Tech Law: Pirate Bay Assumes Ethereal Form to Dodge Raids
The site will no longer reside at a single physical location, the company said. It called the move to the cloud “getting rid of our earthly form” and “ascending into the next stage.”
The Pirate Bay, which is hounded by the entertainment industry for enabling users to download free content, constantly operates under the threat of a shutdown by authorities looking to crack down on the illegal sharing.
Going forward, though, any attack will be one on “everything and nothing,” now that its content exists in the cloud, the company said.
Moves to the cloud also can lower costs, reduce outages due to power failures or other circumstances, and make it easier to operate worldwide, making it a popular choice for companies in every industry.
The Pirate Bay did not respond to our request for further details.
The switch to the cloud is far from The Pirate Bay’s first attempt to shield itself from law-enforcement agencies. In 2006, Swedish police raided The Pirate Bay, acting under the orders of a judge based on a complaint from the Motion Picture Association of America. That led to a high-profile trial that concluded in 2009, resulting in prison sentences and more than US$3 million in fines for four defendants. Officials succeeded in shutting down the site at that time.
It eventually bounced back, but has since added protections to prevent future shutdowns. Early this year, the site started using magnet links that allow users to download from other users rather than from The Pirate Bay’s servers.
Those moves weren’t enough, however. Last March, the company revealed it had received leaked information about a second investigation. Swedish officials asked at least one hosting company, Binero, to reveal personal details about the customer who registered the site’s domain name.
Earlier this month, Stockholm police forces raided Web host PRQ, notorious for hosting file-sharing and a slew of unsavory sites, and took four of its servers. PRQ had previously hosted The Pirate Bay.
That kind of raid probably wouldn’t have been possible if The Pirate Bay had already made the move to the cloud, said Benjamin Woo, managing director of Neuralytix.
Once a site is hosted in the cloud, “no longer is its content sitting in one physical location,” Woo told TechNewsWorld. “So, it is arguable that it is impossible to physically raid a company.”
“By distributing the service across multiple public cloud sites, Pirate Bay can technically keep ahead of the legal process by spinning itself up at a new cloud provider if it gets shut down. This is the technical equivalent of a game of whack-a-mole across the cloud,” he told TechNewsWorld.
For all its advantages, cloud technology also can provide a buffer for operations like The Pirate Bay, making it more difficult for law enforcement to keep up with illegal file-sharers,Lowenstein Sandler attorney Matthew Savare told TechNewsWorld. The global scale of file-sharing sites such as The Pirate Bay, combined with the rapid advances in Internet storage technology, make chasing these sites a tough gig.
“The rogue sites dissolve and reconstitute themselves continuously, like a virus,” Savare said. “Unfortunately, there is no cure — only things we can do to slow them down.
Successful people, not just “lazy stoners”, want pot laws to change. That’s the message of new website Marijuana Majority, which displays over 600 influencers including Peter Thiel, Sean Parker, Paul Bucheit, and Dustin Moskovitz who’ve supported marijuana law reform through donations or quotes. Now it wants Twitter’ers to persuade pot-favoring politicians, celebs, and technologists to stand up.
Marijuana Majority’s goal is to debunk the myth that drug law reform is a fringe issue backed only by addicts and the counterculture. In fact, it’s a mainstream movement with advocates amongst the highest levels of government, business, and entertainment. A Gallup poll from last year said 50% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, up from 46% the year before.
That means there’s nothing stopping politicians from pivoting after the decades-long drug war has failed. The project’s founder and chairman Tom Angell tells me “anyone that understands that the laws are broken and should be fixed shouldn’t be afraid to say so.”
So Marijuana Majority’s site is designed to make it clear who supports pot law reform so others feel comfortable coming forward. Any of the influencers it lists can be clicked to reveal how they’ve supported the movement. It shows political initiatives they’ve funded, things they’ve said, and icons that denote if they advocate for legalization, decriminalization, medicinal marijuana, or ending the drug war.
When I asked why it was important to get tech leaders on board, Angell told me “They’re influential, particularly to younger, web-connected people. A lot of them aren’t shy about getting involved in policy debates and supporting organizations and initiatives that they agree with.”
Here’s a list of tech leaders on Marijuana Majority and their specific contributions to the cause:
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group – Said California could bring in over $1 billion in revenue that could aid communities by taxing and regulating marijuana.
Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, creator of Founders Fund – Donated $70,000 to the Yes on Proposition 19 Campaign, the 2010 California Initiative to Legalize Marijuana.
Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and Airtime, first president of Facebook – Donated $100,000 to the Yes on Proposition 19 Campaign.
Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing – Said he doesn’t take mood-altering substances, but believes “everything that we call ‘drugs’…should be legalized and brought into the light of day”.
Dustin Moskovitz – co-founder of Facebook and Asana – Said a California initiative to legalize marijuana could stabilize national security, aid the economy, and reduce prison overcrowding from jailing non-violent offenders.
Paul Bucheit – Creator of Gmail and FriendFeed – Said marijuana prohibition is an attack on our right to control our bodies and minds, as well as a multi-billion subsidy to organized crime.
Along with the faces of influencers who’ve publicly advocated for marijuana law reform publicly, the site lists figures like Mark Cuban, Bill Nye, Rainn Wilson, and Kanye West who’ve alluded to their support. Angell tells me “Rihanna often tweets about how she loves marijuana but hasn’t said anything publicly about the policy.”
So the site asks visitors to “get out the quote” by tweeting pre-written messages like “Hey @rihanna should US #LegalizeMarijuana & stop locking up so many people? http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=724 via @JoinTheMajority”. Supporters can also donate to the project or share memes seen here from The Marijuana Majority Facebook Page.
Next, the team may look to share its social tools with other movements like the push for marriage equality. That means whatever the issue, Marijuana Majority could fight the stigma attached to voicing controversial opinions. As it says at the bottom of each page, “Bad laws change when good people speak up.”
THE threat of unemployment since the recession has led to a decline in men’s mental health, a study suggests.
The authors, who wanted to examine whether the recession had an impact on levels of anxiety and depression, analysed data concerning 107,000 people taken from the annual Health Survey for England for adults aged 25 to 64, between 1991 and 2010.
Their findings, published in the online journal BMJ Open, show that rates of poor mental health were highest between 1991 and 1993, when the UK was in recession, after which they fell steadily until 2004.
The rates then started to gradually rise until 2008, at which point they rose sharply.
In 2008, when the downturn began, the prevalence of people suffering from anxiety and depression was 13.7%, but the figure rose to 16.4% in 2009 and fell to 15.5% in 2010.
Men appeared to be worst affected. The rate of poor mental health in men rose from 11.3% in 2008 to 16.6% in 2009. In women, the rate only increased by 0.2%, to 16.2%.
The authors concluded: “The finding that mental health across the general population has deteriorated following the recession’s onset, and (that) this association does not appear to be limited to those out of employment nor those whose household income has declined, has important implications.
“Previous research has highlighted the importance of job insecurity, rather than solely employment status, as potentially resulting in adverse effects on mental health.
“One potential explanation for our results would be that job insecurity during the current recession is responsible for the deterioration in mental health, with men’s psychological health remaining more affected by economic fluctuations despite greater female labour market participation.”
Justine Schneider, professor of mental health and social care at the University of Nottingham, said: “It’s long been recognised that the impact on mental health of job insecurity is worse than that of joblessness, these recent analyses confirm that the threat of unemployment is in itself harmful.
“When people lose their jobs they react in different ways; some people thrive and this offsets the average impact. Young people however are particularly badly affected by unemployment, which seems to reduce their self-esteem and increase the risk of depression.”
Dr Amy Chandler, research fellow at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This new analysis provides further support to theories that suggest that men – more than women – might be affected negatively by unstable job markets and rising prices.
“An interesting addition to current knowledge is the authors’ finding that this decline in mental health was also apparent among men who were employed, whereas previously much has been made of the association between unemployment and poor mental health among men.
“This suggests that there should be acknowledgement that recession can impact negatively upon men in general, whether in employment or not.”
– Ella Pickover
OK, it looked guilty of making a silly gesture behind the back of an officer filming the crime scene.
And later its exasperated expression did seem to make a female officer laugh without due care and attention.
But as the crestfallen creature was handcuffed and dragged away to a waiting panda car by four officers, it� looked in a rather bad way. But one thing’s for sure – the costumed campaigner had certainly made its point.
The activists cordoned off scores of Shell forecourts and used emergency shut-off switches to stop fuel from getting to the pumps. They claimed they had ‘closed down’ 71 petrol stations – well on the way to its target of 100 – but Shell later said it was 30. A total of 25 arrests were also made in London and Edinburgh, where the bear had its collar felt.
The incident occurred at a Shell petrol station on Dalry Road, Edinburgh, Scotland (Picture: Scott Taylor Universal News And Sport)
A Shell spokesman said: ‘We recognise that certain organisations are opposed to our exploration programme off Alaska. We also respect the right of individuals and organisations to engage in a free and frank exchange of views about our operations.
‘Recognising the right of individuals to express their point of view, we only ask they do so with their safety and the safety of others in mind.
‘Shell has met with numerous organisations who oppose drilling offshore Alaska.
‘We respect their views and value the dialogue. We have extended this same offer for productive dialogue to Greenpeace.’
A Save The Arctic campaign was last week launched by Greenpeace which calls for the creation of a sanctuary to save endangered animals such as the polar bear.
The charity fears that any oil exploration in the area will threaten the ‘fragile and beautiful Arctic’.
It also claims that future oil spills would be ‘catastrophic’ for the region and creatures that live there.
The Amsterdam District Court said the company should expect public protest about controversial business practices.
But it also gave Greenpeace a list of guidelines to ensure protests were “proportionate”.
Shell had sought a fine of 1.1m euros ($1.2m) for a breach of the ban.
But the Amsterdam court ruling said: “The judge took as a starting point that organisations such as Greenpeace are, in principle, free to carry out actions to let the public know about their point of view.”
“Future Greenpeace actions against Shell cannot be banned in advance provided that they remain in a certain framework,” the ruling added.
The framework included, for example, a time limit for protesters to occupy petrol stations.
The environmental campaigning group has organised several protests against Shell’s exploratory drilling in the Arctic.
In a recent protest on 14 September the group used bicycle locks to shut down pumps at more than 60 filling stations across the Netherlands.
“The mere fact that such an action causes nuisance or loss for the business targeted by the action – in this case Shell – does not makes such an action illegal,” the court said.
Greenpeace, which fears the company’s search for oil in the Arctic will devastate the environment, welcomed the verdict.
“The judge rejected the majority of this injunction and has reminded the company that civil disobedience is a right in democracies, even when its business is impacted,” Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement.
Shell too said it was satisfied with the verdict.
“We are pleased that Greenpeace actions such as those of September 14 are now bound by strict conditions,” company spokesman Lukas Burgering said.