In the first day of the Silk Road trial, prosecutors called to the stand the Homeland Security agent who infiltrated and eventually toppled Silk Road’s network. The agent explained the surprisingly low-tech fashion in which they identified the defendant, Ross Ulbricht. According to court testimony, agents physically surveilled Ulbricht open and close his laptop, and matched it to the moments Dread Pirate Roberts logged on and off of Silk Road. As the trial progresses, this could prove very interesting as the defense plans to argue that Ross Ulbricht was set up by the real Dread Pirate Roberts, CEO Mark Karpeles of the now-defunct Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox.
The youth wing of Sweden’s Pirate Party hacked attendees of a security and defense conference in the country by creating an open Wi-Fi network labelled “Open Guest.” The move was a statement about and resistance to growing calls for greater surveillance of the public. "The security establishment was in Sälen pushing for more surveillance, but then leading figures go an[sic] log on to an unsecure wi-fi network," said mastermind Gustav Nipe to Swedish newspaper The Local.
Max Mosley, former Formula 1 competitor, is suing the tech giant Google to remove photos of him in an orgy that were leaked by a newspaper in 2008. Previously, Mosley was successful in suing the paper News Group Newspapers Limited (NGN) over the accompanying article claiming the event was Nazi themed, but not for the existence of the images themselves. This is the first time the EU’s Right to be Forgotten legislation has been used to attempt to force the company to censor information, rather than just remove the links from indexing. Google is resisting, but Mosley is currently expected to win the case.
Officials in Europe, the US, and Canada are all calling for increased surveillance in the wake of the attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo. A statement by 11 EU nations calls for the cooperation of Internet providers to monitor or remove “content ‘that aims to incite hatred and terror.’” While rights groups are decrying the measure, they are seemingly drowned out by the voices of those seeking greater domestic security.
Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa was recently voted out of office after a decade of authoritarian rule. In his place, the newly elected Maithripala Sirisena has vowed to ease censorship and ensure greater freedom of the press. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe issued a statement saying reporters should feel free to say what they want without being abducted. In a show of solidarity with the journalistic community, the new regime also promised to look into the past offenses against the journalistic community.
#imweekly is a weekly round-up of news about Internet content controls and activity around the world. To read more, click here.