Online piracy is not the scourge of the media industry, as proponents of a crackdown on copyright infringement claim, says a new study. Creative business is doing well, with those embracing the new realities of digital sharing even flourishing.
The study by the London School of Economics says that claims by industry lobbyists of damage from piracy are largely exaggerated. Meanwhile, policies aimed at curbing illegal file sharing that that the likes of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the British Video Association are neither efficient nor help the entertainment industry to boost its bottom line.
The policy report suggests that attempts to stop digital sharing and close sites like The Pirate Bay are going against the natural development of creative communities and advise to review UK’s attitude to copyright.
Lavabit owner Ladar Levison told RT that he had no choice but to close his email service because the FBI, in pursuit of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, forced him into an ethical dilemma by demanding he hand over customers’ personal data.
RT: The FBI demanded you hand over encryption codes to collect data from a specific account that is not named in the documents. What was your initial response?
Ladar Levison: That’s actually not correct. What they demanded were the SSL keys that were protecting all the data coming in and out of my network for all of my users, and that’s what I had an issue with. I’ve said before that I took the stance that I did not to try and protect a single person but because I was concerned about the invasion and the sacrificing of everyone’s privacy rights that were accessing my system.
RT: We were led to believe that you had been threatened to be charged with criminal content if you did not comply. Do you feel those threats would have eventually become reality if you didn’t follow suit?
LL: Oh, I know they would. In fact they went on to charge me $5,000 a day for every day that I didn’t turn over those keys, which is why I was eventually forced to hand them over. Given the difficult choice of remaining silent about what I thought was a grave injustice or taking, like you said, the lesser of two evils and shutting down the service. I just wasn’t comfortable knowing that they were examining all the data that was coming in and out of my network without any kind of transparency or auditing by myself to ensure that they were only collecting the information they were legally authorized to and continuing to run the service with that knowledge. So I made the only decision I felt was appropriate. In terms of being arrested, I think the only reason they didn’t is because if they had the system would have had nobody to maintain it. That’s one of the advantages of being a small business owner, you wear many hats.
- RT – US Govt Does Not See Implications Of Its Investigation Techniques – Lavabit Founder – 5 October 2013 (lucas2012infos.wordpress.com)
- Lavabit Defied FBI Demands to Turn Over Crypto Keys, Documents Show (wired.com)
- Bloxx White Paper on HTTPS Content Inspection Highlights “Blind Spots” in SSL-Encrypted Web Traffic (prweb.com)
Freedom on the Net 2013 is the fourth report in a series of comprehensive studies of internet freedom around the globe and covers developments in 60 countries that occurred between May 2012 and April 2013. Over 60 researchers, nearly all based in the countries they analyzed, contributed to the project by researching laws and practices relevant to the digital media, testing the accessibility of select websites, and interviewing a wide range of sources, among other research activities. This edition’s findings indicate that internet freedom worldwide is in decline, with 34 out of 60 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period. Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content, and growing arrests of social-media users drove this overall decline in internet freedom in the past year. Nonetheless, Freedom on the Net 2013 also found that activists are becoming more effective at raising awareness of emerging threats and, in several cases, have helped forestall new repressive measures.
In June 2013, revelations made by former contractor Edward Snowden about the U.S. government’s secret surveillance activities took center stage in the American and international media. As part of its antiterrorism effort, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting communications data on Americans and foreigners on a much greater scale than previously thought. However, while the world’s attention is focused on Snowden and U.S. surveillance—prompting important discussions about the legitimacy and legality of such measures—disconcerting efforts to both monitor and censor internet activity have been taking place in other parts of the world with increased frequency and sophistication. In fact, global internet freedom has been in decline for the three consecutive years tracked by this project, and the threats are becoming more widespread.
Of particular concern are the proliferation of laws, regulations, and directives to restrict online speech; a dramatic increase in arrests of individuals for something they posted online; legal cases and intimidation against social-media users; and a rise in surveillance. In authoritarian states, these tools are often used to censor and punish users who engage in online speech that is deemed critical of the government, royalty, or the dominant religion. In some countries, even blogging about environmental pollution, posting a video of a cynical rap song, or tweeting about the town mayor’s poor parking could draw the police to a user’s door. Although democratic states generally do not target political speech, several have sought to implement disproportionate restrictions on content they perceive as harmful or illegal, such as pornography, hate speech, and pirated media.
- Obama defends NSA surveillance programs anew (bigstory.ap.org)
- Internet Freedom Loses Ground Around the World, Says Report, But Not Without a Fight (reason.com)