SOPA

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/vip/~3/m4BrOmW6wmI/sopas-back-from-the-dead-and-this-time-its-a-virus

SOPA's Back From the Dead and This Time It's a Virus If you thought SOPA was dead, well, you’d be mostly right. Its bloated corpse, however, has been resurrected by hacker puppeteers for the valiant purpose of scamming people out of their cash.

The new virus is a pretty standard piece of ransomware that claims to have locked down your computer and offers to unlock it for the nominal fee of $200, but this one waves around the SOPA name for a little extra scare. Anyone who remembers the name, but not that the bill never went through, might be a little concerned at the accusations of piracy. That said, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that the U.S. government probably wouldn’t be collecting fines in the form of euros via Western Union, like ever.

Fortunately this SOPA doesn’t threaten to destroy the Internet as we know it but rather just your private stash of files, illegal and otherwise and it’s an empty threat at that. If you know how to Google things the solution won’t cost you a cent. It’s just a shame all legislation can’t be manually removed. [TorrentFreak via Geekosystem]

SOPA's Back From the Dead and This Time It's a Virus

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Saturday, October 13th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5930178/infuriating-riaa-knew-that-sopa-and-pipa-were-useless-all-along

Infuriating RIAA Knew That SOPA and PIPA Were Useless All AlongTorrentFreak has posted a supposedly leaked presentation by the RIAA’s chief lawyer that says that it defended SOPA and PIPA even though it knew the censorship legislation wouldn’t be effective against music piracy. Is the RIAA for real or are they just covering their asses, and what does it mean for your freedom going forward?

Massive Internet protests forced the RIAA’s puppets in Washington to back down from SOPA and PIPA, delivering a major blow the the RIAA’s crusade against Internet freedom. The leaked presentation called “U.S. Copyright Alert System and Other Voluntary Initiatives” was given in April to industry bigwigs, and it finds RIAA Deputy General Counsel Victoria Sheckler backpeddling from the organization’s legislative attacks on piracy. Just look at this slide. How pathetic:

Infuriating RIAA Knew That SOPA and PIPA Were Useless All Along

In other words, the presentation all but admits what opponents of SOPA and PIPA knew all along; that the legislation would be useless. Now remember, this legislation jeopardized free speech on the Internet. If this is posturing, it’s an infuriating stance. It’s inconceivable that the RIAA would support legislation that so blatantly threatened your rights for nothing, but it’s the unfortunate truth

Since legislating censorship didn’t work, the RIAA has pivoted back to the Copyright Alert System, an anti-privacy initiative it’s been pursuing with ISPs. The new initiative was finally agreed upon last summer after years of debate. It was supposed to launch this month, but it’s been indefinitely delayed because all of the stakeholders—you aren’t one of them, by the way—can’t agree on how to implement it. Under the system, Internet users would be governed by a six strike system. The RIAA (or MPAA) would submit complaints of infringement to ISPs on behalf of copyright holders, after which the ISPs follow up with users using what’s called “graduated response.” In short, infringers are warned and warned again before anyone launches any significant legal action. The emphasis, the RIAA says, is on education. Bullshit.

You should be just as worried about this ISP monitoring as you were about SOPA and PIPA. Instead of bullying the government into restricting your freedom, the RIAA is bullying the ISPs into creating an Internet nanny state to intimidate you into compliance with whatever it wants. As the RIAA points out in the slide above, the only thing legislation would have have accomplished is increased policing by ISPs. With the Copyright Alert System it’s happening anyway. It’s unprecedented. And for what? There’s no evidence it’ll work. The RIAA says it will, but after this leak do you really want to take its word for it? [TorrentFreak via ITWorld via Slashdot]

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Monday, July 30th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

the whole story, regardless of where you jump in

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/30/follow-the-saga-engadget/

Over the years, stories have become more than just single bursts of information. These days, there’s as much drama in the consumer technology world as there is sports, politics or your average episode of Days of our Lives. Take SOPA, for example. We’d be remiss of our duties here if we simply reported on what it was, without ever following up on protests, delays, judgments and other vitally important developments. In fact, it’s tough to think of too many stories covered today that don’t correspond with some sort of saga — even the departure of RIM’s co-CEOs represents just a single slice of a far larger tale. For those that follow this stuff 24/7, jumping in at any point in the story is no issue; piecing together the past with the present is second nature. But if you’re actually working during the day, hopping aimlessly into an ongoing saga mid-stream can be downright disorienting. Painful, even. We’ve been working hard to come up with an unobtrusive solution, and we think we’ve found it.

We’ve actually had our Follow The Saga functionality since January of last year — we quietly debuted it with the launch of Verizon’s iPhone 4 — but today’s iteration is far more interactive. We’ve been testing these out over the past few weeks, and today we’re happy to officially introduce them. If you see the badge shown after the break in any post that pops up here at Engadget, just give it a click to be taken to the full saga, and scroll up and down to see related stories before and after the one you happen to ! be looki ng at. We’re hoping it’ll be particularly helpful to those who happen to stumble upon a saga somewhere in the middle, but want to get caught up on what happened prior and where we stand now. As with everything we do, we’ll be continually tweaking and evolving the tool in the months ahead. Enjoy!

Psst… want to see it in action? Have a look under the body of this SOPA post to see how we got to where we are today.

Continue reading Introducing ‘Follow The Saga’: the whole story, regardless of where you jump in

Introducing ‘Follow The Saga’: the whole story, regardless of where you jump in originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 30 Jan 2012 14:18:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 news No Comments

Twitter Just Acquired A Huge Anti-Spam Startup

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-dasient-2012-1


Dasient

Twitter has acquired security startup Dasient, a company that specializes in fighting spam and malware.

The Dasient team will be plugged into Twitter’s “revenue engineering” group as Twitter monetizes with self-serve ads, reports TechCrunch.

In terms of the size of the team this acquisition was a large one, said TechCrunch’s sources.

It could be a match made in heaven — the most likely scenario seems that Twitter wants to protect its self-serve ad product from being used as a vehicle for spam.

With Dasient being well-versed in anti-spam and anti-malware efforts, it could be just what Twitter needs to maintain the product.

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Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 news No Comments

SOPA and PIPA Have Been Pulled (For Now) [Sopa]

Source: http://lifehacker.com/5877993/sopa-and-pipa-have-been-pulled-for-now

SOPA and PIPA Have Been Pulled (For Now)After Wednesday’s all-day protest of SOPA and PIPA, the bills that want to censor your internet, both bills have been shelved for further consideration, and will not be voted on as scheduled. Rep. Lamar Smith, the sponsor of SOPA, said he’s still committed to fighting piracy, but that this legislation isn’t the way to do it:

I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.

The Committee will continue work with copyright owners, Internet companies, financial institutions to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property. We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.

We’re hesitant to say the bill is “dead”, but after the events of this week it’s unlikely we’ll see SOPA and PIPA come to a vote in their current form. This probably isn’t the last we’ve seen of anti-piracy legislation, of course, and future bills could be just as dangerous. There are still things you can do to help, and while this is a victory, it isn’t a permanent one, so we wouldn’t get too comfortable just yet. Hit the link to read more.

Photo by Aspect3D (Shutterstock).

Statement from Chairman Smith on Senate Delay of Vote on PROTECT IP Act | US House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary via Ars Technica


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Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

Congress Is Crawling out of the Woodwork to Oppose SOPA [Infographics]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5877725/congress-is-crawling-out-of-the-woodwork-to-oppose-sopa

Congress Is Crawling out of the Woodwork to Oppose SOPASee? Congress does listen to the will of the people on occasion—especially when that will is wielded as a blunt instrument. As this infographic from ProPublica illustrates, yesterday’s blackout protests not only culled the official SOPA supporters by 15 congressmen, it actually added 70 opponents.

In all, official supporters for the House’s anti-piracy bill dropped from 80 members to 65 over Wednesday night, while the bill’s opponents swelled from just 30 members to 101 with another 41 polling as “leaning no.” Granted the “leaning no” crowd hasn’t ruled out voting for an amended version of the bill at a later date, doubling opposition to the bill overnight is a promising start. It’s amazing what 24 hours without Wikipedia will do. [Propublica]

And here is a larger size of the image:
Congress Is Crawling out of the Woodwork to Oppose SOPA


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Friday, January 20th, 2012 news No Comments

Surprise! Senators with Huge Campaign Contributions from Media Support SOPA/PIPA [Sopa]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5877352/surprise-senators-with-huge-campaign-contributions-from-media-support-sopapipa

Surprise! Senators with Huge Campaign Contributions from Media Support SOPA/PIPAIt’s an old cliché in politics to “follow the money.” Unfortunately, it’s almost always true when it comes to the support of controversial bills. In fact, all you need is $100k per senator to buy support for PIPA, the Senates version of SOPA.

It’s a small price to pay for controlling how the Internet works in the United States. If you’re still unsure what exactly SOPA is, check out our comprehensive article on the bill. Above are the senators that received in excess in $100,000 in campaign contributions from the Movie, Music, and TV industry. Oh hey, they all support PIPA. These numbers were compiled by ProPubilca.

If you live in the states governed by these public servants, be sure to give them a call and tell them that SOPA/PIPA will destroy the Internet. Mat’s right, we really do need an Internet Lobbyist. [ProPublica]


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Thursday, January 19th, 2012 news No Comments

What Is SOPA? [Sopa]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5877000/what-is-sopa

What Is SOPA?If you hadn’t heard of SOPA before, you probably have by now: Some of the internet’s most influential sites—Reddit and Wikipedia among them—are going dark to protest the much-maligned anti-piracy bill. But other than being a very bad thing, what is SOPA? And what will it mean for you if it passes?

SOPA is an anti-piracy bill working its way through Congress…

House Judiciary Committee Chair and Texas Republican Lamar Smith, along with 12 co-sponsors, introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act on October 26th of last year. Debate on H.R. 3261, as it’s formally known, has consisted of one hearing on November 16th and a “mark-up period” on December 15th, which was designed to make the bill more agreeable to both parties. Its counterpart in the Senate is the Protect IP Act (S. 968). Also known by it’s cuter-but-still-deadly name: PIPA. There will likely be a vote on PIPA next Wednesday; SOPA discussions had been placed on hold but will resume in February of this year.

…that would grant content creators extraordinary power over the internet…

The beating heart of SOPA is the ability of intellectual property owners (read: movie studios and record labels) to effectively pull the plug on foreign sites against whom they have a copyright claim. If Warner Bros., for example, says that a site in Italy is torrenting a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and—most dangerously—that the site’s ISP prevent people from even going there.

…which would go almost comedically unchecked…

Perhaps the most galling thing about SOPA in its original construction is that it let IP owners take these actions without a single court appearance or judicial sign-off. All it required was a single letter claiming a “good faith belief” that the target site has infringed on its content. Once Google or PayPal or whoever received the quarantine notice, they would have five days to either abide or to challenge the claim in court. Rights holders still have the power to request that kind of blockade, but in the most recent version of the bill the five day window has softened, and companies now would need the court’s permission.

The language in SOPA implies that it’s aimed squarely at foreign offenders; that’s why it focuses on cutting off sources of funding and traffic (generally US-based) rather than directly attacking a targeted site (which is outside of US legal jurisdiction) directly. But that’s just part of it.

…to the point of potentially creating an “Internet Blacklist”…

Here’s the other thing: Payment processors or content providers like Visa or YouTube don’t even need a letter shut off a site’s resources. The bill’s “vigilante” provision gives broad immunity to any provider who proactively shutters sites it considers to be infringers. Which means the MPAA just needs to publicize one list of infringing sites to get those sites blacklisted from the internet.

Potential for abuse is rampant. As Public Knowledge points out, Google could easily take it upon itself to delist every viral video site on the internet with a “good faith belief” that they’re hosting copyrighted material. Leaving YouTube as the only major video portal. Comcast (an ISP) owns NBC (a content provider). Think they might have an interest in shuttering some rival domains? Under SOPA, they can do it without even asking for permission.

…while exacting a huge cost from nearly every site you use daily…

SOPA also includes an “anti-circumvention” clause, which holds that telling people how to work around SOPA is nearly as bad as violating its main provisions. In other words: if your status update links to The Pirate Bay, Facebook would be legally obligated to remove it. Ditto tweets, YouTube videos, Tumblr or WordPress posts, or sites indexed by Google. And if Google, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, etc. let it stand? They face a government “enjoinment.” They could and would be shut down.

The resources it would take to self-police are monumental for established companies, and unattainable for start-ups. SOPA would censor every online social outlet you have, and prevent new ones from emerging.

…and potentially disappearing your entire digital life…

The party line on SOPA is that it only affects seedy off-shore torrent sites. That’s false. As the big legal brains at Bricoleur point out, the potential collateral damage is huge. And it’s you. Because while Facebook and Twitter have the financial wherewithal to stave off anti-circumvention shut down notices, the smaller sites you use to store your photos, your videos, and your thoughts may not. If the government decides any part of that site infringes on copyright and proves it in court? Poof. Your digital life is gone, and you can’t get it back.

…while still managing to be both unnecessary and ineffective…

What’s saddest about SOPA is that it’s pointless on two fronts. In the US, the MPAA, and RIAA already have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to request that infringing material be taken down. We’ve all seen enough “video removed” messages to know that it works just fine.

As for the foreign operators, you might as well be throwing darts at a tse-tse fly. The poster child of overseas torrenting, Pirate Bay, has made it perfectly clear that they’re not frightened in the least. And why should they be? Its proprietors have successfully evaded any technological attempt to shut them down so far. Its advertising partners aren’t US-based, so they can’t be choked out. But more important than Pirate Bay itself is the idea of Pirate Bay, and the hundreds or thousands of sites like it, as populous and resilient as mushrooms in a marsh. Forget the question of should SOPA succeed. It’s incredibly unlikely that it could. At least at its stated goals.

…but stands a shockingly good chance of passing…

SOPA is, objectively, an unfeasible trainwreck of a bill, one that willfully misunderstands the nature of the internet and portends huge financial and cultural losses. The White House has come out strongly against it. As have hundreds of venture capitalists and dozens of the men and women who helped build the internet in the first place. In spite of all this, it remains popular in the House of Representatives.

That mark-up period on December 15th, the one that was supposed to transform the bill into something more manageable? Useless. Twenty sanity-fueled amendments were flat-out rejected. And while the bill’s most controversial provision—mandatory DNS filtering—was thankfully taken off the table recently, in practice internet providers would almost certainly still use DNS as a tool to shut an accused site down.

…unless we do something about it.

The momentum behind the anti-SOPA movement has been slow to build, but we’re finally at a saturation point. Wikipedia, BoingBoing, WordPress, TwitPic: they’ll all be dark on January 18th. An anti-SOPA rally has been planned for tomorrow afternoon in New York. The list of companies supporting SOPA is long but shrinking, thanks in no small part to the emails and phone calls they’ve received in the last few months.

So keep calling. Keep emailing. Most of all, keep making it known that the internet was built on the same principles of freedom that this country was. It should be afforded to the same rights.


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Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 news No Comments

The Owner Of Flash Sales Site Rue La La Is Laying Off A Big Chunk Of Its Staff

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-owner-of-flash-sales-site-rue-la-la-is-losing-up-to-half-its-staff-2012-1


rue la la

UPDATE: Rue La La has reached out to us to update the story with some additional information.

Rue La La just laid off 11 percent of its 500-person staff, according to the company.

The Boston Business Journal first reported the layoffs.

Site owner Retail Convergence is also shutting down SmartBargains.com, a discount shopping site, according to the report.

Some employees were offered other positions in the company, and everyone was offered some kind of severance package, a source close to the company told us.

“It was a mess upstairs. People were crying all over the place,” one unnamed employee told the Boston Business Journal. 

Rue La La operator Retail Convergence raised about $25 million from General Catalyst Partners and Breakaway Partners before being acquired by a company called GSI Commerce for $350 million, reports The Boston Business Journal.

eBay then bought GSI Commerce in 2009, and Rue La La got $500 million in debt and equity financing as part of the deal, according to the report. Retail Convergence, the owner of Rue La La and SmartBargains.com was spun out as part of that deal.

Here’s the full statement from Rue La La:

Since launching in 2008, Rue La La has transformed online shopping and has become a leader in the “private sale” shopping space.  In a continued effort to revolutionize off-price shopping, we have made the strategic decision to double down on our core business.  This heightened focus on our core includes the restructuring of our Rue Local business by outsourcing our sales force and consolidating SmartBargains.com into Rue La La. SmartBargains.com was originally launched 1999.  These moves unfortunately resulted in the elimination of some staff positions.  Rue La La has continued to see dramatic growth with nearly $300MM in sales in 2011 and similar growth planned for 2012 and beyond.

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Thursday, January 12th, 2012 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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