• A Sullied Apple

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-17 19:03:59
  • Internet Blackout in Malaysia: Netizens Protest Evidence Act Amendment S114A

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-15 17:00:11
    It's always the government (usually acting on behalf of corporations and lobbyists) waging attacks on free speech and the freedom of the people for which it is supposed to represent and govern.

    One would be forgiven for thinking that these detached politicians need a stern wake-up call.

    ¡Viva la Revolución!


    'Malaysian netizens, opposition politicians, well-known bloggers and non-governmental organizations staged an Internet blackout Tuesday to protest and raise awareness about legislation that could threaten free expression on the Web.

    Citizens of Malaysia are protesting the second of two amendments to the Malaysian Evidence Act of 1950, also known as Section S114A, which covers "Presumption of Fact in Publication."

    "S114A, entitled 'Presumption of Fact in Publication,' holds (1) those who own, administrate, or edit websites open to public contributors, such as online forums or blogs; (2) those who provide web-hosting services or Internet access; and (3) those own the computer or mobile device used to publish content online, accountable for content published through their services, on their sites, or 'in their name.'"

    According to Malaysia's Centre for Independent Journalism, Section 114A "enables law enforcement officials to swiftly hold someone accountable for publishing seditious, defamatory, or libelous content online." In addition, those accused of posting this kind of content will be "assumed to be guilty until proven innocent," which completely stands in the face of the typical logic of the judicial process, which is "innocent until proven guilty."

    The Centre for Independent Journalism warns that "if allegedly defamatory content is traced back to your username, electronic device, and/or Wi-Fi network, Section 114A presumes you are guilty of publishing illicit content on the Internet."'
  • Wozniak: Web crackdown coming, freedom failing

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-15 14:59:59
  • Virgin Media blocks pirate site Newzbin 2

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-15 14:15:28
    'Virgin Media has become the latest UK ISP to block access to Newzbin 2, a members-only site which provides links to pirated films and music.

    The ISP acted after receiving a court order from the Motion Picture Association.

    Sky and BT blocked access to the site last year.

    Rights holders see such court orders as the best way to crack down on piracy although critics point out that the blocks can be circumvented.

    "As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media complies with court orders addressed to the company, but strongly believes that changing consumer behaviour to tackle copyright infringement also needs compelling legal alternatives to give consumers access to great content at the right price," the firm said in a statement.

    Virgin Media and other ISPs have also blocked access to The Pirate Bay following court orders from the music industry trade body the BPI.

    Data shared with the BBC by one ISP which wished to remain anonymous showed that peer-to-peer traffic dipped when the Pirate Bay block initially happened but returned to normal levels within a week.

    Measures to combat piracy outlined in the Digital Economy Act have been slow to come into effect.

    The main plan is to send letters to alleged copyright infringers but these will not begin going out until 2014.'
  • Putting An End To The Biggest Lie On The Internet

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-14 13:26:58
    'It’s long been said that “I agree to the terms of service” is the biggest lie on the internet. And even if you do read them, many TOS are so ridden with legalese that you practically need to be a lawyer to understand them. Also, as I wrote in a gloomy post last weekend, users have no choice but either agree to the terms offered by a web app or simply not use the service at all.

    But a new project called TOS;DR wants to change that. The site aims to give more power to users by summarizing terms of service, flagging potential issues and rating apps on a scale from A (the best) to E (the worst).

    So far the only company with an E, the worst possible rating, is TwitPic, which reserves the rights to sell users’ photos to news agency without giving the photographer a cut.

    Project lead Hugo Roy tells me that he considers Wikipedia to be an exemplary service, though it hasn’t been rated by TOS;DR. He says both Wikipedia’s short, clear summary of its TOS and its practice of soliciting feedback from users before a change in terms should be widely adopted as best practices for the web.

    The project hatched about a year ago at the annual Chaos Communication Camp event in Berlin as an outgrowth of the Unhosted project, which is a system for building web apps that leave users in control of their data. Roy says the team was inspired in part by Creative Commons, which provides plain English summaries of each license it offers, as an influence on TOS;DR. The sites’ goals are to highlight issues in particular TOS, educate users about the importance the agreements they enter into with web companies and, eventually, to track and influence changes to TOS.

    The ratings, which Roy explains are based on German energy efficiency ratings for appliances, still feel rough to me. For example, GitHub gets a C but the seemingly much worse Delicious gets a D. Still, it’s a good start. I like the idea of projects like Unhosted, which I’ve written about elsewhere, but activist users have had more success in pressuring companies like Dropbox and Facebook to change their TOS than getting users to defect to privacy centric systems like Diaspora.

    Roy says the site wasn’t actually ready for launch but it started getting media attention in Germany and has now hit Hacker News a couple times, so the team isn’t keeping it a secret anymore. The plan is to officially launch at Campus Party 2012 later this month.'