Category Archives: Law

When Legislators attack … the Internet

There are those who think that Net Neutrality, is a government takeover of the Internet, when it is actually reasonable regulation that preserves how the Internet works today. If one wants an example of a Government take over of the Internet … Google SOPA and PROTECT IP. These are disgusting set of laws that will give government and large media companies direct control of the DNS system in order to block users from accessing sites that are thought of being  places of piracy, as well as having their payment accounts canceled. I really can’t do this topic justice but please watch the below video. It explains it better than me.

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

 

Please contact you Senator and Congressmen in Washington and encourage them to appose these bills. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a great tool that will help you send a message to representatives in Washington. Please take advantage of it, and help put a stop to these lubricious ludacris laws.

COICA passes out of committee in the Senate

Every time a lawmaker gets ready to put forth legislation that effects the Internet I wince. This is because I know it was written in large part for large for-profit companies that wish to thwart the inevitable disruption of their business models at the expense of true innovation. Case in point:

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) sets up a system through which the US government can blacklist a pirate website from the Domain Name System, ban credit card companies from processing US payments to the site, and forbid online ad networks from working with the site. This morning, COICA unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

via Pirate-slaying censorship bill gets unanimous support.

If the Federal Gov’t believes that a site is “dedicated to infringing activities” this bill gives it the power to :

  • order DNSs in the US to not resolve the sites domain
  • prevent companies that process monetary transactions to the site
  • prevent ad networks (like adwords) from display ads on those domains

These measures would be extremely Draconian, if they weren’t so friggin useless. While the first measure effect every ISP’s DNS in America, it doesn’t effect personal DNS’s like the one I have in my house. Secondly it is my experience that MOST of pirate networks don’t ask for payment from its members so I don’t know how may fish you are foing to catch with that net. And Lastly, There are SOOOOO many ad networks outside of the US, I doubt they will see a dent in there revenues.

To the RIAA and MPAA:
You are not just fighting pirates. You are fighting a business model, which you only strengthen when you send governments to squash your competition instead of doing what you apparently haven’t the imagination to do, find a model that works in an environment where your content will be heavily pirated.

Federal Government wants to wiretap the Internet … the fools

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

via U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet – NYTimes.com.

I’m not going to comment on the privacy issues. I’m sure that what most people are talking about in regard to this case. But I don’t see how such a law could be effective if interacted enacted. While they could serve order to Facebook or RIM, who provided encrypted communication as a service, software would be immune. Maybe not from a legal standpoint, but from a piratical practical stand point, yes.

What most lawmakers don’t understand is that the power of the Internet is at it edges, not the center. All any suspect would have to do is use an app that makes uses of asymmetric encryption. They could subpoena, data from carriers & ISPs all they want. Unless they buy a couple of years on Cray to decipher data, they won’t know what they got.

If they want the same capability that they have with wire-line phones, then they are going to have to attack the system at the edges, meaning handsets.

PWN your own phone

The decision to allow the practice commonly known as “jailbreaking” is one of a handful of new exemptions from a 1998 federal law that prohibits people from bypassing technical measures that companies put on their products to prevent unauthorized uses. The Library of Congress, which oversees the Copyright Office, reviews and authorizes exemptions every three years to ensure that the law does not prevent certain non-infringing use of copyright-protected material.

via Government Backs Jailbreaking Of iPhones : NPR.