Documentary on the DRM-breaking farmers who just want to fix their tractors, even if they have to download bootleg Ukrainian firmware to do it

Motherboard's short documentary, "Tractor Hacking: The Farmers Breaking Big Tech's Repair Monopoly" is an excellent look at the absurd situation created by John Deere's position that you can't own your tractor because you only license the software inside it, meaning that only Deere can fix Deere's tractors, and the centuries-old tradition of farmers fixing their agricultural equipment should end because Deere's shareholders would prefer it that way. Read the rest

You absolutely must secure your home router and you probably can't

Lucian Constantin's Motherboard guide to protecting your home router is full of excellent, nearly impossible-to-follow advice that you should follow, but probably won't. Read the rest

Epic Games is suing a 14 year old for making a cheat tutorial and his brilliant mother is PISSED

Epic Games makes the wildly successful multiplayer free-to-play game Fortnite, which is the locus of a pitched battle between players and publisher over game-mods, especially cheat-hacks that give unfair advantage to some players. Read the rest

Sony's new robot dog doubles down on DRM

It's been 15 years since Sony used the DMCA to shut down the community that had sprung up to extend the functionality of its Aibo robot dogs, threatening people with lawsuits and jailtime for modifying their dogs' operating systems. Read the rest

RIP Teaforia, the $1000 IoT tea-infuser

In 2016, Teaforia raised $12,000,000 in venture capital to manufacture a $1,000 tea infuser that combined proprietary, DRM-encumbered tea pods with a "patent-pending microinfusion technology" and a timer to make cups of tea. Read the rest

Why electrical engineers should support the right to repair

Writing in IEEE Spectrum, iFixit's superhero founder Kyle Wiens and Repair.org exective director Gay Gordon-Byrne bring the case for the right to repair (previously) to the engineering community, describing the economic, technical, and environmental benefits of permitting a domestic industry of local, expert technologists to help their neighbors get more out of their gadgets. Read the rest

The ultimate DMCA takedown fail

A gentleman jailed for his part in a $5.4m scam wanted Google to remove links to news stories about the wheeze. His cunning plan to get them to do it – file a DMCA takedown notice claiming copyright in his own name and criminal record – perhaps offers a clue about why he got caught in the first place.

From the FBI's press release:

According to a plea agreement filed in this case, Henrik Sardariani obtained more than $5 million in loans after, among other things, falsifying numerous documents. In order to obtain one of the loans, Henrik Sardariani fraudulently used a house as collateral and falsely claimed to be the president of the company that owned the property. To support the claim that he controlled the company, Henrik Sardariani created false corporate records that were presented to the lender.

Henrik Sardariani also admitted that he created fraudulent property records to make it appear that prior loans had been paid off and that, therefore, new loans would be fully secured by unencumbered property. The fraudulent reconveyances bore forged and fraudulent signatures of notaries public, as well as fraudulent stamps of the notaries public.

Update: Shooting the Messenger writes that there are at least three of these DMCA takedowns filed by people involved in this particular case. Read the rest

DRM could kill game emulators and erase the history of an artform

Video game company Atlus just sent a copyright takedown over the Patreon page for open source Playstation 3 emulator RPCS3, by invoking section 1201 of the DMCA, which makes it a felony punishable by 5 years in prison and a $500,000 fine to bypass DRM. Read the rest

Boring, complex and important: the deadly mix that blew up the open web

On Monday, the World Wide Web Consortium published EME, a standard for locking up video on the web with DRM, allowing large corporate members to proceed without taking any steps to protect accessibility work, security research, archiving or innovation. Read the rest

Creator of Pepe the Frog takes legal aim at the alt right

Fresh off a decisive victory against a man who used Pepe the Frog in an Islamophobic children's book (previously), artist Matt Furie is fighting alt-right stars for unauthorized use of his Pepe the frog character. Read the rest

EFF will tell the Copyright Office (again) to protect your right to remix, study and tinker

Every three years, the US Copyright Office has to ask America about all the ways in which Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which bans bypassing DRM, even for legitimate reasons) interferes with our lives, and then it grants limited exemptions based on the results. Read the rest

Tesla's demon-haunted cars in Irma's path get a temporary battery-life boost

Tesla sells both 60kWh and 75kWh versions of its Model S and Model X cars; but these cars have identical batteries -- the 60kWh version runs software that simply misreports the capacity of the battery to the charging apparatus and the car's owner. Read the rest

FTC settles with Lenovo over selling laptops deliberately infected with Superfish spyware

The Federal Trade Commission has announced a settlement with Lenovo over the 2015 revelation that the company pre-installed malware called "Superfish" on its low-end models, which allowed the company to spy on its customers, and also left those customers vulnerable to attacks from third parties, who could exploit Superfish's weakened security. Read the rest

How DRM and EULAs make us into "digital serfs"

Washington and Lee law professor Joshua Fairfield is the author of a recent book called Owned: Property, Privacy, and the New Digital Serfdom, which takes up the argument that DRM and license agreements mean that we have no real property rights anymore, just a kind of feudal tenancy in which distant aristocrats (corporations) dictate how we may and may not use the things we "buy," backed by the power of the state to fine or jail us if we fail to arrange our affairs to the company's shareholders. Read the rest

Defcon vote-hacking village shows that "secure" voting machines can be broken in minutes

Since the 2000 Bush-Gore election crisis and the hanging-chad controversy, voting machine vendors have been offering touchscreen voting machines as a solution to America's voting woes -- and security researchers have been pointing out that the products on offer were seriously, gravely defective. Read the rest

Security researcher arrested after he warns Hungarian transit company about their dumb mistake

A teenager discovered that the website of Budapesti Közlekedési Központ -- the public transit authority in Budapest -- would allow you to edit the price you paid for your tickets, so that purchasers could give themselves massive discounts on their travel, and when he told the authority about it, they had him arrested and issued a press-release boasting about it. Read the rest

Security researchers: EFF's got your back at this summer's technical conferences

Are you a security researcher planning to present at Black Hat, Defcon, B-Sides or any of this summer's security events? Are you worried a big corporation or the government might attack you for revealing true facts about the defects in the security systems we entrust with our safety, privacy and health? Read the rest

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