Internet News

 2014: November



  MPs Confused about Facebook Privacy...

Earlier MPs claimed that Facebook isn't doing enough to snoop on users. Now MPs say Facebook is doing too much to use private data without adequate permission


Link Here 29th November 2014
home affairs committee MPs on the Science and Technology select committee have called for the Government to draw up new guidelines for websites and apps explaining clearly how they use personal data, warning that laws will be needed if companies fail to comply.

Facebook can gain direct access to a person's mobile and take pictures or make videos at any time without explicit consent, MPs warn as they call on social media companies to simplify their terms and conditions.

The MP said that they should simplify the conditions of using their services, which are designed for US courts, because they are so impenetrable that no reasonable person can be expected to understand them.

The MPs on the Science and Technology select committee called for the Government to draw up new guidelines for websites and apps explaining clearly how they use personal data, warning that laws will be needed if companies fail to comply.

The committee highlighted terms for Facebook Messenger's mobile app, used by more than 200,000 million people a month, that means it can gain direct access to a mobile or tablet, including to take pictures or make videos, at any time without explicit confirmation from the owner.

 

 Update: Double Blocked...

High doubles the list of piracy websites that have to be blocked by major ISPs


Link Here 29th November 2014  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block
Old Bailey The High Court has ordered the biggest batch yet of piracy websites to be blocked.

The latest rulings cover 53 services in total and apply to the country's six leading ISPs. It brings the tally of blocked sites providing access to copyright-infringing content to 93 since the first blocking began in 2012. The blocked sites include: BitSoup, IP Torrents, Isohunt, Sumotorrent, Torrentdb, Torrentfunk, Torrentz, Warez BB, Rapid Moviez.

Twenty-one of the sites were a result of a court order prompted by the BPI, a music industry group.

The ISPs affected are Sky, BT, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin.

BT will only block access to websites engaged in online copyright infringement when ordered by a court to do so, said the UK's biggest broadband provider, reflecting a stance shared by the other firms.

Ernesto Van Der Sar, editor of the Torrentfreak news site said:

It deters a few people who can't access their usual sites, but most people will try to find ones that are not yet blocked or use VPNs [virtual private networks] or proxy sites to get the same content.

It's making it harder - some people will decide it's just too much trouble and give up - but the overwhelming majority will still find ways to download material illegally.

 

 Update: Collect 200 Pounds and go straight to jail...

Poland to prosecute gamblers who use unlicensed foreign websites, starting with those that have won the most


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Poland...In the name of dangerous gambling
Poland flag Poland has just made a decision to put online gamblers on notice that betting with unlicensed operators could result in criminal prosecution. T

Poland officially approved online sports betting in 2011. However the onerous regulatory restrictions have attracted just four Polish-licensed operators and it has been suggested that the four operators capture only about 9% of Poland's internet betting market which is estimated at approximately $1.5 billion annually by Roland Berger consulting.

Poland still doesn't allow poker or casino games within its realm but last June revamped its Gambling Act that would allow EU-based operators to just establish a Polish branch office for tax purposes and open a Polish bank account. The amendment would also require operators to supply responsible betting measures, including providing a record of player wins and losses upon request and periodically reminding players just how long they've been online with gambling.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the Polish Regulator has information about more than 24,000 players who have been participating in overseas gambling. The Regulator has already initiated more than 1,100 criminal investigations in this area, and further proceedings will be initiated against the players who have received the highest winnings.

 

 Update: Forever Blocked...

Russia extends anti-piracy law and takes the opportunity to impose further controls on other website operators


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flag Starting next May, Russian websites guilty of more than one copyright violation will be permanently blocked. The move comes as part of a new anti-piracy bill signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, ramping up what many critics see as an already draconian set of copyright protection rules. Once a website is blocked by a court decision, it cannot be unblocked, according to the bill.

The bill extends a previous measure that was limited to video production, but amendments approved by Putin this week expand it to include all kinds of copyrighted content such as books, music and software. The only exception made is for photographs.

The amendments also oblige website owners to disclose their real names, postal addresses and e-mail addresses on the site.

An online petition against the amendments gathered more than 100,000 signatures in August, mandating a governmental review, but has so far been ignored by the relevant officials.

 

 Update: GreatFire.org...

A simple idea to work round Chinese internet censorship of BBC news


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
greatfire logo Transparency group GreatFire.org is working with the BBC to deliver the news organization's Chinese-language reporting to people censored by the country's Great Firewall.

The Chinese government has been censoring BBC China content for years and also began blocking most of the English-language version last month during pro-democracy rallies in Hong Kong. But working with GreatFire.org should increase the availability of BBC content in China. The group uses a method it calls collateral freedom to serve content through a network of mirror sites that the group claims is unblockable.

The idea is to host the mirror sites through services that are so ubiquitous that it would be difficult, even for China to justify blocking the entire domain. GreatFire.org uses hosting options like Amazon Web Services to keep its mirror sites going.

GreatFire.org explained that its partnership with the BBC is specifically pegged to elections in Taiwan on Nov. 29. The goal is to present diverse information that's written in Chinese for Chinese audiences. As GreatFire.org points out, a lot of English speakers in China already use VPNs and other workarounds to access foreign media, but if they don't know how to do this or speak only Chinese, these backdoors don't help much.

 

 Offsite Article: Facebook's arrogance and Snowden's hypocrisy put us all at risk...


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Jack Straw And if ever there were major corporations who deserve a fall because of their puffed up vanity and self-serving ambition, it is internet giants like Facebook and their ilk. By Jack Straw

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 Update: Forgotten Freedoms...

EU internet censors want to prevent Europeans from accessing censored links via google.com


Link Here 27th November 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
EU flag Google is under fresh pressure to expand censorship under the right to be forgotten to its international .com search engine.

A panel of EU censors claimed the move was necessary to prevent the law from being circumvented.

Google currently de-lists results that appear in the European versions of its search engines, but not the international one. At present, visitors are diverted to localised editions of the US company's search tool - such as Google.co.uk and Google.fr - when they initially try to visit the Google.com site. However, a link is provided at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen offering an option to switch to the international .com version. This link does not appear if the users attempted to go to a regional version in the first place. Even so, it means it is possible for people in Europe to easily opt out of the censored lists.

 

  Highly Intrusive Snooping...

Mass snooping nations get UN to drop meta data collection from resolution condemning violations of privavcy


Link Here 27th November 2014
UN logo The five eyes mass snooping partners, the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, have joined forces to nobble a UN General Assembly committee's statements on digital privacy.

While the General Assembly's human rights committee has adopted a non-binding resolution saying that unlawful or arbitrary mass surveillance, interception and data collection are highly intrusive acts and a violation of the right to privacy.

However, metadata collection, revealing most of what people are up to the internet, was dropped from the privacy violations noted in the resolution, at the behest of the US and its allies.

 

 Offsite Article: The war on Facebook...


Link Here 27th November 2014
home affairs committee MPs rebuke Facebook for failure to act on online activities of Lee Rigby's murderer

See article from independent.co.uk

 

 Update: Enforcing Religious Norms...

Malaysia moves to implement widespread website blocking


Link Here 26th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

Malaysia flag Malaysia has taken the first steps toward censoring the Internet with talks underway between the Home Ministry and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to begin blocking content that doesn't reflect supposed local culture and sensitivity.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the country's firewall would ensure that content on websites, such as YouTube and video-streaming sites, comply with Film Censorship Board rules. He said:

We are working with MCMC on this matter and I urge the commission to implement the system soon.

The minister added that the public needed to understand the government was responsible for ensuring Malays are not influenced by negative elements . He said that content creators would have to ensure their works did not encourage Malaysians to do things against social and religious norms.

 

 Updated: Searching for someone else to do the work...

Man goes to court to force Google to track down links to delete


Link Here 25th November 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Old Bailey The case of a UK businessman who wants Google to stop malicious web postings about him appearing in its search results is set to begin.

Daniel Hegglin says he has been wrongly called a murderer, a paedophile and a Ku Klux Klan sympathiser during a malicious online campaign against him. He wants Google to block the anonymous posts from its search engine results.

Google asked him to provide a list of web links to be removed, but High Court judges will rule if it should do more. He claims there are more than 3,600 websites containing abusive and untrue material about him, and says listing all the posts for Google to remove would be expensive, time consuming, and ineffective.

He says that although Google is not the originator of the abusive campaign, its search engines have allowed the abuse to become more widespread.

He is seeking a legal order to force Google to take steps to prevent the abusive posts being processed in searches in England and Wales.

Update: Settled

25th November 2014. See  article from  wiggin.co.uk  

The case was settled on the first day of trial.

Daniel Hegglin's barrister said in a statement:

The settlement includes significant efforts on Google's part to remove the abusive material from Google-hosted websites and from its search results. Mr Hegglin will now concentrate his energies on bringing the persons responsible for this campaign of harassment to justice .

And a statement for Google:

Google provides search services to millions of people and cannot be responsible for policing internet content. It will, however, continue to apply its procedures that have been developed to assist with the removal of content which breaches local applicable laws .

 

  Home Sharing...

Google refuses the MPAA's take down request for the like of the Pirate Bay's home page


Link Here 25th November 2014
Google logo The MPAA recently asked Google to remove the homepages of dozens of sites that offer links to pirated content. Google, however, refused to take down most of the URLs, likely because the takedown notices are seen as too broad.

So far the MPAA has asked Google to remove only 19,288 links from search results. The most recent request is one worth highlighting though, as it shows a clear difference of opinion between Hollywood and Google.

Last week the MPAA sent a DMCA request listing 81 allegedly infringing pages, mostly torrent and streaming sites. Unlike most other copyright holders, the MPAA doesn't list the URLs where the pirated movies are linked from, but the site's homepages instead. This is a deliberate strategy, one that previously worked against KickassTorrents .

However, this time around Google was less receptive. Google took no action for 60 of the 81 submitted URLs. It's unclear why Google refused to take action, but it seems likely that the company views the MPAA's request as too broad. While the sites' homepages may indirectly link to pirated movies, for most this required more than one click from the homepage.

 

 Update: Regin: The super-snoopware the security industry has been silent about...

NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family


Link Here 25th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
NSA logo

 

 Update: Snooper's Charter Extended...

Government introduces new law to extend detailed logs of internet usage to mobile phones and tablets


Link Here 23rd November 2014  full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping
Theresa May Police are to get powers to force internet firms to hand over details linked to IP addresses in order to help them help snoop on people's internet use.

The anti-terrorism and security bill will oblige internet service providers (ISPs) to retain information linking IP (Internet Protocol) addresses to individual subscribers.

The home secretary, Theresa May, said the measure would boost national security, but again complained that Liberal Democrats were blocking further steps.

Loss of the capabilities on which we have always relied is the great danger we face, May said. The bill provides the opportunity to resolve the very real problems that exist around IP resolution and is a step in the right direction towards bridging the overall communications data capability gap.

However, the Lib Dems insisted that the communications data bill -- branded the snooper's charter -- was dead and buried . The party also stressed that the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, had been calling for the IP measures since spring 2013.

The technical details are either sparse or misleading, maybe deliberately. Home and mobile broadband users have obviously had their IP address recorded and logged for sometime along with logs of messages and websites visited. I believe that the bill is targeted at internet access on mobile phones where an IP address is shared by many users simultaneously without retaining detailed user records per IP message.

The Register obtained a slightly getter explanation from the Home Office:

Home Offie logo Every internet user is assigned an IP address to ensure communication service providers know which data should go to which customer and routes it accordingly. Addresses are sometimes assigned to a specific device, such as a broadband router located in a home or company. But they are usually shared between multiple users and allocated randomly by the provider's automated systems.

Many providers currently have no business reason for keeping a log of who has used each address. It is therefore not always possible for law enforcement agencies accessing the data to identify who was using an IP address at any particular time.

Such communications data is a vital tool in the investigation of terrorist and criminal activity, and significantly contributes to the conviction of child sex offenders.

The inability to link IP addresses to individuals poses serious challenges for law enforcement agencies. The proposed measures would reduce the risk of terrorism by improving the ability of the police and other agencies to identify terror suspects who may be communicating with each other via the internet.

It would also help to identify and prosecute organised criminals; cyber bullies and computer hackers; and protect vulnerable people. For example, it can be used to identify a child who has threatened over social media to commit suicide.

This legislation will not however address all the capability gaps that the Draft Communications Data Bill aimed to fill. These gaps will continue to have a serious impact on law enforcement and intelligence agencies. For example, the provisions will not enable the retention of weblogs -- a record of information relating to a communication between a user and the internet, including a record of websites that have been visited.

Update: Retaining MAC addresses

27th November 2014. See  article from  publicaffairs.linx.net

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill amends the definition of relevant communications data that Internet providers are required to retain. The apparent intention is to ensure that Internet providers retain IP port numbers or machine MAC addresses when these are necessary to distinguish users, such as when the network is employing Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation (CGN).

 

 Offsite Article: Banning Everything...


Link Here 21st November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
india government logo Detailed notes from Indian government meeting about implementing massive internet censorship

See article from medianama.com

 

 Update: An Encyclopedia of Propaganda...

Russia plans to replace US Wikipedia with Russian Wikipedia


Link Here 17th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
wikipedia logo The Russian government is claiming that Wikipedia is US propaganda so plans to create a home grown variant able to provide proper Russian propaganda.

Newsweek notes that the move is the result of an analysis by Russia's National Library that claimed the U.S. website's content on Russia unreliable. It reported:

An analysis of [Wikipedia] showed it was incapable of providing Russian regions with reliable and comprehensive information about the life of the nation.

The Russian government claims their website will objectively reflect the country, its population and the diversity of the Russian nation, according to the statement.

 

 Update: House of Cards Collapses...

China bans everything from internet TV


Link Here 17th November 2014  full story: Internet TV Censorship in China...Draconian censorship
sarft logo Film and television programmes featuring one-night stands, adultery, supernatural occurrences and gambling will be banned from Chinese streaming websites in the latest episode of Beijing's continuing moral crackdown.

US streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are already effectively banned, but local sites such as Sohu, which recently release House of Cards , would be expected to suffer under the effects of the ban.

In a statement to content providers, censors also demanded the removal of content featuring depictions of sexual abuse, rape, polyamorous relationships, necrophilia, prostitution and masturbation. Violent murder, suicides, drug use and gambling were also among the subjects banned via the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) circular, as well as instances of pornography.

Prof Tan Tian of Jinan university told the Times the new regulations would radically reduce the number of movies and television shows that could be legally streamed in China.

 

 Update: Courage...

Top musicians, actors and Nobel laureates show support for Edward Snowden, publishers and whistleblowers


Link Here 16th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

courage foundation logo An international coalition of more than fifty actors, musicians and intellectuals have announced their support for Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, whistleblowers and publishers. Some are also encouraging donations to the Courage Foundation --which runs the official legal defense fund for Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers, as well as fights for whistleblower protections worldwide -- with tweets and social media posts.

The courage that Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers and truthtellers have shown and continue to show is truly extraordinary and necessary in helping the public have access to their historical record through media, said Sarah Harrison, WikiLeaks Investigations Editor and Director of the Courage Foundation. WikiLeaks and Harrison ensured Edward Snowden's safe exit from Hong Kong and secured his asylum. We cannot thank these cultural icons enough for showing their support.

The announcement coincides with the expanded theatrical release of Laura Poitras' critically acclaimed documentary CitizenFour -- providing a first-hand account of Edward Snowden's disclosure of the NSA's mass surveillance program.

Signed by Susan Sarandon, Russell Brand, Peter Sarsgaard, M.I.A., Thurston Moore, David Berman, Vivienne Westwood, Alfonso Cuaròn and several other artists and intellectuals, the statement praises the work of whistleblowers such as Snowden, highlighting the need to support these individuals as they face social and legal persecution for their revelations to the public. The statement reads:

We stand in support of those fearless whistleblowers and publishers who risk their lives and careers to stand up for truth and justice. Thanks to the courage of sources like Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, and Edward Snowden, the public can finally see for themselves the war crimes, corruption, mass surveillance, and abuses of power of the U.S. government and other governments around the world. WikiLeaks is essential for its fearless dedication in defending these sources and publishing their truths. These bold and courageous acts spark accountability, can transform governments, and ultimately make the world a better place.

In addition to urging the public to stand in solidarity with Snowden and other whistleblowers, many of the artists are calling on fans to watch CitizenFour, and are raising awareness of the Courage Foundation's whistleblower defense efforts, which fundraises for the legal and public defense of whistleblowers and campaigns for the protection of truthtellers and the public's right to know generally.

The statement was signed by:

Udi Aloni, Pamela Anderson, Anthony Arnove, Etienne Balibar, Alexander Bard, John Perry Barlow, Radovan Baros, David Berman, Russell Brand, Victoria Brittain, Susan Buck-Morss, Eduardo L. Cadava, Calle 13, Alex Callinicos, Robbie Charter, Noam Chomsky, Scott Cleverdon, Ben Cohen, Sadie Coles, Alfonso Cuaròn, John Deathridge, Costas Douzinas, Roddy Doyle, Bella Freud, Leopold Froehlich, Terry Gilliam, Charlie Glass, Boris Groys, Michael Hardt, P J Harvey, Wang Hui, Fredric Jameson, Brewster Kahle, Hanif Kureishi, Engin Kurtay, Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, Nadir Lahiji, Kathy Lette, Ken Loach, Maria Dolores Galán López, Sarah Lucas, Mairead Maguire, Tobias Menzies, M.I.A., W. J. T. Mitchell, Moby, Thurston Moore, Tom Morello, Viggo Mortensen, Jean-Luc Nancy, Bob Nastanovich, Antonio Negri, Brett Netson, Rebecca O’Brien, Joshua Oppenheimer, John Pilger, Alexander Roesler, Avital Ronell, Pier Aldo Rovatti, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, Assumpta Serna, Vaughan Smith, Ahdaf Soueif, Oliver Stone, Cenk Uygur, Yanis Varoufakis, Peter Weibel, Vivienne Westwood, Tracy Worcester and Slavoj Zizek

 

 Updated: Ban Everything!...

David Cameron calls for more internet censorship of 'extremist' material. And no doubt the authorities will define 'extremist' as meaning more or less everything


Link Here 16th November 2014  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim
David Cameron David Cameron has called for governments around the world to do more to censor 'extremist' material online. He made his comments during a visit to Australia's Parliament. He said:

The root cause of the challenge we face is the extremist narrative. A new and pressing challenge is getting extremist material taken down from the Internet. There is a role for government in that. We must not allow the Internet to be an ungoverned space. But there is a role for companies too.

Cameron then went on to detail measures already being taken in the UK to combat online extremism, including adding supposedly extremists material to ISP blocking lists, improving reporting mechanisms and being more proactive in taking down supposedly harmful material.

The British government also recently revealed plans to reduce the amount of hate material online. However, a report released in May revealed that the proposal is experiencing a number of hurdles, including opposition from ISPs and social networks, particularly those based outside the UK.

Open Rights Group has responded to the announcement that ISPs will add extremist websites to filters designed to protect children from seeing adult content. Jim Killock, Executive Director, Open Rights Group said:

We need transparency whenever political content is blocked even when we are talking about websites that espouse extremist views. The government must be clear about what sites they think should be blocked, why they are blocking them and whether there will be redress for site owners who believe that their website has been blocked incorrectly.

Given the low uptake of filters, it is difficult to see how effective the government's approach will be when it comes to preventing young people from seeing material they have deemed inappropriate. Anyone with an interest in extremist views can surely find ways of circumventing child friendly filters

Update: Censorship button

16th November 2014. See article from bbc.co.uk

The UK's major internet service providers (ISPs) are to introduce new measures to tackle online extremism, Downing Street has said. The ISPs had committed to strengthening their filters and adding a public reporting button to flag terrorism-related material. In a briefing note, No 10 said the ISPs had subsequently committed to filtering out extremist and terrorist material, and hosting a button that members of the public could use to report content. It would work in a similar fashion to the reporting button that allows the public to flag instances of child sexual exploitation on the internet.

However, the BBC understands that while the ISPs agreed in principle to do more to prevent extremism, they have not actually committed to the measures outlined by No 10.

We have had productive dialogue with government about addressing the issue of extremist content online and we are working through the technical details, a spokeswoman for BT said. A spokesman for Sky said: We're exploring ways in which we can help our customers report extremist content online, including hosting links on our website. The plan presents logistical problems as extremist groups such as Isis typically use channels like YouTube or Twitter that are popular for entirely legal purposes.

 

  An Objectionable Film Censor...

New Zealand film censor threatens and ISPs proxy service claiming it lets people see objectionable uncensored films from the US


Link Here 16th November 2014
slingshot logo New Zealand's film censor at the Office of Film and Literature Classification is threatening CallPlus subsidiary Slingshot with prosecution over the access it is providing to blocked overseas internet television services such as Netflix through its free GlobalMode service.

Inevitably, the movie trade group, the Film and Video Labelling Body, an incorporated society whose members include Sony, Universal and Paramount, said it agreed with chief censor Andrew Jack that Slingshot was breaking the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act. That was because GlobalMode provided a gateway to overseas services such as Netflix that showed programmes that had not gone through New Zealand's classification system, some of which it claimed were objectionable.

However the ISP trade group, InternetNZ said that it did not believe internet providers were responsible for what its customers did on the internet and to suggest otherwise creates a bizarre world where internet providers are held up to a different standard to other utility suppliers .

CallPlus chief executive Mark Callander has said GlobalMode is not illegal and the company does not intend to axe it despite the chief censor's legal threat.

Canterbury University law professor Ursula Cheer has said any prosecution of Slingshot would be a test case . The outcome would hinge on whether Slingshot's decision to actively promote GlobalMode as a means to access overseas television programming meant it had lost the safe harbour protections in the Act that usually shield internet providers from prosecution for the content they carry.

 

 Update: Perhaps Euro judges could be prosecuted for aiding and abetting terrorism...

Government minister Sajid Javid notes that the bad guys are getting reports of their criminal deeds censored under the EU's 'right to be forgotten'


Link Here 14th November 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
sajid javid Terrorists and criminals are being airbrushed from history as right-to-be-forgotten laws bring in censorship by the back door , the culture secretary has warned.

Sajid Javid said convictions are being removed from the internet even by those who have gone on to commit further crime, with terrorists ordering Google to remove stories about their trials. He warned that thousands of requests were being received each day by those who prefer to keep their past a secret , thanks to unelected judges in Europe.

He told an audience the European court had introduced censorship through the back door by ordering internet search engines such as Google to offer a right to be forgotten to individuals who want links to information about them to be removed.  Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, he said, was being used as:

Little more than an excuse for well-paid lawyers to hide the shady pasts of wealthy businessmen and the sexual indiscretions of sporting celebrities.

The 'right to be forgotten' is censorship through the back door.

 

  A watershed for the internet...Mediawatch-UK will be pleased...

Sky Broadband introduces option for parents to automatically set times of day when internet website blocking is in force


Link Here 13th November 2014
Sky TV Sky's Broadband Shield parental controls tool now lets families set timers for content blocking.

The content blocks applying to all devices in the home, gives parents the choice between three pre-defined censorship levels based on ages ratings, PG, 13 and 18.

Parents were always able to switch between the three categories at will but the new Watershed tool means that settings don't have to be manually changed; timers can be applied so that the PG or 13 setting is in place during the day hours with the 18 setting coming on after bedtime. The tool can also enforce blocking levels selected for homework hours.

 

  Legal Insecurity...

UK security agencies found to have been snooping of confidential communications between lawyers and their clients


Link Here 9th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

gchq logo The intelligence services have routinely been intercepting legally privileged communications between lawyers and their clients in sensitive security cases, according to internal MI5, MI6 and GCHQ documents.

The information obtained may even have been exploited unlawfully and used by the agencies in the fighting of court cases in which they themselves are involved, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has been told, resulting in miscarriages of justice.

Exchanges between lawyers and their clients enjoy a special protected status under the law.

The Conservative MP David Davis, a former shadow home secretary, said past practice was to delete such material immediately if it was ever picked up. Amnesty International said the government was gaining an unfair advantage akin to playing poker in a hall of mirrors .

Their comments come after 28 extracts of internal intelligence policies showing how legally privileged material is handled by security officials were released to lawyers pursuing a claim through the IPT. The tribunal considers complaints against MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

...Read the full article

Open Rights Group's Legal Director, Elizabeth Knight said:

We already know that RIPA allows the security services to intercept all 'external communications, breaching our right to privacy. By undermining journalistic and legal privilege, RIPA also threatens our rights to free speech and a fair trial. The government cannot keep defending these abuses. We need urgent reform of this broken law now. This disclosure demonstrates the need to introduce judicial authorisation.'

 

  Legislating at the behest of media giants...

Spanish Copyright Amendments Will Shakedown News Sites and Censor the Web


Link Here 9th November 2014

Spanish flag We've reported before on how news publishers in Germany and Ireland have demanded that Google pay royalties for the reproduction of news snippets and image thumbnails next to search results in its Google News product. In France and Belgium publishers took this claim to the courts resulting in an eventual settlement from Google, whilst in Germany, lawmakers unwisely caved in and passed legislation in 2013 to grant the special copyright-like rights in news snippets that the publishers had demanded.

Illustrating how pointless this was, Google subsequently called the bluff of the German publishers, replacing their news snippets with simple hyperlinked headings rather than paying the royalties the publishers demanded, while the befuddled publishers watched their traffic stats drop away. In a humiliating backdown reported this week, the publishers have since gone back cap in hand to Google begging it to reindex their content, snippets and all.

Last week, Spain passed a similar amendment to its own copyright law, but with a nasty twist--not only are news aggregators prohibited from including news snippets without payment, but this right to payment is made inalienable. This means that aggregators are prohibited from negotiating with the publishers to waive the payment, as has occurred elsewhere in Europe. This would also seemingly frustrate the intent of any news publisher who released their work under a Creative Commons or other open license for royalty-free use.

The same new Spanish law makes other adverse and short-sighted changes to copyright law, bowing to the lobbying pressure of large content owners.

Worst of these other measures is the criminalization of hosting a website that merely links to infringing content, exposing them to crippling fines of up to ?600,000. Liability is triggered as soon as the owner has been notified by email of the alleged infringement and fails to respond by self-censoring the allegedly infringing content. Even non-profit websites are exposed to liability, if they run advertisements to defray site expenses. This provision runs against a recent judgment of the European Court of Justice ruling that hyperlinks are not a reproduction of the copyright works they link to .

The law also newly targets businesses advertising on such websites, as well as those providing it with payment services, and authorizes the Spanish domain authority to cancel any ".es" domains under which they are hosted. (It is a shame that the Spanish legislators apparently think so little of Google News, because otherwise they might have read news snippets about a pair of ill-fated 2011 bills titled SOPA and PIPA that included similar Internet censorship provisions.)

In combination, these provisions will seriously chill speech online, casting a potential cloud of liability over website operators and the intermediaries who serve them. Rather than reducing the dissemination of copyright-infringing content, its only likely effect will be to drive Spanish websites offshore to a less hostile legal environment.

Unfortunately, it's likely too late now to do much about this ill-considered law--it is already scheduled to take effect in January 2015. This is particularly poorly timed, since the European Commission is in the midst of composing a new Directive to modernize European copyright law, which is likely to be passed in that same year. Whilst the new Directive may (we can only hope) include liberalized copyright limitations and exceptions, Spain's amendments to its copyright law go in precisely the opposite direction.

There is no doubt that technological change has hit newspaper publishers as well as other copyright owners. But a backward-looking law that penalizes innovators and threatens free speech on the Internet is not the solution.

 

 Update: Government propaganda campaign against Google/Facebook encryption...

Britain's internet censors at Ofcom call for easier snooping


Link Here 5th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Ofcom logo In the wake of a GCHQ for increased internet mass snooping capabilities, Ofcom internet censors have chipped in with calls for Google and Facebook to make state snooping easier.

Ofcom's chief executive, Ed Richards, has said technology companies such as Google and Facebook have social responsibilities. He said:

 I think it's fair to say that there are social responsibilities that come with a media that are as prevalent and significant as those social media [companies] have become.

It's absolutely right to ask what society should expect of those organisations as responsible companies with an impact on society.

At one level what he is saying is clearly right in the sense that social media are being used by all sorts of different communities, clearly including terrorist and jihadi [groups], and are part of the way that groups like that communicate.

His comments came after the new director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, called on US tech companies to do more in the fight against terrorism in the Financial Times, declaring that privacy had never been an absolute right .

Ofcom's chair, Patricia Hodgson, seemed to suggest that snooping wasn't just targetted at terrorism but even down to supposed crimes such as extreme pornography. She said:

It's certainly the case that there has been a struggle to keep up with this shift [in] the use of social media, the most extreme abuses of it, for terrorism or illegal pornography.

There are obviously arrangements whereby the government can categorise material [relating to terrorism or illegal pornography] and issue take-down notices.

But there were very great difficulties where that material is on the cusp, that doesn't fall very clearly under those arrangements.

The chair and chief executive of Ofcom were giving evidence to the Commons culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday as part of a review of the regulator's work.

 

 Update: Beyond mass snooping...

GCHQ head wants even more capability to watch over your shoulder


Link Here 4th November 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
gchq logo Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ, has accused US technology companies of becoming the command and control networks of choice for terrorists.

Privacy has never been an absolute right , according to the new director of snooping. Robert Hannigan said a new generation of freely available technology has helped groups like Islamic State (Isis) to hide from the security services and accuses major tech firms of being in denial , going further than his predecessor in seeking to claim that the leaks of Edward Snowden have aided terror networks.

GCHQ and sister agencies including MI5 cannot tackle those challenges without greater support from the private sector, including the largest US technology companies which dominate the web , Hannigan argued in an opinion piece written for the Financial Times just days into his new job. While not naming any company in particular, the GCHQ director wrote:

To those of us who have to tackle the depressing end of human behaviour on the internet, it can seem that some technology companies are in denial about its misuse.

I suspect most ordinary users of the internet are ahead of them: they have strong views on the ethics of companies, whether on taxation, child protection or privacy; they do not want the media platforms they use with their friends and families to facilitate murder or child abuse.

Techniques for encrypting messages or making them anonymous which were once the preserve of the most sophisticated criminals or nation states now come as standard. These are supplemented by freely available programs and apps adding extra layers of security, many of them proudly advertising that they are 'Snowden approved'. There is no doubt that young foreign fighters have learnt and benefited from the leaks of the past two years.

Executive Director Jim Killock  of Open Rights Group has responded to Hannigan's comment. He said:

Open Rights Group logo Robert Hannigan's comments are divisive and offensive. If tech companies are becoming more resistant to GCHQ's demands for data, it is because they realise that their customers' trust has been undermined by the Snowden revelations. It should be down to judges, not GCHQ nor tech companies, to decide when our personal data is handed over to the intelligence services. If Hannigan wants a 'mature debate' about privacy, he should start by addressing GCHQ's apparent habit of gathering the entire British population's data rather than targeting their activities towards criminals.

 

 Update: Putin Bares his Chest...

Chelsea Handler vs Putin: International competition for best instagrams and best take downs


Link Here 3rd November 2014  full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo hsaring website gets heavy on the censorship

chelsea handler vs putin Chelsea Handler is an American comedienne, actress, author, television host, writer and producer. She hosted a late-night talk show called Chelsea Lately on the E! network.

Chelsea Handler's bare breasts were on Instagram for roughly half an hour after she shared a topless photo of herself riding a horse .

The pic was a protest against an unfair double standard: Vladimir Putin can freely post topless pictures on horseback anywhere online without fear of censorship, but a lady's nipples are still considered obscene by many websites. Chelsea explained: Anything a man can do, a woman has the right to do better #kremlin.

Instagram repeated the censorship 3 times before Chelsea got the message the US can be more censorial than Russia and free speech does not apply when people are supposedly offended or outraged.

 

 Update: The right to have free speech forgotten...

Pianist attempts to censor bad reviews via the 'right to be forgotten'


Link Here 2nd November 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Schumann Brahms Liasons Dejan Lazic Dejan Lazic, a concert pianist from Croatia, has demanded that a bad review of a 2010 concert he gave be removed from internet search results under the European right to be forgotten law.

Lazic wrote to the Washington Post, which published the review by classical music writer Anne Midgette, to have the article removed from search results. He claimed that the review was: Defamatory, mean-spirited, opinionated, one-sided, offensive [and] simply irrelevant for the arts , despite the fact that the original piece is in many places complimentary.

In the original article, Midgette said that his performance was lackluster given his huge talents, and prone to grandiloquence .

Lazic also claimed that his request was nothing to do with censorship ...BUT... a response to the fact that newspaper reviews are too far from the truth .