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Submission + - New York Proposing Legislation To Ban Anonymous Speech Websites (arstechnica.com) 2

Fluffeh writes: "Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte "[this] turns the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity." and Republican Sen. Thomas O’Mara "[this will] help lend some accountability to the Internet age." are sponsoring a bill that would ban any New York-based websites from allowing comments (or well, anything) to be posted unless the person posting it attaches their name to it. But it goes further to say New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, to “remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.”"

Submission + - Telcos Oppose Bill To Respect 4th Amendment (techdirt.com) 1

Fluffeh writes: "A story that is breaking on a number of sites is that CTIA (The mobile operators' industry association) is opposing a Californian law being proposed that a court order is required prior to disclosing personal information. The law seems to be in opposition to the federal governments attempts to wash away the last requirements to get at any information about citizens, but CTIA claims (PDF) "... the wireless industry opposes SB 1434 as it could create greater confusion for wireless providers when responding to legitimate law enforcement requests " The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California have been arguing strongly for the bill which is to be voted on shortly."

Submission + - Google puts its Lobby Hat on (arstechnica.com)

Fluffeh writes: "Google has been spending big on lobbying this year, a 240% increase on last year in fact. From January to March of this year, Google spent over $5 million on lobbying, nearly matching its entire 2010 lobbying budget of $5.2 million. Comparing this same rate with 2011 figures, Google would outspend the entire tobacco industry ($17.07 million), the combined spending of JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup ($18.67 million), but would be just barely behind the combined budgets of pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Merck ($20.685 million). For comparison, Apple spent only $500,000 for the same 2012 quarter; Microsoft spent $1.79 million. While some of this has been to get out of trouble with things like that pesky wifi sniffing debarcle, a good part ($4 Million) has been to assist with quashing SOPA and PIPA."

Submission + - US Unhappy With Australians Storing Data on Australian Shores (delimiter.com.au)

Fluffeh writes: "The United States’ global trade representative has strongly criticised a perceived preference on the part of large Australian organisations for hosting their data on-shore in Australia, claiming it created a significant trade barrier for US technology firms. A number of US companies had expressed concerns that various departments in the Australian Government, namely the Department of Defence had been sending negative messages about cloud providers based outside the country, implying that “hosting data overseas, including in the United States, by definition entails greater risk and unduly exposes consumers to their data being scrutinised by foreign governments”. Recently, Acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner Anthony Bendall highlighted some of the privacy concerns with cloud computing, particularly in its use by the local government. He said the main problems were the lack of control over stored data and privacy, in overseas cloud service providers."

Submission + - Congress Pushing Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (techdirt.com)

Fluffeh writes: "Congressmen are trying to see if they can sneak an absolutely awful "cybersecurity" bill through Congress. It appears that the Rogers-Ruppersberger bill, known as CISPA (for Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) or HR 3523 is winning out, with a planned attempt to move it through Congress later this month. Pushing that this isn't a SOPA type act, supporters are highlighting that Microsoft and Facebook are amoung the 100 or so sponsors. However, many, including the CDT are strongly opposed to the bill: "However, the bill goes much further, permitting ISPs to funnel private communications and related information back to the government without adequate privacy protections and controls. The bill does not specify which agencies ISPs could disclose customer data to, but the structure and incentives in the bill raise a very real possibility that the National Security Agency or the DOD’s Cybercommand would be the primary recipient. ""

Submission + - Global Online Freedom Act Approved by House Committee (techdirt.com) 1

Fluffeh writes: "While it is a bit disappointing that companies might need a law to avoid providing tools to censor free speech in overseas regimes, an updated version of a bill that's been floating around for a few years — the Global Online Freedom Act — has passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. The version that passed out of committee took out some controversial earlier provisions that had potential criminal penalties for those who failed to report information to the Justice Department. The Center for Democracy and Technology has however raised some concerns:

"While some companies – such as GNI members Google, Microsoft, Websense, and Yahoo! – have stepped up and acknowledged these responsibilities in an accountable way, other companies have not been so forthright. GOFA, however, is a complex bill. While it presents a number of sensible and innovative mechanisms for mitigating the negative impact of surveillance and censorship technologies, it also raises some difficult questions: can export controls be meaningfully extended in ways that reduce the spread of (to borrow words from Chairman Smith) "weapons of mass surveillance" without diminishing the ability of dissidents to connect and communicate? How can – and should – US companies engage with so-called "Internet-restricting" countries? As this bill progresses, we look forward to working with Rep. Smith and his staff on answers to these and other important questions.""


Submission + - Australia Department of Foreign Affairs - Department for ACTA (torrentfreak.com)

Fluffeh writes: "The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade emerged as ACTA’s cheerleader-in-chief in Australia (later picked up on other sites), trumpeting the benefits of the treaty before a rare open federal parliamentary committee. Australia’s lack of public and political opposition to ACTA stands somewhat alone in the international community, accentuated by limited local media coverage. The rare light shone on Australia’s role in negotiations during last week’s “Justice Standing Committee” hearing only came after the treaty had already been signed in October, 2011 – as was noted more than once by the handful of politicians present. Senator Scott Ludlam, an outspoken supporter of Julian Assange and his Wikileaks organisation, seized the opportunity to grill the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade and other supporters of ACTA who presented themselves.

The articles also go into depth about the impacts of ACTA on many areas — such as Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, a government program that provides subsidised drugs and medicines to the entire population. Bans on the use of generic medicines could see massive blow-outs in the cost of the scheme."


Submission + - Greens question government on Huawei ban from NBN (delimiter.com.au)

Fluffeh writes: "Following up on the recent news-storm after Chinese vendor Huawei was banned from work on the Australia NBN the Greens have yet again stood up for transparency by questioning the government. As Huawei has not been accused of breaking any Australian laws, the Government’s apparent intervention in NBN Co’s tendering processes raises questions that need answering. If the Government has evidence that there is a dangerously close relationship between Huawei and Beijing’s political and military interests – it should make that information public."

Submission + - ICANN CEO Declares "ICANN has massive conflict of Interests " (techdirt.com)

Fluffeh writes: "Rod Beckstrom, the CEO of ICANN blasted his own organization for the massive conflicts of interest that have made the organization almost entirely ineffectual when it comes to doing anything for the public's benefit during a recent speech in Costa Rica. "I believe it is time to further tighten up the rules that have allowed perceived conflicts to exist within our board, this is necessary, not just to be responsive to the growing chorus of criticism about Icann's ethics environment, but to ensure that absolute dedication to the public good supersedes all other priorities.""

Submission + - French President wants to criminalize frequent visits to violent websites (techdirt.com)

Fluffeh writes: "In a recent speech about a suspect who died after being shot by police as he tried to make his getaway, French President Nicolas Sarkozy decided to use it as an opportunity to push for more anti-internet legislation, including a plan to criminalize visiting certain websites too often. Anyone who habitually visits Internet sites that advocate terrorism or carrying calls for hate or violence will be punished under criminal law."

Submission + - "Lulsec, back for more Epic Lulz" - Anonymous (arstechnica.com)

Fluffeh writes: "A YouTube video posted at the weekend has announced that LulzSec will return. On April 1st the group will be back, and attack corporations and governments, promising "epic operations and pranks." The LulzSec video downplays the arrests and insists that LulzSec remains a going concern. On December 21st of this year, Project Mayhem will, apparently, provoke a global financial meltdown through a series of bank runs. Critical infrastructure will also be attacked. A Web site related to the project cites Orwell and implies that the Proles will rise up on this date. Closer to the present day, Anonymous has set its sights on security firm Imperva, after members of the collective misread an article about the company."

Submission + - Australian Greens demand public access to cloak and dagger anti-piracy meetings (delimiter.com.au)

Fluffeh writes: "Continuing the recent stories on the secret, closed door, FOI blocked talks, the Australian Greens have filed a motion in the Senate requesting that the Government release documents regarding its closed door meetings on Internet piracy which the Attorney-General’s Department has blocked from being released under Freedom of Information laws. This morning, Greens Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam filed an order in the Senate that the Government disclose details of the most recent meeting. “The Government refuses to reveal almost any information about the attendees, the substance or the outcomes of the meeting,” he said in a separate statement. “A Freedom of Information request from a journalist looks like it’s been met with maximum resistance.”"

Submission + - Sen. Wyden demands ACTA goes before Congress (arstechnica.com)

Fluffeh writes: "As recently covered here, EU countries are starting to drop ACTA support, now long-time opponent of the secretly negotiated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced an amendment to a Senate "jobs bill" that would force ACTA to come before Congress for approval. His second amendment tries to force a change in how the whole process around such treaties is handled. Right now, the US attempts to keep its negotiating positions a secret. What vital national security interests could be at stake if the public knew USTR was promoting "graduated response" laws or proposing changes in ISP liability? Wyden doesn't believe there are any."

Submission + - All video games cause aggressive behaviour say two US Congressmen (arstechnica.com)

Fluffeh writes: "US Congressmen Baca and Wolf once again proposed a bill that would require the vast majority of video games to bear a warning label about content they consider "potentially damaging." The proposed label would be required even if the video game in question is not violent. Under the one-page Violence in Video Games Labeling Act, packaging for all video games except those rated "EC" for Early Childhood would be required to prominently display a message reading "WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.""

Submission + - Wikipedia to go black (wikimediafoundation.org)

Fluffeh writes: "The Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia."

"Love your country but never trust its government." -- from a hand-painted road sign in central Pennsylvania