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Privacy

Submission + - The Swedish government wants to spy on Russia (wordpress.com) 1

onsdag writes: "There has been a lot of noise among Swedish bloggers, and recently in Swedish media, about a new law that will allow the intelligence agency FRA (Försvarets Radio-Anstalt, the Defense Radio Department) to search through all internet and phone traffic in cables that cross the national border, and force ISPs and phone network operators to install tap points in their networks. They would only be allowed to search for traffic that was related to foreign affairs and immediately destroy any internal Swedish communication that crossed the border by accident (or by design, considering the international nature of the internet).

Many of the critics have been pointing out that it is impossible to differentiate "internal" and "external" traffic, but the FRA and proponents of the new law have been assuring everyone that they are not interested in Swedish traffic. It looks like they are probably telling the truth about that.

The law explicitly allows FRA to use any gathered intelligence in trade with other intelligence agencies (probably primarily USA, since an agreement was signed between the two countries last spring about enhanced intelligence cooperation). So what's in Swedish internet traffic that would be interesting to USA? Russian internet traffic, it turns out."

Privacy

Submission + - The Ubiquitous Swedish Wiretapping Bill (rickfalkvinge.se) 1

steelneck writes: There is really a lot of debate in Sweden right now. Rick Falkvinge did expose a very senior intelligence official this Saturday, who stated — on tape — that the Ubiquitous Wiretapping Bill legalized the agency's existing mission, caused the Swedish blogosphere to detonate like a barrel of overheated thermite. Print media, though, hasn't said anything apart from brief mentions in a few editorials. We never seen a discrepancy like it.

Unfortunately, there's very few posts in English on the matter. So Rick has provided a comprehensive summary with all the key points of the bill in english, together with a timeline.

Will this affect you living in another country? Of course, IP-traffic allways takes "the scenic route" so they will be monitoring and filtering your traffic too. The bill also contains clauses about FRA sharing intel with other foreign agencys, giving them just about free hands to "trade". Do you think this will stop in sweden, not be "exported" so to speak? I guess this will trigger a lot of "want to have" in other coutries too, making a whole new marketplace for secret agencys around the world.

With enough cooperating contries this opens up for a whole new kind of end2end attacks (yes, we are starting to view our governments as "attackers"). Imagine Mossad spying on a journalist who sends something from his phone or computer. This enables the cooperation to recognize the message on the other end, the only thing needed is a tiny timeshift in each filter making the Mossad-fingerprint of the message reach the filters in the cooperation before the message. Mossad takes the fingerprint on the message -> Brittish MI6 reports both in and out again -> The Swedish FRA both in and out -> The Finns only in... Now add the EU dataretention directive forcing ISPs to keep logs of everything and whatnot (yes even physical GPS-positions of mobile phones). Viola, in 0.3 seconds Mossad knows the reciever of the message even if it went through a series of VPN-networks and onion routers.

How tempting do you think this is for agencys caring less about the human right to privatley recieve and impart information? Imagine the price of developing and sending up a spy-satellite, that gives an idea of the power behind this temptation. So, will this affect you and spread to you coutry too? Of course, if not citizens put their feet down hard!

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Northeastern sues Google over Database Patent

Hugh Pickens writes: "Northeastern University has co-filed a suit claiming that database technology they patented in 1997 was misappropriated by Google. Northeastern's patent describes a "method for object examination in a distributed computer database system having a plurality of examination nodes and a plurality of index nodes connected by a network" that would allow for faster searching of huge databases, like Google's. The alleged patent violation wasn't discovered until 2 1/2 years ago when a representative of a Boston-area law firm described seeing a presentation by Google showing a technique that resembled Northeastern's patented technology. "We are aware of the complaint and believe it to be without merit based upon our initial investigation," said Google spokesman Jon Murchinson. It will be one to two years before the case goes to trial. "We expect them to be generous enough to pay a normal royalty," if we win said Michael Belanger, president of Jarg Corp, who co-filed the suit with Northeastern."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Should you donate to Wikipedia? Maybe not. 4

afabbro writes: Wikipedia is again raising funds, on the heels of its million-dollar fundraising event in January. But an analysis of their budget may give you pause. Only about half of their spending is on the technology that powers Wikipedia — the rest is being consumed by a growing overhead. Of the foundation's $4 million budget, nearly $700,000 will be spent on "finance and administration," and an additional $700,000 is budgeted for the Office of Executive Director and the board of trustees salary and expenses alone, including a plan to spend $200,000 to relocate to rent-expensive San Francisco.
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA's Sherman Attacks NewYorkCountryLawyer 4

Privacy

Submission + - MediaDefender Hit Again, Phone Call Leaked (torrentfreak.com) 1

the-other-cowboy (not CowboyNeal) writes: In relation to yesterday's news, MediaDefender, RIAA's Attack Dog, MediaDefender, has been hit again by another internal leak. This time, the same group that released the internal emails have released recorded telephone calls between the a New York attorney and MediaDefender discuss the security of their email-server.
Movies

Submission + - MediaDefender (MiiVi) Emails Leaked (torrentfreak.com)

redct writes: "TorrentLeak has acquired near 700MB of internal emails from MediaDefender. When TorrentFreak reported that MediaDefender was running the video site MiiVi.com (site dead), MediaDefender said otherwise. But now, take this email gem: "From: Ben Grodsky Looks like the domain transfer has screwed us over: http://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-gang-launches-their-own-video-download-site-to-trap-people/ http://digg.com/users/AcePup/news/dugg " Reply? "This is really f*cked. Let's pull miivi offline.""

Feed Engadget: AllofMP3's Denis Kvasov facing jail time (engadget.com)

Filed under: Portable Audio

Here's a message for all the young ones out there: crime doesn't pay, not even for Russian semi-legal music semi-pirates. Or at least that's the way things are looking for Denis Kvasov, former owner of AllofMP3.com. Though the site was shut down earlier this month, Kvasov is still on the hook damages to EMI, Warner and Universal, to the tune of 15 million rubles ($590,715 US), and could face three years in jail as well. The amount seems a bit light, considering the RIAA's $750 to $30,000 per song demands here in the States, but legality of the AllofMP3 service is still in question, since under Russian law the site was ostensibly playing by the rules and paying "copyright fees" to all the right organizations. Of course, consumers don't have to look far to find Alltunes and MP3Sparks, virtual clones of AllofMP3, and Alltunes recently won a court case against a Russian agent of Visa that had cut off payments for the online store, so record labels have to be asking themselves how much progress they've really made in fighting this gray market hydra.

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Feed Techdirt: Politicians Blame P2P Software For Not Stopping Gov't Employee Stupidity (techdirt.com)

Would you elect as your Congressional representative someone who blamed automakers because a bad driver crashed a car through his or her own negligence? Would you elect as your Congressional representative someone who claimed that email was a threat to national security because it can (and has) been used by spies to transmit confidential data? Probably not. Why? Because that's clearly misplaced blame. However, it appears that we have elected Congressional representatives who have made an almost identical argument and stick by it when it's pointed out how ridiculous it is. A bunch of our representatives our pushing for laws against file sharing networks claiming that file sharing is a national security threat. Why? Because some idiot government employees, against gov't regulations and policy, installed file sharing networks on their computers and then screwed up the installation to make confidential files available via P2P. Yes. Because government employees are stupid and disobeying rules, file sharing system providers must be punished. This is based on an equally poorly argued USPTO report from a few months ago that incorrectly blamed P2P networks for gov't employees stupidity.

In the meantime, while this magical law is being written, (and we can't wait to see the law that will somehow punish P2P software providers in a way that prevents gov't employee stupidity), many Congresscritters teamed up to scold the head of file sharing software firm Limewire. Rep. Jim Cooper accused Limewire's CEO of being naive (amusing, since Cooper doesn't appear to understand what he's talking about) and claiming that Limewire provided the "skeleton keys" to accessing material that harms national security. If that's true, then it's equally true that any internet provider is providing similar skeleton keys. And any search engine. Plus any computer maker. Or any telephone maker or service provider. They're all about as equally guilty as any P2P provider. Yet why isn't Cooper harassing any of their executives? Cooper goes on to demonstrate his complete ignorance of what's going on by saying: "you seem to lack imagination about how your product can be deliberately misused by evildoers against this country." That's laughably wrong. The misuse isn't by so-called "evildoers." It's by gov't employees who are disobeying policy and stupidly revealing confidential documents by misusing the software. Rep. Darrell Issa then warned Limewire that it may find itself legally liable if someone were stupid enough to share their tax returns via Limewire. Does this mean if I were so stupid to post my tax returns to Blogspot that I could sue Google? Technically, that's no different than Issa's argument. This is yet another case where politicians want to regulate a technology they don't understand.

Feed Techdirt: Law Would Tell Universities To Do The RIAA's Bidding, Or Lose Funding (techdirt.com)

The RIAA has consistently complained that there should be laws forcing colleges and universities to stop students sharing unauthorized music on their computer networks, and its extensive lobbying efforts have seen legislators in the past to "drop the hammer" on schools that don't comply to the RIAA's wishes. That hammer came a step closer to being dropped, as reader Blake writes in to let us know: an amendment to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act, which funds colleges and universities and the students who attend them, was introduced this week, and it would cut funding from schools that didn't install technology to try and block P2P file-sharing on their networks. It looks like the amendment got yanked following university complaints, but its introduction highlights the ridiculous amount of clout the RIAA carries in Washington (an amount it seeks to further increase). The RIAA's attempts to abuse the legal system roll on, and now it's attempting to pervert the legislative process and American higher education as well. It isn't the job of colleges and universities to do the RIAA's dirty work, and the government shouldn't be forcing them to do it, either.

Feed Techdirt: Record Label Begs Fans To Put Latest Tracks On Pirate Bay To Help Bandwidth Load (techdirt.com)

Paul Talbot writes "The independent record label Labrador Records has been giving away a 68 track free MP3 sampler to promote their summer material. However, they couldn't cope with the demand. Rather than withdraw the downloads, they've chosen to use a mirror service and are actually asking people to put the content on thepiratebay.org." Yes, there are certainly more independent labels who are learning to embrace file sharing as a great promotional tool, but it's nice to see one clearly finding value in using The Pirate Bay and asking more people to help out. It would certainly go against the RIAA's claims that The Pirate Bay and similar services have no legitimate reason for being in business.

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