Archive | May, 2017

The real cost of free WiFi?

EU Observer:

The European Commission, Parliament and Council (representing member states) agreed on Monday to a €120-million plan to install free wi-fi services in 6,000 to 8,000 municipalities across the EU by 2020. The scheme had been proposed by EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker last September. How the system will be funded will have to be discussed and agreed before local authorities can start applying to it.

How kind. I guess a lot of people will be happy. But there might be unintended and unwanted consequences.

First of all, there is no such thing as a free lunch. In the end, this is €129M that somehow, forcefully will be taken from taxpayers.

Second, there must be much merriment within various mass surveillance organizations. This will make controlling the people that much easier.

And if you read the parliaments statement, there is mention of a »single authentication system valid throughout the EU«. This will have huge privacy implications. Can we please have a discussion about this first?

Third, it usually doesn’t end well when politicians start to meddle with what is supposed to be a free market. Is this at all fair competition? What will the consequences be when it comes to developing better and quicker commercial connections?

Finally, communal WiFi run by your local bureaucracy. What can possibly go wrong? Will it even work? How will surplus metadata that you generate be used? By whom? Wich web pages will be blocked?



EU to move on the Internet Censorship Machine and Link-tax

Next Thursday, June 8, the European Parliaments Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) will have its main vote on the EU Copyright Package.

Here a proposal will be hammered out for the parliament’s final plenary vote later this summer. So it’s a very important event. And there are dark clouds on the horizon.

Key points are the EU Censorship Machine (forcing internet platforms to control and, in relevant cases, censor content uploaded by its users) and the Link-tax (a license fee for linking to media news articles).

This is the best – and maybe last – opportunity to stop this from becoming EU law.

Take action, spread the word and please contact your elected members of the parliament.

Julia Reda (German Pirate MEP): Just 9 days left to reject the worst version of EU copyright expansion plans yet »

BoingBoing: ACT NOW! In 9 days, the European Parliament could pass a truly terrible copyright expansion »


Danish ISP:s stonewalling Big Entertainment

Denmark’s ISPs are collectively putting their foot down and will no longer surrender identifying subscriber information to the copyright industry’s lawyer armies. This follows a ruling in neighboring Norway, where the Supreme Court ruled that ISP Telenor is under no obligation to surrender subscriber identities, observing that the infraction of the copyright distribution monopoly is not nearly a serious enough issue to breach telecommunications privacy. This has the potential to end a long time of copyright industry free reign in Denmark, and will likely create a long series of court cases.

Falkvinge: Danish ISPs stop providing copyright industry with subscriber identities »

Torrentfreak: Danish ISPs Stand Up Against ‘Mafia-Like’ Copyright Trolls »


War on terror: We are doing it wrong

Time and time again it turns out that terrorists have been known to authorities before their attacks.

In the tragic Manchester case, there had been numerous reports on the perpetrator. But these warnings were ignored. (This also happened under PM Theresa Mays watch as UK Secretary of State for the Home Department.)

• Manchester attack: UK authorities missed several opportunities to stop suicide bomber Salman Abedi »
• Manchester Bomber Was Repeatedly Reported to Authorities Over Five Years »
• Manchester attacks: MI5 probes bomber ‘warnings’ »

Despite of this – governments insist that the way to fight terrorism is more mass surveillance, infringing on ordinary, decent peoples right to privacy.

This approach is counterproductive – and will make us all less safe.

Clearly, surveillance should be focused on people we have reason to believe are dangerous to others.

And most of these people can be identified, e.g. by their association with others or after having traveled to places of certain types of war and conflict.

Authorities refusal to take a reasonable approach to this issue raises questions about the real purpose of government surveillance schemes.



UK to move against end-to-end encryption after general election

Once again there are indications the UK government intends to use the law to lean on encryption. A report in The Sun this week quoted a Conservative minister saying that should the government be re-elected, which polls suggest it will, it will move quickly to compel social media firms to hand over decrypted data.

Techcrunch: Could the UK be about to break end-to-end encryption? »


G7 Group unite to limit free speech

Dear all,

Please take notice that the G7 meeting just decided to beef up censorship and control of the Internet.

If you make censorship possible at all – sooner or later it will be used by sinister minds.

Please – do not limit the freedom of speech. We cannot silence or put people in prison, simply because we do not agree with whatever they are saying. (Unless they are a direct threat to other people’s immediate security. And if so, only after a fair trial respecting fundamental human rights.)

Giving Big Government and Big Data control over the freedom of the word – that must not happen.



When subtitles attack

Check Point researchers revealed a new attack vector which threatens millions of users worldwide – attack by subtitles. By crafting malicious subtitle files, which are then downloaded by a victim’s media player, attackers can take complete control over any type of device via vulnerabilities found in many popular streaming platforms, including VLC, Kodi (XBMC), Popcorn-Time and We estimate there are approximately 200 million video players and streamers that currently run the vulnerable software, making this one of the most widespread, easily accessed and zero-resistance vulnerability reported in recent years.

Checkpoint: Hacked in Translation – from Subtitles to Complete Takeover »


EU member states pushing for video censorship and cultural protectionism

In the EU, member states are pressing on for censorship of online video:

European Union ministers have approved proposals to make social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube tackle videos with hate speech on their platforms.

The proposals, which would be the first legislation at EU level on the issue, still need to be agreed with the European Parliament before becoming law.

And, under the same scheme, there is a totally unrelated proposal for cultural protectionism:

The proposals also include a quota of 30 per cent of European films and TV shows on video streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Member states will also be able to require video-sharing platforms to contribute financially to the production of European works in the country where they are established and also where they target audiences.

Daily Mail: EU ministers approve plans to force Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to tackle hate speech videos »