Copyright Notice Scheme Fails in 8 Days Due to Trolls

January 8, 2015 1 comment

Since January 1st 2015, Canadians that download off of bit-torrent started to get “copyright infringement” notices.  I’ve even questioned the amount of money Canadian Internet providers could make on the process.  The questions I raised ended up being used in court.  Today however, many Canadian Internet users are not getting notices of infringement from music publisher BMG. They are receiving legal threats through this system only eight days in.  As Micheal Geist (emphasis added) reports:

The notice falsely warns that the recipient could be liable for up to $150,000 per infringement when the reality is that Canadian law caps liability for non-commercial infringement at $5,000 for all infringements. The notice also warns that the user’s Internet service could be suspended, yet there is no such provision under Canadian law. Moreover, given the existence of the private copying system (which features levies on blank media such as CDs), personal music downloads may qualify as private copying and therefore be legal in Canada.

BMG is using a company called Rightscorp to track infringing users online.  Rightscorp is a well known name in the US for helping launch massive copyright lawsuits against internet users, and is on the brink of bankruptcy.

The notice sent by BMG/Rightscorp (which is viewable on Geist’s post) also threatens to cut off infringing users Internet access (which the law doesn’t permit) and falsely informs Canadian Internet users on the new law.   Users that receive these notices are also asked to pay a $20 fee to make these problems go away.  It’s important to note that if you have received this notice or any other through e-mail, your identity is not currently known.  Geist summarizes:

In a nutshell, Rightscorp and BMG are using the notice-and-notice system to require ISPs to send threats and misstatements of Canadian law in an effort to extract payments based on unproven infringement allegations. Many Canadians may be frightened into a settlement payment since they will be unaware that some of the legal information in the notice is inaccurate and that Rightscorp and BMG do not know who they are.

With Canadian Internet providers making a nice profit off of disclosing their customers information with a court order, will Canadian ISPs stand up to this abuse of the system, or as the case with US telecom, leave Internet users to their own devices and cash in on disclosing their users identities?

Users should not respond to these types of notices or attempt to settle.  It would provide information about you to copyright holders that they don’t currently have, which could include financial information, your address and phone number.

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Self-Expressionism And The Hypocrisy of Politics

January 8, 2015 1 comment

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(Credit: Olive Bites Blog)

Yesterday like many across the world, I became glued to newscasts as events unfolded in France regarding the shooting of satire cartoonists, and journalists. These innocent lives were gunned down in a rampage because a newspaper decided to publish satire portraits of the prophet Mohammad. What followed was an immediate and swift condemnation of an attack on freedom of expression by these terrorists from most global leaders.

What is freedom of expression? Freedom of expression to me is the ability to express myself freely without the worry of being gunned down by terrorists, or jailed for expressing certain points of view. This goes hand in hand, in my opinion with freedom of speech. It’s essential to a democracy to be able to question the politics or ideology of any given topic. Democracy is about different views, and the ability to express those views no matter how distasteful some of those views can be without fear of persecution, or censorship.

Every religion has been guilty of suppressing self-expression. Leonardo Da Vinci had a love for the human anatomy, and often disagreed with the Christian pope at the time. To study what we consider science today in Da Vinci’s time was considered blasphemy by the church, and punishable by death. Think of where the world would be now if Da Vinci and others of that time period were able to freely express their scientific views without persecution. The advancement of human knowledge is also a benefit of self-expression.

As events unfolded in France, I began to start questioning the Canadian response. First the CBC’s editorial staff refused to show the cartoons in question, in an attempt to accommodate the Muslim faith. I wouldn’t have thought twice about it if it were not for yesterday’s events. Those cartoons after yesterday became an important part of a global news story. Journalists have a responsibility to cover the facts of the story, and report it in full without fear of retaliation. The CBC is a publicly funded organization and should hold democratic values of free expression, which sadly were not present yesterday during the initial reporting of the events. Here is an example of one of the cartoons:

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(French Translation: Love is stronger than hate)

Another troubling aspect is the fact that these terrorists were known to authorities. In an age of mass surveillance even people who are known to have terrorist backgrounds keep slipping through the cracks. This is now becoming a considerable theme across the globe since the Boston bombings a few years ago, and the frequency of these attacks in recent months strongly suggests that the policy of mass surveillance is inadequate to prevent any future attacks. In fact it looks to be doing quite the opposite. Too often than not, hard police work and targeted investigations are lacking even on known suspects.

After 9/11 the US gave birth to a state run security sector and public dollars flowed into private security firms. Today that security sector is huge and continues to grow with Canadian companies also benefiting. We’ve ended up giving away our right to privacy online as a result of events like yesterdays. We’re spending vast amounts of money beefing up our surveillance capabilities, and yet these known perpetrators who commit these horrible acts of terror are continuing to do so at an alarming rate. With today’s surveillance capabilities, shouldn’t we be seeing a significant decrease in these attacks?  With the capabilities we have in place today, there should be no excuse for this.

Yet every time society goes through these types of attacks, the private sector security lobby has no problems lining up at the door of public coffers. This lobby is now very strong and keeps stating we need to give up more of our constitutional rights, and enable more failed national security mass surveillance policies to prevent future attacks. Since our Conservative politicians are mainly twits (and could care less about civil liberties), rather than looking at the past decade and learning, they just throw money at the situation, and pass laws that undermine the importance of freedom of expression by attacking our privacy.

What does privacy have to do with freedom of expression you ask? Ask yourself this; if Da Vinci lived 10 years from now with no expectation of privacy, would he become the artist we know him today? A lot of Da Vinci’s most provocative works were hidden from those that would have certainly put him to death if they found them. Some of those works are still being unearthed and studied even today. If he didn’t have any private moments, what would we know of Da Vinci today? Will we end up even having our own private thoughts of self-expression in the future, or will give into those who claim to protect us and are financially benefiting from fear?

If politicians are serious about defending self-expression as so many did yesterday, why then are they attacking the very core of that expression by diminishing the very right to privacy (in the name of national security), where that democratic right of self-expression is birthed? If we can’t freely express ourselves in the privacy of our own homes, through private communications, or through the public without “fear” of prosecution or government listening in, than those that died yesterday, did so without purpose, or meaning and not in defense of core democratic values.

My Top 5 Video’s of 2014

Here’s some videos that caught my eye in 2014:

5:  John Oliver’s talk on Net Neutrality.  Oliver’s talk on net neutrality ended up getting so many people writing into the FCC it crashed their website.  Canadians need to take note.  I’m predicting net neutrality will be one of the top issues addressed by the CRTC in 2015:

 

4. Toronto Skyline Porn is what its title implies — a full frontal visual journey through Toronto’s growing skyline. The scenes were shot over the past few years from different heights and in different seasons:

 


3. The return of Weird Al.  In 2014, Weird Al released a series of new songs.  One of my favorites was the parody he did on Lorde’s Royals entitled Foil:

 

2. Look Up: This spoken word video made net citizens pause and think in 2014:

 

1. A parody on how Rob Ford handled his “crack” scandal.  As a parent this made me think a lot about who we elect in each level of Government:

 

Official Statement from The Canadian Gamers Organization on CRTC’s Monetary Penalties

December 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Canadian Gamers Organization

The Canadian Gamers Organization (CGO) was instrumental in bringing to the CRTC evidence that Rogers Communications was going against net throttling rules back in 2011.  We called for back then, the ability for the CRTC to apply monetary penalties as a preemptive measure to ensure that our telecom providers follow CRTC regulations.

Yesterday with the passing of Bill C-43, the CRTC now has the ability to put forth monetary penalties on telecom providers.  While we are pleased to see this policy move forward, questions still remain as to how these will be implemented.  From CRTC Chair Jean-Pierre Blais’ statement (emphasis added):

Monetary penalties also give the CRTC greater flexibility to tailor its enforcement approach to each situation and to the facts before it. In some cases, a monetary penalty might be the right approach. We will be providing further guidance in the coming weeks on how and…

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Teksavvy Vs. Voltage Update #2 December 2014

December 12, 2014 4 comments

It’s important to note before I start this blog, that as of January 1st, Canadians will start to become familiar with copyright notices if you download through the P2P networks.

I’ve gone through a lot of the court documents.  This blog has been referenced in court several times on both sides.  Seems that the Teksavvy and Voltage lawyers have been taking note of my journalism.  While I appreciate the readership, I am not happy on how both parties are using this blog, to essentially bill out and gain the upper hand in court.  For TSI’s part it billed out the court to essentially read an online debate with David Ellis I had on this blog regarding his mis-interpretation of copyright/privacy law.  For Voltage’s part, they look to be using one of my blogs they dubbed the “Koblovsky Post” in which I came up with some very limited hypothetical numbers they are trying to use to justify low balling the court. The conduct of both parties in this case is “outrageous”.

I’m still reading through these documents, however I’m writing one final post on this subject.  The rest I will keep to myself, and read whenever I feel an urge to go to a 3rd party ISP.  I will quote from my post on DSLR in which there are serious questions about TSI billing the court for fee’s associated with a new computer system they claim was needed to fulfill the courts request, because TSI is claiming it had a data corruption problem in one of their log files:

The courts in Canada are likely to rule on actual costs (or closest to them). TSI looks to be shooting very high and trying to get as much as they can, while Voltage is shooting very low and trying to pay as less as they can.

TSI will essentially play anything less than what they are asking for as a loss, and Voltage will play anything more as ridiculous. The PR on all sides is becoming rather child like in behavior, representative of how incumbent ISPs act, and does nothing to inform, nor protect affected customers.

I’m still pouring over these documents. I still don’t see any valid justification for a new SQL system. I’m also flattered both parties like my blog, and the hours of personal time correcting Ellis’s views on copyright, to which I didn’t receive a dime for. What I don’t like is TSI trying to get money from the courts to essentially read my blogs, and Voltage trying to use my blog to low ball the court. The purpose of the blogs were meant to inform the public and raise questions on both parties in a public forum, and not to be used in consultation for this case with TSI’s or Voltage’s lawyers. Too me that speaks volumes to the “merits” of both parties in this case, and others involved with it.

There are about 1000 different ways to solve IT problems. Part of what a System Analyst does is go through each of those ways to find the best fit for the best price for the problem and budget. Or if you like, the best and most efficient cost effective way to solve system or data flow problems. Usually new system development takes years of planning, and often is a result of changes in technology. A new system is hardly ever the solution to solve one or a few data problems. Data is data and can be very easy manipulated with existing tech. It’s usually several problems that also effect day to day operations before a new system is considered. There is no justification for purchasing a new system to solve one problem. So arguing costs and tech is exactly what both parties want, but I haven’t seen any justification nor process TSI had to go through (yet) in determining how they reached the ultimate solution of a new SQL system. I haven’t found any technical documents that usually accompany a decision to go to a new system, submitted by TSI.

If I’m missing something here, please quote relevant testimony. I’m still going through everything. I haven’t found one DFD or for that matter one flow chart. These documents are usually drawn up while troubleshooting a data related corruption problem, even if the previous system didn’t have documentation. All I see is hearsay on the justification of a new SQL system, met by a cross examination of a forensics expert on that hearsay evidence (which was a complete farce for both parties). I can’t seem to find any scientific imperial data or documentation that usually comes with the decision for a new system, which should be needed before the court considers any costs associated with the IT of this IMO.

Knopf has also posted on the recent court docs here:

»excesscopyright.blogspot.ca/2014···its.html

While I’m still reading up on the case, I will not be commenting any further on this blog, or to anyone else for that matter. Like Knopf I’ve also said enough in the past.  I’ve just about had enough of being used to add to the bottom lines of both parties, and this blog being used as a pawn in a proceeding I very much disagree with and how both parties have been acting. Giving any more air time on this blog or elsewhere to the two parties involved would be an utter sin without billing $346,480.68 in consultation fees.

Teksavvy Vs. Voltage Update #1 December 2014

December 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Yesterday in continuation of a file sharing court case both Teksavvy and Voltage were back in court discussing Teksavvy’s costs it has racked up by complying with the courts request to disclose Teksavvy’s customers information to Voltage.

Total costs Teksavvy is asking for is $346,480.68.  CIPPIC has released documents submitted to the courts by both parties on costs here. I’m in the process of going through these numbers from Teksavvy myself, however it appears that Teksavvy is trying to justify costs to set up a new data retention and customer management system in some of it’s IT costs, in order to comply with the court order. Not sure why existing technology TSI had previously set up would be good enough for law enforcement requests prior to Voltage, and not good enough for the Courts in this case, and why a new system would be needed to manipulate data in basically the same way they are used to for law enforcement requests?

Senior Staff members were also billed out for “public relations” to handle the backlash that accompanied the company’s decision not to oppose Voltage’s motion for disclosure.  I wasn’t in the court room yesterday, however from a poster at DSLR who “appears to have been in attendance”:

Menno: I believe you are all quite off base with your interpretations of the Costing Motion. Most unfortunately, the Tek lawyer, Nick McHaffie was chastised and taken to task on multiple occasions for his billing practices and the highly inflated billing rendered by Tek to Voltage. The Voltage lawyers tore it apart, as expected, and seemed to gain the interest and support of the judge. So while it is not over till Madame Justice sings, I think you might as well recognize that the only trolls in this case appear actually to be the TekSavvy folks. Read closely, and before you make comments, make sure you are properly informed. The federal judge seems not too impressed with Tek’s attempt to double bill, direct billing against the rules ..perhaps the staff of Tek are incompetent but really ..do you think it takes $360K to reconcile 1,100 IP addresses? My. Something is way off with that company, glad I am not their customer.

We haven’t heard anything regarding what happened on Monday yet from David Ellis, Micheal Geist, or Openmedia all of which have been quick to come out with blogs of support for Teksavvy in previous hearings on this matter.  They have largely been silent so far. So while I take anything I read on DSLR or any web forum with a grain of salt, it appears things may not have gone well for Teksavvy in court yesterday.

I don’t see how the set up of new SQL and CRM systems can be justified as costs associated in complying with the courts request, since these systems are largely used for the day to day operations of a modern business the size of Teksavvy. The costs of the hardware for this new system, may have been spread out by inflating other costs from a first look at TSI’s expenses. The transcripts of the hearing should be due out soon.

To be continued…

UPDATE #2 Posted Here

The Science Behind Autism and My Story

December 3, 2014 Leave a comment

As many of you may or may not know, my son is autistic.  A warning that this post is personal.  I don’t often open up in my posts on personal matters but in the interests of understanding Autism and what parents often go through, I felt I needed to tell my story as well.

During my wife’s pregnancy, I got my wife involved in a midwife program to follow my wife’s pregnancy and sons development once he was born since this would be our first child.  The pregnancy was a healthy one, my wife however had a hard go of it during labor, and ended up with toxemia, and had to have an emergency c-section.  After my son was born, we had concerns at 10 months that he wasn’t sitting up by himself properly, and missing several of his development markers. Fortunately our midwife was also a registered nurse, and set up an appointment with Dr. Zwaigenbaum (who happens to be one of Canada’s leading researchers in Autism and was based out of Hamilton at the time).

Within a few months of the appointment being made, we got a call due to a cancellation and were able to meet with Dr. Zwaigenbaum who suggested my son go through a test for Fragile X syndrome, which is one of the leading causes of autism in males.  We had the test done, and my son was diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome by the time he was about 1 1/2.

What is Fragile X syndrome?  It’s a genetic mutation of the FRM1 gene in the X chromosome passed on from mother to son.  The FRM1 gene in a normal DNA sequence, copies between 25-30 times from the mother, in my sons case the gene was copied over 2500 times.   Girls with fragile X are impacted differently because girls have two X chromosomes so if one is impacted with Fragile X, the other X chromosome sort of compensates for it.  In the case of my wife, she has been diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome as well, after a blood test after my son was diagnosed.  Boys on the other hand have only one X chromosome and the other is a Y chromosome, so boys are often impacted more severely with an X chromosome gene mutation.  My son who is 9 is non-verbal, and incontinent. While not as severe as my sons, my wife has been impacted as well through her day to day activities, and has struggled in life and through her academics.  I’ve had to put a lot of things on hold to assist my wife and son at home.

The mutation in the FRM1 gene that causes Fragile X syndrome inhibits a certain enzyme in the brain responsible for normal connotative and physical function.  Lab tests have been preformed on mice with Fragile X syndrome in which the missing enzyme was given in supplements, in turn reversing the effects of Fragile X syndrome with a remarkable 80% reversal rate.  Human trials started a few years ago, or are in the process of getting approval.  We are hopeful, that in the future enzyme therapy will be an option for my son.

One of the main pet peeve’s I have is what I like to refer to as the “Jenny Mccarthy Syndrome” where vaccines are to blame for Autism, and children should be put at risk of death from preventable diseases. The paper that suggested vaccines were causing Autism, was withdrawn and debunked by many scientists and health organizations, and the doctor who wrote that paper Mccarthy and others consistently quote, is no longer practicing medicine.  The vaccine myth is further discussed in the below embedded video. There’s also NO cure for Autism.  I recently came across a TED talk that I found very informative regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and where we are in the understanding scientifically of ASD:

As a parent, it hasn’t been an easy ride to say the least.  There is a very steep learning curb when you first get the diagnosis of any disorder let alone Fragile X and Autism which have several subcategories of behavioral diagnoses. The system we have set in place requires parents to fight at every step from funding to getting specialists involved both at the home and school board level.  On top of having to fight, the system set up is extremely complex and confusing often requiring a case manager to help navigate, which is yet another fight to get a case manager involved (this is why I’m such a feisty advocate).

On top of all these fights parents have to go through to get specialists involved at the home and in school, once they are involved, yet another steep learning curb, since the parents are responsible for becoming the specialist and learning therapeutic techniques of the specialist to administer them at home.  Than there’s the application of those techniques which requires a lot of patients and time, and are not always successful. Myself being the only one in the family to be able learn and apply therapy, it does at times become overwhelming.  This is when respite is a huge help, which is yet another fight to get funding let alone find a respite worker that’s a good match.

Another thing most parents have to deal with when you have a child with challenges are friends and family.  We’ve had to go through a situation where family and friends don’t know how to offer their support.  Good friends and close family often start to become distant.  This was something as a parent I didn’t understand at first.  As a parent, you essentially become the expert on your child’s diagnosis, and are often around people in a support network who understand those challenges, and behaviors.

To the outside often these challenges can present themselves differently to people who don’t fully understand.  Family often becomes hesitant to offer a helping hand to help care or provide a night out at grandma’s or grandpa’s due to the fact they don’t know how to deal with those challenges or behaviors, or are physically incapable of dealing with them.  It’s not to say that our family hasn’t been supportive, they have been very supportive, just in a different way than had we had a child without ASD. I’ve had to come to terms with that, and understand it now. Friends often vacate and become distant often for the same reasons.  Going through this realization can be and is a very lonely time, very difficult time, and also very common I found out from other parents with challenged kids.

We’ve kept a very close yet very limited circle of friends, in which understand our situation. They have been there in times of difficulty and have gone above and beyond for us also in times of crisis. We’re extremely blessed to have that support available and be in company of good honest and caring people and can’t thank them enough.

Out of all the difficult, frustrating, lonely and overwhelming times comes something that makes it all worth it.  Hugs, laughter, unconditional love and small successes that turn into leaps and bounds.  My son has become my strength, changed me as an individual, and has become my best friend.  He knows when I’m overwhelmed, and will often break out a smile or joke around to make me laugh, especially at the simple things in life, which puts everything into perspective.  He’s grown leaps and bounds over the past few years, because of all the fights I’ve had to deal with and won in the system to make things right for him. This is a story I hear very often with other parents affected by ASD, and a lesson to others to never give up the fight, because your kids are worth fighting for, and you are their voice.

Parents should not be dealing with stresses from a busted and unaccountable system of administrating support, along with the stresses they are dealing with in the care for their kids, especially with ASD on the rise.  Too often than not, those in the system administering services make it very difficult intentionally for people who already have it difficult at home.  The emotional and physical toll felt by the amount of advocacy required by parents to get the support they need in the public health system is overwhelming.  We need a comprehensive analytical look at the support system in place now, with a commitment from both the Federal and Provincial governments from across the country to come up with workable streamlined and accountable solutions across Canada for ASD support inside the classroom, and at home.

There will be more posts like this that will be coming in the near future, as I offer some insight into some policy, and political failures in the system that need to be corrected and are causing undue stress on families affected with ASD, in hopes that it reaches advocates, politicians and sparks discussion on how we can look at meaningful change across the board. I’m one of many voices, and my voice needs to be added to the conversation considering the injustices I’ve witnessed in the system and have had to advocate against.

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