Anonymous Takes Revenge After the Megaupload Takedown: DoJ, RIAA, MPAA, US Copyright and UM are All Offline

In an Anonymous documentary, a quote that was read by one of the members said: “Do you want to see what Anonymous is really capable of, try to shut down the message, try to censor the internet, then you’ll know what Anonymous is all about.” And guess who tried to shut down that message? The US Government shut down Megaupload earlier today and arrested all the executive officers.

Anonymous decided that it was time to call revenge and an Anonymous-Affiliated Twitter account sent out the classic line that they always use when they take down a website – Tango Down. Anonymous has been sitting in the sidelines for a couple of weeks, but they’re back up and they took a lot of major websites down with their awakening.

The RIAA is Down, this was one of the first ones to go down, the Universal Music Group fell off the cliff shortly after, followed by the MPAA.org and even the US Copyright Office joined them in the dark abyss.

DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com reported that all the departments are officially nuked. This was a very bad time for the government to take down one of the largest File sharing sites in the world.

January 18th, the internet went on Strike, anonymous and 7 million online users filed petitions to stop SOPA and PIPA. Taking down Megaupload only proved one thing to the internets public, the Government doesn’t need SOPA in order to take down websites…  And anonymous just proved to the government one thing – “You don’t want to piss off all of us at one time”

Richard O’Dwyer Loses US Extradition Battle Over Copyright Infringement

I’m sure you know who Richard O’Dwyer is by now, if not here is a quick summary so you can understand why this case is so full of crap:

Richard is a computer student from the UK, when he was a teenager; he opened TVShack, a website that had links to other sites. These sites had copyright material, videos, movies, etc. The website was hosted on UK servers, and it did not break and UK laws – meaning it was completely legal… in UK. The US got a drift of the website and since it’s a crime in the US they filed extradition charges against the 23 year old so he can be tried under American Laws and Rules. Here are the main things, Richard has never been to the US, his website is not hosted on a US server and is not even hosted on a US domain hosting service… which means the US needs to stay out of it… but it couldn’t resist.

On Friday, a judge ruled on that Richard, the 23-year-old student, can be extradited to the United States for running his website posting links to pirated TV shows and films. He faces a potential 10-year term in a US jail despite never having been to America or using web servers based in the country.

I can guarantee you that anonymous, reddit, and every other “sane” online user is not going to agree with this – especially if they are seeking a 10 year prison sentence.

kurtwinter – a reddit user said: I just can’t understand how 10 years for posting some TV videos is any where near justice. What’s attempted murder? 2-5 years? Copyright should never work this way – civil penalties only, and only under very strict circumstances.

And I agree with him, this is in the same grounds of SOPA and PIPA. He honestly did not do anything wrong: he posted links to sites that were doing illegal things online but how many other services do this same thing?

Richards lawyers argued that his website did not directly host any files, which meant, according to the student’s lawyers, that it acted as little more than a Google-type search engine and did not breach copyright laws. Which makes sense – how many videos and illegal software download links does Google link back to each day?

Last year, the UK tried to prosecute a similar site, TV-Links, but the case was thrown out because the website is not illegal in UK laws.

So what makes this case any different?

The only reason he’s being extradited is because the US used the contentious extradition treaty between Britain and the US, which critics allege is greatly biased against UK nationals fighting their removal to America.  Richard’s mother felt “disgusted” by the verdict, she said: “Look at how many people we send over there, and how few come here. If they can come for Richard, they can come for anyone.”

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency stated that TVShack’s only connection to the US was the website address ending in .com. Such suffixes are routed through Verisign, an internet infrastructure company based in Virginia, which the agency believes is sufficient to seek a US prosecution. If they succeed in extraditing him – they are going to start  actively pursuing websites similar to TVShack if they have the .com or .net prefixes. Had Richard used .co.uk he would of been in the clear.

Just to put this case into perspective

Imagine you have a blog, and you post a picture of a woman’s face on the blog. Then out of nowhere, The Israel Government finds your blog and says “this is illegal in our country, extradite him” and the U.S. Government instead of protecting you since you did nothing wrong in the USA hands you over just so they can be in good standing with Israel.

Ultimately that’s what’s happening here. The US is the popular guy in school that everyone wants to hang out with, once you’re friends you have to do everything you can to stay friends with them – even if this means throwing out your friends into the fire pit. [Guardian]

SOPA Supporters And the US House of Representatives are all Online Pirates

The video posted above talks about all the people that are supporting SOPA and how they are contradicting their stories from the past. Most of the supporters that are trying to pass SOPA, were at some point or another running their own “illegal download sites” to make money from the traffic. These companies are trying to hide their past as best as possible, but it’s going to be a long while before internet users forget what happened.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is that there people that are breaking the very law they are trying to pass. TorrentFreak continues to crawl through YouHaveDownloaded, a database of IPs that have been logged by a BitTorrent-spying tool run by some folks in Russia to find important IP addresses. These are the people that detected illegal downloads from the RIAA and DHS, but now they are releasing statistics of the US House of Representatives.

It turns out that the House of Representatives likes to download things from BitTorrent sites, according to the YHD database. These are the same people that are trying to pass SOPA, to Stop Online Piracy downloads.

Something that immediately caught our eye are the self-help books that are downloaded in the House. “Crucial Conversations- Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High,” for example, may indeed be of interest to the political elite in the United States. And “How to Answer Hard Interview Questions And Everything Else You Need to Know to Get the Job You Want” may be helpful for those who aspire to higher positions.

Books tend to be popular in the House because we found quite a few more, including “Do Not Open – An Encyclopedia of the World’s Best-Kept Secrets” and “How Things Work Encyclopedia”. But of course the people at the heart of democracy are also downloading familiar content such as Windows 7, popular TV-shows and movies.

And there was another category we ran into more than we would have wanted too. It appears that aside from self-help books, House employees are also into adult themed self-help videos. We’ll list one of the least explicit here below, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.


No wonder SOPA is so poorly written, if that’s what they’re watching while they’re writing the laws. If you check out some of the other documents, you’ll quickly realize that these guys need some help with more than just their viewing habits. Everything from – how to answer difficult questions – to  how to speak in front of people. Most of the files are illegal downloads, their SOPA law is supposed to stop this from happening but I guess the government has the believe of – Do as I say, not as I do.

Windows 8 Picture Password Sign In

Windows 8 will be implementing a Picture Password

If you know anything about security, this only smells like trouble. The user selects a personal picture. After a personal picture is selected the user must implement a series of gestures. These gestures are tap, line, and circle.

In my opinion, this is a horrible idea that Microsoft’s Engineers came up with. I sense this will only cause chaos for the user, and a headache for Network Administrators.

A large part of workplace user calls are because they have locked themselves out.

What do you think? Good Idea from Microsoft’s Engineers, or a headache in waiting?

The initial Beta release of Window’s 8 is set for February. The launch is expected late of 2012.

What We Need to Hear and Interesting Stuff About Sound

Everyday we have to deal with thousands of different sounds, every single area of our lives has some sort of beep or crack coming through our hearing canal. When you wake up, it’s usually because of a loud noise coming from your alarm, or police sirens going off outside, or even your fire alarm during testing days.  Natural noises are not that bad for us, but man made noises can be a real pain. The loudest man made noise is that of an atomic bomb, which is one step ahead of a volcanic eruption. The loudest sound was probably that of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.

The infographic below talks about sound barriers, noises, natural frequencies, and even devices that stop sound. It has a lot of information on the graph, but this is it’s downfall, you’ll have to click the image to enlarge it because of  small the letters are. I found it interesting that at 60% volume you can listen an ipod for about 8 hours safely, but at 100% volume, you can listen to it for about a minute before you risk damaging your hearing drums. Overall, fantastic graph… to small for the content.

Click the image to enlarge
Noise what you need to hear
Via: FIXR.COM Contractors for Soundproofing

What Channels Influence the Social Consumer?

Most consumers now days rely on the web when they’re in the market to find something new, but where exactly are they looking?

According to this great graphic by M Booth and Beyond, it really depends on what they’re looking to buy. In other words, the products dictate which web sources consumers will choose to get their information from. If you take a closer look at the info-graphic below, you’ll get a better idea of where everyone is looking for new products, and trust me…some of the data will really surprise you.

For example:
– Out of the 12 popular products researched, Foursquare has the largest influence on cookware products.
– Similarly, Facebook has the biggest influence on baby products.
– 66% of consumers researching beauty products, click on an online ad.

Check out the full graphic below to learn more:

A Great Idea for What to Do With the Pennies Left on Your Giftcards

Gift cards are an amazing last minute gift for when you need to get someone something on the fly. Were all too familiar with gift cards by now, but have you ever wonder how stores make money from the gift card sales?

Here is how they work:

When you purchase a $50 card, the store gives you a $50 credit towards the purchase of anything on the store. When your special someone gets the card, they then go back to the store and buy something with the gift card. This “something” is not going to be worth $50 even, sometimes it’s worth $47 with tax or much less. The remaining $3 is so insignificant that we really don’t care to keep the card anymore, so we either throw it away or never use it again until the card expires. These $3 extra dollars that you didn’t spend is profit for the store because someone already gave them $50 but sold $47 in return.

These cards are found everywhere, Grocery stores, malls, electronic stores, Kinkos, subway Trains, even library cards – I’m sure you are familiar with the experience of being left with 20 cents on a card. I personally never use them again, or throw them away. In any case, there is still money stored in the cards that could go to good use. Three enterprising graduate students at NYU’s Interactive Communications Program want to drain every last penny from the cards and put them to good use.

They’ve put together a prototype for a system they call the Metro Change, this system currently only works for the NYC metro system cards, but this is the early building frame of something that could be very helpful.

The small kiosk on the video has a card reader on the top of panel, once you slide the card it asks you if you want to donate the remainder of the card’s value, you then press a button to agree and the funds are given to a charity, you can then throw the card into the recycling box so it can be sent to recycling plants. This is a great idea until someone hacks the box and transfers the money to Bob’s fund my keg party foundation.

The Republican Party is Afraid the Iowa Caucus Might Get Hacked by Anonymous

The Republican Party is afraid that anonymous hackers are going to be targeting the Iowa caucus polling system. The Iowa caucus, is perhaps one of the most influential state appearances for a presidential candidate because it’s always been the first step to get nominated.

The GOP believes has reason to believe that Anonymous is going to change the results and ruin the republican’s chance of winning the state… I wonder why?

The video above was allegedly posted by Anonymous, it calls for all of their supporters to “peacefully” shut down the Iowa caucus. If you know anything about previous attacks, “peacefully,” means hacking into computers or sitting out in front of buildings. The reason they are doing this is because of how corrupt the political system is in the US. The GOP thinks that the Iowa caucus is going to be corrupted by hackers, they will modify the votes, crash the website, and cause them to lose.

According to the AP, in response to the video, the GOP is going to increase their security, they believe that by boosting security of the electronic systems, they will make sure that no one tampers with their computers. The party is not talking about what strategy they are going to use because they think that the hackers will try to go around their security. “they want to surprise the hackers” when they try to take the site down.