Internet blackened by SOPA.

January 22, 2012

Source: Here’s some from Yahoo!

Wikipedia blackout

Wikipedia was one site that went dark to protest SOPA and PIPA act now being debated in America’s Congress. If they pass, will the Internet look like this?

In case you missed it, a good part of the Internet went “dark” on 18-Jan-2012 to protest two bills now being considered in US Congress. They are H.R.3261 (aka “Stop Online Piracy Act,” or SOPA) and S.968 (aka “Protect Intellectual Property Act,” or “Protect IP” or PIPA).

These two bills, IF passed and signed into law, are supposed to end… or at least curtail… Internet “piracy.” But, there are major problems with both bills. Problems that can not only hurt legitimate sites and users, but can be exploited and abused to no end. The EFF has a one-page list of problems (PDF).

 

Rep. Lamar Smith

Meet Rep. Lamar Smith, the asswipe behind SOPA. If I had more time, I would have drawn a dick on his face.

Cowboy politics. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) is the mastermind behind SOPA, introducing it back in October. It seems, however, that he has been grazing on some “greener” pastures:

(CNET) – As CNET reported in December, Smith, a self-described former ranch manager whose congressional district encompasses the cropland and grazing land stretching between Austin and San Antonio, Texas, has become Hollywood’s favorite Republican. The TV, movie, and music industries are the top donors to his 2012 campaign committee, and he’s been feted by music and movie industry lobbyists at dinners and concerts.

Back-pocket puppet of the MPAA/RIAA cartel, in other words, representing farmers, not tech industries. Little wonder why many believe that SOPA is just bad and wrong, and it would do more harm than good.

 

What harm could it do? SOPA is worded to make “offending” sites vanish from the Net completely. At least that’s how CNET describes SOPA section 102:

A service provider shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures designed to prevent access by its subscribers located within the United States to the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) that is subject to the order…Such actions shall be taken as expeditiously as possible, but in any case within five days after being served with a copy of the order, or within such time as the court may order.

There’s also a problem of scope: PIPA primarily targets the offender’s DNS providers and finances. SOPA is reportedly broader, going after their ISPs and even requiring them to monitor traffic including using deep packet inspection. Reddit goes into gory detail about what they would need to do if they receive a SOPA notice:

(Reddit SOPA FAQ) – If the Attorney General served reddit with an order to remove links to a domain, we would be required to scrub every post and comment on the site containing the domain and censor the links out, even if the specific link contained no infringing content. We would also need to implement a system to automatically censor the domain from any future posts or comments. This places a measurable burden upon the site’s technical infrastructure. It also damages one of the most important tenets of reddit, and the internet as a whole – free and open discussion about whatever the fuck you want.

This may be why the likes of Google, Wikipedia, WordPress, and others don’t like what SOPA represents. Even now, some companies that originally backed SOPA are now having second thoughts.

CNET’s FAQ

“Verizon continues to look at SOPA, and while it’s fair to say that we have concerns about the legislation, we are working with congressional staff to address those concerns,” a representative told us.

Tim McKone, AT&T’s executive vice president of federal relations, said that “we have been supportive of the general framework” of the Senate bill. But when it comes to SOPA, all AT&T would say is that it is “working constructively with Chairman Smith and others toward a similar end in the House.”

 

Collateral damage. Not all sites went dark to protect freedom of speech; File-sharing website Megaupload was taken offline (or is at least very slow to respond) as seven people associated with it, including the founder, were arrested for copyright infringement.

(Technorati) Kim Dotcom, formerly known as Kim Schmitz, is the site’s founder and was arrested in New Zealand, according to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Of the six others indicted, three have been arrested. Officially, the seven people were indicted with five counts of copyright infringement and conspiracy, according to authorities. The nearly two-year investigation was unsealed Thursday (19-Jan-2012) and it revealed that the grand jury in Virginia made its decision almost two weeks ago.

The timing of the arrests, done the day after the blackout, is not only suspicious, but also has made life inconvenient for those who had legitimate use of Megaupload:

(TorrentFreak)The feds shut down MegaUpload a few hours ago.

Eight people we charged with criminal copyright infringement charges, and all files hosted on the site were pulled offline.

However, do the feds realize that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people used the site to share research data, work documents, personal video collections and much more?

What will happen to these personal non-infringing files?

People are outraged on Twitter and are demanding access to their files immediately.

The Twitter posts show the virtual FFFFFUUUUU…-fest of people who lost work due to the shutdown. Anonymous managed to exact a measure of revenge by giving the FBI a DDoS attack. They were joined by 9000 hackers in the attack.

 

Knowing is half the battle. With all the protests and counter-attacks surrounding SOPA/PIPA and the Megaupload shutdown, Congress finally came to its senses and have “shelved” the two bills… for now.

(AFP via Yahoo)Senate majority leader Harry Reid said he was delaying next week’s vote on the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith said he would “revisit” the House version, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the Protect IP Act,” Reid announced in a statement two days after a wave of online protests against the bill swept the Internet.

It appears that freedom of speech has won out, but the victory is only temporary. More likely, there may be some tweaking of the bills to make them more palatable (or at least, more confusing) then reintroduced when everyone has forgotten what the bills were about so there would be less opposition to them. This way, there would be less shit hitting the fans.

Stay tuned… this is far from over.

This post has been filed under War for the Nets, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

Pentagon to declare war on hackers

June 1, 2011

Source: Wall Street Journal, video from CNN.

Haven’t we been here before? With the war in Iraq winding down and the Afghanistan front becoming less relevant since Osama Bin’s termination, the Pentagon… and their corporate masters… are now looking for new battlegrounds to make a profit. They have plenty of choices: Korea, Iran, Canada, cyberspace,…

Yes, cyberspace.

The Pentagon, which was penetrated by a computer virus in 2008, wants to take cyberwarfare to a new level. In essence, they want to use conventional military force to counteract cyberattacks:

US Pentagon

“If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” said a military official.

 

Equivalency test. How to scale a response to a cyberattack is but one problem the Pentagon has to deal with.

make-love-not-warcraft.jpg

They want to send a nuclear-tipped cruise missile up this guy’s ass because he posted a comment about how Sarah Palin deserves to be raped in public and in front of her family.

They already have an idea as to how to make a scale work:

If a cyber attack produces the death, damage, destruction or high-level disruption that a traditional military attack would cause, then it would be a candidate for a “use of force” consideration, which could merit retaliation.

“A cyber attack is governed by basically the same rules as any other kind of attack if the effects of it are essentially the same,” Gen. Dunlap said Monday. The U.S. would need to show that the cyber weapon used had an effect that was the equivalent of a conventional attack.

For instance, if computer sabotage shut down as much commerce as would a naval blockade, it could be considered an act of war that justifies retaliation, Mr. Lewis said. Gauges would include “death, damage, destruction or a high level of disruption” he said.

 

Got ‘em in our sights… we think. Finding where to aim those bombs and missiles will be the biggest challenge to the Pentagon. Most cyberattacks on US systems “originate” in countries like Russia and China. That could mean that someone from those nations, with possible government backing, actually did the hack. Or it could just be zombie systems from those nations, with the actual master somewhere else.

Then you have to consider one more scenario:

The Net itself achieves sentience…

This post has been filed under War for the Nets, HackZ AttackZ!, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

MPAA looking to build a firewall around USA

September 29, 2010

Source: DemandProgress.org via Boing Boing.

[CENSORED]

If the MPAA has its way, bill S.3804 will be shoved through Congress so fast that they won’t notice that it mimics tactics used by China and Iran.

Congratulations, America! You have become the enemy you fight.

nietzsche-portrait.jpg

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. (Neitzsche)

America always seems to cringe when other nations try some form of mass-censorship, but the MPAA wants it to happen. Bill S.3804, aka the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA) is their latest scam to seize control of the Internet in the name of “stopping piracy.”

The “Bill” is currently “in committee,” meaning that some congressional members are reviewing the “Bill” to see if it is something that can easily pass, if some tweaking is necessary, or if it should be dumped altogether. If you want to see this “Bill” for yourself (you need some bathroom material or a cure for insomnia) you can find the full text on GovTrack.us where you can also track its progress.

Many bills do die in committee, so the odds are against this one surviving. But if it does survive and becomes law…

 

The Great Firewall of America. Demand Progress’ site has a fact sheet about what the bill purportedly does:

The bill creates two blacklists of Internet domain names. The first can be added to by a court, the second by the Attorney General. Internet service providers (everyone from Comcast to PayPal to Google AdSense) would be required to block any domains on the first list. They would also receive immunity (and presumably the government’s gratitude) for blocking domains on the second list.

Which sites would be tagets? Anyone “dedicated to infringing activity.” But read on…

Well, it means sites like YouTube could get censored in the US. Copyright holders like Viacom argue that copyrighted material is central to activity of YouTube. But under current US law, YouTube is perfectly legal as long as they take down copyrighted material when they’re informed about it — which is why Viacom lost their case in court. If this bill passes, Viacom doesn’t even need to prove YouTube is doing anything illegal — as long as they can persuade a court that enough other people are using it for copyright infringement, that’s enough to get the whole site censored.

And even without a court order, sites can get blacklisted just by order of the Attorney General — and the bill encourages ISPs to block those sites as well. ISPs have plenty of reason to obey a government blacklist even when they’re not legally required.

The US Constitution says that we’re supposed to have “due process” in the courts before a site gets its plug pulled, but in our post-9/11 security-surveillance state, due process can now be bypassed and a site can be shut down even though it never did anything wrong. If a person has a problem with a website, all they need to do is complain and … 404: Site not found. Imagine WikiLeaks, or even our own Cyberpunk Review site, being on someone’s shit-list. WikiLeaks can be considered a site “dedicated to infringing activity,” and Cyberpunk Review’s media and news about a genre that is inherently anarchistic and criminal in nature…

 

History Never Repeats… unless they didn’t study. I remember hearing something about Australia’s attempt at blacklist censorship failing. If someone down under can let us know what the status of that attempt. In the mean time, US citizens can sign an online petition to help stop S.3804.

Better still, let’s try this: Find out the congress-critters supporting this “bill” and the members of the MPAA and follow them around in speaker-packed cars or large boom-boxes set to continuously play FSR’s “Fuck the MPAA” to get our message across.

To be honest, I don’t think any of those corporate whores will ever get the message unless they’re raped in public.

This post has been filed under War for the Nets, Internet Find, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

30-minute time limit to surf the net (SHENANIGANS!)

March 31, 2010

Sources: T’nA Flix, Empflix (WARNING: Porn sites, NSFW)

Time Limit Warning

A rather ominous warning to visitors that their stay may be restricted because of “changes” to “Internet Data Fair Usage Mandate to ISP Policies & Regulations 2007 act (r11734) brought into effect by the International Consortium of Global Data Infastructures.” [sic]
But why are only two sites (part of the same company) issuing such a warning, and collecting signatures for a petition?

Time’s Up? A pair of porn sites that stream flash (FLV) videos have a rather ominous warning to visitors that they may be forced to restrict a visitor’s stay to only 30 minutes total per 24-hour period or risk having their sites taken offline. They also include a link where you can “sign a petition” to voice an objection over the time restrictions. At the time of this post, the two sites have collected over 18K signatures (10,800 for T’nA, 8000 for Empflix).

It looks like these two sites are fighting a good fight… IF this shit is real. But there seems to be something off about this petition drive.

 

No shit, Sherlock. Whatever gave me the idea that this may be shenanigans? Let’s check the signs…

  • Two against the law. T’nA and Empflix are both part of the same company; YoungTek Solutions Limited, based in Cyprus, Greece. Why only these two site are worried about the time restrictions? Why has no other streaming site… especially YouTube… posted something similar on their sites? Do these guys have some sort of inside information? Or did they just pull this out of their asses in an attempt to attract attention… or something else?
  • Dateline, the first of… whenever. According to their posts, the restrictions are to start “the 1st of next month.” The way I read it, they must mean April 1 (April Fool’s Day). It can also mean May 1 (May Day). It’s odd that they don’t specify the exact month when the restrictions are to start; Just an ambiguous “1st of next month.”
  • Something smells phishy in the Mediterranean. I haven’t signed any online petitions (yet), but I’ve seen the form before. They do ask for an email address (”required for signature”), probably as a form of double-opt-in feature (you give a legit email address, a link is sent there, you click to verify), and while they say they won’t spam you, your email will probably be circulated to those who will. If you’re trying to harvest emails to spam but the email-phish baiting isn’t working like it once was, you need to find other ways to get those addresses. What better way than an online petition that plays on surfer’s fears, especially this day and age.
  • Missing links. I did some searching for the stuff mentioned in the banner, like the bill mentioned, and the organization that instituted the “changes.” What I found was absolutely DICK. Well, almost dick…

    A search for the bill did lead me to copywrite.org and their post of the Fair Use Act of 2007 (HR 1201), but I doubt that’s the bill causing the trouble. A link to the bill they mentioned, and to the changes they’re mentioning, would help a lot. Also, what the fuck is this “International Consortium of Global Data Infastructures,” and what is their homepage? AND WHO DID THE SPELL-CHECK???

  •  

    April Fool me once… There’s just too many unresolved issued about that banner and petition drive to say this is legit. I have to call shenanigans.

    There is a possible reason why these sites are concerned for their operations: ACTA. With the super-secret ACTA treaty still being worked on, there is the possibility of ISPs, along with end-users, to be heavily punished for “copyright violations,” including permanent banishment from the net. Streaming sites like T’nA and Empflix have movies, from short commercial-length trailers to possible DVD rips of full movies. Those rips may be giving the ‘flix sites the sweats, as they can be considered “pirated” in some circles. Even so, why aren’t other streaming sites showing similar warnings and having petition drives? Are they trying to remove the rips, or going along with the restriction silently, or are they doing nothing just to tell the MPAA/RIAA mobs to go fuck themselves?

    This petition drive may be nothing more than a sick joke, but it can also serve as a warning. There are forces out there determined to control the internet and the vast data fields. Filters and firewalls are only the beginning. Will meters be next? Today, you can go anywhere and visit anyplace for any amount of time you want at any moment. Tomorrow, you may visit any one site no longer than 30 minutes per 24 hour period. Then, only 30 minutes per 24 hours to surf the whole internet. And then… no more internet for you.

    This post has been filed under War for the Nets, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

    US Army ‘threatened’ by WikiLeaks

    March 17, 2010

    Source: Wired from WikiLeaks

    US Pentagon

    “The pen is mightier than the sword” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1839).

    The military needs targets.

    (From Wired “Cyberwar Hype Intended to Destroy the Open Internet”)Make no mistake, the military industrial complex now has its eye on the internet. Generals want to train crack squads of hackers and have wet dreams of cyberwarfare. Never shy of extending its power, the military industrial complex wants to turn the internet into yet another venue for an arms race.

    And it’s waging a psychological warfare campaign on the American people to make that so. The military industrial complex is backed by sensationalism, and a gullible and pageview-hungry media. Notable examples include the New York Times’s John “We Need a New Internet” Markoff, 60 Minutes’ “Hackers Took Down Brazilian Power Grid,” and the WSJ’s Siobhan Gorman, who ominously warned in an a piece lacking any verifiable evidence, that Chinese and Russian hackers are already hiding inside the U.S. electrical grid.

    Now the question is: Which of these events can be turned into a Gulf of Tonkin-like fakery that can create enough fear to let the military and the government turn the open internet into a controlled, surveillance-friendly net.

    It was only last week when I blogged about Wired calling the “cyberwar” a hoax. The military needs targets, was the line that stood out to me the most. Now it seems the worlds most powerful army has found a “target;” The whistleblower site WikiLeaks.

    A “secret” report from the Army Counterintelligence Center called Wikileaks.org – An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups? (click to read/download PDF) said of WikiLeaks.org:

    “could be of value to foreign intelligence and security services (FISS), foreign military forces, foreign insurgents, and foreign terrorist groups for collecting information or for planning attacks against U.S. forces, both within the United State and abroad.”

    The report also said that WikiLeaks can also be used for anit-US propaganda and disinformation campaigns. The Army is looking to stop the leaks from within:

    Wikileaks.org uses trust as a center of gravity by assuring insiders, leakers, and whistleblowers who pass information to Wikileaks.org personnel or who post information to the Web site that they will remain anonymous. The identification, exposure, or termination of employment of or legal actions against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others from using Wikileaks.org to make such information public.

     

    Knowing is half the battle. Among other action being considered to counter the WikiLeaks leaks, possibly hacking the site to ID leakers (or for other purposes):

    The obscurification technology[9] used by Wikileaks.org has exploitable vulnerabilities. Organizations with properly trained cyber technicians, the proper equipment, and the proper technical software could most likely conduct computer network exploitation (CNE) operations or use cyber tradecraft to obtain access to Wikileaks.org‘s Web site, information systems, or networks that may assist in identifying those persons supplying the data and the means by which they transmitted the data to Wikileaks.org. Forensic analysis of DoD unclassified and classified networks may reveal the location of the information systems used to download the leaked documents. The metadata, MD5 hash marks, and other unique identifying information within digital documents may assist in identifying the parties responsible for leaking the information. In addition, patterns involving the types of leaked information, classification levels of the leaked information, development of psychological profiles, and inadvertent attribution of an insider through poor OPSEC could also assist in the identification of insiders.

    One other possible action to take: Fight the net. This old article from BBC News (circa 2006) has another leaked document called Information Operations Roadmap (PDF, click to read/download) where the term “fight the net” is repeated. How do they want to fight the net? They want the ability to “disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum”. In other words, mag-pulse the whole wold back to the dark ages.

    Better download and read… or better yet, print… these documents while we still have a net to do so.

    This post has been filed under War for the Nets, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.