Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
Maxxo is a new cloud-based service that’s determined enough to run shoulder to shoulder with its stronger competitor, Dropbox. This week, the company made an official announcement, saying that their users will be able to download torrents directly to their accounts.
Dropbox is currently claiming millions of unique users, placing the company as the leading cloud-hosting service out there. This year they’ve announced a new application which allowed their users to download torrents directly into their accounts, but the project was quickly dropped due to piracy concerns. The official statement claimed that Boxopus’ features “could be perceived as encouraging users to violate copyright using Dropbox.”
However, Maxxo – a rather new competitor in the cloud-based sector – is not worried and decided to enable their users to download torrents. The method is quite simple – one must drop the .torrent file into Maxxo’s interface and right-click to start the download.
“By using BitTorrent through Maxxo our users can download files fast and completely anonymously,” Luka Hovat (the company’s CEO) told TorrentFreak.
“It’s a feature that none of our competitors have.”
As far as privacy is concerned, the downloaded files go straight to Maxxo’s servers.
At the time, the service enables free accounts of up to five gigabytes of storage, while also allowing two simultaneous BitTorrent transfers. Other accounts include a storage limit of 50 GB to 200 GB, with prices between $9,99 and $29,99 respectively.
Last but not least, Maxxo is working on Windows, but the development team is working of optimizing the service for Macintosh and mobile devices.
Do you remember Google’s news section? Well, keep that in mind because Chancellor Angela Merkel wants the search engine, along with others, to pay for every bit of reproduced content from news web portals.
Google News makes quite the income out of hot reports taken from major news websites such as the CNN, BBC, New York Times, and so on. Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed on Wednesday on a draft that would force the search engine and other aggregators to pay a fee for every bit of information taken from other sources, even tiny snippets. If she succeeds with her plan, Google may find itself in trouble, at least in Germany.
“Publishers should be better protected on the Internet,” a statement posted on Germany’s Justice Ministry official website and made by Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger reads.
“They will now receive a tailor-made copyright law for their online presence.”
The legislation is basically trying to financially help German news websites by forcing Google to share their profits. Several publishing houses in Germany, headed by media giant Axel Springer, argued that aggregator sites profit from the work of others. Merkel’s coalition government has been working on this draft since 2009.
“Our children learn that, if they want something, they have to ask first,” Bild wrote on Thursday.
“That is something that Google and co. should do as well. Those who use the work of others must accept a price tag.”
Google’s reaction was to harshly criticize the draft, obviously. Furthermore, important figures from the political arena (read the center-left Social Democrats and the Greens) also disagreed with Angela Merkel’s draft, claiming that it would stifle with information’s freedom on the web. Germany’s Pirate Party also saw the draft as an insult to web’s freedom:
“There are no technical, legal or economic reasons for this law, which puts the brakes on innovation,” said Bruno Kramm, copyright law expert within the Pirate Party.
Nevertheless, private bloggers, foundations and certain companies would not fall under the law, as it’s been designed only for those who “systematically collect” snippets from websites.
The draft law clearly states that it “should not be misunderstood as a protection offered by policy makers for an old-fashioned, obsolete business model.” However, its critics believe the exact opposite.
And they may be right since the business of making money out of advertising is not as fruitful as some probably consider. As such, charging money from Google and other aggregators wouldn’t change the financial situation in the advertising arena.
But things are not settled yet, at least not until the German Parliament decides whether the law should pass or not.
Yesterday he tweeted:
“BREAKING NEWS: The High Court just ruled the release of restrained assets to cover our legal fees in New Zealand.”
The funds are to be secured against a $10 million Government bond.
The High Court also granted Kim to sell some of his previously confiscated luxury cars. The amount of cash Kim owes to his lawyers sums up to $2.6 million, but the figure is expected to go up quickly as his trial goes on.
As for his living costs, Kim’s family of seven requires at least $1 million a year to pay the rent for their estate (valued for about $30 million). Last but not least, the court earlier allowed Kim to have access to $750.000.
On his official website (www.kim.com), he said that when Megaupload was shut down “defendants’ assets” were frozen “leaving no funds to defend a hugely complex case involving petabytes of potential evidence, an untold number of witnesses and a business that spanned the globe”.
“The plan of the US government and New Zealand prosecutors to keep us locked up and from access to a proper legal defense has failed,” he said in an e-mail to Reuters.
“We have a competent legal team that can now operate at full capacity to defend us.”
Just for the fun of it, Dotcom owns a staggering number of 15 cars, among which we find names like a 1959’s Cadillac, a 2008 Rolls Royce Coupe, and a Mercedes E500. As soon as he sells them, the court must decide on how the cash is used.
The 20-years-old Ronaldo Rivera is suspected to be a member of the hacktivist group Lulzsec. Charged of being a part of the hacking activities against Sony Pictures in 2011, the young man was arrested by US authorities.
Rivera’s partner in “crime” is considered to be Cody Kresinger. He was also arrested in April 2012 as authorities believed that the two not only hacked Sony, but also published their user database online.
Rivera used proxy servers to hide is identity (IP address), along with several pseudonyms such as “neuron”, “wildicv”, and “royal”, a BBC report informs.
Lulzsec, as some may know, is an offshoot of the group Anonymous. Unfortunately for the group, its one time leader Sabu (Xavier Monsegur) delivered some of Lulzsec’s members directly into the hands of the FBI with hopes to get off the hook. However, he is still to be sentenced in February next year, but a reduced sentence may be applied due to his cooperation.
And since we’ve mentioned several other arrests, we should remind our readers that, back in June, Ryan Cleary and Jake Davis (both UK citizens) were arrested.
Other names include Ryan Acrkoyd and a 17-year-old teenager who remains anonymous. Both are waiting a trial.
Ronaldo Rivera’s fate is still to be decided.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, Legal P2P News & Issues
Recent news from ArsTechnica informs that Republicans forwarded their new party platform which supports internet freedom and data protection, along with protections from “unwarranted or unreasonable governmental intrusion through the use of aerial surveillance.”
The Republican Party (GOP) also criticizes the harsh international regulations of the internet, and the concept of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rule. In their opinion, the agency is “trying to micromanage telecom as if it were a railroad network.”
Furthermore, the GOP called for “offensive capabilities” when it comes to cybersecurity, probably reminding of cases like Stuxnet and several malware “incidents” that presumably originated from super-secret American programs. The party also wants online gambling to be completely forbidden, along with “vigorous enforcement” of “all forms of pornography and obscenity.”
Republican’s platform for 2008 did not include the word “data”, but instead used the word “internet” when asking for more online transparency from government’s side. At the time, they asked for prohibiting “internet access taxes” and a halt to “all new cell phone taxes.”
As for their 2012 platform, under “Protecting Internet Freedom” they see the internet as a place that “unleashed innovation, enabled growth, and inspired freedom more rapidly and extensively than any other technological advance in human history. Its independence is its power.”
Also, the platform calls for more privacy:
“We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach and that individuals retain the right to control the use of their data by third parties; the only way to safeguard or improve these systems is through the private sector.”
EPIC or the Electronic Privacy Information Center also got involved and called for protection of personal data which, by the way, is available under the 1986’s Electronic Communications Privacy Act. However, EPIC, along with other rights groups, believe that a reform of the act is mandatory:
“We believe that the private sector approach to protect personal data has failed,” said Amie Stepanovich – associate litigation counsel at EPIC.
However, in Berin Szoka’s opinion (president of tech policy group TechFreedom) the platform is not well thought as it lacks the appropriate language:
“In context, I think it’s pretty clear the ‘right of control’ they’re talking about is a right against government access,” Szoka wrote in an e-mail to ArsTechnica.
“But it’s bound to be misinterpreted by privacy regulatory advocates as a general right to control information held by third parties about us—which is essentially the approach of groups like EPIC. In particular, what exactly does the term ‘their data’ mean, anyway? The authors probably meant data that users upload or create to services—e.g., tweets, e-mails, Google Docs. But this term will likely be interpreted to mean much more than that: data merely about them—which is more properly referred to as ‘personally identifiable information.’ At best, this is poor draftsmanship.”
And he’s not the only one….
“Additionally, while the right for individuals to control the use of their data by third parties could be an important part of protecting online privacy, it’s unclear exactly what this statement in the platform is referring to,” Woodrow Hartzog (a professor of law at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University) said in an e-mail to Ars.
“Individuals do not own their personal information in the traditional sense. The First Amendment also protects against many attempts to restrict the publication of personal information. Instead, a loose patchwork of laws, regulations, and contracts provide limited rights to control one’s personal information in the United States. These rights certainly protect individuals in some contexts but often leave them vulnerable to harm in many others.”
As for the EFF, Lee Tien – staff counsel – said that the data protection section of the platform “has lots of implications”:
“You can’t tell what they mean by full constitutional protection given flux in current Fourth Amendment law on business records in third-party hands,” he wrote in an e-mail to Ars.