sopa

Calling on the global Internet to keep the world free of mass government spying

A broad coalition of businesses, civil society groups, activists, and individuals (including Boing Boing) are planning a global day of action against surveillance for February 11, in memory of Aaron Swartz and in the service of a dream for an Internet that serves liberty and hope instead of spying and control. Much of the rhetoric about curbing American spying has focused on domestic surveillance, and the right of Americans to be free from warrantless, suspicionless surveillance from their government. But there's a lot of us who aren't Americans and don't live in America and we deserve to be free, too. Katitza Rodriguez from the Electronic Frontier Foundation tackles the global agenda for February 11th in a post that calls on the global Internet to get involved in making the Internet into a force for freedom. Read the rest

Remembering Aaron Swartz

It's been a year since Aaron Swartz killed himself. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Parker Higgins has posted a memorial to him that I found quite moving. I miss Aaron a lot.

I've been feeling pretty hopeless about the future lately, and I think a lot of it has been driven by the impending anniversary of Aaron's death. The last couple years were hard ones. Read the rest

Coalition to fight mass Internet surveillance declares global day of action, Feb 11

A broad coalition of organizations -- including Boing Boing -- have joined forces to declare February 11 a day of action in memory of Aaron Swartz and against NSA Internet spying and mass surveillance. Just as we did with the SOPA fight, we're asking people who care about this to make their own personal expressions of resistance, and take the case for caring about this and fighting back to the people closest to them. Each of us knows the arguments that will convince our friends and loved ones.

The Day We Fight Back sets out a number of ways you can participate, small and large. This is a fight we can win. Read the rest

Digital Rights Ireland needs help! Nearly bankrupt after fighting record industry censorship

Antoin sez, "Digital Rights Ireland has done great work challenging mass surveillance laws before the European Court of Justice. But it could now be shut down by the music industry if it can't pay legal bills arising from Internet blocking litigation." Read the rest

King James Programming: Markov chain trained on the Bible and a comp sci textbook

Michael Walker trained a Markov chain with the King James Bible and Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, a classic computer science textbook. The result is King James Programming, a tumblr filled with comp-sci-inflected biblespeak. I could read it all day long. Read the rest

Studios increase MPAA funding to $66.8M

The latest tax-filings by the MPAA show that the studios have increased their membership dues to $66.8 million -- up 50 percent. Former Senator Chris Dodd, the architect of the failed SOPA law, has gotten a raise to $3.3M/year. MPAA staffing levels are still down 20% after 2011's layoff of 44 people. Read the rest

Wikileaks publishes the "Internet Chapter" of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (SOPA's back)

Wikileaks has published the Internet Chapter of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade-deal negotiated between corporate leaders and government reps without any democratic oversight (the US Trade Rep wouldn't share TPP drafts with Congress, and now it is headed for fast-tracking into law). TorrentFreak has parsed out the text, and compares it to SOPA, the brutal US copyright law that collapsed in the face of massive public protest. The treaty is reportedly at a "negotiated stalemate" thanks to the US Trade Rep, who has refused to bend on treaty provisions that other nations objected to. Read the rest

Big Brother Bundle: name your price for surveillance-related media

Jamie from Vodo sez, "VODO has a new 'Big Brother Bundle' coming out today. It's a crossmedia, themed bundle on the crucial topic of surveillance - curated by Daniel Domscheit-Berg. It's pay what you like, time-limited and we're trying to raise awareness around these issues + donate to a charity working around this area."

There's some amazing books, comics, games, music and videos here, and the chance to get free iPredator service. The nominated charity is the excellent, SOPA-killing Fight for the Future. Read the rest

Report shows how the anti-SOPA fight came from the bottom up

Social Mobilization and the Networked Public Sphere: Mapping the SOPA-PIPA Debate is a scholarly paper by Yochai Benkler (et al) that analyzes the links, traffic and spread of the anti-SOPA campaign to see how the story went from an obscure area of wonkish concern to a massive Internet-scale shitstorm that put millions of phone-calls through to Congress and ultimately killed a bill that was tipped to be a sure thing. In the wake of SOPA, a lot of inside-the-Beltway commentators assured their constituencies that the SOPA fight wasn't really any kind of grassroots effort -- it was led by Google, or Wikipedia, or someone. It wasn't masses of people making such a big noise that Google (et al) were finally able to lend their support without getting clobbered by their policy people.

As Benkler and co show, the truth is that this really was a bottom-up, grassroots effort. I knew that, but it's nice to have it all laid out in black and white here. Read the rest

The Internet Police: How Crime Went Online, and the Cops Followed

Nate Anderson is one of my favorite Ars Technica writers -- always thorough and always evenhanded, but never shrinking from venturing an opinion or trying to put individual incidents in the context of the wider Internet. His new book, The Internet Police: How Crime Went Online, and the Cops Followed, is a brisk, eminently readable, and important history of the relationship between law, law enforcement, and the net, and as you'd expect, it's excellent. Read the rest

Join the largest online protest since SOPA to stop NSA spying

The facts are clear: the NSA has turned the Internet into a massive surveillance system. They're using the websites we love to track our every move. On July 4th, people are protesting in more than 100 cities across the U.S. The Internet Defense League and more than 30,000 websites will join the protest. Will you? Read the rest

Beastles get nuked by the RIAA - the merciless, indiscriminate boot of Big Content stamps on humanity's face, forever

Remember The Beastles, the amazing Beastie Boys/Beatles mashup? Hope you got a copy on your hard-drive because the RIAA's gone on a totally predictable jihad against a piece of delightful, noncommercial creativity.

Tim sez, "RIAA and Universal are pulling dj BC's Beastles across the web. Radio Clash has gotten a nastygram from the RIAA, Mega has pulled a mirror and also the Soundcloud has been disabled. In fact on his Facebook page, dj BC has announced pulling down the links tonight! It's amazing that in this day and age that a non-commercial fair-use project is still being stomped on by the blue meanies. Looking to see how I should respond...but also looking for a new host in Russia, although how that is better post-PRISM I'm not sure :-/"

Sorry, Tim, Russia just passed its own SOPA on steroids.

Cease and Desist Mark 2: Beastles gets pulled by the blue meanies Read the rest

Sen Warren to US Trade Rep: release the Trans-Pacific Partnership docs - if they piss the people off, then we shouldn't be part of it

Senator Elizabeth Warren has written an open letter to Michael Froma, the nominee to run the US Trade Representative's office, calling on him to release the text and negotiating documents for the secretive, controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), whose sweeping and brutal copyright provisions make it clear that this is the next attempt to pass SOPA and ACTA -- the US law and international treaty that flamed out in 2012.

“I appreciate the willingness of the USTR to make various documents available for review by members of Congress, but I do not believe that is a substitute for more robust public transparency,” Warren wrote to Froman, who is now an assistant to the president. “If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States.”

Senator Warren Presses White House to Release Pacific Trade Text [Mark Drajem/BusinessWeek] (via Reddit) Read the rest

Canada's business groups wants to hack your computer even more than the creeps at the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property

Michael Geist writes,

The Internet is buzzing over a new report from the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property that recommends using spyware and ransomware to combat online infringement. The recommendations are shocking as they represent next-generation digital locks that could lock down computers and even "retrieve" files from personal computers:

"Software can be written that will allow only authorized users to open files containing valuable information. If an unauthorized person accesses the information, a range of actions might then occur. For example, the file could be rendered inaccessible and the unauthorized user's computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account."

While many of the recommendations sound outrageous, it is worth noting that earlier this year Canadian business groups led by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce recommended that the Canadian government introduce a regulation that would permit the use of spyware for these kinds of purposes.

The proposed regulation would remove the need for express consent for:

"a program that is installed by or on behalf of a person to prevent, detect, investigate, or terminate activities that the person reasonably believes (i) present a risk or threatens the security, privacy, or unauthorized or fraudulent use, of a computer system, telecommunications facility, or network, or (ii) involves the contravention of any law of Canada, of a province or municipality of Canada or of a foreign state;"

This provision would effectively legalize spyware in Canada on behalf of these industry groups.

Read the rest

US entertainment industry to Congress: make it legal for us to deploy rootkits, spyware, ransomware and trojans to attack pirates!

The hilariously named "Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property" has finally released its report, an 84-page tome that's pretty bonkers. But amidst all that crazy, there's a bit that stands out as particularly insane: a proposal to legalize the use of malware in order to punish people believed to be copying illegally. The report proposes that software would be loaded on computers that would somehow figure out if you were a pirate, and if you were, it would lock your computer up and take all your files hostage until you call the police and confess your crime. This is the mechanism that crooks use when they deploy ransomware.

It's just more evidence that copyright enforcers' network strategies are indistinguishable from those used by dictators and criminals. In 2011, the MPAA told Congress that they wanted SOPA and knew it would work because it was the same tactic used by governments in "China, Iran, the UAE, Armenia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Burma, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam." Now they've demanded that Congress legalize an extortion tool invented by organized criminals.

Additionally, software can be written that will allow only authorized users to open files containing valuable information. If an unauthorized person accesses the information, a range of actions might then occur. For example, the file could be rendered inaccessible and the unauthorized user’s computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account. Such measures do not violate existing laws on the use of the Internet, yet they serve to blunt attacks and stabilize a cyber incident to provide both time and evidence for law enforcement to become involved.

Read the rest

Hacking Politics: name-your-price ebook on the history of the SOPA fight

Hacking Politics is a new book recounting the history of the fight against SOPA, when geeks, hackers and activists turned Washington politics upside-down and changed how Congress thinks about the Internet. It collects essays by many people (including me): Aaron Swartz, Larry Lessig, Zoe Lofgren, Mike Masnick, Kim Dotcom, Nicole Powers, Tiffiny Cheng, Alexis Ohanian, and many others. It's a name-your-price ebook download.

Hacking Politics is a firsthand account of how a ragtag band of activists and technologists overcame a $90 million lobbying machine to defeat the most serious threat to Internet freedom in memory. The book is a revealing look at how Washington works today – and how citizens successfully fought back.

Written by the core Internet figures – video gamers, Tea Partiers, tech titans, lefty activists and ordinary Americans among them – who defeated a pair of special interest bills called SOPA (“Stop Online Piracy Act”) and PIPA (“Protect IP Act”), Hacking Politics provides the first detailed account of the glorious, grand chaos that led to the demise of that legislation and helped foster an Internet-based network of amateur activists.

Hacking Politics Read the rest

Name-your-price SOPA history

Alan sez, "Demand Progress, part of Aaron Swartz's legacy, has been working for a while on a collection of essays and thoughts by people including Aaron, Lawrence Lessig, Techdirt's Mike Masnick, and Kim Dotcom. The collection is now available in ebook and paperback form. You can even pay in bitcoins, if that's how you roll." Read the rest

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