MPAA Front Group, Pretending To Represent Consumer Interests, Slams CloudFlare For Not Censoring The Internet

from the that's-not-how-it-works dept

So you may have seen reports last week charging CloudFlare and some other tech companies with "aiding" internet malware pushers. The "report," called "Enabling Malware" was announced in a press release last week from the Digital Citizens Alliance -- a group that describes itself as representing consumer interests online:
Digital Citizens is a consumer-oriented coalition focused on educating the public and policy makers on the threats that consumers face on the internet and the importance for internet stakeholders – individuals, government and industry - to make the Web a safer place.
And while the story wasn't picked up that widely, a few news sources did pick it up and repeated the false claim that DCA is a consumer advocacy group. TorrentFreak, FedScoop and Can-India also picked up the story, and all simply repeated DCA's claim to represent the interests of "digital citizens."

But that leaves out the reality: DCA is a group mostly funded by Hollywood, but also with support from the pharmaceutical industry, to systematically attack the internet and internet companies, for failing to censor the internet and block the sites and services that Hollywood and Big Pharma dislike. DCA has been instrumental in pushing false narratives about all the "evil" things online -- "counterfeit fire detectors! fake drugs!" -- in order to push policy makers to institute new laws to censor the internet. DCA buries this basic fact in its own description, merely noting that it "counts among its supporters... the health, pharmaceutical and creative industries."

The organization was formed in late 2012, partly as a response to the MPAA's big loss around SOPA. Recognizing that it needed to change tactics, the MPAA basically helped get DCA off the ground to push scare stories about horrible internet companies enabling "bad things" online, and how new laws and policies had to be created to stop those evil internet companies. Much of this was merely speculation for a while, based on the fact that every DCA report seemed to wrongly blame internet companies for other people using those tools to do bad things online. However, it became explicit thanks to the Sony Hack, which revealed that a key part of the MPAA's anti-Google plan, dubbed Project Goliath, involved having the DCA pay Mississippi's former Attorney General Mike Moore (who mentored its current AG, Jim Hood), to lobby Jim Hood to attack Google.

That doesn't sound like a project of organizations just interested in "digital safety." It sounds like a project designed to attack internet companies. And, thus, it should be no surprise that every time DCA's name pops up, it's attacking internet companies. It was the organization that put out a report getting a variety of state Attorneys General (sense a pattern here?) to attack YouTube, because some criminals posted videos on YouTube. Rather than recognizing that this is a way to gather evidence and go after actual criminals, DCA decided that YouTube should be blamed for not taking those videos down fast enough. It was also the organization that put out a laughable report declaring the cloud storage site Mega a "haven" for piracy, where the methodology made no sense. Mega encrypts its content, but DCA and its researchers didn't seem to understand that, so they simply found a few links inbound to infringing works, and extrapolated out that a huge percentage of files on Mega were infringing.

DCA's boss, Tom Galvin, magically was chosen to present to the National Association of Attorneys General back in 2013, just months after the organization was founded, and in timing that (coincidentally, I'm sure) lines up almost exactly with the MPAA's decision (as revealed in the Sony emails) to focus on state Attorneys General to attack Google. DCA's Twitter feed regularly retweets the MPAA and various other front groups set up by the legacy copyright industries, such as the Copyright Alliance.

In short, the Digital Citizens Alliance is not an alliance of "digital citizens" at all. It's a front group set up by the MPAA and some big pharmaceutical companies to pressure policy makers into getting internet companies to censor the internet. Don't buy it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2016 @ 9:49am

    so they simply found a few links inbound to infringing works, and extrapolated out that a huge percentage of files on Mega were infringing.


    There are a few morally bankrupt assholes in the DCA (AKAMPAA), so I'm going to extrapolate that out to mean a huge percentage of people in the DCA (AKAMPAA) are morally bankrupt assholes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 25 Jul 2016 @ 9:52am

    Off topic:
    I gotta say it. It's funny how we haven't seen a peep about Black"all your emails and texts are ours"Berry since they became a sponsor. Funny... they became a sponsor right after a few articles were posted about them. Funny that no?

    Not a peep about the fat government contract they just secured. I guess those are the benefits of turning all your users info over to whatever Gov agency wants them. And just "sponsor" your critics to keep them silent.

    At least that's the way it appears.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 25 Jul 2016 @ 10:06am

      Re:

      I gotta say it. It's funny how we haven't seen a peep about Black"all your emails and texts are ours"Berry since they became a sponsor. Funny... they became a sponsor right after a few articles were posted about them. Funny that no?

      1. Yes, very much off-topic.

      2. Also, wrong. Here's our most recent story on Blackberry. https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160610/05285934673/blackberry-were-here-to-kick-ass-sell-out-use rs-to-law-enforcement-were-almost-all-out-users.shtml And there are many more Blackberry stories.

      3. Blackberry ads have been appearing on our site since about March when we started using a new ad platform, Instinctive. We have no direct relationship with Blackberry and no deal with them. Only with Instinctive who selects those ads for us.

      4. Not everything is a conspiracy theory.

      At least that's the way it appears.


      Only if you're not actually looking at or understanding the facts.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 25 Jul 2016 @ 10:31am

      Re:

      This could be relevant if Blackberry was not in intensive care for a while now just waiting for the day the money will vanish and the life support equipments will be turned off.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2016 @ 10:09am

    If politicians were doing their jobs properly, they would ignore such groups, because they would actually know what their electorate wanted from them,

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shilling, 25 Jul 2016 @ 10:30am

    Don't be mean. The head of the MPAA is a citizen too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 25 Jul 2016 @ 10:30am

    fake drugs!!

    In the war on drugs I think you would want decoys so people don't get their hands on the good stuff.

    Seems like the FBI should investigate the DCA for supporting drug users and sellers.


    Even funnier would be if I misunderstood that sentence because it was actually about pharmaceutical drugs not illegal drugs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    steve, 25 Jul 2016 @ 11:38am

    The article constantly refers to "content theft websites". What they mean is torrent sites, but few of the readers would even suspect that because no one has ever heard them referred to that (inaccurate and propagandistic) way.

    So I think the propaganda effect will be limited because the *AA's are so off in their own world that their categories are hardly even recognizable to normal people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 25 Jul 2016 @ 12:05pm

    *cough*

    *cough* Copia institute *cough*

    Pot, meet kettle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2016 @ 5:59pm

      Re: *cough*

      Someone's angry they didn't make it to "funniest/most insightful" this week, again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2016 @ 7:13pm

      Re: *cough*

      I've never seen the Copia Institute going around pretending to be something they aren't.

      You and the Digital Citizens Alliance, on the other hand ...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 25 Jul 2016 @ 10:19pm

      Re: *cough*

      Another obvious fail comparing a lying front group with made-up numbers against a think tank that backs up their reports with facts. But, whatever...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2016 @ 1:30am

      Re: *cough*

      The organisation that openly displays its sponsors on its front page, and has never been shown to have bias toward them outside of the ramblings of a few deluded trolls who think they discovered a conspiracy because Google's name is on there?

      What does that have to do with anything? Is this just yet another situation where you can't address any facts or defend the corporations, so have to activate the deflectors?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 26 Jul 2016 @ 10:26pm

        Re: Re: *cough*

        "What does that have to do with anything? Is this just yet another situation where you can't address any facts or defend the corporations, so have to activate the deflectors?"

        Paul, I know you are an idiot, but geez, give it a rest. You are going to hurt yourself!

        No deflectors, and yes, I AM ADDRESSING THE FACTS. The fact (that you don't like) is that both sides use "fronts" and public facing organizations to obscure who is asking for what. The idea of the Copia Institute is to have a way to communicate to the press and media under the guise of some grand think tank / objective group when in reality it's just more Mike Masnick and his Minions say stuff.

        Like Step 2 and a few other classic projects, it seems to have been stillborn, with absolutely nothing new on the site since March. Considering how much volume of stuff gets posted here on Techdirt, it's pretty much a good indication that the project is already dormant (and I know, that will get the standard Mike "you don't know anything" post, which he used about Step2 as well. You can check what's new over there if you like. it's been dormant since 2014).

        See, the fact is simple: Using fronts isn't uncommon. Yes, I agree that naming something "digital citizen" is completely misleading, but then again, naming something an "institute" to try to put a scholarly spin on the same old same old isn't much better.

        So Paul, perhaps you should consider that facts exist outside of what you have been carefully (and repeatedly) spoon fed here. Expanding your thought process might even improve you as a person, moving you up the ladder slightly above primordial ooze.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2016 @ 5:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: *cough*

          Whined the knucklehead who professes an allergic reaction to Wyden.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2016 @ 11:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: *cough*

          "under the guise of some grand think tank / objective group when in reality it's just more Mike Masnick and his Minions say stuff. "

          How is that different from any other think tank / group other than you having a pathological obsession with this particular person?

          "See, the fact is simple: Using fronts isn't uncommon"

          Nobody said it wasn't. But, you remain wilfully ignorant of the actual issues people are discussing, in favour of whatever you can grasp at to launch another feeble attack.

          But, feel free to come up with more creative names to call me, it makes a change from you creating a fictional biography or just outright fiction to attack.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jul 2016 @ 12:26pm

    They DO represent "digital citizens"...

    ...but according to their very special definition of digital citizen.

    Hint: Neither you nor I qualify.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2016 @ 2:42pm

    Yes, many of us already knew that, but too many sites like Torrentfreak have made it more difficult to say so in the comments section. Who wants to go to the trouble of creating a facebook account just to say a few words?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2016 @ 10:22pm

    MPAA need not worry. As soon as they hired Mike Nelson and Heather West the two of them started working to censor the internet.

    http://theralphretort.com/cloudflare-involved-with-un-affiliated-orgs-efforts-to-censor-the-internet -1019015/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2016 @ 11:20am

    Pro tip: never, ever, give in to the MAFIAA, also known as the Copyright Monopoly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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