#IMWeekly October 31, 2014

by jiou park

Hungary: Following large-scale protests, Hungary scraps proposed Internet tax

The Hungary government announced that it will abandon a proposed “Internet tax” after tens of thousands of citizens took to the streets to protest against the proposal. Since Sunday October 26th, massive protests have broken out in Hungary against a proposed Internet tax that will charge approximately 0.6 US dollars for every gigabyte of Internet traffic. The proposal has been interpreted as an attempt by the government to regulate a last source of information not controlled by the right-wing government and is allies.

USA: FCC considers “hybrid” Net Neutrality plan

The FCC is moving towards a ‘hybrid’ Net Neutrality plan, that would give the agency regulatory broader authority over Internet traffic between content providers and Internet service providers. This proposal will divide internet traffic among content providers, Internet service providers, and consumers between ‘wholesale’ transactions and ‘retail’ transactions. Under this proposal, connections between Internet service providers and content providers will be treated as utilities, which will allow the FCC to apply stricter restrictions, whereas consumer Internet service will continue to be regulated more lightly as under the current regime.

Multinational: The Intercept publishes manual for spyware sold to governments worldwide to defeat encryption

The Intercept has published a manual from an Italian software company, the Hacking Team, explaining a commercial implant software called “Remote Control System.” According to the manual, Remote Control System is a spyware that allows infecting and monitoring target devices. Suspected clients of Hacking Team include governments such as Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Oman, and potentially US institutions as well.

China: Researchers identify Chinese cyberespionage group

A coalition of cyber security companies has released a report identifying a sophisticated cyberespionage group operating out of mainland China. Dubbed “Axiom,” this group appears to be sponsored by a nation state, and focuses on spying on dissidents, industrial espionage, and intellectual property theft. However, the research group was unable to identify the location within China from which Axiom operates, or the identity of its members.

USA: FBI impersonated newspaper site to infect suspect’s computer

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has uncovered documents indicating that the FBI had created a fake Associated Press story and planted it on a fabricated Seattle Times website to infect a suspect’s computer in 2007. The spyware led to the arrest of a teenager who was suspected of making bomb threats to a local high school. Both AP and the Seattle Times have strongly condemned FBI’s actions. FBI has defended its impersonation of a news outlet as "necessary to prevent a possible act of violence."

#imweekly is a weekly round-up of news about Internet content controls and activity around the world. To read more, click here.