In the view of an UK government agency, both social networking sites, and those that host user-generated content, should be required to do make more efforts to screen the content on their sites as to protect users, particularly children, from videos that may be regarded as harmful.
Today the House of Commons’ Culture Media and Sport Committee put forward its tenth report – “Harmful content on the Internet and in video games,” which tackle the issue of “the Internet’s dark side” and what measures are in place to make surfing on the Internet safer. The Committee believes that social media sites should put into practice stricter policies, focus more on the accurateness of content filtering, and also facilitate any abuse report.
According to the Committee the Internet can be seen as a place “where hardcore pornography and videos of fights, bullying or alleged rape can be found, as can websites promoting extreme diets, self-harm, and even suicide.” This is the reason it’s so necessary for websites such as MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube to be more firm and restrictive when it comes to offensive or unauthorized content. One of the complaints of the Committee is directed towards what appears to be an industry standard of 24 hours to take out material that contains child abuse, and makes a strong recommendation that such issues be treated with more dedication and gravity.
The agency also showed distress with regard to the fact that there’s no filtering applied on the videos uploaded to YouTube (human or computer) before being posted to the site. In this respect Google pronounced that doing this would be nearly impossible because about 10 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute of the day.
However, the Committee showed determination: “To plead that the volume of traffic prevents screening of content is clearly not correct: indeed, major providers such as MySpace have not been deterred from reviewing material posted on their sites,” says the report.
We will be following the matter and make further posts on its evolution.
The much anticipated ruling is here – the Federal Communications Commission has come to the conclusion that cable provider Comcast has illegally interfered with the transfer of specific digital video files. The agency is, this way, establishing the government’s right to regulate how Internet companies manage Web traffic.
Republican FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin and Democrats Michael J. Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein had affirmed the complaint as of Friday. Republican Robert M. McDowell is expected to vote against the complaint and Republican Deborah Taylor Tate has yet revealed what will her vote be. The vote (of the full board) is to take place on Friday.
Still, Comcast maintains its defensive attitude towards its practices:
“Our network management practices were reasonable, wholly consistent with industry practices and . . . we did not block access to Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services,” said Sena Fitzmaurice, a spokeswoman for Comcast.
However, no details of the order have yet been offered, but we know Martin has no intention of fining Comcast.
Some analysts already predict that this ruling will set a precedent with regard to the level of transparency carriers should have when it comes to revealing the way they manage the Internet traffic over their networks.
In the months prior to the FCC’s decision, some cable and telecommunications companies have given up their attempts to cut short specific applications and, instead, have started to introduce new pricing and usage models that would make sending and receiving large volumes of data more expensive.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
Good news for file sharers who use The Pirate Bay’s service: what started as a simple Swedish based tracker and has grown to be an internationally one, will be from now even more difficult not to love as it has included a new feature – tagging.
The Pirate Bay’s popularity is due to a number of tings such as prompt releases, uncompromising attitude, longevity, and a large number of users who, in this case, can actually be called fans. Yet, it does receive from time to time critics directed towards the results its search engine sometimes comes up with. Thus, introducing tagging and its accompanying RSS feed is already seen as a significant step forward to solving this problem and users show enthusiasm at the thought of a better search for their torrents.
“You can now add tags to your uploads and other people can browse by tags.The idea is to let people easily create groups of sorts, for instance if you’re into different kind of art movies etc. Just tag your uploads with a tag. Up to 6 tags on each upload are ok, and tags can be 30 chars long.”
Furthermore, we learn that tags exceeding “5 torrents automatically gets it’s own dedicated RSS feed…”
Cheers to The Pirate Bay!
The agreement between six UK Internet service providers and the record industry that seeks to crack down on illegal file sharing has been openly criticized by the Green Party.
It seems that as many have hoped, some UK politicians are becoming conscious of the consequences of allowing ISPs to target suspected file-sharers, considering that the evidence is provided by the entertainment industry rather than an independent law enforcement personnel.
In Green party’s view, these “draconian measures” may affect the Internet access for vulnerable people.
Rights owners will give out IP addresses to the ISPs, who will match them with users and send warnings to them.
An accord will be reached between ISPs and the government which will contain the code of practice regarding the way the repeat offenders are to be dealt with. Methods will include blocking content to some costumers or limiting the download speed of their internet connection.
Here’s what Tom Chance, the party’s Intellectual Property Spokesperson had to say on the matter:
Net-users everywhere should be worried by today’s Memorandum of Understanding between the BPI and the six largest ISPs in the UK. Faults exist at every level. The first stage gives the BPI the right to track file-sharers, and pass their details onto ISPs. That’s an attack on civil liberties in itself – but the true folly of the scheme rests in what those ISPs can do next.
Their new powers run in two halves. Initially, they merely send warning letters to suspected file-sharers. If these fail to deter them, the ISPs threaten to to slow or cut off their internet connections. This is a hugely disproportionate response.
It wouldn’t matter who had done the sharing. It wouldn’t matter if it was someone else in the building. It wouldn’t matter if your machine had been assaulted by malware and used without your knowledge.
The ISPs will target suspects, which means many people on shared internet connections will be cut off under these rules. These rules risk cutting many vulnerable people off from their livelihoods and their means for engaging as a citizen.
Geoff Taylor from the BPI says,’there is not an acceptable level of file-sharing. Musicians need to be paid like everyone else,’ and Feargal Sharkey, spokesperson for British Music Rights, claims, ‘no business can survive after losing as much revenue as the music industry has.’ But the fact is that this loss of revenue results from the music industry’s failure to move with the times.
Draconian measures won’t stem that loss. The speed and ease of file-transfer makes it an increasingly attractive option compared to conventional shopping. It’s the difference between pressing a button and going out to get the bus to the nearest music shop. If the music industry ever hopes to compete with that convenience, it needs to develop both legal and fair means of sharing files.
Record companies typically want to develop software along the lines of iTunes; a monopoly where individuals sign up and pay to legally share music. That’s clearly unsatisfactory. The money collected won’t find its way to musicians – the companies’ typical charge against file-sharing.
The advent of mass social networking allows developing artists to promote themselves without immediate recourse to studios’ PR teams, so whatever deal is produced should help sites that support independent artists, such as Magnatune, not just multinationals that distribute record industry fare.
The internet offers consumers and artists greater freedom from the strictures of corporate power. This memo attempts to stop that; its assault on file-sharing attacks consumers, while its proposals on legal filesharing seek simply to preserve the record industry’s cut of musician’s profits. Along the way, it makes a flagrant challenge to the liberty of internet users, which must be opposed.
Thank God there’s still a political entity that can admit to the unfairness and disastrous implication this move from the entertainment industry would have. The fact is even more outrageous if you come to think that the losses the entertainment industry so desperately cries over are due to its own inadaptability and refuse to keep up the pace with the current times.
The UK’s six largest ISPs that closed the deal with the industry are: BT, Virgin Media, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB, and Carphone Warehouse.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
The services that changed forever the face of industry and the way people exchange information – those of file sharing, which basically mean offering for download or downloading files via the Internet, have been finally picked up by South Africa.
Some of the most popular services in this area include bittorrent clients such as Limewire and Vuze (formerly known as Azureus).
Due to the fact that many South African ADSL subscribers are using exclusively local accounts to download big sized files in order to reduce bandwidth costs they virtually can’t access international file-sharing services.
For those a bit behind with the news, worldwide, peer-to-peer file sharing has been targeted for allegedly supporting the illegal distribution of unauthorized material. The number of those arguing that these systems are in fact very efficient methods of distributing open source and creative commons content is increasing day by day.