Tag Archives: Facebook

Facebook Bans Sale of Piracy-Enabling Products & Devices

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/facebook-bans-sale-of-piracy-enabling-products-devices-170525/

Riding the crest of a wave made possible by the rise of Internet streaming, piracy-enabled set-top boxes and similar devices have been hitting the homes of millions around the globe.

Often given the broad title of ‘Kodi Boxes’ after the legal open source software that commonly comes pre-installed, these devices are regularly configured for piracy with the aid of third-party addons.

Easy to use, set-top devices have opened up piracy to a whole new audience, normalizing it during the process. It’s a problem now being grappled with by anti-piracy outfits in a number of ways, including putting pressure on services where the boxes are being sold.

Now there are signs that Facebook has decided – or more likely been persuaded – to ban the sale of these devices from its platform. The latest addition to its Commerce Policy carries a new rule (13) which targets infringing set-top boxes almost perfectly.

“Items, products or services sold on Facebook must comply with our Community Standards, as well as the Commerce Policies,” the page reads.

“Sale of the following is prohibited on Facebook: Products or items that facilitate or encourage unauthorized access to digital media.”

The move by Facebook follows similar overtures from Amazon back in March. In a change to its policies, the company said that devices that promote or facilitate infringement would not be tolerated.

“Products offered for sale on Amazon should not promote, suggest the facilitation of, or actively enable the infringement of or unauthorized access to digital media or other protected content,” Amazon said.

“Any streaming media player or other device that violates this policy is prohibited from sale on Amazon,” the company added.

The recent move by Facebook was welcomed by Federation Against Copyright Theft chief, Kieron Sharp.

“It is great to see Facebook follow the likes of Amazon and eBay in making changes to their policies to prohibit the sale of illicit streaming devices on their platforms,” Sharpe said.

“These days social media sites are more than just a place to share photos and comments with friends and family. Unfortunately, the fast-paced development of these sites are being exploited by opportunists for criminal activity which needs to be disrupted.”

The sale of infringing devices on social media does indeed pose a challenge to the likes of FACT.

While most piracy devices have traditionally needed an expert touch to configure and then sell, in 2017 almost anyone can buy a standard Android device and set it up for piracy in a matter of minutes. This means that every interested citizen is a potential seller and Facebook provides a perfect platform that people are already familiar with.

Nevertheless, recent rulings from the EU Court of Justice have clarified two key issues, both of which will help in the fight to reduce the availability of ‘pirate’ boxes, wherever they appear.

In April, the ECJ declared such devices illegal to sell while clarifying that users who stream pirate content to their homes are also breaking the law.

It’s unlikely that any end users will be punished (particularly to the ridiculous extent erroneously reported by some media), but it certainly helps to demonstrate illegality across the board when outfits like FACT are considering prosecutions.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

MariaDB 10.2 GA released with several advanced features

Post Syndicated from Michael "Monty" Widenius original http://monty-says.blogspot.com/2017/05/mariadb-102-ga-released-with-several.html

MariaDB 10.2.6 GA is now released. It’s a release where we have concentrated on adding new advanced features to MariaDB

The most noteworthy ones are:

  • Windows Functions gives you the ability to do advanced calculation over a sliding window.
  • Common table expressions allows you to do more complex SQL statements without having to do explicit temporary tables.
  • We finally have a DEFAULT clause that can take expressions and also CHECK CONSTRAINT.
  • Multiple triggers for the same event. This is important for anyone trying to use tools, like pt-online-schema-change, which requires multiple triggers for the same table.
  • A new storage engine, MyRocks, that gives you high compression of your data without sacrificing speed. It has been developed in cooperation with Facebook and MariaDB to allow you to handle more data with less resources.
  • flashback, a feature that can rollback instances/databases/tables to an old snapshot. The version in MariaDB 10.2 is DML only. In MariaDB 10.3 we will also allow rollback over DML (like DROP TABLE).
  • Compression of events in the binary log.
  • JSON functions added. In 10.2.7 we will also add support for CREATE TABLE … (a JSON).

A few smaller but still noteworthy new features:

  • Connection setup was made faster by moving creation of THD to a new thread. This, in addition with better thread caching, can give a connection speedup for up to 85 % in some cases.
  • Table cache can automatically partition itself as needed to reduce the contention.
  • NO PAD collations, which means that end space are significant in comparisons.
  • InnoDB is now the default storage engine. Until MariaDB 10.1, MariaDB used the XtraDB storage engine as default. XtraDB in 10.2 is not up to date with the latest features of InnoDB and cannot be used. The main reason for this change is that most of the important features of XtraDB are nowadays implemented in InnoDB . As the MariaDB team is doing a lot more InnoDB development than ever before, we can’t anymore manage updating two almost identical engines. The InnoDB version in MariaDB contains the best features of MySQL InnoDB and XtraDB and a lot more. As the InnoDB on disk format is identical to XtraDB’s this will not cause any problems when upgrading to MariaDB 10.2
  • The old GPL client library is gone; now MariaDB Server comes with the LGPL Connector/C client library.

There are a lot of other new features, performance enhancements and variables in MariaDB 10.2 for you to explore!

I am happy to see that a lot of the new features have come from the MariadB community! (Note to myself; This list doesn’t include all contributors to MariadB 10.2, needs to be update.)

Thanks a lot to everyone that has contributed to MariaDB!

Facebook / WhatsApp: ЕК налага глоба по регламента за сливанията

Post Syndicated from nellyo original https://nellyo.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/facebook-whatsapp-%D0%B5%D0%BA-%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B3%D0%B0-%D0%B3%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B1%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D0%BE-%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B3%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%82%D0%B0-%D0%B7%D0%B0-%D1%81/

Европейската комисия взема решение да наложи на Facebook  глоба в размер 110 милиона евро за предоставяне на неточна или подвеждаща информация относно придобиването от Facebook на WhatsApp. Според комисаря по конкуренцията Вестагер Комисията трябва да може да взема решения относно въздействието на сливанията върху конкуренцията при пълното познаване на точните факти.

За първи път Комисията налага глоба на дружество за предоставяне на невярна или подвеждаща информация след влизането в сила на Регламента за сливанията от 2004 г. Решението на ЕК не е свързано с въпроси, свързани с неприкосновеността на личния живот, защитата на данните или защитата на потребителите, които могат да възникнат  относно Facebook / WhatsApp, нито с процедури на национално ниво в ЕС.

Съгласно Регламента за сливанията Комисията може да налага глоби в размер до 1% от общия оборот на дружествата, които умишлено или по непредпазливост предоставят на Комисията неточна или подвеждаща информация. В случая невярна и подвеждаща инфорпмация е предоставена два пъти – във формуляра за уведомление за сливане от 2014 и в отговора на искане на Комисията за информация от 2016.

Медиите отбелязват, че това е поредният технологичен гигант, с който се занимава ЕК –  след  Amazon и Apple и при  текущи процедури срещу Google.

Съобщението на ЕК

Filed under: Digital, EU Law

Crash Course Computer Science with Carrie Anne Philbin

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/crash-course-carrie-anne-philbin/

Get your teeth into the history of computer science with our Director of Education, Carrie Anne Philbin, and the team at YouTube’s incredible Crash Course channel.

Crash Course Computer Science Preview

Starting February 22nd, Carrie Anne Philbin will be hosting Crash Course Computer Science! In this series, we’re going to trace the origins of our modern computers, take a closer look at the ideas that gave us our current hardware and software, discuss how and why our smart devices just keep getting smarter, and even look towards the future!

The brainchild of Hank and John Green (the latter of whom is responsible for books such as The Fault in Our Stars and all of my resultant heartbroken tears), Crash Course is an educational YouTube channel specialising in courses for school-age tuition support.

As part of the YouTube Orginal Channel Initiative, and with their partners PBS Digital Studios, the team has completed courses in subjects such as physics, hosted by Dr. Shini Somara, astronomy with Phil Plait, and sociology with Nicole Sweeney.

Raspberry Pi Carrie Anne Philbin Crash Course

Oh, and they’ve recently released a new series on computer science with Carrie Anne Philbin , whom you may know as Raspberry Pi’s Director of Education and the host of YouTube’s Geek Gurl Diaries.

Computer Science with Carrie Anne

Covering topics such as RAM, Boolean logic, CPU design , and binary, the course is currently up to episode twelve of its run. Episodes are released every Tuesday, and there are lots more to come.

Crash Course Carrie Anne Philbin Raspberry Pi

Following the fast-paced, visual style of the Crash Course brand, Carrie Anne takes her viewers on a journey from early computing with Lovelace and Babbage through to the modern-day electronics that power our favourite gadgets such as tablets, mobile phones, and small single-board microcomputers…

The response so far

A few members of the Raspberry Pi team recently attended VidCon Europe in Amsterdam to learn more about making video content for our community – and also so I could exist in the same space as the Holy Trinity, albeit briefly.

At VidCon, Carrie Anne took part in an engaging and successful Women in Science panel with Sally Le Page, Viviane Lalande, Hana Shoib, Maddie Moate, and fellow Crash Course presenter Dr. Shini Somara. I could see that Crash Course Computer Science was going down well from the number of people who approached Carrie Anne to thank her for the course, from those who were learning for the first time to people who were rediscovering the subject.

Crash Course Carrie Anne Philbin Raspberry Pi

Take part in the conversation

Join in the conversation! Head over to YouTube, watch Crash Course Computer Science, and join the discussion in the comments.

Crash Course Carrie Anne Philbin Raspberry Pi

You can also follow Crash Course on Twitter for release updates, and subscribe on YouTube to get notifications of new content.

Oh, and who can spot the sneaky Raspberry Pi in the video introduction?

“Cheers!”

Crash Course Computer Science Outtakes

In which Carrie Anne presents a new sing-a-long format and faces her greatest challenge yet – signing off an episode. Want to find Crash Course elsewhere on the internet? Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/YouTubeCrashCourse Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/TheCrashCourse Tumblr – http://thecrashcourse.tumblr.com Support Crash Course on Patreon: http://patreon.com/crashcourse CC Kids: http://www.youtube.com/crashcoursekids Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios The Latest from PBS Digital Studios: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1mtdjDVOoOqJzeaJAV15Tq0tZ1vKj7ZV We’ve got merch!

The post Crash Course Computer Science with Carrie Anne Philbin appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

WannaBark (at the Moon)

Post Syndicated from Йовко Ламбрев original https://yovko.net/wannabark/

Не. Няма да пиша за ИскаПлаче. Вече много се изписа – и както обикновено малка част си струваше четенето.

Проблемът е много по-голям от раздуханата случка. А резюмето е, че сме прецакани. Генерално сме прецакани! Нещо, което си повтаряме от време на време из технологичните среди, но е крайно време да го обясним с човешки думи на всички и да започнем някак да поправяме нещата.

Интернет е лабораторно чедо. Няма някакъв съвършен имунитет. Роди се и проходи в среда на академична романтика, обгрижвано с наивната добронамереност на първосъздателите и първопотребителите си. До скоро (в Интернет) все още беше донякъде вярно, че мнозинството по принцип е рационално, що-годе грамотно, а полезното и смисленото естествено ще надделяват над глупостта и враждебността. Вече не е така. Приказката свърши!

Време е да се събудим и да признаем, че доброто няма да победи злото по подразбиране, без да му помогнем.

Свързани сме. Всички. Повече от всякога. И затова трябва да осъзнаваме отговорността си един към друг. Както когато сме пипнали грип, не си стоим вкъщи само за да се излекуваме по-бързо, а и за да ограничим заразата сред останалите – така и не можем в наши дни да си позволим да ползваме компютър, смартфон и софтуер, който е стар и изоставен от поддръжка – защото сме уязвими не само ние, но застрашаваме и останалите.

Както някой сполучливо обобщи тези дни в twitter: „Не е вярно, че не можеш да си позволиш да обновяваш. Не можеш да си позволиш да не обновяваш!“

Системите, които ползваме явно или невидимо около нас, ще стават все по-свързани и отговорността да ги опазим е обща. Тя включва и да изискваме отговорност – от себе си, от операторите, от правителствата.

WannaCry нямаше да има този ефект, ако пострадалите бяха обновили софтуера си. Затова, когато на телефона или какъвто и да е компютър или умно устройство изгрее обновление, за бога, не го пренебрегвайте! Да, понякога може да е досадно. Не е много забавно и да си миеш зъбите, но е силно препоръчително и полезно за здравето.

Но… дори и от утре всички да започнем стриктно да спазваме това, то пак няма да е достатъчно, ако срещу себе си имаме правителства и организации, които злоупотребяват. WannaCry е производна на уязвимост в Windows, която Агенцията за сигурност на Съединените щати е открила, но вместо да уведоми за това Microsoft, неясно колко време се е възползвала от нея, за да прониква в чужди системи и да проследява и краде данни от тях. Кракерска групировка ги открадна пък от тях преди време, публикува присвоения арсенал – и ето – бързо се намери някой, който да го използва с користна цел.

Такива случки тепърва ще зачестяват. И ако правителствата ни играят срещу нас… няма да е никак весело.

Нужна е глобална, масова и упорита съпротива срещу практиката да се пазят в тайна уязвимости.

Играем и една друга рискована игра. Ежедневно. С великодушно безразличие за мащаба и ефекта на проблема. Смартфоните и таблетите ни също са компютри, а огромна част от производителите им, увлечени от стремежа за повече продажби на нови модели, бързат да „пенсионират“ старите, спирайки обновленията за тях, притискайки клиентите си да сменят устройството си. Това обаче не се случва така, както на производителите им се иска, и по-старите устройства продължават да бъдат ползвани без обновления, с уязвимости, препродават се на вторичен пазар, преотстъпват се на деца, роднини или по-възрастни хора. Докато един ден… нещо като WannaCry ще направи и от това новина… или тихо ще отмъква данни – телефонни номера, съобщения, снимки, пароли, кредитни карти, всевъзможна лична информация… И понеже сме толкова свързани – ще пострадат не само притежателите на пробити устройства, а косвено и тези, с които те са в някакви взаимоотношения.

Най-лошият пример са старите телефони и таблети с Android, за които Google няма механизъм да принуди производителите им да се грижат по-добре и по-адекватно и продължително за тях.

Огледайте се около себе си и вижте колко ваши познати използват много стари устройства.

За кошмарната сигурност на доста IoT джаджи за автоматизация и управление на умни домове и производства дори не ми се отваря тема.

Но като споменах Google… Необходим ни е нов, променен Интернет!

Централизираният модел на гигантски силози с информация, които пълним всички, но контрол върху тях имат малцина, е фундаментално сбъркан.

И тук проблемът не опира само до сигурност, защото пробив в такава система директно се проектира върху много хора, които разчитат на нея. Имаме и вторичен, но много сериозен проблем, свързан със зависимостта ни от нея и злоупотребата с данните ни там.

Подхлъзвайки ни да ползваме „безплатните“ услуги на Google, Facebook и подобните им… те ни обричат на зависимост и контрол. Елегантно се оказва, че данните, които им поверяваме, не са наши данни, а техни. Те ги използват, за да ни профилират, да отгатват интересите ни, темите към които имаме чувствителност, манипулират ни с тях, продават ги, за да ни манипулират и други. Това е цената на „безплатното“.

Както казва Aral Balkan (вече два пъти беше и в България) – това не е data farming, а people farming, защото нашите данни това сме самите ние. А пренебрежителното махване с ръка, че няма какво да крием, е престъпление към общността ни (пак да акцентирам) в нашия свързан свят, защото пък както казва Edward Snowden: „Да нямаш нужда от лична неприкосновеност, защото нямало какво да криеш, е като да нямаш нужда от право на свободна воля, защото няма какво да кажеш.“

Права = Сила

И борбата за тях (трябва да) е непрекъсната.

  • Трябва да си върнем контрола върху дигиталното ни Аз в Интернет. Да редуцираме до минимум използването на безплатни услуги, които събират данни.
  • Да приемем грижата за сигурността на софтуера и устройствата ни като част от личната ни хигиена.
  • Да възпитаваме чувствителност към манипулациите в Интернет и особено към фалшивите новини и некачествената журналистика.
  • Да настояваме за прозрачност от правителствата, организациите, политиците и корпорациите.
  • Да предпочитаме децентрализирани или фокусирани (в едно нещо) услуги, вместо глобални конгломерати със стремеж към монопол в колкото се може повече теми (напр. ProtonMail или FastMail вместо Gmail, собствени блогове вместо Facebook и др.)
  • Да използваме по-малки, децентрализирани платформи (медийни, за услуги, за комуникация) и да ги подкрепяме финансово, а когато можем – и да стартираме собствени такива.
  • Да надвиваме индивидуализма си и да се подкрепяме взаимно в общността си.
  • Да обучаваме и призоваваме повече хора да правят същото…

Бъдещето принадлежи не на големите мастодонти, а на мрежи от малки, взаимносвързани, независими и подкрепящи се проекти, които случваме заедно. Колкото по-рано осъзнаем тенденцията и силата си, толкова по-добре.

Снимка: Markus Spiske

ЕС: Facebook и личните данни

Post Syndicated from nellyo original https://nellyo.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/%D0%B5%D1%81-facebook-%D0%B8-%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%87%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B5-%D0%B4%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BD%D0%B8/

На Facebook е наложена глоба от 150 000 евро във Франция. Френският регулатор в областта на личните данни  CNIL  констатира шест нарушения, включително събиране на информация за потребителите за реклама “без правно основание”. Установено е проследяване на потребителите, докато сърфират в мрежата. Потребителите нямат контрол върху използването на личните им данни, според  изявление на регулатора от 16 май 2017. 

FT съобщава, че подобно е становището на регулатора в Белгия, в Холандия е установено разполагане на реклами според заявените сексуални предпочитания, а WhatsApp е глобена 3 милиона евро в Италия – тъй като условията за ползване включват задължително съгласие  за обмен на данни с Facebook, компанията – собственик на WhatsApp.

Френският регулатор работи съвместно с регулаторите в областта на личните данни в Холандия, Германия, Белгия, Испания и др.

Източник FT

Filed under: Digital, EU Law

Данните за детските надбавки и какво може да научим от тях

Post Syndicated from Боян Юруков original http://yurukov.net/blog/2017/detski-nadbavki/

В България има демографски проблем. Писал съм доста за него и за това как се спекулира с темата. Едно твърдение, което често ще срещнете е, че някои хора – най-вече ромите – раждат по много деца с цел да точат социални помощи. Тезата продължава с това, че въпреки ниското образование, те са доста организирани и заобикалят правилата, за да получават баснословни суми от държавата. Това е позиция, която се споделя от доста хора, сред които най-притеснително изглежда е и новият заместник министър-председател по демографска политика.

Има няколко добри разяснения защо това е мит. Един публикуван в последните дни ще намерите във Facebook. Аз обаче ще засегна един аспект – детските надбавки. Такива през 2016-та са получавали домакинства със среден доход под 350 лв. на месец. Надбавките в такъв случай са били 37 лв. за едно дете, 85 за две, 130 лв. за три и т.н. Не се дават пари за деца, които не посещават училище или не са напълно имунизирани.

За изминалата година 426559 жени са получавали надбавки за 662217 деца. Това представлява 55.8% от всички деца живеещи в страната. Получих справката по общини след заявление по ЗДОИ до Министерството на труда и социалната политика. Има различни начини как може да съпоставим средните нива на раждаемост в различни части на страната с получаващите детски надбавки. Когато нямаме достъп до детайлите за всеки отделен случай, може само да търсим корелация между различните стойности. Корелацията, разбира се, не означава причинно-следствена връзка, но липсата ѝ най-често показва, че свързаност няма или е достатъчно слаба. Именно това ще илюстрирам тук.

Бедност, не етнос

На следната графика виждате тоталният коефициент на плодовитост в синьо (лявата скала) по области. Той означава колко деца се очаква да има една жена през живота си съдейки по данните от 2016-та. В червено (дясната скала) съм показал разликата между броя деца, които имат жените в региона и за колко получават детски надбавки.

Виждаме, че в столицата жените имат по 1.27 деца. Жените, на които се изплащат надбавки обаче получават такива за 1.51 деца или 19% повече. Това е белег, че домакинствата с ниски доходи имат повече деца от средното за града. В другия край на скалата е Сливен, където средно жените имат по 2.24 деца. Тези, които получават надбавки обаче, ги получават за 1.74 деца. Това не означава непременно, че само жени с по-малко деца получават надбавки. Друг фактор е, че в доста домакинства по едно или две деца не отговарят на критериите – или са отпаднали от училище, или нямат пълен набор имунизации.

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Всъщност, с изключение на Ямбол и Сливен, в повечето общини майките получават детски надбавки средно за 1.50-1.55 деца в домакинството. Толкова е средният коефициент на плодовитост в страната. В Ямбол и Сливен е около 1.7 деца, но се вижда и че за много деца не се получават надбавки. Това оборва в известен смисъл мита, че семейства от малцинствата раждат по много деца и мамят системата, само и само за да точат социални помощи. Видимо това не се случва и мерките работят.

Следната графика илюстрира това по още един начин. Подредил съм областите по процент ромско население според преброяването през 2011-та (дясна скала). Отново в синьо е коефициента на плодовитост, а в червено – броят деца, за които се получава надбавки. В Монтана има най-много роми в страната, но и двата коефициента са на нивото на Плевен, където ромите са три пъти по-малко. Аналогично нещо виждаме в Добрич, където плодовитостта и получаващите надбавки са на нивата на Смолян при 19 пъти разлика в дяла на ромското население.

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От това ясно се вижда, че не говорим за проблем с етноса като цяло, а с опредени региони. Няма съмнение, че раждаемостта сред ромите е висока и че има сериозни проблеми с достъпа до здравни услуги, както и сексуално образование. От възрастовото разпределение при преброяването това стана пределно ясно. В същото време се спекулира много за измеренията на тези проблеми. Това отново са неща, които лесно биха могли да се проверят и опровергаят – нещо, което съм правил многократно тук.

Още една илюстрация за това е разбивката по общини. Знаейки колко деца са живели във всяка и за колко са получени надбавки, може да преценим какъв дял от домакинствата попадат в изискванията – под 350 лв. доход на член от семейството. Това е един начин да преценим колко бедна е една община. Разбира се, това е индикативно, защото може да се получава надбавки за деца и над 18 годишна възраст когато са все още в гимназия. Тези случаи обаче са много малко и разликата е пренебрежима. Подредил съм общините по процент от децата живеещи там, за които се получават надбавки. В единият край на скалата е Столична община с 30% следвана от Божурище с 35%. В другият край са Трекляно и Маджарово с 95%.

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Нарочно не съм показал имената на общините на картата – искам да потърсите тенденция и корелация в данните. Истината е, че такава почти няма. Наистина, при по-бедните общини се вижда повишение на броя деца на майка, за които се получават надбавки. Въпреки това, се виждат силни вариации между тях с коефициент на плодовитост между 1.35 и 1.75 в общини с иначе еднакви показатели. В жълто също така се вижда отново процентът ромско население. Отново тук ясна корелация отново липсва.

Нещо, което явно работи

Понякога същността на данните не е това, което виждаме в тях, а това, което не виждаме. Целта ми тук е да покажа, че поне отнасяйки се до детските надбавки, определено не може да се твърди, че сегашната система се експлоатира по някакъв начин. Точно обратното – изглежда изпълнява доста добре целта си да санкционира напускащите училище и пропусналите имунизации подпомагайки на родители с повече деца в бедни региони. Сумата наистина е малка, но за някои семейства може е от съществено значение.

Тези надбавки са и една мярка, която изглежда всеки се опитва да променя. Лесно е, не струва много и смесено с популистка реторика може да донесе добри политически дивиденти. Проблемът обаче е, че изглежда често в тази реторика не се засягат изложените до тук данни. Съмнявам се, че дори се гледат или разбират по време на обсъжданията.

Вместо това, ако наистина някой иска да прави промени, следва да се запитаме защо има въобще горна граница на доходите за получаването им. Също така, ако все пак е нужна, защо не е диференцирана на регионален принцип спрямо средните доходи? Ако обаче наистина някой иска да подпомогне раждаемостта чрез административни мерки, то защо не се затегне контролът върху фирмите, които уволняват бременни жени? Толкова масова е практиката, че вече се смята почти за нормално. За целта не трябват много повече средства – просто Инспекция по труда и НАП да си вършат работата. Или пък да се направи повече за градините, за улесняване на студентките, които са решили да имат деца по време на следването и прочие. Тези неща обаче са трудни и никой не ги подхваща сериозно.

Затова слушаме само за детските надбавки. Привидно е разбираемо като материя, но явно не е. Когато не боравим с реални данни, предразсъдъците надделяват, решенията са грешни и ефектът е обратен. За съжаление не очаквам нищо различно от новия ни министър.

The Quick vs. the Strong: Commentary on Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/05/the_quick_vs_th.html

Technological advances change the world. That’s partly because of what they are, but even more because of the social changes they enable. New technologies upend power balances. They give groups new capabilities, increased effectiveness, and new defenses. The Internet decades have been a never-ending series of these upendings. We’ve seen existing industries fall and new industries rise. We’ve seen governments become more powerful in some areas and less in others. We’ve seen the rise of a new form of governance: a multi-stakeholder model where skilled individuals can have more power than multinational corporations or major governments.

Among the many power struggles, there is one type I want to particularly highlight: the battles between the nimble individuals who start using a new technology first, and the slower organizations that come along later.

In general, the unempowered are the first to benefit from new technologies: hackers, dissidents, marginalized groups, criminals, and so on. When they first encountered the Internet, it was transformative. Suddenly, they had access to technologies for dissemination, coordination, organization, and action — things that were impossibly hard before. This can be incredibly empowering. In the early decades of the Internet, we saw it in the rise of Usenet discussion forums and special-interest mailing lists, in how the Internet routed around censorship, and how Internet governance bypassed traditional government and corporate models. More recently, we saw it in the SOPA/PIPA debate of 2011-12, the Gezi protests in Turkey and the various “color” revolutions, and the rising use of crowdfunding. These technologies can invert power dynamics, even in the presence of government surveillance and censorship.

But that’s just half the story. Technology magnifies power in general, but the rates of adoption are different. Criminals, dissidents, the unorganized — all outliers — are more agile. They can make use of new technologies faster, and can magnify their collective power because of it. But when the already-powerful big institutions finally figured out how to use the Internet, they had more raw power to magnify.

This is true for both governments and corporations. We now know that governments all over the world are militarizing the Internet, using it for surveillance, censorship, and propaganda. Large corporations are using it to control what we can do and see, and the rise of winner-take-all distribution systems only exacerbates this.

This is the fundamental tension at the heart of the Internet, and information-based technology in general. The unempowered are more efficient at leveraging new technology, while the powerful have more raw power to leverage. These two trends lead to a battle between the quick and the strong: the quick who can make use of new power faster, and the strong who can make use of that same power more effectively.

This battle is playing out today in many different areas of information technology. You can see it in the security vs. surveillance battles between criminals and the FBI, or dissidents and the Chinese government. You can see it in the battles between content pirates and various media organizations. You can see it where social-media giants and Internet-commerce giants battle against new upstarts. You can see it in politics, where the newer Internet-aware organizations fight with the older, more established, political organizations. You can even see it in warfare, where a small cadre of military can keep a country under perpetual bombardment — using drones — with no risk to the attackers.

This battle is fundamental to Cory Doctorow’s new novel Walkaway. Our heroes represent the quick: those who have checked out of traditional society, and thrive because easy access to 3D printers enables them to eschew traditional notions of property. Their enemy is the strong: the traditional government institutions that exert their power mostly because they can. This battle rages through most of the book, as the quick embrace ever-new technologies and the strong struggle to catch up.

It’s easy to root for the quick, both in Doctorow’s book and in the real world. And while I’m not going to give away Doctorow’s ending — and I don’t know enough to predict how it will play out in the real world — right now, trends favor the strong.

Centralized infrastructure favors traditional power, and the Internet is becoming more centralized. This is true both at the endpoints, where companies like Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon control much of how we interact with information. It’s also true in the middle, where companies like Comcast increasingly control how information gets to us. It’s true in countries like Russia and China that increasingly legislate their own national agenda onto their pieces of the Internet. And it’s even true in countries like the US and the UK, that increasingly legislate more government surveillance capabilities.

At the 1996 World Economic Forum, cyber-libertarian John Perry Barlow issued his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” telling the assembled world leaders and titans of Industry: “You have no moral right to rule us, nor do you possess any methods of enforcement that we have true reason to fear.” Many of us believed him a scant 20 years ago, but today those words ring hollow.

But if history is any guide, these things are cyclic. In another 20 years, even newer technologies — both the ones Doctorow focuses on and the ones no one can predict — could easily tip the balance back in favor of the quick. Whether that will result in more of a utopia or a dystopia depends partly on these technologies, but even more on the social changes resulting from these technologies. I’m short-term pessimistic but long-term optimistic.

This essay previously appeared on Crooked Timber.

ExtraTorrent Suffers Extended Downtime

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/extratorrent-suffers-extended-downtime-170515/

extratorrentWith millions of daily visitors ExtraTorrent is the second largest torrent site, trailing only behind The Pirate Bay.

However, for almost a day now visitors have been unable to reach the site. Those who try to access it see a Cloudflare notification instead, suggesting that the site’s servers are down.

TorrentFreak reached out to the site’s operator a while ago, but thus far we haven’t heard back. The site’s official Facebook page doesn’t have any updates on the situation either.

ExtraTorrent is down

While users may fear the worst, for now the most likely explanation is that the site is down as the result of a technical problem. The site’s domain names are operating as they should, but there might be an issue with the server.

Although ExtraTorrent is offline, several release groups connected to the site are still operating. The popular TV distribution groups EtHD and ettv continue to release content through other sites, including The Pirate Bay.

ExtraTorrent’s image hosting site ExtraImage is also up and running, as usual.

If we hear more about the current downtime, we will update the article accordingly. For the time being, however, ExtraTorrent users will have to get their torrent fix elsewhere.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Landmark Usenet Piracy Verdict Stands, Despite RIAA and MPAA Protests

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/landmark-usenet-piracy-verdict-stands-despite-riaa-and-mpaa-protests-170510/

Adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 has made a business out of suing online services for allegedly facilitating copyright infringement.

Over the past several years the company has targeted a dozen high-profile companies including Google, Amazon, Yandex, MasterCard, Visa, Leaseweb, RapidShare, Depositfiles and Giganews.

Private settlements aside the legal campaigns haven’t been particularly successful for the publisher. Last year Perfect 10 lost another battle against Giganews, with the court ordering the company to pay $5.6 million in legal fees, a decision which was upheld by the court of appeals.

While the parties involved are not the biggest names, the case itself has drawn the interest of key players in the movie and music industries, as well as several tech giants.

This became apparent once again when Perfect 10 asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing a few weeks ago. Soon after this request was submitted, both the MPAA and RIAA chimed in with their support.

The copyright industry groups were particularly concerned with the panel’s decision that Giganews is not liable for vicarious infringement, because there was no evidence indicating that anyone subscribed to Giganews to download pirated Perfect 10 material.

“Indeed, Perfect 10 provides evidence that suggests only that some subscribers joined Giganews to access infringing material generally; Perfect 10 does not proffer evidence showing that Giganews attracted subscriptions because of the infringing Perfect 10 material,” it read.

According to the MPAA and RIAA, this finding goes against existing case law, so they asked for a rehearing. According to the groups, it should be enough to simply show that the general availability of copyright-infringing material draws ‘pirate’ users.

“Courts have long held that a plaintiff can satisfy the direct financial benefit prong by showing that the general availability of a particular type of infringing material on the defendant’s premises—or, in the internet context, through the defendant’s site or service—draws third-parties hoping to obtain infringing material,” the MPAA wrote (pdf).

giganews

The RIAA agreed and said that rightsholders should not be required to show a direct causal link between infringements of their work as a “draw” for using Giganews.

“By imposing this novel standard, the panel departed from established and longstanding precedent in the Ninth Circuit and elsewhere, and its ruling will likely result in harmful unintended consequences,” the music group wrote (pdf).

“It could effectively eliminate the ‘only practical alternative’ for many copyright owners to protect their copyrights […] and insulate the largest and most egregious copyright-infringement businesses from vicarious infringement claims.”

Not everyone agrees with this doom and gloom scenario though. In fact, many prominent tech industry groups including the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, Internet Association, Computer & Communications Industry Association, and the Consumer Technology Association sided with the Usenet provider.

Representing high profile members such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, they urged the Court of Appeals in a joint brief (pdf) to keep the decision intact.

“Amici MPAA and RIAA now join ‘serial litigant’ Perfect 10 in asking this Court to rehear the case in order to discard this requirement. Doing so would have little effect on cases brought against pirates, but would severely and unnecessarily threaten innovation and investment in lawful online services and connected devices,” the groups warned.

The above is just a brief glimpse of the dozens of pages of paperwork the various parties submitted, showing that this case could have a major impact.

After carefully reviewing the various positions, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided (pdf) not to grant a rehearing. This means that the verdict will stand as it is, which is bad news for Perfect 10, the RIAA and the MPAA.

Dr. Norman Zada, president of Perfect 10, is indeed disappointed with the outcome, noting that it destroyed his company and threatens other rightsholders.

“Unfortunately, the Ninth Circuit effectively immunized those who illegally copy, distribute, and sell access to pirated movies, songs, images, software, magazines, and other copyrighted works, as long as they use a computer to automate that process,” Zada said.

“The ruling is very bad news for this nation’s creative industries, who need to be paid for the use of their works. Prior to this case, no court had ever allowed a defendant to make untold millions by selling access to content they did not own.”

The only move left for Perfect 10 is the Supreme Court, but there are no guarantees that it will hear this case.

Giganews, meanwhile, will continue to offer its Usenet services with the outlook of having a few extra millions in the bank soon. That is, if Perfect 10 can pay the full amount before it goes bankrupt.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

John Oliver is wrong about Net Neutrality

Post Syndicated from Robert Graham original http://blog.erratasec.com/2017/05/john-oliver-is-wrong-about-net.html

People keep linking to John Oliver bits. We should stop doing this. This is comedy, but people are confused into thinking Oliver is engaging in rational political debate:
Enlightened people know that reasonable people disagree, that there’s two sides to any debate. John Oliver’s bit erodes that belief, making one side (your side) sound smart, and the other side sound unreasonable.
The #1 thing you should know about Net Neutrality is that reasonable people disagree. It doesn’t mean they are right, only that they are reasonable. They aren’t stupid. They aren’t shills for the telcom lobby, or confused by the telcom lobby. Indeed, those opposed to Net Neutrality are the tech experts who know how packets are routed, whereas the supporters tend only to be lawyers, academics, and activists. If you think that the anti-NetNeutrality crowd is unreasonable, then you are in a dangerous filter bubble.
Most everything in John Oliver’s piece is incorrect.
For example, he says that without Net Neutrality, Comcast can prefer original shows it produces, and slow down competing original shows by Netflix. This is silly: Comcast already does that, even with NetNeutrality rules.
Comcast owns NBC, which produces a lot of original shows. During prime time (8pm to 11pm), Comcast delivers those shows at 6-mbps to its customers, while Netflix is throttled to around 3-mbps. Because of this, Comcast original shows are seen at higher quality than Netflix shows.
Comcast can do this, even with NetNeutrality rules, because it separates its cables into “channels”. One channel carries public Internet traffic, like Netflix. The other channels carry private Internet traffic, for broadcast TV shows and pay-per-view.
All NetNeutrality means is that if Comcast wants to give preference to its own contents/services, it has to do so using separate channels on the wire, rather than pushing everything over the same channel. This is a detail nobody tells you because NetNeutrality proponents aren’t techies. They are lawyers and academics. They maximize moral outrage, while ignoring technical details.
Another example in Oliver’s show is whether search engines like Google or the (hypothetical) Bing can pay to get faster access to customers. They already do that. The average distance a packet travels on the web is less than 100-miles. That’s because the biggest companies (Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc.) pay to put servers in your city close to you. Smaller companies, such as search engine DuckDuckGo.com, also pay third-party companies like Akamai or Amazon Web Services to get closer to you. The smallest companies, however, get poor performance, being a thousand miles away.
You can test this out for yourself. Run a packet-sniffer on your home network for a week, then for each address, use mapping tools like ping and traceroute to figure out how far away things are.
The Oliver bit mentioned how Verizon banned Google Wallet. Again, technical details are important here. It had nothing to do with Net Neutrality issues blocking network packets, but only had to do with Verizon-branded phones blocking access to the encrypted enclave. You could use Google Wallet on unlocked phones you bought separately. Moreover, market forces won in the end, with Google Wallet (aka. Android Wallet) now the preferred wallet on their network. In other words, this incident shows that the “free market” fixes things in the long run without the heavy hand of government.
Oliver shows a piece where FCC chief Ajit Pai points out that Internet companies didn’t do evil without Net Neutrality rules, and thus NetNeutrality rules were unneeded. Oliver claimed this was a “disingenuous” argument. No, it’s not “disingenuous”, it entirely the point of why Net Neutrality is bad. It’s chasing theoretical possibility of abuse, not the real thing. Sure, Internet companies will occasionally go down misguided paths. If it’s truly bad, customers will rebel. In some cases, it’s not actually a bad thing, and will end up being a benefit to customers (e.g. throttling BitTorrent during primetime would benefit most BitTorrent users). It’s the pro-NetNeutrality side that’s being disingenuous, knowingly trumping up things as problems that really aren’t.
The point is this. The argument here is a complicated one, between reasonable sides. For humor, John Oliver has created a one-sided debate that falls apart under any serious analysis. Those like the EFF should not mistake such humor for intelligent technical debate.

Some notes on #MacronLeak

Post Syndicated from Robert Graham original http://blog.erratasec.com/2017/05/some-notes-on-macronleak.html

Tonight (Friday May 5 2017) hackers dumped emails (and docs) related to French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. He’s the anti-Putin candidate running against the pro-Putin Marin Le Pen. I thought I’d write up some notes.

Are they Macron’s emails?

No. They are e-mails from members of his staff/supporters, namely Alain Tourret, Pierre Person, Cedric O??, Anne-Christine Lang, and Quentin Lafay.
There are some documents labeled “Macron” which may have been taken from his computer, cloud drive — his own, or an assistant.

Who done it?
Obviously, everyone assumes that Russian hackers did it, but there’s nothing (so far) that points to anybody in particular.
It appears to be the most basic of phishing attacks, which means anyone could’ve done it, including your neighbor’s pimply faced teenager.

Update: Several people [*] have pointed out Trend Micro reporting that Russian/APT28 hackers were targeting Macron back on April 24. Coincidentally, this is also the latest that emails appear in the dump.

What’s the hacker’s evil plan?
Everyone is proposing theories about the hacker’s plan, but the most likely answer is they don’t have one. Hacking is opportunistic. They likely targeted everyone in the campaign, and these were the only victims they could hack. It’s probably not the outcome they were hoping for.
But since they’ve gone through all the work, it’d be a shame to waste it. Thus, they are likely releasing the dump not because they believe it will do any good, but because it’ll do them no harm. It’s a shame to waste all the work they put into it.
If there’s any plan, it’s probably a long range one, serving notice that any political candidate that goes against Putin will have to deal with Russian hackers dumping email.
Why now? Why not leak bits over time like with Clinton?

France has a campaign blackout starting tonight at midnight until the election on Sunday. Thus, it’s the perfect time to leak the files. Anything salacious, or even rumors of something bad, will spread viraly through Facebook and Twitter, without the candidate or the media having a good chance to rebut the allegations.
The last emails in the logs appear to be from April 24, the day after the first round vote (Sunday’s vote is the second, runoff, round). Thus, the hackers could’ve leaked this dump any time in the last couple weeks. They chose now to do it.
Are the emails verified?
Yes and no.
Yes, we have DKIM signatures between people’s accounts, so we know for certain that hackers successfully breached these accounts. DKIM is an anti-spam method that cryptographically signs emails by the sending domain (e.g. @gmail.com), and thus, can also verify the email hasn’t been altered or forged.
But no, when a salacious email or document is found in the dump, it’ll likely not have such a signature (most emails don’t), and thus, we probably won’t be able to verify the scandal. In other words, the hackers could have altered or forged something that becomes newsworthy.
What are the most salacious emails/files?

I don’t know. Before this dump, hackers on 4chan were already making allegations that Macron had secret offshore accounts (debunked). Presumably we need to log in to 4chan tomorrow for them to point out salacious emails/files from this dump.

Another email going around seems to indicate that Alain Tourret, a member of the French legislature, had his assistant @FrancoisMachado buy drugs online with Bitcoin and had them sent to his office in the legislature building. The drugs in question, 3-MMC, is a variant of meth that might be legal in France. The emails point to a tracking number which looks legitimate, at least, that a package was indeed shipped to that area of Paris. There is a bitcoin transaction that matches the address, time, and amount specified in the emails. Some claim these drug emails are fake, but so far, I haven’t seen any emails explaining why they should be fake. On the other hand, there’s nothing proving they are true (no DKIM sig), either.

Some salacious emails might be obvious, but some may take people with more expertise to find. For example, one email is a receipt from Uber (with proper DKIM validation) that shows the route that “Quenten” took on the night of the first round election. Somebody clued into the French political scene might be able to figure out he’s visiting his mistress, or something. (This is hypothetical — in reality, he’s probably going from one campaign rally to the next).

What’s the Macron camp’s response?

They have just the sort of response you’d expect.
They claim some of the documents/email are fake, without getting into specifics. They claim that information is needed to be understand in context. They claim that this was a “massive coordinated attack”, even though it’s something that any pimply faced teenager can do. They claim it’s an attempt to destabilize democracy. They call upon journalists to be “responsible”.

Premier League Asks Google to Take Down Facebook’s Homepage

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/premier-league-asks-google-to-take-down-facebooks-homepage-170429/

Removing search results is nothing new for Google. The company has been cleaning up its search index for years, in response to complaints from copyright holders.

Every week the search engine processes millions of requests. In most cases these claims are legitimate, but every now and then innocent web pages are mistakenly targeted.

This week we stumbled upon a takedown notice that’s clearly not right. The request was sent by NetResult on behalf of the Premier League, and targets a wide variety of sports streaming related sites.

“The reported URLs are offering unauthored live streams of Premier League content,” it reads, listing the homepages of sites such as streamsarena.eu, letsfooty.com, tvlink.in and sportcategory.com.

While targeting the homepages of these sites is already quite broad, it also lists the main Facebook.com URL among the infringing domains, asking Google to remove it from the search engine entirely.

Premier League Takedown Notice

Google has investigated the claims, including the Facebook one, but decided not to comply with the notice in question, leaving Facebook’s homepage in search results.

In situations like this, we can see how easy erroneous takedown claims can easily lead to over-blocking. It’s good to know that, despite receiving millions of requests per day, the search engine is still able to spot most of these flaws.

Unfortunately, however, not all mistakes are easily caught, especially when they concern smaller sites.

Just a few days ago we noticed that a page from the copyright troll blog DieTrollDie was removed from Google’s search results because it mentioned a torrent hash of a Lionsgate film, and another blog had several court filings removed from the results for the same reason.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Australia Readies New Copyright Safe Harbor Consultation

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/australia-readies-new-copyright-safe-harbor-consultation-170427/

Unlike in the United States where so-called safe harbor provisions apply to Internet service providers and online platforms such as Google and Facebook, Australia’s system offers reduced protection for the latter group.

To put the country on a similar footing as other technologically advanced nations, amendments were proposed to Australia’s Copyright Act that would’ve seen enhanced safe harbor assurances for platforms including search engines and social networks.

Last month, however, the government dropped the amendments before they were due to be introduced to parliament. That came as a surprise, particularly as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had given the proposals his approval just a week earlier.

While business startup advocates were disappointed by the move, copyright holders welcomed the decision, with Dan Rosen, chief executive of the Australian Recording Industry Association, calling for a “full, independent and evidence-based review” in advance of similar future proposals. Just a month later and that seems a likely outcome.

In a statement delivered by Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield, the government has now announced a further consultation on extending the safe harbor provisions of the Copyright Act.

“An expanded safe harbor regime would provide a useful mechanism for rights holders to have material that infringes their copyright removed from online service providers,” Fifield said.

“An expanded regime would also ensure that service providers are not held responsible for the infringing actions of their users, provided they take reasonable steps to take down material that infringes copyright.”

The minister said that the government intends to “proceed carefully” to ensure that any legislation achieves the above objectives while balancing the need to grow Australia’s digital economy and supporting the needs of creators and copyright holders.

The Department of Communications will now oversee a series of meetings and roundtable discussions with stakeholders, prior to delivering advice to the government by early June 2017.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Bram Cohen Lashes Out Against BitTorrent’s Former “Starfucker” CEOs

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/bram-cohen-lashes-out-against-bittorrents-former-starfucker-ceos-170423/

credit: Ijon CC BY-SA 4.0Founded by BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen, BitTorrent Inc. is best known for its torrent clients uTorrent and BitTorrent Mainline, from which it made millions over the years.

Unlike most file-sharing startups the company was well funded from the start. Accel was one of the early investors from early on, and BitTorrent was part of a fund that also included Facebook and Dropbox.

However, over the past decade, BitTorrent Inc. didn’t transform into a multi-billion dollar business. This prompted Accel to step away, taking a loss, while “getting rid of it.”

This is exactly what happened. In 2015 Accel handed over its stake in the company to a group of outside investors who promised to pay $10 million in a year, which they would take from future profits.

The outsiders included Jeremy Johnson and Robert Delamar. They became BitTorrent’s new CEOs and reportedly spent a ton of cash in the months that followed. Soon after it became clear that they had burned through way more money than they’d brought in and they left their positions, a saga that Backchannel documented in detail.

Speaking with TorrentFreak’s Steal This Show, Bram Cohen first talks about what went down in public, and his account doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

“You know the truth is we’ve actually been doing fine for quite a while now. We haven’t had technology problems or business problems, we’ve had investor problems. That’s been our problem,” Cohen notes.

“Basically, Accel took their share in BitTorrent and pretty much just gave it away to these total strangers who they didn’t know. And not only gave away their stock but gave away control of the company.”

While the new co-CEOs of the company spent a bunch of cash, Cohen doesn’t believe they had a real plan.

“Plan, why do you think they had a plan?” They were kids in a candy store. Their plan was like; Oh my god, we got money, we got power, we’re such geniuses, we can do everything here, we’ll make it great,” Cohen says.

The cynical rant continues for a while after that, but the bottom line is that BitTorrent’s inventor had little faith in the capabilities of the newcomers. They took BitTorrent to Hollywood and thought that aligning themselves with celebrities was the key to success, something Cohen isn’t particularly fond of.

“Human beings are a bunch of starfuckers, right? The United States has become this celebrity-obsessed culture, and everyone’s all about, oh, we’ll gain access. That’ll be great, and we’ll make money off of it, everybody thinks this.

“It’s like, how can I find some biz dev people who aren’t humans, so they don’t sell their soul?” Cohen adds.

According to Cohen, Accel’s attempt to close their fund nearly destroyed the company. When it was time for the new CEOs and their investment company to pay up, the money wasn’t there.

“They were just incompetent fuckups. I mean they’re losers,” he blasts, noting that it certainly wasn’t impossible to turn a decent profit in a year.

While the account is a one-sided view, it’s clear that the newcomers weren’t very welcome, or liked, by BitTorrent’s inventor. He goes on to detail how thousands of dollars were spent on first class tickets, private chauffeurs, and parties.

Cohen himself stayed far away from the razzmatazz and continued coding, back at the dull gray office in San Francisco.

“I had nothing to do with any of this. This was all just like, starfucker bullshit,” Cohen says.

When Steal This Show host Jamie King pushed one final time to ask if the new management really didn’t have a plan, the answer wasn’t much more flattering.

“Go around LA being big swinging dicks. Go to 1 Oak and spend a few thousand dollars a night on drinks. I mean, people think that there must be some like rational thought here, beyond being a talking chimpanzee,” Cohen concludes.

The full interview with Bram Cohen is available here, or on the Steal This Show website.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Announcing the AWS Chatbot Challenge – Create Conversational, Intelligent Chatbots using Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda

Post Syndicated from Tara Walker original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/announcing-the-aws-chatbot-challenge-create-conversational-intelligent-chatbots-using-amazon-lex-and-aws-lambda/

If you have been checking out the launches and announcements from the AWS 2017 San Francisco Summit, you may be aware that the Amazon Lex service is now Generally Available, and you can use the service today. Amazon Lex is a fully managed AI service that enables developers to build conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text. Lex uses the same deep learning technologies of Amazon Alexa-powered devices like Amazon Echo. With the release of Amazon Lex, developers can build highly engaging lifelike user experiences and natural language interactions within their own applications. Amazon Lex supports Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Twilio SMS enabling you to easily publish your voice or text chatbots using these popular chat services. There is no better time to try out the Amazon Lex service to add the gift of gab to your applications, and now you have a great reason to get started.

May I have a Drumroll please?

I am thrilled to announce the AWS Chatbot Challenge! The AWS Chatbot Challenge is your opportunity to build a unique chatbot that helps solves a problem or adds value for prospective users. The AWS Chatbot Challenge is brought to you by Amazon Web Services in partnership with Slack.

 

The Challenge

Your mission, if you choose to accept it is to build a conversational, natural language chatbot using Amazon Lex and leverage Lex’s integration with AWS Lambda to execute logic or data processing on the backend. Your submission can be a new or existing bot, however, if your bot is an existing one it must have been updated to use Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda within the challenge submission period.

 

You are only limited by your own imagination when building your solution. Therefore, I will share some recommendations to help you to get your creative juices flowing when creating or deploying your bot. Some suggestions that can help you make your chatbot more distinctive are:

  • Deploy your bot to Slack, Facebook Messenger, or Twilio SMS
  • Take advantage of other AWS services when building your bot solution.
  • Incorporate Text-To-speech capabilities using a service like Amazon Polly
  • Utilize other third-party APIs, SDKs, and services
  • Leverage Amazon Lex pre-built enterprise connectors and add services like Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics, Zendesk, and QuickBooks as data sources.

There are cost effective ways to build your bot using AWS Lambda. Lambda includes a free tier of one million requests and 400,000 GB-seconds of compute time per month. This free, per month usage, is for all customers and does not expire at the end of the 12 month Free Tier Term. Furthermore, new Amazon Lex customers can process up to 10,000 text requests and 5,000 speech requests per month free during the first year. You can find details here.

Remember, the AWS Free Tier includes services with a free tier available for 12 months following your AWS sign-up date, as well as additional service offers that do not automatically expire at the end of your 12 month term. You can review the details about the AWS Free Tier and related services by going to the AWS Free Tier Details page.

 

Can We Talk – How It Works

The AWS Chatbot Challenge is open to individuals, and teams of individuals, who have reached the age of majority in their eligible area of residence at the time of competition entry. Organizations that employ 50 or fewer people are also eligible to compete as long at the time of entry they are duly organized or incorporated and validly exist in an eligible area. Large organizations-employing more than 50-in eligible areas can participate but will only be eligible for a non-cash recognition prize.

Chatbot Submissions are judged using the following criteria:

  • Customer Value: The problem or painpoint the bot solves and the extent it adds value for users
  • Bot Quality: The unique way the bot solves users’ problems, and the originality, creativity, and differentiation of the bot solution
  • Bot Implementation: Determination of how well the bot was built and executed by the developer. Also, consideration of bot functionality such as if the bot functions as intended and recognizes and responds to most common phrases asked of it

Prizes

The AWS Chatbot Challenge is awarding prizes for your hard work!

First Prize

  • $5,000 USD
  • $2,500 AWS Credits
  • Two (2) tickets to AWS re:Invent
  • 30 minute virtual meeting with the Amazon Lex team
  • Winning submission featured on the AWS AI blog
  • Cool swag

Second Prize

  • $3,000 USD
  • $1,500 AWS Credits
  • One (1) ticket to AWS re:Invent
  • 30 minute virtual meeting with the Amazon Lex team
  • Winning submission featured on the AWS AI blog
  • Cool swag

Third Prize

  • $2,000 USD
  • $1,000 AWS Credits
  • 30 minute virtual meeting with the Amazon Lex team
  • Winning submission featured on the AWS AI blog
  • Cool swag

 

Challenge Timeline

  • Submissions Start: April 19, 2017 at 12:00pm PDT
  • Submissions End: July 18, 2017 at 5:00pm PDT
  • Winners Announced: August 11, 2017 at 9:00am PDT

 

Up to the Challenge – Get Started

Are ready to get started on your chatbot and dive into the challenge? Here is how to get started:

Review the details on the challenge rules and eligibility

  1. Register for the AWS Chatbot Challenge
  2. Join the AWS Chatbot Slack Channel
  3. Create an account on AWS.
  4. Visit the Resources page for links to documentation and resources.
  5. Shoot your demo video that demonstrates your bot in action. Prepare a written summary of your bot and what it does.
  6. Provide a way to access your bot for judging and testing by including a link to your GitHub repo hosting the bot code and all deployment files and testing instructions needed for testing your bot.
  7. Submit your bot on AWSChatbot2017.Devpost.com before July 18, 2017 at 5 pm ET and share access to your bot, its Github repo and its deployment files.

Summary

With Amazon Lex you can build conversation into web and mobile applications, as well as use it to build chatbots that control IoT devices, provide customer support, give transaction updates or perform operations for DevOps workloads (ChatOps). Amazon Lex provides built-in integration with AWS Lambda, AWS Mobile Hub, and Amazon CloudWatch and allows for easy integrate with other AWS services so you can use the AWS platform for to build security, monitoring, user authentication, business logic, and storage into your chatbot or application. You can make additional enhancements to your voice or text chatbot by taking advantage of Amazon Lex’s support of chat services like Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Twilio SMS.

Dive into building chatbots and conversational interfaces with Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda with the AWS Chatbot Challenge for a chance to win some cool prizes. Some recent resources and online tech talks about creating bots with Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda that may help you in your bot building journey are:

If you have questions about the AWS Chatbot Challenge you can email aws-chatbot-challenge-2017@amazon.com or post a question to the Discussion Board.

 

Good Luck and Happy Coding.

Tara

Surveillance and our Insecure Infrastructure

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/04/surveillance_an_2.html

Since Edward Snowden revealed to the world the extent of the NSA’s global surveillance network, there has been a vigorous debate in the technological community about what its limits should be.

Less discussed is how many of these same surveillance techniques are used by other — smaller and poorer — more totalitarian countries to spy on political opponents, dissidents, human rights defenders; the press in Toronto has documented some of the many abuses, by countries like Ethiopia , the UAE, Iran, Syria, Kazakhstan , Sudan, Ecuador, Malaysia, and China.

That these countries can use network surveillance technologies to violate human rights is a shame on the world, and there’s a lot of blame to go around.

We can point to the governments that are using surveillance against their own citizens.

We can certainly blame the cyberweapons arms manufacturers that are selling those systems, and the countries — mostly European — that allow those arms manufacturers to sell those systems.

There’s a lot more the global Internet community could do to limit the availability of sophisticated Internet and telephony surveillance equipment to totalitarian governments. But I want to focus on another contributing cause to this problem: the fundamental insecurity of our digital systems that makes this a problem in the first place.

IMSI catchers are fake mobile phone towers. They allow someone to impersonate a cell network and collect information about phones in the vicinity of the device and they’re used to create lists of people who were at a particular event or near a particular location.

Fundamentally, the technology works because the phone in your pocket automatically trusts any cell tower to which it connects. There’s no security in the connection protocols between the phones and the towers.

IP intercept systems are used to eavesdrop on what people do on the Internet. Unlike the surveillance that happens at the sites you visit, by companies like Facebook and Google, this surveillance happens at the point where your computer connects to the Internet. Here, someone can eavesdrop on everything you do.

This system also exploits existing vulnerabilities in the underlying Internet communications protocols. Most of the traffic between your computer and the Internet is unencrypted, and what is encrypted is often vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks because of insecurities in both the Internet protocols and the encryption protocols that protect it.

There are many other examples. What they all have in common is that they are vulnerabilities in our underlying digital communications systems that allow someone — whether it’s a country’s secret police, a rival national intelligence organization, or criminal group — to break or bypass what security there is and spy on the users of these systems.

These insecurities exist for two reasons. First, they were designed in an era where computer hardware was expensive and inaccessibility was a reasonable proxy for security. When the mobile phone network was designed, faking a cell tower was an incredibly difficult technical exercise, and it was reasonable to assume that only legitimate cell providers would go to the effort of creating such towers.

At the same time, computers were less powerful and software was much slower, so adding security into the system seemed like a waste of resources. Fast forward to today: computers are cheap and software is fast, and what was impossible only a few decades ago is now easy.

The second reason is that governments use these surveillance capabilities for their own purposes. The FBI has used IMSI-catchers for years to investigate crimes. The NSA uses IP interception systems to collect foreign intelligence. Both of these agencies, as well as their counterparts in other countries, have put pressure on the standards bodies that create these systems to not implement strong security.

Of course, technology isn’t static. With time, things become cheaper and easier. What was once a secret NSA interception program or a secret FBI investigative tool becomes usable by less-capable governments and cybercriminals.

Man-in-the-middle attacks against Internet connections are a common criminal tool to steal credentials from users and hack their accounts.

IMSI-catchers are used by criminals, too. Right now, you can go onto Alibaba.com and buy your own IMSI catcher for under $2,000.

Despite their uses by democratic governments for legitimate purposes, our security would be much better served by fixing these vulnerabilities in our infrastructures.

These systems are not only used by dissidents in totalitarian countries, they’re also used by legislators, corporate executives, critical infrastructure providers, and many others in the US and elsewhere.

That we allow people to remain insecure and vulnerable is both wrongheaded and dangerous.

Earlier this month, two American legislators — Senator Ron Wyden and Rep Ted Lieu — sent a letter to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, demanding that he do something about the country’s insecure telecommunications infrastructure.

They pointed out that not only are insecurities rampant in the underlying protocols and systems of the telecommunications infrastructure, but also that the FCC knows about these vulnerabilities and isn’t doing anything to force the telcos to fix them.

Wyden and Lieu make the point that fixing these vulnerabilities is a matter of US national security, but it’s also a matter of international human rights. All modern communications technologies are global, and anything the US does to improve its own security will also improve security worldwide.

Yes, it means that the FBI and the NSA will have a harder job spying, but it also means that the world will be a safer and more secure place.

This essay previously appeared on AlJazeera.com.

Pirate Site Operators Caught By Money Trail, Landmark Trial Hears

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-site-operators-caught-by-money-trail-landmark-trial-hears-170411/

Founded half a decade ago, Swefilmer grew to become Sweden’s most popular movie and TV show streaming site. At one stage, Swefilmer and fellow streaming site Dreamfilm were said to account for 25% of all web TV viewing in Sweden.

In 2015, local man Ola Johansson took to the Internet to reveal that he’d been raided by the police under suspicion of being involved in running the site. In March 2016, a Turkish national was arrested in Germany on a secret European arrest warrant.

After a couple of false starts, one last June and another this January, the case finally got underway yesterday in Sweden.

The pair stand accused of the unlawful distribution of around 1,400 movies, owned by a dozen studios including Warner, Disney and Fox. Investigators tested 67 of the titles and ten had been made available online before their DVD release.

Anti-piracy group Rights Alliance claims that the site generated a lot of money from advertising without paying for the appropriate licenses. On the table are potential convictions for copyright infringement and money laundering.

Follow the money

In common with so many file-sharing related cases, it’s clear that the men in this case were tracked down from traces left online. Those included IP address evidence and money trails from both advertising revenues and site donations.

According to Sveriges Radio who were in court yesterday, police were able to trace two IP addresses used to operate Swefilmer back to Turkey.

In an effort to trace the bank account used by the site to hold funds, the prosecutor then sought assistance from Turkish authorities. After obtaining the name of the 26-year-old, the prosecutor was then able to link that with advertising revenue generated by the site.

Swefilmer also had a PayPal account used to receive donations and payments for VIP memberships. That account was targeted by an investigator from Rights Alliance who donated money via the same method. That allowed the group to launch an investigation with the payment processor.

The PayPal inquiry appears to have been quite fruitful. The receipt from the donation revealed the account name and from there PayPal apparently gave up the email and bank account details connected to the account. These were linked to the 26-year-old by the prosecutor.

Advertising

The site’s connections with its advertisers also proved useful to investigators. The prosecution claimed that Swefilmer received its first payment in 2013 and its last in 2015. The money generated, some $1.5m (14m kronor), was deposited in a bank account operated by the 26-year-old by a Stockholm-based ad company.

The court heard that while the CEO of the advertising company had been questioned in connection with the case, he is not suspected of crimes.

Connecting the site’s operators

While the exact mechanism is unclear, investigators from Rights Alliance managed to find an IP address used by the 22-year-old. This IP was then traced back to his parents’ home in Kungsbacka, Sweden. The same IP address was used to access the man’s Facebook page.

In court, the prosecution read out chat conversations between both men. They revealed that the men knew each other only through chat and that the younger man believed the older was from Russia.

The prosecution’s case is that the 26-year-old was the ring-leader and that his colleague was a minor player. With that in mind, the latter is required to pay back around $4,000, which is the money he earned from the site.

For the older man, the situation is much more serious. The prosecution is seeking all of the money the site made from advertising, a cool $1.5m.

The case was initially set to go ahead last year but was postponed pending a ruling from the European Court of Justice. Last September, the Court determined that it was illegal to link to copyrighted material if profit was being made.

Claes Kennedy, the lawyer for the 22-year-old, insists that his client did nothing wrong. His actions took place before the ECJ’s ruling so should be determined legal, he says.

The case continues.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

President Trump Signs Internet Privacy Repeal Into Law

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/president-trump-signs-internet-privacy-repeal-into-law-170404/

In a major setback to those who value their online privacy in the United States, last week the House of Representatives voted to grant Internet service providers permission to sell subscribers’ browsing histories to third parties.

The bill repeals broadband privacy rules adopted last year by the Federal Communications Commission, which required ISPs to obtain subscribers’ consent before using their browsing records for advertising or marketing purposes.

Soon after, the Trump Administration officially announced its support for the bill, noting that the President’s advisors would advise him to sign it, should it be presented. Yesterday, that’s exactly what happened.

To howls of disapproval from Internet users and privacy advocates alike, President Trump signed into law a resolution that seriously undermines the privacy of all citizens using ISPs to get online in the US. The bill removes protections that were approved by the FCC in the final days of the Obama administration but had not yet gone into effect.

The dawning reality is that telecoms giants including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, are now free to collect and leverage the browsing histories of subscribers – no matter how sensitive – in order to better target them with advertising and other marketing.

The White House says that the changes will simply create an “equal playing field” between ISPs and Internet platforms such as Google and Facebook, who are already able to collect data for advertising purposes.

The repeal has drawn criticism from all sides, with Mozilla’s Executive Director Mark Surman openly urging the public to fight back.

“The repeal should be a call to action. And not just to badger our lawmakers,” Surman said.

“It should be an impetus to take online privacy into our own hands.”

With the bill now signed into law, that’s the only real solution if people want to claw back their privacy. Surman has a few suggestions, including the use of Tor and encrypted messaging apps like Signal. But like so many others recently, he leads with the use of VPN technology.

As reported last week, Google searches for the term VPN reached unprecedented levels when the public realized that their data would soon be up for grabs.

That trend continued through the weekend, with many major VPN providers reporting increased interest in their products.

Only time will tell if interest from the mainstream will continue at similar levels. However, in broad terms, the recent public outcry over privacy is only likely to accelerate the uptake of security products and the use of encryption as a whole. It could even prove to be the wake-up call the Internet needed.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.