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Everything posted by kya100

  1. A court in New York has ordered Boom Media, a prominent reseller of 'pirate' IPTV subscriptions, to pay $3.3m in damages to TV broadcaster DISH Network. The judgment states that Boom's former operators, mother-and-son team Debra and John Henderson, should be held jointly and severally liable after failing to mount a defense. Last October, DISH Network filed a lawsuit in the United States targeting Boom Media LLC, a reseller of IPTV services sourced from a number of well-known ‘pirate’ suppliers. Filed in a New York district court, the complaint also named John Henderson of New York and Debra Henderson of North Carolina as defendants, stating that the LLC was operated from John’s home (with him as the sole member) while his mother provided key support for the operation by receiving customer payments. “The codes [DISH terminology for subscriptions] are designed and produced to enable a set-top box or other Internet-enabled device to access servers used to transmit DISH programming to customers of the MFG TV, Beast TV, Nitro TV, Murica Streams, Epic IPTV, Vader Streams and OK2 services,” the complaint read. DISH claimed that subscriptions were sold to customers for between $10 and $20 per month with an option to buy a “pre-loaded” set-top box for $150. Boom Media’s sales efforts were high-profile, with DISH pointing to YouTube videos of John Henderson telling his customers that “[y]ou guys are buying pirated streams, this shit is not Hulu, it’s not Netflix, it’s pirated f**cking streams. It’s no different than buying f**king knockoff shoes. It’s black market shit.” As reported in November 2019, John Henderson said he would take the case all the way to trial but to finance that he would need at least $250,000 in donations. In the end his fundraiser made just $1,029. The case has simmered along in the background ever since but for all parties the show is now over after Boom Media and the Hendersons failed to mount a defense. In a memorandum decision and order handed down yesterday by District Court Judge Mae D’Agostino, the Court found that the defendants violated Section 605(a) of the Federal Communications Act after they “retransmitted DISH Programming originating from DISH’s satellite communications to customers of the Services, or worked closely with others to do so.” Additionally, the defendants were found liable under Section 605(e)(4), which makes it unlawful to distribute “any electronic, mechanical, or other device or equipment”, knowing or having reason to know that the device or equipment is primarily of assistance in the unauthorized decryption of direct-to-home satellite services. “The Device Codes [IPTV subscriptions], which Defendants sold individually and preloaded onto a set-top box, were designed and produced for purposes of allowing access to the servers that support the Services, and thus are a ‘device; or ‘equipment’ for purposes of Section 605(e)(4),” the judgment reads. Having established defendants’ liability in response to DISH’s request for default judgment, Judge D’Agostino turns to the question of appropriate damages. Statutory damages of between $1,000 and $10,000 are available for each violation of Section 605(a) and up to $100,000 if the violation was committed willfully and for financial gain. Section 605(e)(4) allows for statutory damages of between $10,000 and $100,000 for each violation. In the event, DISH sought statutory damages of ‘just’ $1,000 for each violation of Section 605(e)(4) but given that amount relates to each subscription, that figure was always set to explode. However, since DISH didn’t have access to enough information to put a precise figure on the number of subscriptions, it was forced to get creative. Back in June 2019, John Henderson took to YouTube to complain that a credit card processor Boom used between February 2019 and May 2019 had refused to release $50,000 owed to Boom following the sale of IPTV subscriptions. Hoping to get revenge on the processor, he asked Boom subscribers to initiate chargebacks with their credit card issuers to get a refund, without risking the accounts they had with Boom. “Defendants sold Device Codes [IPTV subscriptions] for an average price of $15.00 for each month of service. Accordingly, Defendant John Henderson’s statement that Defendants were waiting for $50,000 in payments owed to them for Device Codes previously distributed to customers is evidence of 3,333 Device Codes sold by Defendants,” the judgment reads. “Given that Plaintiffs ‘are entitled to all reasonable inferences from the evidence they presented’ when seeking damages against a party in default…the Court finds that this number represents a fair approximation of the total number of Device Codes sold during this time frame (February through May of 2019).” Multiplying 3,333 device codes by $1,000 damages per violation, the Court awarded DISH $3.33 million in statutory damages, with Boom Media LLC and John and Debra Henderson held jointly and severally liable. The Court found this to be a reasonable amount, given that the $50,000 represented a fraction of Boom Media’s sales. Also, the Court acknowledged that DISH could’ve demanded much more, given the willfulness of John Henderson’s behavior generally and his comments posted to YouTube mentioning DISH. While DISH did not seek attorneys’ fees or costs, it did demand a permanent injunction. The Court was happy to oblige, enjoining all defendants and anyone acting in concert with them from “conducting the Rebroadcasting Scheme, or otherwise receiving or assisting others in receiving DISH’s satellite communications or the television programming that comprises such communications without authorization from DISH.” The Court also ordered the defendants to stop selling IPTV subscriptions granting unauthorized access to DISH programming.
  2. Sphero, the company behind robotic toys like the BB-8 robot and educational robotics kits, announced today that it’s spinning its public safety division into a new company, dubbed Company Six. It plans to commercialize robots and AI software for first responders, government, defense and “those who work in dangerous situations.” While Sphero didn’t say that Company Six will make robots for police, it sounds like the new company could be headed in that direction. “Our team is excited to build critically-needed robotic hardware and advanced software solutions that help first responders and people with dangerous jobs,” said Company Six CEO Jim Booth, formerly Sphero’s COO. Sphero has brought four million robots to market, including programmable tank robots, and it’s experience in mobility could come in handy. We’ve also seen it make wearables. Though so far, those have been used to create music, not keep users safe. It’s not entirely surprising that Sphero would see an opportunity in the military and first responder space. Police in Massachusetts are reportedly testing Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot. The UK military has bomb disposal robots, and the US is testing robotic combat vehicles. Plus, Sphero has hinted that making robotic toys isn’t as lucrative as you might think. In 2018, it cut jobs after a lousy holiday season, and it quit making licensed Disney bots like BB-8 and R2-D2. At the time, it explained that the toys didn’t sell well after their tie-in movies were released. While it would be great to have robots that keep first responders safe, it’s still a bit disturbing to think that future robot armies might evolve from the adorable, educational toys you’ve been using for years.
  3. Facebook has been ordered to pay a $9-million penalty after making "false or misleading claims about the privacy of Canadians' personal information," according to a news release from the Competition Bureau. The decision follows an investigation into the social media company's privacy practices between 2012 and 2018. The Competition Bureau said they found Facebook falsely represented how much information users could control — including the personal information of users' friends who had installed "certain third-party applications." "Canadians expect and deserve truth from businesses in the digital economy, and claims about privacy are no exception," Competition Bureau Commissioner Matthew Boswell wrote in the statement. "The Competition Bureau will not hesitate to crack down on any business that makes false or misleading claims to Canadians about how they use personal data, whether they are multinational corporations like Facebook or smaller companies." The Bureau's findings relate to data on both Facebook and Messenger, where users were given the impression they could control who can see and access their personal information. Instead, third-party developers were able to access some of that information in ways inconsistent with Facebook policies. Privacy watchdog taking Facebook to court, says company breached privacy laws The company will also be required to pay an additional $500,000 to the Bureau for the costs of the investigation. In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said that although the company disagrees with the finding, they will not contest it. Facebook will instead enter into a "consent agreement" and "build on the improvements we've made in protecting people's information and how we communicate about the privacy controls Canadians can use." Facebook has already been hit with similar penalties in other countries. Last year, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission levied a $5-billion fine against the company, the largest it has ever imposed on a tech company. In 2016, France's privacy regulator forced Facebook to change its tracking policy. Following the widespread criticism, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a "privacy-focused" vision for the company last year. That included a number of changes throughout Facebook itself and other apps it owns.
  4. Scientists have been working on artificial eyes for years, but mimicking the shape and behavior of a real eye has been difficult. A breakthrough might just lead to a practical design, though. Researchers have created a cyborg eye whose function and structures share many things in common with its human counterpart. A nanowire photosensor array formed inside a hemispherical aluminum oxide membrane serves as the retina, while wires formed from a liquid metal (eutectic gallium-indium alloy) replicate nerves by sending signals from those sensors to external processing. It even mimics the vitreous humor (the gel between the lens and retina) with an ionic liquid. There are additional materials needed to keep it working properly. An indium layer helps improve the electrical contact, while a silicone polymer socket keeps the sensors and wires aligned. This isn’t just about cosmetic similarity. In some ways, it’s close and even superior to organic eyes. Its responsivity is nearly the same across the visible light spectrum, while its response and recovery times are faster. The nanowires are even denser than the photoreceptors in a real eye. It’ll be a long while before an artificial eye like this is ready to restore sight. Its 100-degree diagonal viewing angle isn’t as wide as the 130 degrees of the real thing, although that can be improved. The total light-detecting area is just 0.08in wide, and its 100-pixel resolution is well below what you’d need for a meaningful image. The current manufacturing process is also expensive and slow, while there’s a chance the materials will lose effectiveness over time. Still, this promises to be a milestone for cyborg eyes. With enough refinement, this could lead to implants that restore eyesight while preserving the natural look. The scientists also believe they could one day power the eye with sunlight — you might not need a separate power source, at least until it gets dark.
  5. The US Navy has successfully carried out a demonstration of a high-energy laser weapon installed in a warship. On May 16, 2020, the amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) locked onto and disabled an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with its Solid-State Laser - Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) MK 2 MOD 0. With their ability to engage targets at the speed of light and shoot them down at a cost of a dollar a shot, lasers and other directed-energy weapons (DEWs) have become a high priority for the world's major military powers. The LWSD used in the recent test at an undisclosed location was developed by the US Office of Naval Research using a solid-state laser developed by Northrop Grumman. It's one of several DEWs being produced for the US Armed Forces and builds on the successful sea tests of an earlier laser aboard USS Ponce in 2014. According to the Navy, the purpose of such lasers isn't necessarily to destroy the target, but to damage, degrade, neutralize, or defeat its capabilities as well. "By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs and small craft, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats,” says Captain Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of USS Portland. "The Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator is a unique capability the Portland gets to test and operate for the Navy while paving the way for future weapons systems. With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy."
  6. Researchers in Australia say they've set a new world record for recording the fastest internet data speed from a single optical chip. In just one second, the system could download 1,000 high-def movies, which also happens to be about equivalent to grabbing every episode from the Doctor Who canon in HD. You don't have to slip into a Tardis and travel to a far-off corner of time and space to witness this technology. Instead, it came about as a result of everyone staying home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. "We're currently getting a sneak-peak of how the infrastructure for the internet will hold up in two to three years' time, due to the unprecedented number of people using the internet for remote work, socializing and streaming. It's really showing us that we need to be able to scale the capacity of our internet connections," said Bill Corcoran, an engineering lecturer at Monash University in Melbourne, in a release. Corcoran led a team of researchers from Monash, Swinburne and RMIT universities in hitting data speeds of 44.2 Terabits per second (Tbps) from just one light source. The results were published Friday in the journal Nature Communications. The key to the breakthrough is called a micro-comb, which is a tiny device that can stand in for 80 lasers. The researchers describe it as "acting like a rainbow made up of hundreds of high quality infrared lasers from a single chip." Each stream of light in that tiny rainbow can act as an independent communications channel. The micro-comb was tested using existing fiber-optic network infrastructure in Australia. The researchers say the new tech could add needed broadband capacity around the world. "And it's not just Netflix we're talking about here," Corcoran explained. "This data can be used for self-driving cars and future transportation and it can help the medicine, education, finance and e-commerce industries." But reaching the insane speeds seen in the team's tests at home would require upgrading other parts of the network infrastructure. Still, the researchers are hopeful that the project could enable an increase from speeds in the hundreds of gigabytes per second to tens of terabytes per second. "Initially, these would be attractive for ultra-high speed communications between data centers," said RMIT professor Arnan Mitchell. "However, we could imagine this technology becoming sufficiently low cost and compact that it could be deployed for commercial use by the general public in cities across the world."
  7. More “bad touch” from the guys who brought us PRISM Just being able to calmly purchase toilet paper feels like reason enough to celebrate these days. But one thing a lot of people won’t be cracking champagne over this month is the renewal of the Patriot Act/USA Freedom Act — and its terrible inclusion of a provision to allow government collection of Americans’ internet browsing and search histories without a warrant. That is, if Congress gets its collective shit together and passes it to the Oval Office for a signature. Right now, the Act has crossed the Senate and is going back to the House, with a fight over amendments already boiling over. Yet, it was the one amendment that didn’t pass which has privacy fans ready to break their champagne bottles on a rock and use them as shivs. That amendment, from Senator Ron Wyden, would have specifically excluded internet browsing and search history from what the government is allowed to collect. Wyden’s amendment would have countered Senate GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s amendment, which “will expressly permit the FBI to warrantlessly collect records on Americans’ web browsing and search histories,” reported Daily Beast with the scoop. The outlet added, “In a different amendment, McConnell also proposes giving the attorney general visibility into the ‘accuracy and completeness’ of FBI surveillance submissions to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court.” To recap: McConnell added warrantless surveillance of Americans’ browsing and search, Wyden countered it with the Senate version of LOLNO, and then Wyden’s amendment failed by just one vote. Engadget senior editor Richard Lawler pointed out that “Washington senator Patty Murray would have voted yes, but was still flying back to D.C. when the votes were cast.” “Under the McConnell amendment, Barr gets to look through the web browsing history of any American—including journalists, politicians, and political rivals—without a warrant, just by saying it is relevant to an investigation,” Wyden told Daily Beast. Citing the Wyden-Daines amendment, Rep. Zoe Lofgren said that “it’s now the House’s responsibility to curb this violation of Americans’ rights,” Politico reported. “I know it’s still within our grasp as lawmakers to push for the significant privacy reforms we need.” Because we have enough past experience that this kind of surveillance will be abused, and accountability, like Elvis, has left the Capitol building, the pushback on 2020’s version of NSA-PRISM is big enough to almost allow us a decadent sliver of hope. Organizations from the ACLU and DuckDuckGo to HumanRightsWatch and the NAACP have asked lawmakers (including Speaker Pelosi) to urgently add Wyden’s changes. All of this is why you probably saw a bunch of histrionic headlines fly by saying the US government was going to play collect-them-all with our searches for “how to get off this planet” and our visits to websites about how to become an expat and not catch COVID-19 in ten easy steps. They weren’t wrong. But there are some interesting things you should know about how this kind of collection will probably be done. You’re not alone if you instantly envisioned a giant NSA/FBI data warehouse in the middle of some ominous Fallout desert scene, where all of the country’s (and probably the world’s) phone calls were being Hoovered up and stored. So much data that it’s searched by agents and AI, sadly dispelling everyone’s favorite, the personal FBI agent meme. This is probably the same fantasy some of the internet data surveillance ghouls are salivating over right now — Facebook-level access to our internet lives (Facebook being just a different flavor of slobbering ghouls). But why do the (surveillance) work when others have done it for you? I’m sure McConnell and company are thinking of it like how they’ve seen humans on TV simply go to the store for whatever it is that humans eat and drink. In this case the stores would be Google, Apple, Microsoft, and everyone else who has authorities showing up with warrants for internet search and browsing data. Just go to Big Browser! They’ll have whatcha need. Those channels are already there: they are among the same government spying and data surveillance/collection problems for consumers and at-risk groups that existed before. Right now, there’s a step that must be satisfied unless those authorities want to be turned away by the people at those companies whose jobs it is to look at a warrant and say “yes this warrant is acceptable” or “nice try pal, this is not what you say it is.” (All of which ends up essentially paraphrased in company transparency reports.) As Patriot Act/USA Freedom stands now, this step would be removed. Interestingly, one “Big Browser” company has a feature that’s a useful tool in this context. Like the way Apple can’t “read” your iPhone’s data (specifically, Apple can’t decrypt it), Google can only share what it can “read.” You can password protect your Chrome data by following the instructions here. Anyway, to validate the concerns a lot of you are having about your surveillance and privacy defenses, it’s important to know that the company running your browser goes on your Patriot Act 2020 “adversary” list. Even though, in this instance, companies like Apple and Google (etc.) are the ones having changes forced on them -- putting them in a position that’s sure to destroy user trust at scale. Engadget reached out to Apple and Google for comment on this matter and did not receive a response by time of publication. Now, I know some of you are reading and saying, that’s it, I’m just going to use DuckDuckGo from now on, I know for a fact they oppose this and they’ve got my back. DuckDuckGo, a VPN, and a full-body condom ought to do it. Except you’ll need a VPN that already doesn’t cooperate with FISA warrants. It’s possible. Interestingly, NordVPN’s Warrant Canary has strong language stating it has never handed over user data. But to order those body condoms, you still need internet access. That’s why your internet service provider (ISP) should probably go higher on your Patriot Act 2020 “adversary” list than Big Browser. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation into AT&T, Comcast, Google Fiber, T-Mobile, and Verizon after “T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T were selling their mobile customers’ location information to third-party data brokers despite promising not to do so,” according to Ars Technica. And in case you didn’t know the background on it, the EFF proved in court that “Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T [participated] in the NSA’s mass telephone records collection under the Patriot Act.” (If you want to get into the details of ISPs, DNS, and protecting data in that context, check out what Mozilla is trying to do in The Facts: Mozilla’s DNS over HTTPs) In infosec lingo, when it comes to Patriot Act 2020, your ISP is an attacker in a privileged position. And right now we depend on the internet for, well, almost our very lives. Lives which require privacy — a human right. 2020 is many things, and one of those things seems to be an agonizingly long version of the infamous “Leave Britney Alone” video, except it’s us, and we’re at the tear-streaked breaking point over our data privacy. Now that we’re essentially trapped online most of our waking hours, we feel more used, stressed, poked, prodded, extorted, angry, tricked, and helplessly subjected to violations about our data than ever. It’s exhausting at a time when everything seems exhausting. For now, we can focus on how to control the things we can, like doing privacy self-checks or take inventory of app settings. We get to know tools like VPNs and start to use things that end-to-end encrypt our communications -- we practice doing things that shore up our defenses a bit more than before. While we do that, we’ll have to flex one of the less popular survival skills -- we wait. The ghastly changes to the Patriot Act, a thing that was already a shambling disaster of failed protections and rights violations, may still face a challenge or two before getting an Oval Office signature. Though even if McConnell’s amendment doesn’t squeak through this time, we now know that lawmakers at the top want an unprecedented, Facebook-level of spying and control over our online lives.
  8. The U.S. Commerce Department has put another 33 Chinese businesses—many of which develop artificial intelligence and face recognition tech—on its economic blacklist as a punitive measure for purportedly conspiring with Beijing and the government’s brutal crackdown on Muslim minorities. The department’s so-called “entity list” bans blacklisted companies from using U.S.-made tech in their devices. Established via executive order last May, it includes Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, along with 68 affiliates accused of acting as proxies for Chinese espionage agencies. Seven companies and two institutions were cited as being “complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs,” in a statement from the Commerce Department. The agency said the other two dozen organizations were listed for securing supplies for the Chinese military. One of the companies named is CloudMinds, a start-up specializing in cloud-based systems for robots and the folks behind the smiling, humanoid robot Pepper. Last year, the SoftBank-backed company was barred from transferring technology and technical information between its U.S. and Beijing offices until it secured the appropriate licenses. Also cited was NetPosa, one of China’s biggest names in AI. Its subsidiary SenseNet was discovered to be conducting extensive and invasive surveillance measures last year, presumably at the behest of the Chinese government, in Xinjiang, a remote region where much of the population is Muslim. Friday’s decision follows renewed efforts by China to tighten its hold on Hong Kong with a bevy of new national security and anti-sedition laws. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump expanded punitive trade sanctions against Huawei, straining U.S.-China relations amid an ongoing feud over the Chinese tech giant.
  9. After rocketing into the mainstream, highly-polished pirate streaming site went offline in April after its domain was taken over by the MPA and the Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment. Now, however, the site appears to be back under a new domain, raising questions over who is responsible for this almost identical resurrection. If there’s one thing that movie and TV show companies hate more than regular pirate streaming services, it’s pirate streaming services that look and feel like the real deal. Popcorn Time was arguably the first mainstream entrant to this niche but, over the past six years, there have been many pretenders to the throne. certainly fell into that category and then some. Appearing seemingly out of nowhere just a few short months ago, gained significant traction with an unusually polished interface that in presentation terms certainly gave Netflix a run for its money. But then, just as the site was beginning to soar, a major setback became apparent. Around April 19, suddenly disappeared and was replaced by the familiar ‘seizure’ notice of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the global anti-piracy coalition that has taken down dozens of piracy-related domains during the past couple of years. Two days later made an announcement via Twitter, declaring that since it took “copyright violations very seriously” and intended to “vigorously protect the rights of legal copyright owners”, it would be shutting down. By early May the circle was complete when its domains were officially taken over by the Motion Picture Association (MPA). At that point, it seemed unlikely that we would be writing about Nites again. But, today, we have news that can be firmly filed under the “ACE isn’t going to like this” category. appears to be back in full effect under a new domain,, and as the image below shows, the reincarnation is indistinguishable from the original. The new domain was registered on April 23, just days after the original domain first displayed signs of conflict with the dozens of entertainment industry giants that make up ACE. It was registered with Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde’s Njalla privacy service, meaning that it won’t be easy to find out who is behind it, a big plus for whoever’s at the helm. There’s little doubt that ACE will now seek to take the site down and there is no shortage of reasons for that. Putting the obvious embarrassment aside for a moment, with its tight interface, video previews, and even a Netflix-like “+MY LIST” feature, is an unusually glossy platform with a number of interesting features behind the scenes. Aside from streaming the latest movies and TV shows from direct hosting sources in both 720 and 1080 qualities, the site provides movie trailers for those undecided on what to watch next and even provides torrent download links culled from popular torrent index YTS. It also has other BitTorrent technologies quietly waiting under the hood including Webtorrent tracker OpenWebTorrent and Webtorrent client βtorrent. The only thing the new site doesn’t have at the moment is a new logo but the text “Nites is Back” on some open tabs is a clear statement that aims to pick up where left off. The big question now, however, is how long it will last.
  10. A coalition of entertainment companies headed up by Universal, Paramount, Columbia, Disney and Amazon has obtained an injunction to shut down 'pirate' IPTV service Nitro TV. A court in California has ordered all individuals acting in concert or participation with the service to stop infringing the companies' copyrights, including by disabling its domains. Last month several major movie and TV show companies filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Alejandro Galindo, the alleged operator of unlicensed IPTV provider Nitro TV, and 20 additional ‘Doe’ defendants. Owned by Columbia, Amazon, Disney, Paramount, Warner, and Universal, the companies alleged that Nitro TV offers subscription packages consisting of thousands of “live and title-curated television channels” available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the United States and abroad. Of particular interest to the entertainment companies were Nitro TV’s ’24/7′ channels and VOD service, consisting of movies and TV shows that, according to the lawsuit, could only function if their content had been unlawfully copied in advance. These included movies and TV shows including The Office, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Toy Story 3, Star Trek Beyond, Homecoming and Joker. Citing the ‘unfair competition’ presented by Nitro’s service, the companies’ complaint alleged willful direct copyright infringement and in the event Nitro claimed that third-parties streamed the content, contributory copyright infringement, with each offense carrying maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per infringed work. In common with most lawsuits of this type, the companies demanded preliminary and permanent injunctions not only against all of the defendants but also third-party companies acting in concert with them, such as domain registrars. In an April 23 filing, Galindo filed a notice of non-opposition to the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction but according to court records, did not shut down the Nitro TV service. This claim appears to be supported by numerous videos on YouTube discussing whether customers should ditch the service as soon as possible due to the lawsuit, despite it continuing to operate. District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson was tasked with deciding whether in advance of a trial, Nitro TV should be shut down. In an injunction handed down Monday, he sided with the entertainment companies. “As copyright holders, Plaintiffs have the exclusive right to publicly perform the Copyrighted Works. 17 U.S.C. § 106(4),” his order reads. “The internet streaming of full copyrighted works without authorization constitutes a violation of this exclusive right. By streaming the Copyrighted Works on Nitro TV without authorization, Defendant likely violates this exclusive right. “Accordingly, Plaintiffs are likely to be successful on their copyright claims. Because Plaintiffs have successfully established a likelihood of success on their direct infringement claims, the Court does not reach Plaintiffs’ secondary infringement claims.” Despite concluding that the plaintiffs are likely to be successful in their copyright infringement claims against Nitro TV, Judge Wilson notes that he was required to consider whether, in the absence of an injunction, the plaintiffs would suffer “irreparable” injury. He decided that would indeed be the case. “Plaintiffs have shown they are likely to be irreparably harmed by the continued infringement of their copyrights. Due to the diffuse nature of streaming services, it will be difficult for Plaintiffs to discern the full extent of Defendant’s copyright violations,” he writes. “Not only is Defendant directly infringing Plaintiffs’ copyrights, creating a financial loss to Plaintiffs, but Plaintiffs have provided evidence that the unlawfully distributed Copyrighted Works may undermine the value of Plaintiffs’ legitimate licenses. This could also lead to unquantifiable customer confusion and an overall diminution of value of the Copyrighted Works.” Given that preliminary injunctions can have an effect on all parties in a dispute, the Judge also considered whether damage could be caused to Nitro. He found that since the operator of the service had not disputed he was infringing the entertainment companies’ rights and that illegal conduct does not merit “significant equitable protection”, no injury would be suffered by Nitro TV. “The balance of the equities tips strongly in Plaintiffs’ favor,” his order reads. Finally, the Judge considered whether a preliminary injunction would be in the public interest. Similarly, he found in the plaintiffs’ favor, noting that Nitro TV had offered no evidence to counter the claim that its alleged copyright infringements offered no lawful benefit to the public. The preliminary injunction handed down Monday requires that Galindo and all individuals acting in concert, participation, or in privity with him in connection with his alleged activities, must immediately cease all direct and secondary copyright infringement related to the plaintiffs’ copyrighted works, including all public performances and reproduction. In response to requests in the original complaint, the Judge specifically ordered Namecheap and, the domain registrars for and respectively, to prevent the domains from being modified, sold, transferred or deleted. Alongside an instruction for the domains to be disabled, the Judge ordered that current WHOIS information must be preserved alongside all evidence related to the domains’ ownership.
  11. The Senate is preparing to vote on a reauthorization of the Patriot Act, which has been used to enable surveillance of the kind exposed by Edward Snowden. It allowed ford the bulk collection of data on millions of phone calls that could be queried by law enforcement and security agencies. The House has already passed a reauthorization of the act, but the Senate has considered several amendments first. The ACLU urged Congress members to add three specific amendments that would limit it if they reauthorize its powers. One, from Senators Steve Daines and Ron Wyden would have prohibited the warrantless collection of search or browser histories. Senators voted on that Wednesday afternoon, but it failed to pass, coming one yes vote short of the required 60, with several senators including Ben Sasse and Bernie Sanders not voting. A Politico reporter noted that, according to an aide, Washington senator Patty Murray would have voted yes, but was still flying back to D.C. when the votes were cast. The amendment senators did pass, by a 77-19 margin, was introduced by Patrick Leahy (D, Vermont) and Mike Lee (R, Utah). As described by the ACLU, it “strengthens the role of independent “friends of the court” to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, ensuring that the court has additional opportunities to hear the views of outside experts.” In an op-ed published Sunday seeking support for the measures, the senators said “The key to our proposal is to substantially strengthen a program that currently allows FISA judges, in very limited circumstances, to appoint outside legal scholars — called “amici”— to independently analyze FBI surveillance requests that are particularly sensitive...We propose measures that would authorize and actively encourage judges in this secret court to seek independent amicus reviews in all sensitive cases — such as those involving significant First Amendment issues — thereby adding a layer of protection for those who will likely never know they have been targeted for secret surveillance.” In response to the votes, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Neema Singh Guliani said in a statement “After many years of just rubberstamping laws used to commit civil liberties violations, Congress has overwhelmingly passed changes that will help ensure that government claims before a secret intelligence court do not go unchecked. The House should not consider any legislation that excludes these important changes. But this won't address all of the surveillance abuses that have come to light in recent years and Congress has more work to do to protect Americans' privacy online. The vote today shows that a majority of senators agree that what we do online should not be subject to warrantless surveillance — and it’s past time for Congress to make this clear in our laws.” On Thursday the Senate will vote on the third proposed amendment, from Rand Paul, that would require a warrant for the use of FISA searches on US citizens.
  12. The US Air Force's X-37B space plane is heading back to Low Earth Orbit after a record-breaking fifth mission last year. It’s scheduled to launch on May 16th from Cape Canaveral in Florida, and while it still belongs to the Air Force, the newly formed US Space Force will oversee its upcoming launch, operations and landing. The plane started carrying out missions in 2010, serving as the platform for what are mostly classified experimental payloads. It wasn’t even clear what mission objectives it completed when it came back in late 2019 after spending 780 days in orbit, 240 days longer than expected. While we were only previously given vague hints of what the plane was carrying, the Space Force is more forthright this time around. In its announcement, the military division has revealed that the X-37B’s sixth mission will deploy a small satellite called FalconSat-8 that was developed by the US Air Force Academy. The military might be more willing to share information this time around, because the mission objectives aren’t as sensitive: FalconSat-8 is an educational platform that will come with five experimental payloads. The flight will also carry two NASA experiments to study the effects of radiation on seeds and materials used to grow food in space. Randy Walden, the Director and Program Executive Officer for the Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, called the sixth mission a “big step” for the X-37B program. It’s the first time the plane is using a service module to host experiments, and that will allow it to host more experimental payloads going forward.
  13. The network that supports the Texas court system was targeted by a ransomware attack late last week, the Office of Court Administration said Monday. The security breach impacting bodies within the Texas Judicial Branch, including appellate courts and state judicial agencies, was discovered early Friday after it began overnight, the agency said. The agency added that it has “no indication” that personal or sensitive information was compromised “at this time,” adding that “individual trial court networks throughout the state were unaffected by the cyberattack.” In order to mitigate further harm, the agency said it pulled network servers and websites (including for the Texas Supreme Court) offline, a preventative measure OCA said would remain in place until the situation is resolved. OCA further said that it was able to identify the breach and “limit its impact,” and that the incident is being investigated in coordination with the Texas Department of Information Resources and law enforcement. The agency will not be paying a ransom. It’s not clear what information, if any, was potentially exposed in the breach. The agency did not respond to a request for more information about the ransom demand or any potentially compromised data. Citing the nature of the probe, OCA said in a press release that it “will not comment further until additional information is available for public release.” OCA was clear, though, that many of the services used by entities within the Texas Judicial Branch remain functional and were not impacted by the breach, including e-filing, shared documents, and email. The agency also said the incident was unrelated to remote hearings necessitated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  14. A hacker group going by the name of ShinyHunters claims to have breached ten companies and is currently selling their respective user databases on a dark web marketplace for illegal products. The hackers are the same group who breached last week Tokopedia, Indonesia's largest online store. Hackers initially leaked 15 million user records online, for free, but later put the company's entire database of 91 million user records on sale for $5,000. Encouraged and emboldened by the profits from the Tokopedia sale, the same group has, over the course of the current week, listed the databases of 10 more companies. This includes user databases allegedly stolen from organizations such as: Online dating app Zoosk (30 million user records) Printing service Chatbooks (15 million user records) South Korean fashion platform SocialShare (6 million user records) Food delivery service Home Chef (8 million user records) Online marketplace Minted (5 million user records) Online newspaper Chronicle of Higher Education (3 million user records) South Korean furniture magazine GGuMim (2 million user records) Health magazine Mindful (2 million user records) Indonesia online store Bhinneka (1.2 million user records) US newspaper StarTribune (1 million user records) The listed databases total for 73.2 million user records, which the hacker is selling for around $18,000, with each database sold separately. The hacker group has shared samples from some of the stolen databases, which has verified to include legitimate user records -- for the samples where user details were provided The authenticity of some of the listed databases cannot be verified at the moment; however, sources in the threat intel community such as Cyble, Nightlion Security, Under the Breach, and ZeroFOX believe ShinyHunters is a legitimate threat actor. Some believe the ShinyHunters group has ties to Gnosticplayers, a hacker group that was active last year, and who sold more than one billion user credentials on dark web marketplaces, as it operates on a nearly identical pattern.
  15. In yet further unnannounced action, global anti-piracy coalition ACE has shut down two more 'pirate' IPTV suppliers. The domains of DripTV and T.KO, which both offered illegal access to thousands of otherwise premium channels, have now been taken over by the Motion Picture Association. In years gone by, major movie and TV show companies would regularly team up under the umbrella of the Motion Picture Association of America to take action against pirate sites and services. While that’s still the case today, the MPA (as it’s now known) is now heading up the Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment, a global anti-piracy coalition featuring a who’s who of global content companies. This means that ACE members’ interests can be handled in a centralized way, tackling platforms that often infringe many of the group’s rights. ACE has taken a particular interest in ‘pirate’ IPTV providers and we can now confirm that another two have fallen after being targeted by the group’s lawyers. T.KO TV appears to have been one of the many resellers of IPTV packages flooding the Internet today. Boasting around 3,200 channels, the supplier offered subscription access to premium TV backed up by “award-winning customer service,” words that are rarely associated with anything in the piracy world. Whatever was going on at T.KO, whether that was flawless pirate streaming or scooping up awards for making pirate streamers happy, the show is now over. While the service previously sported a big fist on its Vimeo channel, the big fist of ACE has now shut the operation down. And, like so many similar operations, its domain is now owned, operated, and redirected by the MPA. It’s a very similar story for DripTV, aka Drip Hosting. Where once there were offers of thousands of channels at a bargain price, the main domain of the provider now flashes up the ACE countdown warning before diverting to its familiar anti-piracy portal. According to Whois records the domain was first registered April 9, 2019 but on April 23, 2020, just over a year later, it joined the MPA’s growing list of seized domains. There will be some who will question the effectiveness of ACE spending time taking down some of this low-hanging fruit but as the domains mount up, together they represent many thousands of former IPTV subscribers who have now lost their money or, at the very least, have to find a new supplier. If nothing else, ACE’s seizures will help to undermine confidence in the market and might also spook a few other suppliers too. With noticeably more enforcement, it seems that IPTV is getting a little messier overall and in some cases, less accessible too. With sellers disappearing to Discord channels rather than easily targeted websites, the barrier to entry is slowly being pushed a tiny bit higher every few months. ACE will hope it’s soon out of reach for the average punter.
  16. A popular YouTuber who specializes in unboxing videos, reviews and tips, has been fined by a court in Brazil for instructing people how to access TV content using pirate IPTV services. Bruno Gustavo, whose YouTube channel has more than 15.5 million views, must also hand over 10% of the revenue generated by his social media accounts to the Brazilian Pay TV Association. As of 2019, YouTube was playing host to 31 million channels, with the most popular specializing in music, entertainment and sports. A growing number also dedicate themselves to ‘how-to’ or tutorial videos, which aim to help viewers improve their skills on everything from cookery and car maintenance to more niche pastimes such as ‘life-hacks’ and lock picking. For one YouTuber in Brazil, the decision to help people obtain premium TV channels from illegal sources has now backfired. Operated by Bruno Gustavo Januário, the ‘Jorge Dejorge’ channel is packed with technology-focused videos offering reviews, unboxing videos, tips and tutorials, most of which are entirely non-problematic. However, a decision to publish advice on how to obtain TV channels via pirate IPTV services attracted the attention of ABTA, the powerful Brazilian Pay TV Association. ABTA, which represents the main cable TV and channel operators in the country, including Globosat, Sky, NBC Universal, Fox and Discovery, filed a lawsuit against Bruno Gustavo claiming that his instructional videos infringed their rights. In his response, the channel owner described himself as an “ordinary person” with a YouTube channel and denied that he’d named any of the TV operators in his videos. In any event, he argued, they were informative in nature and did not aim to instruct people on how to break the law. Nevertheless, in April 2018 a judge at a São Paulo court handed down an order that required hosting and search companies, including Google, to remove the videos in question and Bruno Gustavo was told to stop publishing such content in the future. Failure to comply would result in a fine equivalent to US$1,740 for each offense. However, according to a Globo report, the judge held back from compensating the TV companies as he believed their trademarks had not been infringed. This resulted in an appeal from both sides to the Court of Justice of São Paulo which was heard in April 2020. In its ruling, the Court found that the operator of the Jorge Dejorge channel must pay compensation to ABTA for breaching its members’ rights with his “fraudulent” videos. The Court found that the videos improperly reproduced the channels’ trademarks, infringed their copyrights, and amounted to unfair competition against ABTA’s members. The exact compensation amount is yet to be determined but the Court says that since the illegal content was first published in February 2017, 10% of any revenues earned by the channel since then must be handed over to the TV companies. “It is certain the defendant benefited [financially] during the period in which he released the videos. This is because it is common knowledge that companies such as YouTube and Facebook, as well as their advertisers, remunerate members who obtain large volumes of followers and views”, the decision obtained by Globo reads. The Jorge Dejorge operator must also pay R$50,000 (US$8,721) in compensation to the broadcasters adjusted for interest at the rate of 1% per month from the publishing of the first content in February 2017. In addition, the defendant was ordered not to publish any more content that infringes on the rights of the pay-TV stations and was told to pay the costs of the lawsuit plus attorney fees. “We hope that large digital media companies will adopt a more responsive posture in relation to the publication of illegal content on their platforms. We are all responsible for preventing and combating illicit acts and crimes practiced on the Internet,” commented ABTA president Oscar Simões. The matter is not over yet, however. Bruno Gustavo’s legal team say they will appeal to the Superior Court of Justice (Superior Tribunal de Justiça), the highest appellate court in Brazil, arguing that the judge in the first instance “made a more coherent assessment” in denying compensation to the TV companies. This isn’t the first ruling of its type in Brazil. In 2017, a court convicted the operator of the Café Tecnológico YouTube channel for publishing tutorials on how to access pay-TV channels illegally. In 2018, the appeal was denied. While this ruling is specific to Brazil, YouTube is awash with tutorials explaining how viewers can access pirate TV services all over the world. In more recent times, savvy YouTube channel operators have been more cautious in the way these videos are presented, in particular by avoiding the inclusion of live video from the channels in question. However, the inclusion of trademarks in the form of channel logos remains commonplace and could potentially provide an avenue for future legal action.
  17. Lamborghini isn't here to save the world. It's not making much in the way of electric or doing anything particularly future-focused with its latest release. It's happy to sit back and watch as other companies push engine technology forward in Formula One and other top-flight racing series; such things are expensive, and while Lamborghini piddles about in the odd GT or single-make race series here or there, this company seems to know its place. That place is on Instagram, where the Aventador and Huracan are ranked #1 and #3 on CompareTheMarket's list of the world's most instagrammed supercars. These things are interesting to you and I from a technological and extreme performance point of view, but the majority of people out there sending themselves into horrific debt to buy them care more for status, sick selfie angles and extramarital affair opportunities per monthly payment than what's going on underneath. It's about the image, baby, and while the new crop of extreme hypercars can all claim to take a steaming dump on the Huracan's performance figures in nerdy bench races, no nightclub hottie knows what an Evija is, or how to pronounce it. But they all know the word Lambo, and how to act when they see a stamping bull on a keychain. The premise behind the Huracan EVO RWD is simple: take the cheapest Lambo, the rear-wheel-drive version of the Huracan Evo, which sits a little over 200 grand, and yoink the roof off so it's even prettier. Release upon the public, let the hashtags flow like wine, profit. Its Audi-riffic 5.2-liter V10 spanks out a perfectly serviceable 610 horsepower without the aid of turbos. The convertible roof means you'll be able to sit at the lights and rev it like a baseball cap-wearing goober, and you'll get to enjoy the same raspy symphony all the eye-rolling working class around you are subjected to. The 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint will take 3.5 seconds, and the car will top out at 324 km/h (201 mph). There is a traction control system, but most of its modes are tuned to make you look like a drift god without spinning off the road entirely, so all is right with the world. The interior looks like it was colored in by a 13-year-old Transformers fan, and I don't mean that in a bad way. These cars appeal to our basest urges, and that's a-ok by me. The soft-top roof goes up and down in 17 seconds at speeds up to 50 km/h (31 mph), there's a CarPlay-enabled touch screen to play with (Lambo drivers don't mess with no poverty-pack Android) and the whole thing costs about one Subaru Forester more than the standard EVO RWD at a curiously specific US$229,428 before options and taxes. It's a drooly-hot supercar that's loud enough, fast enough and sexy enough to make anyone feel special. And the promotional video Lamborghini has put together for it ... wow. I'm not ashamed to say it gave me goosebumps. The driver flogs this thing like it's a naughty little go-kart amidst some top-shelf scenery that stirs the soul and makes me pine for the road trips I'm gonna take when this COVID thing is over. If you or I went out and tried to drive like this, we'd end up either in the bushes or in jail. That's how you make a supercar video, folks!
  18. For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website. Singapore residents are able to go outside and exercise in their neighborhood parks as a break from the government's stay-at-home recommendations during the coronavirus pandemic. Visitors to the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park may encounter the unusual sight of a bright-yellow Boston Dynamics Spot robot dog with an important message. Spot will be strolling the scenic river park during off-peak hours to broadcast a message reminding park-goers to observe proper social distancing. Singapore's National Parks Board (NParks) and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group are partnering on the trial, which is scheduled to run for two weeks. A remote operator will manage Spot, and the robot sensors will help it avoid people and obstacles in its path as it patrols. It will have an NParks human minder for company during the test period. Spot sports cameras that will be used to estimate the number of visitors at the park. "These cameras will not be able to track and/or recognize specific individuals, and no personal data will be collected," Singapore's GovTech agency said in a release on Friday. Singapore was hailed for its effective early COVID-19 response, though it later implemented stricter lockdown measures in April. Singapore is already using a Spot robot to deliver medicine and other needed items to patients at a community isolation facility. Boston Dynamics' robo-dog also went to work in Boston as a telemedicine provider safely linking medical staff with patients in need of health assessments. Spot's efforts show just a few of the creative ways robots are getting put to work to aid in the pandemic response. Robot helpers have enforced lockdown rules in Tunisia, stood in for graduating university students in Japan and staffed a smart hospital in China. If the Singapore park trial goes well, Spot may get more work during peak hours. The program could also be expanded to other locations. When an eye-catching robot dog tells you to keep your distance, it's hard not to listen.
  19. Robots today generally come in one of two varieties: rigid and soft. When most people imagine a robot, they think of the rigid variety, like Boston Dynamics’ Spot or those found on auto assembly lines. Soft robots, on the other hand, tend to mimic biological organisms enabling them to more easily adapt to their surrounding environment, work more safely in the presence of humans and now, with a novel robotic spine design developed by North Carolina State University, move faster than ever before. And it’s all thanks to the world’s fastest land animal: the cheetah. Cheetahs can average 58 mph while sprinting (though in 2012, an 11 year old cat at the Cincinnati Zoo set a record of 61mph while completing a 100 meter sprint in 5.95 seconds -- three seconds faster than Usain Bolt). This speed is due to their uniquely evolved, super flexible spines which allow them to dramatically arch their backs as they run, enabling the fast felines to take longer and faster strides than their preferred antelope prey. A 2012 study published in The Journal of Experimental Biology found that when running at a sedate 9 meters/second, the studied cheetahs made 2.4 strides per second but when moving at close to 18 meters/s, their footpace accelerated to 3.2 strides per second. The LEAP spine (Leveraging Elastic instabilities for Amplified Performance), developed by Dr. Jie Yin, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University, draws heavily on the cheetah’s natural flexibility. Normally, soft robots locomote across solid surfaces while keeping all four feet firmly on the ground. Unfortunately this severely limits their speed to around 0.8 body lengths per second. However the 7mm-long, 45g proof-of-concept LEAP softbot gallops along with no more than two of its four feet planted at a time and can cover 2.7 body lengths per second -- more than three times as far. It can conquer inclines that other soft robots cannot. It can even be used underwater to propel a robotic fish anywhere from 32 percent to 122 percent faster than other soft and hybrid robots, according to a study published Friday in the journal, Science Advances. Their quickness is due to a “bistable” spine meaning it works more like a light switch -- in one position or the other -- rather than a door hinge, which can be at rest at any angle, Yin explained to Engadget. “We can switch between these stable states rapidly by pumping air into channels that line the soft, silicone robot. Switching between the two states releases a significant amount of energy, allowing the robot to quickly exert force against the ground,” Yin said in a recent NCSU press release. “This enables the robot to gallop across the surface, meaning that its feet leave the ground.” When the LEAP’s front feet land, it’s hind feet come off the ground, arching the robot’s back up. As the back feet come down, the robot’s back arches down as well, greatly extending the stride length. This allows it to cover more ground using less energy since it only needs to overcome the friction with two of its legs at a time, rather than all four. While this pint-sized robot is impressive, what comes next could be revolutionary. The LEAP mechanism is scalable, for one thing, and Yin hopes to potentially build both bigger and smaller versions. “They can scale up to animal size, or even human body size,” Yin explained. “it can also shrink to the size down to a nano- or micro-sized robot.” We could one day see Big Dogs that gallop at the same speed as cheetahs, or have microscopic softbots crawling through our guts in search of disease. At human-scale, this mechanism could lead to active prosthetics that require little effort from their users to move. The LEAP is also capable of gripping objects with up to 10 kg of force which could lead to more lifelike prosthetic hands. Even rigid robots can benefit from the LEAP system -- potentially doubling their speed, Yin estimated. “Potential applications include search and rescue technologies, where speed is essential, and industrial manufacturing robotics,” Yin said in an NCSU statement. “For example, imagine production line robotics that are faster, but still capable of handling fragile objects.” Moving forward, Yin and his team hope to develop modules with multi-stability, meaning they have multiple stable states instead of the binary states currently used. This would allow the system to make more complicated and intricate movements. Yin also hopes to adapt the system for use with actuators other than the existing pneumatic setup, like magnets. By embedding magnets in the LEAP material, one could flex it back and forth by alternating electromagnetic fields. Unfortunately, we’re likely still years away from seeing it in wide-scale production.
  20. Triton submarines is the biggest name in deep-sea exploration submersibles, having built the extraordinary DSV Limiting Factor, a "deep-sea elevator" capable of popping down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench several times a week for extended visits. Now, the company has launched an incredible-looking tourist sub that can take 24 passengers, a pilot and a co-pilot down to 100-meter (328-ft) depths in air-conditioned comfort, providing panoramic views of the aquatic world through colossal 5.5-inch-thick (140-mm) acrylic windows. Where other subs offer restricted views, this thing is very close to a giant transparent tube, like a glass walkway through an aquarium, tall enough to stand in. The DeepView 24 is the first of a range of DeepView tourist submarines that can be specified in different lengths to accommodate between 12 and 66 passengers. Additional sections can be added six seats at a time; with the 24-seat version already 15.4 m (50.5 ft) in length and weighing 121,250 lb (55,000 kg), a 66-seater would certainly be a sight to behold and a pain in the butt to pull a u-turn in. Unlike the Deepflight Dragon 2-seater, which operates more or less like an upside-down underwater quadcopter and maintains positive buoyancy so it'll float to the surface if the power cuts out, the DeepView uses nearly 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) of variable ballast in addition to 8,820 lb (4,000 kg) of fixed main ballast to control rise and fall. Propulsion and steering are electric, and the work of two 20-kW (27-hp) main thrusters and four 12.6-kW (17-hp) Vertran thrusters. A big ol' lead-acid battery stores 240 kWh of energy; submarines are an interesting case in which energy density is more or less irrelevant since you need plenty of ballast on board, and lead-acid is significantly cheaper than lithium to boot. That battery is good for a full 14 hours of underwater tourism, with top speeds of 3 knots (3.5 mph/5.5 km/h). And if things get a little dark as you head a few hundred feet down, ten 20,000-lumen LEDs will light up the depths beautifully. The cabin looks like it means business, with screens and radios and rows of serious-looking red switches, but at the end of the day, the pilot drives the thing with a joystick and touchscreen. There are manual overrides in case of malfunction, and the whole thing is certified to International Classification Standards by DNV-GL. It's designed to float steady on the surface, where passengers can stand on a railed-in deck, and you won't have to be shaped like a submariner to get in the thing either, as it's got a "generous access hatch" suitable for "passengers with reduced mobility." Triton built this DeepView 24 for Vinpearl, a luxury hotel and resort chain in Vietnam that will start making ticketed dives in December this year off Hon Tre island in Nha Trang. Triton says it's a "quantum leap" forward from every other tourist sub built in the last 34 years – of which where have been less than 60 – and "competitively superior in all respects." To look at it, we don't doubt it. This looks like by far the comfiest and most immersive way to explore the sea floor that we've ever seen. Source: Triton Submarines
  21. During a 2017 raid on homes owned by Kristopher Dallmann, the alleged founder of the Jetflicks streaming service, FBI agents removed him from the premises at gunpoint, declined his request for a lawyer, and insisted he waived his Miranda rights. On this basis, certain evidence should be surpressed, Dallmann now argues. This version of events is hotly contested by the US Government, which insists everything was done by the book. In August 2019, eight men were indicted by a grand jury for conspiring to violate criminal copyright law by running “two of the largest” pirate streaming services in the United States. Kristopher Lee Dallmann, Darryl Julius Polo, Douglas M. Courson, Felipe Garcia, Jared Edwards Jaurequi, Peter H. Huber, Yoany Vaillant, and Luis Angel Villarino were the alleged operators of Jetflicks, an unlicensed subscription-based TV show service with a library running to an alleged 183,000 episodes. Polo, who also ran another service called iStreamitAll, pleaded guilty to copyright infringement and money laundering charges last year. Jetflicks programmer Luis Angel Villarino pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement. The case against Dallmann, the alleged founder of Jetflicks, is proving less straightforward. In a motion to suppress statements and evidence filed in April, Dallmann’s attorney describes the raids that targeted the Jetflicks founder and his husband, Jared Edwards, at neighboring properties in Las Vegas on November 16, 2017. The FBI removed Dallmann and Edwards at “gunpoint” and detained them as “agents ransacked the homes.” “At no time was Mr. Dallmann informed that he was free to leave, nor was he provided a copy of the warrants granting the FBI authority to search his home and rental property. He feared for his own safety and the safety of his husband,” the motion reads. After securing the suspects’ cell phones, an FBI agent reportedly asked Dallmann to unlock his, with an “armed SWAT officer” informing him he was not to touch the device but should write down the code for the FBI agents to use. “At this point, considering that he felt threatened and obligated to comply with the FBI, and was unsure of his rights, Mr. Dallmann asked the FBI agents if he could call a lawyer. An FBI agent told Mr. Dallmann that a lawyer was ‘unnecessary’ and would just ‘complicate’ things,” the motion continues, adding this was a violation of Dallmann’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Reportedly feeling powerless and under duress, Dallmann handed over the code. The FBI then asked to interview Dallmann and Edwards separately, apparently putting them under pressure to cooperate or face potentially severe consequences later on. According to Dallmann’s attorney, the FBI then obtained an agreement from Dallmann and Edwards to sign away their Miranda rights. Under interrogation, Dallmann reportedly felt he had no other choice than to answer the FBI’s questions and incriminate himself. This included a statement that he had been advised by counsel in 2008 on how to operate his streaming operation within the law. This document, which had been seized by the FBI during the raid, was labeled “privileged” and according to the motion was outside the scope of the warrant. As a result of the above, Dallmann’s attorney argues that all of Dallmann’s statements were rendered involuntarily as part of a “coerced custodial interrogation” and should, along with the contents of his cell phone, be suppressed. “Upon entering the house and removing Mr. Dallmann at gunpoint, Mr. Dallmann was effectively taken into custody and detained. Consequently, Mr. Dallmann’s subsequent interview was a custodial interrogation,” the motion states, adding that the “privileged” document Dallmann received from counsel in 2008 (and his discussion of it) should also be suppressed. “[Th]e agents continued the interview without the presence of an attorney and grilled Mr. Dallmann to further discuss privileged information. Mr. Dallmann felt that his compliance was not optional. As Mr. Dallmann’s right to an attorney had been denied, this disclosure should never have been made, cannot constitute a waiver of the attorney-client privilege in the document, and should be suppressed,” Dallmann’s attorney adds. But of course, there are two sides to every story and the US Government couldn’t disagree more. “The search began with a number of FBI agents approaching the front door of the residence at which Dallmann and Jaurequi [aka Edwards] lived, knocking on the door, and announcing their presence. There was no SWAT team,” the Government’s response reads. “Either Dallmann or Jaurequi answered the door. Ultimately, both men exited the house in their underwear and stood in the front yard for five to ten minutes with Special Agent Lynch, who never drew his gun or restrained them.” According to the FBI, an agent told Dallmann and Jaurequi [Edwards] that they were not under arrest, not detained, and free to leave but both chose to stay at the house and “seemed eager” to tell their side of the story. “Dallmann was not taken into custody, detained, or coerced, and his statements were plainly voluntary, and his assertions to the contrary contradict the evidence in the case and that which the government expects to adduce at any hearing,” the response notes. “The agents did not put any pressure on Dallmann or Jaurequi and they seemed very cooperative. Special Agent Shakespear described the situation as cordial. According to Special Agent Shakespear, Dallmann held his dog on his lap for part of the interview and also showed agents the chickens that he kept outside the house.” The Government denies the pair were denied their rights, noting that two blank forms with a Miranda warning were placed on a table for them to read and then sign, if they understood each Miranda right. “At the end, Special Agent Lynch asked them if they waived each right, and, if they did, to sign the forms. Both Dallmann and Jaurequi signed the forms acknowledging and waiving each of the rights and consenting to the interview.” The image below shows the document signed by Dallmann. The response then repeats previously reported information regarding the alleged creation of Jetflicks. It also covers the legal document Dallmann received in 2008 and was seized during the raid in 2017 – with his permission, according to the Government. “Dallmann then said that he paid $3,000 to an attorney for legal advice on what he could and could not do to operate Jetflicks’ streaming services. According to Dallmann, the attorney gave him three categories within which he could operate,” the response reads. “Dallmann described one category as covering the following situation: if you have content someone does not like, they will ask you to remove it; they can only sue if you do not remove it. Dallmann volunteered that the memorandum detailing the three categories would be among records seized by FBI that day. “Dallmann consented to the search and seizure of the memorandum,” it continues. “He volunteered information about the memorandum to the agents (who knew nothing about it before the search), described it in detail, said that he requested the memorandum and it was written for him, stated that agents would seize it, and even showed them where it was, namely, in a file cabinet in his home office.” In respect of the cell phone issue, the Government insists that Dallmann didn’t ask for an attorney at the time he handed over its passcode and consented to a search, and didn’t ask for an attorney before or after he provided consent. A 12-page reply from Dallmann’s attorney contests the Government’s assertions, noting that when Dallmann and Edwards spotted a line of FBI agents outside and were grabbed and forced to sit on a curb wearing nothing but their underwear, they were not free to leave. Equally so when Dallmann’s movements were restricted when back in the house, a visit that lasted 11 hours during which he never ate and his rights weren’t explained to him. “He was never explained his rights, no officer read him any Miranda warnings, and he was not given adequate time to review the document he was forced to sign. A hearing and determination of credibility are clearly necessary for the Court to make a factual determination on this issue,” the reply adds. Finally, a snippet from the interview with Dallmann published by the Government reveals that in 2008, when Netflix was still mailing DVDs to its customers, an apparently enthusiastic Dallmann approached the now-massive streaming service with his idea to stream content to its clients. “Dallmann stated that he has an email from someone at Netflix stating they weren’t interested in his streaming idea,” it reads.
  22. The Motion Picture Association is pressing on with its mission to restrict the availability of infamous streaming app Popcorn Time. In a copyright complaint filed with Github, the Hollywood group cites the Grokster decision, suggesting that the code platform could be held liable for Popcorn Time's activities. Meanwhile, Popcorn Time's operators have filed a counter-complaint. As the organization heading up the major Hollywood studios and more recently Netflix, the Motion Picture Association is continually engaged in a battle to prevent infringing content reaching the masses. The job is both massive and diverse, from filing lawsuits against allegedly-infringing sites and services to filing millions of DMCA notices to have content disappeared from search engines. Somewhere in the middle sits the latest effort to disrupt the activities of the world-famous Popcorn Time app. As the so-called ‘Netflix For Pirates’, Popcorn Time needs little introduction. Starting out as a single project, it has now spread into multiple forks, each taking a variant of the project in a slightly different direction under various development teams. At least in some cases and to a certain extent, that development takes place on Github, the code repository owned by Microsoft. Given its size, Github receives relatively few copyright complaints but when it does, they mostly target specific content that directly infringes someone’s copyrights, i.e an exact copy of someone’s code or leaked databases, for example. However, a notice just filed by the MPA takes a slightly different approach. The complaint, filed under the DMCA, is dated May 1, 2020, begins by referencing an earlier complaint filed by the MPA on March 21, 2020, of which there is no obvious record on Github’s site. In this new and amended form, the MPA requests Github’s “assistance” to deal with the “extensive copyright infringement of motion pictures and television programs that is occurring by virtue of the operation and further development of the Popcorn Time repositories…” The complaint targets two URLs, one containing a repository for the Popcorn desktop application and another concerned with its API. An exhibit, which hasn’t been published by Github, reportedly contains screenshots of “copyrighted works” (movies and TV shows) that are owned or controlled by the MPA and are “being infringed by the project.” “Exhibit A is provided as a representative sample of the infringements being committed as a result of the operation of the Project and to demonstrate the readily apparent nature of the massive infringement occurring via the Project,” the complaint reads. “The list is not intended to suggest that the identified infringements are the only ones occurring via the Project. Having been informed, through the representative examples, of the nature and scope of infringements occurring through the Project, we hope that you will act appropriately to address all infringement by the Project, not merely the identified representative examples.” This is where things start to get a little more complex. The MPA isn’t claiming that the code carried on Github is their work and in direct breach of their copyright (the MPA didn’t write the code and has no direct claim over it in that sense) but that the code as developed enables people who download software that infringes the copyrights of its members. Specifically, the MPA highlights four modules in the repositories (image below), which are designed to utilize the features of other third-party sites (including torrent platforms) thereby presenting links to infringing content in the Popcorn Time software, when it is run on a user’s machine. “[T]he attached file tilted ‘GitHub-Code’ which shows code hosted on GitHub that provides links to pirate sites, pirate APIs, and pirate torrent trackers used to access infringing copies of motion pictures and television shows that are scraped by the Popcorn Time app to provide access to the infringing content that users are looking for. “The identified files and code are preconfigured to find and provide infringing copies of our Members’ film and tv content to Popcorn Time users in violation of copyright law,” the MPA’s complaint reads. Requesting Github’s “immediate assistance” in stopping its customer’s “unauthorized activity”, the MPA then cites a specific element of the DMCA, namely 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(3)(A)(ii). This is a reference to the requirement that for a complaint to be processed, the complainant should identify the copyrighted work that has been infringed or, in the case that multiple works have been infringed, provide a “representative list of such works at that site.” This is interesting because not only does the MPA hold no copyrights in respect of the actual copyright code inside Popcorn Time, none of the movies or TV shows listed by the MPA are present in the Github repositories listed in the complaint. The MPA also asks Github to consider its repeat infringer policy in respect of Popcorn Time but then cites another area of law that can raise a sweat under the right circumstances. “Moreover, the Project in question hosts software that is distributed and used to infringe on the MPA Member Studios’ copyrights. See Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster Ltd., 545 U.S. 913, 940 n.13 (2005) (‘the distribution of a product can itself give rise to liability where evidence shows that the distributor intended and encouraged the product to be used to infringe’),” the group adds. The Grokster decision was handed down in 2005 (pdf) by the United States Supreme Court and held that Grokster and Streamcast (the maker of the Morpheus P2P software) could be sued for inducing copyright infringement. Whether Github (the distributor in this case) “intends or encourages” the use of Popcorn Time for infringing purposes could be a matter for intense debate but given that it’s now clearly on notice of what the software does and how it achieves its goals, Github has taken the decision (clearly after discussion with the MPA, given the ‘amended’ nature of the current complaint) to remove the Popcorn Time repositories in question. The MPA previously filed a similar complaint with Github over the Popcorn-like software TeaTV, which resulted in that repository being taken down. That too was actioned following discussion with the MPA, with Github seemingly having offered the movie group “guidance” on how to structure its complaint. But while TeaTV went down without a fight, Popcorn Time has already indicated a willingness to fight back. In a counter-complaint filed with Github last night, a Popcorn Time representative contests the notice on the grounds that the MPA owns none of the team’s code. “Yes, I am the content owner. All code are owned by Popcorn Time Team as you can see commits,” it reads. “[We want to] dispute the notice. The code is 100 % ours and do not contain any copyright material please check again [sic].” As a result of this counter-complaint, the Popcorn Time team has now consented to the jurisdiction of either the Federal District Court for wherever they are located (unlikely to be in the United States) or the Northern District of California where GitHub is located, should the matter escalate. For now, however, the repositories are down and it seems unlikely that Github will reinstate them, at least to their standing before the takedown.
  23. The US Government uses its diplomatic power to address piracy worldwide. One of the annual highlights is the USTR's annual review of 'notorious' pirate sites. Given the associations with criminal activity, this list should be constructed with great care. However, for the second time, the USTR made a serious mistake by listing a wrong domain name. Last week, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued its latest “Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets.” The overview of piracy-connected sites and services is put together with help from copyright holders and is used to motivate the targets and foreign authorities to take action. This year’s list has drawn widespread coverage in the news as it targeted Amazon’s foreign domain names, which were named in the same breath as The Pirate Bay, Uploaded, and Fmovies. While this certainly deserved to be highlighted, there is another issue worth pointing out. As it turns out, the USTR’s list contains a vital mistake, as it lists the wrong domain for the pirate streaming site Fmovies. This is how the most recent notorious markets report describes Fmovies: “According to right holders, Fmovies allegedly streams unauthorized movies and TV shows directly to computer desktops or through IPTV apps on illicit streaming devices. The continued listing of Fmovies in the NML demonstrates the ongoing challenges of streaming piracy.” Fmovies USTR listing 2020 inaccurate While there isn’t anything wrong with this description, the USTR calls out as the main domain. However, this domain name is not linked to the pirate streaming site, and it hasn’t been for a few years. is currently owned by UK company Marshall Domains LTD, which specializes in buying domain names. These domains are typically bought in an auction after the original owner allows them to expire, and are monetized by the company in various ways. David Marshall the owner, says that he bought the domain in 2018. Not in an auction this time, but he registered it normally as it was simply available, likely after an earlier listing was deleted. The domain name previously belonged to the ‘pirate site’ Fmovies but Marshall stays far away from anything piracy-related and simply uses an advertisement feed to monetize the type-in traffic. “Like all my domain purchases, the goal is to take advantage of the type-in traffic it still receives by parking it with a domain parking company and monetizing the traffic,” Marshall says. Marshall doesn’t believe that the listing will impact the value of his domain. In theory, however, it could have a significant impact as the “notorious” tag generally makes domains a top enforcement priority. In this case, there is little to enforce and a quick visit to the domain makes that clear. That also makes it even stranger that it ended up on the USTR’s blacklist. The US Government can technically hide behind the MPA, which reported the domain name, but then again it may be a good idea to double-check these reports before announcing them to the world. Especially because it’s not the first time this happened. In 2016 the USTR made a similar error when it added the wrong Putlocker domain to its list of notorious sites. This domain was also owned by Marshall’s company. The Government never apologized or corrected the error. Despite the repeated mistakes, Marshall is quite understanding. After all, his whole business is built around people making domain name typos and errors. “To be honest, I think it would be a very easy mistake to make on their part as some of the domains are confusingly similar,” he says. “The similarity to other domains/websites is intentional on my part as my goal is to monetise any type-in traffic that would otherwise be going to waste.” The USTR is also in good company. When the European Union published its very first blacklist of ‘Counterfeit and Piracy’ domains it also made several mistakes. These included the listing of non-pirate targets such as, again owned by Marshall Domains.
  24. The MPA, MPA-Canada, and Amazon have filed a request with Github requesting that a Kodi add-on developer's account be deleted from the platform. Citing a copyright case and a permanent injunction handed down by Canada's Federal Court, the content companies claim that the account is still being used to infringe their rights. Github has left the account intact, however. Following a massive surge in interest over the past several years, Kodi remains the platform of choice for millions of people looking to access movies and TV shows for free. In its standard form, the Kodi software is entirely legal but when augmented with third-party add-ons, it turns into a piracy powerhouse. As a result, the developers of Kodi are legally in the clear but the same cannot be said for the developers of the countless add-ons designed for the express purpose of finding, accessing, and delivering infringing content. The MPA and like-minded companies are in a constant battle to disrupt their activities, sometimes ending up in court to achieve those goals. Some of these actions are heavily publicized but others maintain a lower profile. In February 2018, a developer known online as ‘Blamo’ (aka ‘Mr. Blamo’) revealed that he, in common with several of his counterparts, had been threatened by content companies. From there the trail went cold but according to a complaint filed against Github this week, legal action in Canada followed. On September 7, 2018, a dozen companies including the studios of the MPA/MPA-Canada plus Amazon and Netflix launched a copyright infringement lawsuit at Canada’s Federal Court against an individual “doing business” as Mr. Blamo. “In the context of that action, our clients alleged that [Blamo] notably developed, hosted, promoted and distributed infringing add-ons for the Kodi media center, which provided unauthorized access to motion pictures and television content for which the copyright is owned by our clients,” the MPA writes. According to Federal Court records, Blamo did not mount any kind of defense so as a result, the matter was decided in his absence. On January 15, 2019, the Federal Court handed down a final judgment, including a declaration of infringement and a permanent injunction. “The permanent injunction enjoins and restrains [Blamo] from, inter alia, hosting, distributing or promoting infringing Kodi add-ons and their repositories, including notably the ‘Blamo’ repository and the ‘Chocolate Salty Balls’ infringing add-ons,” the MPA adds. The problem here is that, according to the MPA and associated companies, Blamo has a Github account where it is claimed he continues to “host and distribute infringing Kodi add-ons and their repository, including notably the Chocolate Salty Balls infringing add-on and the Blamo repository.” This, the MPA says, amounts to contempt of court. What’s particularly interesting here, however, is that the MPA isn’t asking for the specified URLs to be deleted. Instead, it asks for Blamo’s entire Github account to be deactivated instead. According to the studios they wrote to Blamo, most recently on December 19, 2019, to request that he “cease his infringing activities” but that correspondence apparently fell on deaf ears. “We request that GitHub, Inc. (‘GitHub’) suspend the account (the ‘Account’). The Account is used by its operator to engage in ongoing acts of copyright infringement in contravention of an Order of the Federal Court (Canada) issued on January 15, 2019, which amounts to contempt of Court by the Account’s operator,” the MPA’s complaint reads. “We therefore request that GitHub immediately suspends the Account to preserve our clients’ rights and ensure that the letter and spirit of the final Judgment of the Federal Court are respected.” As the image above shows, Github declined to delete the entire account as requested. However, it has deleted the first two URLs listed in the MPA’s complaint, URLs that contained the content specifically covered by the injunction handed down by the Federal Court in Canada. Whether that will be the end of the matter remains unclear but at least from a functional perspective, Github does appear to have acted in the ‘spirit’ of the court order.