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Announcement: Creative Technologists 2015-16

Raspberry Pi -

Hey everyone!

After much preparation we are super happy to announce an exciting new project from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

 

The Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists is a mentoring programme for creative people interested in technology aged 16 – 21 years old. If your passion is the creative arts, and you’re wondering how you can use technology to enhance that, this is for you.

Ben and I are heading up the programme, and the first year will run from April 2015 to April 2016. We will provide individual and group mentoring via online video chats, industry networking and technical support. It’s free to participate. As well as costs of food, travel and accommodation, each participant will also receive a Raspberry Pi 2 starter kit and a £300 materials grant, and the group will receive a £1000 grant for exhibition costs.

Applications are now open and the deadline is 9am on 30th March 2015.

We are both certified Arts Award Gold Advisers – so participants will have the opportunity to complete Trinity College London’s Arts Award Gold accreditation; a Level 3 Award, a QCF credit value of 15, and 35 UCAS points.

We will also have some amazing partners helping us out with mentoring and site visits: Victoria and Albert Museum Digital Programmes, Writers’ Centre Norwich, FutureEverything, Pimoroni, Saladhouse and Hellicar&Lewis.

For full details on the programme, and how to apply, visit the new Creative Technologists page.

Ting’s pay-for-what-you-use mobile plans now support GSM phones

Liliputing -

Ting is a US wireless carrier that lets you pay for only what you use. Need a lot of data, but don’t make a lot of phone calls? No problem. Send thousands of text messages per month, but rarely use your phone’s web browser? That works too. You might be able save a lot of […]

Ting’s pay-for-what-you-use mobile plans now support GSM phones is a post from: Liliputing

Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: Security researcher Moxie Marlinspike has an interesting post about the state of GPG-encrypted communications. After using GPG for much of its lifetime, he says he now dreads getting a GPG-encrypted email in his inbox. "Instead of developing opinionated software with a simple interface, GPG was written to be as powerful and flexible as possible. It's up to the user whether the underlying cipher is SERPENT or IDEA or TwoFish. The GnuPG man page is over sixteen thousand words long; for comparison, the novel Fahrenheit 451 is only 40k words. Worse, it turns out that nobody else found all this stuff to be fascinating. Even though GPG has been around for almost 20 years, there are only ~50,000 keys in the "strong set," and less than 4 million keys have ever been published to the SKS keyserver pool ever. By today's standards, that's a shockingly small user base for a month of activity, much less 20 years." Marlinspike concludes, "I think of GPG as a glorious experiment that has run its course. ... GPG isn't the thing that's going to take us to ubiquitous end to end encryption, and if it were, it'd be kind of a shame to finally get there with 1990's cryptography."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








What Happens When Betelgeuse Explodes?

Slashdot -

StartsWithABang writes: One of the great, catastrophic truths of the Universe is that everything has an expiration date. And this includes every single point of light in the entire sky. The most massive stars will die in a spectacular supernova explosion when their final stage of core fuel runs out. At only an estimated 600 light years distant, Betelgeuse is one (along with Antares) of the closest red supergiants to us, and it's estimated to have only perhaps 100,000 years until it reaches the end of its life. Here's the story on what we can expect to see (and feel) on Earth when Betelgeuse explodes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Pebble Time Smartwatch Receives Overwhelming Support On Kickstarter

Slashdot -

DJAdapt writes: Pebble Time, the successor to the Pebble & Pebble Steel smartwatches, has gone up on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, hitting its $500,000 goal in 17 minutes and hitting the $2M mark in less than an hour. The new wearable is touting a color e-paper display and microphone for responding to notifications. It also has features Pebble users are already familiar with, such as seven days of battery life, water resistance, and an extensive library of watch faces and apps. Will any of you be jumping on this? Holding out for the Apple Watch? Waiting for wearables to get more capable?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








FBI Offers $3 Million Reward For Russian Hacker

Slashdot -

mpicpp sends word that the FBI and the U.S. State Department have announced the largest-ever reward for a computer hacking case. They're offering up to $3 million for information leading to the arrest of Evgeniy Bogachev, a 31-year-old Russian national. Bogachev is the alleged administrator of the GameOver Zeus botnet, estimated to have affected over a million computers, causing roughly $100 million in damages. "Bogachev has been charged by federal authorities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering... He also faces federal bank fraud conspiracy charges in Omaha, Nebraska related to his alleged involvement in an earlier variant of Zeus malware known as 'Jabber Zeus.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Giant Asian Gerbils May Have Caused the Black Death

Slashdot -

Dave Knott writes: Rats, long believed to be the scourge that brought the Black Death to 14th-century Europe, may not be the disease-bearing scoundrels we thought they were. Scientists have shifted blame for the medieval pandemic responsible for millions of deaths to a new furry menace: giant gerbils from Asia. University of Oslo researchers, working with Swiss government scientists, say a "pulse" of bubonic plague strains arrived sporadically from Asia. They posit the Yersinia pestis bacterium was likely carried over the Silk Road via fleas on the giant gerbils during intermittent warm spells. The fleas could have then transmitted the disease to humans. The Black Death is believed to have killed up to 200 million people in Europe. Though very rare today, cases of the plague still arise in Africa, Asia, the Americas and parts of the former Soviet Union, with the World Health Organization reporting 783 cases worldwide in 2013, including 126 deaths.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Vote for EFF in reddit's Charity Drive

EFF's Deeplinks -

If you have a user account on Reddit1, you can help EFF receive a big donation as part of their charity drive! Visit https://www.reddit.com/donate and vote for EFF on that page.

Our friends at reddit made a generous promise at the beginning of 2014: "Today we are announcing that we will donate 10% of our advertising revenue receipts in 2014 to non-profits chosen by the reddit community." They are making good on that promise by collecting votes until tomorrow, February 25, at 10am Pacific. The top 10 non-profits selected will receive more than $82,000 each! You can support digital rights in a big way by taking a few moments to vote for EFF. (Of course, you should also vote for other worthy public interest organizations!)

We're grateful to have seen EFF mentioned in several comments about the charity drive. Moreover, we're proud to have worked with the reddit community to take action against major threats to Internet freedom. The reddit community took a leading stand against Internet censorship and in opposition to the NSA's mass surveillance. Whenever we're working on an issue—whether it's DMCA reform, open access, or fighting for digital privacy—talking it over with the reddit community gives us an essential look into what people know and want to know about these crucial concerns.

For nearly 25 years, EFF has fought for digital rights like privacy, free expression, and innovation. Support from our members—and from user-driven communities like reddit—strengthens technology users' rights and funds litigation, activism, and technology development. Please vote for EFF!

  • 1. The user account must have been created before February 18, 2015.

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AMD Unveils Carrizo APU With Excavator Core Architecture

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MojoKid writes: AMD just unveiled new details about their upcoming Carrizo APU architecture. The company is claiming the processor, which is still built on Global Foundries' 28nm 28SHP node like its predecessor, will nonetheless deliver big advances in both performance and efficiency. When it was first announced, AMD detailed support for next generation Radeon Graphics (DX12, Mantle, and Dual Graphics support), H.265 decoding, full HSA 1.0 support, and ARM Trustzone compatibility. But perhaps one of the biggest advantages of Carrizo is the fact that the APU and Southbridge are now incorporated into the same die; not just two separates dies built into and MCM package. This not only improves performance, but also allows the Southbridge to take advantage of the 28SHP process rather than older, more power-hungry 45nm or 65nm process nodes. In addition, the Excavator cores used in Carrizo have switched from a High Performance Library (HPL) to a High Density Library (HDL) design. This allows for a reduction in the die area taken up by the processing cores (23 percent, according to AMD). This allows Carrizo to pack in 29 percent more transistors (3.1 billion versus 2.3 billion in Kaveri) in a die size that is only marginally larger (250mm2 for Carrizo versus 245mm2 for Kaveri). When all is said and done, AMD is claiming a 5 percent IPC boost for Carrizo and a 40 percent overall reduction in power usage.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








The Case Against E-readers -- Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading On Paper

Slashdot -

HughPickens.com writes: Michael Rosenwald writes in the WaPo that textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer reading on paper for pleasure and learning. This bias surprises reading experts, given the same group's proclivity to consume most other content digitally. "These are people who aren't supposed to remember what it's like to even smell books," says Naomi S. Baron. "It's quite astounding." Earlier this month, Baron published Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, a book that examines university students' preferences for print and explains the science of why dead-tree versions are often superior to digital (PDF). Her conclusion: readers tend to skim on screens, distraction is inevitable and comprehension suffers. Researchers say readers remember the location of information simply by page and text layout — that, say, the key piece of dialogue was on that page early in the book with that one long paragraph and a smudge on the corner. Researchers think this plays a key role in comprehension — something that is more difficult on screens, primarily because the time we devote to reading online is usually spent scanning and skimming, with few places (or little time) for mental markers. Another significant problem, especially for college students, is distraction. The lives of millennials are increasingly lived on screens. In her surveys, Baron was surprised by the results to the question of whether students were more likely to multitask in hard copy (1 percent) vs. reading on-screen (90 percent). "When a digital device has an Internet connection, it's hard to resist the temptation to jump ship."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Firefox 36 Arrives With Full HTTP/2 Support, New Design For Android Tablets

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Firefox 36 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions to the browser include some security improvements, better HTML 5 support, and a new tablet user interface on Android. The biggest news for the browser is undoubtedly HTTP/2 support, the roadmap for which Mozilla outlined just last week. Mozilla plans to keep various draft levels of HTTP/2, already in Firefox, for a few versions. These will be removed "sometime in the near future." The full changelog is here.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Absurd Automated Notices Illustrate Abuse of DMCA Takedown Process

EFF's Deeplinks -

Every month, TorrentFreak reports on absolutely ridiculous takedown notices issued by copyright holders to Internet service providers related to allegedly infringing content, using the process created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This month, TorrentFreak tore apart a series of takedown notices sent to Google by the German-based Total Wipes Music Group targeting, among other things, an EFF webpage describing how to use PGP for Mac OS X—a webpage within our Surveillance Self-Defense guide.

TorrentFreak aptly dubbed Total Wipes’ latest streak of takedown requests as “the world’s most idiotic copyright complaint.”

Indeed, the notice that cites the EFF webpage as an “allegedly infringing URL” purports to protect an album called “Cigarettes” on Spanish music label Mona Records. But not one of the seven allegedly infringing URLs listed in the notice even refers to the album, let alone in an infringing way. Another notice issued by Total Wipes to Google two days earlier purports to target pirates of the album “In To The Wild – Vol.7″ on music label Aborigeno Music. Again, not one of the 95 allegedly infringing URLs had anything to do with music, as TorrentFreak reported. The notice instead listed generic download pages for some of the world’s most popular online services, including Skype, Tor, Dropbox, LibreOffice, Python, and WhatsApp.

Total Wipes, which represents 800 international labels, stated in an email to Ars Technica that the recent notices were the result of a bug in their automated anti-piracy script. According to the email, “several technical servers [sic] problems” during the first week of February caused their automated system to send “hundreds” of DMCA notices “not related at all” to any of their copyrighted content.

But the bug is only part of the problem. Sending automated notices, without human review, is itself an abuse of the DMCA takedown process.

The Problem With Robots

According to the DMCA, a takedown notice must be based on a “good faith belief” that the targeted content’s use of copyrighted material is not authorized by law. The use of robots, without any human review, simply cannot satisfy this standard. Indeed, whether a use of copyrighted material constitutes a fair use protected by federal copyright law is often a question only a human can answer, after taking into account the context and purpose of the speech in question.

Total Wipes’ utterly laughable takedown notices illustrate the serious flaws in using robots to try to detect copyright violations. But even without bugs, robots cannot be relied upon to determine whether any given use of copyrighted material is lawful.

We have in the past criticized Warner Brothers Entertainment for using robots to issues thousands of infringement accusations, without any human review, based primarily on filenames and metadata rather than inspection of the files’ contents.  Like Warner Brothers, Total Wipes is similarly using robots to abuse the DMCA takedown process.

According to Google’s Transparency Report, between May 28, 2014 and February 22, 2015, Total Wipes sent Google 41,321 requests to remove webpages from Google’s search results, with a median of 1,214 requests per week. Across those requests, the music group requested that Google remove a total of 196,963 URLs. And according to the Chilling Effects database—which collects and analyzes legal complaints and requests for removal of online materials in an effort to help Internet users know their rights and understand the law—Total Wipes sent Google over 12,000 takedown requests in the last month alone.

Seeing ridiculous takedown requests from Total Wipes is nothing new. Back in August, TorrentFreak reported on a month-long DMCA notice-sending spree in which the music company targeted, among other things, sites that utilized the word “coffee.”

Due to the lack of human review, automated takedown notices often result in censorship of perfectly legal content. Although Google has the wherewithal to analyze takedown notices and reject those that are unwarranted, it doesn’t always do that. And many other sites automatically take down allegedly infringing content upon receipt of a notice, even when the notice is clearly bogus. This is because so long as a service provider complies with the DMCA’s notice and takedown procedure, it is protected from monetary liability based on the infringing activities of third parties. Of course, unwarranted takedown requests would not subject a service provider to monetary liability, but not all service providers undertake even the moderate level of effort that Google does to assess whether content complained of should actually be taken down.

The Need for Transparency

TorrentFreak was only able to discover Total Wipes’ ridiculous DMCA takedown notices thanks to Google’s Transparency Report, which publishes takedown requests—and data regarding takedown requests—made by copyright owners or their representatives to remove web pages from Google’s search results. Google’s Transparency Report enables the public to spot potential abuses of the takedown process. And here, the Transparency Report enabled the discovery of the Total Wipes’ bug—a bug that otherwise would likely have resulted in thousands more unwarranted takedown requests.

Enabling the public to spot such potential abuse is crucial for preventing censorship. Indeed, some takedown notices amount to nothing more than blatant attempts to censor legal content. And as evidenced by the robo-takedowns of both Total Wipes and Warner Brothers, the law does not sufficiently deter abuse of the DMCA takedown process. As such, more Internet service providers should follow Google’s lead and provide transparency into the takedown notices they receive.

Related Issues: DMCAContent Blocking
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FedEx Won't Ship DIY Gunsmithing Machine

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes Last fall, Defense Distributed — the company created by Cody Wilson of 3D-printed gun fame — announced a DIY gunsmithing machine called the Ghost Gunner. Now, FedEx is refusing to ship the device, saying there are laws or regulations that would prohibit them from shipment. A FedEx spokesperson said, "This device is capable of manufacturing firearms, and potentially by private individuals. We are uncertain at this time whether this device is a regulated commodity by local, state or federal governments. As such, to ensure we comply with the applicable law and regulations, FedEx declined to ship this device until we know more about how it will be regulated." Wilson argues, "They’re acting like this is legal when in fact it’s the expression of a political preference. The artifact that they’re shipping is a CNC mill. There’s nothing about it that is specifically related to firearms except the hocus pocus of the marketing."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








ZTE Q7-C is basically a bigger ZTE Blade S6 smartphone

Liliputing -

ZTE and China Telecom have unveiled a new smartphone with a 5.5 inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 quad-core 64-bit processor, and 2GB of RAM. If the ZTE Q7-C seems familiar, that’s because it looks almost exactly like ZTE’s Blade S6 smartphone. But this model has a larger screen and a few other features that make […]

ZTE Q7-C is basically a bigger ZTE Blade S6 smartphone is a post from: Liliputing

Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: As expected, President Obama has vetoed a bill that would have given the green light for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. "By saying no to the legislation, Mr. Obama retains the authority to make a final judgment on the pipeline on his own timeline. The White House has said the president would decide whether to allow the pipeline when all of the environmental and regulatory reviews are complete. ... Since 2011, the proposed Keystone pipeline, which would deliver up to 800,000 barrels daily of heavy petroleum from the oil sands of Alberta to ports and refineries on the Gulf Coast, has emerged as a broader symbol of the partisan political clash over energy, climate change and the economy."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Can Tracking Employees Improve Business?

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: The rise of wearable technologies and big-data analytics means companies can track their employees' behavior if they think it will improve the bottom line. Now an MIT Media Lab spinout called Humanyze has raised money to expand its technology pilots with big companies. The startup provides sensor badges and analytics software that tracks how and when employees communicate with customers and each other. Pilots with Bank of America and Deloitte have led to significant business improvements, but workplace privacy is a big concern going forward.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








EFF to NSA: If The Rule of Law is Important, Start Acting Like It

EFF's Deeplinks -

In comments yesterday during a cybersecurity conference at the New America Foundation, the Director of the NSA, Admiral Mike Rogers faced vocal criticism from the tech community (including cryptography expert Bruce Schneier and Yahoo CISO Alex Stamos). The criticism focused on the Obama administration's insistence that it should have access to everyone's encrypted communications via a backdoor, sometimes called a "golden key." Security experts caution that such a magic key, usable only by the "good guys" is—like magic—not actually possible.

Nevertheless, the NSA continues to assert that technology companies have a responsibility to create a "framework" to allow them (and their analysts) access to our data and communications, even if we have chosen to encrypt them. Admiral Rogers would of course prefer that we not call the backdoor a "backdoor," because in his words, backdoors are, well, "kind of shady." Like others in the Obama administration, he focuses on changing the terminology, not the substance. 

But no matter what you call it, technology experts have told the NSA over and over again that this approach simply will not work. Once you build a backdoor (even if you call it something else) you can't be sure who will walk through it. And there's plenty of evidence that governments, especially the Chinese government, target law enforcement backdoors in technology products in order to gain the same level of access to user data (without legal oversight) that the NSA is so keen to get for itself. The "golden key" that Admiral Rogers and FBI Director Comey are so eager to get their hands on will of course work no matter who's holding it.

Stamos challenged Admiral Rogers directly on this point, asking:

So, if we’re going to build defects/backdoors or golden master keys for the US government, do you believe we should do so — we have about 1.3 billion users around the world — should we do for the Chinese government, the Russian government, the Saudi Arabian government, the Israeli government, the French government? Which of those countries should we give backdoors to?

Admiral Rogers punted by responding that this should be done within a (presumably-legal) "framework" and while "...I’m the first to acknowledge there are international implications. I think we can work our way through this." If the tech companies give Rogers the backdoor that he's asking for, why should we believe that other countries would follow that legal framework and not simply ignore that framework and attack the law enforcement access point?

Our Ethiopia case is an example of a country deciding not to play by the rules, unleashing the Ethiopian national security apparatus on a dissident living in the United States. Ethiopia did not choose to abide by the legal lawful intercept "framework," but instead chose to spy on an Ethiopian American named Mr. Kidane outside the law. We sued the government of Ethiopia on behalf of Mr. Kidane's after he discovered traces of a sophisticated spyware product called FinSpy on his computer which its maker claims is sold exclusively to governments and law enforcement. 

A forensic examination of his computer showed that the Ethiopian government had been recording Mr. Kidane’s Skype calls, as well as monitoring his web and email usage. The monitoring, which occurred without any court order or judicial oversight, violates both the federal Wiretap Act and Maryland state law, was accomplished entirely outside the existing legal system, known as the mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) framework. Of course, Ethiopia is an American ally in the War on Terror. According to a slide made public in the Snowden revelations, in 2012, the United States gave almost $500,000 to the Ethiopian government to fund their surveillance efforts—enough money to buy plenty of licenses for the FinFisher software used to spy on our client.

If the rule of law is as important as we all apparently agree, this is a great opportunity for the Obama Administration tell the courts here that intercepts may only be accomplished with actual legal process. Until then, it's hard to take seriously the Administration's magical thinking: that a technological security hole—as Stamos put it, "like drilling a hole in the windshield"—can be protected by a "framework." The only thing we can trust is math, and the strong encryption that implements it. 

Related Issues: Free SpeechAnonymityInternationalSurveillance and Human RightsPrivacySecurityState-Sponsored MalwareRelated Cases: Kidane v. Ethiopia
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Study: Peanut Consumption In Infancy Helps Prevent Peanut Allergy

Slashdot -

Mr D from 63 writes: According to a report from the Associated Press, "For years, parents of babies who seem likely to develop a peanut allergy have gone to extremes to keep them away from peanut-based foods. Now a major study suggests that is exactly the wrong thing to do. Here's the published paper in the New England Journal of Medicine. It's interesting how this peanut allergy fear is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The situation involves a complete misconception of risk by many parents, and probably it doesn't stop at peanuts. Is there a bigger underlying problem here?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Australia's Proposed Copyright Alert System Allows Rightsholders to Spy on Users

EFF's Deeplinks -

Copyright policy is not something that should be rushed into without adequate evidence and consultation. Yet since only last December, the Australian government has sent stakeholders scrambling to develop a new code of practice on copyright that would could change the lay of the land for the Internet industry for decades to come. The code is designed to force ISPs to adopt new “reasonable measures” to deter copyright infringement—measures that the Australian High Court had earlier decided that they were under no obligation to adopt. The results of that process have just been released in the form of a draft industry code, which is open for public comment until March 23, 2015.

We have seen a number of so-called “graduated response” schemes like this in other countries already; in fact, Australian academic, Rebecca Giblin, wrote a detailed critique of them last year, finding little evidence of such schemes being either successful or effective. Even since that study was released, the problems with graduated response schemes have continued to mount. In Canada, for example rightsholders have demanded that ISPs send notices to users that are quite simply fraudulent; falsely claiming that Canadian infringers can be made to pay American penalties, in an attempt to shake them down for an inflated settlement.

In comparison, the proposed Australian system, despite being conceived in such a rush, does look a little better. It would require an impartial body (a Copyright Information Panel or CIP) to write the notices that users receive, reducing the likelihood that they will spin the kind of fairy tales that claimants have produced in Canada. The CIP will include representatives from rightsholders, ISPs, and consumer groups, and be funded by rightsholders and ISPs jointly.

Further, under the Australian system, the notices must include an acknowledgment that the alleged infringement may not necessarily have been undertaken by the named user. And if the user believes that a mistake was made, they are entitled, after receiving a third notice, to mount a challenge before an independent Adjudication Panel, for a refundable $25 fee, which will effect a stay of any further action by the rightsholder. These safeguards add up to an improvement of the Australian proposal over the Canadian system now in force.

Another improvement of the Australian proposal, when compared with the similar United States Copyright Alert System, is that penalties cannot automatically be handed down by ISPs to users, for allegations of copyright infringement that haven't been proven in court. Instead, after a third notice is sent (and unless the user challenges it), the ISP will cooperate with the rightsholder if it chooses to seek a court order for disclosure of the user's identity as a preparatory step to legal proceedings for copyright infringement. The requirement that a court approve these steps is welcome.

Even so, the foundations of the system that leads to those notices remains deeply defective—by design, they are built on privatized snooping on what Internet users do online. Generally they would do this by way of rightsholder informants lurking on file sharing networks posing as users, where they sniff for data that looks like unauthorized file sharing, and record the IP addresses of the users involved. Although the Australian code would establish some vetting of the operation of these covert rightsholder systems, there would still be no need to check for possible fair use (or, in Australian law, fair dealing) claims before notices of claimed infringement are sent.

The draft code would also authorize the ISP to tamper with the user's Internet connection, by injecting code into the responses from websites that the user browses to display a intrusive pop-up notice that they have to acknowledge after the third and final notice is sent. This kind of content injection, which is characteristic of a malware attack, has significant security implications that the draft code fails to address.

Why the rush to institute these measures against Australian Internet users, when revenues of the Australian copyright industry are booming? As we have previously reported, it has something to do with the fact that free trade agreements that Australia has recently concluded, and others that remain underway, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), arguably require that ISPs be incentivized to act against copyright infringers. But why should Australia—or any country—be pushed into making such significant changes to its copyright laws by treaties that trade negotiators hash out behind closed doors?

By a happy coincidence, the public comment period for the graduated response industry code coincides with the tail end of the comment period for a government inquiry into Australia's treaty-making process. That inquiry, which ends this Friday, has already attracted a pile of comments critical of the lack of transparency and accountability of trade negotiation processes, that allows rightsholders to muscle through special interest laws that would never pass muster if debated in an open, democratic forum.

Meanwhile, as Australia fusses around with policing copyright against Internet users in a likely vain attempt to curtail piracy, it is missing the opportunity to make a much longer-term investment in the country's technological future. Back when Australia's Attorney General first began talking about instituting a graduated response regime, he also passed up the chance to embrace the Australian Law Reform Commission's recommendation that fair use be added to copyright law. In Fair Use Week, it bears asking—is the adoption of a copycat graduated response scheme that has failed elsewhere in the world really going to do more for homegrown creativity and innovation than embracing fair use?

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceThe "Six Strikes" Copyright Surveillance MachineInternational
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