Starting this week, department stores will begin affixing "FBI Anti-Piracy" stickers to mirrors, warning consumers that placing a reflective object in the same room as a television could constitute a violation of U.S. copyright law. In a related lawsuit, EFF is representing Dana Auerbach, a ballet instructor who was caught watching The Black Swan in her dance studio while on lunch break. She faces a $750 to $150,000 penalty for each of her infinite charges of infringement.
A troubling new agreement between the MPAA, the RIAA, several large ISPs, and the Department of Homeland Security has paved the way for a new government program aimed at combatting the violent overthrow of the United States and/or moderate-to-heavy copyright infringement. The initiative, officially named the Unmanned Aircraft Copyright Notification System, is said to work on a "six strike" basis of warnings and destruction. The first three accusations of infringement or terrorism by the U.S. government will deliver pop-up notifications to targeted users. Subsequent offenses will be addressed with a range of "mitigation measures" that will be determined by the drones' onboard autonomy software. EFF is concerned about the possibility of innocent American citizens being caught in the (literal) crossfire of the program. In response, a DHS spokesperson pointed to evidence compiled by the entertainment industry that terrorists and file-sharers frequently hang out in the same seedy bars, and often stay on each other's couches.
The House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity released a report Tuesday blasting the United States' cyber-preparedness for a wide range of cyber-tastrophes. "Though Senators and Congressmen have discussed an impending 'Cyber-Pearl-Harbor' literally hundreds of times, U.S. cyber-preparations have been in-cyber-adequate for a host of possible disasters, such as a cyber-Vesuvius, a cyber-Teapot-Dome-Scandal, or most alarmingly, a cyber-Bicholim-Conflict." The report goes on to recommend a nearly threefold increase for the annual spending on the Cyber-Department of Cyber-Prefixes.
Citing the rising costs of observing local privacy laws in Europe and other jurisdictions as well as the cost of compliance with government data requests, Facebook has announced plans to move its datacenters to a skull-shaped volcanic island believed to be some 200 miles off the coast of Chile. In a video promoting the move, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also touted the security benefits of the new location and its roaming packs of bloodthirsty wolves. EFF is researching legal arguments that local privacy laws should still apply, without also requiring compliance with overreaching government access requests. But when asked about the relationship between these doctrines, EFF Junior Staff Attorney Mackey said "It's complicated."
Industry sources say that representatives of Google's executive board are deep in negotiations with an internal "skunkworks" start-up originally dedicated to researching online marketing opportunities, but which has since expanded to cover the entirety of evil services. The morally errant division, nicknamed Googollum, is understood to be arguing internally that the Internets stole the precious social networking, they did, and gave it to the Facebooks, and must be punished. While some at the company have suggested that it mustn't steal the Internets' privacies, other Googollum workers, who asked not to be identified, have said that no-one would notice, and anyways, what has the nasty Internetsies done for Google lately? Talks are ongoing, although setbacks did occur when Googollum's management, speaking at the company's Friday meeting, refused to tell anyone where the Google Plus development team was hidden, and went on to eat the Google Reader product manager raw.
For the first time, the Internet Archive will have a full and complete archive of the U.S. Internet, including social media, email, and VOIP telephone calls. Thanks to a deal with the National Security Administration announced Wednesday, the San Francisco non-profit will begin mirroring all online communications piped into the NSA's famous SigInt operations centers to its own datastores. During the same press conference, the NSA announced that archive.org will no longer be accessible to the public and officially denied its existence.
A Kickstarter project with the lofty goal of producing a smartphone that doesn't suffer from the same privacy drawbacks as the top offerings from Apple and Google has captured the Internet's attention, raising nearly $1 million from over 7,000 users in just three weeks. The designers' initial prototype -- a piece of balsa wood roughly the size of a deck of cards -- appears to deliver on the privacy promises, but some have criticized the phone's inability to run apps, take photos, place or receive calls and text messages. Battery life is, however, said to be "impressive."
On Thursday, EFF received a formal cease-and-desist letter from a group claiming to represent the Kalmar Union of Scandinavian Countries, urging the organization to stop using the terms "Copyright Troll" and "Patent Troll" in its campaign against abusive intellectual property litigants. Citing the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, a Kalmar Union spokesperson said said, "Trolls are a cherished element of Scandinavian folklore and the misuse of Nordic mythology results in the denigration of our culture and compromised search-engine optimization." In the event EFF refuses to comply, the group threatened that his country would post comments on Reddit and Hacker News comparing EFF lawyers to Nazi Germany.
The US State Department's Internet Freedom division has begun soliciting applications for a $1 million grant intended to foster open government worldwide, and aimed at "hackers, coders, and other activist brainiacs". The money, which will be divided between a number of applicants, is intended to improve access to and understanding of the State Department's own set of internal cables, previously only available to three million US government personnel. The cables are understood to contain information of interest to citizens of many countries worldwide. "It's a great step forward for open government," said a State Department official, "We can only hope that there's some lone hacker out there who wants to take us up on our offer." Payments for the grant will be available through PayPal, Mastercard and Visa.
In response to last week's exceedingly polite Canadian Supreme Court ruling on text message privacy, EFF will print a limited edition run of "Sorry if this is a bother, but I'd really prefer if you returned with a warrant, eh" stickers for Canadian mobile devices.
In a heartfelt video, former Senator and current MPAA chief Chris Dodd has lamented the sequester-motivated closure of the Senate barbershop. Dodd appears to be choking back tears at one point, yelling into the camera, "Leave the barbershop alone!"
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