ICANN, which in turn exists under the authority of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Today, Neelie Kroes, the strong-willed European Commission Vice-President in charge of the E.C.’s Digital Agenda, has put the question of “Internet Governance” (read: control of these registries) back into the news. Specifically, Kroes announced in a press release that the Commission will pursue a “role as honest broker in future global negotiations on Internet Governance.”

  4. FCC Chairman Promises Action on Net Neutrality

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will soon release his plan for how to proceed on net neutrality.

    Wheeler did not provide specifics on how the commission will proceed, instead making the case for why the FCC has the right to step in on this issue.

  5. Glimmer of hope or dying embers? Net neutrality flares up again

    Politicos get behind Net neutrality with the Open Internet Preservation Act of 2014, but the real power lies with us

  6. Comcast: Allowing Us To Get Immensely, Inconceivably, Ridiculously Massive Is ‘Pro Consumer’

    Comcast has confirmed reports that the company will be acquiring Time Warner Cable in a deal estimated to be worth around $45 billion. With the ink on their NBC acquisition only just dry to the touch, the deal will tack 8 million broadband subscribers onto the company’s existing 22 million broadband customers. Comcast is already the nation’s largest fixed-line broadband company, largest cable TV provider, and third largest fixed-line phone company — and that’s before you include the company’s NBC or other assets. From a geographical perspective the deal makes sense; Time Warner Cable filling in Comcast’s coverage gaps and in particular giving Comcast the prized markets of Los Angeles and New York City, where Time Warner Cable has traditionally under-performed.

  7. Netflix performance on Verizon and Comcast has been dropping for months

    Netflix’s speed rankings show that video streaming performance on Verizon and Comcast has been dropping for the past three to four months.

02.13.14

Elusive Freedom: How Society is Growing More Oppressive Rather Than Progressive

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

Summary: Items of news from the past week, demonstrating quite clearly that dehumanisation of people starts not only abroad but also at the borders

  • I’m No @ioerror But the Border Still Broke My Phone To Silence Me

    Yesterday upon returning to the United States from Canada, the United States Customs and Border Protections ruined my HTC One by breaking off the charger inside the phone. This was after I refused to delete recordings I had of them from the device.

  • U.S. NSA: diplomat issue shouldn’t derail India ties

    The diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, was arrested on December 12 on charges of visa fraud and lying to U.S. authorities about what she paid her housekeeper. She was stripped-searched while detained in a Manhattan federal courthouse, an incident that triggered a major rift between India and the United States.

  • DEA-CIA Drug Trafficking Exposed by Whistleblower DEA Pilot Beau Abbott

    This interview with Beau Abbott was done by John Gentry, a wannabe cameraman, at Stew Webb’s request in the 1990s and recently loaded on YouTube by John Gentry of Dallas, Texas.

    I, Stew Webb was held as a Political Prisoner from 1992-1993 and met and talked for weeks with Beau Abbott, who was also a Political Prisoner at the Federal Prison in Springfield, Missouri, also known as Siberia- USA.

  • Real-life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral

    In an attempt by fact to imitate fiction, the US military’s “Iron Man” armor will take an important step towards reality in June, when multiple prototypes will be revealed and tested.

    According to a report by Defense Tech, Navy Admiral William McRaven said three prototypes of the TALOS – Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit – are currently being put together in the hopes that they’ll be ready for testing this summer.

Ed: Cops in Manchester, in particular the Tactical Aid Unit (TAU), have had something similar for a number of years (Iron Man-like armor) and they act like private thugs of the state, beating up people people in the street with no oversight (a bit like death squads)

Censorship Watch: Turkey Follows the UK, France, Not the Other Way Around

Posted in Law at 12:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The shame of Western society is intolerance towards particular ideas and their elimination by censorship without due process

  • Ron Miller: Restricting the Internet is a business killer

    Turkey is the latest country to mess with the Internet, passing a law that, according to GigaOM, enables authorities to block content at the URL level. When will countries learn that limiting the Internet is a horrible idea?

  • Frenchman Fined For ‘Theft’ And ‘Fraudulent Retention’ For Finding Health Docs Via A Google Search
  • French journalist “hacks” govt by inputting correct URL, later fined $4,000+

    In 2012, French blogger, activist, and businessman Olivier Laurelli sat down at his computer. It automatically connected to his VPN on boot (he owns a small security services company, called Toonux, which was providing a connection via a Panamanian IP address) and began surfing the Web.

    Laurelli, who goes by the alias “Bluetouff” in most circles (including on Ars Technica), is something of a presence among the French tech-savvy community. Besides managing Toonux, he also co-founded the French-language activist news site Reflets.info, which describes itself as a “community project to connect journalists and computer networking specialists.” As such, Laurelli initiated a Google search on other subjects, but what he stumbled on was perhaps more interesting: a link that led to 7.7 Gb of internal documents from the French National Agency for Food Safety, Environment, and Labor (the acronym is ANSES in French).

  • Adult content takedowns need judicial ruling, says former public prosecutor

    Plans to expand the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) – a UK-based Hotline to report the most serious cases of child abuse on the Internet – have been severely criticised in a report by the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken (now Lord) MacDonald. His recently-released report states that there are serious risks to free speech rights when a privately-funded body is given Internet take-down powers.

02.12.14

Skynet Watch: From Targeting Terrorists to Targeting Protesters and From Foreign to Domestic

Posted in Law at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Rapid exacerbation of human rights, with surveillance-based torture and assassination that expand in terms of scope

  • Utah lawmaker floats bill to cut off NSA data centre’s water supply

    Impending bill from Republican Marc Roberts highlights growing movement at state level against government surveillance powers

  • IBM’s Rometty Rebuilds Trust in China After NSA Scandal
  • Obama reforms for NSA ‘limited’, says ex-NSA chief

    The former head of the CIA and the National Security Agency, General Michael Hayden has said that the reforms recently announced by president Barack Obama to tackle mass surveillance are limited, as they allow the spy agency “a pretty big box” in which to continue to operate.

    Hayden was reported by the Guardian as speaking at an Oxford University lecture, when he said that while some of the reforms would be onerous for the NSA, the agency still had room to manoeuvre, enabling it to continue to collect metadata.

  • The NSA’s top 10 scariest intrusions

    According to documents published by German newspaper Der Spiegel, the NSA uses a tactic called “method interdiction,” which intercepts packages that are en route to the recipient. Malware or backdoor-enabling hardware is installed in workshops by agents and the item then continues on its way to the customer.

  • Rand Paul to sue Obama administration over NSA

    Sen. Rand Paul will sue President Barack Obama and top officials in the National Security Agency over surveillance.

  • U.S. share of cloud computing likely to drop after NSA revelations

    When the German version of the FBI needs to share sensitive information these days, it types it up and has it hand-delivered.

    This time last year, it would have trusted in the security of email. But last year was before Edward Snowden and the public revelations of the scope of the National Security Agency’s PRISM electronic intelligence-gathering program. After Snowden, or post-PRISM, is a new digital world.

  • Programmers Across the Country Are Self-Organizing to Protest NSA Surveillance

    If you visit sites such as Upworthy, Hacker News, BoingBoing or around 5,000 other sites today, you’ll notice an odd headline: a banner stating “Today We Fight Back.” The banner runs a loop of facts about the NSA’s internet and phone surveillance activities, such as “The NSA is regularly tracking hundreds of millions of devices.”

  • The NSA Puts Journalists Under a Cloud of Suspicion

    In fall 2013, the U.S. National Security Agency quietly began booting up its Utah Data Center, a sprawling 1.5 million-square-foot facility designed to store and analyze the vast amounts of electronic data the spy agency gathers from around the globe. Consisting of four low-slung data halls and a constellation of supporting structures, the facility includes at least 100,000 square feet of the most advanced data reservoirs in the world. The project represents a massive expansion of the NSA’s capabilities and a profound threat to press freedom worldwide.

  • World Protests against NSA with More than 100,000 Participants

    At least 117,000 websites and citizens of the world joined a world day of rejection to the massive surveillance in Internet by the National Security Agency of the United States (NSA) and its allied from other countries.

  • NSA protest stirs up memories of AT&T spying scandal

    It was a walk down memory lane for Mark Klein on Tuesday night, when a crowd gathered to hear him speak out, yet again, about the secret sharing of data between a top communications company and the US government.

    Klein, a retired AT&T technician, leaked several internal AT&T documents in 2006 that showed that the NSA was collecting data from AT&T through a restricted room, 641A.

  • Internet of Things, Part 1: God’s Gift to the NSA
  • NSA denies all requests for personal information

    The Freedom of Information Act requires a release, but the spy agency says it is excluded due to national security concerns.

  • Surprisingly mild reaction to NSA surveillance

    One of the legacies 2013 will leave behind, as Andrea Peterson wrote recently in The Washington Post, is that it was “the year that proved your paranoid friend right.” Since January of last year, we’ve learned that the National Security Agency is collecting massive amounts of phone call metadata, emails, location information of cell phones and is even listening to Xbox Live. Shocking as this obviously was to me, as a citizen of the country of “We the People,” one founded on civil liberties, what was perhaps more shocking was how mild the reaction of many Americans was. While polls showed that a small majority of U.S. citizens opposed the NSA’s collection of phone and Internet usage data, after months of reassurances by the President that the programs would be reformed and used responsibly, the numbers seem to have changed (or at least, the story seems to be dying down).

  • Pakistan government ordered to bring anti-drone activist to court

    A court in Pakistan on Wednesday ordered authorities to produce an anti-drone activist abducted just days before he was due to travel to Europe to meet lawmakers, in a case that spotlights citizens’ distrust of the unmanned aircraft and government security forces.

  • U.S. mulls drone strike on American terrorist suspect in Pakistan
  • Documentary on drone use showing at UU Fellowship

    “Unmanned” reports the impacts of drone strategy. This documentary directed by Robert Greenwald, investigates drone strikes at home and abroad through more than 70 separate interviews, including a former American drone operator who shares what he has witnessed in his own words, Pakistani families mourning loved ones and seeking legal redress, investigative journalists pursuing the truth and top military officials warning against blowback from the loss of innocent life.

  • Obama’s kill list may expand to include more Americans: Lawyer

    “If indeed there is mulling over the possibility of assassinating another American citizen abroad, really what they should be telling the American people is that we’re moving into an era where state-sanctioned assassinations of people is becoming routine and there is no reason for the American people to expect that this will not develop to the point where Americans are routinely targeted in America,” he added.

  • Protest of the day: Activists target Amazon over CIA alliance

    Tuesday’s protest included a blockade of the South Lake Union Streetcar, with activists holding a banner that read: CIAmazon. That was in reference to Amazon Web Services’ partnership with the CIA, and it comes a day after protesters blocked a Microsoft Connector bus on Capitol Hill on Monday.

  • Obama’s kill list may expand to include more Americans: Lawyer

    MKUltra also enjoyed the help of ex-Nazi scientists.

  • Poland extends CIA prison probe

    The attorney general has extended the deadline till June of the six year old investigation into allegations that a CIA prison was operated in Poland, where terrorist suspects were held and tortured.

  • Doctors collaborated in tortures in CIA’s military jails

    Independent research published recently contains revealing facts about the involvement of doctors and other health professionals in tortures in military jails of the USA.

  • Ex-CIA Director Woolsey Goes Off the Rails

    Last week it was reported that former CIA Director James Woolsey, forced to resign during the Clinton administration for his bungling of the Aldrich Ames affair, was going around telling people that the reason Jonathan Pollard, the notorious Israeli spy, was still in prison after 29 years is because the U.S. government is anti-Semitic. In short, Pollard remains in prison because he’s a Jew.

  • The CIA Helped Build the Content Farm That Churns Out American Literature

    According to Wikipedia, a content farm is an organization that employs large numbers of “writers to generate large amounts of textual content which is specifically designed to satisfy algorithms for maximal retrieval by automated search engines.” In a way, the American MFA system, spearheaded by the infamous Iowa Writer’s Workshop, is a content farm, too—one initially designed to satisfy a much less complicated algorithm sculpted by the CIA to maximize the spread of anti-Communist propaganda through highbrow literature.

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