by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 18th 2013 10:21am
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Apr 16th 2013 1:18pm
from the now-carry-through dept
Both government and private companies need cyber threat information to allow them to identify, prevent, and respond to malicious activity that can disrupt networks and could potentially damage critical infrastructure. The Administration believes that carefully updating laws to facilitate cybersecurity information sharing is one of several legislative changes essential to protect individuals' privacy and improve the Nation's cybersecurity. While there is bipartisan consensus on the need for such legislation, it should adhere to the following priorities: (1) carefully safeguard privacy and civil liberties; (2) preserve the long-standing, respective roles and missions of civilian and intelligence agencies; and (3) provide for appropriate sharing with targeted liability protections.There are some good amendments proposed, which would help protect privacy, but it's unclear how likely they are to pass.
The Administration recognizes and appreciates that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) adopted several amendments to H.R. 624 in an effort to incorporate the Administration's important substantive concerns. However, the Administration still seeks additional improvements and if the bill, as currently crafted, were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill. The Administration seeks to build upon the continuing dialogue with the HPSCI and stands ready to work with members of Congress to incorporate our core priorities to produce cybersecurity information sharing legislation that addresses these critical issues.
Furthermore, it's still quite troubling that no one seems willing to explain why this is needed, and what existing laws are somehow getting in the way of important information being shared. We keep asking that question, and it seems odd that no one replies other than "but... but... but... cyberattacks from China!!"
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 26th 2013 9:12am
from the over-and-over-and-over-again dept
I'm reminded of this thanks to News Corp. (via Fox) filing for a new injunction against Dish Networks for the latest version of its DVR, the Dish Hopper with Sling. Now, you may recall that Fox already tried to get an injunction against Dish's Hopper with Sling and lost pretty badly (even as it pretended that it had won). Fox is appealing that decision, but also filed a new request for an injunction against the updated device, claiming that the key new feature, Hopper Transfers, goes beyond anything else and (once again), must be stopped.
This is the same old story over and over again. The last century plus of copyright law has been driven by the entertainment industry flipping out time and time again over new innovations that they don't think should be allowed. The 1909 Copyright Act was driven, in large part, by the introduction of the evil player piano, leading many to insist that this would kill the demand for live music and put musicians out of work.
Around that time, there was also the invention of the gramophone, or, as John Philip Sousa called it, "that infernal machine." He famously claimed, "these talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country," and that "we will not have a vocal cord left," because evolution will deem them not necessary due to "talking machines."
Then along came radio, and it too, was destined to wipe out the industry, with ASCAP demanding that any song that was to be played on the radio first needed to (a) get permission from the rights holder and (b) have the DJ state clearly before each song that it was being played "by special permission" from the rightsholder. When people started mocking that phrase (and someone even wrote a song about it), ASCAP stated that the permission line had to be spoken by DJs with "no facetious trifling."
Moving on, along came cable TV to add some competition to the TV market. And what happened? Lawsuits of course. "It would be difficult to imagine a more flagrant violation of the Copyright Act," we were told.
And you may have heard what happened when the original VCR was invented. Why the MPAA's Jack Valenti had a thing or two to say about that:
I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.Cassette recorder? "Home taping is killing music."
DVR? Must be illegal. According to the head of Turner Broadcasting: "People who watch TV without commercials are stealing from the entertainment producers."
How about the first real MP3 player, the Diamond Rio? Lawsuit filed in which it was stated that allowing the device, "will injure not only the record companies and artists whose work will be pirated, but also the music publishers, musicians, background singers, songwriters and others whose existence is dependent on revenue earned by record sales."
YouTube? Viacom's lawsuit is still ongoing, but Viacom insisted that, if allowed, YouTube would "severely impair, if not completely destroy, the value of many copyrighted creations."
And lets not even get into all of the technologies that the entertainment industry has been shutting down over the past few years. Zediva? Dead. ivi? Gone. Aereo? Still here, but fighting. Veoh? Dead (even though it won its lawsuit). MP3Tunes? Bankrupt due to lawsuit (even though it won too). There are many more as well.
See a pattern yet? This pattern repeats over and over and over and over again. The entertainment industry, aided by the Copyright Office, seems to think that there's some sort of role it has to play in giving the yay or nay vote to any new technological innovation that concerns content consumption. And, of course, the vote is always "nay." In the long run, that always turns out to be the wrong vote. So why do we constantly allow the entertainment industry to get away with this nonsense? This filing from Fox is merely the latest in a very long line of these kinds of actions, and it should be immensely troubling to those who recognize that the best way for the entertainment industry itself to thrive in the modern world is to embrace these new services, which increase value to consumers and make them more interested in watching/listening to the content being produced.
You would think that, after a century of these examples, those in the entertainment industry might finally realize that looking for the opportunities in these innovations is a more productive strategy than trying to kill every new technology. Apparently, however, the industry is still run by people who have no sense of history, other than the history of always ratcheting up copyright enforcement.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 4th 2012 8:31am
from the amendments-not-convincing dept
That said, the White House is still supporting the Lieberman cybersecurity bill in the Senate, which isn't quite as bad as some of the other proposals, but still has plenty of problems. And, most importantly, still doesn't include any clear explanation for why it's needed. It's bizarre and troubling that no one in the federal government seems willing to provide a real justification for any of these bills others than "oooooh, it's scary out there on the internet!!"
from the in-no-uncertain-terms dept
Yesterday, the Guardian reported that the Obama administration officially opposed CISPA—but they also noted that there was no mention of the V-word. Now that's changed. The executive office just released a statement which says in no uncertain terms that they will be pushing for a veto of the bill:
Legislation should address core critical infrastructure vulnerabilities without sacrificing the fundamental values of privacy and civil liberties for our citizens, especially at a time our Nation is facing challenges to our economic well-being and national security. The Administration looks forward to continuing to engage with the Congress in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to enact cybersecurity legislation to address these critical issues. However, for the reasons stated herein, if H.R. 3523 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
The administration's concerns mirror those of civil liberties groups, and could be (partially) addressed by some of the amendments we looked at earlier. But hopefully this clear statement from the White House provides the necessary final push to stop CISPA in its tracks and start working on a better security bill with the help of people who actually know what they're doing.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Dec 27th 2011 1:20pm
from the too-much-money dept
No doubt: there is a significant split inside the administration from everything we've heard. Much of the State Department is strenuously opposed to the bill, knowing darn well that it would do significant harm to their efforts to push internet freedom and openness around the globe. SOPA supporters love to point to the letter that Hillary Clinton sent to Rep. Howard Berman about how there's no conflict about protecting intellectual property and working for internet freedom. But they're significantly overplaying the letter, which was written before SOPA came out and didn't mention SOPA at all. In fact, it would be a hilariously bad breach of standard protocol for Clinton to take a position on a bill before the White House made its official position clear, and everyone involved in the debate knows that, even if they pretend otherwise. Either way, multiple sources within the State Department have made it abundantly clear that State has been putting tremendous pressure on people to either fix SOPA or kill it altogether. They're not happy. Ditto for many in the Commerce Department, who see how bad it would be for the economy to have a bill like SOPA in place. The feelings there aren't quite as strong as at State, but they definitely appear to lean towards opposed (or, at the very least, neutral).
There are also voices in both Homeland Security and the Defense Department who are worried about the online security aspects as a part of the DNS blocking features of the bill. Of course, those voices are likely outweighed by those who like the ability to shut down domains -- such as ICE, who would gladly support SOPA. The Justice Department, also, appears to be a huge, huge, huge supporter of SOPA, seeing as it would give them much greater powers to shut down websites.
Then, of course, there's the White House itself. And, again, there appears to be a bit of a mix of feelings there, but the leaning definitely appears to be towards supporting the bill. Throughout his administration, the President has left almost all intellectual property issues up to Vice President Joe Biden, who has been about as big a copyright maximalist as can be. He's the guy who claimed that the heads of the biggest entertainment companies represented "all the stake holders" (public be damned) in a roundtable about intellectual property that he convened two years ago -- from which the ideas behind SOPA and PIPA came. It's safe to assume that he's totally on board with the bills, and since Obama defers to him on these issues, you can expect this issue is pretty much decided. There are a few others in the White House who may weigh in on the subject, including IP Czar Victoria Espinel. Again, the likely guess is that she's in favor, having supported the plan to seize domains which is related to SOPA & PIPA. Others in the White House include the CTO, Aneesh Chopra, who hasn't given much of an indication of where he'd fall on the issue, but has supported open internet initiatives in the past. If I had to guess, I'd say he's mildly against the plans, but not enough to make a big deal about it. If anything, he'd probably prefer that the bill be adjusted to make it slightly more palatable and then have it pass and be signed.
Finally, there's Obama himself. Heading into what may be a difficult election year, and dependent on money from Hollywood and unions (the big Democratic funders), this is an easy call. He'd sign it in a heartbeat. Any bill that has the support of the MPAA and the AFL-CIO is red meat for him when it comes to fundraising. The whole "loves the internet" thing is great... if the internet donates. The internet was certainly useful to Obama in the primaries last time around, but when it comes to the big fight, he needs the big guns. So he's looking for the big cats, and those still support the bill in a big, bad way. If you want a blueprint for how this works, just look at how he signed the patent reform bill a few months ago, despite widespread complaints among the tech industry about how the patent system was totally broken and the bill didn't help at all. He still signed it and declared (incorrectly) that it would stimulate new jobs. He'd do the exact same thing here. Sign it, point to the AFL-CIO and US Chamber of Commerce support and talk about how this was a "jobs bill" that would "help the economy" by "protecting American jobs." The internet? Meh. No one cares about the internet when Hollywood and the unions have checkbooks open.
The only way that changes is if SOPA and PIPA become so toxic that any support is seen as career suicide -- and if that's the case, then the bill itself probably doesn't get out of Congress to get on his desk in the first place. Getting GoDaddy to switch positions is one thing. Getting these bills to the toxic level is a whole different ballgame, and we're certainly not there yet. For those celebrating the "victory" over GoDaddy last week, this fight is far, far, far from over, and the MPAA and the other supporters of SOPA don't give up easily. Both SOPA and PIPA are dangerous in the extreme, and still have a decent chance of passing, if people don't speak up directly to the politicians who continue to support these bills.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 8th 2011 3:01pm
from the does-no-one-think-about-this-stuff dept
It appears that it's now been confirmed that the Commerce Department really does want veto power for any government over a particular TLD. The reports suggest that there's concern about TLD's like ".gay" which some countries may not like, and some of the fear is driven by the .xxx debacle, when ICANN initially approved a .xxx domain, thinking it would be a "redlight district" for porn, but then after public outcry, the US government pressured ICANN to change its mind. This was especially funny because no one seemed sure whether or not .xxx was good or bad for kids. There were some people who thought .xxx would be "good" for kids by creating an area that was easy to rope off and keep kids out of. Others argued that .xxx was bad because it admitted that porn existed (or something like that).
The whole thing was a complete mess, and now the US government seems to want to repeat that process around the world.
Here's why this is about as pointless as can be: already anyone can register any URL within the existing TLDs. No government has any veto power over the part that comes before the TLD. So what difference does it make to include a veto over what comes after the TLD. In what world does it make sense to say that "gaysex.com" is okay but "sex.gay" is not? Why does the government care?
Even worse, this whole thing creates a massive unnecessary PR nightmare for the administration. Already there are concerns around the world that ICANN -- a quasi-public/private entity -- is too much in the pocket of the US government. The Commerce Department has always tried to deny this, insisting that ICANN had autonomy. And yet... in pushing for this veto power, it's admitting that it actually does want to take greater control over ICANN... and to give other governments some veto power as well.