What to expect from Trump’s approach to cyber security and surveillance
Although it’s too early at this point to say anything concrete, Donald Trump’s rise to the position of president-elect in the US has led to much speculation on his take on cybersecurity. What we currently know is based on views expressed by Trump during the run up to the election:
Encryption and backdoors
During the campaign, the government under Barack Obama was in a dispute with Apple about introducing a backdoor into iOS software. When referring to the dispute earlier in 2016, Trump said the following:
“To think that Apple won’t allow us to get into her cellphone? Who do they think they are? No, we have to open it. I agree 100% with the courts. In that case, we should open it up. I think security overall — we have to open it up. And we have to use our heads. We have to use common sense.”
He later called on his candidates to boycott Apple products until they agreed to the government’s demands, tweeting the following:
Boycott all Apple products until such time as Apple gives cellphone info to authorities regarding radical Islamic terrorist couple from Cal
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2016
Hopefully others will follow suit. Our country needs & should demand security. It is time to get tough & be smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2016
Surveillance and restricting internet access
When asked about shutting down parts of the Internet to fight terrorism, Trump said:
“I would certainly be open to closing areas where we are at war with somebody. I sure as hell don’t want to let people who want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet. ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet and it was our idea.”
On surveillance he said: “You could close it. But what I like even better than that is getting our smartest, and getting our best to infiltrate their Internet, so that we know exactly where they’re going, exactly where [ISIS is] going to be.”
Responding to booing from the Las Vegas crowd, Trump responded: “You’re objecting to us infiltrating their conversations? I don’t think so. We should be able to figure out a way to penetrate the Internet and find out exactly where ISIS is and everything about ISIS.”
Following Obama’s forcing of the FCC to develop “the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality,” Trump called the move “another top-down power grab.”
Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2014
Of course at this point it’s impossible to say whether or not any of these claims will be met with actual legislation or policy, though it’s worth knowing where Trump stands on these crucial issues.
Canada university bans BitTorrent to stem bulk of infringement notices
The University of Calgary has banned access to BitTorrent across several of its networks because of a tide of infringement notices. Following the ban there was a 90% drop in notices received.
Canada’s copyright law was amended in early 2015 to oblige ISPs to forward copyright infringement notices to users. Copyright holders have exploited this change having sent out tens of thousands notices including some with direct demands for cash. With the possibility for generating revenue, the number of notices has increased massively. Consequently, the University of Calgary, which provides internet access to thousands of students, has taken action by blocking BitTorrent traffic on campus.
Before the ban, students were using their connections to download music, movies and other digital content from various unlicensed sources around the web. Linda Dalgetty, vice-president of the University, said: “I think what we’re finding is it has definitely made a difference. But we have to monitor that, because statistically, we have to go through a longer timeframe than eight days.”
“The more streaming we have on the campus, the more it impacts network performance and that takes away the user experience for other pursuits,” she said. “The third [reason] is security. The more streaming we have, the [higher chance] of inadvertently downloading something that would create issues.”
Following the ban, the university made it clear that students who use BitTorrent for academic purposes can also apply for an exemption. Use must be allowed under the current copyright law.
Usenet pirate fined €7,500 for sharing 1,500 TV shows
A man who uploaded 1,500 TV shows has been charged €7,500 by a Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN.
The latest user to be targeted was an active uploader through the popular platform Usenet, sharing 1,500 TV shows, including episodes of the popular shows Arrow, Blacklist and Person of Interest. The man, who hasn’t been named, agreed to pay €7,500 in damages and cease uploading effective immediately. If he continues to upload, he will have to pay an additional penalty of €2,000 per day, rising to a maximum of €50,000.
According to the court order, BREIN identified the man through the message-id of the NZB files as well as linking him to various posts on NZB spot sites, where the man advertised his uploads. Over the past months, BREIN has targeted individual uploaders through various platforms, including Usenet, BitTorrent, Facebook and others. The watchdog is currently monitoring IP-addresses of frequent BitTorrent users.