Posts Tagged ‘ACTA’

The truth is out there – it’s just not in the newspapers

November 10, 2013 Leave a comment

Blogs are different to newspapers. You can get away with greater subjectivity in a blog than you can in a newspaper. But newspapers cannot absolve themselves of their responsibility for pure objective fact by calling a particular section a blog.

So when Martha Gill wrote about Anonymous in the Telegraph blog, it was wrong. Her headline says it all: Anonymous have been exposed as hypocrites. Watch them try to wriggle out of it (6 November 2013). You can hear the glee in her voice – this is personal, not factual.

Anonymous responded with an open letter to the media in general. It accused Gill of being inaccurate in one of her two accusations (that their masks are produced in what she strongly implies is a sweatshop) and hypocritical in another (that Warner Bros benefits from every sale of a mask). On the latter, Anonymous suggests that royalties are a sad fact of life; and wonders how many Telegraph staff support Foxconn by using Apple or Dell, Sony or HP equipment. “Since 2010, at least 17 deaths occurred when employees committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the building. To use a phrase from Martha Gill’s article, these are certainly ‘unpleasant conditions.’”

But in reality, this incident is just a small local battle in a much larger war. Anonymous – and it’s not alone – believes that much of the media has been bought and usurped by government and big business; and supports the agenda of government and big business to the exclusion of truth. It is no coincidence that there is a nationwide (US) march against corporate media planned for next Saturday:

We are planning a march and rally in Washington DC to raise awareness of the privatization, corporatization, and monopolization of the mainstream media and the corruption of our fifth estate. The failure of the corporate networks to adequately cover critical social issues has allowed for the rampant corruption of our political and economic system to go unquestioned and unchallenged.
March against mainstream media

If you have already thought about this, it cannot be denied. A few (very few) newspapers have kicked back in recent months with the Snowden revelations (notably the Guardian, Washington Post and Der Spiegel); but it’s also noticeable that the Guardian is under threat of prosecution in the UK for doing so.

And if you want a specific current example of this media betrayal, consider an EFF blog from Thursday: How Can the New York Times Endorse an Agreement the Public Can’t Read?

The New York Times’ editorial board has made a disappointing endorsement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), even as the actual text of the agreement remains secret. That raises two distressing possibilities: either in an act of extraordinary subservience, the Times has endorsed an agreement that neither the public nor its editors have the ability to read. Or, in an act of extraordinary cowardice, it has obtained a copy of the secret text and hasn’t yet fulfilled its duty to the public interest to publish it.

TPP is the successor to ACTA. ACTA was defeated by European activism. It is dead. TPP allows the same provisions to be established everywhere else without European involvement. Once this is achieved, the new discussions on an EU/US trade agreement will be dragged into the same agreements – it will be inevitable.

But where is the mainstream media’s concern over either? In defeating ACTA, the people made it very clear that they do not want ACTA – more specifically the internet-controlling, copyright-enforcing aspects of it. To understand the great Battle of ACTA, read Monica Horten’s new book, A Copyright Masquerade.

Rather than accept the will of the people, big business and government withdrew, regrouped, renamed and returned from a different direction, calling it TPP and being equally if not more secretive.

The problem is that the mainstream media is not on the side of its readers, but on the side of its owners.


media 6


Quite simply, the majority of US news outlets are owned by the same media companies that are lobbying in favour of trade agreements that will take over control of what appears on the internet, who can see what, and who goes where. Quite frankly, we can no longer believe what we read in the press any more than we can believe what government tells us.

Categories: All, Politics


June 18, 2013 Leave a comment

It’s a bit worrying that Cameron is all gung-ho about the EU-US trade agreement. “An EU-US trade deal, for example, could be worth £10 billion to the UK alone – in the end that’s not some abstract statistic, these trade deals matter, because they mean more jobs, more choice for consumers and lower prices,” he said, ushering in the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

Actually, they mean more profits for big business and greater control for governments. Trade agreements never translate into ‘more jobs, more choice for consumers and lower prices’ for real people. At the most, they become, “well, it would have been less jobs, less choice and higher prices if we didn’t have the trade agreement.”

The trade agreement in question is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being discussed by the EU and the US. It will complement the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) being led by the US and encompassing the Pacific Rim. But make no mistake, TTIP + TPP = ACTA Mark II.

The European digital rights group EDRI shone some light.

“The Commission was careful to stress that TTIP was not a ‘new ACTA’. This too provided five minutes of hope that lessons had been learned and the same old mistakes would not be made again. Then, the discussion turned to transparency and the Commission confirmed that, as things currently stand, the level of transparency would be identical to what was done with ACTA.”
TTIP – a brief victory of hope over experience

The Commission said that the IPR (that is, copyright protection) element of the TTIP ‘would only include such issues where a problem was identified by stakeholders – just a narrow range of issues and only ‘geographic indicators’ have so far been selected.’

If the list of issues to be addressed in the “IPR chapter” is limited and only includes clearly identified problems, will the Commission undertake to publish details of each such problem that is addressed in the final draft? The Commission responded that it would not make such an undertaking, because it could not be expected to provide details of “every single detail” of the agreement tackling intellectual property. Suddenly, we had moved from a narrow, focussed exercise to address a small number of identified problems, to a list of measures that was potentially so long that it would be unreasonable to ask the Commission to explain what problems it was seeking to solve.

To paraphrase Churchill, concludes EDRI, “never in the history of mankind was so little meaning conveyed by so many words to such little effect…” In short, TTIP and its even more secretive partner TPP are ACTA returned.

Categories: All, Politics, Security Issues

My news stories on Infosecurity Magazine, 31 May 2012

May 31, 2012 Leave a comment

My news stories today:

US difficulties over Megaupload case continue
In April we reported that a US judge voiced doubts over whether Megaupload would ever get to trial in the US; now there are doubts it will even get to the US.
31 May 2012

Military grade chips may not be as secure as we think
Sergei Skorobogatov and Chris Woods have discovered a backdoor into a military grade chip, permitting ‘a new and disturbing possibility of a large-scale Stuxnet-type attack via a network or the Internet on the silicon itself’.
31 May 2012

Today is a key day for ACTA in Europe
Three EU committees are today due to make recommendations on ACTA. So far, two have reported: do not ratify ACTA, they tell the European Parliament.
31 May 2012

Categories: All, Security News

The changing face of European politics

May 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Today all three European parliament committees due to vote on their ACTA recommendations came out clearly: do not ratify ACTA.

Courtesy of Rick Falkvinge, we ask: is this the beginning of the end for the old order? Is this the changing face of European politics?

Categories: All, Politics

ACTA is NOT dead

May 5, 2012 Leave a comment

The newswires are awash with news: ACTA is dead. Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner in charge of the Digital Agenda, is quoted as accepting that ACTA is dead in Europe.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief and relax.

No we can’t. That’s exactly what they want us to do – and that’s what we must absolutely not do. The moment we take the pressure off our own MEPs, that moment will the silent and pervasive money-based pro-ACTA lobbying increase. While we’re still celebrating, ACTA will be ratified.

And even if it is rejected, it’s just a battle. The war will continue. If defeated, ACTA will simply return in a different name.

Governments want control of the internet. It suits their purpose to gain that control by ‘supporting’ industry; it disguises their intent. So even if, as they eventually must, rightsholders realise they must adapt to rather than fight against new technology, the provisions of ACTA will return under another guise.

At the moment, Hollywood is merely bribing government to do what government already wants to do. ACTA will never die until governments understand that they are the servants and not the masters of the people. They are there to enact what we want, not what megalomaniac politicians want. It’s called democracy.

Categories: All, Politics

My news stories on Infosecurity Magazine this week (so far)

May 2, 2012 Leave a comment

News stories for 30 April – 2 May 2012:

Megaupload prosecution is lawless, says Professor of Law
Eric Goldman, Associate Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law, says the prosecution of Megaupload is “a depressing display of abuse of government authority.”
02 May 2012

Al-Qaeda uses steganography – documents hidden in porn videos found on memory stick
Steganography is the science of hiding data. Its most common digital use is to hide data within graphics – text hidden in a picture. Al-Qaeda apparently hid documents within porn videos on a memory stick.
02 May 2012

VPNs used to defeat censorship and data retention in Sweden
Pirates, typified by The Pirate Bay, are under increasing attack from the authorities around the world. Sweden is more than the spiritual home of The Pirate Bay – so it is not surprising that user-reaction to these attacks is being led by Swedes with an increasing use of VPNs.
02 May 2012

New combined home firewall & anti-virus is free
Home computer users do not, in general, pay for security. They rely instead on free software offered with little or no support. This can cause problems when different free products conflict with each other.
01 May 2012

Trusteer finds new ransomware variant
Ransomware is malware that locks up computers and demands payment for their release. A common ruse is to pretend that the malware is actually a ‘seizure’ by law enforcement agencies.
01 May 2012

UK ISPs must block The Pirate Bay – By Order
It was expected in June, but it happened on the last day of April: UK ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay (TBP) by order of the court.
01 May 2012

Let’s do the ACTA Time Warp again
It appeared that ACTA was dead in the European Parliament when the ACTA rapporteur David Martin advised that it should be rejected. But now Marielle Gallo has postponed the recommendation of the Legal Affairs committee.
30 April 2012

42 blackmail sites -posing as news sites – shut down in China
Genuine news sites publish information on events – these sites, say the Chinese authorities, promised not to publish information for a fee.
30 April 2012

How to break into security (as a professional)
These are questions that students and unfulfilled geeks continually ask; and ones that all security practitioners receive more than any other. DigiNinja has tried to find an objective response.
30 April 2012

Categories: All, Security News

ACTA and the Time Warp

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Before I go further I need to offer thanks to three sources. Firstly, to Monica Horten at the excellent IPtegrity blog who saw the connection. Secondly to the genius of Richard O’Brien who penned such a prescient prophesy. And thirdly to the authors of ACTA, without whom – well, I wish we were without whom.

The story reported by Monica is the jump to the left in the European Parliament (socialist rapporteur says he recommends that ACTA be rejected) followed by the step to the right (EPP Sarkozy-ite delays things to buy more time for the rightsholder lobbyists to regroup) – and it was Monica who made the connection with Richard O’Brien. (I’ve reported the ‘news’ side of this story on Infosecurity Mag) “ACTA: EU Parliament takes a step to the right,” is Monica’s headline. “It took a jump to the left…” is the first line.

“It’s just a jump to the left And then a step to the right” is the source in Richard O’Brien’s phenomenal Time Warp song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. What I hadn’t realised is quite how accurate those lyrics turn out to be.

Hollywood/government lays out its intention for the internet: It’s astounding, time is fleeting – Madness takes its toll – But listen closely, not for very much longer – I’ve got to keep control

But users are lost in their own, innocent, dreamy vision of the internet: It’s so dreamy, oh fantasy free me – So you can’t see me, no not at all

This is such a romantic view of freedom and the internet! But Hollywood/government responds: In another dimension, with voyeuristic intention – Well-secluded, I see all – With a bit of a mind flip – You’re there in the time slip – And nothing can ever be the same

This is O’Brien at his most prophetic. Hollywood/government wishes, from a hidden point of view, to see everything that happens on the internet. And once they succeed, nothing will ever be the same again.

O’Brien goes on to foretell what will happen. The user concludes: Well I was walking down the street just a-having a think – When a snake of a guy gave me an evil wink – He shook me up, he took me by surprise – He had a pickup truck and the devil’s eyes. – He stared at me and I felt a change – Time meant nothing, never would again.

Hollywood/government wins. The Time Warp itself? They will just keep cycling round in a time warp, time and time again, until they succeed. Just beware when that snake of a guy gives you an evil wink – and make sure you never vote for him again!

Categories: All, General Rants, Politics

Infosecurity Magazine news stories for 10-13 April 2012, and 16-18 April 2012

April 18, 2012 Leave a comment

My news stories on Infosecurity Magazine from Tuesday 10 April until Friday 13 April, and Monday 16 April until Wednesday 18 April

NHS needs a security czar to prevent continuous data walkabout
While the South London Healthcare NHS Trust signs a Data Protection Undertaking, the security industry wonders why we have learnt nothing in the last two years – and calls for a new NHS data protection czar.
18 April 2012

PwC 2012 Information Security Breaches Survey: Preliminary findings report continued mobile insecurity
New statistics show that while many companies appear to understand the business threat from BYOD, many others are taking no precautions whatsoever.
18 April 2012

(ISC)² launches its new EMEA advisory board
In a move designed to offer genuine hands-on security experience to EMEA’s different security initiatives, professional body (ISC)² has launched a new Advisory Board for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EAB).
18 April 2012

Google co-founder worries about the future of the internet
In an interview with the Guardian, the co-founder of Google lists the threats facing the future vitality of the internet.
17 April 2012

Shadowserver uncovers campaign against Vietnam in Hardcore Charlie’s file dump
An analysis of the hacked files dumped by hacker Hardcore Charlie fails to prove Chinese culpability, but finds evidence of ‘yet another cyber espionage campaign against Vietnam.’
17 April 2012

Iranian software manager hacks and dumps card details of 3m Iranians
Khosrow Zarefarid found and reported a flaw in the Iranian POS system. He reported it, but was ignored – so he used it and hacked 3 million Iranian debit card details.
17 April 2012

Dutch Pirate Party forced to take its Pirate Bay proxy off-line
In a move that will be monitored by the UK’s music industry association (BPI), its Dutch equivalent BREIN (translates as ‘Brain’) has obtained a court injunction forcing the political party, the Pirate Party, to take down the proxy site that was allowing users to continue using the blocked Pirate Bay (TPB).
16 April 2012

Is ACTA dead in the water, or is it resurfacing via the G8?
David Martin, European Parliament’s rapporteur on the ACTA treaty, is expected to recommend that parliament should reject ACTA. Does this mean the end for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement?
16 April 2012

Commotion Wireless: an open source censorship buster
The great contradiction in modern techno-politics is the need for democracies to promulgate free speech in other countries while controlling it in their own.
16 April 2012

Boston police release unredacted Facebook data of ‘Craigslist killer’
The complete Facebook account of Philip Markoff, in hard copy and including friend IDs, was given by the Boston Police to the Boston Phoenix newspaper.
13 April 2012

EC asks how we would want the internet of things to be controlled
The European Commission (EC) has issued an online ‘consultation’ document: How would you envisage ‘governance’ of the ‘Internet of Things’?
13 April 2012

City trader fined £450,000 by the FSA
“For the reasons given in this Notice…”, says an FSA Decision Notice, “…the FSA has decided to impose on Mr Ian Charles Hannam a financial penalty of £450,000.”
13 April 2012

MPAA’s attempted takedown of Hotfile gets more and more difficult
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater says Google; and there’s more baby than bathwater suggests Prof. James Boyle.
12 April 2012

UK private members bill designed to censor pornography on the internet
Baroness Howe of Ildicote has introduced the Online Safety Act 2012, designed to force ISPs to install and operate pornography filters.
12 April 2012

Financial services the target in massive DDoS increase
A new analysis from Prolexic shows a huge increase in DDoS attacks, largely sourced in Asia and primarily attacking financial institutions.
12 April 2012

Smartphones are still firmly ‘enterprise-unready’
Research from by Altimeter Group, Bloor Research and Trend Micro shows that the ‘consumer marketing’ legacy of many smartphones makes them ill-equipped to meet enterprise security demands.
11 April 2012

EU trade committee’s draft opinion on ACTA: Don’t ratify
The European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy committee for the Committee on International Trade has published its draft opinion on ACTA. Don’t ratify, it tells parliament.
11 April 2012

DHS gets California company to hack game consoles
In a project that started from law enforcement agencies’ request to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was then farmed out to the US Navy, Obscure Technologies of California has been awarded a contract to find ways of hacking game consoles.
11 April 2012

Real-time data mining comes to Twitter
Twitter is usually described as a micro-blogging social network. To many who monitor its ‘trending topics’ it is also an early warning news service, frequently pointing users to breaking news before the traditional news media reports it.
10 April 2012

Iran bids farewell to the internet; welcomes its own halal intranet
Iran’s answer to ‘criminality’ on the internet is not to fight criminality, but to block the internet. In the future, Iranians will have access to only the official national intranet and a whitelist of acceptable foreign sites.
10 April 2012

What an Englishman does in bed
Companies that monitor the end point behavior of their remote workers will have to start monitoring their (internet) behavior in bed. That at least is the inference to be drawn from a new street survey conducted by Infosecurity Europe.
10 April 2012

Categories: All, Security News

From the sublime to the ridiculous – comments on the EU

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, has written the most sublime rant against the Swedish parliament: In Grand Deceivefest, Swedish Parliament Just Voted For Data Retention. I cannot do it justice and you must read it.

This has been one of the most filthy, deceptive political campaigns to introduce a massive Big Brother law I have ever seen. Its only parallel is when the general wiretapping was introduced in 2008, and I’m pissed off as all hell. There have been attempts at deception of every conceivable kind.

He then lists the deceptions, adding

Additionally, a Germany study concluded that the data retention had only helped on 0.002% of criminal cases. Yes, you read that right: zero point zero zero two per cent. In other words, hiring two new police officers is more effective for fighting crime than this abomination.

The worrying thing is that beneath this rant lies truth – a truth that is increasingly ignored by all of our governments.

That’s the sublime. The ridiculous is reported by TechDirt: German Gov’t Uses Anger Over Lack Of ACTA Transparency To Justify Further Lack Of Transparency. For example,

the European Commission tried to counter accusations that the [ACTA] negotiations were lacking in transparency by pointing out that the German government had a representative present during all the sessions (that’s transparency?). This was news to people, since the German government had somehow omitted to mention this fact.

So they tried to discover more, such as who was this representative, even going so far as to deliver a freedom of information request. The German government declined. Transparency? Ridiculous!

Categories: All, General Rants, Politics

All-Party Intellectual Property Group announce [sic] new Inquiry

March 17, 2012 Leave a comment

On the surface it looks promising. The All-Party Parliamentary IP Group has started a public consultation into The Role of Government in Protecting and promoting Intellectual Property. Is this an opportunity for the public to voice its opinion on government attitude to intellectual property?

There have been numerous reviews into IP policy in the last ten years but the decision-making framework within which policy is developed and agreed has not been sufficiently examined.

The purpose, says John Whittingdale MP, Chair of the Group, is “so we can feed into developing Government thinking in this area, particularly following its Copyright Consultation.”

But don’t go thinking this is democracy in action. It isn’t. If you want to respond, you’ve got 2 weeks to do so. And if you want to respond, you have to write to Luther Pendragon, which provides secretariat services to the Group – paid for by the Alliance Against IP Theft. Luther Pendragon also provides services to the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), providing “strategic advice to the representative body for the research-based pharmaceutical industry on its relationships with politics, the NHS and patient organisations.” Unbiased it ain’t.

The All-Party Group sounds impressive and official. But it isn’t. “They are essentially run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, although many groups involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities,” says Parliament itself. They are really nothing more than private lobby groups essentially operating inside government, and are the opposite of democracy. The purpose of this short-lived consultation is so that the Group can feed the views of the rightsholders into official government thinking under the guise of public opinion.

I’m afraid we have to accept that the alliance of rightsholders (that includes entertainment, monopolistic software companies, pharmaceuticals, life-sciences and generics companies) already pwns the government.

Categories: All, General Rants, Politics

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