After a long and complicated battle Kim Dotcom and the other Megaupload employees (Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato, and Bram van der Kolk) might have lost an important battle. A district judge, Judge Nevin Dawson, has ruled that the US can present an extradition request for the four. Further Judge Dawson feels that none of the legal arguments brought forth by Dotcom and the others is sufficient to deny the request.
Kim Dotcom has announced that he filed a lawsuit against New Zealand due to the illegal spying and search of his home which happened in 2012.
The US Government is trying very hard to shatter any illusions that we might have about the right to privacy on the internet. They are currently in the process of going after a few of the smaller privacy oriented email services with the intent of getting user information out of them; very specific user information. Right now the current focus is on the company Lavabit who has the unfortunate distinction of having been used by Edward Snowden on multiple occasions to send email to the press and others. This distinction has gotten them into some hot water and now they are actually closing their doors in order to not comply with a government request to hand over the contents of Snowden’s email (and possibly others). This incident has sent a shiver through the small yet strong market for private email and web services.
There is a rumor going around (from “sources wishing to remain anonymous”) that claims that US Law Enforcement and the NSA have been asking internet companies for user passwords. The article originally posted by cNet has made the rounds this morning across a few sites; all of them pointing back at the single cNet source. Now on top of everything else that is going on many people are ready to jump on board with this and further denounce the NSA, the FBI, DHS, IRS, and anyone else in the US government with initials. But outside of the claims from a single blogger at cNet are there any other indications that this is a common practice?
Kim Dotcom is back in the news as he is now claiming ownership of Two Factor Authentication. Although the claim might seem ludicrous to many it seems there is a kernel of truth in them as well. What is interesting is the timing of the claim and how he wants to settle things. Unlike many others that hold patents, Dotcom is not looking to make a bunch of lawyers rich trying to assert his claim. Instead he would like Google, Twitter and others that are using his patented idea to help fund his legal defense in the US.
It seems that the French could be making some changes to the way they handle copyright law when it comes to movies, TV, Music and other titles. Although they admit that piracy is a problem they are joining a growing number of countries and governments that are concerned about the way the entertainment industry is dictating laws. Philippe Aigrain, co-founder of protest group La Quadrature du Net recently commented on this saying: “The government will be judged on its ability to resist the harmful influence of the entertainment industry to whom the conception of policies has been delegated by the governments one after the other.”
The FBI and a few other groups would like to put a law in place which would allow them to fine companies that refuse to hand over information regardless of the reasons for not choosing to do so. This plan is part of an increasing effort to force companies to share user information with the government. On the surface the idea looks pretty straight forward. Law Enforcement and other Government Agencies want to be able to track down people that might be using the internet and internet communication services to commit crimes. Sounds legit right?
After Anonymous pulled their support from WikiLeaks many thought the group would drift off into obscurity. After all, many in the press still think that Anonymous was formed after WikiLeaks started, so why not have that misguided opinion. The reality is that Anonymous existed long before WikiLeaks, and will continue to exist when WikiLeaks is a long forgotten memory. The collective (there is no leader despite what you might here from other media sources) has matured in many ways though, and does not appear to be hell-bent on hitting every single site that annoys them anymore. At least that is what we are seeing: there will always be members who will lash out or simply try to hack a site for the fun of it, but the collective has calmed for the most part.
Saturday marked the day that Megaupload was reborn in the form of Mega. It was an event that has had much talk since Kim Dotcom first announced that he would be doing this last year. It is also an event that many internet users have been looking forward to for a very long time. On the other side of the coin the content industry (including the MPAA, RIAA, BSA and others) have not been looking forward to this and have tried to make the tired old argument that ALL file sharing services are nothing more than a haven for piracy.
Over the last couple of days we have talked about the expected push from the copyright lobby for harsher laws and longer copyright periods (not to mention more control over the internet). This is a campaign that has been going on since the days of affordable internet (56kbps) and is one that will never really stop. However during this long battle there have been some highlights that make us all wonder at the motives and sanity of the key players involved. We are talking about the many domain seizures (for sites that are operating legally) and also some of the highly publicized threats that the MPAA (the leading group in this war) have made over the course of the last year.