FAA Rule It a Federal Crime to Shoot Down a Drone

Almost a year ago now William H Meredith noticed a drone flying above his property, so with his shotgun, he removed it from the sky. This raised an interesting legal debate, given the drone was above his property at the time it was shot down, was it wrong of him to shoot it down or was the drone user invading his privacy? The FAA have now revealed the answer, saying it is a federal crime to shoot down a drone.

Meredith defended his actions saying that not only was the drone invading his privacy but that of his two daughters in his garden. David Boggs, the drones owner, however, states that he was flying the drone to take pictures of a friend’s house and even sued Meredith for the cost of the drone and then some.

Due to the FAA’s latest drone registry scheme, drones are deemed as aircraft, the same as any manned aircraft in the air. As a result, the FAA responded to a question confirming that shooting down a drone is a federal crime, citing 18 U.S.C. 32 titled Aircraft Sabotage. This escalates to the point where if you are deemed to be interfering with someone who is “engaged in the authorised operation of such aircraft” you could find yourself facing anywhere between five and twenty years in prison.

While no one has yet to be charged for this act, many drones have been shut down and people are now wondering where can you draw the line? Given that specialist task forces are being formed to deal with the threat of drones, both on people and on manned aircraft, is it ever justified to defend yourself from the threat of a drone?

New Jersey Could See Texting While Walking Made Illegal

We’ve all done it before. We want to get somewhere and suddenly our phone buzzes in our pocket, not wanting to seem rude we start texting back while walking along. This is done by hundreds, if not thousands, of people on a daily basis and I’ve got bad news if you live in New Jersey because this act could soon become illegal.

The “distracted walking” measure is being proposed by state assemblywoman, Pamela Lampitt, and could see anything that distracts you thanks to technology walking made illegal in New Jersey. It’s not the first time a law has targeted this issue, a bill that’s currently pending in Hawaii could see you fined $250 if you crossed the street with an electronic device in your hand, and this is just one of many proposed bills that could see people fined for being distracted from walking and moving in public while on their electric devices.

The law would see anyone who is caught walking while texting and stop people from walking near public roads with electronic communication devices in their hands. The punishment for this crime would be $50 or 15 days imprisonment, or even worse, both. This comes in at the same penalty as jaywalking and would see half the funds allocated to “safety education about the dangers of walking and texting”.

Is this too far? Some see it as the government trying to distract people from real issues but addressing small ones that could be fixed with better education regarding the dangers in the first place. Could the police catch you if you even broke the law? If you stopped and finished a text, could they still arrest you? We will have to see.

Valve Found Guilty of Breaking Australian Consumer Law

Valve is known for creating the popular digital sales platform Steam, which does everything hardware to regular sales on video games. One thing they’ve been keen to improve on for a while has been their refund policy, something which saw the original policy replaced with one that could offer full refunds to people who purchased a game on the platform. The problem is that the original policy wasn’t in place when the court case against Valve was raised, a case which has now ended with Valve being found guilty of breaking Consumer Law in Australia.

In the court case, that was started back in 2014 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Valve was taken to court because it lacked a refund policy, something that is required by Australian consumer law. In their defence they stated that it doesn’t “officially” conduct business, instead offering a portal to video games through clients.

Overlooking the case, Justice Edelman stated that Valve was doing business in Australia and must, therefore, follow Australian law. This is the first time that the term “goods” has been applied to computer software in Australia, something that is bound to have far-reaching impacts in Australia in regards to their legal statement.

With a hearing set for the 15th April to see how much Valve will have to pay in “relief”, including the likely outcome that they will pay the ACCC’s legal fees, it would seem that initial attempts to resolve this matter and follow the law will still cost the company.

Senate Holds Online Ad Company ‘Backpage’ in Contempt of Congress

The internet can be a wonderful thing and lets you view everything from your favourite show several days early to downloading the latest games on their day of release. The problem being though is that not all content on the internet should be there, with several groups using it to advertise less than legal practices. In a recent vote, the Senate has held an Ad company in contempt of congress for failing to provide details when asked for them.

The vote (96-0) finds Backpage, a classified ads company, in contempt of congress. Previously Homelands Security Permanent Subcommittee requested documentation on how it screens the ads the company was being asked to provide. The company in return shared general documentation, avoiding the specifics that the subcommittee wanted.

The company is currently being investigated after allegations that it allows ads advertising illegal practices through, even going to far as to edit the ads and using keywords that would help avoid the ad being flagged up for its content.

Backpage has apparently been waiting for the issue to go to congress, saying that their adverts are posted under the first amendment that protects free speech and that the law itself protects companies that post third-party content (that is content provided by someone else). It should also be noted that this is the first time the Senate has issued a contempt of congress charge since 1995, so it’s not an everyday action by any standard.

Volkswagen’s US Chief “Stepping Down”

Volkswagen (VW) is a well-known car manufacturer, or more recently due to the revelation that their cars had a system in place to produce “lower emissions” if it was tested at the time. The latest in a string of events for the company, the head of the United States branch of the company, Michael Horn, is stepping down.

With the revelation that at least 30 people knew about the illegal practise of fixing text results and the result being that certain cars are having to be pulled from the market before a “fix” can be implemented, losing the head of a branch isn’t a good sign for the company.

It should be noted that Horn isn’t listed in any of the investigations being carried out regarding this matter, and VW is still saying that senior management didn’t know about the software update that would cause it to produce “better” results for emission tests.

Following on from the concept that they could “fix” the cars that were producing illegal amounts of nitrogen oxide (including removing the illegal software update), the chief of California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) stated that it “may not be possible” to actually fix these vehicles.

With more and more cars being pulled and banned from sale due to the illegal software, one can only imagine the impact these vehicles are having both on the company and the environment.

China Looking at Creating “Precrime” System

When people start to think about digital surveillance and their data stored online, they think about cases such as Apple vs the FBI where modern technology is used to try track down criminals or find out more about what could have or has happened. China looks to go a step further creating a “precrime” system to find out about crimes you will commit.

The movie Minority Report posed an interesting question to people if you knew that someone was going to commit a crime, would you be able to charge them for it before it even happens? If we knew you were going to pirate a video game when it goes online, does that mean we can charge you for stealing the game before you’ve even done it?

China is looking to do just that by creating a “unified information environment” where every piece of information about you would tell the authorities just what you normally do. Decide you want to something today and it could be an indication that you are about to commit or already have committed a criminal activity.

With machine learning and artificial intelligence being at the core of the project, predicting your activities and finding something which “deviates from the norm” can be difficult for even a person to figure out. When the new system goes live, being flagged up to the authorities would be as simple as making a few purchases online and a call to sort out the problem.

ISP’s in Germany Can be Ordered to Block Piracy Websites

ISP’s are the ones responsible for giving the public access to the world wide web and everything that you can find on it. The problem with the public having access to everything is that sometimes they give access to things which they shouldn’t, a game or a movie or sometimes just designs for things which haven’t even been created. Piracy online is the concept that you either host or copy something that you don’t own, have the rights to use or the permission to run. Germany has had enough though and its supreme court has said that maybe you shouldn’t be able to access that material online.

In a recent ruling, the supreme court has ruled that ISP’s can be required to block sites if they meet two conditions first. The first condition is that the person requesting the block must have explored alternative options, this can be anything from contacting the person that uploaded the material to contacting the site that hosts the material.

The second option is that the site can only be blocked if “on balance” they are deemed to have more illegal than legal content, this means that if someone uploads one bad file to your system the chance that your system will be blocked is small.

More and more countries are making moves like this, from tracking down illegal uploaders to blocking off people’s access to the materials, where do you stand on this question. Should we be given free reign of the internet and the people who are illegally uploading materials targeted or should the people who download and use the materials illegally be acceptable targets for legal action as well?

WordPress Dismisses 43% of Piracy Takedown Notices

Automattic, the company behind WordPress, has published the number of DMCA takedown requests received during the last few months. Between January to June, there was a total of 4,679 copyright claims submitted but only 57% were successful. Why? A large proportion of these were inaccurate and more than 10% of cases contained an abusive agenda. Interestingly, the figures below show that over 50% of requests were rejected during February and April.


A representative from the company said,

“We work hard to make our DMCA process as fair, transparent, and balanced as possible, so we stringently review all notices we receive to quickly process valid infringement claims and push back on those that we see as abusive,”

While WordPress do not currently publish the specifics of each request, they are considering making an example out of those who abuse the system. Sifting through thousands of DMCA submissions is an extremely time-consuming task and becoming more unbearable as each month progresses. Copyright holders are taking a proactive approach to remove illegitimate content from a variety of websites. This is extremely problematic with websites which host user-created photos, videos and other material. There’s still a legal ambiguity in regards to who the onus for illegal content is on. Additionally, the internet is an open ecosystem and fixating on removing content is a lost cause.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of WordPress.org.

Statistics Show a Rise of Online Piracy in the UK

We’ve heard that the UK government is increasing the penalty for using online content illegally, with potential pirates now facing up to 10 years in jail. But now, let us show you why they came to this conclusion.

According to the Intellectual Property Office, online piracy has risen from 17% to 18% since their 2013 statistic. Breaking down the numbers, we see that 9% of Brits download music illegally, 6% have pirated at least a movie and 7% watched TV series online from illegal sources. But the latter numbers come from people who downloaded or streamed at least one item of pirated content over the span of three months.

The overall numbers show that 26% of music consumers are getting or streaming their music from pirated sources. A sizeable drop has been noticed for people who download or stream pirated movies, going down from 33% to 25%, but an increase of 3% has been noticed in TV series consumers, going up to 21%. The use of legal services doesn’t look too promising either.

A decrease from 40% to 39% of internet users can be seen in those who prefer to use legal sources, while those who mix legal and illegal sources seem to have maintained a 12% ratio. The overall download and streaming of legal content shows signs of slight decrease too, dropping from 70% to 69%, with a mix of legal and pirated content use remaining at the same 22% compared to the 2013 statistic.

In addition to the above, the research shows that there has been an increase of 6% in online media consumption, meaning that the more people consume online content, the more likely they are to either mix legal and illegal sources, or go ‘full-on-pirate’ and use illegal sources. But will the UK government change this by applying harsh penalties for online pirates? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Nick Falkner

Does Your Boss Know Where You Are? Or Fired Because You Uninstalled A GPS Tracker?

A woman in California claims that her uninstalling an app has led to her being fired. The reason for uninstalling the app? The 24/7 monitoring of her location using the iPhones GPS (Global position systems allowing for the tracking of a device via satellite in real time).

Myrna Arias worked for the money transfer service Intermex. In a recent lawsuit, claiming as much as $500,000 in damages, Arias claims that the reason for her being fired was due to her uninstalling the job management app Xora from her company issued iPhone. Sounds fair right? You get given a phone with an app to clock in and out of work with and you uninstall it, you would expect some disciplinary issues or even to be fired right?

Arias was fired from her $7,250 per month Job after removing Xora because of the revelation she had about the app’s use of GPS monitoring. Xora allows management to not only see when people sign in and out of work but also allows tracking of the iPhone by its GPS, allowing bosses to check time spent out the office at client locations or even people singing into work from home. The problem that is stated is that Xora does not stop monitoring the phones GPS when you sign out of work, it’s constantly on.

Citing invasion of privacy, Arias claims that her manager made it clear he was using the program to monitor her during not only company time but also in her personal time. Alongside this, it is also claimed that Arias’s manager would opening speak about her driving speed and the roads she took.

Arias likened the app to prisoners ankle bracelet’s and complained about the legality of this invasion of privacy. A discussion which was apparently followed by her being told to “tolerate the illegal intrusion”.

Do you have GPS on your phone? Should it be used for work or do you think that this was a step too far?

Thank you to Arstechnica for their information.

Drone Crashed Smuggling 6lbs of Meth on US-Mexico Border

Drones are becoming a pretty big subject of debate at the moment. Law makers are hastily trying to figure out how to regulate them, thanks to issues with privacy, aviation, commercial use and the safety of those walking beneath them. But one thing we don’t see in the press all too often, is when drones try to smuggle illegal drugs across borders.

One such drone tried, but failed. In a big way. The drone you see in the image above was found in a Mexican car park, not too far from the US border. It was carrying 2.7kg of methamphetamine – clearly a load too heavy for this dji Spreading Wings 900.

According to Mashable, the border authorities estimate that 150 drones have been involved with smuggling drugs into the US since 2012 – something that will no doubt be of concern to US lawmakers. It wouldn’t be surprising to see stories like this used as arguments against more liberal drone regulations, with the FAA and the FCC already looking at much more stringent rules for RC pilots.

Source: Mashable Via: Gizmodo

Need A Hacker? Hire One on This New Website

A new website has been launched called ‘Hackers List‘, that allows you to post jobs available for actual hackers. Essentially, think of the site as a sort of oDesk or People Per Hour for computer hackers.

This may seem like a joke, but people really are using this thing, posting jobs requiring sometimes highly illegal activities to be performed by hackers. For instance, according to The New York Times, there is currently a woman on the site offering $500 for someone to hack her partner’s Gmail and Facebook accounts. There’s also someone in Sweden willing to give $2000 for someone to break into his landlord’s website.

While this thing may seem like some clever publicity stunt, there are currently over 500 jobs ready and waiting for willing digital assailants. The whole process is anonymous, with no identifying information between the ’employer’ and the hacker.

The website is registered in New Zealand (a country famous for digital crimes thanks to Kim Dotcom) and claims that is perfectly legal and not at all liable for any illegal activities. Its lengthy terms and conditions state that it does not condone any illegal activity and that the site shouldn’t be used for anything illegal in the first place (yeah, right).

Obviously not all hacking is illegal – there are people out there with incredible hacking skills who do currently make a good living getting paid by companies to purposely hack things, often with the intention of uncovering any vulnerabilities. Perhaps this site could be best utilised in that way, maybe providing such purposes to smaller developers and startups.

SourceThe New York Times Via: Gizmodo

ASA Tackles Vloggers Misleading Advertising

The UK’s Advertising Standards Agency has asked popular YouTube vloggers Dan and Phil to remove an ad for Oreo cookies, after it was found to be misleading.

The ad in question featured the pair competing with each other to see how quickly they could lick the filling from some Oreos. The ASA found however that the ad didn’t really appear to be an ad, possibly misleading viewers into believing Dan and Phil didn’t actually receive compensation for the video.

The video was never actually removed in the end, due to the fact that Dan and Phil complied with requests from ASA by placing an annotation on the video that reads “This is a paid for advertisement” (see below).

“In this case because the ads were on online video channels that were usually non-promotional, the commercial intent should have been made clear before viewers clicked on the content”. – The ASA.

The incident has raised the issue of advertisers using YouTube personalities without actually making it very clear that such content is advertising. The ASA says that this is misleading viewers and could damage the trust they hold in their favourite YouTubers.

Source: The Independent

Expendables 3 Piracy Suspects Arrested

Two men from the UK have been arrested following the leak of The Expendables 3 before its scheduled release date.

The copy of the movie was viewed hundreds of thousands of times and reportedly lost Lionsgate, the film’s production company, $10 million.

Officers from the UK Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu) arrested the men, a 36-year-old and 33-year-old in Upton, Wirral, and Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. They were arrested on suspicion of taking the film from a private cloud server and uploading it to the web. They released the movie online back in July, just under a month before the film’s August release date. In a statement to the BBC, head of Pipcu, Det Ch Insp Danny Medlycott said that this was not “a victimless crime”.

“By downloading illegal music, film, TV and books, not only are you exposing your own computer to the risk of viruses and malware, but you are also putting hard-working people’s livelihoods at risk as piracy threatens the security of thousands of jobs in the UK’s creative industries.”

Source: BBC News

Google Updates Search Algorithm, Demotes Piracy in Favour of Legal Content

We’ve all been told time and time again that the internet has the capacity to be the Wild West of all digital content, potentially harming the back pockets of media groups and movie studios. Google today took new steps in measures against pirated content available on the web, and has updated its search algorithm to systematically remove and demote rankings of illegitimately sourced content in favour of legal content. The changes come in addition to steps Google took back in 2012 to down-rank companies and sites which received a large quantity of valid DMCA notices.

Whenever a user inputs terms such as “free” or “watch” and searching – Google’s algorithm will now point toward legally obtainable sources of the material. The testing for the update is currently live and running in North America, but the company says it’s expecting to push an international expansion of the updated algorithm worldwide sometime in the near future. On top of this, Google says it’s also removing a number of auto-complete terms from the engine as well  that are similarly aimed at demoting any auto-complete topic that directs towards pirated content.

Thanks to Google for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of The Times.

27 Year Old Arrested Over Illegal Streaming Sites

A 27 year old man from Manchester has been arrested by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) on suspicion of running multiple illegal websites that stream premium sports. The series of sites is said to have allowed unlawful free access to pay TV services such as SkySports in an operation so big that its “freebies” add up to more than £10 million in lost subscription fees.

Detectives on the scene said they discovered an “industrial size streaming operation”. There were 12 servers streaming multiple sporting events from around the globe. Naturally all of the equipment was confiscated by the police and the suspect taking into custody for questioning. Given the scale of the operation and the fact that he was caught sitting there with it all streaming around him, I’d say this guy is pretty screwed on many counts of piracy.

“Not only is there a significant loss to industry with this particular operation but it is also unfair that millions of people work hard to be able to afford to pay for their subscription-only TV services when others cheat the system,” said DCI Danny Medlycott, the newly appointed Head of PIPCU.

Since the PIPCU unit launched in September last year it has been targeting online services such as this, only last month  it arrested a 20 year old on suspicion of running a proxy server and we expect we’ll be hearing from this team in the near future as they continue clamping down on illegal online activities.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Weirdhut.

Australia Wants To Cut Internet Connection for People Downloading from Torrent Websites

There have been some talks about the high number of pirates in Australia, having the government worried about what to do in response to the piracy activity. Earlier this year, Australia is said to have had the highest number of illegal downloads of Game of Thrones: Season Four.

A leaked document entitled “Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper” appears to show some of the government’s future consideration towards piracy. The document is said to point out the main reasons why Australians choose to download content illegally, which are cost and availability. The government however appears to be more keen on enforcing the law instead of addressing the real reason which leads to piracy in the first place.

The document is also said to be discussing the role of the ISPs to place restrictions, such as lowering downloads speeds or blocking internet availability in some cases, on customers who are accessing and downloading content illegally. The ISPs however cannot do anything about it, according to the paper, since if they were to allow their customers access to pirated content without punishing them, it is said that rights holders can then take legal action against the ISPs themselves.

“The Copyright Act would be amended to enable rights holders to apply to a court for an order against ISPs to block access to an internet site operating outside Australia, the dominant purpose of which is to infringe copyright.” the paper states.

Experts say that the options outlined in the paper are too harsh compared to international standards and are not addressing the problem of Australians being unable to access content legally when it is currently available in other markets. They say that the law enforcement underlined in the paper would only give power to copyright owners over consumers, while also having large-ranging impacts on the free and open internet.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

The UK is Looking Into Alternate Solutions to Stop Illegal Torrent Downloads

The UK’s biggest internet providers in collaboration with the government and content creators are said to change the way they deal with people illegally downloading and/or sharing entertainment online. They say that instead of punishing the person, they will be sending out letters in an attempt to ‘educate’ him or her, as well as pointing out legal and comprehensive alternatives.

“We believe people will ultimately pay if they can get what they want, how they want, at a price that’s fair to them.” Virgin Media stated.

The ISPs are said to team up under the Creative Content UK campaign, which includes BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, as well as entertainment institutions The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the British Record Music Industry (BPI). A significant multimedia awareness campaign is said to be the first phase, having ISPs sending out letters to users pirating content after the awareness. It’s said that people can receive up to four letters per year and nothing will happen if you choose to ignore them.

“Any alert will clearly recognise the account holder may not have engaged in copyright infringement themselves and we will be informative in tone, offering advice on where to find legitimate sources of entertainment content,” said Virgin Media. “At no point will we share any customer information as part of this campaign. By embracing digital, the creative industries can realise significant benefits, reaching millions of people with new and innovative services.”

This looks similar to what Polish developer CD Projekt, The Witcher series’ maker, did a while back. They have found alternatives to pirated entertainment by changing its focus from people who don’t want to pay and encouraging people who do.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Eurogamer

21 Year Old Earned $1000 A Day By Hacking League of Legends

Being a professional gamer is the desire of many young players, especially when they hear that the money involved can be serious, with league jackpots easily peaking at $5m USD as is the case with the upcoming LoL championships, but some people are not content on playing fair and square and earning their keep in legitimate ways. The latter way of making money is how a 21-year old hacker known as Shane ‘Jason’ Duffy rapidly built up his bank balance.

Earning $1000 per day, Duffy exploited a security breach that he found on an employee account of Riot Games, where the employee had not updated and changed their password as requested when a breach was originally discovered. This flaw though lead Duffy to a hackers gold mine – access to an estimated 24.5 million user accounts of LoL players around the world. On top of this he also had access to League of Legends: Supremacy, which he leaked out on to the public net shortly after.

Following the leak of Supremacy he was arrested and his equipment seized in conjunction with the illegal activities. Released on bail, Duffy soon went back to his old ways, offering a service to knock other LoL players out of games in exchange for cash along with the selling of character skins, which in itself made him $200-800 a time.

All of this activity led Duffy to have a massive bank balance, with over 880 transactions being accrued in one month, earning him well over $1000 a day. This second round of hacking soon brought him another meeting with the police, with another round of equipment getting seized, along with $110,000 worth of Bitcoins.

All of this illegal activity has come to bite him back as he now awaits sentencing in a Queensland court for nine separate charges of illegal activity, five of those for fraud with the others including a charge of hacking the Riot Games servers.

To put of this into context; if you want to earn a tidy living through online gaming, you’re better off in joining a gaming clan or team – this will bring you both money and fame in a legal way.

Source: Tweaktown

LinkedIn Facing Lawsuit over Access of Email Accounts

LinkedIn has been ordered to stand trial by a U.S Federal judge over allegations from users that they have been sending and accessing emails without consent.

LinkedIn has been found to be accessing users email accounts, copying their address books and using this information to solicit business. This is seen as a loophole by some as users do agree upon sign up to allow LinkedIn to use their contacts to send an initial recruitment email – but give no authorization to send further reminder emails.

US district Judge, Lucy Koh (San Jose, California) stated:

“This practice could injure users’ reputations by allowing contacts to think that the users are the types of people who spam their contacts or are unable to take the hint that their contacts do not want to join their LinkedIn network.

“In fact, by stating a mere three screens before the disclosure regarding the first invitation that ‘We will not … email anyone without your permission,’ LinkedIn may have actively led users astray.”

Koh has given customers the green light to pursue their claims that LinkedIn has violated their right of publicity. She has dismissed other claims however, such as violation of federal wiretap laws.

Crystal Braswell declared on behalf of LinkedIn:

“We are pleased that the Court rejected plaintiffs’ unfounded “hacking” claims and found that LinkedIn members consented to sharing their email contacts with LinkedIn. We will continue to contest the remaining claims, as we believe they have no merit.”

View the full information on the class action lawsuit here.

Image courtesy of Ben Scholzen


Bitcoin Banned In Russia, Said To Be Used In Money Laundering ‘Activities’

Are you living in Russia? Do you have a Bitcoin wallet or mining for Bitcoins? Even purchase stuff using the cryptocurrency? Well, now you are apparently breaking the law. The Central Bank of Russia ‘got upset’ and made it really clear that the official currency in Russia is the Ruble and Bitcoin has no place alongside it.

They apparently consider that the cryptocurrency is used mostly for money laundry and other criminal activity, therefore Bitcoin is now banned in the country. Also, it is considered to be a speculative currency and state that there is a great risk of value losses.

While this does not come as a surprise, since Bitcoin was designed not to be regulated as normal currency, it could be used by criminal organisations. Yet, nobody can expect for everyone to drop using Bitcoin overnight. Most probably, the Russian government will first target companies and organisations using it and then go down the ladder to the normal hard-working citizen.

However, more and more countries are thinking of making Bitcoin a regulated currency. For example, a federal judge from Texas has declared in August that Bitcoin is a currency and should be regulated just like the Euro or US Dollar.

Up until now, only China and Russia have banned the Bitcoin, having other countries such as Brasil regulating it and the rest just letting it be as it is for the moment. It is hard to globally accept a new currency, especially a cryptocurrency ‘just like that’. It needs time, and a lot of negotiations on top of all.

Thank you TechChrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechChrunch

The British Government Wants To Take Away Your ‘Privileges’ To Access The Internet

A meeting has been held this week at the House of Commons in the UK to debate the Intellectual Property Bill, which ended with a lot of fingers being pointed at Google and its tolerance towards illegal websites that are displayed on its search engine.

The Prime Minister’s staff is reportedly looking to shove more laws upon file sharers, including removing internet access privileges to offenders that repeat such actions and naming them ‘persistent offenders’. Now let’s just stop there and think about it for a second. Remove your privileges to access the internet? The last time I heard of such severe actions was in the communist era. ‘The Internet’ is not something that you can take away from anybody on this Earth. Even Pope Francis considered it a ‘gift from God’ earlier this week, along with pointing out that people without access to it are ‘in danger of being left behind’.

Of course, such actions are more aimed at people who attempt to make a profit out of content downloaded illegally, and their decision to raise the penalty of imprisonment to 10 years might be a good idea. However, the most interesting statement comes from Helen Goodman (UK MP) which noted that it seems ignorant to distinguish between the teenager downloading music for a mobile device and organized copyright piracy groups.

It seems that the government are more focused on users and not the actual websites and servers, not to mention Google, which was yet to cooperate in removing the links to illegal websites from its searches. Or is it that their incompetence is reflecting upon the weaker, which is the end-user that browses the internet? Type ‘torrent’ in any search engine and watch the miracle unfold, dozens of torrent websites appear. Of course most are blocked by your ISP (if that is the case) but others are not. And what if a 13-year-old accesses one of these websites and downloads the so-called ‘torrents’? Is the government going to throw his or her parents in jail, or ship him or her to a correction facility, even if they do not know what they are doing?

Thank you TweakTown and TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

Streaming Porn Is Not Illegal Rules German Court

Earlier this month there were reports that a German law firm has dispatched thousands of threatening letters to people who had used the online streaming service RedTube. The letters demanded a cash payment of 250 Euro per clip due to copyright infringement.

The matter ended up in court and it looks like for now the Germans can continue happily watching their free adult content without breaking the law. The Cologne district court originally allowed law firm Urmann _ Collegen (U+C) to send out the letters on behalf of Swiss rights-holders, but the Court has since changed its mind following numerous complaints.

Many of the complaints focused on the fact that streaming isn’t the same as downloading, it’s not immediately obvious that these kind of sites are an illegal service and that they also wanted to know how The Archive and U+C obtained their IP addresses in order to identify them.

It seems then that this was nothing more than a poorly disguised attempt to extort money from mostly unsuspecting and innocent people, and it’s great see that the legal system corrected the initial mistake.

“It is deplorable that our users were targeted in such an underhanded and malicious manner. Copyright protection is a critical issue and we are overjoyed that German citizens can once again surf the internet without threat of legal penalty. This ruling is a victory not just for RedTube users, but for anyone who accesses a streaming website. It sends a clear message that the exploitation of personal information and the violation of privacy for financial gain will not be tolerated.” Said RedTube Bice President Alex Taylor in an official statement.

A final ruling will be made in January, but for now, the German based users can enjoy the site without fear of prosecution.

Thank you Gigaom for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of RedTube.

3D Printed Guns Now Illegal In Philadelphia

Personally, I thought 3D printed guns were already illegal, given that their not licences, incredibly dangerous to the user (they tend to explode when fired), not to mention the fact that they’re cheap and practically untraceable. However it looks like I was wrong, and Philadelphia has just stepped up and banned 3D printed guns their state.

Now it is not like there is a 3D printed plastic gun war happening right now, especially since The Liberator 3D printed gun is currently the popular choice, which is to say the least a bit rubbish, no big surprise really as it is a gun made from plastic after all. This ban is more a preventative measure, staying ahead of the curve as 3D printing becomes more mainstream, and the technology improves.

It is good to see a legal system paying attention to such trends, but maybe this one is a tad pre-emptive.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Extremetech.