Portugal’s Piracy Blocklist Censors US Indie Developer

Portuguese internet server providers currently have a voluntary agreement with anti-piracy groups and began blocking hundreds of websites which allegedly host links to copyrighted content. This allows copyright holders to easily add new pirate sites to the blocklist without requiring any jurisdiction from a court. More specifically, websites should contain a minimum of 500 links to infringing material to be flagged. Of course, ISPs prefer this scheme because it doesn’t cost them any money to become involved in expensive legal proceedings on behalf of their customers. However, blocklists have a propensity to wrongfully include certain websites with legitimate content.

For example, according to TorrentFreak, US indie developer, Carbon Games has for some bizarre reason been added to the blocklist. The issue was first reported by Revolução dos Bytes, and confirmed various ISPs including NOS, MEO and Vodafone had restricted access. This is quite an embarrassing turn of events, and showcases the pitfalls of content flagging via blacklists. I’m not entirely sure how Carbon Games’ website fell prey to the algorithm as it’s only meant to apply to websites with loads of illegitimate referrals.

Thankfully, the block is easily circumvented by accessing the website using a non-www address. Additionally, users can change their DNS to something that doesn’t rely on their ISP, such Google DNS or OpenDNS. Once again, this illustrates how pointless many blocklists are, because they can be expensive to implement and take seconds to circumvent. Perhaps, a more sensible approach would be to keep the internet’s open ideology and stop profit organizations from seeking control. In almost every circumstance, anti-piracy measures appear to make the situation worse for rightholders, or legitimate customers. I can’t see this changing anytime soon though, and if anything, anti-piracy groups are becoming more aggressive and a threat to the internet’s open roots.

I’d love to hear if you’ve experienced any problems accessing legitimate websites.

Apple Increases Prices of Its Products in Non-US Countries

While Apple has discounted the price of its Apple TV in North America to $69, the company seems to be doing the exact opposite to a lot of its products around the world. This comes as a result of the US Dollar gaining some ground and becoming stronger in the market.

Apple products which suffered an increase in pricing include the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Thunderbolt Display, and are now more expensive in countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and other countries to reflect currency adjustments.

For example, the Canadian Apple Store shows an increase in unlocked iPhone 6 from between $749-$969 to $839-$1,099, Thunderbolt Displays from $999 to $1,199, and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros from between $2,099-$2,699 to $2,449-$3,049. Apple also upped the price on its 15-inch MacBook Pro in France, with the base model now starting at €2,249 up from €1,999, and the higher-spec model up to €2,799 from €2,499.

Apple is said to continue to make the adjustments in order to ensure that its products and services are as consistently priced as possible throughout the world. However, in some cases, international prices will remain higher than North America prices as a ‘safety’ against currency fluctuations.

Thank you MacRumors for providing us with this information

Latin American Nations Withdraw Ambassadors From Europe After Jet Incident

Russia Today reports that the backlash against Europe after the Bolivian Jet incident is now growing in Latin America. After having a serious emergency meeting already four countries have now decided to withdraw their ambassadors from European nations involved in the incident.

Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay will all withdraw their ambassadors from France, Spain, Portugal and Italy in retaliation against their decision to block airspace for Bolivian president Evo Morales and his state jet – pictured above.

Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, stated that:

“We’ve taken a number of actions in order to compel public explanations and apologies from the European nations that assaulted our brother Evo Morales”

Both the UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and trade-bloc Mercosur (Mercado Común del Sur) have condemned the actions of Europe as imperialist and neo-colonialist. This entire diplomatic spat has emerged from the belief that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard the Bolivian State Jet. Since then the situation has escalated with the majority of Latin America condemning Western Europe and the USA, and many Latin American nations offering Edward Snowden asylum in protest.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo/Patrick Domingo

Latin American Countries Host Emergency Meeting, Condemn The USA

The Union of South American Nations, UNASUR, held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss the incident in which Bolivia’s President Evo Morales had his plane forcibly grounded amid suspicions NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard. The incident triggered outrage from many Latin American countries such as Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador while other nations attended to show their support for the conclusion of the UNASUR meeting. Colombia, Chile and Peru all have very strong ties with the USA and thus did not attend but expressed their solidarity with Bolivia.

Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro stated that “Violation of international law against Evo Morales is against all of us” while Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa said “We are here to support Bolivia”. Bolivia had much strong words to say calling the incident a “flagrant violation of international treaties” and demanded an apology from all involved parties. Furthermore, Evo Morales of Bolivia threatened to shut down the U.S embassy in his country. 

Of the denounced nations (The USA, Spain, Italy, France and Portugal) only Spain have responded stating “Spain doesn’t have to ask pardon in anyway because its airspace was never closed“. Some big rhetoric is now going down in Latin American with the USA and who knowes we might see Edward Snowden granted asylum as a political weapon against the USA.

Image courtesy of UNASUR

Bolivian Jet Grounded Over Claims Snowden Is Onboard, UN Complaint Ensues

Bolivia’s president Evo Morales was flying back from Russia where he was attending an energy summit when his plane was forced to land in Austria. The reason? Italy, France, Spain and Portugal had all refused to allow his jet to pass through their airspace on the justification that they believed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard. After being forced to land in Vienna Austria the plane was searched by Austrian officials and it was revealed that Edward Snowden was not on the plane. Furthermore Evo Morales strongly refuted such claims stating that these were rumours made up by the U.S government. Additionally other Latin American leaders are furious over the whole situation stating Evo Morales was “kidnapped by imperalism”.

Bolivia’s UN Envoy is now stepping in to file complaints against the USA, Austria, Italy, France, Portugal and Spain describing the event as “An act of aggression and violation of international law” as the USA desperately tries to bring Edward Snowden into their custody. Bolivia’s UN Envoy member Sacha Llorrentty Soliz told press in New York that the decision to search the plane almost definitely originated in the USA. With Bolivia and Venezuela both pledging their support to Edward Snowden in recent times it is likely the U.S government will try and do anything against them to stop Edward Snowden reaching their territories.

Image courtesy of AFP Photo/Patrick Domingo