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Paul Merrell

Theresa May to create new internet that would be controlled and regulated by government... - 1 views

  • Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online. Particular focus has been drawn to the end of the manifesto, which makes clear that the Tories want to introduce huge changes to the way the internet works. "Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet," it states. "We disagree." Senior Tories confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the phrasing indicates that the government intends to introduce huge restrictions on what people can post, share and publish online. The plans will allow Britain to become "the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet", the manifesto claims. It comes just soon after the Investigatory Powers Act came into law. That legislation allowed the government to force internet companies to keep records on their customers' browsing histories, as well as giving ministers the power to break apps like WhatsApp so that messages can be read. The manifesto makes reference to those increased powers, saying that the government will work even harder to ensure there is no "safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online". That is apparently a reference in part to its work to encourage technology companies to build backdoors into their encrypted messaging services – which gives the government the ability to read terrorists' messages, but also weakens the security of everyone else's messages, technology companies have warned.
  • The government now appears to be launching a similarly radical change in the way that social networks and internet companies work. While much of the internet is currently controlled by private businesses like Google and Facebook, Theresa May intends to allow government to decide what is and isn't published, the manifesto suggests. The new rules would include laws that make it harder than ever to access pornographic and other websites. The government will be able to place restrictions on seeing adult content and any exceptions would have to be justified to ministers, the manifesto suggests. The manifesto even suggests that the government might stop search engines like Google from directing people to pornographic websites. "We will put a responsibility on industry not to direct users – even unintentionally – to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm," the Conservatives write.
  • The laws would also force technology companies to delete anything that a person posted when they were under 18. But perhaps most unusually they would be forced to help controversial government schemes like its Prevent strategy, by promoting counter-extremist narratives. "In harnessing the digital revolution, we must take steps to protect the vulnerable and give people confidence to use the internet without fear of abuse, criminality or exposure to horrific content", the manifesto claims in a section called 'the safest place to be online'. The plans are in keeping with the Tories' commitment that the online world must be regulated as strongly as the offline one, and that the same rules should apply in both. "Our starting point is that online rules should reflect those that govern our lives offline," the Conservatives' manifesto says, explaining this justification for a new level of regulation. "It should be as unacceptable to bully online as it is in the playground, as difficult to groom a young child on the internet as it is in a community, as hard for children to access violent and degrading pornography online as it is in the high street, and as difficult to commit a crime digitally as it is physically."
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  • The manifesto also proposes that internet companies will have to pay a levy, like the one currently paid by gambling firms. Just like with gambling, that money will be used to pay for advertising schemes to tell people about the dangers of the internet, in particular being used to "support awareness and preventative activity to counter internet harms", according to the manifesto. The Conservatives will also seek to regulate the kind of news that is posted online and how companies are paid for it. If elected, Theresa May will "take steps to protect the reliability and objectivity of information that is essential to our democracy" – and crack down on Facebook and Google to ensure that news companies get enough advertising money. If internet companies refuse to comply with the rulings – a suggestion that some have already made about the powers in the Investigatory Powers Act – then there will be a strict and strong set of ways to punish them. "We will introduce a sanctions regime to ensure compliance, giving regulators the ability to fine or prosecute those companies that fail in their legal duties, and to order the removal of content where it clearly breaches UK law," the manifesto reads. In laying out its plan for increased regulation, the Tories anticipate and reject potential criticism that such rules could put people at risk.
  • "While we cannot create this framework alone, it is for government, not private companies, to protect the security of people and ensure the fairness of the rules by which people and businesses abide," the document reads. "Nor do we agree that the risks of such an approach outweigh the potential benefits."
Paul Merrell

UK government is secretly planning to break encryption and spy on people's phones, reve... - 0 views

  • The UK government is secretly planning to force technology companies to build backdoors into their products, to enable intelligence agencies to read people’s private messages. A draft document leaked by the Open Rights Group details extreme new surveillance proposals, which would enable government agencies to spy on one in 10,000 citizens – around 6,500 people – at any one time.  The document, which follows the controversial Investigatory Powers Act, reveals government plans to force mobile operators and internet service providers to provide real-time communications of customers to the government “in an intelligible form”, and within one working day.
  • This would effectively ban encryption, an important security measure used by a wide range of companies, including WhatsApp and major banks, to keep people’s private data private and to protect them from hackers and cyber criminals. 
Paul Merrell

A New Era of Mass Surveillance is Emerging Across Europe | Just Security - 1 views

  • The world was a different place when, in October 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) struck down the “Safe Harbour” data-sharing agreement that allowed the transfer of European citizens’ data to the US. The Court’s decision concluded that the indiscriminate nature of the surveillance programs carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies, exposed two years earlier by NSA-contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, had made it impossible to ensure that the personal data of E.U. citizens would be adequately protected when shared with American companies. The ruling thus served to further solidify the long-standing conventional wisdom that Continental Europe is better at protecting privacy than America. However, Europe’s ability to continue to take this moral high ground is rapidly declining. In recent months, and in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks across Europe, Germany, France and the United Kingdom — Europe’s biggest superpowers — have passed laws granting their surveillance agencies virtually unfettered power to conduct bulk interception of communications across Europe and beyond, with limited to no effective oversight or procedural safeguards from abuse.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

UK Govt. Will Address Music 'Value Gap" as Part of Brexit - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " By Andy on November 3, 2016 C: 64 Breaking The UK government says it will address the so-called music 'value gap' as part of Brexit negotiations. The confirmation came in response to a probing Digital Economy Bill amendment which would see sites like YouTube lose their safe harbor protections if they "optimize the presentation" of uploaded works."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Lawmakers Warned That 10 Year Sentences Could Apply to File-Sharers - TorrentFreak [# !... - 0 views

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    "The UK is currently forming new legislation that will harmonize sentences for offline and online piracy. While the theoretical 10-year maximum sentence is supposed to target only large-scale pirates, this week MPs were warned that wording in the Digital Economy Bill is not tight enough to exclude file-sharers."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Brexit could put UK-EU data-sharing in jeopardy | Ars Technica UK - 0 views

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    "... Privacy Shield covers the obligations of non-EU commercial organisations and governments when handling data of EU citizens. The Investigatory Powers Bill will regulate the role of security services and police in the UK for UK citizens' data. Should Britain vote to leave the EU in the forthcoming referendum, the interplay between these two could be devastating for UK digital industries. ..."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

HTTPS Renders UK Pirate Site Blocklist Useless - TorrentFreak [# ! Note] - 0 views

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    " Ernesto on February 23, 2016 C: 52 News By now most UK Internet users have gotten used to pirate sites being blocked by their ISPs. However, thanks to HTTPS many subscribers have been enjoying a glimpse of an open and unrestricted web, as several popular torrent sites including The Pirate Bay and Kickass Torrents are no longer being blocked by all providers. "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Adele, games, and streaming push UK entertainment revenue to record £6.1B | A... - 0 views

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    [Adele, games, and streaming push UK entertainment revenue to record £6.1B Video games accounted for five of the top 10 selling properties for the year. by Mark Walton - Jan 8, 2016 12:55pm CET ]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Anti-Piracy Education Enters UK Classrooms - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " By Andy on January 4, 2016 C: 78 News A new component of the Creative Content UK initiative is set to discourage Internet piracy via the classroom. Encouraging students to think about who will pay for Vin Diesel's socks if everyone pirates movies, the UK government, The Industry Trust and Federation Against Copyright Theft have a lesson plan up their collective sleeves."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Pre-crime arrives in the UK: Better make sure your face stays off the crowdsourced watc... - 0 views

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    "You can now be ushered out of a shop, even if you haven't done anything wrong yet. by Sebastian Anthony - Dec 17, 2015 1:15pm CET"
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    "You can now be ushered out of a shop, even if you haven't done anything wrong yet. by Sebastian Anthony - Dec 17, 2015 1:15pm CET"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

UK Anti-Piracy 'Education' Campaign Launched, Quietly - TorrentFreak [# ! Note] - 0 views

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    " Ernesto on December 1, 2015 C: 57 Opinion After a long wait the UK's broad anti-piracy effort operated by ISPs and copyright holders has finally launched. The UK Government-funded program aims to warn and educate illegal file-sharers in the hope of decreasing piracy rates over time, but thus far the response has been rather underwhelming."
Paul Merrell

ISPs say the "massive cost" of Snooper's Charter will push up UK broadband bills | Ars ... - 0 views

  • How much extra will you have to pay for the privilege of being spied on?
  • UK ISPs have warned MPs that the costs of implementing the Investigatory Powers Bill (aka the Snooper's Charter) will be much greater than the £175 million the UK government has allotted for the task, and that broadband bills will need to rise as a result. Representatives from ISPs and software companies told the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee that the legislation greatly underestimates the "sheer quantity" of data generated by Internet users these days. They also pointed out that distinguishing content from metadata is a far harder task than the government seems to assume. Matthew Hare, the chief executive of ISP Gigaclear, said with "a typical 1 gigabit connection to someone's home, over 50 terabytes of data per year [are] passing over it. If you say that a proportion of that is going to be the communications data—the record of who you communicate with, when you communicate or what you communicate—there would be the most massive and enormous amount of data that in future an access provider would be expected to keep. The indiscriminate collection of mass data across effectively every user of the Internet in this country is going to have a massive cost."
  • Moreover, the larger the cache of stored data, the more worthwhile it will be for criminals and state-backed actors to gain access and download that highly-revealing personal information for fraud and blackmail. John Shaw, the vice president of product management at British security firm Sophos, told the MPs: "There would be a huge amount of very sensitive personal data that could be used by bad guys.
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  • The ISPs also challenged the government's breezy assumption that separating the data from the (equally revealing) metadata would be simple, not least because an Internet connection is typically being used for multiple services simultaneously, with data packets mixed together in a completely contingent way. Hare described a typical usage scenario for a teenager on their computer at home, where they are playing a game communicating with their friends using Steam; they are broadcasting the game using Twitch; and they may also be making a voice call at the same time too. "All those applications are running simultaneously," Hare said. "They are different applications using different servers with different services and different protocols. They are all running concurrently on that one machine." Even accessing a Web page is much more complicated than the government seems to believe, Hare pointed out. "As a webpage is loading, you will see that that webpage is made up of tens, or many tens, of individual sessions that have been created across the Internet just to load a single webpage. Bluntly, if you want to find out what someone is doing you need to be tracking all of that data all the time."
  • Hare raised another major issue. "If I was a software business ... I would be very worried that my customers would not buy my software any more if it had anything to do with security at all. I would be worried that a backdoor was built into the software by the [Investigatory Powers] Bill that would allow the UK government to find out what information was on that system at any point they wanted in the future." As Ars reported last week, the ability to demand that backdoors are added to systems, and a legal requirement not to reveal that fact under any circumstances, are two of the most contentious aspects of the new Investigatory Powers Bill. The latest comments from industry experts add to concerns that the latest version of the Snooper's Charter would inflict great harm on civil liberties in the UK, and also make security research well-nigh impossible here. To those fears can now be added undermining the UK software industry, as well as forcing the UK public to pay for the privilege of having their ISP carry out suspicionless surveillance.
Paul Merrell

Report: Germany Spied on FBI, US Companies, French Minister - 0 views

  • German public radio station rbb-Inforadio reported Wednesday that the country's foreign intelligence agency spied on the FBI and U.S. arms companies, adding to a growing list of targets among friendly nations the agency allegedly eavesdropped on.The station claimed that Germany's BND also spied on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the World Health Organization, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and even a German diplomat who headed an EU observer mission to Georgia from 2008 to 2011. It provided no source for its report, but the respected German weekly Der Spiegel also reported at the weekend that the BND targeted phone numbers and email addresses of officials in the United States, Britain, France, Switzerland, Greece, the Vatican and other European countries, as well as at international aid groups such as the Red Cross. The claims are particularly sensitive in Germany because the government reacted with anger two years ago to reports that the U.S. eavesdropped on German targets, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, who declared at the time that "spying among friends, that's just wrong."German lawmakers have broadened a probe into the U.S. National Security Agency's activities in the country to include the work of the BND.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

While US and UK governments oppose encryption, Germany promotes it. Why? | ZDNet - 0 views

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    "Germany wants to become global encryption leader -- but the reasons for its stance are complex."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

The UK's proposed 10-year max jail term for file sharing must be stopped | Ars Technica UK - 0 views

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    "Op-ed: Fortunately, it's not too late to object to the copyright change-here's how. by Glyn Moody - Aug 10, 2015 2:53 pm UTC"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

iTunes is Illegal Under UK Copyright Law - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Ernesto on August 5, 2015 C: 156 News The High Court recently overturned private copying exceptions introduced last year by the UK Government, once again outlawing the habits of millions of citizens. The Intellectual Property Office today explains that ripping a CD in iTunes is no longer permitted, and neither is backing up your computer if it contains copyrighted content. "
Paul Merrell

U.K. Police Confirm Ongoing Criminal Probe of Snowden Leak Journalists - 0 views

  • A secretive British police investigation focusing on journalists working with Edward Snowden’s leaked documents remains ongoing two years after it was quietly launched, The Intercept can reveal. London’s Metropolitan Police Service has admitted it is still carrying out the probe, which is being led by its counterterrorism department, after previously refusing to confirm or deny its existence on the grounds that doing so could be “detrimental to national security.” The disclosure was made by police in a letter sent to this reporter Tuesday, concluding a seven-month freedom of information battle that saw the London force repeatedly attempt to withhold basic details about the status of the case. It reversed its position this week only after an intervention from the Information Commissioner’s Office, the public body that enforces the U.K.’s freedom of information laws.
Paul Merrell

High Court Rules UK's Surveillance Powers Violate Human Rights - 0 views

  • UK's High Court found the rushed Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) to be illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights and EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, both of which require respect for private and family life, as well as protection of personal data in the case of the latter. DRIPA was challenged by two members of Parliament (MPs), Labor's Tom Watson and the Conservative David Davis, who argued that the surveillance of communications wasn't limited to serious crimes, that individual notices for data collection were kept secret, and that no provision existed to protect those who need professional confidentiality, such as lawyers and journalists. DRIPA was pushed through in three days last year after the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU data retention powers were disproportionate, which invalidated the previous data retention law in the UK. The UK High Court also ruled that sections 1 and 2 of DRIPA were unlawful based on the fact that they fail to provide precise policies to ensure that data is only accessed for the purpose of investigating serious crimes. Another major point against DRIPA was that it didn't require judicial approval, which could limit access to only the data that is strictly necessary for investigations.
  • DRIPA passed in only three days, but the Court allowed it to continue for another nine months, to give the UK government enough time to draft new legislation. Although this almost doubles the time in which this law will exist, it might be better in the long term, as it gives the members of Parliament enough time to debate its successor, without having to rush yet another law fearing that the government's surveillance powers will expire. This court ruling arrived at the right time, as the UK government is currently preparing the draft for the Investigative Powers Bill (also called Snooper's Charter by many), which further expands the government's surveillance powers and may even request encryption backdoors. It also joins other recent reviews of the government's surveillance laws that called for much stricter oversight done by judges rather than the government's own members. "Campaigners, MPs across the political spectrum, the Government's own reviewer of terrorism legislation are all calling for judicial oversight and clearer safeguards," said James Welch, Legal Director for Liberty, a human rights organization.
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    The Dark State takes another hit.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Changes to penalties for online copyright infringement - Consultations - GOV.UK - 0 views

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    "The proposed new measures will increase the sanctions for criminals who infringe the rights of copyright holders for large-scale financial gain and will make clear that online copyright infringement is no less serious than physical infringement. "
Paul Merrell

What the Hack! 56 Suspected Hackers arrested in the UK | nsnbc international - 0 views

  • The UK National Crime Agency arrested 56 suspected hackers, including one 23-year-old male who allegedly attempted to hack his way into the U.S.’ Department of Defense in 2014. Not attempting to minimize the potential risks of hacking but how much does cyber-crime actually cost, what are the risks and what about those who hack the data of billions of internet users per day to, allegedly, “keep all of us safe?”
  • Besides the 23-year-old who allegedly attempted to hack his way into the a U.S. Department of Defense site, the other detainees allegedly were members of the hacking collectives Lizard Squad and D33DS which are being accused of fraud, money laundering and Denial of Service and Distributed Denial of Service (DOS & DDOS) attacks.  D33DS stands accused of having stolen data of some 450,000 Yahoo users. The arrests followed the recent announcement about the so-called FREAK security vulnerability that was leaving thousands of SSL sites unprotected. The arrest of the 56 hackers in the UK was reported as the National Crime Agency’s way of “sending a clear message” to the hacker community.
  • The U.S. DoD’s cyber-security functioned, obviously. A recent article by Benjamin Dean entitled “Hard Evidence: How much is cybercrime really costing us” suggests that the money spent on cyber-security per year is disproportional to the harm that is being caused by cyber-crime. Dean, who is a Fellow for Internet Governance and Cyber-security at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University would conclude that: There are numerous competing budgetary priorities at any one time and limited funds to spend on meeting all these needs. How much money does it make sense to invest in bolstering cybersecurity, relative to the losses? …In the hysteria created in the wake of the hacks of 2014, we risk making the wrong choice simply because we don’t know what the current sums of money are being spent on.
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  • Meanwhile, NSA whitleblower Edward Snowden (think about him what you want), would reveal that the NSA and the GCHQ hacked themselves into the possession of the encryption codes of the world’s largest SIM card manufacturer Gemalto. Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program wouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have known about the United States’ and allies mutual spying network Echelon for decades.
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