Press review

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The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.

[TheGuardian] Net Neutrality Is Only The Beginning Of An Open Internet

US regulators are voting on whether to enshrine the openness of the internet, and the outcome is likely to influence policy worldwide.

Net neutrality is the principle of making sure that your internet service provider doesn’t make it easier for you to access one service over another – the Guardian over the Telegraph, say – or otherwise distorting your use of internet services just because someone dropped a few extra quid in their pocket. […]

We citizens, often derogated as “users” or “consumers”, have much to win in a global communication space. That is much more than simply a “neutral network”. Instead, it is a truly open, distributed network where everyone’s fundamental rights are respected. Not having our access providers acting as interested gatekeepers may be a step in the right direction, but it is by no means an end. Many other distortive factors remain and we will not have an open space until we get rid of them all.

[TheStack] Belarus bans Tor and all anonymising internet technologies

In the wake of Russia's announcement that it intends to ban Tor, VPNs and all other technologies that permit users to hide their identities on the internet, the neighbouring Republic of Belarus has announced [Russian language] that it will enable legislation to bring these restrictions into effect. […]

When the law is enacted, Tor will lose a Belarusian user-base of between 6-8000 users. Though the Russian-announced ban has been criticised by many as unworkable, it seems likely that Belarus, which is landlocked between Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, will adopt at least some of the same techniques that China has employed in recent years to limit or ban anonymised traffic. A 2012 report [PDF] by Philipp Winter and Stefan Lindskog of Karlstad University detailed the Chinese method, which employed the establishment of a popular Tor exit node, and the use of known de-obfuscation techniques to unmask and subsequently block the IP addresses of identified nodes, effectively isolating the network. Since Tor specifically relies on non-local routing, the effect of such en masse node-blocking has proved to be very effective at a national level. […]

[Wired] Laura Poitras on the Crypto Tools That Made Her Snowden Film Possible

As a journalist, Laura Poitras was the quiet mastermind behind the publication of Edward Snowden’s unprecedented NSA leak. As a filmmaker, her new movie Citizenfour makes clear she’s one of the most important directors working in documentary today. And when it comes to security technology, she’s a serious geek.

In the closing credits of Citizenfour, Poitras took the unusual step of adding an acknowledgment of the free software projects that made the film possible: The roll call includes the anonymity software Tor, the Tor-based operating system Tails, the anonymous upload system SecureDrop, GPG encryption, Off-The-Record (OTR) encrypted instant messaging, hard disk encryption software Truecrypt, and GNU Linux. All of that describes a technical setup that goes well beyond the precautions taken by most national security reporters, not to mention documentary filmmakers. […]

[Infojustice] Copyright Policy and the Right to Science and Culture

The document summary reads: “In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines copyright law and policy from the perspective of the right to science and culture, emphasizing both the need for protection of authorship and expanding opportunities for participation in cultural life. Recalling that protection of authorship differs from copyright protection, the Special Rapporteur proposes several tools to advance the human rights interests of authors. The Special Rapporteur also proposes to expand copyright exceptions and limitations to empower new creativity, enhance rewards to authors, increase educational opportunities, preserve space for non-commercial culture and promote inclusion and access to cultural works. An equally important recommendation is to promote cultural and scientific participation by encouraging the use of open licences, such as those offered by Creative Commons.” […]

[TheVerge] Tumblr raises the alarm for net neutrality

Between the SOPA blackout and the day of action for net neutrality, big names on the internet like Reddit, Netflix, and Tumblr have harnessed their vast platforms to call their users into action. Today, Tumblr continued that recent tradition by placing a big yellow button in everyone's dashboard that says "SAVE THE INTERNET." The button directs users to a site that explains the net neutrality issue, and asks them to "help the FCC protect the internet." [...]

It's a timely call to action. The FCC is expected to propose that ISPs be reclassified as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act: a contentious move that big internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have been fighting in the courts and in Congress. That proposal could leak as early as this week, and then the FCC will vote on it during a February 26th meeting.

This time, Tumblr isn't asking people to call the FCC. Instead, it's directing them to members of Congress. That's a smart move, considering the fact that the Republican-controlled Congress is skeptical of the FCC's authority. Moreover, Congress is considering independent action that could take the decision on net neutrality out of the FCC's hands. [...]

[TheVerge] France Wants To Make Google And Facebook Accountable For Hate Speech

The French government announced today a plan to hold web companies accountable for any extremist messages they may host, Bloomberg reports. French president Francois Hollande wants to introduce a law that would make companies like Google and Facebook "accomplices" in crimes of hate speech if users post content the government deems extremist. […]

The bullish rhetoric employed by French politicians in response to the tragedy has raised fears of a European Patriot Act, much like US legislation immediately following the September 11th attacks. […]

[TheVerge] Here's How The New Republican Congress Plans To Undercut Net Neutrality

A proposed bill looks like net neutrality, but it hamstrings the FCC

The widespread national popularity of net neutrality principles have pushed the new Republican Congress, however tentatively, to embrace some of its core concepts. With two congressional net neutrality hearings scheduled for today, Republican lawmakers have released draft legislation that would ban broadband providers from discriminating against certain kinds of web traffic. [...]

A critical reading of the bill finds the Republicans eager to pay lip service to net neutrality while stripping the open internet of key protections. A law that relegates the telecom's chief regulatory watchdog into a large stack of three-ring binders isn’t exactly an advocate’s dream. The bill gestures towards addressing the loudest demands surrounding net neutrality. But its rules would also leave the FCC largely inert. [...]

[NyTimes] Patriot Act Idea Rises in France, and Is Ridiculed

WASHINGTON — The arrests came quickly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. There was the Muslim man suspected of making anti-American statements. The Middle Eastern grocer, whose shop, a tipster said, had more clerks than it needed. Soon hundreds of men, mostly Muslims, were in American jails on immigration charges, suspected of being involved in the attacks.

They were not.

After shootings last week at a satirical newspaper and a kosher market in Paris, France finds itself grappling anew with a question the United States is still confronting: how to fight terrorism while protecting civil liberties. The answer is acute in a country that is sharply critical of American counterterrorism policies, which many see as a fearful overreaction to 9/11. Already in Europe, counterterrorism officials have arrested dozens of people, and France is mulling tough new antiterrorism laws. [...]

The details of any new French law are unclear, but discussion has focused on increased Internet surveillance and new authority to remove content. Adrienne Charmet-Alix, the coordinator of La Quadrature du Net, a group that advocates Internet freedom, urged caution. Everyone, she said, “must keep a cool head.” [...]

[BoingBoing] Cameron To Press Obama For Help Outlawing Encryption, Destroying Internet Freedom

UK PM David Cameron is reportedly seeking the cooperation of US president Barack Obama over Cameron's encryption crackdown. Cameron is expected to ask Obama to pressure US internet firms to work more closely with UK intelligence agencies. [...]

[Newscientist] Mass Surveillance Not Effective For Finding Terrorists

Some UK politicians are trying once again to pass mass surveillance laws after the Paris attacks. It's a misguided approach, says a computing researcher. […]

Mass data collectors can dig deeply into anyone's digital persona but don't have the resources to do so with everyone. Surveillance of the entire population, the vast majority of whom are innocent, leads to the diversion of limited intelligence resources in pursuit of huge numbers of false leads. Terrorists are comparatively rare, so finding one is a needle in a haystack problem. You don't make it easier by throwing more needleless hay on the stack. […]

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