Category Archives: Crime

Secret Trade Agreement To Criminalise Copyright Infringement

According to La Quadrature du Net and based on both official and  leaked documents, secret trade negotiations for ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) by the EU Presidency includes negotiating criminal penalties for counterfeiters and copyright-infringers, bypassing the normal legislative system and significantly increasing the scope of “trade agreements”.

My understanding is that within the UK counterfeiting goods and copyright infringment are generally considered to be civil offences and imprisonment is not normally an option (cf OiNK).  However, criminal offences can be punished by imprisonment.  Of course, I’m not a lawyer and I’ve no idea what other countries do.

To be fair, the criminal part of the legislation is clearly aimed at large scale copying of goods and films as it mentions “commercial scale” in a number of places (article 2.14).  There’s a certain part of me that says criminal gangs and organisations need to be dealt with by criminal penalties which is arguably a good thing.

However, this isn’t the point.  ACTA is a trade agreement and should not be dictating legal penalties.  The ACTA agreement is negotiated between the US, EU, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Switzerland, so it’s impact will be widespread and is likely to be adopted into law with little or no debate from countries’ elected representatives.  While we might agree with criminal penalties for criminal gangs, what will it be next time?  Prison for file-sharing teenagers?

Fortunately, the UK Government does appear to have come out against the change in the legislation.  In an interview for ComputerActive, a spokesman for the UK’s Intellectual Property Office said, “These are not appropriate penalties for copyright infringement.  Acta should not introduce new intellectual property laws or offences. Instead, it should provide a framework to better enforce existing laws.  The UK is opposed to the creation of new criminal offences at UK or EU level through Acta.”

The latest round of ACTA negotiation finished last week in Lucerne, Switzerland so further news may be forthcoming.

Apple App Store being Used to Steal money!

If you have a credit card on file with the Apple App store, I would consider removing it immediately. Apple has a very serious problem on their hands as numerous iPhone and iPad users are having charges made against their credit cards in some sort of scam being run. Some are saying some scammer developers are running “App Farms” more like scam apps. One poor user got hit with $1600.00 in charges and Apple basically told him to change his password and remove his credit card from being on file.

Pay attention to your purchases folks until Apple get this under control.

Daniel Brusilovsky is that an Apology or Damage Control?

It was revealed last night that Daniel Brusilovsky an early Teen Podcaster and more recently an editor over on TechCrunch was asking for computer gear in exchange for posts on TechCrunch. Michael Arrington got wind of this, and after an investigation revealed the extortion scheme on TechCrunch, Michael did the right thing in order to maintain the reputation of the site and the other bloggers there. TechCrunch took the extra step of immediately removing all the posts Daniel had written.

I have known Daniel for a while now, initially as a podcaster and was pretty shocked to read the post. I recently saw him at CES representing TechCrunch, how they got an underage person a pass to the event which is supposed to be 18 and above is beyond me. He was also a guest on a podcast we were helping record. I cannot imagine what the host of that podcast is going to do with that material now.

Shortly after the posting on TechCrunch Daniel posted “The Line was Crossed“. Reading the post he talks about letting people down, but I do not see where he takes responsibility for his actions. He pawns of the mistake for his age and while I am sure age played into this, there is no excuse as he knows very well that extortion was wrong. Daniel has been in the New Media and blogging space for a long time he knows the rules.

I am not satisfied with his response and quite honestly it looks like he is more in damage control spin mode. Does his spin and lack of serious apology have to do with the Teens in Tech Conference? At this point his reputation is damaged to such a degree that I am surprised that he is moving forward with the event. If you are going to ride the new media / blogging pony then you have to realize we live life online, and online is were he has to make peace with those that trusted him.

His actions should be a wake up call to all of the other folks out their who are in positions of trust that the internet can giveth and it can taketh away!

FTC v J.K. Publications Inc

I received a check in the mail today for a whopping $27.68 for fradulent web billing activity that happened back in 1998. I initially thought the check was a scam but went to the FTC website and found that indeed the check was legitimate. The story on the FTC website is pretty amazing. The thing that really blows me away is I have moved 4 times since 1998 how in the world did the FTC find me. Even more incredible is that the FTC was finally able to recover money and over 400,000 people are getting checks for around $30.00

I wonder how much I lost initially? Time to dig bank statments out from the time period in question.

Dumb and Dumber

Dumb: ATM owners who use the default password for administering their ATM’s, allowing hackers to get into the machines easily by locating the default password online from vendor sites.

Dumber: ATM owners who don’t change the default password after the machine is hacked and used to give out more money than it was supposed to.

A pair of crooks got caught using the default password on an ATM for the fourth time. They weren’t caught the first three times, but by the fourth time, the police had information from surveillance cameras and had alerted the store manager (where the ATM was located) to the identity of the thieves. So when they tried it for the fourth time, they got caught.

I’m wondering why the ATM owner didn’t just change the default password on the administrative functions of the ATM so it couldn’t be hacked a second time. That would have been the smarter thing to do, wouldn’t you think?

Who’s dumber, the criminal or the ATM owner? I’m thinking it’s the latter.

You can Run but you can’t Hide

Did the individual that hacked Governor Sarah Palin and running mate of Senator John McCain really think he was going to get away with hacking her email.

I also wonder if that individual really thought about the scrutiny that would be brought upon him by the FBI and Secret Service. In all honesty he may have high fived his buddies over it last week and got a good laugh, but did the individual that did this, really think that he could simply hide behind an American based proxy service. 

Nothing like drawing a bullseye directly on your chest. But I bet the 20 year old son of a Tennessee State Representative purportedly under investigation is probably about to wet himself.

While we don’t know if he was the one that did the deed, hypothetically if he did I am sure he is not smiling now. Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press is a great thing in this country and others. But breaking the law to gain information that is reported in the press will probably buy the individual that did this some time in a 8×10 cell. 

If you can’t do the time don’t do the crime.

Google Chrome Browser EULA Shocking

Update: Google has updated the EULA and say the license terms were a mistake! You are now safe to use the Browser without fear of Google profiting from your work.

If you use the Google Chrome Browser you automatically give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty free and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

Google what Happened to do No EVIL?

Until the Google Chrome EULA is changed, I will not be using the Google Chrome browser.

One Laptop Per Child Organization Cannot be Trusted!

Update: In part due to this blog post the OLPC finally responded and resolved the issue. On July 25th the OLPC replaced and delivered the two missing Laptops. I want to thank the help desk team member who took the initiative to make things right!

In early 2007 I ran a series of events that raised money for OLPC. We were successful in raising enough money for 5 OLPC laptops pairs to be purchased.

I ordered 2 units first, followed with 3 more several weeks later. During the long delivery time I was in the middle of a house move, I informed and received confirmation from the OLPC Admin that the first 2 units ordered had their shipping address updated.

But I found out in Dec 2007 that they actually shipped the first two units by fedex to the old address. The new residents of my old address denied receiving them. Conversations with Fedex driver guaranteed the OLPC Laptops had been left. Well I filed a Police Report, Filed a Fedex Claim and contacted OLPC.

Since that time I have received several email’s from OLPC that said they have been working on it. My most recent communications with them have resulted in no response. I have asked OLPC to either refund the cash that was used to buy these units that came largely from donations or to replace the two stolen computers.

OLPC customer support is horrible and I feel that the OLPC organization cannot be trusted at this point. They have not worked in good faith to try and at least communicate with me on the issue even after multiple attempts to get them to move off of dead center.

The least the could do is tell me if the Properly Filed FedEx claim was paid or denied, they tell me they are not going to refund money or that they are not going or they are going to someday replace the laptops. All I want is a answer from someone over their.

The other 3 units that ordered at a later date were all received and have been shipped off to those that won one as part of the promotions we were having.

Your guilty if the MPAA says your guilty if they have it their way!

Imagine you get a letter in the mail demanding $100,000 for having 20 movies in your shared folder that is tied to your P2P application. Imagine if you have no choice but to pay that demand letter.

Well if MPAA had it their way you will be doing just that. Pretty scary that they would think that way. If P2P software applications where smart they would do everything in their power to protect people using their applications.

I do not condone piracy but I do not condone the theory that you are guilty and have to prove yourself innocent. This country was built on the foundation that you are innocent until proven guilty and this notion by the MPAA is absurd.

I should not that their contention is that if they bring a lawsuit against you for having copyrighted file in a shard directory then you should have a default judgment held against you. [TorrentFreak]

Time Warner Cut Access to Usenet

Well first it was bandwidth limitations now they are going to shutdown access to Usenet on their service. It is to early to tell if this is going to affect third party usenet services.

This is simply shocking and while many people have not a clue what usenet is, many rely on the service to participate in over 100,000 discussion groups.

Sprint and Verizon also are going to block access to some Usenet groups.

I am not yet a 100% sure if this means time warner is going to block access to third party usenet services, or if they are going to completely block access to Usenet by blocking Port 119 that the service runs on.

If the block access to Port 119 then this turns into a net neutrality issue among other things.

This stems from people using Usenet to share child porn which is horrible, but what is dangerous here is that they have decided to kill access to Usenet as a whole to stamp out what is happening in a handful of the 100,000 discussion groups. [CNET]