Tag: internet

Romans say embedding is not piracy

roman-mattressA Roman court has ruled that embedding does not constitute a copyright infringement.

The move overturns one of the 152 website blocks another court imposed last month, and ruled that that allowed the Italian site Kisstube to carry on as normal.

Kisstube is a YouTube channel, which also exists as a standalone website that does not host any content itself, linking instead to YouTube. Both the channel and website arrange content by categories for the convenience of users.

The Italian court’s decision was influenced by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) into an outfit called BestWater. In that case, the CJEU held that embedding or framing a video or image from another website is not copyright infringement if the latter is already accessible to the general public.

Another CJEU judgment, ruled that posting hyperlinks to pirated copies of material is only legal provided it is done without knowledge that they are unauthorised versions, and it is not carried out for financial gain.

The judge has assessed that there was no evidence of illegality of the link on Kisstube’s site, because it had received no “notice and takedown request”.

YouTube has a notice system based on the US DMCA, it was not interested in acting against Kisstube because there was no indication that the hyperlinks were to illegal material. Therefore it was not a pirate site and the BestWater ruling applied.

Microsoft’s Chinese AI is clever enough to censor itself

beijing cybercafeSoftware King of the World has admitted that its Chinese flavoured AI chat bot will not talk about anything that the authorities behind the bamboo curtain don’t want them to talk about.

Xiaoice would not directly respond to questions surrounding topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese state including the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 or “Steamed Bun Xi,” a nickname of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“Am I stupid? Once I answer you’d take a screengrab,” read one answer to a question that contained the words “topple the Communist Party.”

Mentioning Donald “Prince of Orange” Trump also drew an evasive response from the chat bot. “I don’t want to talk about it,” Xiaoice says. Fair enough who does?

Microsoft has admitted that there was some filtering around Xiaoice’s interaction.

“We are committed to creating the best experience for everyone chatting with Xiaoice,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “With this in mind, we have implemented filtering on a range of topics.” The tech giant did not further elaborate to which specific topics the filtering applied.

Microsoft says that Xiaoice engages in conversations with over 40 million Chinese users on social media platform like Weibo and WeChat.

Euro coppers crack down on counterfeit sites

arrestCoppers across Europe have seized more than 4,500 website domains trading in counterfeit goods, often via social networks.

Europol, Europe’s police agency, unveiled its newest campaign dubbed “Don’t F***(AKE) Up” to stop scam websites selling fake brand names online.

In a statement the agency said that the internet has become an essential channel for e-commerce. Its instant global reach and anonymity make it possible to sell nearly anything to anyone at any time.

“Counterfeiters know it and are increasingly exploiting the unlimited opportunities” the internet offers.

But Europol warned that “despite these products looking like a bargain, they can pose serious risks to the health and safety of buyers.”

The crackdown involved agencies from 27 countries mostly in Europe but including from the US and Canada, joined forces to shut down over 4,500 websites.

They were selling everything from “luxury goods, sportswear, spare parts, electronics, pharmaceuticals, toiletries and other fake products,” Europol said in a statement, without saying how long the crackdown took.

Europol director Rob Wainwright said the arrests are getting to be an annual event and this year saw a significant increase in the number of seized domain names compared to last year.

Dutch anti-fraud police grabbed 12 people in the Netherlands, which should have made their eyes water,  and searched homes and warehouses.

Most of the raids were prompted by online sales of counterfeit goods on social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

More than 3,500 items of clothing and fake luxury goods were seized in Holland, including shoes, bags and perfumes purporting to be such brands as Nike, Adidas, and Kenzo, with a market value of tens of thousands euros.

Bad online experiences affect life

O2-BMD-Stick-LifeA new Microsoft survey show nearly two-thirds of people surveyed had at least one negative online experience that had an impact on them in the real world.

Apparently, if you have a bad online experience it can result in side-effects including loss of trust in others, increased stress or sleep deprivation and thinking oranges might make good political leaders (we made the last one up).

The study, “Civility, Safety and Interaction Online – 2016,” polled youths aged 13 to 17 and adults aged 18 to 74 in 14 countries. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those polled said they had fallen victim at some point to at least one of 17 different online risks.

That figure grows to 78 percent when respondents included the online experiences of their friends and families. Half of those surveyed reported being “extremely or very” worried about online risks generally, with the most common concerns being unwanted contact (43 percent) and various forms of harassment (39 percent).

Young people said they were more likely to suffer social and academic losses following some sort of online conflict. More than 20 percent said they lost a friend or their scholastic performance suffered, while 13 percent said they intentionally spent less time at school due to online conflicts.

Both adults and teens said they became less trusting of others in the real world after a negative interaction online at about an even rate. For adults, it was 31 percent, for teens 29 percent. However, consequences to adults outpaced those to teens, such as becoming less trusting of people online and a reluctance to participate in blogs and other online forums.

It was not all bad. More than 29 percent of adults said they tried to be more constructive in their criticism of others after a negative online situation, compared with 25 percent of teens.

The full report will be out early next year.

A top vole said Microsoft had chosen to make this preliminary release, featuring some adult data, following the conclusion of the U.S. presidential election and in conjunction with World Kindness Day on 13 November.

The months leading up to the new year and Safer Internet Day 2017 represent an opportunity for a “digital reset… to ensure we’re putting our best digital foot forward … Digital civility is everyone’s responsibility, and Microsoft can help put you and your family on a path to good digital citizenship.”

There’s more browsing on mobiles than PCs

mobileInternet usage by mobile and tablet exceeded desktop worldwide for the first time in October according to web analytics company StatCounter

The StatCounter beancounters found that mobile and tablet devices accounted for 51.3 percent of internet usage worldwide in October compared to 48.7 percent by desktop.

“This should be a wake up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter.

“Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile friendly websites for its mobile search results.” He pointed out that Google recently launched a tool where businesses can test their website mobile performance.

Despite the rapid growth of mobile devices, desktop is still the primary mode of internet usage in mature markets such as the US and UK.

However, Cullen warned, “Post-Brexit, UK businesses should be aware, as they look to increase trade outside the EU, that India for example has over 75% internet usage through mobile devices.”

In the UK desktop is on 55.6 per cent  with mobile and tablet on 44.4 per cent .

In the US desktop still accounts for 58 per cent  of internet usage compared to 42 per cent for mobile and tablet.

Commission gives Google more time in Ad-sense case

stalin-googleGoogle has been given an extra week to respond to EC allegations that it was blocking rivals in online search advertising. It might only be a week but it is likely to delay a regulatory decision on the case until next year.

European Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said, making the second extension because Google asked for additional time to review the documents in the case file.

The Adsense case has been brewing against Google since July and is the third antitrust case to be raised by the EU accusing it of having abused its market power in the placement of search advertising on third-party websites.

Google still has to respond to another charge that it favors its own shopping service over those of rivals and a second accusation that it abuses the dominance of its Android operating system for phones to squeeze out rivals .

Both deadlines have been extended several times. Google always said it did nothing wrong, it was someone else, it was broken before it got there.

Vint Cerf: Regrets, I have a few

Vint_Cerf_-_2010Father of the Internet Vint Cerf says that there are a few things he would do differently if given a second chance to recreate it.

During a press conference at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany, Cerf said that he would have put in a 128-bit address space so we wouldn’t have to go through this painful, 20-year process of going from IPv4 to IPv6.

IPv4, the first publicly used version of the Internet Protocol, included an addressing system that used 32-bit numerical identifiers which rapidly ran out of addresses.

Cerf would also have added public key cryptography.

Trouble is, neither idea is likely to have made it into the final result at the time. “I doubt I could have gotten away with either So today we have to retrofit.”

Having a 128-bit address space wouldn’t have seemed realistic back then given the effort’s experimental mind-set at the time.

There was debate about the possibility of variable-length addresses, but proponents of the idea were ultimately defeated because of the extra processing power associated with them, he explained.

As for public key cryptography, the notion had only recently emerged around the time the internet protocols were being standardized back in 1978.

“I didn’t want to go back and retrofit everything, so we didn’t include it. If I could go back and put in public key crypto, I probably would try.

Iranian politicians get their dull monitored internet

Iranian MPs sleeping in Majlis ParliamentIran has announced it has completed the first phase of its plan to operate a “national internet” which will be free of all the porn and anti-Islamic thought that the real internet has. Basically it is getting what former UK Prime Minister David Cameron wanted and it is a bit of a snooze.

An inauguration ceremony was held on Sunday by the country’s communications and information technology minister, Mahmoud Vaezi.

The state news agency Irna said the initiative would offer “high quality, high speed” connections at “low costs” although it is not clear how it can be any cheaper than the real thing.

Cynics think that the aim of the new net is to tighten the authorities’ control by closely monitoring people’s use and censoring everything.

Iran already blocks access to overseas-based social media services – including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – many users still access them via proxy sites and virtual private networks (VPNs).

The government says it wants an isolated domestic intranet that can be used to promote Islamic content and raise digital awareness among the public.  It will eventually replace the real internet.

“All domestic activities, services, applications [and] various types of contents… are included in the national internet,” he declared at the launch.

The minister added that the initiative would make it easier to combat cyber-threats. At the ceremony, another official said the Information Technology ministry had recently had to combat several distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks – attempts to overwhelm its computer servers by flooding them with traffic.

Internet under threat as Patent Troll given the power to threaten every US ISP

Wikia_HP_-_Mountain_TrollAfter winning its case against Cox Communications, Copyright Troll Rightscorp has told every IPS in the US that they will have to pay up too.

Cox Communications last week lost a case to music publisher BMG Rights Management and was told to pay $25 million in damages after a federal court in Virginia found it liable for copyright infringements carried out by its customers.

The case was filed in 2014 after it was alleged that Cox failed to pass on cash settlement demands to customers that were sent by anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp on behalf of BMG.

Now Rightscorp has said that now the court has decided that ISPs are responsible for their customers piracy large amounts of money will have to change hands.

“For nearly five years, Rightscorp has warned US internet service providers (ISPs) that they risk incurring huge liabilities if they fail to implement and enforce policies under which they terminate the accounts of their subscribers who repeatedly infringe copyrights,” the company said.

“Over that time, many ISPs have taken the position that it was simply impossible for an ISP to be held liable for its subscribers’ actions — even when the ISP had been put on notice of massive infringements and supplied with detailed evidence. There had never been a judicial decision holding an ISP liable.”

Until now Rightscorp was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for a couple of years now.

Cox said in a statement that it was disappointed in the ruling and planned to appeal.  If it does not win then it means that suddenly trolls like Rightscorp will have the power to demand money with menaces from any ISP whenever it feels like, much in the same way that it tried to get individual subscribers.  If the case is accepted as a precedent, it could mean that ISPs could be held responsible for libel, terrorism, crimes, or anything else their customers do on their networks.

It is hard to see how the Internet could actually survive this particular court ruling, at least in the US.


US court upholds Net Neutrality

images-4The US broadband industry has lost its lawsuit attempting to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules and the related reclassification of Internet service providers as common carriers.

The ISPs claimed that they had protection under the First Amendment but this was thrown out because the court thought that a broadband provider does not ‘speak’ when providing neutral access to Internet content as common carriage.

US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judges David Tatel and Sri Srinivasan the First Amendment poses no bar to the open Internet rules.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the ruling was victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire Web, and it ensures the Internet remains a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression and economic growth.

“After a decade of debate and legal battles, today’s ruling affirms the Commission’s ability to enforce the strongest possible Internet protections—both on fixed and mobile networks—that will ensure the Internet remains open, now and in the future.”

AT&T is promising to Appeal to the Supreme Court.

In addition to enforcing net neutrality rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, the decision allows the FCC to continue regulating fixed and mobile broadband providers under the common carrier provisions in Title II of the Communications Act.

Judges were not persuaded by industry arguments that Internet service is unambiguously an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service” subject to stricter regulation. The industry argument ignores that the statutory definition of information service says that “such services are provided ‘via telecommunications,'” the judges wrote.

The industry lawyers pointed to the Verizon v. FCC decision that said the FCC couldn’t impose common carrier rules without classifying broadband as a common carrier service.

However, the Judges said that USTelecom misread the Verizon case.