#CyberFLASH: How a file-sharing lawsuit against Rogers threatens your Internet privacy: Geist

201310281614240l4j1t1yodou1gmqihww4xc3fThe centrepiece of Canada’s 2012 digital copyright reforms was the legal implementation of the “notice-and-notice” system that seeks to balance the interests of copyright holders, the privacy rights of Internet users and the legal obligations of Internet service providers (ISPs).

The law makes it easy for copyright owners to send infringement notices to ISPs, who are legally required to forward the notifications to their subscribers. The personal information of subscribers is not disclosed to the copyright owner.

Despite the promise of the notice-and-notice system, it has been misused virtually from the moment it took effect, with copyright owners exploiting a loophole in the law by sending settlement demands within the notices.

The government has tried to warn recipients that they need not settle — the Office of Consumer Affairs advises that there are no obligations on a subscriber that receives a notice and that getting a notice does not necessarily mean you will be sued — yet many subscribers panic when they receive notifications and promptly pay hundreds or thousands of dollars.

While the government has been slow to implement an easy fix for the problem in the form of regulations prohibiting the inclusion of settlement demands within the notices, another issue looms on the legal horizon that could eviscerate the privacy protections associated with the system.

Earlier this year, Voltage Pictures, which previously engaged in a lengthy court battle to require Canadian ISPs to disclose the names of alleged file sharers, adopted a new legal strategy. While the company obtained an order to disclose names in the earlier case, it came with conditions and costs. Its latest approach involves filing a reverse class action lawsuit against an unknown number of alleged uploaders of five of its movies.

The Voltage filing seeks certification of the class, a declaration that each member of the class has infringed its copyright, an injunction stopping further infringement, damages and costs of the legal proceedings. Voltage, which produced such award-winning movies as The Hurt Locker and Dallas Buyers Club, names as its representative respondent an unknown uploader — John Doe — who is linked to a Rogers IP address. It admits that it does not know the names or identifies of any members of its proposed class, but seeks to group anyone in Canada who infringed its copyright.

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#CyberFLASH: How new online copyright infringement laws are affecting Canadians one year later

201310281614240l4j1t1yodou1gmqihww4xc3fAt TekSavvy Solutions Inc.’s office in the small southwestern Ontario town of Chatham, there’s a woman who comes to work each morning to help movie studios accuse the company’s customers of breaking the law. Every day, the employee has to process about 5,000 copyright infringement notices forwarded to TekSavvy by studios and other copyright holders that monitor the Internet for piracy.

She runs them through a software system, which the Internet service provider had to custom build, to ensure the text of the notice complies with the law and matches the IP address with the right customer. The software system only automates some of this task, so she still has to review each notice.

The whole process has become an expensive headache for a small company with 250,000 customers and about 500 employees, said Bram Abramson, TekSavvy’s chief legal and regulatory officer. The software system alone cost about $500,000 to set up, and the company has spent an additional $100,000 over the course of the past year to keep up with the notices.

“It’s a source of much frustration for us,” Abramson said. “It’s a whole system that had to be built. It’s not like you can buy that off the shelf.”

Accusing your customers of theft is also not great for business.

But under a law popularly known as notice-and-notice that went into effect in January 2015, ISPs such as TekSavvy are required to forward copyright infringement alerts to customers suspected of illegally downloading copyrighted material like movies, television shows and music.

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#CyberFLASH: Mississauga man first foreign hacker convicted for stealing trade secrets in the U.S.

xbox.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxWILMINGTON, DEL.—A Canadian member of a hacking ring is believed to be the first foreign hacker ever convicted of stealing trade secrets in the United States after he was sentenced in Delaware to 18 months in prison.

David Pokora of Mississauga, pleaded guilty in September 2014 to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and copyright infringement.

Prosecutors said he was part of a small group of gaming enthusiasts that called itself the Xbox Underground that gained access to a U.S. Army computer network and targeted the gaming world, including stealing information from Microsoft and others.

That information allowed the group to build its own Xbox One game system before it was released and to secure pre-release versions of video games, including “Gears of War 3” and “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.”

According to prosecutors, the group stole more than $100 million in intellectual property and other proprietary data.

Pokora, 22, pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity using a computer. Three Americans in the group have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward McAndrew told The News Journal in Delaware that Pokora’s sentence “is a message that will be heard around the world.”

The FBI says the ring stole more than $100 million in intellectual property and other proprietary data. The cyber theft included software and data related to the Xbox One gaming console and Xbox Live online gaming system, popular games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3, and proprietary software used to train military helicopter pilots.

“These were extremely sophisticated hackers. Don’t be fooled by their ages,” McAndrew told reporters earlier this year.

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#CyberFLASH: ISPs must pass along copyright notices in New Year

1297454168430_ORIGINALCanadians who download content may receive more warning notices if they are suspected of downloading copyright infringing content in the New Year.

As of January 1, 2015, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be legally required to pass along notices of any allegations of copyright infringement from copyright holders.

Previously, ISPs had the choice of whether or not to notify customers if they were suspected of copyright infringement.

“The change is just a codification of the Notice and Notice regime, that had already been put in place by Canadian ISPs, and the content industry had pretty much acquiesced too,” explains David Fewer, director, Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic. “The Notice and Notice system in Canada is kind of similar to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown system in the United States, but the major difference is that we don’t have a takedown system in Canada. You provide a notice and the ISPs’ obligation isn’t to take it down, it’s instead to past the notice on, and as long as the ISP does pass that notice along, then their can be no question of liability under the copyright act, it’s kind of a safe harbour.”

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Cybercrime Investigation Department ransomeware targets Canadians

Canadians, be advised of a new ransomeware that appears as a warning from the “Cybercrime Investigation Department”, which claims the [victim’s] PC has been blocked due to violation of Copyright and Related Rights Law and illegal use or distribution of copyrighted content, thus infringing Article 128 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

 The Cybercrime Investigation Department is in fact ransomeware and should not be taken as a legitimate warning. This cyber threat, which uses phishing techniques similar to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service virus as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) ransomeware, is designed to steal money from unaware PC vicitms.  It mostly claims that you have been illegally distributing copyrighted content, malware, etc and now you have to pay the fine through Ukash or other prepayment system. 

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Canadians misbehaving online

CANADA — Canadians are not always behaving themselves online, a new survey shows.

According to The Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact, 44% of Canadians say they have lied online, compared to 45% globally, while 20% of Canadians have online regrets, compared to 22% globally. As well, 31% of Canadians have used a fake ID online, while that rate is 33% globally.

Read the full article by the Toronto Sun dated September 8, 2010 here.

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