SOPA Opera

SOPA Virus Kidnaps Computers for Ransom [Video]


Virus makers sometimes create what amount to digital versions of the creepy guy on the corner in a trenchcoat trying to convince kids to get in his ‘police van.’ The SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) virus is just the latest and worst example of this. It’s called ransomware, and it will lock down a victim’s computer and give them an ugly scare in the process.

TorrentFreak explains how the SOPA virus works: Read More

When Copyright's Wrong

ISPs Set to Take ‘Mitigating Measures’ to Protect Copyrights


Some of the largest Internet service providers (ISPs) in the country are set to take steps aimed at stopping illegal downloads.

The penalties can result in the repeat offenders losing their Internet access, though providers say it doesn’t have to go that far.

Wired names the participants and describes the series of measures, called the Copyright Alert System, that will be used to clamp down on illegal sharers: Read More

SOPA Opera

Bend Over For Big Brother’s Deep Packet Inspection and ‘Google-Sized Surveillance’

Surveillance nation.

It may seem that the government keeping an eye on every bit of data flowing across the Internet is an improbably vast form of surveillance, too expensive to manage. Ars Technica informs us that it is terrifyingly easy to nose around inside all our emails, chats and site visits, using a series of functions that include deep packet inspection (DPI). DPI is hardware capability that has been used by no less than that paragon of democracy, the Libyan government under Muammar Gaddafi.

Deep packet inspection is useful because it keeps networks safe. However, it can also reveal the entirety of a web user’s digital trail. If your data flashing through your Internet provider’s routers is like a car going through a stoplight, data packet inspection is performing the function of the traffic cam that captures your plate number. But when used for snooping, data packet inspection doesn’t just snapshot a random packet, it works full-time. This is why DPI’s usefulness in probing data was feared by opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

As Ars Technica’s Sean Gallagher reports, however, deep packet inspection is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to total data surveillance. There are services, Gallagher writes, that offer “Google-sized surveillance“: Read More

SOPA Opera

Look, Up In the Sky! Internet League Launches with its Very Own Cat Signal and a Big Party

Internet Defense League: Assemble.

Last night, Betabeat checked ourselves in with a nebbishy man holding an iPad, rode the elevator up to “PH” with another nebbishy man (a copy of The Leaderless Revolution tucked under his arm) and arrived upstairs at the Internet Defense League‘s New York launch party, just as the OpenPlans roofdeck was beginning to fill up.

It was one of those rooftops that aren’t quite at the top of the world–in fact, we could see the tealights of another party happening several stories up, right next door–but rather one of those that leave you hovering smack in the middle of the skyline, feeling pleasantly loomed-over. Read More

hands off our internet

Hey Ho! Backpage Protesters Hit Village Voice on the Hottest Day of the Year

backpage-cruiser, owned by the Village Voice, is one of the more controversial web enterprises: according to some reports, it hosts 70 percent of the web’s sex ads. On Wednesday night, there were two protests outside the Voice’s offices in Cooper Square. One was led by radical feminists and evangelical Christians who compare Backpage to a pimp, hoping to shut it down the way Craigslist’s “adult services section” was shut down. The other protest was led by Backpage users: escorts, dommes, and rent boys, who say shutting down the site will run them out of business or onto the streets. Read More

Planet Reddit

Loving the Alien: How Erik Martin, King Bee of Reddit’s Hive Mind, Harnessed the Buzz


The top-scoring link of all time on the social news website Reddit is a post that users were never meant to see at all. It is titled “test post please ignore,” but almost 27,000 Redditors found it so amusing that they voted it up.

That is testament to the website’s impassioned community—and their brand of dry, often geeky humor (the site’s logo is an alien, after all). But Reddit’s user base, which a recent PBS documentary pegged as 72 percent male, has wide-ranging interests. Other top posts include a link to a news item about the elderly volunteering to clean up nuclear waste in Japan following the 2011 tsunami, and a Q&A session with the famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Reddit is one of the country’s most highly trafficked websites, but its general manager, Erik Martin, keeps a remarkably low profile. Most Redditors know the 33-year-old Mr. Martin solely by his username: HueyPriest. Read More

hands off our internet

SOPA and PIPA Hang Over Personal Democracy Forum

Rep. Issa discussing CISPA, which he supports, at the Personal Democracy Forum.

One of Andrew Rasiej’s favorite jokes is that legislators don’t know the difference between a server and a waiter. Mr. Rasiej, chairman of the NY Tech Meetup and founder of Personal Democracy Forum, a summit on tech and politics, moderated on stage at NYU’s Skirball Center. Mr. Rasiej faced off with netizens Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA). “Why is it that so many members of Congress don’t seem to understand the Internet?” he asked. Read More

SOPA Opera

Hip-Hop Site Dajaz1 Cyber-Waterboarded in Government’s ‘Digital Guantanamo’


Since Wired first covered the saga of  Dajaz1’s November, 2010 seizure for alleged copyright infringement last week the site has responded to the government’s actions in a blog post heavy with quotes from their “super awesome attorney,” Andrew Bridges.  Mr. Bridges states that the owner of the site is grateful the U.S. government finally found there wasn’t probable cause to seek forfeiture of the domain, but exoneration of isn’t enough. Some super awesome rhetoric aimed at R.I.A.A. and government collusion ensues: Read More

hands off our internet

Okay, Guess It’s Time for Us to Learn What CISPA Is


First SOPA, then ACTA, now CISPA—will the barrage of acronyms attacking the Internet never relent? Even the Obama Administration has condemned a bill that will hit the House of Representatives for debate on Thursday this week: the ominously-named Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or the even ominous-er CISPA. The act is inspiring petitions, press releases and blog posts from the same fearmongering contingent that mobilized the opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act.

“Right now, the US Congress is sneaking in a new law that gives them big brother spy powers over the entire web — and they’re hoping the world won’t notice. We helped stop their Net attack last time, let’s do it again,” reads the petition on the webby activist site The bill is opposed by Obama, Ron Paul, Tim Berners-Lee, online privacy advocate the Electronic Frontier Foundation, security experts and engineers, and other people who have bothered to learn about it. So we still need to know what it is? Read More