Posts Tagged ‘Privacy’

Are YOU on the list? – Update

Posted on Jan 28 2010 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Are YOU on the list? – Update

In one of our early opinion articles back in September 2008, we highlighted the practices of a law firm (Davenport Lyons) who were sending out a number of threatening letters to alleged illegal file sharers demanding a settlement fee of over £300 or threatening court action. The law firms antics were picked up by the consumer group Which? who responded by reporting the firm to the SRA (Solicitors Regulatory Authority).

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

Yesterday’s news reports suggest Which? has identified another law firm operating this practice. In November 2009 a ruling by the Royal Courts of Justice granted ACS the ability to demand the personal details of thousands of customers from ISPs. These customers are once again accused of illegal file sharing and once again Which? has come to their rescue. The accused customers are receiving letters demanding between £300 and £500 or face the threat of court action. Which? argues that many of those targeted have been wrongly accused (again) and as we stated in our original article (Are YOU on the list?) this could well be the case as the law firm and copyright holders are identifying the illegal file sharers using IP addresses which can be easily hijacked and spoofed.

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Anti-privacy prophet or just plain profiteering?

Posted on Jan 26 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Anti-privacy prophet or just plain profiteering?

Back in December Facebook infuriated many of its users and a number of privacy organisations when it revealed changes to its existing privacy settings which encouraged users to make as much information as possible available to the entire web and even removed the ability to make your name, gender, city and friends list private. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has now taken this privacy argument a step further claiming prophet status as he apparently foresaw a new social norm where we apparently care less for our privacy and are not concerned by the world and its dog seeing our personal information.

    Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

    Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Firstly, I don’t know about you but I still care about my privacy and I am less than happy about sharing my personal information with the entire Internet. So his foreseen privacy-liberal world is not exactly the reality he is claiming, at least not just yet.

Zuckerberg states in his interview with TechCrunch “When I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was ‘why would I want to put any information on the Internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?’

And then in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.”

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Poll: The Government’s IMP is…?

Posted on Jan 11 2010 by Gemma Dickinson | Comments Off on Poll: The Government’s IMP is…?

The UK’s mobile operators have recently united against the government’s planned IMP (Improvement and Modernisation Programme) which will require all ISPs and operators to collect and store all IP communications.

We would like to know what you think about the government’s plans and have created a poll to capture your thoughts.

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2009 – The good, the bad and the ugly!

Posted on Dec 09 2009 by Elsa Chen | Comments Off on 2009 – The good, the bad and the ugly!

As we approach the end of an eventful year I thought it would be apt to take a look back over the main industry talking points of 2009 to evaluate what happened, why we were discussing it and where we are currently at. When we have completed that let’s take a stab at predicting what we will be discussing in 2010.

Elsa Chen, General Manager

Elsa Chen, General Manager

The ‘hottest’ topic of 2009 was undoubtedly illegal file sharing

We first covered this subject back in April with an article discussing the Pirate Bay case. The four founders of the website ‘The Pirate Bay’ were found guilty in a Swedish court for assisting the illegal downloading of copyrighted material.  They were each sentenced to 1 year in jail and ordered to pay £2.4million in damages to the entertainment industry. This was the catalyst that started the raging debate between the entertainment industry, the government and ISPs which continues to this date. The entertainment industry and a number of high profile MPs, in particular Peter Mandelson, are calling for a three strikes and you’re cut-off policy. However, ISPs have continuously raised concerns regarding the accuracy of correctly identifying offenders and the fact that cutting a user off is presuming guilt before a fair trial with minimal and potentially flawed evidence.

This topic continued to be covered for several months and was once again inflamed with the release of the Digital Britain Report which actually advised against a three strikes policy, much to the annoyance of the entertainment industry.

So where are we at now?

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Knowledge is power – good or bad!

Posted on Nov 25 2009 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Knowledge is power – good or bad!

Following our earlier articles regarding the rise of social networking and its potential privacy issues and our coverage of subjects such as cyber-bullying, when we heard the results of Ofcom’s latest report it raised a number of concerns.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Last month Ofcom released a report into children’s web access and their online habits.

The report shows that 35% of 12-15 year olds and 16% of 8-11 year olds now have access to the web in their bedrooms, up 20% and 9% respectively since 2007. Worryingly 60% of 12-15 year olds and one third of 8-11 year olds use the internet mostly on their own and one in five 5-7 year olds say they use the internet without an adult in the room.

From the parents’ point of view 45% of those whose children use the Internet at home state they have filtering software and controls in place but this leaves an obvious 55% of children using the Internet unsupervised with no parental restrictions in place.

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Mandelson – New master of the digital economy?

Posted on Nov 23 2009 by Darren Farnden | 2 Comments

Last month (here) we discussed Mandelson’s announcement at the ‘C&binet Conference’ regarding the tackling of illegal file sharers and his continued proposal of a three strikes system. These proposals have now progressed further with the release of the Digital Economy Bill.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The bill covers a number of issues but the key features affecting ISPs and broadband users are as follows:

  1. 1. ISPs will be forced to provide written warnings to alleged illegal file sharers when alerted to do so by the copyright holders. Additionally, ISPs will be required to record how many warnings the accused customers have received and feed this back to the rights holders.
  2. 2.The Secretary of State (currently Mandelson) will be given new powers to update the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act in order to react to changes in technology more quickly. The powers will be exercised by statutory instrument rather than primary legislation which means although the proposals will need to be debated in the Houses of Parliament and will be subject to public consultation the MPs and Lords cannot block them.
  3. The Register: Filesharing laws to hit websites and newsgroups too
  4. 3. The use of orphan networks will be allowed where the rights holder cannot be found or identified.
  5. 4. The government will be given the power to reform and restructure Nominet, the body responsible for domain names in the UK. This follows recent board resignations.
  6. The Register: Mandelson to get Nominet reform powers
  7. 5. Ofcom will be assigned new duties to promote investment in the UK communications infrastructure and will be required to assess this every two years.

Alongside other ISPs, Entanet has voiced concerns over this policy for some time now but it appears that Mandelson has finally got his way – although the bill has not actually made it into law yet. Once the Digital Economy Bill is on the statute books ISPs will be forced to send written warnings to alleged copyright infringers at the request of the copyright holder. As expected the suspected users will be identified by the copyright holders using IP addresses from BitTorrent. The ISPs will then be required to record the number of warnings each suspected user receives and supply this information to the copyright holders. If the copyright holder wants further information on a particular persistent offender they will require a court order.

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Mandelson’s mindless meddling infuriates Internet industry

Posted on Oct 29 2009 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Mandelson’s mindless meddling infuriates Internet industry

Once again Lord Mandelson has sparked anger amongst ISPs by announcing that the controversial three strikes policy for tackling illegal file sharing will be adopted in the UK by April 2010, despite ongoing criticism from the Internet industry.

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

Speaking at the ‘C&binet Conference‘, Mandelson announced that if the amount of illegal downloading had not dropped by 70% come April 2011 following the introduction of the new proposals (which include bandwidth squeezing and download caps), then further harsh measures including the disconnection of file sharers would be imposed from July 2011. Whilst the use of disconnection is expected to remain a ‘last resort’ measure, the news has once again infuriated the Internet industry.

Since the conception of these proposals Entanet has voiced its concerns and, following Mandelson’s announcement, ISP TalkTalk said that it would “continue to resist any attempts to make it impose technical measures on its customers” and has set up a campaign called “Don’t Disconnect Us” to lobby against the plans.

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Social Networking: Harmless fun or security risk?

Posted on Aug 04 2009 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Social Networking: Harmless fun or security risk?

Updated: 19th November 2009

Leading social networking website Facebook has revised its existing privacy policy, stripping out technical and legal jargon and opting for a plain English approach. The new policy is also reported to encourage the use of Facebook’s privacy and security tools. Full details can be found at:

When you receive an unrequested sales call or a suspicious email do you provide them with your personal information? No, didn’t think so. Yet we appear more than happy to publish immense amounts of personal information online. Growth in the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and LinkedIN to name but a few, has led to growing concerns that those publishing their personal information online are unaware of the potential risks.

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

Tiscali recently commissioned a report into this issue and found that, of 2,505 people surveyed, the most common personal details published online are photos (68%), date of birth (49%), email addresses (40%) and 20% have even uploaded their job details. Worryingly the report also found that almost 1/3rd (30%) make their social networking profile public, whilst 13% were unaware of the difference between public and private profiles and an alarming 5% published their home address.

So why should we be worried by these stats? Well, information such as your full name, date of birth and address can easily be used by fraudsters to set up loans and credit cards in your name plus, by gathering detailed information about you, they can use this to try to persuade you that they are genuine and obtain more information from you such as your bank details. There are also more obvious security concerns over publishing things like you home address, telephone number or email address on the Internet.

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ISP – Internet Service Provider or Police?

Posted on Jun 01 2009 by Darren Farnden | 1 Comment
Tags : ,
Categories : Featured, Privacy, Security

While the protection of children from inappropriate content when they are online has been a key focus for many for some time, bullying tactics increasingly used by pupils against their teachers online is leading to claims that ISP’s should be responsible for policing Internet use.

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

The recent announcement by the UK government that it is planning to crack down on online defamation is the result of mounting pressure from teachers about the growing tendency for children to use the Internet to attack them. This is undoubtedly a serious problem. We have heard of cases where students have set up facebook sites in their teachers’ names with the sole purpose of providing a platform for defamation of character and where pupils and even parents have discussed teachers in a derogatory nature online.

Such incidences show just how easy it is now for children to start using the Internet as a way of abusing teachers. A recent survey suggests as many as one in ten teachers have fallen victim to cyberbullying.

This of course is not just a problem in education – it is a massive issue in business as well. There have been many documented cases of email bullying and libellous statements being made via emails and IM. With the use of ‘social’ networking sites such as twitter also growing in business the prospect of individuals spreading inaccurate or malicious material about their competitors is very real.

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Will the IWF make the Internet Safer?

Posted on May 08 2009 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Will the IWF make the Internet Safer?
Tags : ,
Categories : Featured, Privacy, Security

Many see the Internet Watch Foundation’s (IWF) block list as an important step in the fight against child exploitation online. The IWF block list is an extensive list of websites that contravene UK law many of which contain inappropriate images of children. The block list has been utilised by 95% of UK ISPs as a method of censoring offensive content from end users. The remaining 5% of UK ISPs are facing increasing pressure from the government and several charities to implement the list. So why haven’t they?

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

The remaining 5% is made up of primarily ISPs with smaller budgets. The high cost of the technology used to filter the offensive content therefore provides them with a moral dilemma. In addition their decision is complicated by concerns over the accuracy of the IWF list. Late last year a Wikipedia page was blocked due to an inappropriate image used on an album cover. This resulted in several users’ access to innocent Wikipedia pages being blocked.

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