Tag Archives: SOPA

If you haven’t heard of it yet, CISPA is the latest piece of proposed legislation that’s causing an uproar among privacy and civil liberties advocates, as well as defenders of the free internet everywhere. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act is a bipartisan bill that essentially encourages ISPs to work together with the government to keep tabs on users who could pose a ‘cybersecurity threat’ – or just happens to pirate a file, according to TorrentFreak.

Even though some people have described it as the new SOPA, that’s just rhetoric. But even though the bills have almost nothing in common, that doesn’t make them any less of a problem. Whereas SOPA was unabashedly targeting piracy (for the record, that wasn’t the problem with it; the ends didn’t justify the means), CISPA is focused on protecting private and government networks from hackers and more nebulous threats (which, once again, isn’t the problem).

Despite containing a few provisions targeting piracy, which we’ll get to in a minute, most criticism of CISPA is aimed at the privacy nightmare it threatens to create. Despite co-sponsor Mike Rogers describing the bill to Huffington Post as ‘non-invasive,’ a legislative counsel at the ACLU called it “a new backdoor around the Fourth Amendment… ,” which protects against unwarranted searches. “This is a whole new surveillance program,” she warned.

So, what’s not to love about the bill? According to a summary from the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, the bill “[encourages] the sharing of [cyber threat intelligence].” Privacy advocates are concerned that this could mean that ISPs would end up sifting through web traffic looking for such threats. The bill also encourages sharing of information involving a “theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.”

Now, hacking, especially ‘serious’ hacking between governments, is no doubt a serious problem, but CISPA seems to be going down the same road as SOPA, due to overly intrusive provisions in a bill that tries to address problems that otherwise need to be reasonably addressed. What’s even more disturbing is that CISPA seems to not only permit, but even encourages, companies to actively spy on consumers. Since it doesn’t require a warrant, CISPA could potentially lead to ISPs trying to seek out crime, rather than simply reporting truly reasonable threats. A statement from the Electronic Frontier Foundation hits the nail right on the head:

“That means a company like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or AT&T could intercept your emails and text messages, send copies to one another and to the government, and modify those communications or prevent them from reaching their destination if it fits into their plan to stop cybersecurity threats.”

There’s a whole host of issues at stake here, but if Congress really does want to pass legislation to protect against cybersecurity threats and yes, even piracy, they would be wise to take the advice given by Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council , to Huffington Post, who would “encourage the Congress to craft information sharing legislation carefully with robust protections to safeguard civil liberties and privacy.” As it is, CISPA could go before Congress as early as the week of April 23rd.

CISPA (US): another privacy nightmare?


SOPA hearings to resume in February in US House of Representatives

Even as a number of major web sites plan to shut down their operations on Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, there’s word today that SOPA hearings won’t even be held until sometime in February. In apress release from the US House Judiciary Committee, a statement from the committee chairman, Congressman Lamar Smith, says that the committee won’t begin its discussions on SOPA until sometime in February.

Congressman Smith, a major supporter of SOPA, is quoted in the statement as saying:

Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February. I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property.

The statement makes no mention at all of the planned web shutdown protests that will involve web sites like Reddit, Wikipedia and many others on Wednesday. A few days ago it looked like SOPA was going to be put into limbo but Congressman Smith‘s statement would seem to indicate that it is simply been delayed, not shelved.

The US Senate is also debating a similar bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Even though there was a call from several Senators to hold off on voting on the bill, the US Senate’s Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that the vote will continue on PIPA as scheduled on January 24.

SOPA hearings to resume in February in US House – Neowin.net.

Update: We’ve uncovered that Anonymous currently don’t plan to attack the PSN, but rather Sony employees and websites.

With Sony’s online service hacked and brought down earlier in the year by internet activists Anonymous, gamers everywhere suffered from the downtime of the PlayStation Network and its subsequent hack. Unfortunately, if you thought that it was all over, then you’d sadly be wrong – Anonymous seems to have declared war on Sony, again.

TheAnonMessage uploaded the following video on YouTube:

Hello, SONY.
We are Anonymous.

It has come to the attention of the Anonymous activist community that you have chosen to stand by the Stop Online Piracy Act. This act will halt online businesses and restrict access to many sites for many users. Supporting SOPA is like trying to throw an entire company from off a bridge. Your support to the act is a signed death warrant to SONY Company and Associates. Therefore, yet again, we have decided to destroy your network. We will dismantle your phantom from the internet. Prepare to be extinguished. Justice will be swift, and it will be for the people, whether some like it or not. Sony, you have been warned.

To those doubting our powers. We’ve infiltrated the servers of Bank of America, The United States Department of Defense, The United Nations, and Lockheed Martin. In one day.

For their approval to SOPA, we have also declared that our fury be brought upon the following persons. Justin Bieber. Lady Gaga. Kim Kardashian. and Taylor Swift.

Operation Blackout, engaged.
Operation Mayhem, engaged.
Operation LulzXmas, engaged.

We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.

Supporters of SOPA, you should’ve expected us.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is the highly controversial bill that, if passed, would give the US government and copyright holders powers to block access to “rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods”. But SOPA has received growing criticism by free speech activists and tech companies like Google and Facebook due to the vague terminology of the bill, which could mean sites like YouTube (or even PSLS) could be blocked for having copyrighted material submitted by users rather than the actual site owners.

With Sony being one of the largest publishers and producers of films, music and games, piracy has severely impacted their profits, and have a vested interest in SOPA being passed. While it’s fair to protest SOPA and any company that supports it, Anonymous’ actions earlier this year showed that the group is willing to let normal consumers suffer from their attacks.

It’s important to note that Anonymous have no central leadership, and this video seems to be the only declaration of war against Sony so far, so it’s hard to tell just how many Anonymous ‘members’ are actually behind the new attack.

PlayStation LifeStyle will keep you updated with further coverage of Anonymous and the threat, as it develops. In the meantime, we must reiterate the importance of ensuring your password on the PSN is different to other sites.

Anonymous To “Destroy” Sony’s Online Network for SOPA Support | PlayStation LifeStyle.

In recent weeks we discovered BitTorrent pirates at the RIAA, Sony, Fox, Universal and even law-abiding organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security. By now it should be clear that people are using BitTorrent pretty much everywhere, and not only for lawful downloads. Today we can add the U.S. House of Representatives to that list, the place where lawmakers are drafting the much discussed “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA).

houseYouHaveDownloaded is a treasure trove full of incriminating data on alleged BitTorrent pirates in organizations all across the world.

Unauthorized downloads occur even in the most unexpected of places, from the palace of the French President, via the Church of God, to the RIAA.

Although we don’t plan to go on forever trawling the archives, we felt that there was at least one place that warranted further investigation – the U.S. House of Representatives. Since it’s the birthplace of the pending SOPA bill, we wondered how many of the employees there have engaged in unauthorized copying.

The answer is yet again unambiguous – they pirate a lot.

In total we found more than 800 IP-addresses assigned to the U.S. House of Representatives from where content has been shared on BitTorrent. After a closer inspection it quickly became clear the House isn’t just using it for legitimate downloads either, quite the opposite.

Below we’ll list a few of the 800 hits we found on YouHaveDownloaded, which in turn represent just a fraction of total downloads since the site only tracks a limited percentage of total BitTorrent traffic. Again, this is real and confirmed data that is just as good as the evidence used by the RIAA when they sued tens of thousands of people for file-sharing.

Something that immediately caught our eye are the self-help books that are downloaded in the House. “Crucial Conversations- Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High,” for example, may indeed be of interest to the political elite in the United States. And “How to Answer Hard Interview Questions And Everything Else You Need to Know to Get the Job You Want” may be helpful for those who aspire to higher positions.





Books tend to be popular in the House because we found quite a few more, including “Do Not Open – An Encyclopedia of the World’s Best-Kept Secrets” and “How Things Work Encyclopedia”. But of course the people at the heart of democracy are also downloading familiar content such as Windows 7, popular TV-shows and movies.





And there was another category we ran into more than we would have wanted too. It appears that aside from self-help books, House employees are also into adult themed self-help videos. We’ll list one of the least explicit here below, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.



Although the above is interesting, as the House is the place where lawmakers are currently trying to push though SOPA, this revelation might actually help their cause. If even people at the House are “stealing” content, we really need SOPA to counter it, they may say.

The question is though, whether SOPA will be able to break the habits of millions of Americans, as there will always be alternatives available. And even if it manages to put a dent in the current piracy rates, is that really worth it considering the potential damage SOPA can do to the open Internet and legal businesses?