Monday, July 16, 2012

Richard O'Dwyer : U.S. Pursuing a Middleman in Web Piracy

13 July 2012
New York Times, July 13, 2012:

Richard O’Dwyer at a courthouse in London. He started a Web site that prosecutors say helped people find pirated content. Carl Court/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Published: July 12, 2012
Richard O’Dwyer, an enterprising 24-year-old college student from northern England, has found himself in the middle of a fierce battle between two of America’s great exports: Hollywood and the Internet.
At issue is a Web site he started that helped visitors find American movies and television shows online. Although the site did not serve up pirated content, American authorities say it provided links to sites that did. The Obama administration is seeking to extradite Mr. O’Dwyer from Britain on criminal charges of copyright infringement. The possible punishment: 10 years in a United States prison.
The case is the government’s most far-reaching effort so far to crack down on foreigners suspected of breaking American laws. It is unusual because it goes after a middleman, who the authorities say made a fair amount of money by pointing people to pirated content. Mr. O’Dwyer’s backers say the prosecution goes too far, squelching his free-speech right to publish links to other Web sites. ...
The extradition case against Mr. O’Dwyer has turned him into something of a cause célèbre. Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, is leading a crusade to save him, with an online petition that has gathered over 225,000 signatures worldwide in two weeks.
Still, the British home secretary, Theresa May, approved the extradition order in March and said Monday that she would let the order stand. Mr. O’Dwyer has appealed; a hearing in Britain is expected this fall. ...
“America? They have nothing to do with me,” Mr. O’Dwyer’s mother said he had told her. He reopened his site as, which he reckoned was beyond the reach of the United States.
A few months later came a knock on the door from the British police. A judge ruled that Mr. O’Dwyer would not be prosecuted in Britain. Instead, the United States would seek to extradite him.
His mother was stunned. “This is for fugitives and murderers and terrorists,” she recalled thinking. “Richard has never fled the scene of a crime. He has never left the U.K.!” ...
None of the court filings listed below were available this morning, July 13, 2012. more

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

ACTA: Video - defeat a huge victory for online freedom AND democracy.

Published on 4 Jul 2012 by
The European Parliament has rejected ACTA, a controversial trade agreement, which was widely criticized over its likely assault on internet freedoms. Supporters of the treaty suggested postponing the crucial voting at the Parliament plenary on Wednesday, but members of the parliament decided not to delay the decision any further. MEPs voted overwhelmingly against ACTA, with 478 votes against and only 39 in favor of it. There were 146 abstentions. Citizen advocacy group founder Jeremy Zimmerman believes copyright laws must be reformed, but not at the expense of the online users.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

#CISPA: Do NOT Trust #OBama - He Has Yet To Keep A Promise.

The White House has gone on the record to say that US President Barack Obama will veto the controversial cybersecurity bill known as CISPA, but the author of the act has his doubts that the commander-in-chief will keep that promise.

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), one of two US Representatives responsible for introducing the heated Cyber Intelligence Security Protection Act to Congress, has opened up once more on the subject of CISPA. According to the lawmaker — who also sits as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — President Obama is likely to loosen his stance on the cybersecurity bill and sign it into law if given the change.

“[I]f we can get a bill on information-sharing to the president’s desk, he’ll sign it. I do believe that,” Rep. Rogers said this week during a panel discussion on the bill, reports Daily Dot.
Since being introduced earlier this year, CISPA has attracted criticism from across the country thanks to activists rallying against the attempt to involve Washington in the inner workings of the Web. If passed, the government would be given the go-ahead to peer into personal information stored online by Internet users and would be invited to put their eyes on sensitive data provided to third-party companies and other private sector corporations that operate on the Web — all while excusing those businesses from any liability — under the guise of national security.

The legislation has already cleared the US House of Representatives and is awaiting a vote in the Senate. As lawmakers on that side of the aisle prepare to ponder the bill, however, Rep. Rogers says he’s confident that, once the “dust settles,” Obama will authorize the act.
Earlier this year, the White House responded to the attention CISPA was accumulating by releasing a statement expressing the administration's attitude against the bill.

“The sharing of information must be conducted in a manner that preserves Americans' privacy, data confidentiality and civil liberties and recognizes the civilian nature of cyberspace,” the memo reads. “Cybersecurity and privacy are not mutually exclusive. Moreover, information sharing, while an essential component of comprehensive legislation, is not alone enough to protect the nation's core critical infrastructure from cyber threats. Accordingly, the administration strongly opposes H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, in its current form.”

#UK #Spy #Spook:'Black box' is watching you! UK 'Online spy bill' privacy threat .

Internet privacy issues are again in the spotlight as a controversial bill is debated in London’s Parliament. Its adoption will allow the UK government to spy on what Brits write and post online.

While authorities say the Communications Data Bill creates a so-called ‘intelligence picture’, critics and lawmakers fear the bill will build a totalitarian online regime in the UK. If adopted, the bill will grant British intelligence full access to UK citizens’ web communications – secret services will be able to monitor who is talking to whom, when, and where in the country.

The UK Home Office says ‘communications data’ will only gather information about the sender and recipient of a piece of communication such as an email or instant message, but not the content of the communication.The architects of the legislation claim the idea is to protect the public against crimes like terrorism and child abuse.

'Black boxes' will be installed by internet services providers to filter & decode encrypted materials – including social media and email messages, something which critics say will have an impact on personal more

#ACTA: three days to deal a fatal blow, start calling your MEPs!

ACTA: We’re almost there!

This Wednesday (4th July), the European Parliament will hold a plenary vote as to whether to give consent to the provisions within ACTA. So far, your efforts have helped to ensure that all five of the Committees (INTA, LIBE, JURI, ITRE and DEVE), whose responsibility it was to scrutinise ACTA and present their findings, have consecutively recommended its rejection. Their voices will be influential as to the way in which the European Parliament will vote on Wednesday – but so will yours!

What’s next?

The vote on Wednesday is the most important. The decision of the European Parliament will determine whether ACTA becomes binding upon the 27 EU Members States. The European Parliament can vote to oppose, approve, or refer the matter to the European Court of Justice, but it cannot alter the content of the treaty.

What are we up against?

Shortly after the INTA vote, Greens MEP Amelia Andersdotter accused EU Commissioner Karel de Gucht of placing “undue pressure” on the INTA Committee by asking [them] to vote in a certain way. A day prior, de Gucht told the Committee that, regardless of their recommendation, the Commission would “nonetheless continue to pursue the current procedure before the Court, as we are entitled to do”. Should the ECJ “question the conformity of the agreement with the Treaties”, he said, “we will assess at that stage how this can be addressed”.
It would seem that, despite consistent, significant, and legitimate democratic opposition to the treaty, Karel de Gucht is determined to press ahead with ACTA in any way he can. “Clarifications”, promised to be made should the ECJ decide against ACTA, are simply not possible: the treaty has now been signed, and so its contents cannot be amended unless it is first ratified.

What is wrong with ACTA?

We believe that ACTA is such an imbalanced treaty that it disproportionately and unnecessarily puts innovation and freedom of expression at risk. By attempting to deal with two hugely different issues – the counterfeiting of physical goods and digital copyright infringement – the treaty lacks the kind of surgical precision necessary to ensure that fundamental rights are not sacrificed in pursuit of its goals.
Furthermore, ACTA promotes and incentivises the private 'policing' of online content through, for example, its broad thresholds for its criminal measures. It exacerbates such problems by failing to provide adequate and robust safeguards for fundamental freedoms. We set out some key points in our briefing paper.
From the moment it was sprung upon Europe, following a drafting process held in secret, the passage of ACTA has been lubricated by a total disregard for democratic principles. The European Commission has effectively sought to move decisions about ACTA further away from the people and their elected representatives.
There has been a positive consequence of all this: we have seen a renewal of interest in the workings of European democratic institutions, as large numbers of people engage with difficult debates and complex institutional processes in an attempt to understand and influence the passage of ACTA through Europe. People like you have helped to make sure that the democratic process is respected and obeyed.

What do I need to do?

The decisions of the five Committees were, quite rightly, heavily influenced by the many people across Europe who contacted their MEPs to explain the problems with ACTA. The vote in the European Parliament will be no different.
For what is hopefully the last time, we’re asking you to get in touch with your MEP and explain to them how ACTA is flawed, how you want them to vote, and why.

Who is my MEP?

We’ve listed the names and contact details for each of the 78 MEPs representing constituents within the United Kingdom. Find yours below, and give them a call! more