News Posts matching "Law"

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High School Student May Not Graduate Because he Built a Proxy Server

While some schools do everything they can to facilitate children learning about computers, others draw a fine line between "edutainment" and "security risk". A high school student in Fairfax County, Virginia must visit one of the latter categories. He was pulled out of his Philosophy exam to be told that he may not graduate; he built a proxy server in his (parents') home. Dubbed "Afnani’s Moo Proxy", it was used by himself and a couple technologically-adept students to bypass school firewalls. The administrator of the school networks would not have any of it. He tried to declare the server illegal, despite nothing in the usage contract saying using any proxy, let alone your own personal one, was illegal. When the student pointed out the flaw in the contract, the administrator simply changed his accusations to "repeat network abuse", which can keep the boy from walking at graduation.

The high school student has decided to comply, and has shut down all proxy servers he owns. His personal school computer account has been disabled, but he is (at this point) allowed to graduate.Source: The Inquirer

RIAA Does Not See Need for ISP Filtering

It's not news that Comcast secretly monitors all web traffic for possible illegal activity and shuts down anything that sets off their alarms. However, there has lately been a move to push this ISP filtering one step further, and making it mandatory for all ISPs. Thankfully, the RIAA, known throughout America for taking ridiculous measures to prevent piracy, really does not see the need for the proposed solution. All the RIAA asks instead is that ISPs, instead of monitoring and filtering everything that comes their way, merely respond to the RIAA's demands to shut down certain servers and users, when necessary.Source: Neowin.net

Pirate Bay Faces Charges, Owners Could Face Two Years Behind Bars, Safe Regardless

In just a few hours, the administrators of the infamous Pirate Bay could be convicted of several counts of aiding/facilitating copyright infringement. The country of Sweden, after spending over two years collecting evidence, finally made a case against the five Pirate Bay administrators. However, Pirate Bay aficionados will be proud to hear that, even if the administrators go to prison, the site itself is here to stay. "In case we lose the pending trial (yeah right) there will still not be any changes to the site. The Pirate Bay will keep operating just as always. We’ve been here for years and we will be here for many more."

The reason behind this is simple. The Pirate Bay servers are not located in Sweden. In fact, the Pirate Bay administrators themselves do not know where the servers are (and perhaps that's for the better). Wherever they are, you can rest assured that the site is on several servers across several countries, and none of them are going down for a long time.Source: Neowin.net

United Kingdom Censoring Board to Appeal Manhunt 2 Decision

Just when we thought all the controversy surrounding Manhunt 2 was over, the UK Censoring Board decided to start it right back up. Manhunt 2, the game that almost got banned from several countries and most consoles, was recently cleared for release in the United Kingdom. However, the UK Censoring Board recently brought an appeal of the decision to sell Manhunt 2 in the UK to court. If they succeed, Manhunt 2 will be pulled off of shelves before it is even put on them. The Censoring Board cites "sustained and cumulative casual sadism, unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying, (and) the sheer lack of alternative pleasures on offer to the gamer" as reasons that this game should not be viewed by anyone...at all.Source: Reg Hardware

Concerned Mother Begins Legal Battle on Epilepsy-Inducing Video Games

More and more often, lately, the phrase "it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt" is holding itself true. When one 10 year old boy suffered a seizure in the middle of a game of Rayman Raving Rabbids, his mother didn't let her child become just another statistic. Instead, she's started a legal campaign to prevent more seizures like this in the future. If she succeeds, no game released in the United Kingdom can be played until the game is screened for scenes that might cause an epileptic seizure. While this screening is already required for movies, it has not happened for video games as of yet. As consolation to the boy and his family, Ubisoft is currently testing Rayman Raving Rabbids for said seizure-causing instances. Game manufacturers may deem these methods unnecessary, considering that most games and consoles come with a seizure warning on the box or in the manual.Source: Reg Hardware

MPAA Caught In Copyright Scandal

The Inquirer cites the MPAA as the "champion of nothing good nor right, on a crusade against it's customers for nearly as long as the RIAA." While the MPAA would ordinarily scoff at such allegations, they seem to be right in the middle of them this time. While they frequently are seen trying to get software pirates and copyright violators off the digital streets, they were recently caught violating copyrights. It all started when the MPAA released a toolkit for universities to use in a quest to find potential software pirates. This toolkit was compiled with a lot of open-source material. However, it would seem as though someone at the MPAA overlooked part of the GPL agreement.

Oregon State Accuses RIAA of Spying on Students

While we all know that the RIAA uses questionable and filthy tactics to attempt to apprehend what they call "pirates", who are usually college students and old people, nobody has dared to interfere with their legal might. Fortunately, someone has taken a stand: Oregon State. When the RIAA sent Oregon State subpoenas to investigate the behavior of a few students, Oregon State sent them right back, went to court to see those subpoenas nullified, and accused the RIAA of spying on their students. The RIAA's legal team was quick to claim that Oregon State was "misguided" in their actions, and is preparing to file their own accusations that Oregon State is obstructing justice. The Oregon Assistant Attorney General responded as follows:
Those accusations are not warranted. The record in this case suggests that the larger issue may not be whether students are sharing copyrighted music, but whether (the industry's) investigative and litigation strategies are appropriate.
Source: Katu 2 (Oregon Local News)

France Unveils Plan to Cut Internet Service to Pirates

While the RIAA and CRIA (the respective American and Canadian anti-piracy firms) work hard to shut down piracy sites and sue every old man and college student with a pirated "all your base are belong to us" clip, France has a slightly different approach to getting pirates off the map. The SNEP (Syndicat National de l'Edition Phonographique) recently unveiled plans to cut off internet to anyone that ISPs decide are pirating. ISPs will give their customers "three strikes", and then their internet is cut off. The SNEP believes that this is a much easier and fair way to eliminate piracy, as opposed to the RIAA's infamous search-and-sue methods. French president Nicolas Sarkozy claims that this is a "decisive moment for the future of a civilized Internet." While this move received much fanfare from the various artists and media industries, politicians aren't so sure this is a good idea. Some politicians feel that this move is "very tough, potentially destructive of freedom, anti-economic and against digital history." The main incentive behind this maneuver is to counter the 40% drop in music sales noted since 2002.Source: DailyTech

TorrentFreak Accuses Anti-Piracy Watchdog Brein of Piracy

According to the MPAA, "piracy is the unauthorized taking, copying or use of copyrighted materials without permission. It is no different from stealing another person’s shoes or stereo, except sometimes it can be a lot more damaging." And so, when anti-piracy site Brein took information from TorrentFreak and refused to cite their sources, they did something that children have been taught not to do since their first essay requiring cited sources: Plagiarism. The MPAA also decided that what Brein did could also be seen as piracy. And so, one of TorrentFreak's counsels wrote an open letter to Brein, which aims to "educate the public about their lack of respect for the rights of people who don’t pay them millions." If you would like to read the full letter, please click "Read full story" below.

'The Romantics' Band Sues Guitar Hero

It's no secret that to get many famous songs while avoiding ridiculous royalties (and to also avoid the inconvenience that half the artists included are dead anyways), the majority of Guitar Hero songs are "covers", or similar versions of the song performed by a completely different artist. 'The Romantics', a classic band that wrote such hits as "What I Like About You", recently picked up Guitar Hero 3. When they heard the rendition of one of their songs, and how it was "virtually indistinguishable" from the real version, they sued Activision. After all, nobody had asked The Romantics if they wanted their song included in Guitar Hero 3. The Romantics are seeking ridiculous amounts of money in compensation, and for Guitar Hero 3 to be pulled off the shelves.Source: Neoseeker

United Kingdom Loses Digital Records of 25 Million Citizens

In what's very likely to be the worst technology blunder of the century, the United Kingdom appears to have misplaced the records of 25 million citizens. It all started when Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) decided to send two disks containing the birth records, bank accounts, insurance numbers, and all manner of other important personal information of 25 million citizens to the National Audit Office (NAO). The majority of the 25 million citizens whose information was on the two disks were recipients of Child Benefits. HMRC shipped the information out via post on October 8th, and on November 8th the NAO discovered that they did not have the two disks. While the British government spends their time pointing fingers at each other to properly determine who is at fault (you can read a more descriptive version of the drama via the source link), an American convict-turned-FBI Fraud Investigator is working hard on the case, and suspects foul play.

If you live in the United Kingdom and feel that you may have been affected by this fraud, the government has set up a hotline for you to call. The number is 0845 302 1444.Source: DailyTech

Sweden to Press Charges Against Five Pirate Bay Founders

Prosecutor Håkan Roswall announced today that he plans on pressing charges against the infamous Pirate Bay, on charges of facilitating copyright infringement. The five Pirate Bay founders scoff at the idea, and do not think that Roswall will get the conviction he strives for. After all, the pirate bay only runs a search engine, and does not store any copyrighted material on their servers. The Swedish police already tried earlier this year to blow The Pirate Bay out of the water, but were unable to find any evidence that was usable in a court of law.

Even if Roswall is somehow able to get a conviction, The Pirate Bay founders are pleased to announce that they will simply pack up and move to another country, without any down-time.Source: Torrent Freak

Canadian Police Will Not Hunt Down Demonoid Users; Will Tolerate Piracy

In a stunning turnaround from the staunch anti-piracy position the CRIA has against Demonoid, the Canadian police announced that they are not going to hunt down every Demonoid user. They are also not going to target the average pirate. Instead of focusing on every college student and old lady who downloads a song or two off of a P2P network, the Canadian police are going after organized crime/piracy, as well as piracy that affects the health and safety of citizens. In an interview with Le Devoir, Noël St-Hilaire, head of copyright theft investigations of the Canadian police, discussed the new Canadian stance on piracy. He said that chasing down every single pirate is tedious, time consuming, and generally fruitless. A very simple statement of the new Canadian view of piracy:
Piracy for personal use is no longer targeted. It is too easy to copy these days and we do not know how to stop it.
Torrent Freak discovered quite a few studies that show piracy as having a beneficial effect on the economy.Source: Torrent Freak

Torrent Tracker Demonoid Shut Down by CRIA

There seems to be a worldwide crackdown on piracy, as of late. Demonoid was once shut down by the Canadian Recording Industry Association, and then came back on the promise that Canadians could not access Demonoid. Unfortunately for anyone hoping for a fast and easy way to download that latest Linux distribution, the CRIA had a nasty surprise for the administrators of Demonoid. You can see the nasty surprise on the front page of the website.
The CRIA threatened the company renting the servers to us, and because of this it is not possible to keep the site online. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for your understanding.
This method of site shutdown, called "upstream takedown", was done in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright ActSource: DailyTech

Facebook Staff Caught Spying on Members

While Facebook prides itself in being one of the few social networking sites to respect the privacy of all members, some staff members recently decided to abuse that trust. Said employees were caught analyzing profiles they had no right to look at, reading private messages, and otherwise spying on/invading the privacy of unsuspecting members. Facebook caught on to this violation of trust when members began writing in complaining about unknown people viewing their profiles. Facebook administrators are currently investigating the situation, and will fire those that consider spying on members to be "a perk".Source: The Inquirer

Manhunt 2 Hacks Surface; Unlock 'Removed Gore'

When Rockstar Studios decided to make their game M-rated instead of AO-rated, they didn't actually remove the gore. Instead, they merely hid it within the game. And now, hackers are beginning to find way to unlock this gore. Rockstar owner Take-Two Interactive recently confirmed that the hack works for the PSP, and there are almost certainly beta hacks in development for the other consoles. The discovery will very likely get Rockstar Studios in trouble with the ESRB, as this is not the first time Rockstar has hidden something in their games (Hot Coffee, anyone?).Source: Reg Hardware

New Hacking Tool Uses Power of Graphics Cards

When Folding@Home came out with a GPU client, folding scores soared, due to the massive power just waiting to be unlocked in a graphics card. However, as said in Spider-man, with great power comes great responsibility. Someone has reverse-engineered the power of graphics, and is trying to patent the use of this power to crack passwords at incredible rates.
The toughest passwords, including those used to log in to a Windows Vista computer, would normally take months of continuous computer processing time to crack using a computer's central processing unit (CPU). By harnessing a $150 GPU - less powerful than the nVidia 8800 card - Elcomsoft says they can cracked in just three to five days. Less complex passwords can be retrieved in minutes, rather than hours or days
Such technology could be used by crime investigators to log into terrorist networks, or pirates to get into RIAA servers.Source: Nordic Hardware

Court Convicts Man of Selling and Possessing Mod Chips

Apparently, creating, owning, and selling computer chips that modify gaming consoles is very illegal in Britain. A certain Neil Stanley Higgs, who goes by "Mr. Modchips", was found guilty of 26 offenses of "advertising, possessing, supplying, and selling mod chips." The chips Mr.Modchips was selling themselves seem harmless enough, all they do is allow someone to remotely activate or disable a console. Mr. Modchips was found by the court to have made selling the modchips a very lucrative venture, and had made over £1,000,000 just from selling them. Mr.Modchips plans to appeal the decision.Source: Reg Hardware

America Extends Tax Moratorium by Seven More Years

American citizens can be glad in the fact that once again, the government will not be charging them for the privilege of using the internet. American internet customers have not been taxed for their internet use since 1998, and the moratorium has been renewed in 2001 and 2004. The senate is considering a permanent tax moratorium on the internet, due to strong opposition from Internet Service Providers on an internet tax.Source: DailyTech

Comcast Actively Interferes With File Sharing Services

Comcast, one of the largest providers of cable television and internet in America, decided recently that they were fed up with the huge amount of file sharing traffic on their network, which was beginning to affect the speed of other users connections. And so, they've snuck a little code into their cable internet services. Subscribers of Comcast can download all the BitTorrent/P2P content that they desire without a problem. However, when they in turn try to upload it to other BitTorrent/P2P users, Comcast forbids the file transfer from completing. Whether this is done via hardware or software is unclear. Regardless, this certainly puts a damper on file sharing. While this does stop potential pirates in their tracks, an independent film maker or artist hoping to share their content via BitTorrent will have to find a different service provider to share their content on.Source: DailyTech

Best Buy Stops Selling Analog Televisions in Response to New Broadcasting Regulations

For those of you that still subscribe to analog television services, and still use old-fashioned "analog" televisions, you finally have a legitimate excuse to go to your local electronics store and splurge: by February 19th, 2009, all analog broadcasts to consumer televisions will be prohibited in America. All broadcasts from then on will be all digital. Consumers with analog televisions can approach this two ways. They can buy a digital-to-analog converter box, which should cost about $70. Or, the consumer can buy a brand new HDTV. Best Buy is hoping that consumers will do the latter. To help sway consumers in favor of dropping large amounts of cash to a brand new television, and to make sure that their new television customers will be satisfied for years to come, they've stopped selling analog televisions altogether.
Customers can now be sure that any television they purchase at Best Buy will be fully compliant with the digital television transition. And for customers who aren’t in the market for a new television, we can help you find the best solution to meet your needs
Source: DailyTech

Soldier Of Fortune: Payback Banned In Australia

According to the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification’s (OFLC), SoF:Payback is too violent and gory for the country. Like the Manhunt 2 controversy, the OFLC refused to rate SoF:Payback, making it illegal to sell the game anywhere inside the country to anyone. The main reasons that the OFLC deemed SoF:Payback to be too much for Australia:
  • The game contains too much "high impact violence", which exceeds even Australia's MA15+ rating.
  • The game contains "substantial blood spray", blood splatters on the ground and wall, and the ability for gamers to target specific body parts
Source: Reg Hardware

Pirate Bay Buys Former Anti-Piracy Site

One of the world's largest and well known torrent trackers recently found a new domain name: IFPI.com. IFPI stands for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. While this may seem like it has absolutely nothing to do with piracy, the IFPI is actually the parent organization of the more well-known RIAA and BPI (British Phonographic Industry). The IFPI used to sue piracy firms just as often, if not more often, as the RIAA. Now that the Pirate Bay acquired the address, they quickly took the liberty of re-assigning the initials. IFPI now stands for International Federation of Pirate Interests, according to Pirate Bay administrator Brokep. The old IFPI is not pleased with this maneuver. Fortunately for the International Federation of Pirate Interests group, efforts to regain the domain are going nowhere fast. At this point, it seems as though the Pirate Bay attained a hearty treasure.Source: DailyTech

Led Zeppelin: 'I Wish EBay Would Drop Dead and Die.'

EBay is known for selling all sorts of interesting goodies. Among them are tickets to the Led Zeppelin reunion show. When Led Zeppelin promotor Harvey Goldstein heard about this, he tried to get eBay to stop selling these tickets. According to Goldstein, eBay "basically told us to **** off". And so, in response to this, Goldstein vowed to seriously mess with the lives of the people selling these tickets on eBay. Goldstein plans on messing up the lives of these people by declaring the tickets purchased off eBay null and void, which will cause a nightmare for a lot of hardcore Led Zeppelin fans. Checking whether or not a ticket was purchased off eBay is surprisingly easy, all they have to do at the box office is deny entry to anyone who bought the ticket with a different credit card than they have. The Led Zeppelin Reunion show will take place on November 26 at London's 02 Arena.Source: Neowin.net

Lenovo Fails to Appear in American Court; Arrest Warrant Issued

Lenovo Inc. recently found itself in a bit of financial trouble, and so they were called into court for an Order of Examination hearing, which was supposed to have happened on October 5th. If they had actually showed up, Lenovo Inc. would have discussed with the State of California their current assets and debts. However, since they didn't show, Lenovo Inc. is now in contempt of the Superior Court of California. In fact, Lenovo's Corporate Representative, who was supposed to show up in court on the 5th, now has a $10,000 bench arrest warrant.


Source: The Inquirer
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