Without alerting its users, the team behind the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent has removed the software’s widely used comment and rating functionality. It’s unclear why the functionality was stripped, but it’s possible that spam issues or legal concerns played a role.
In what appears to be a retaliatory move against DMCA notice archive Lumen Database, anti-piracy outfit Remove Your Media has launched a transparency report of its own. The report lists people who have sent the company DMCA counter-notices but it goes much further than Lumen by publishing their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
In a fresh takedown notice Hollywood movie studio Warner Bros. is targeting the BestOfStreamingVideo subreddit, a community dedicated to sharing links to pirated streams of movies and TV-shows. Thus far this hasn’t had any effect, however, and according to one of the moderators, Warner Bros. should focus its efforts on building a better legal movie platform instead.
20th Century Fox has accused Kim Dotcom of breaching a freeze on his assets imposed following his arrest in 2012. According to claims made by the studio in the New Zealand High Court, Dotcom took a US$154,000 loan from his lawyers on behalf of a trust for his children.
Earlier this week KickassTorrents was taken down following a criminal investigation into the site’s alleged owner. Since then, millions of frequent users have taken refuge elsewhere. The Pirate Bay and ExtraTorrent are among the major beneficiaries, with the latter reporting an instant traffic spike of more than 300%.
After years of legal disputes, leading Russian social networking site vKontakte has struck a deal with Universal Music to license content uploaded to the platform by its users. TorrentFreak caught up with vKontakte CEO Boris Dobrodeyev to discover how the deal will help end accusations of piracy and remove vKontakte from US trade blacklists.
After a decade of lawsuits, the iconic torrent site IsoHunt has settled its last remaining legal dispute. Gary Fung, the Canadian founder of the defunct search engine, has agreed to pay a $66 million settlement to the local music industry group and is glad he can move on with his life.
Consumer interest group Digital Citizens Alliance has published a new report highlighting the connection between pirate sites and malware delivery. The group says that as many as one in three pirate sites are engaged in the practice, assisted by US-based companies including Cloudflare.
It has been just over a day since KickassTorrents (KAT) was shut down by the U.S. Government, following the arrest of the site’s alleged owner. While the official site is still offline mirrors and copies are being launched left and right, with some misleadingly claiming to be an “official” resurrection of KAT.
Working with noted computer researcher/hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden has created a design for an “introspection engine” that detects unwanted radio signals from attached iPhones. They envision the device could be used by journalists who want to ensure their iPhones don’t reveal information about their locations when in airplane mode.
Snowden (pictured above), the former NSA contractor who in 2013 provided journalists with classified information about widespread government surveillance on citizens, described the device today during a presentation with Huang at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab event. It was the first time that Snowden, who currently lives in exile in Russia, presented original research at a U.S. university.
In the research paper, “Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance,” Snowden and Huang explained how they developed the design based on iPhone-related documentation and parts purchased at an electronics market in China. While their design was created specifically with Apple’s iPhone 6 in mind, they said the underlying principles would allow such a device to work with any type of phone.
MIT ‘Forbidden Research’
“Front-line journalists are high-value targets, and their enemies will spare no expense to silence them,” Snowden and Huang said in the research paper, presented today in a day-long, invitation-only symposium on “Forbidden Research” at MIT’s Media Lab event. “Unfortunately, journalists can be betrayed by their own tools. Their smartphones are also the perfect tracking device.”
While in Hong Kong in 2013, Snowden famously asked journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras to remove their cellphone batteries and store them in a hotel refrigerator to avoid concerns about unwanted surveillance. He made similar requests of attorneys he met with during his stay in Hong Kong.
“Because of the precedent set by the U.S.’s ‘third-party doctrine,’ which holds that metadata on… [php snippet=11]