ACTA, Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is another bill which tramples all over your civil liberties. The Internet is having a hard time fighting off bills that threaten creativity, like PIPA and SOPA, but now something far worse has come to play.
In October 2007, the United States, the European Community, Switzerland, and Japan decided to branch together and negotiate a bill to tackle intellectual property and copyright infringement. Yesterday, all 21 states of the EU, including the UK, signed onto ACTA. As of October 1st 2011, 8 out of 11 countries had signed on, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.
“Although the proposed treaty’s title might suggest that the agreement deals only with counterfeit physical goods (such as medicines) what little information has been made available publicly by negotiating governments about the content of the treaty makes it clear that it will have a far broader scope and in particular will deal with new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology” -EFF
No one really knows what’s in the ACTA agreement, so it’s unnerving why so many countries have signed. They know something we don’t, keeping us out of the equation. Witnessing the recent revolt against SOPA and PIPA, they’ve done this for a reason. Methods to prepare this bill have even led Kader Arif, the European Parliament’s rapporteur for ACTA, to resign on Friday, saying he had witnessed “never-before-seen manoeuvres” by officials preparing the treaty.
“I condemn the whole process which led to the signature of this agreement: no consultation of the civil society, lack of transparency since the beginning of negotiations, repeated delays of the signature of the text without any explanation given, reject of Parliament’s recommendations as given in several resolutions of our assembly.” -Kader Arif
The EFF have also commented on the lack of transparency from officials:
“While little information has been made available by the governments negotiating ACTA a document recently leaked to the public entitled “Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement” from an unknown source gives an indication of what content industry rightsholder groups appear to be asking for – including new legal regimes to “encourage ISPs to cooperate with right holders in the removal of infringing material” criminal measures and increased border search powers. The Discussion Paper leaves open how Internet Service Providers should be encouraged to identify and remove allegedly infringing material from the Internet.” -EFF
This is a scary concept, far greater in significance than SOPA. If in the US, please contact your senators to demand more information on ACTA and sign this petition to oppose ACTA and keep the Internet free!
January 26, 2012 By: liwen
In 2010, the US Copyright Office added an exemption to the DMCA, which fully legalized rooting, jailbreaking, unlocking and whatever else you do with your smartphone that is not intended by their manufacturers. While that was certainly good for modders and hackers, of which there are plenty in our forums, exemptions only last for three years and therefore must be renewed before they expire. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is now petitioning to do exactly that.
Before you get too upset over this, it’s worth pointing out that rooting and jailbreaking will not immediately become illegal should the exemption really expire. Instead, such activities would fall in a gray area, as The Verge notes, since device manufacturers could argue that they circumvent copyright protection measures – something ASUS, for instance, cited as their reason for locking the Transformer Prime bootloader.
Still, xda-developers believes that if you bought a device, it’s yours to do whatever you want to do with it. No matter whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, or heck, even a game console. Fundamentally, it simply doesn’t make sense: Imagine if you bought a table, but find that it is too high. So, you decide to cut off the legs a bit – imagine if that was not allowed. That’s exactly what we’re doing here: We find that the software that ships on our devices is arbitrarily limited, and thus modify it to add features, remove features, and whatnot.
If you believe in this fundamental freedom too, visit the EFF to read up about what to do to prevent the exmption from expiring; you can sign the petition or, before February 10, submit a comment to the US Copyright Office.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is hard at work on the Carrier IQ issue. EFF volunteer Jered Wierzbicki reverse-engineered the Carrier IQ Profile file format from WBXML to human-readable XML. (A Profile is a set of instructions telling IQ Agent on your phone what information to collect, and when to send it back to Carrier IQ.)
He then created IQIQ–a clever title, providing a watching-the-Watchmen sort of commentary–to allow anyone to decode the Carrier IQ Profile active on their phone. The EFF hopes to create a Carrier IQ Profile database to force transparency when it comes to information collected from mobile devices.
In order to get the Profile from your phone, you need root, and you have to find it first. So open a terminal and type
adb busybox find / -iname “*.pro”
When you find a file named something like IQProfile.pro, CIQProfile.pro, or defaultprofile.pro, type
adb pull /full/path/to/profile.pro .
T-Mobile customers may have to use a second method to get their Profile, typing this in the terminal:
adb pull /data/data/com.carrieriq.tmobile/app_iq_archive/archive.img
Note the warning EFF gave us:
Please be warned that sensitive data could be in this archive.img file such as URLs, IMEI, SMS metadata, etc. EFF will always do its best to keep archive.img files confidential, but please DO NOT send them if there may be any private information on the handset you are working with.
Then, follow the instructions from EFF to submit it for the Profile database.
Please send us 1) a copy of the Profile, 2) which phone and network it was from, and 3) where on the phone’s file system you found it. You can send us this information in an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or in a git remote we can pull from.