UK Anti-Piracy Firm E-mails Reveal Cavalier Attitude Toward Legal Threats

UK Anti-Piracy Firm E-mails Reveal Cavalier Attitude Toward Legal Threats: Via Slashdot.

Khyber writes “A recent DDoS attack against a UK-based anti-pirating firm, ACS:Law, has resulted in a large backup archive of the server contents being made available for download, [and this archive] is now being hosted by the Pirate Bay. Within this archive are e-mails from Andrew Crossley basically admitting that he is running a scam job, sending out thousands of frivolous legal threats on the premise that a percentage pay up immediately to avoid legal hassles.”

Read Original Article (Via Slashdot.)

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Privacy Digest

Associated Press: Calif. law will guard privacy of tollway users

The Associated Press reports that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed SB1268 (pdf), which affects consumer privacy. The bill’s digest explains, “This bill would prohibit a transportation agency, as defined, from selling or providing personally identifiable information of a person obtained” through that person’s use of an electronic toll payment system. (In California, it’s called [...]
Privacy Lives

The Toronto Star loves “Ethical Oil”

What a great review of Ethical Oil in today’s Toronto Star.

I’m a conservative. The newspaper is liberal. So how did it happen?
It happened, I think, because Ethical Oil makes the case for the oilsands using progressive arguments: it compares the oilsands to OPEC countries using liberal values like environmentalism, peace, fair wages and respect for minorities.
So of course the Star prefers Canadian ethics to Saudi or Iranian or Nigerian ethics.
Poseurs like Greenpeace hate that apples-to-apples comparison. They want an apples-to-oranges comparison, comparing the oilsands against some perfect fuel that hasn’t been invented yet, that has no industrial side effects whatsoever. In other words, they are living in a science fiction world. They’re not morally serious.
You can’t fill up your car’s gastank with solar panels or windmills or cold fusion or dilithium crystals. It’s Canadian ethical oil, or Saudi terrorist oil.
The question isn’t “why did the Star like the book?” The question is: “what the hell is wrong with Greenpeace, and where did they lose their way?”
Some excerpts:

If country-of-origin labelling applied to oil the way it does to food and clothes, Levant says, American motorists would ignore the gas pump marked “Saudi Arabia” and line up at one marked “Canada.”

“How does Iran’s treatment of women compare to Fort McMurray’s?” Levant asks rhetorically of Alberta’s main oilsands town. As a single mother living with her fiancé, the town’s top politician, Mayor Melissa Blake, “would be stoned to death in Iran,” he says.

In his sweeping study, Levant finds hypocrisy in ethical funds, misinformation in a cancer scare, blindness toward China’s environmental scandals, untallied carbon emissions in supertanker shipping and an unbalanced perception of the oilsands’ risk to birds, after 1,600 birds drowned in a tailings pond when the scarecrow system failed.

…Fort McMurray might not be utopia, he says at his publisher’s office.

“But the air,” he says, “is fresher than in Toronto.”

Ezra Levant

Users vote for Facebook control

After a week-long vote, Facebook members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new set of terms and conditions that give them the right to ask Facebook to delete personal data retained on the site after they leave the site.

Facebook Privacy Watch

#2 best-selling book in Edmonton — right behind David “Koresh” Suzuki!

According to the Edmonton Journal (sorry, I can’t find a link), I have the second-best-selling non-fiction book in Edmonton, and David Suzuki is in first!

My excuse for such a failure: how can I possibly compete with the man’s Branch Davidian charisma?

Ezra Levant

Deleting my own content from Facebook

What irritates me about Facebook is there’s:

1) no easy way to delete my own content apart from clicking Edit > Delete on every post. When you have literally hundreds and possibly thousands of posts, this is more than a chore. You might be tempted to recruit professional Facebook Deleters to do the job for you.

2) no way to track the reams of content I’ve posted beyond my own profile. If I make a comment on Dave’s profile or on the Muppets message board that I later think is inaccurate, how can I find a list of messages I’ve written and delete them? And what if someone is an impressionistic 16-year-old who forms some dangerous opinions which, in hindsight, they realise are ignorant and detrimental to future employment prospects? How can they find out where they posted the content so it won’t be tied to their profile?

Facebook makes it so hard to do, and there is barely any information on deleting posts. So what can we do? Any suggestions on easy ways to manage where our own content is going and where?

Facebook Privacy Watch

A Field Guide to Copyright Trolls

A Field Guide to Copyright Trolls: Via Updates.

With all of this talk about copyright trolls and spamigation, it is easy to get confused. Who is suing over copies of Far Cry and The Hurt Locker? Who is suing bloggers? Who is trying to protect their anonymity? Who is defending fair use? What do newspapers have to do with any of this? In order to cut through the confusion, here’s a concise guide to copyright trolls currently in the wild, with status updates.

Leading the pack for sheer numbers is a Washington, D.C., law firm calling itself the U.S. Copyright Group (USCG), that has filed several “John Doe” lawsuits in D.C., implicating well over 14,000 individuals. This firm has learned one lesson from the RIAA suits: the only group whose bottom line benefits from this kind of mass litigation is the lawyers. As we reported last week, several of the Does in these cases are fighting back in earnest, albeit with mixed results: on the one hand the judge in two of the cases has rejected various efforts to protect the anonymity of the Does, insisting that they cannot file papers anonymously. However, the same judge has issued orders requiring USCG to justify suing two of the Does in the District of Columbia, as the Defendants claim to have no contacts with the District.

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Privacy Digest

Italy: why is landfill an official secret?

Italy: why is landfill an official secret?
The Free Speech Blog: Official blog of Index on Censorship

Facebook Places, Privacy and Implied Consent

Facebook’s new ‘places’ application has sparked another debate over privacy. The new feature, which arrived today for UK users, encourages people on Facebook to share their location with other members of the social networking site. Although those who do share their location with others choose to do so, there is a concern that encouragement to share information concerning your whereabouts pushes the boundary between openness and too much information. Also, if one of your friends uses Places, you could have your location revealed by them mentioning that they are in a location with you, while you may be quite unaware that this is happening.

Who are your ‘friends’?

No longer is it easy to protect your privacy; instead Facebook is encouraging you to broadcast as much of your personal information as possible to a network of your ‘friends’.  Although Facebook privacy settings enable you to control who sees what information, and the general idea is that only those on your friends list can see this information, the nature of ‘friends’ on social media and on Facebook is much different to friends in real life.

On Facebook a friend could be anyone from your best friend to an acquaintance you only just met. For the majority of people on Facebook, their friend list does not just include people they know well and can trust. Introducing Facebook Places encourages people to share their current locations meaning that everyone on your friend network can see where you are.

Location sharing

Location sharing is not a new phenomenon.  Websites such as Google, Foursquare, Gowalla and Shopkick also offer services letting people share their locations.  Companies such as Gap and Starbucks even offered free vouchers to those who checked in their location as being in their stores. However, only 4% of people in the US used these services, 80% of whom were men and 70% between 19 and 35.

Location sharing has still not hit the mainstream.  However with Facebook now introducing these services, given its 500 million users it could bring location sharing to the masses.

Privacy issues

Location sharing has huge privacy concerns. Letting Facebook know where you are could enable stalkers to reach you more easily, and it lets people know when your house is unoccupied.

Facebook stalking is a term used by younger generations, as Facebook enables people to look at what others are up to and to look through their photos. Now with location sharing, the term ‘Facebook Stalking’ could literally mean just that – physical stalking.

Implied Consent

On top of this, the privacy settings which come with the Places app imply that you consent to its features.  So Facebook has gone ahead and assumed your consent to something before you have had a chance to decide for yourself whether you want to opt in.

One feature of Facebook Places, which assumes implied consent, is the ‘people here now’ one. The standard settings automatically give your location whereabouts to not only your friends, but complete strangers who also happen to be in around the same place as you.  Also, as mentioned earlier friends can check you in places on Facebook. This is probably fairly harmless provided you trust your friends, but given the nature of friends on Facebook this might not be the case.

Opting Out

It is fairly simple to opt out of these two features.  However, in this information overloaded society people might not find out something is happening for months on end. They may not notice that they have been giving their consent to Facebook Places, and so they might not be aware that there was any need to opt out of anything.

Should Facebook really be implying consent without letting members know what the implications of this is? How accurate is it for Facebook to announce that “no location information is associated with a person unless he or she explicitly chooses to become part of location sharing. No one can be checked in to a location without their explicit permission.”


Once again, with the introduction of Places, Facebook finds itself the subject of widespread debate in relation to privacy concerns.

Really, when it comes to sharing personal information, Facebook’s respect for privacy will best be demonstrated if it  lets people opt-in, rather than them having to opt-out. This way no one could accidentally share information with the Facebook network without realizing it.

Azrights IP Brands blog – from the team at Azrights Intellectual Property and Technology Solicitors

Facebook content viewable when logged out

Go to Facebook’s simple, uncluttered homepage and you’d be forgiven for thinking that you can’t see any of the content within the site unless you log in. Not so. A lot of information on Facebook is actually accessible through a web search (such as Google).

You’d be surprised at just how much information on Facebook is available to the wider public. While logged out of Facebook, I was able to find the following:

People’s search results page (see above). This may include a list of your friends, as well as your photograph. Not only that, but you may be able to see the things that person is a “fan” of – there are a number of Facebook “Pages” dedicated to musicians, movies, brands and so on, and whatever Page you’ve joined is listed here. You can tell Facebook not to include your name and photo in search engine results via the privacy settings, and you can also choose not to have your friends and fan Pages viewable. But not all people do this.

Groups and Pages. Although surnames are not included in Groups and Pages when you click through to a search result, you can still view the content posted to a Group’s website (such as the Jeff Buckley for Christmas Number 1 group). If people choose to let people find them via Google and the like, you can click through to their search results page (such as the one above), and this will include their surname.

Applications. Popular third-party widgets that people add to their Facebook profiles, such as games, are searchable. You can view the Application’s Facebook page without having to log in, and see a list of fans. Again, if people’s search results pages have been made public, you can click through to see their surname and possibly a list of their friends and fan Pages.

Photos. If you know the website address for a particular photo album, you’ll be able to click through to view it without having to log in. This is not necessarily because the person creating the album has chosen to make it available to “Everyone” – I’ll go into more detail on this later.

Facebook Privacy Watch