This Week In Techdirt History: September 22nd - 28th

from the how-it-went dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2014, Benjamin Wittes was attacking NSA critics with a big swing-and-a-miss, while Senator Saxby Chambliss was nonsensically invoking ISIS to defend the agency, and John Brennan was getting caught in a tangled web over the CIA spying on Senate staffers. Meanwhile, Apple and Google were moving to encrypt phones by default, leading to a law enforcement freakout with plenty of FUD from the feds, all the way up to James Comey slamming the companies for enacting basic security.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2009, the Techdirt/Lily Allen drama unfolded as the debate around Peter Mandelson's plan to kick UK file-sharers off the internet heated up. First, TorrentFreak discovered that Allen had reposted an entire Techdirt post on her blog without any link or credit, which we noted doesn't bother us but should make her rethink her views on piracy. As other artists like James Blunt and Elton John (in a massive flip-flop) joined Allen in supporting internet disconnection, she apologized for copying the post while entirely missing the point about the ease and innocence of casual copying. She attempted to answer some questions but didn't seem to address any of the really important ones being raised in her blog comments, and then things got sillier: it turned out her own official website was still distributing an early mixtape she made that was full of "pirated" songs. It was our honest hope that this would be a genuine teaching moment, but while Allen did appear to decide that kicking people offline might be too draconian, she mostly just seemed to miss the point some more, and delete her blog.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2004, textbook publishers were the ones becoming loud members of the crowd complaining about filesharing, while Wired Magazine was convincing some musicians to experiment with Creative Commons, and for a brief moment it looked like the MPAA might actually face some consequences for bogus DMCA takedowns. WiFi was being plagued with silly patent fights over the technology itself and amazingly even the very idea of offering public internet access, while MusicMatch successfully fended of a patent attack by Gracenote. And AOL became an early adopter of two-factor authentication but with a not-so-great twist: you had to pay a $10 setup fee and $2 per month to make use of it.

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Filed Under: history, look back

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2019 @ 8:41am

    Yeah, funny story. It turns out that all the dissenters who think the crowning glory argument to Mike is to say "Well, Masnick, obviously you wouldn't care if we pirated your site and posted all your free content elsewhere without attribution! HOOT!" weren't even being original (howls of fucking amazement). They were already outdone by an even bigger attention whore, who managed to end up with her own blog deleted instead!

    Just in case the idea of reposting Techdirt articles to cash in on that sweet Google ad revenue - which antidirt says doesn't pay jack shit which is why Masnick will always be insignificant, yet is somehow large enough for trolls to decide is worth stealing - wasn't already fucked in the head, 2009 gives us an example of what happens when you do try and repost shit without any value add.

    The heroes of copyright!

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

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 29 Sep 2019 @ 11:46am


      No need for the hostility towards Allen. According to her, a deluge of attacks was what pushed her away from the conversation and prevented the actual teaching moment that could have happened.

      And while I'm a bit dubious about this and I still believe, as I did then, that she was somewhat unduly focusing on a minority of attacks while ignoring the many more thoughtful and polite comments flooding in on her blog, given the way online harassment - especially of women in the public eye - has developed in the intervening decade (this was three years before <i>Tropes vs. Women</i>, and five before Gamergate) I now also wonder if I underestimated at least some aspects of what she was facing.

      And either way, more attacks don't help. She's not the first artist to be deeply misled about copyright, and she won't be the last. Plus she has some good tunes - even if I still like Dan Bull's version best

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2019 @ 7:24pm

        Re: Re:

        Glancing at the Wikipedia page for her memoir "My Thoughts Exactly", it's fair to say that Lily hasn't had a particularly restful life. How much of that was due to her own actions, or the cruelty of the world that accompanies celebrity fame, isn't something I can appreciate or understand, though my takeaway is that the Techdirt fiasco doesn't seem to have been a huge factor.

        This isn't to say that Allen necessarily deserved the more extreme treatment at the hands of Anon, but considering the OP didn't even mention those swastika-forming idiots from HabboHotel I wonder if the original comment was worth flagging. You could replace "Lily Allen" with Charles Carreon, Shiva Ayyadurai, David Lowery, or any of the other knuckleheads Techdirt has profiled over the years, change the date and it'd still make sense. Copyright at its extremes is defended by an army of tools with their heads buried so deep in executive asses they need a shock to the system, or we end up with garbage like CASE.

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

        • icon
          Gary (profile), 29 Sep 2019 @ 7:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The OP might not have gotten flagged if he'd had something on topic to say that wasn't inflammatory.

          Is that free speech? It isn't free peach or cabbage law. The OP might want to share their blog and try using a registered account.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2019 @ 6:44pm

    Hardware Security PSA

    "Meanwhile, Apple and Google were moving to encrypt phones by default, leading to a law enforcement freakout with plenty of FUD from the feds, all the way up to James Comey slamming the companies for enacting basic security. "

    Anyone accepting this narrative without question should take the time to learn about Cellular Baseband Co-processors. Blackhat/Defcon reports on standard functionality are particularly informative.

    You should do your own research, but for the lazy, here's the jist of it:

    The baseband co-processor is controlled by the phone company, or whoever tricks the phone into connecting to their base station *(stingrays/hackers)- It has access to ram, where encryption keys are stored; scraping/modifying ram is a standard feature of baseband... Nothing baseband does is visible/accessible to the user, while everything the user does is visible to it.

    Due to this, Security/Encryption on cellphones is not what it seams- The administrator is not you, it's the OS provider AND the cellular network you connect to. By proper nomenclature this is not considered a backdoor- but it has equivalent functionality.

    You can theoretically have perfectly secure: OS, apps, encryption in transit and at rest- but none of these things are actually secure; because the hardware they run on is hopelessly compromised by design.

    Hardware security is categorically different then software security. Software developers have no access to, control of, or responsibility for, what the baseband co-processor, or other management hardware does. In other words, they can tell you the software is secure, and prove it, without technically lying- even though the device as a whole is completely compromised. Open source cannot defeat compromised hardware design. See the Qubes project for documentation of attempts at such and their significant limitations.

    Modern 'management hardware' such as Intel IME, AMD PSP, Arm Trustzone can function in similar ways as baseband- It is 'ring 0', existing below the software and out of it's purview- this type of hardware is found in nearly every device built since 2013.

    There are only a few groups out there trying to do anything about this, they need your support- the future of humanity depends on curtailing this authoritarian tech and the grossly unjust power disparities it creates. Tech is becoming inseparably intertwined with human life, and we are barreling towards a future of chilled if not revoked rights, endless constitutional loopholes, and a near complete lack of privacy- a world where our devices will work against us (to the benefit of their manufacturers, our employers, various corps, and the government) at every opportunity; and where a child or young adults mistakes may result in a lifelong sentence of discrimination and prejudice- harming their ability to learn and grow from their experience.

    Please join me in saying NO to this future- by supporting the few groups trying to fix this horrible mess and restore privacy, autonomy and individual control of our devices and digital lives.

    Purism, Pinephone, Libreboot, Power9/raptor, RiskV -with easy to use FOSS software all offer user controlled/backdoor-free privacy respecting alternatives. The big tech corps will never respect your rights unless and until they're forced to go 100% FOSS, and place all hard/software under full user control. -don't hold your breath waiting for that....if we don't support these groups now and show silicon valley we're not going to take it anymore- things may never change.

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

  • identicon
    The Elephant In The Roomba, 30 Sep 2019 @ 6:40am

    It's almost touchingly quaint to go back and read the comments on Brennan getting caught in a tangled web from merely 5 years ago. Has the intelligence community been vindicated yet in their "We lie to protect the American people from themselves" campaign yet? Or are we willing to consider that it's all rotten to the core and maybe the people suggesting it's time to burn it all down might deserve a fair hearing?

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

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