Pirate Bay returns… again! You can’t keep a good phoenix down

February 3, 2015

The Pirate Bay’s back. All of us music/video/software moochers can get back to mooching. Luke Skywalker trashed the Death Star and we can all sleep soundly in our beds again (assuming that your bed wasn’t on Alderaan…).

TPB-ship

Some would say that the whole Pirate Bay thing has been blown up out of proportion. After all, the efforts to close down TBP were a legal issue, to try and stop evil pirates from downloading other people’s intellectual property for free, thus depriving the artists and creators their cut of the dosh. Theft is bad, m’kay?

The thing is, the artists and creators (with a few exceptions) weren’t the ones screaming to have TPB closed down and its admins thrown into prison. Back in 2006, the year of the first Pirate Bay raid, it was widely reported that the raid was “politically motivated and under pressure from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).” The MPAA declared that the operation was a resounding success. But in truth TPB was back online in a few days, and the publicity brought to the attention of the Swedish public the debate about what intellectual property rights are for, and the question of whether the Pirate Bay’s admins had actually broken Swedish law. On 31 January 2008, Pirate Bay operators Fredrik Neij, Per Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström were charged with “promoting other people’s infringements of copyright laws.” Pirate Bay’s legal advisor, Mikael Viborg, has stated that because torrent files and trackers merely point to content, the site’s activities are legal under Swedish law.

So, the first Pirate Bay raid resulted in a lot of computer equipment being seized (including equipment that TPB didn’t even own. From Wikipedia:

All servers in the server room were seized, including those running the website of Piratbyrån, an independent organization fighting for file sharing rights, as well as servers unrelated to The Pirate Bay or other file sharing activities, including a Russian opposition news agency.[13] In addition, equipment such as hardware routers, switches, blank CDs, and faxes were also seized.

Another result of the 2006 raid was TPB taking action to mitigate the effects of future police operations. Redundancy has been built into the system, and TPB has servers in many locations around the world. A lot of countries and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) try to block TPB traffic nowadays: a Wikipedia article lists countries involved in blocking attempts – a list numbering 27 countries! But that doesn’t pose a major problem, as using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) account will usually get around the block. John Gilmore, computer science innovator, Libertarian, Internet activist, and one of the founders of Electronic Frontier Foundation, famously said of Internet censorship: “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” As governments and their ISP lackeys have moved to block access to TPB, online activists and all-round good guys have set up proxy sites mirroring the Pirate Bay. There’s a list of proxies here.

Okay then, The Pirate Bay was raided again on 9 December 2014, seizing servers and other computers and equipment, which resulted in the website going offline. The raid was in response to a complaint from Rights Alliance, a Swedish anti-piracy group.

Was the raid successful in stopping online piracy? I think not. TorrentFreak reported that most other torrent sites reported a 5-10% increase in traffic from the displaced users, though the shutdown had little effect on overall piracy levels. And it certainly had unexpected effects: In retaliation to the raid, a group of hackers claiming to be part of Anonymous allegedly leaked email log-in details of Swedish government officials. IsoHunt has since copied much of the original TPB database and made it accessible through oldpiratebay.org, a searchable index of old Pirate Bay torrents. And on 31 January 2015 TPB was up and running again.

How long will it be before TPB is raided again? I really wouldn’t like to speculate on that. But one thing I’m pretty sure about: if it’s taken down, it’ll soon be up again. The Pirate Bay is more than the 4 guys busted in 2006. As Obi-Wan Kenobi said to Darth Vader: “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Yep, you can’t keep a good phoenix down…

phoenix

Locations of visitors to this page


free web stat


Pop “star” Rhianna wins court case against Topshop… in other news she needs a new hats to fit her swollen head

January 27, 2015

Really annoys me when “celebrities” kick off cos a photo of them has been used without permission.  In the Rhiannha v Topshop case, the mediocre singer complained because the shop was selling t-shirts bearing her photograph.  She claimed that Topshop were making out that she had endorsed the use of the photo. Rihanna won because the High Court decided that despite the copyright licence a substantial number of purchasers would have believed that Rihanna endorsed the sale of the product shirt with her image– because the image was taken from her current album – Talk That Talk – and Topshop had collaborated in the past with trend setting celebrities (from www.fashionlaw.co.uk).

This kind of crap is ridiculous, and demonstrates how $$$ is more important than the facts and the law in courts.  When a photographer shoots a photo of an individual, the copyright belongs to the photographer, whether the subject of the photo likes it or not (this is English law).  As for this nonsense that the public might think Rhianna endorsed the t-shirt in question – that has nothing to do with it.  The t-shirt did not bear any lettering suggesting that the crap pop star liked the t-shirt.

Rhianna, probably realizing that she would be broke in a few years, decided to get a few extra bucks suing Topshop.  Stupid (as you might expect from a pop bimbo with less brain than a stick insect) – instead of taking Topshop to court, she could have got her lawyers to arrange for her to be paid royalties.  But no: the twat tries to occupy the moral highground (and how in hell did she manage that?).

Rhianna after taking a beaten from partner Chris Brown.  Such a pretty look...

Rhianna after taking a beaten from partner Chris Brown. Such a pretty look…

At Shmoosmiths.co.uk,  it was reported that Judge Justice Birss was at pains to point out that no new law was being developed as a result of his findings:

Unlike other jurisdictions (including many US states) there is no such thing in English law as ‘image rights’. In some jurisdictions it is possible for celebrities to rely on extensive statutory protection for their personal brand covering everything from their voice to their signature. In Guernsey it is possible to register such rights. However, in the UK the courts have refused to extend the law to prevent the use of a celebrity’s image if they consider that the use is simply fair competition without misrepresentation.

In the UK celebrities may be able to use existing law to protect their images and reputations in certain circumstances.

So, were those “certain circumstances” met in this case?  I think not.  Basically, Rhianna’s singing skills are leaving fast.  All the silly cow has going for her are her looks.  It won’t be long before those fail her and she ends up looking like the back end of a bus.  So she’s making the most of them while they last.  Hence the court action.

As a photographer, I have the right to take pictures of just about anyone I want to, so long as I am standing on public roads/areas or have permission of the landowner that I’m standing on, and so long as the subject of my photography does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy (as far as I can tell, Rhianna did not have a reasonable expectation.  And, also very important, Topshop had obtained a licence of the copyright in the photograph. Topshop owned the copyright, the photo was taken legally… yet Rhianna still won.  English courts are ridiculous.  Rhianna (and her legal team): a bunch of pillocks.  Fuck Rhianna and all who sail in her.

Another pic of the beautiful Rhianna.  I like in particular that sneer/growl.  What a looker eh!!

Another pic of the beautiful Rhianna. I like in particular that sneer/growl. What a looker eh!!

Here’s another blog post about Rhiana from Mind of Malaka “What do Rhianna and my daughter have in common?” It’s not about this story on the photos… but if you don’t want your kids to grow up seeing Rhianna as some kind of role model, click of the link and read it. Stupid dopey Rhianna fool, she is one big mass of idiocy-with-money…

Locations of visitors to this page


free web stat


Tracking jihadis on Twitter

January 19, 2015

Interesting article in the Guardian, on how social media experts are tracking and identifying foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq. These analysts work for the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), at King’s College London. The ICSR is “the first global initiative of its type” and is frequently contacted by counter-terrorism officers “hungry for information on the continuing flow of Britons to the ranks of Isis.”

The ICSR claims to have greater success in tracking fighters than any government-run organisation, even though its resources and its access to information is much more limited than those available to the likes of MI6 and the CIA. According to the article, Professor Peter Neumann, the leader of the team, says hat blanket surveillance is not effective unless you have the skills to decode the information acquired.

Neumann said that the centre had built an enviable repository of online data from open sources – tricks that the security services are keen to learn and replicate, although the ICSR refuses to hand over data to the intelligence agencies. He added that the databases were compiled using legal means, with no hacking of accounts or even the use of fake online profiles.

“We are using information that is openly accessible to anyone who wants to look. Over the years we’ve become quite clever, but none of what we’re doing involves hacking and obviously we do not have special powers granted to us by the authorities,” said Neumann, who advocates a more targeted approach to intelligence-gathering rather than reliance on mass surveillance techniques.

So the strategy employed by the NSA and GCHQ is less effective. They collect huge amounts of information but do’t know what to do with it. Whereas the ICSR’s more targeted approach yields much better quality intelligence. For example, Shiraz Maher, senior fellow at the centre, has a good grasp on what jihadis are like because he actually orchestrates conversations with fighters over Facebook and Twitter. He says “From an intelligence perspective, social media allows us to gauge their mood and gives opportunities to perhaps create or exploit dissent. Before social media you would have needed to have recruited spies.”

An example of this ability to gauge the mood of ISIS fighters and their supporters is provided by Melanie Smith, another ICSR research fellow. She told the Guardian There’s been some grumblings recently. Some of the British women have been complaining because it’s the depths of winter and there’s no electricity. The water’s been so cold they can’t do their washing and their kids are getting sick.” Obviously, knowledge of the enemy’s state of morale can be extremely useful when planning operations.

"Jihadi John", British ISIS fighter involved in the killings of Western hostages.  Photo from Wikipedia

“Jihadi John”, British ISIS fighter involved in the killings of Western hostages. Photo from Wikipedia

Professor Neumann says that if he had had a larger team 2 years ago, the ICSR would have been able to identify “Jihadi John”, the British ISIS fighter involved in the killings of several US and British hostages. As it is, the ICSR can only assert that the extremist is not Londoner Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, as claimed by the media.

So the experts believe that the approach espoused by Western leaders such as David Cameron and his beloved snooper’s charter is wrong. What is needed is targeted intelligence gathering and surveillance of named individuals. And where will these names come from? Well, if the ICSR has been able to identify fighters using only information that is already in the public domain, imagine how much more they could do with warrants and access to restricted files. This could all be done within the current legal framework, with no need for snoopers’ charters and large-scale trawling of everyone’s communications.

Locations of visitors to this page


free web stat


“Je suis Charlie”: Freedom of speech? How free exactly?

January 13, 2015
If this gets me a death threat, I'm gonna be real pissed off...

If this gets me a death threat, I’m gonna be real pissed off…

So, the Charlie Hebdo murders have brought freedom of expression to the forefront. So, how far does the freedom of speech spread? Can we make jokes about the Paris killings? Can we take the mick out of the cartoonists who were stupid enough to get themselves killed by publishing cartoons of Mohammad, when they’d already been threatened with death for publishing cartoons of Mohammad?

One rule for them, one for us? Hope not. But it’s starting to look that way.

Also, think on this: first of all, the “I am Charlie” thing was meant to tell the terrorists that they could not force the “democratic world” to give up its values and freedoms. But now, David Cameron says he’ll push through his beloved snooper’s charter if the Tories win the 2015 election in the UK. The rest of the fucks are also making such sounds. Screw “I am Charlie”… it’s gonna end up as “I’m a right Charlie” when our beloved democratic leaders take away the rights we have that make us different to the bastards who are killing in our streets. We’re all fucked, at the hands of our wonderful democratic leaders. The wonderful union of last week is falling apart already.

Oh yeah, one more thing: Hayat Boumedienne, the partner of X, was named by the French police as X’s accomplice in the kosher supermarket siege; but now we know she wasn’t even in France when the violence there kicked off. French forces will no doubt kill her if they get a chance (“resisting arrest” bullshit…). Just more of their demonisation of the other, same as the widened search for possible accomplices… rounding up anyone the killers knew. One day it’s “On est Charlie”, the next it’s “kill the Moslems!” Yeah, Western Europe is a real centre of tolerence. Fucking bastard Euro pigs…

"I am Charlie"

“I am Charlie”

"I am Charlie"

“I am Charlie too!”

"I am Charlie"

“And me, I am Charlie too!”

Locations of visitors to this page


free web stat


I don’t just take photos you know…

January 2, 2015

I don't just take photos you know….


Google Maps that tell you where to find your local dope dealer!

December 3, 2014

There have been online services to help you find local drug dealers for ages. The Silk Road 2.0 was closed down by a joint operation by the FBI, ICE Homeland Security Investigations, and “European law enforcement agencies acting through Europol and Eurojust” last month (Nov 2014) – but meanwhile for more than two and a half years, the Russian Anonymous Marketplace, or RAMP has maintained a thriving business in the Dark Web drug trade, offering one of the Internet’s widest arrays of narcotics to its Russian-speaking clientele.

The Russian Anonymous Marketplace... a Russo-centric version of the world-wide Map Dealers!

The Russian Anonymous Marketplace… a Russo-centric version of the world-wide Map Dealers!

So, Map Dealers have done some fancy jiggery-pokery so you can locate cannabis dealers on Google Maps!!( Because cannabis dealing is illegal in most places, the “new kid on the block – Map Dealers – are operating via the darkweb and tor. But don’t worry, darkweb and tor are not magical incantations. If you have computer and internet know-how, a bit of reading around the subject should help you install any specialist applications required, as will visiting Tor2web and https://ahmia.fi/address/mapdnzvn7q4esfko It’s worth the effort, if you want to smoke some weed and the only alternative is approaching strangers in a strange town asking to buy illegal drugs! Map Dealers makes it clear that they are not interested in helping dealers of other drugs – theirs is a cannabis-only service. Maybe dealers of other drugs will sneak in, but if/when discovered they will be booted off the system. No dangerous addictive drugs here matey (yes, I know some people believe that cannabis is a dangerous, addictive drug too, but that’s a conversation for another day…).

So, you’re a stranger in a strange land and want to buy some cannabis? Then check out Map Dealers! Or, don’t check it out! Never let it be said that I condone law-breaking…

Locations of visitors to this page


free web stat


Podcast conversation about mesh networking

November 25, 2014

Very interesting conversation podcast about mesh networking, the obstacles and the ways to circumvent them. Mentions the Open Garden project, a mesh networking utility for Android smartphones and for Windows and Mac laptops (support for iOS is coming). It’s a free app that turns your device into a mobile hot spot. No matter how you’re connected to the Net (Wi-Fi or cellular), it makes that connection shareable (over Bluetooth) to other Open Garden users. Likewise, if you’re running the product but don’t have a connection to the Net, and you’re near a user who does, this service seamlessly gets you online. The conversation describes the military’s application of mesh networking. I think we need the decentralization of connectivity that mesh networking offers. As during the “Arab spring”, governments can shut down the internet in its territory. Mesh networking will get round that. The sophistication of smartphones and other gadgets and the RF power available to consumers nowadays means that a decentralized network that can route around censorship will soon be a reality.

Compared to more centralized network architectures, the only way to shut down a mesh network is to shut down every single node in the network. Image from www.interference.cc

Compared to more centralized network architectures, the only way to shut down a mesh network is to shut down every single node in the network. Image from http://www.interference.cc

Mentions Open Garden, Tropos, plus technology such as utilities meters being part of a wireless mesh network so the meter reader doesn’t actually need physical access to read the meter.

Locations of visitors to this page


free web stat


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 187 other followers

%d bloggers like this: