internet

BT and TalkTalk lose file-sharing appeal

BT and TalkTalk have lost an appeal over controversial measures to tackle copyright infringement online.

The internet service providers (ISPs) had argued the UK’s Digital Economy Act was incompatible with EU law.

The Act will mean ISPs will have to send warning letters to alleged illegal file downloaders, as well as potentially cutting users off.

The creative industry argues that piracy costs £400m a year in lost revenue.

The firms’ lawyers said the stricter measures could result in an invasion of privacy and run up disproportionate costs for both ISPs and consumers.

In a statement, TalkTalk said it was now “considering our options”.

“We’re disappointed that our appeal was unsuccessful though we welcome the additional legal clarity that has been provided for all parties,” the company said.

“Though we have lost this appeal we will continue fighting to defend our customers’ rights against this ill-judged legislation.”

‘Stop fighting’

The decision was welcomed by copyright advocates.

Christine Payne, general secretary of the Actors’ union Equity, called on the ISPs to “stop fighting and start obeying the law”.

“Once again the court is on the side of the almost two million workers in the creative industries whose livelihoods are put at risk because creative content is stolen on a daily basis,” she said.

Adam Rendle, a copyright specialist at international law firm Taylor Wessing, said he expected BT and TalkTalk to now appeal to the Supreme Court.

He added that it was also likely the companies would step up lobbying efforts, perhaps harnessing support from groups recently protesting against the US Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and the EU’s proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta).

“We know how keen internet users are to protect what they see as freedom of speech,” Mr Rendle told the BBC.

“When the Digital Economy Act itself was passed in the dying stages of the Labour government, there was a huge amount of disquiet that this kind of important legislation was being introduced without proper scrutiny.

“That kind of disquiet didn’t result in the kind of action we’ve seen against Acta and Sopa. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a lot more public outcry than there was when the Act was first passed.”

Via: BBC News

Trendnet IP webcam security vulnerability found

Feeds from thousands of Trendnet home security cameras have been breached, allowing any web user to access live footage without needing a password.

Internet addresses which link to the video streams have been posted to a variety of popular messageboard sites.

Users have expressed concern after finding they could view children’s bedrooms among other locations.

Trendnet says it is in the process of releasing firmware updates to correct a coding error introduced in April 2010.

It said it had emailed customers who had registered affected devices to alert them to the problem.

However, a spokesman told the BBC that “roughly 5%” of purchasers had registered their cameras and it had not yet issued a formal media release despite being aware of the problem for more than three weeks.

“We first became aware of this on 12 January,” said Zak Wood, Trendnet’s director of global marketing.

“As of this week we have identified 26 [vulnerable] models. Seven of the models – the firmware has been tested and released.

“We anticipate to have all of the revised firmware available this week. We are scrambling to discover how the code was introduced and at this point it seems like a coding oversight.”

Mr Wood added that the California-based firm estimated that “fewer than one thousand units” might be open to this threat in the UK, but could not immediately provide an exact global tally beyond saying that it was “most likely less than 50,000”.

Feed links

An internet blog first publicised the vulnerability on 10 January.

The author discovered that after setting-up one of the cameras with a password its video stream became accessible to anyone who typed in the correct net address.

Trendnet says it is in the process of releasing firmware updates for its devices

In each case this consisted of the user’s IP addresse followed by an identical sequence of 15 characters.

The writer then showed how the Shodan search engine – which specialises in finding online devices – could be used to discover cameras vulnerable to the flaw.

“Last I ran this there was something like 350 vulnerable devices that were available,” the author wrote at the time.

However, it appears that others then took advantage of the technique to expose other links and uploaded them to the net.

Within two days a list of 679 web addresses had been posted to one site, and others followed – in some cases listing the alleged Google Maps locations associated with each camera.

Messages on one forum included: “someone caught a guy in denmark (traced to ip) getting naked in the bathroom.” Another said: “I think this guy is doing situps.”

One user wrote “Baby Spotted,” causing another to comment “I feel like a pedophile watching this”.

Some screenshots have also been uploaded.

Warning users

At the time of writing Trendnet’s home page and its press release section made no mention of the problem.

However, its downloads page does list a number of “critical” updates with a brief release note saying that the code offers “improved security”.

The firm – whose slogan is “networks that people trust” – said that it had halted shipments of affected products to retailers and that any delivery received since the start of this month should be safe. However, it said that items delivered at an earlier date might need a firmware update.

“We are just getting to that point to be able to succinctly convey more information to the public who would be concerned,” added Mr Wood.

“We are planning an official release of information to the public concerning this, but in advance I can tell you that this week we are targeting to have firmware to all affected models.”

Via: BBC News