Tag: internet

Cameron advisor wants ISPs to spy for studios

Mike_WeatherleyDavid “one is an ordinary bloke” Cameron’s top internet advisor has suggested that ISPs spy on their customers to work out which are downloading pirated content.

Mike Weatherley, a Conservative MP and Intellectual Property Adviser to UK Prime Minister David Cameron also wants ISPs to censor the Internet better.

According to his report, ISPs have a moral obligation to do more against online piracy.

One would think that Weatherley would have worked out that sort of thing did not work very well. He has previously suggested that search engines should blacklist pirate sites which does not seem to have changed much.

So going “more draconian” seems to be Weatherley’s answer. The just-released 18-page report stresses that these companies have a moral obligation to tackle copyright infringement and can’t stand idly by.

The report uses information which has been helpfully provided by people with a history of providing accurate and not at all misleading figures – the pro-copyright groups including the MPAA, BPI, and the Music Publishers Association.

It offers various recommendations for the UK Government and the EU Commission to strengthen their anti-piracy policies.

One of the key points is to motivate Internet services and providers to filter content proactively. According to the report it’s feasible to “filter out infringing content” and to detect online piracy before it spreads.

“There should be an urgent review, by the UK Government, of the various applications and processes that could deliver a robust automated checking process regarding illegal activity being transmitted,” Weatherley said.

Weatherley added that ISPs should not just remove the content they’re asked to, but also police their systems to ensure that similar files are removed, permanently.

“ISSPs to be more proactive in taking down multiple copies of infringing works, not just the specific case they are notified of,” he said.

This type of filtering is already used by YouTube, which takes down content based on fingerprint matches. However, the report suggests that regular broadband providers could also filter infringing content.

Weatherley also said that protecting the rights of copyright holders has priority over a “no monitoring” principle that would ensure users’ privacy. If the monitoring is done right.

“There is also the question as to whether society will want to have their private activities monitored (even if automatically and entirely confidentially) and whether the trade off to a safer, fairer internet is a price worth paying to clamp down on internet illegal activity. My ‘vote’ would be “yes” if via an independent body.”

Top judge calls for Ebay style courts

courtA top UK judge has called for the creation of civil courts which are held online, citing online auction outfit eBay as a method which could work.

Lord Dyson, the head of civil justice in England and Wales, said the justice system had been slow to take advantage of internet technology, and described proposals for a state-run online court as an “exciting milestone”.

A recent report by the Civil Justice Council said an online system – which would operate for cases involving less than £25,000 – would allow documents to be submitted online for examination, with the option of telephone hearings.

And the group went on to illustrate how eBay dealt with a “remarkable” 60 million disputes between traders every year using an “online dispute resolution” system.

Lord Dyson stressed that the idea was still at an early stage, and said transparency – allowing the public and media access to the proceedings – was still a “really important question” which needed to be sorted out.


School failure linked to computer use

dutch-childrenAn extensive study by the University Autonomy de Barcelona (UAB) sampled 5,538 secondary school students to gauge the effect of technology in their lives.
And it’s discovered clear links between school failure and excessive use of computers at home.
It also finds that an intensive addiction to ICT is linked with the consumption of toxic substances.
The survey, conducted in 2010/2011 in a region of Catalonia, collected information on after school activities, school performance, consumption of toxic substances, family relations, use of ICT and parental control.
It also had questionnaires completed on the children’ experiences with the internet, with mobile phones and video games.
While 98 percent of the students had internet at home, 89 percent owned a mobile before turning 13.
For internet access, 87 percent used the web for social networks, 52 percent for chats, 68.3 percent for email  and 50 percent for school work.
Failure at school amounted to 29 percent if a computer was used more than three hours a day.


Virgin Galactic wants to bring internet to have-nots

 article-2546173-1AF57AF200000578-172_634x417Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson announced plans to launch as many as 2,400 micro satellites in an effort to set up a constellation capable of bringing broadband communications to millions of people who do not have it.

Beardie said he plans to launch a low-earth-orbit satellite constellation of 648 satellites to get the project rolling. The internet will be available through a company called OneWeb.

OneWeb is backed by Qualcomm for this planned world-wide Internet service. OneWeb said it plans to work with local partners to provide access. OneWeb terminals act as small cells with the ability to provide access to the surrounding area via a WiFi, LTE, 3G or 2G connection using an operator partner’s licensed spectrum, or only LTE or WiFi on unlicensed spectrum.

Writing in his bog, Beardie said that Virgin is working to build a two-stage rocket, known as LauncherOne that would air-launch launch from the company’s existing WhiteKnightTwo aircraft at about 45,000 to 50,000ft.

WhiteKnightTwo was part of the Virgin Galactic’s space tourism venture which had a major setback in October when the spaceship it launched crashed killing one pilot and injuring the other. However, this one uses a different launcher technology.

LauncherOne will be built using advanced composite structures, and powered by a new family of LOX/RP-1 liquid rocket engines. Each LauncherOne mission will be capable of delivering as much as 225 kilograms (500 pounds) to a low inclination Low Earth Orbit or 120 kilograms (265 pounds) to a high-altitude Sun-Synchronous Orbit, for a price of less than $10M, Beardie wrote.

He said that this was a very efficient way of getting satellites into space. Virgin can take off every three or four hours.

The first batch of satellites will cost around $2 billion which will be very competitive on price, as far as the end-user is concerned.

“We believe that the break-even of this is not enormous. We feel it makes sense economically as well.”



UK pledges to increase snooping with US

spyThe UK and the US are using the massacres in Paris as a pretext for “increasing co-operation” on snooping on internet users.

Prime Minister David “one is an ordinary bloke” Cameron said the two countries will set up “cyber cells” to share intelligence and conduct simulated attacks to test the defences of organisations such as banks.

Cameron is visiting Washington to tell them how to sort out their economy and security, and is due to have a second meeting with President Barack Obama today.

Cameron said that the two countries had  hugely capable cyber defences and the expertise and that is why they  should set up cyber cells on both sides of the Atlantic to share information, Cameron said.

The cooperation between Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping agency and the US National Security Agency will include joint war games, with the UK providing the Games Workshop figures and the US providing the rules, the polyhedral dice and the joints.

The first exercise later this year to involve the Bank of England and commercial banks in both the City of London and Wall Street. It is not clear who will be exercising but if you ask any bankers we have seen to do a push up the body bag count will be high.

“This is a real signal it is time to step up the efforts and to do more,” said Cameron.

The British leader said he also planned to discuss with Obama how the two countries could work more closely with big Internet companies such as Facebook and Google to monitor communications between terror suspects. This is of course something that Facebook and Google want nothing to do with, so chances are he will be talking about bringing in laws to force them.

One thing Cameron has not answered is that if the UK and US have such wonderful cyber ability and resources, how did the Paris attacks actually happen? It seems that the more snooping powers that the UK and the US demand, the less effect it has on the goal of preventing terrorism.

China steps up internet censorship

chinaflagIn its continuing move to restrict access to internet content the government doesn’t like, China shut down dozens of websites and social media accounts today.
That’s according to Reuters, which said the prohibited content applies to political news, pornography, and other perceived violations.
The “office of the central leading group for cyberspace affairs” said violations not include pornography or writing political material, but material related to gambling.
The cyberspace censors have closed close to 1.8 million accounts on social networking and messaging sites, and the “office” plans to publish a list of those who have violated its strictures.
China already operates a policy to preclude a number of websites and services including YouTube, Google, and any site which dares to mention Falun Gong.
Other countries also restrict access to the internet for political reasons, but it’s widely recognised that China’s so-called “Great Firewall” is the most effective.


AMD shuns the Internet of Things

1-AMD-s-New-Steamroller-Architecture-to-Bring-Significant-PerformanceWhile Intel is pinning its future on the Internet of Things (IoT), AMD appears to be spurning it as if it were a rabid dog.

Its senior vice president and general manager of the computing and graphics business group John Byrne thinks that it is much wiser to keep pushing into the PC market, which is still a $40-billion-a-year opportunity.

Talking to Venture Beat  he said that AMD has to execute on its upcoming Carrizo family of accelerated processing units (APUs), which will be focused on the mobile computing market. About 300 million PC processors and 90 million graphics chips are sold each year, and Byrne wants AMD to get its fair share of those sales.

Byrne thinks that setting up a chip making operation for the Internet of Things is just an invitation to lose money.

Byrne said while it concentrated on the IoT, Intel it was missing opportunities in the classic PC market.

“There’s still 300 million PCs, still 90 million graphics chips. If I look at Intel, Nvidia, and my revenue, that’s still a $40 billion market — even before you get to the IoT. If you look at the gross margin profile of that business, it’s still significantly more than AMD as a company’s average. There’s still significant market opportunities in the classic PC space,” Byrne said.

He said that AMD still had work to do in the PC chip market. It had to work on its x86 performance, ensuring that each product it bought to market is better x86. There needed to be improvements in graphics, notebooks needed to improve battery life.

Byrne said that it all meant that AMD could push into the commercial market a long more. He pointed out that AMD won the industry’s largest single tender in commercial 18 months ago in India and Elitebook with HP last year.

“Wait until you see the lineup of commercial platforms I have with Carrizo. It allows us to continue to attack that i3, attack that i5 consumer, and really get to penetrate the commercial market space. We’ll attack graphics. That’s going to be my strategy next, he said.

While he said that the Internet of Things is important there are two ways to make cash from it. Intel is concentrating on the silicon inside the wearable. However, that will cost under $10 and not make huge amounts of cash.

“You’re seeing that with Quark and some of the other investments our competitors are making. I’m not in business to lose money. Share and revenue is nice but so is profitability,” he said.

But all of those devices have to be connected and it is those higher end devices that AMD will be targeting.

Cameron: Free speech turns you into a radical

stupid cameronBritish Prime Minister David “one is an ordinary bloke” Cameron has come up with a new reason to censor the internet – he thinks that all this free speech radicalises you.

Cameron said that people were not radicalised by poverty or foreign policy, but by free speech online.

What is a little spooky is that deranged ravings like this are being backed by the UK’s major Internet service providers – BT, Virgin, Sky and Talk Talk – have this week committed to host a public reporting button for terrorist material online, similar to the reporting button which allows the public to report child sexual exploitation.

They have also promised that any terrorist and extremist material is captured by their filters to prevent children and young people being radicalised.

Of course it is based on the premise that people are so stupid that they only have to read something on the internet to want to start cutting off people’s heads in the name of Allah.

The other problem is that while images of sexually exploited children are obvious, what makes for extremist or “terrorist” material, on the other hand, is almost subjective. Personally I think anyone who calls for the abolition of free speech is a terrorist, but I doubt I would get much support from shutting down the Tory Party website.

Cameron said:  “we should not allow the internet to be an ungoverned space.” But regulation and rules do not automatically create a panacea. The human body works rather well without being legislated by government, and no one thinks that it would be better off if it were told how many beats per minute the heart ticked. In fact legislating the internet has as much point as criminalising aneurisms. No matter how many laws you have, they will still happen, and the internet will find ways around any rules.

However, what Cameron fails to get is that allowing people to speak their minds is one of the reasons we are supposed to be different from the terrorists in the first place. Radicalisation is born of ignorance of truth and a rebellion against perceived controls. Creating more ignorance and more controls is only playing into the hands of those you disagree with.

Cameron is refusing to look at the root causes of radicalisation, which would be something far less simple and more entrenched than reading something on the internet. Radicalisation is more likely to be caused by the very alienation and isolation which these sorts of moves engender. Cameron insists it can’t possibly be poverty or UK foreign policy:

“And let us be frank,” said David Cameron. “It’s not poverty, though of course our nations are united in tackling deprivation wherever it exists. It’s not exclusion from the mainstream. Of course we have more to do but we are both successful multicultural democracies where opportunities abound.

“And it’s not foreign policy. I can show you examples all over the world where British aid and British action have saved millions of Muslim lives, from Kosovo to Syria – but that is not exactly the real point. In our democracies, we must never give in to the idea that disagreeing with a foreign policy in any way justifies terrorist outrages.”

He claims the root cause is an “extremist narrative,” while ignoring that for such a story to be accepted it has to have a fertile soil for seed to be planted. By blaming extremist preachers and the Internet Cameron is avoiding how responsible he is for creating the problem.

If you would like to see your ISP install a David Cameron button so you can report instances of Cameronism we suggest you write to your local MP. If we are going to have censorship, we might as well censor those who would censor us.

Australia will give your personal data to anyone

van-diemens-land-film1-thumb-630xauto-37783The former British penal colony of Australia is so concerned that terrorists might want to take over its super-hot, poisonous creature-filled, desert that it is going to bring in one of the most elaborate forms of internet monitoring in the world.

Both coppers and communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull have suggested that Australia’s data retention bill will make China look like a liberal hippy commune in comparison.   Under the move, the government is going to hang on to all your browsing history and give it to whoever can get a court order.

However, it seems that terrorists are not the main target of the law. It seems that the whole thing is designed to protect corporates and movie studios from piracy.

Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin said that stored telecommunications metadata would be used to go after people who infringe copyright online.

Turnbull then clarified the position saying that if film studios want to use metadata to sue Torrenters, all they would have to do is ask the courts to give them access to it.  However this makes things even worse.

Currently the Aussie ISPs are resisting legal action trying to force them to reveal subscriber information through the courts to a copyright troll. The logic is that the courts would hand over all your browser history to anyone with the dosh to establish a court case.

It could mean that metadata could be demanded in family law cases and insurance cases. After all what is the best way to make sure your partner should not have custody if it can be shown to a court that he or she spends their days on porn or dating sites.

What is even more alarming is that so far this daft law has not been noticed by the Great Aussie public and no one seems to care.

Putin wants Obama’s internet kill switch

Putin + gunTsar Vladimir Putin of Russia is envious of the fact that President Barak Obama can flick a switch and turn off the internet.

Apparently the Kremlin is to discuss taking control of the .ru domain and measures to disconnect Russians from the web in the event of a serious military confrontation or big anti-government protests at home.

Putin will discuss what steps Moscow might take to disconnect Russian citizens from the web “in an emergency”, the Vedomosti newspaper reported.

It means that it would strengthen Russia’s sovereignty in cyberspace, but also bring the domain .ru under state control.

Putin controls the TV and the country’s newspapers, but has left the internet as an open place for discussion. At the moment it is policed by state-sponsored bloggers and Putin fans.

The move seems to come as Putin is squaring off against Western media which it thinks is unfair in  its coverage of the invasion of the Ukraine.  Apparently Putin is furious that the Western media does not agree with his decision to arm Russian nationalists so that they can shoot down passenger jets or refuse to print his claim that the Ukraine government are really Nazis.

Of course the fact that the Russians beat up a BBC team that went to investigate reports of Russian servicemen killed in Ukraine does not really endear him to the Western hacks.

According to Vedomosti, Russia plans to introduce the new measures early next year.  Russia has mooted building a “national internet”, which would in effect be a domestic intranet. These proposals go further, expanding the government’s control over ordinary Russian internet users and their digital habits.

It would be technically possible for Moscow to shut off the internet because Russia has “surprisingly few” international exchange points. All of them are under the control of national long-distance operations, like Rostelecom, which is onside with Putin.

Putin is popular but the economy, which is already teetering on the verge of recession, is reeling from ever more stringent Western sanctions over Moscow’s alleged support for separatists in eastern-Ukraine.

Hotel takes Basil Fawlty approach

fawlty2_2790315bA US hotel has been adopting a Basil Fawlty approach to bad reviews on the internet.

The Union Street Guest House in New York has worked out that the best way to keep negative reviews off Yelp and other sites is to fine guests who complain.

The hotel charges couples who book weddings at the venue $500 for every bad review posted online by their guests. The online police reads:

“Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not. “If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event . . . and given us a deposit of any kind . . . there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review . . . placed on any internet site by anyone in your party.”

If you take down the bad review, you will get your money back.

Just in case anyone posts a bad review, the hotel owner has been aggressively posting “mean spirited nonsense,” and “she made all of this up.”

For example in one case a reviewer complained of rude treatment over a bucket of ice, the proprietors shot back: “I know you guys wanted to hang out and get drunk for 2 days and that is fine. I was really really sorry that you showed up in the summer when it was 105 degrees. . . I was so so so sorry that our ice maker and fridge were not working and not accessible.”

As Basil Fawlty once said: “Have you seen the people in room six? They’ve never even sat on chairs before.”

After the outcry the Hotel pulled its policy from the web, but it can be found on Go-Back. You can just remember this rant from Fawlty Towers which is more or less similar.


The internet belong US

pressieThe US government has ruled that if data is on the internet, anywhere in the world, it has to be turned over to one of its spying organisations for processing.

President Barack Obama’s administration is insisting that that any company with operations in the United States must comply with valid warrants for data, even if the content is stored overseas.

This means that anyone who uses an iPhone anywhere in the world will see their data inside a US government database.

Microsoft and Apple insist that enforcement of US law stops at the border, but the government seems to think that it rules the world.

A magistrate judge has already sided with the government’s position, ruling in April that “the basic principle that an entity lawfully obligated to produce information must do so regardless of the location of that information.”

Microsoft appealed   and the case is set to be heard in two weeks.

The US government said that content stored online is not protected by Fourth Amendment protections as data stored in the physical world. It quoted a law put out by President Ronald Reagan called the  Stored Communications Act (SCA).  This said that overseas records must be handed over domestically when a valid subpoena, order, or warrant forces them. No one thought that the SCA stuffed up the Fourth Amendment so there is no need to change the laws.

However Microsoft said Congress has not authorised the issuance of warrants that reach outside US territory. It points out that the government cannot issue a warrant allowing federal agents to break down the doors of Microsoft’s Dublin facility.

Microsoft said that consumer trust in US companies is low in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations and the government will make overseas operations impossible.

It has the backing of Apple, AT&T, Cisco, and Verizon agree. Verizon said if the government wins, it would produce “dramatic conflict with foreign data protection laws.” Apple and Cisco said (PDF) that the tech sector would be blacklisted by foreign governments.

Recently the senior counsel for the Irish Supreme Court wrote in a recent filing that a US-Ireland “Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty” was a way for the US government to obtain the e-mail held on Microsoft’s external servers.


A third of US people don’t trust the internet

pressieA study has revealed that while 85 percent of Americans use the internet, a third of the nation were hopeless at it.

The study was conducted by John Horrigan, an independent researcher suggests that the digital divide has been replaced by a gap in digital readiness.

More than a third of Americans were not digitally literate or don’t trust the internet. That subgroup tended to be less educated, poorer, and older than the average American. It’s the unternet, then.

It appears that those with essential Web skills “tend to be the more privileged” and it is only these who are getting any mileage from the digital revolution.

The study of 1,600 adults measured their grasp of terms like “cookie” and “Wi-Fi.” It asked them to rate how confident they were about using a desktop or laptop or a smart phone to find information, as well as how comfortable they felt about using a computer. Of those who scored low in these areas, about half were not internet users.

Horrigan said that politicians have ignored the problem of digital readiness while concentrating on providing people with access to the internet.

There has been little effort paid to teaching people the necessary skills to take advantage of online classes and job searches.

The tech industry has also been bad at working out that not all users possess the same digital skill levels and that they need to make accommodations for those with less knowledge.

Home workers are up in internet arms

cloud 1Thinkbroadband surveyed close to 900 British workers and has discovered a large percentage have gripes about using the internet from home.

While the majority of people working from home feel that it’s important to their job, their ability to do their job is marred by defects with their broadband conection.

Buffering (23%), slow download and upload speeds (34%) and service loss (16%) are their major gripes.

Thinkbroad believes companies should offer a second line, testing the service, paying attention to upload speeds, use the same cloud based sharing systems, and ensure employees test access if they only work from home when the weather’s bad, and the like.

Shop sales slow on the interweb

highstreetA report said a staggering 92 percent of the top shops in the UK didn’t take advantage of so-called “Cyber Monday”.

“Cyber Monday” is a spinner’s term for last Monday, which was expected to be the peak time when people ordered kit over the internet.

But, according to the NCC Group, it all went terribly wrong, mostly because of slow download speeds.

It said it monitored the top retail websites last Monday and didn’t reach an average download speed of three seconds or less.

Why? According to Bow Dowson, director of NCC Group’s website performance group, for some weight of traffic was probably a problem.  One site it monitored on the day was 50 percent slower than the average download speed over the previous three months.

He said: “You could argue that the availability of good load testing solutions makes traffic-induced performance problems unforgivable these days. However, a number of companies performed badly this year, and that might be down to the extra hype we’ve seen around Cyber Monday meaning an even greater surge in visitors.

“What’s more, a lot of retailers have been advertising Cyber Monday discounts. A closer look at some of the special promotion pages from Friday to Monday also revealed that prospective customers would have been experiencing even longer load times or timeouts at certain times of day.

“It’s also important to remember that poor performance can be caused by third-party plugins and widgets. These are also under greater strain at this time of year, and it’s difficult to factor in the effect of elements over which you have no direct control.”

The NCC Group did not name names.