SOPA Opera

SOPA Opera

Kim Dotcom Resigns From Mega, Now Wants to be a Politician

"Senator Dotcom, could you PLEASE stop grandstanding?" (Photo credit should read Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)

Guess the thrill is gone: Kim Dotcom is resigning as director of Mega, the much-teased storage company that was suppose to replace Megaupload. He’s going to focus on the extradition case he’s spent the last year fighting, some new website, and also politics. Because that’s what New Zealand needs.

Mr. Dotcom tweeted this morning that, “#Mega is in excellent hands. I resigned as Managing Director to focus on my copyright case & a new political party.” The news was confirmed by a statement from Mega CEO Vikram Kumar, who told the New Zealand Herald that he resigned “to be able to focus on the extradition case, an upcoming music website, and to build a political party.” Read More

SOPA Opera

Kim Dotcom Is Pretty Sure His Arrest Is Connected to The Hobbit


Was Kim Dotcom feeling a little left out, after Edward Snowden stole the spotlight? Because as he fights his extradition to the United States, he’s kicking up a fresh ruckus down under.

During a recent interview with Australia’s ABC News, Mr. Dotcom basically accused the prime minister of New Zealand of handing him over to the United States government, just so Warner Brothers wouldn’t film The Hobbit somewhere else.

Read More

SOPA Opera

Techies Waiting to See How Big of a Pain Regulators Will Be in 2013

(via foursquare)

It’s cold as a witch’s tit, the Port Authority was evacuated this morning thanks to a rank gas smell, and one Betabeat reporter just burnt her arm on the heating pipe in her bathroom. Clearly 2013 is already off to a great start.

Oh, and throw one more thing on the pile: After a banner year for startup types getting their way in Washington, the New York Times reports that regulators are expected to tighten the reigns on tech companies in 2013. That means Alley and Valley types alike are looking uneasily in the direction of D.C., trying to figure out what the swamp things in the capitol district will be cooking up this year. Read More

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

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

First the Cat Signal, Now a Bus Tour: Alexis Ohanian Raising Money for Cross-Country Open Internet Campaign

(Photo: Indiegogo)

First came the Declaration of Internet Freedom, a document defending a free and open internet that would probably have moved the Founding Fathers to eye-roll, hard-core, had they been around to see it. Then there was the Internet Defense League, a collection of websites that promised to bond together in the name of the internet whenever the signal of a cat is flashed. And now? Well, now there’s a bus tour, spearheaded by Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, to raise awareness about the importance of a free internet across the country. Read More

SOPA Opera

Video Demonstrates How Bonkers the Raid on Kim Dotcom’s Mansion Really Was

Someone called the cops. (Screencap)

No wonder Kim Dotcom spends so much time taunting the authorities from his Twitter account. A New Zealand news outfit has released the first footage of the January raid on the Megaupload mogul’s mansion, and sounds like Mr. Dotcom’s dealings with the authorities have been aggravating, to say the least.

The video opens with a helicopter landing and the deployment of the officers participating in the raid. The disgorging of black-clad SWAT-type officers and unfriendly-looking police dogs is pretty much the extent of the spectacle, and there’s no footage from the goings-on inside the house. However, the video also includes radio communications exchanged during the raid, and Channel 3 has spliced that with testimony from Mr. Dotcom himself to create a pretty good play-by-play: 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

SOPA Opera

After Thumbs Down from Key Committee, ACTA is Likely Dead in the Water


It’s been losing steam for months, but the European Union’s controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement might finally be down for the count. The BBC reports that INTA, the European Parliament’s trade committee, has ruled to reject the treaty, in a vote of 19 to 12.

After the vote, lead committee member and (and crusading ACTA opponent) David Martin explained that the document was simply too vague and the sanctions seemed disproportionate. Then he got a little grandiose, as parliamentarians have been known to do: “I’m glad that civil liberties won over,” he said. Read More