Even those yanks with their Gitmo crap can get it right now and then… so how come us Brits consistently get it so wrong?

February 29, 2012

I got my monthly EFF newsletter email earlier today, and a couple of things caught my eye. Some pretty important stuff, so I’m gonna tell you about it here:

1. Appeals Court Upholds Constitutional Right Against Forced Decryption. Basically, the FBI seized laptops and disk drives of this guy, but couldn’t access the data thereon because it was encrypted with Truecrypt. A grand jury ordered the man to produce the unencrypted contents of the drives, but he refused, invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The court held him in contempt and sent him to jail. But the EFF filed an amicus brief, arguing that the man had a valid Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, and that the government’s attempt to force him to decrypt the data was unconstitutional. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, ruling that the act of decrypting data is testimonial and therefore protected by the Fifth Amendment. Score one for Freedom, right? Well, it’s good for the Americanos: but unfortunately, since 2007, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in the UK (RIPA) has allowed a person to be compelled to reveal a decryption key. Refusal can earn someone a five-year jail term. How in hell can a country that keeps uncharged prisoners in Gitmo for over 10 years and gasses its own citizens on a regular basis embrace liberty better than us Brits? Please, answer me in Comments. It’s like that film Brazil, or a Franz Kafka story.

2. This one paints us Europeans in a better light (I say us Europeans, because unfortunately us Brits will do whatever America and the rich want us to do, including embarking on illegal wars that lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians and leave Middle East countries unbelievably unstable and wrought with sickening sectarian violence). This particular happy story is about the European Court of Justice’s decision that

social networks cannot be required to monitor and filter their users’ communications to prevent copyright infringement of music and movies. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) found that imposing a broad filtering obligation on social networks would require active monitoring of users’ files in violation of EU law and could undermine citizens’ freedom of expression.

The ECJ found that forcing an ISP to install a filtering system that would identify and prevent its users from making available any potentially copyright infringing files would require “active observation” of the ISP’s users. Implementing such a system would fall afoul of the key principle in Article 15 of the EU e-Commerce Directive, which prohibits EU member states from imposing a general obligation on ISPs and hosting services to monitor information they transmit or store, or to actively seek facts or circumstances that indicate illegal activity.

The EFF note that the dreadfully-nigh ACTA, a wide-ranging treaty that will force laws on us in a backroom-dealing way that bypasses democracy, also seeks to make Article 15 meaningless. Will the ECJ decision affect at all the approaching behemoth? Or will our governments, all round the world, continue to obey the dictates of commerce rather than the wishes of their electorates? I think I know the answer already; but your Comments are, again, truly welcome.

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Wanna share your goodies? You must be a pirate then – keel-haul the varmint!

February 24, 2012

Surfthechannel.com used to be a wonderful site, where you could search for tv shows and movies; links to sites like megaupload.com and novamov.com would be supplied, and us cheap freebie-hunters could catch up on all sorts of series that we might have missed, with free downloads so we didn’t have to cane the credit card to watch the time-lapsed shows.

But now it’s all fucked up.  Search for a movie or TV show on Surfthechannel.com and you used to get direct links to streaming sites.  Now you get Filebox.com, Vureel, iTunes… so now it’s basically a pay-to view site, with very occasional free stuff.

I know Surfthechannel.com must have been threatened by someone – but it would have been far more honorouble to relocate to an overseas server, adjust your link-scanning systems (so you could easily use the “save harbor” defence)… but no, you lay on your back and let Bush, Obama, etc tickle your tummy.

Bad luck, Surfthechannel.com – I’m never using you again; I strongly urge my visitors to stay  clear of your vile site; and I hope to hell you dump your damned URL, find another name and overseas host, and go back to the good ol’ days.  So-called “intellectual property owners” scare you people shitless; and I really don’t know why.  Grow some balls, you idiots.

UPDATE: I wrote this blog post some time ago, but never got round to posting it.  Until now.  The US seems to have declared war on the “pirates”, actually stealing URLs of alleged DMCA-violating sites… so if you point your browser at http://www.megaupload.com, what you actually get to see is

I’m sure there are other hosting sites out there who’ve been hit similarly, but I haven’t actually found one yet.  But one thing I have noticed is a growth of difficulty in finding stuff via Project Free TV.  The Project has avoided DMCA-inspired attacks by adhering to its policy of not hosting any material whatsoever. As the Project Free TV Disclaimer says:

The author is not responsible for any contents linked or referred to from his pages – If any damage occurs by the use of information presented there, only the author of the respective pages might be liable, not the one who has linked to these pages.

Project Free TV doesn’t host any content

All Project Free TV does is link or embed content that was uploaded to popular Online Video hosting sites like Veoh.com / Youtube.com / Google Video. All youtube/veoh/googlevideo users signed a contract with the sites when they set up their accounts which forces them not to upload illegal content. By clicking on any Links to videos while surfing on Project Free TV you watch content hosted on third parties and Project Free TV can’t take the responsibility for any content hosted on other sites.

We do not upload any videos nor do we know who and where videos are coming from. We do not promote any illegal conduct of any kind. Links to the videos are submitted by users and managed by users.

No doubt the USA and its bitches, the EU and the UK, are working out how to deal with this “loophole” in the current legislation.  But hopefully they will fail.  Hopefully the Project Free TV will be able to emulate the Pirate Bay‘s  continued existence.  I’m a little worried that I may have jinxed the entire project by stating my hopes.  But fuck that.  Just remember the mantra: “Hope for the best but expect the worst”.  That way, we should never be too disappointed.

I’m not condoning “piracy” here.  But I oppose the idea that anyone can tell me what I can or can’t do with my own CDs/DVDs.  And as for the rights-owners’ claims that each “illegal” download equals one lost sale… you gotta be crazy to believe that and evil to say it.


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