Last week on the Internet: Heartbleed bug, NSA spied on human rights NGOs, data retetion illegal in the EU, Game of Thrones sets new piracy record

  • Surveillance

An xkcd explanation
An xkcd explanation

News feeds exploded last week with the discovery of the Heartbleed bug, a flaw in the OpenSSL script which puts your personal data and passwords at risk. The first questions that were raised were how can we protect yourselves from this bug and, of course, did NSA know about Heartbleed and if they did what did they actually do? Firstly, not even changing your passwords will help, security researchers warning this could backfire. Secondly, NSA denies any accusations made that they exploited the bug for years and didn’t do anything to fix it. Whether or not this is true, it is not our only problem and we need to protect againts other bugs and malware, like “Zeus“, for example, used to hijack account numbers and other personal info. Nevertheless, what it is true, for sure, is that NSA spied on human rights organizations and activists, according to the most recent Snowden leak.

Speaking of Snowden, he will receive the Ridenhour truth telling prize, together with Laura Poitras, the filmmaker and journalist who helped Snowden to disclose US’s surveillance program. Moreover, ACLU launched a user friendly database that contains all of Snowden’s docs and Vanity Fair published a Snowden exclusive 20.000 word story last Thursday. The article/interview is under a paywall right now, but, hopefully, it will soon be accessible for everyone. Here you can read a preview.

Meanwhile, in the EU, the Court of Justice has declared the Data Retention Directive, which required all telecom operators to store telephone and Internet metadata for 6 months, in violation with EU law, interfering with the right to privacy.

  • Copyright

Last week, this new super amazing animated web series project launched their Indiegogo campaign. Yes, I am talking about us! I felt so proud to see in my Feedly, while I was gathering the articles for Short Copy, several articles about us on Boing Boing  (signed by Cory Doctorow himself!) and Techdirt (and mentioned on a webcast by the guys from Tek Syndicate). A big thank you for your support and stay tuned, we’ve got tons of great stuff prepared!

Kirby Ferguson has a new video, as well, about the rise of patent trolls.

In other news, though the EU Court of Justice strikes down data retention, it is fighting aggressively against copyright infringement. Due to a new EU ruling, the Netherlands must  immediately ban unauthorized downloads of copyrighted material. On the other side of the globe, in Australia, ISPs are ready to discuss with right holders a new deterrence system for online copyright infringements. Meanwhile, Australians have set a new piracy record for Game of Thrones‘ season premiere. The episode has actually set a new record all over the world, with 1 million downloads in half a day. This is one good example for why movie streaming services fail to satisfy.

Several new studies were published last week, with interesting results: YouTube hurts album sales as much as piracy; 39% of film industry professionals are pirates; true economic impact of piracy is actually unclear. Moreover, porn industry is said to be endangered by piracy just as much as the other copyright industries; and like every other new technology, 3D printing is facing its “Napster moment“. Last but not least, after quite along time, the music and movie industries sue Megaupload for copyright infringement.

Featured image is a derivative of Rise of the Patent Troll and Hearbleed.