There I was calmly at home with the laptop, well prepared for the impending winter storm that is going to hit us soon when I got a message from a friend via Facebook telling me that there is a fake twitter account in my name. The message included a link to this account
At first I didn’t spot it. All I saw was the number of tweets, following and followers were wrong. Then I saw that the text was wrong, before I finally saw the twitter handle was another. Here is my twitter account
Not only had the cheeky bugger stolen my image and my (older) bio but even taken my background too. Damn! He/she has also violated the Creative Commons license for my image of the bottles in the background. No attribution!
He/she has been tweeting since August and only managed 16 tweets. But the last one was just hours ago. Why? Seriously It can’t be that difficult to create a profile – so is to somehow fool my friends? I doubt that would work.
Anyway I filed a complaint with twitter and quickly received a mail with the content
To confirm your identity, fax a copy of your valid government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport) to Twitter
Really!! Not only do I have to prove that I am who I am, but now I have to find two pieces of archaic technology (photocopier and fax) in order to prove who I am.
What this proves is:
- Stealing someones likeness and bio is easy online (duh!)
- In order to really prove who we are we need to downgrade to pre-internet technology
- First world problems are really a drag
Copyright violation has been linked to terrorism before and it was a stupid then as it is now. Can you imagine terrorists sitting in caves in Afghanistan downloading stuff from the Pirate Bay to destroy western civilization? This is such far fetched propaganda that it should just be seen as excellent comedy – if it wasn’t being proposed by “serious” people and will eventually believed by people in power. Scary.
Linking copyright violation and terrorism is back. “Film Piracy, Organized Crime, and Terrorism” (pdf) starts by linking pirates and gangsters, claiming to have found:
compelling evidence of a broad, geographically dispersed, and continuing connection between film piracy and organized crime.
The Rand study goes on to leap onto terrorism:
Moreover, three of the documented cases provide clear evidence that terrorist groups have used the proceeds of film piracy to finance their activities.
Torrentfreak does a good job of taking this apart. One key piece: the study explicitly conflates counterfeiting and copyright infringement. Also important is the loose linkage between different people, functions, and crimes.
Virtual Law@LSE writes that BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse have all signed up to the Government’s new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on File Sharing. [BBC, Guardian, Telegraph]
The MOU means that the companies have to work to create a “significant reduction” in illegal filesharing. This may sound easy enough but spying on customers and accusing them of violating copyright law is not really good business – especially for companies whose business it is to sell faster (and more expensive) broadband. The ISP’s have in the MoU agreed to send out “informative letters” to customers whose accounts have been identified as being used for potential file sharing. But as Virtual Law@LSE writes:
It would appear many thousands of people will get letters from their ISPs telling them that the BPI has identified them as potentially being in breach of copyright. The ISPs should be careful here in terms of customer relations. It is never a good idea to tell a customer of your that someone believes them to be a copyright infringer. It will (a) suggest you are snooping on them (which to an extent is true), (b) suggests you are entitled to lecture them on their activities online and (c) suggests you are serving the interests of the BPI not their own customers.
In order to be able to send the letters to suspected file sharers the ISP’s must either monitor all data traffic or only monitor those who use unusually high amounts of broadband. Either way the ISP’s are uncomfortably close to violating peoples privacy. Maybe not in a legal sense and maybe they are acting within the limitations of their customer contracts but still tantamount to surveillence and a violation of privacy.
It is also a form of privatized regulation through technology which sits uncomfortably with the potential freedom that the technology enables…
Technollama has his finger on the pulse of the recent World of Warcraft EULA case – read all about it!
The suit involved cheating autopilot exploit which allows a player to gather gold automatically by using intelligent agents and bots to control an avatar. MDY distributes software advertised specifically to serve as an exploit, which represents a serious problem for WoW developers Blizzard Entertainment because it affects legitimate players who put time and effort into levelling and gathering gold.
Seriously the results are important far beyond gaming – as if that was not an important topic
Not only is data retention a potential violation of civil liberties but it now may turn out to be pointless according to the Max-Planck-Institute for Criminal Law. (via Gisle Hannemyr)
A report (PDF) from Max-Planck-Instituts für Strafrecht about data rentention was recently featured in Heise.de and the online edition of Der Spiegel. Below is a summary in English.
According to the study, the logging and retention of certain telecomminications traffic data for six months that was made compulsory in Germany in January 2008 will only have mariginal effect and traffic data will be of use in as little as 0.002 % of the total number of criminal cases. This is within the marigin of statistical error and the annual variation in criminal cases solved is one hundered times greater.
This finding corresponds to estimates from Bundeskriminalamts, who in a separate study from the summer of 2007 says that data retention will incease the percentage of solved crimes “from 55 percent today to, at most, 55.006 percent.”
The Max-Planck study also shows an exponential increase in use of traffic data by law enforcement, from 5000 queries in year 2000 to about 41000 in the year 2005 (see summary and figures on pages 77, 90, and 402 in the report). In Bayern traffic data queries increased by 60 percent from 2006 to 2007 according to this report.
With respect to types of crime, 50 percent of IP-address queries concerns fraud and 25 percent concerns copyright violations. The argument that traffic data are needed to prevent terrorism is not supported by the statistics.
The study also warns about dangers from abuse due to unauthorized access to the stored data by inside or outside agents at well as the potential to use such data for “strategic surveillance” of large segments of the population.