Your Tax Dollars At Work

Last July, they first went after nine who wore the title “pirate” on their sleeves, and trafficked primarily in music and movies.
Then, they took down 82 more for selling counterfeit goods on the Monday after Thanksgiving (“Cyber Monday”). The net was expanded to include those vending “sports equipment, shoes, handbags, athletic apparel and sunglasses as well as illegal copies of copyrighted DVD boxed sets, music and software.”
On Valentine’s Day, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “muscle” division, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), seized 18 more web site domains for marketing fake luxury gifts. Continue reading “Your Tax Dollars At Work”

ACTA Bits Leak; Resistance is Fertile

The veil of secrecy over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is slowly beginning to lift. Starting with a leak late last year over proposed restrictions on digital interoperability (ostensibly making it more difficult for devices/programs to work together without “permission” from the device/program creators), more has come to light since then.
Questions of transparency – not just of ACTA, but of the entire negotiating process itself – are now being asked more pointedly. Especially now that ACTA’s “Internet Chapter” has leaked; in a nutshell, it would impose the U.S.’ draconian Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to all ACTA signatories. Continue reading “ACTA Bits Leak; Resistance is Fertile”

Data Privacy Long Gone At U.S. Borders

Remember the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)? It’s not in effect yet, though some 40 countries are secretly negotiating the final details before its endorsement and implementation.
One of the most controversial elements of ACTA would be participating countries’ ability to arbitrarily inspect and, if they deem it necessary, impound electronic devices (cell phones, PDAs, laptops, etc.) at the border of entry. Ostensibly justified to combat terrorism, ACTA’s main function is to turn the hunt for copyright infringement into a new police duty. Continue reading “Data Privacy Long Gone At U.S. Borders”

Congress Shreds Constitutional Privacy, But It's Not Over Yet

Today the U.S. Senate voted to approve legislation that essentially legalizes the warrantless surveillance of the communications of U.S. citizens. We know such behavior’s been going on for more than two years, when a whistleblower stepped forward to disclose that AT&T had been working closely with the National Security Agency (NSA) – so much so that the NSA now has its own special rooms in AT&T communications backbone facilities. In these rooms are giant, electronic taps that essentially monitor, record, and allow for the analysis of every phone call, facsimile transmission, and all other electronic communications passing through AT&T’s network.
As the largest telecommunications provider in the United States, it is virtually impossible for any communications network traffic to travel from point A to point B without transiting some node in AT&T’s vast infrastructure. Which in effect means that for as long as this program has been going on, we’ve all been under Big Brother’s scrutiny to some degree. Continue reading “Congress Shreds Constitutional Privacy, But It's Not Over Yet”