Tuesday, 1 May 2012

This blog continues at another address

This blog continues on http://cybercrimelaws.wordpress.com
The posts have been transferred to the new address.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


French Senator Proposes Outlawing Anonymous Blogging (TechDirt, 02 June 2010)

Twitter Fighting Pennsylvania Subpoena Seeking Names of 2 Tweeters from the NY Times as cited on 20 May 2010 on the Business and HR Watch website http://www.business-humanrights.org/Links/Repository/1001004

some would obviously benefit from anonymity for illegal purposes...!

If You're Trying To Sell Insider Info, Perhaps Don't Randomly Email Dozens Of Investors (TechDirt, 28 May 2010)

Offensive behaviours - distortions

Careful WithThat Fake Social Networking Profile; If You 'Personate' Someone, You Can Go To Jail(TechDirt, 02 June 2010) - the article is critical of the offence: it should not be criminal to impersonate somebody on Facebook in California. I tend to disagree. Using the name of somebody can be criminal whatever the motives. French law considers that the simple use of a name is an offence, although a minor one. But the conjunction of using another's name with fraud notably is in most jurisdictions a crime; why not for a fake webpage if this webpage has not been intended as a work of fiction but as the description of someone's life and thoughts? Of course, torts may be a better tool to deal with such issues, but criminal law cannot be excluded per se.

On the other hand, criminal law cannot be misused just because the behaviour is wrong and does not fit other crimes than hacking for example. Mom Who Used Son's Facebook Account Found Guilty Of Online Harassment (TechDirt, 28 May 2010). what she did was hardly constitutive of harassment: she accessed his account, changed the password and used the Facebook account...

same for banning sentences or pre-trial measures, a "Guy Who Encouraged People To Commit Suicide Online Banned From The Internet" (TechDirt, 27 may 2010), but this is far too broad a measure

Search and Seizures - interception of communication: US

For the US, but to which extent it applies elsewhere?

offensive and harmful content: reaction or education?

We may well be in a transition period where people are not fully understanding that what on the net is not necessarily reliable, accurate and representative of the truth. Therefore it may be more an educational issue than a legal issue and to modify the law or use it and distort it appears quite silly.

File sharing and piracy

three articles recently, two showing the opposite approaches that can be adopted by courts and one the absurdity of trying to get rid of the file sharing via the ISPs

ISP Tries To Charge Users To Block File Sharing... Ends Up Installing Malware That Exposes Private Info (TechDirt 14 June 2010)

Dutch Court Says Just Publishing Links To A Movie Is Illegal And Must Be Blocked (TechDirt, 04 Jun 2010)

compared to

Yet Another Spanish Court Finds File Sharing Site Legal; Compares File Sharing To Book Lending (TechDirt, 08 June 2010) - the source in English language is Torrent Freak which has a link in Spanish to the interview given by the Lawyer Carlos Sanchez Almeida to Publico.es (04 June 2010) - research in Spanish gives access to the text of the judgment available on what seems to be the website of Almeida's law firm. http://www.bufetalmeida.com/602/caso-cvcdgo-pagina-de-enlaces-la-audiencia-provincial-de-madrid-confirma-el-auto-de-archivo.html The Google translation is not bad at all and confirms the translation made. It also reveals more clearly than my now poor understanding of Spanish could grasp. The Judges have referred to various cases, acknowledging that the law is not settled on this issue. Yet, for them

"since ancient times has been the loan or sale of books, movies, music and more. The difference now is primarily on the medium used was previously the paper or analog and now everything is digital format which allows an exchange much faster and higher quality and also a global reach through the Internet. And this exchange takes place in the network through file-sharing systems "P2P (or peer network) where there are no fixed clients and servers have a global reach as any Internet user can connect to your computer and share files that are divided, in turn, a large number of parties.

To use file sharing programs (Emule, etc.) Running the link or link to the document that is on the website so that the user's computer connects to a computer but not many who have various stages of This same document being shared among many users at once without anyone perceived why any financial reward."

In most English newspapers/blogs, the first part is quoted. Yet I find the second paragraph equally interesting: it is saying that file sharing is not about holding the copyrights of the book and making money on it. It is just like a village market place providing the platform for users to exchange.

Wi-fi issues: access and use

When travelling, if one does not have a smartphone or blackberry, it becomes really annoying not to be able to use wi-fi knowing that lots of networks are available. the silliness of it all appeared when I was in Gare du Nord Paris, compared to St Pancras - London. You would have guessed I was a Eurostar traveller. At St Pancras, free wi-fi; in 45 minutes, I checked my e-mails, sent a couple of documents I could not have done so if I had a smartphone. At Gare du Nord, well, no free wi-fi if you do not have a Eurostar business status; the provider SFR was asking a minimum of 2 euros, I recall, for about 30 minutes. Well, I know it is not that expensive, but it is such a hassle (you have to register, type your card number...; a good 15 mins wasted to just access). Result: I did not pay. and I am sure I am not the only to have done so.

of course, one could argue that to call, one has to pay, whether in a phone box, from a landline or a mobile. Why not for wi-fi? well Finland contemplates opening the network to all, getting rid of its offence to use open wi-fi. Of course, open wi-fi means less security. But then, why not charged for higher security? I would actually have paid for added security if I had to send sensitive data or connect to sensitive data website. but for ordinary websites, such as what is the weather back home or train time data, frankly I felt put off.

In contrast, Google's collection of private data is inadmissible. yet, whether it was intended to or an accident, an involuntary consequence not foreseen, is something else. I can't imagine the firm having done it on purpose, at least after until they were (made) aware of it if they continued despite knowledge.
What i am surprised is that the data collected was not destroyed immediately. Governments have no right to look at the data.

Google WiFi Data Caught In Legal Limbo (TechDirt, 27 May 2010)

Wider European Scrutiny of Google on Privacy from NYTimes as reported in Business and HR Watch, 21 May 2010 http://www.business-humanrights.org/Links/Repository/1000957

Obviously, the argument is based on the assumption that privacy is important. Some argue it is not; but I fully disagree. Our ancestors fought, sometimes to death, for a bit of privacy and not just privacy from government's spying. Privacy is essential and it is not because people don't go into mass protest about it that the issue/the right does not matter

Thursday, 20 May 2010

second life ownership of items

Lawsuit Questions Whether Or Not Second Life Users Really 'Own' Their Virtual Land (TechDirt, 11 May 2010)

IP belongs to Linden Lab now; but ambiguity is there about ownership

suicide and free speech

An interesting issue as a lot of countries prohibit assisting suicide but not suicide itself. Moreover, criminal actions are rarely made of speech only; complicity for example requires something else than mere talking and there is an assumption of personal contact, a one to one contact rather than general advertisement.

Is It Illegal To Tell People How To Commit Suicide Online? (TechDirt, 14 May 2010)

Piracy: looking at IP in other ways

three articles in a week to remind us that we have to rethink IP because of the new technologies, the same way printing forced us to rethink IP. Interestingly enough, Sage publishers are conducting a survey online about open access journals: whether people are in favour of it and on which terms (free of charge or pay to publish type of model)

"EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Admits That 'Piracy' Has Created The Market That Legislators Did Not", TechDirt, 11 May 2010

Swedish Police Say Anti-Piracy Law Has Harmed Ability To Catch Criminals (TechDirt, 18 May 2010)

"Does Intellectual Property Go Against Traditional Views Of Knowledge In India?", TechDirt, 14 May 2010

Privacy infringement

The two infringements make you wonder what non-famous companies do and how they are controlled:

Google Admits It Was Accidentally Collecting Some Open WiFi DataData (TechDirt, 14 May 2010)
EU watchdog slams Facebook privacy settings (Euractiv, 14 May 2010)

and new challenges ahead...

Obviously the question is a matter of sensibility as the US tend to be less concerned than Europe.
Draft Of Privacy Bill Introduced... And Pretty Much Everyone Hates It (TechDirt, 5th May 2010)

Digital Economy Act: after all the controversy, may well be dropped

UK Politicians Looking To Repeal Digital Economy Act (TechDirt, 19 March 2010)

London Wants To Offer Full WiFi Coverage... But How Will That Work With The Digital Economy Act? (TechDirt, 18 March 2010)

UK Regulator Says Digital Economy Act Only Applies To Big Wireline ISPs (TechDirt, 18 March 2010)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Critical Legal Studies Conference 2010

With a vested interest as I am chairing stream 9 of the Critical Legal Conference 2010 @ Utrecht in September 2010 : The WWW: great expectations or great disenchantments?

To see all the streams of the Conference on Modernities, click here

Friday, 7 May 2010

enforcing the law: France and US updates

In France, JDN reported on the Institut de la recherche criminelle de la gendarmerie nationale (the Institute on criminal research of the Gendarmerie nationale, the French police force) and its work in the Fort Rosny-sous-bois (the Fortress...). databases, recognition of images, techniques to recover data... - 12 February 2010

More recently, news on the US Cybersecurity Act which first draft was anti-libertarian, "Les Etats-Unis toilettent leur plan de lutte contre la cybercriminalité" JDN, 13 March 2010


"Cybercriminals target non-conventional appliances" (ZDnet.co.uk, 09 April 2010). not surprising, and among the devices: mobiles phones, USB flash drives and peripherals.

and DDOS attacks linked with extortion/blackmail notices, "Chinese DDoS attacks hit News Limited" (ZDnet.co.uk, 14 April 2010)

Criminalisation of DRM bypassing - ACTA becoming transparent?

If the process was certainly not transparent, the draft is at last published. Will comments be published and listened to?

"Acta copyright treaty draft gets first public airing" (ZDnet.co.uk, 21 April 2010)

and earlier on, the EU Parliament's rejection of the treaty by 633 to 13! "European Parliament votes down Acta treaty" (ZDnet.co.uk, 11 March 2010)

The gold mine: ID and other data thefts

Between the NHS desktops that were hacked and controlled as part of a botnet, and facebook accounts also hacked, it is obvious that security and privacy are at the heart of cybercrime. Accessing illegally and controlling data/computers is at the heart of a successful criminal entreprise.

"Over 1,000 NHS desktops part of botnet, says Symantec" (ZDnet.co.uk, 23 April 2010)

"iDefense: 1.5 million Facebook accounts for sale" (ZDnet.co.uk, 23 April 2010)

Therefore, one wonders why employers ease restrictions on employees using social networking sites, when usually the security of their own IT systems is average or bad. "Managers ease restrictions on Facebook use" (ZDnet.co.uk, 23 April 2010)

especially when a study by the French CNIL reveals that the most common password used is "123456"!!!!!! JDN, 22 January 2010

Privacy of Wi-fi data: Google Street View

A very interesting story that does not seem to make the big headlines despite its crucial importance in my view.
Google Street View, already criticised for other reasons, all linked to privacy, acknowledged that it takes the Wi-Fi details of people, i.e. their MAC addresses, that will be able to any user using location-based services. In other words, your neighbour or your potential hacker can know all about your Wi-fi, making easier to hack into your computer.
A "bemol" though: if you have configured your Wi-Fi device not to broadcast, the signal and information should not be available. Another reason to do it, if you have not already done so.
"Google explains why Street View cars record Wi-Fi data"

when we know that Google will have 96 pc of the UK roads on it: "Google Street View to cover 96pc of UK roads"

For a general view of privacy issues Google services raise, see the letter addressed to the company ten European authorities in charge of protecting IT users privacy, CNIL, press release 20 April 2010. See also (in French), "Les gardiens de la vie privée exhortent Google à respecter les lois" (Depeches du Juris-Classeur, 23 April 2010)

Security again

Security seems to be the word of the week.
  • The EU commission wants to create an agency to foster better collaboration in cyber-investigations, albeit the UK, Germany and France remain to be convinced. One concerns is also the overlap with ENISA, in addition to the fact that ENISA has not been the success story that it was hoped for when it was launched. "EU to establish cybercrime agency" -Euractiv, 28 April 2010
  • The UK is worried that it does not have enough IT engineers able to implement security and is targeting A-levels pupils and UG to recruit more IT students "UK-wide Cyber Security Challenge kicks off" (ZDnet.co.uk, 29 April 2010)
  • And Beijing is imposing an authorisation on firms developing IT security softwares/solutions, probably less for security reasons than for protectionist motives. JDN, 29 April 2010 (in French)