April 18, 2009

Pirate Bay Judgement Day: The Verdict is IN

Source: Wired, and elsewhere.

Pirate Pay Founders

Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and Peter Sunde, Pirate Bay admins, were found guilty of contributing to copyright violations. Their funder, Carl Lundström, was also convicted. Click the pic for the story from Wired

The judgment hammer comes down. For the admins of The Pirate Bay, the hammer came down hard. Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundström have been found guilty of “contributory copyright infringement” and sentenced to a year in jail each and fined 30 million kronor, or $3.6 million US. The content syndicates were applauding the decision with their one free hand:

“Today’s ruling sends an important signal that online criminals who show such blatant disregard for the rights of others will be fully prosecuted under the law,” said Mark Esper, a vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“We welcome the court’s decision today because The Pirate Bay is a source of immense damage to the creative industries in Sweden and internationally,” said Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America. “This is an important decision for rights-holders, underlining their right to have their creative works protected against illegal exploitation and to be fairly rewarded for their endeavors. This decision will help to support the continued investment in talent and in new online services, and the creation of new films and television shows for enjoyment by audiences around the world.”


Knocked down, but not kicked offline. While Hollywood may have hoped that the verdict will mean the plug would be pulled on TPB’s servers, the Bay crew have expressed their continued defiance in their blog:

So, the dice courts judgement is here. It was lol to read and hear, crazy verdict.

But as in all good movies, the heroes lose in the beginning but have an epic victory in the end anyhow. That’s the only thing hollywood ever taught us.

Even on their press conference video, their defiance of the verdict is made clear:

(From BBC News) “It’s serious to actually be found guilty and get jail time. It’s really serious. And that’s a bit weird,” Sunde said.

“It’s so bizarre that we were convicted at all and it’s even more bizarre that we were [convicted] as a team. The court said we were organised. I can’t get Gottfrid out of bed in the morning. If you’re going to convict us, convict us of disorganised crime.

“We can’t pay and we wouldn’t pay. Even if I had the money I would rather burn everything I owned, and I wouldn’t even give them the ashes.”


A Pyrrhic victory. If the content syndicates believe this verdict will end file sharing they need to drink more coffee. Their win is already having the opposite effect, as TorrentFreak is reporting an increase in membership of Sweden’s Pirate Party, who view the trial as a political battle:

(BBC News) - Rickard Falkvinge, leader of The Pirate Party - which is trying to reform laws around copyright and patents in the digital age - told the BBC that the verdict was “a gross injustice”.

“This wasn’t a criminal trial, it was a political trial. It is just gross beyond description that you can jail four people for providing infrastructure.

“There is a lot of anger in Sweden right now. File-sharing is an institution here and while I can’t encourage people to break copyright law, I’m not following it and I don’t agree with it.

“Today’s events make file-sharing a hot political issue and we’re going to take this to the European Parliament.”

But the verdict is just be a moot point, according to Anders Rydell, who wrote a book about TPB and was interviewed by Wired about the outcome:

I actually think this a win-win situation for The Pirate Bay. If they’re convicted, they’ll be martyrs and the “piracy” movement will continue working for what they believe in, even more strongly. If they win, the signal to the public is that file sharing isn’t illegal and The Pirate Bay will basically have achieved its goal.

Then again, this “trial” may not even be about laws or media, but control of Internet itself.


The recording companies and networks’ arguments for copyright do not ring true. Their fight is NOT about protecting the quality and integrity of the original works nor is it to ensure the ORIGINAL CREATOR is properly compensated because neither is the case.

It IS about control of virtually every single bit of information and entertainment. Their current argument could easily be made for news and information shows, educational shows and documentaries.


BREAKING UPDATE (23-Apr-09): We know that the verdict wasn’t the final word in the Pirate Bay case, but now there’s word all over the net that the trial itself may be invalid all along. The problem? The judge who rendered the verdict and sentences:

Wired - One of the four men convicted in The Pirate Bay trial is seeking to have his guilty verdict thrown out after learning that the judge in the trial is a member of two pro-copyright groups, including one whose membership includes entertainment industry representatives who argued in the case.

Stockholm district court judge, Tomas Norström told a Swedish newspaper that his previously-undisclosed entanglements with the copyright groups did not constitute a conflict of interest.


TorrentFreak - Today, an event on Swedish national radio SR threw everything into doubt - and it’s barely believable, like something straight out of Hollywood.

The copyright industry likes to have the outcome of processes clear before engaging them so it’s perhaps unsurprising that SR today revealed that the judge Tomas Norström is in league with it on many fronts. The judge has several engagements - together with the prosecution lawyers for the movie and music industries.

Swedish Association of Copyright (SFU) - The judge Tomas Norström is a member of this discussion forum that holds seminars, debates and releases the Nordic Intellectual Property Law Review. Other members of this outfit? Henrik Pontén (Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau), Monique Wadsted (movie industry lawyer) and Peter Danowsky (IFPI) - the latter is also a member of the board of the association.

Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property (SFIR)
- The judge Tomas Norström sits on the board of this association that works for stronger copyright laws. Last year they held the Nordic Championships in Intellectual Property Rights Process Strategies.

.SE (The Internet Infrastructure Foundation)
- Tomas Norström works for the foundation that oversees the .se name domain and advises on domain name disputes. His colleague at the foundation? Monique Wadsted. Wadsted says she’s never met Norström although they have worked together.

Meanwhile, President Obama plants RIAA sock puppets in the Department of Justice. If The Pirate Bay is ever “prosecuted” in America, Obama’s DoJ pics have already doomed any hope of making it stick.


As always, we’ll keep you informed as the war for the Internets heat up…

This post has been filed under War for the Nets, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

Source: Wired unless specified.


A Wall Street Journal report claims that spies have planted malware in America’s power grid systems with the possible intent of mass disruption of key infrastructures like electricity and communications. The timing couldn’t be better with a recent introduction of a bill that would allow President Barack Obama the “authority” to kill the Internet.


An electrical botnet?

(Wall Street Journal) - Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials.

The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls. The intruders haven’t sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure, but officials warned they could try during a crisis or war.

That’s the claim made in today’s (08-Apr-09) Wall Street Journal, but events going at least one month back is casting some serious doubts on those claims, IMO anyway. While it’s possible for foreign malware to be present in key systems, it seems more like the real threat is domestic.

Here’s the timeline so far. Take it with a grain of salt if you must, and accept the hypertension:


Department of Homeland Security Cyber Chief quits due to NSA hostile takeover (09-Mar-09)

Wired - Rod Beckstrom was head of National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), but quit over what he felt was pressure from the NSA to take over US cybersecurity. More information can be found here and here.

Beckstrom also expressed a concern over the NSA’s attempt to consolidate its power:

In his resignation letter, Beckstrom said the NSA is trying to move the NCSC to its base at Ft. Meade in Maryland, a move he opposes on grounds that it would concentrate too much authority in one place.

“The issue is that we have a federated government, decentralized for a reason,” Beckstrom told Forbes. “Our founding fathers never believed that power should be concentrated in one place. And what today is more powerful than information?”


Fat Cat Rockefeller says “The Internet Should Never Have Existed” (20-Mar-09)

YouTube via Prison Planet via C-Span 2.

WARNING: The contents of this video may make you want to vomit, laugh until you shit bricks, or shoot Rockefeller. Cyberpunk Review will not be held responsible for your physical and mental state of mind if you watch. Viewer discretion is advised:

Actually, Rockefeller doesn’t say the net should have never existed; Another congress-critter makes that implication.

“Cybersecurity Bill” would allow President Obama to shut down the Internet (02-Apr-09)

NetworkWorld - On April 1, a proposal legislation was introduced to the Senate that would allow Obama wide powers to shut down the Internet, or at least take control over it during times of “cybersecurity emergency.” Here’s the direct link to the PDF of the proposed legislation if you want to read it. The bill was introduced by none other than Senator John Rockefeller (see video above).


Salute the False Flag. A year ago, the CIA claimed hackers hacked foreign utilities. Those “claims” have yet to be backed up by actual press reports. But that claim was probably forged to get additional powers to spy.

Wired’s Kevin Poulsen puts the screws to the Wall Street Journal and the NSA in this brief op-ed piece.

Sadly, this new installment doesn’t contain the kind of juicy details that made the previous one so easy to debunk. In fact, it contains almost no details at all. The attacks are “pervasive,” and yet not a single utility company is named as a victim. Even better, the blackout-triggering malware hasn’t been spotted by the companies — which explains perfectly why this is the first we’ve heard of it. Only America’s intelligence community has seen the code. They could show us, but then they’d have to kill us.

It’s an unusually opportune time for this revelation, since the NSA is at this very moment jockeying to take over cyber security from DHS, which lacks the wholesale warrantless-wiretapping capabilities needed to detect Chinese hackers. What a lucky coincidence of timing that this exciting, if uncheckable, story should emerge now.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.


UPDATE: Fiber Cables Cut in Silicon Valley, Reward Being Offered. (10-Apr-09)

San Francisco Gate - Sometime in the early hours of April 9, a person or group cut AT&T’s fiber optic lines serving the Silicon Valley area, leaving thousands without phone and net services including critical 911. Sabotage is suspected and AT&T is offering a reward of $250K US for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the saboteurs.

There’s already speculation that the work was done by the Communications Workers of America, a union that’s negotiating a new contract with AT&T:

Special News Bureau - AT&T is in the middle of acrimonious negotiations with the Communications Workers of America, whose members have been working without a contract since just before midnight Saturday and are on standby mode for a potential strike.

A new website, 409truth.com is already calling the sabotage a false-flag attack; AT&T cut the cables to frame the union. They may have the right idea, but name the wrong targets.

This post has been filed under War for the Nets, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

Two stories this week show how the merging of science and technology is making the singularity closer to reality as two automated research projects in experimentation comes up with the identical discovery; Humans are obsolete.

Just kidding! Here’s what they DID discover:

Physics discovered by computer program.

(Wired) Cornell University researchers have created a program that can find relationships in large amounts of data. It sounds like simple data processing, but it is not:

The Cornell program came up with an formula describing the physics of a two-part pendulum. It did in a day what some of the most brilliant physicist minds took centuries to do. AND without any knowledge of physics or geometry!

This is only an example of what the researchers are hoping to do with such programs: To help human scientists analyze infinitely large data sets.

“One of the biggest problems in science today is moving forward and finding the underlying principles in areas where there is lots and lots of data, but there’s a theoretical gap. We don’t know how things work,” said Hod Lipson, the Cornell University computational researcher who co-wrote the program. “I think this is going to be an important tool.”

Condensing rules from raw data has long been considered the province of human intuition, not machine intelligence. It could foreshadow an age in which scientists and programs work as equals to decipher datasets too complex for human analysis.

Then again, if what’s going on in the UK is any indication, the human factor may be taken out of science all together.


Dr. Adam-Bot makes discoveries with yeast

“Normal robots just do what you tell them, but ADAM is different, because it can hypothesize and try to solve a problem itself.” - Ross King, of Aberystwyth University in Wales, U.K.

(Nat-Geo) (Science Daily) (and practically everywhere by now) What has to be the first ever “robot scientist,” Adam, has discovered new knowledge about baker’s yeast. Not exactly earth-shaking discoveries, but the fact that the totally automated Adam made these discoveries by itself is big news.

(From Nat-Geo) First ADAM was given a crash course in biology, including everything that is already known about baker’s yeast.

ADAM quickly set to work, formulating and testing 20 different hypotheses. The robot eventually identified the genes that code for enzymes involved in yeast metabolism—a scientific first for a robot.

Using independent experiments, King and his colleagues were able to verify ADAM’s results.

King’s reason for creating Adam is to help scientists in their research:

(From Science Daily) “Because biological organisms are so complex it is important that the details of biological experiments are recorded in great detail. This is difficult and irksome for human scientists, but easy for Robot Scientists.”

King already has plans for another robot scientist, Eve, that will be devoted to researching drugs for tropical diseases. As for possibly replacing human scientists outright, “While robots are better at coordinating thousands of experiments, humans are better are seeing the big picture and planning the overall experiment.”

This post has been filed under Rise of the Robots, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

Source: Canada’s National Post as referred by Kovacs in our Techy News Pics thread.


It looks like the NSA(T&T) has some competition in the domestic spying game… and they may be targets themselves.

The Biggest Brother. While the UK is well on its way to being a security-surveillance police-state, and America’s plans are apparently “on hold” for now, it would seem hard to imagine another nation attempting to lay claim to the “Big Brother” title. But China has been doing just that, according to a recently released report from researchers at the University of Toronto. A ten-month investigation has turned up some 1300 infected systems worldwide, including high-value government computers like those of the exiled Tibetan government and the Dali Lama. A full report can be downloaded from here.


Vulnerability detected between keyboard and chair. The way the infection was spread sounds typical: e-mails were sent with a trojan attached, the user unwittingly opens the attachment and infects his system, and the infected system uploads sensitive files to China and spreads even more e-mails where the user unwittingly opens the attachment…

What happens after the initial infection:

“The GhostNet system directs infected computers to download a Trojan (horse) known as ghOst RAT that allows attackers to gain complete, real-time control,” the authors write in Tracking GhostNet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network.

“Our investigation reveals that GhostNet is capable of taking full control of infected computers, including searching and downloading specific files, and covertly operating attached devices, including microphones and web cameras.”

Dalai Lama (Associated Press photo)

The Dalai Lama expresses how he feels about China’s regime

Other Ghosts on The Net? While the Ghostnet is concentrated more on Asia, there’s a possibility that American systems have also been infected, though no reports about such infections have surfaced… yet.

Americans being spied on by foreign nations may not be new, but The Student Operated Press raises concerns about the US cybersecurity scheme, and even worse, that a post-9/11 paranoia-infected Department of Homeland (in)Security has its own Ghostnet:

Robert Paul Reyes (S.O.P.):

I hope that the CIA is taking serious precautions to safeguard our military and intelligence computer systems. I`m confident that they are running their own GhostNet operations to keep track of our many enemies throughout the world.

But what I fear the most is that the Department of Homeland Security has a GhostNet operation to keep track of Americans. Under the guise of fighting terrorism the Bush administration wiretapped the phones of Americans without obtaining a warrant from the courts.

What Ghostnet is about may be scary, but it’s small fries compared the what Conficker may have to offer…

This post has been filed under HackZ AttackZ!, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

WordPress database error: [You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near '' at line 1]

Made with WordPress and the Semiologic CMS | Design by Mesoconcepts