Displaying items by tag: Electronic Fronteir Foundation

Wednesday, 14 August 2013 09:09

Copy and Paste Can Get You Prison Time...


It’s time we asked ourselves some basic questions.  How far is too far?  At what point do the efforts to protect our freedoms encroach on those very things?  Some of you will recognize the name Barrett Brown.  Mr. Brown is known in some circles as an activist.  In others he’s elevated to the level of hero.  Those in other areas see him as a threat, as an example of what should not be allowed to happen in today’s world of terror cells and the anonymous spread of… what exactly?

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It looks like the US wants to export something new to the world, now we are not talking about a technology. We are talking about our draconian copyright laws. You remember those nasty laws that the entertainment industry and software companies keep extending and expanding. For years our government has tried to be the police for these groups with laws like SOPA, PIPA Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection act and more. Well they are trying to force other countries to adopt these same rules and using trade agreements to do it. They have already been stopped once with ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) when they tried to remove the rights of individual countries to establish their own laws and are at it again with the Trans Pacific Partnership.

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UT drone

Last week we published an article that highlighted the work of a group of students at the University of Texas led by Professor Todd Humphreys. During an impressive demonstration they were able to bring a commercial drone (the same type is also used by Law Enforcement) down by spoofing the GPS data sent to it during navigation. The flaw was found in just about any Drone that uses the civil GPS system (which also could apply to many other devices) and does not include encrypted GPS applications yet although the research did show that with the right equipment even encrypted GPS systems could be vulnerable.

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eff-introWe have to say that with all of the non-profit organizations out there one of our favorite is the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They have been at the forefront of the battle for user data security, privacy and have fought many battles against the rather abusive (and redundant) copyright system. Now they are doing something very proactive instead of the more typical defense against the increasingly preposterous machine that makes up the corporate world.

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Monday, 12 September 2011 19:19

Another Copyright Lawyer Gets Fined

73It is certainly a sign of the apocalypse; common sense and actual intelligent thought is beginning to enter into the court system. A judge in Texas by the name of David Godbey has fined a lawyer for abusing this power. You see what happened was a lawyer by the name of Evan Stone had brought a suit against multiple suspected file sharers for allegedly sharing a German pornographic film. As it fairly typical in these cases the Stone thought he had an easy target. He asked Judge Godbey if he could have early discovery. Early Discovery is designed to allow for the suspect’s ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to be subpoenaed to get address information. Once the Lawyers have this they send out demand letters (they call them settlement letters) which claim the suspects must pay these fines or be brought to court.

Now this tactic is really is not much better than using the court system as a collection agency. In fact in another case a Judge actually made that comparison when he asked for a listing of all of the money a leading attorney had recently made in file sharing suits. However, while the lawyer in that case only committed basic contempt of court Evan Stone did a little more. Despite Judge Godbey’s refusal to allow him early discovery Stone went ahead and did it anyway.  What happened was that Judge Godbey had asked the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Citizen to represent the accused as he was concerned that they had none and did not even know that a case had been brought against them. The problem is that when the EFF looked into it they found things were not as they should have been.

They found out that Verizon had already given out the information to Stone and Stone in turn had had sent out “settlement” letters to an unknown number of people in this case. Judge Godbey then fined Stone $10,000 claiming that he had “grossly abused his subpoena power”. Personally I think that Evan Stone should be disbarred for his behavior. Perhaps if these lawyers had to face the consequences of their abuse of the law they would think twice about it. I also have a feeling that if we look closely enough we will find out that Stone sent out his Subpoenas to the suspect’s ISPs well before he ever asked for permission.  

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