US puts Canada on piracy watch list yet again!

Remember how, last time around, Conservative Industry Minister Tony Clement convinced the US to put Canada on a piracy watch list despite us being in last place on a list of 46 countries? Given the circumstances of that particular attempt at sabotaging our country’s standings so baselessly, can you understand why I might be skeptical of the motivations behind this news?

In its yearly report on countries that are not doing enough to protect the U.S. copyright industry, Canada is listed on the Priority Watch List with China, Russia, Ukraine and a handful of other countries.

The Special 301 Report reads:

“Canada remains on the Priority Watch List in 2012, subject to review if Canada enacts long-awaited copyright legislation. The Government of Canada has given priority to that legislation. The United States welcomes that prioritization and looks forward to studying the legislation once it is finalized, and will consider, among other things, whether it fully implements the WIPO Internet Treaties, and whether it fully addresses the challenges of piracy over the Internet.”

Other countries are more lucky.

Spain, for example, has been taken off the list after it implemented a harsher copyright law. Last December the US ambassador threatened to put Spain on a trade blacklist if the country failed to pass a SOPA-style site blocking law.

Weeks later the new law passed.

I maintain that the worldwide copyfight is an attempt to maximize short-term profits for the content middleman industry expressly at the expense of individual liberties. Hobbling Canada’s international standing in a cynical game to force us to pass SOPA-like anti-privacy anti-piracy measures is a wholly unsurprising tactic. Pulling the same tactic twice, though requires that we all forget what happened last time around.

CISPA marches onward with precious little fanfare or opposition

What happens when the government wants to fire a salvo in the copyright war that will, as a function of its broadside, accidentally break the foundation of the internet? Everyone gets upset, from the common folk to the mass media — because, see, everyone uses the internet. Thus, SOPA and PIPA died.

What happens when a whole lot of companies and a whole lot of House representatives want to push a bill that serves as another (more stealthy) salvo in that same copyright war, which indemnifies companies against being sued for any privacy violation that happens when the government demands personal information about customers without a warrant, allowing a completely legal totalitarian Big Brother state that extends far beyond the borders of the state in question? Apparently nothing — because, see, evidently nobody gives a shit about privacy.
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Stop CISPA. NOW. It goes to vote MONDAY.

Here’s an infographic that explains succinctly why this matters. Facebook supports this bill, and has evidently been stripping links to information about CISPA from people’s messages.

Total internet surveillance, without legal recourse. Facebook and other big tech companies are supporting giving information to the government without warrants, so that when they cooperate with the government they can’t be held accountable to the users whose privacy they violated.

If this goes down, my Facebook account will be purged of everything I can purge, and will go dark permanently. Not that it’ll matter, because if the law is passed, using any server geolocated in the US is tantamount to saying “yes, US government, you can have all my personal information.”

Stephanie has some form letters you could use to rally your congresscritters against this nonsense.
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Meet the new internet power grab, same as the old one.

Ladies and gentlemen, I cordially introduce you to the new Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, sponsored by Mike Rogers (R-MI).

I suspect that in name and in deed, it will remind you a great deal of SOPA and PIPA, the two bills we barely defeated by shutting down half the internet in protest. Only, see, this one is actually WORSE. If you can even believe it.

So, say the government thought you were discussing a cybersecurity threat or IP theft — such as illegal file sharing somehow related to cybersecurity — on Facebook. The bill would not force Facebook to hand you over to the feds, yet CISPA does make it so that Facebook will be completely unrestricted (say, by your rights) to cooperate with Homeland Security to the fullest extent.

The so-called “cybersecurity bill” lets the US government into any online communication if it believes there is reason to suspect cyber crime, or a threat of intellectual property theft. The bill defines “cybersecurity systems” and “cyber threat information” as anything related to protecting networks from:

‘(A) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or ‘(B) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.

“Cybersecurity” is not actually defined in the bill.

Emphasis mine. And if I could make it blink, I would.
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RCimT: The SOPA / PIPA protest has had direct results

Harry Reid has postponed PIPA indefinitely after information about who’s doing the lobbying for it came out, and after the protests peeled off 25-odd House reps and galvanized another 50 against the proposed laws. These laws may be well and truly dead this time.

But there’s still some ripple effects to be had.
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Russia Times on SOPA/PIPA media blackout

With all the fooforaw surrounding the Republican race-to-the-bottom, the mainstream media has effectively ignored SOPA and PIPA. This is why we, the residents of the Internet, need to fight it. Yesterday, your access to Freethought Blogs was slightly inconvenienced via a splash page. Your access to Wikipedia was inconvenienced with a Javascript pop-over blackout. Your access to Reddit was eliminated entirely. And even Google censored their logo in protest.

But the mainstream media has been strangely silent.
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SOPA not yet dead

Despite what I said in the title of my recent post, it appears SOPA’s being put on hold by the Republicans was a temporary measure and it will return far sooner than any of us could have hoped. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith issued a press release stating that markup will resume in February.

Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today said that he expects the Committee to continue its markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act in February.

Chairman Smith: “To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America’s intellectual property, we will continue to bring together industry representatives and Members to find ways to combat online piracy.

“Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February.

“I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property.”

Tomorrow, if I have my way, you’re going to have to click through a splash screen to get at the blog. If it annoys you, complain to your local representatives. Tell them hi from Canada.

SOPA is dead, long live PIPA (or: Computer Armageddon, here we come!)

The SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is an empirically bad thing. Cory Doctorow has an hour-long talk explaining the road to this onerous set of laws, this spider-swallowing to catch a fly to borrow Doctorow’s analogy, but the route to this terrible toll bridge on the information superhighway is less interesting than the toll itself. It is a toll that seems easy enough to swallow, like the spider, where all you have to do is accept that companies have the right to assert their copyright and unilaterally have websites removed from the internet. The spider’s consequences on the body of the internet will however be destructive and ultimately deadly.
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