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UK File-Sharing Laws Unenforceable On Mobile Networks 130

superglaze writes "UK mobile broadband providers currently have no way of telling which subscribers are file-sharing which copyrighted content, ZDNet UK reports. This represents something of a problem for new laws that have been proposed to crack down on unlawful file-sharing. According to the article, databases (tracking IP address mappings) could be built to make it possible to identify what specific users are downloading, but the industry is loathe to fund this sort of project itself. Also, as an analyst points out in the piece, users of prepaid phone cards are mostly anonymous in the UK, which creates another challenge for the government's plans. And if that isn't enough, connection-sharing apps like JoikuBoost would make identification pretty much impossible anyway."

Statistical Suspicions In Iran's Election 512

hoytak writes "An expert in electoral fraud, professor Walter Melbane, has released a detailed analysis (PDF) of available data in Iran's controversial election (summary here). While he did not find significant indications of fraud, he does note that all the deviations from the predicted model are in Ahmadinejad's favor: 'In general, combining the 2005 and 2009 data conveys the impression that a substantial core of the 2009 results reflected natural political process... [These] stand in contrast to the unusual pattern in which all of the notable discrepancies between the support Ahmadinejad actually received and the support the model predicts are always negative. This pattern needs to be explained before one can have confidence that natural election processes were not supplemented with artificial manipulations.'" In related news, EsonLinji notes reports in the Seattle PI and other sources that the US State Department has asked Twitter to delay system maintenance to prevent cutting off Iranians who have been relying on the service during the post-election crisis. And if you would like to help ease the communication crunch, reader RCulpepper tips a blog post detailing how to set up a proxy server for users with Iranian IP addresses.

A Black Day For Internet Freedom In Germany 420

Several readers including erlehmann and tmk wrote to inform us about the dawning of Internet censorship in Germany under the usual guise of protecting the children. "This week, the two big political parties ruling Germany in a coalition held the final talks on their proposed Internet censorship scheme. DNS queries for sites on a list will be given fake answers that lead to a page with a stop sign. The list itself is maintained by the German federal police (Bundeskriminalamt). A protest movement has formed over the course of the last several months, and over 130K citizens have signed a petition protesting the law. Despite this, and despite criticism from all sides, the two parties sped up the process for the law to be signed on Thursday, June 18, 2009."

Iran Moves To End "Facebook Revolution" 838

We've had a few readers send in updates on the chaotic post-election situation in Iran. Twitter is providing better coverage than CNN at the moment. There are both tech and humanitarian angles to the story, as the two samples below illustrate. First, Hugh Pickens writes with a report from The Times (UK) that "the Iranian government is mounting a campaign to disrupt independent media organizations and Web sites that air doubts about the validity of the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the nation's president. Reports from Tehran say that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were taken down after Mr Ahmadinejad claimed victory. SMS text messaging, a preferred medium of communication for young Iranians, has also been disabled. 'The blocking of access to foreign news media has been stepped up, according to Reporters Without Borders. 'The Internet is now very slow, like the mobile phone network. YouTube and Facebook are hard to access and pro-reform sites... are completely inaccessible.'" And reader momen abdullah sends in one of the more disturbing Ask Slashdots you are likely to see. "People, we need your urgent help in Iran. We are under attack by the government. They stole the election. And now are arresting everybody. They also filtered every sensitive Web page. But our problem is that they also block the SMS network and are scrambling satellite TVs. Please, can you help us to set up some sort of network using our home wireless access points? Can anybody show us a link on how to install small TV/radio stations? Any suggestion for setting up a network? Please tell us what to do or we are going to die in the a nuclear war between Iran and US." Update: 06/14 18:32 GMT by KD : Jim Cowie contributes a blog post from Renesys taking a closer look at the state of Iranian Internet transit, as seen in the aggregated global routing tables, and concluding that the story may not be as clear-cut as has been reported.

20 Years After Tiananmen, China Stifles Online Dissent 235

alphadogg writes with this snippet from Network World: "The Internet has brought new hope to reformists in China since the country crushed pro-democracy protests in the capital 20 years ago. But as dissidents have gone high-tech, the government in turn has worked to restrict free speech on the Internet, stifling threats to its rule that could grow online. China has stepped up monitoring of dissidents and Internet censorship ahead of June 4, when hundreds were killed in 1989 after Beijing sent soldiers to its central Tiananmen Square to disperse protestors. The authoritarian government wants to ensure that date and other sensitive anniversaries this year pass without public disturbances, observers say. In recent months, China has blocked YouTube and closed two blog hosting sites, and, known for their liberal content."

Australian Government Backing Down On Censorship 116

Combat Wombat sends the news that the government in Australia has begun waffling on whether country-wide Internet censorship will be mandatory. "The Rudd Government has indicated that it may back away from its mandatory Internet filtering plan. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today told a Senate estimates committee that the filtering scheme could be implemented by a voluntary industry code. ... [The shadow communications minister] said he had never heard of a voluntary mandatory system. ... Senator Conroy's statement is a departure from the internet filtering policy Labor took into the October 2007 election to make it mandatory for ISPs to block offensive and illegal content." The censorship plan, which has been called "worse than Iran," was bypassed even before trials started. A minister's defection may have effectively blocked any chance of implementation.

Microsoft Blocks Messenger In Five Embargoed Countries 194

Spooky McSpookster writes "Microsoft has turned off its Windows Live Messenger service for five countries: Cuba, Syria, Iran, Sudan, and North Korea. Users in these countries trying to log in get the following error: '810003c1: We were unable to sign you in to the .NET Messenger Service.' Why now, since this flies in the face of the Obama administration's softening stance on Cuba? This isn't the first time the US trade embargo has had questionable outcomes. US-based Syrian political activist George Ajjan created a web site promoting democracy in Syria, only to find GoDaddy blocked anyone inside Syria from seeing it. The article argues, 'Messenger is a medium for communication, and the citizens of these countries should not be punished from such a basic tool because the US has problems with their governments' policies.' What does this say for the wisdom of non-US citizens relying on US companies for their business or communication?"

Hosting a Highly Inflammatory Document? 471

IndianaKim writes "I have been asked if I can host or assist in hosting a highly inflammatory document that reflects poorly on a Police Department. I want to help, but I also do not want the headache and possible subjection to search warrants and/or illegal searches. The document is so inflammatory that it could interest the FBI and DoJ and cause them to investigate the government officials involved. I live in the same county, but not the same city, and therefore could be subject to a search (legal or not) by some of these government agencies. I have been asked to host it on a server outside of the US. At this time, I do not have the ability to do that, but I could set it up if I needed to. My question is: would you host it if you were asked? How would you go about protecting the document and yourself?"
The Internet

Proposed Peer-To-Peer Law Sparks Animosity 168

coondoggie writes "The Federal Trade Commission and Distributed Computing Industry Association locked horns over a proposed law that would govern how peer-to-peer networking technology would be used and regulated. Before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, the Federal Trade Commission expressed its doubts about companies protecting sensitive consumer information (PDF) or sensitive data over P2P internet file-sharing networks. It doesn't help the P2P cause that the technology continues to pop up in bad practices. Recently a company that monitors peer-to-peer networks said it found classified information about the systems used onboard the president's helicopter in a shared folder on a computer in Iran, after a file containing the data was accidentally leaked on a peer-to-peer network last summer. Meanwhile the DCIA said any laws would likely be ineffective and stifle the business opportunities P2P can generate." An article on CNet points out that the wording of the bill would make it apply to just about everything related to communications on the internet.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.