A new message posted on Pastebin and attributed to the hacking group Anonymous promises to shut down the entire internet on March 31. The group says that it will target the 13 root DNS servers that make up the bulk of the servers that give URL names to most of the Internet.
As to why they would want to do this, they say the following:
Remember when European Union trade chief Karel De Gucht said that Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in February? Well it turns out that the infamous treaty will not go to the highest court in Europe after all. According to a report from TorrentFreak, the road to the EJC has been blocked in the European Parliament.
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has deflected criticism that the government's ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will lead to internet service providers being forced to play the role of copyright police, among other criticisms about the treaty. The agency claims that ACTA wouldn't require changes to Australian law as it is today.
Congressman Darrel Issa (R-CA) issued a press release this morning waging a full frontal assault on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), saying that he was opening up the treaty to the public because it was negotiated in secret. He describes ACTA as "worse than SOPA and PIPA," and shows great disdain for it because it was negotiated without the input of "the American people and Congress."
Internet advocacy group Public Knowledge has launched a new web site called The Internet Blueprint. The goal of this new hub is to develop bills that will strengthen internet laws and ultimately make the internet a better place. The site is the group's response to lawmakers in Washington who asked Public Knowledge for input on how to improve the Internet.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is trying to extend an olive branch to the tech industry after taking a beating publicly over PIPA and SOPA. MPAA President Chris Dodd told an audience on Wednesday that Hollywood is "pro-technology and pro-Internet," but warned that the fight over piracy was far from over.
Of all the objections to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that we have heard, the United Kingdom's Pirate Party might have come out with the most outrageous one yet: "ACTA Will Kill People." But is it really all that outrageous when you consider how it would affect generic drugs? We'll let you decide.
Europe's Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has asked the European Court of Justice to sift through the particulars of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and ensure that it is compatible with fundamental rights under current European Union laws. The international treaty to combat counterfeit goods and piracy is now officially on hold until the highest court in the land makes its determinations.
The European Parliament has issued a press release entitled "What You Should Know About ACTA," detailing what ACTA is, who among the EU's member states has signed it and what has to happen for it to either be accepted or rejected.
The hacktivist group Anonymous continues to assault government websites in protest of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The group has reportedly hacked several U.S. government web sites including business.ftc.gov, consumer.gov, and the National Consumer Protection Week official site (ncpw.gov). According to VentureBeat the group compromised the websites and then posted anti-ACTA statements and a PSA video.
Below is the statement they posted on the sites:
Readers of this story on Politico probably won't believe that it was simply a messaging problem that killed the controversial SOPA and PIPA bills earlier this year. We were there and we know that it was millions of people who lobbied lawmakers in droves until they cried "uncle."
According to that report, Hollywood is "rewriting the script" on these laws, with plans to reintroduce them in a better light to the American public at a time as-of-yet undetermined.
Yesterday we learned that Bulgaria refused to ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and today we learn that the Dutch Parliament has concluded that it contains human rights violations. A majority of the Parliament have decided that the Netherlands will not ratify ACTA and will only change that position if some proof is presented that it doesn't violate basic human rights.
Professors Douwe Korff and Ian Brown examined ACTA’s compatibility with human rights and came to the following conclusion:
Like flies drowning in a summer cooler left to thaw in the August heat, countries that once considered the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) a grand idea worth supporting are walking away from it. The latest country to step back from ACTA is Bulgaria, according to Forbes. Recently, Germany said that it would hold off on ratifying the "executive agreement" signed by our president.
Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, has criticized the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on German television, saying of the treaty that he does not "find it good in its current form." Schulz's comments came on the heels of protests throughout various countries in Europe - including Germany, Poland and the UK. Schulz went on to say that there is no balance between copyright protection and the individual rights of internet users, noting that it "is only very inadequately anchored in this agreement".
Germany has announced that it will not ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) after its justice ministry voiced concerns about the international agreement. This does not mean that Germany won't eventually sign it - it simply means it has no plans to sign it "right now." A foreign ministry spokesperson told the AFP that the delay was to "give us time to carry out further discussions." Further details on what those discussions would be about were not disclosed at the time of this writing.
SaveTheInternet points out some interesting information dug up by Media Matters about where a lot of big media money has gone and why some lawmakers pushed so hard for the passage of SOPA and PIPA. While their analysis can't show that the money was directly related to PIPA and SOPA, it certainly shows the level of influence money has in Washington.
David Martin, a British MEP from the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) party, has been asked to draw up the European Parliament's opinion on ACTA, after French Socialist MEP Kader Arif quit the position in protest of the lack of transparency related to ACTA's progress in the European Union Parliament.
"I want the Parliament to have a facts-based discussion and not a debate around myths," Martin said in a statement. "That is why I want to have an open debate with all concerned.”
ACTA protests around Europe have caused various European Union governments to suspend the endorsement of the anti-copyright infringement treaty. EU members Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have all announced that they will delay ratifying the treaty. We've already mentioned the protests in Poland (where even members of Poland's government got involved by donning Guy Fawkes masks in parliament) and the Czech Republic's opposition, but we haven't talked about what the Slovakian government thinks of ACTA.
The Czech Personal Data Protection Office (UOOU) has written on its official web site that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is "unbalanced with regard to the existing legal guarantees of individuals´ rights."
In addition, Czechoslovakian Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) announced on Monday that the Czech Republic would suspend ratification of the treaty to further analyze its impact on the country's citizens.
Romania's Prime Minister has resigned after three weeks of protests related to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and anti-austerity measures. While the ACTA protests probably didn't help, most believe the protests related to serious cuts in government jobs and pay, as well as tax hikes were the final nail in the coffin for the PM. Romania, which is the second poorest country in the European Union, is facing a debt crisis similar to that of Greece. And like Greece, Romania appealed to the International Monetary Fund to avoid an economic collapse.
We have talked about the Anti-Counterfeit Trading Agreement (ACTA), but not everyone knows what is in the treaty or how it could ultimately affect the average Internet user. Some confusion on ACTA has been facilitated by people's fear of it, protests, and the way the treaty was negotiated in secret. Luckily there are two articles that can help the average user understand just what ACTA contains.
Malta's Labour Party spokesman Michael Farrugia has told Malta Today that the Anti-Counterfeit Trading Agreement (ACTA) is too vague and, as a result, could do damage to generic pharmaceutical companies in Malta and Europe and infringe on Internet freedoms. He also complains about how the treaty was negotiated in a secretive and exclusive manner.
Malta's Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) party joins the European Greens in their call to discard the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The European Greens recently commissioned a study to see how ACTA squared with the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (ECHR).
While some politicians in Poland believe that signing the ACTA treaty was a smart idea - even in the midst of actual protesting in the streets (some put the number of protesters at 20,000 people), some have sided with the public. The picture to your left - found on TechDirt - shows that some politicians in the country have some sense. Today a whole gaggle of politicians donned famed Guy Fawkes masks in the Parliament to protest the vote.
Electric Playground recently caught up with Hal Halpin, President and founder of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), to talk about the online battle to stop the passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Halpin talks about how the online protest last week slowed down the momentum of both SOPA and PIPA, and why these bills aren't quite dead yet.
Check out the video to your left.
[Full Disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]
Joel Kelsey, a top political adviser for Free Press, has written an editorial urging U.S. lawmakers who have taken money from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to give it back. Writing over at SaveTheInternet.com, Kelsey makes this request in light of recent comments from MPAA president Chris Dodd made to Fox News. In case you don't remember: