Week in Review: March 16, 2016

by Muira McCammon

AdBlock: Company Collaborates with Amnesty International in Daylong Campaign on Free Speech 

AdBlock, a content filtering and ad blocking extension, surprised a number of its users on Saturday. To celebrate the World Day Against Cyber Censorship, AdBlock partnered with Amnesty International to replace their normal blank placeholders with quotes from Edward Snowden, Ai Weiwei, and Pussy Riot. Reports suggest the majority of clicks on the unconventional ads came from Russia. Gabriel Cubbage, CEO of AdBlock, weighed in on the campaign: "People use AdBlock for a number of reasons but ultimately no one except you has the right to control what shows up on your screen, or who has access to the contents of your hard drive. Not the websites, not the advertisers, not the ad blockers. And not your government, either." Cubbage’s extended statement on the campaign can be found here [EN].

Anonymous: Hackers Ask Allies to Participate in a Campaign Against Donald Trump 

In a YouTube video, an affiliate of Anonymous spoke directly to Donald Trump and said, "Your inconsistent and hateful campaign has not only shocked the United States of America, you have shocked the entire planet with your appalling actions and ideas."  Anonymous asked its followers to celebrate April Fool’s Day by participating in their campaign against Donald Trump. This is not the first time that Donald Trump has been the target of cyberattacks. In December 2015, a number of Anonymous hacktivists used a distributed denial of service attack to make another website run by Donald Trump inaccessible. This time it appears that Anonymous is targeting http://www.trumpchicago.com specifically. Earlier this March, a group of individuals also hacked Trump's voicemail and shared many of his messages online.

European Union: Legal Adviser to Court Says Free Wifi Companies Are Not Liable for Users’ Copyright Infringement

An adviser to the Court of Justice of the European Union believes that public wi-fi owners should not be held liable for piracy involving unsecured hotspots.  Opinions published by advisers to the Court of Justice of the European Union are not binding but sometimes indicate what direction future rulings will take.  In his statement (PDF), Advocate General Maciej Szpunar remarked, “[T]he operator of a shop, hotel or bar who offers a Wi-Fi network free of charge to the public is not liable for copyright infringements committed by users of that network." He added, “[A]ny general obligation to make access to a Wi-Fi network secure, as a means of protecting copyright on the Internet, could be a disadvantage for society as a whole and one that could outweigh the potential benefits for rightholders." This update has received international coverage [EN], [ES] and [FR].

United States: Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Makes Sworn Statement

There are new updates in the standoff between the FBI and Apple. On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, filed a sworn statement regarding the security features of the iPhone. Federighi currently oversees the development of Apple’s iOS operating system for mobile devices as well as its OS X operating system for laptop and desktop computers. He remarked, “Apple designed the iPhone with users’ security in mind….Apple uses the same security protocols everywhere in the world.” In the same document, Federighi noted that Apple has never made user data more “technologically accessible” to the government of any particular country. Earlier this month Federighi also published an op-ed in The Washington Post .  Other updates are available here and here