The year in DRM: seven rotten moments and two rays of hope

My end-of-the-year roundup the year in DRM for EFF's Deeplinks blog hits seven lowlights, from the catastrophic (the W3C greenlighting DRM for the web) to the idiotic ( Read the rest

One of the net's most important freedom canaries died the day the W3C greenlit web-wide DRM; what can we learn from the fight?

EFF's long, hard-fought campaign at the World Wide Web Consortium over its plan to standardize a universal DRM for the web was always a longshot, but we got farther than anyone dared hope before we lost the web to corporate interests and cynical indifference in September. Read the rest

Researchers craft Android app that reveals menagerie of hidden spyware; legally barred from doing the same with iOS

Yale Privacy Lab and Exodus Privacy's devastating report on the dozens of invasive, dangerous "trackers" hidden in common Android apps was generated by writing code that spied on their target devices' internal operations, uncovering all manner of sneaking trickery. 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 video game industry's best-of-class DRM is routinely cracked in less than 24 hours

Denuvo is billed as the video game industry's "best in class" DRM, charging games publishers a premium to prevent people from playing their games without paying for them. In years gone by, Denuvo DRM would remain intact for as long as a month before cracks were widely disseminated. Read the rest

A curiously incomplete history of the early years of DRM

Ernie Smith's Motherboard article on the early years of DRM gets into some fascinating stories about things like IBM's Cryptolope and Xerox PARC's Contentguard (which became a patent troll), Intertrust's belief that it is "developing the basis for a civil society in cyberspace" and the DeCSS fight. Read the rest

Distinguished scientist on the mistakes pundits make when they predict the future of AI

Rodney Brooks -- eminent computer scientist and roboticist who has served as head of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and CTO of Irobot -- has written a scorching, provocative list of the seven most common errors made (or cards palmed) by pundits and other fortune-tellers when they predict the future of AI. Read the rest

Canary claws back cloud features from its IoT camera, starts charging $10/month

Canary makes an Internet of Things home security camera that connects to your wifi and sends video to Canary's servers where it is analyzed for suspicious activity (such as motion when you're out of the house) and then you can stream video that video over the internet. 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

Three pro-human laws of robotics

From the Vienna Bienalle: 1. Intelligent robots must serve the common good of humanity and help us humans to lead an ecologically, socially, culturally and economically sustainable life. 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

World Wide Web Consortium abandons consensus, standardizes DRM with 58.4% support, EFF resigns

In July, the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium overruled dozens of members' objections to publishing a DRM standard without a compromise to protect accessibility, security research, archiving, and competition. 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

Hiding malware in boobytrapped replacement screens would undetectably compromise your mobile device

On the one hand, if you let an untrusted stranger install hardware in your electronic device, you're opening yourself up to all kinds of potential mischief; on the other hand, an estimated one in five smartphones has a cracked screen and the easiest, most efficient and cheapest way to get that fixed is to go to your corner repair-shop. Read the rest

DRM in web standards creates new barriers to accessibility

The World Wide Web Consortium is pressing ahead with its project to standardize a DRM system for the web, without taking any legal steps to protect people whose legitimate activities would be impaired by the DRM system. Read the rest

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