Archive for ‘Cybercrime’

May 29, 2011

Twitter forced by California court to hand over personal details and tweets of politician accused of libel by British group

[Jonas Surrey, Legal Affairs Contributor]


MailOnline: The social networking site, Twitter, which has more than 175 million users, has been forced by a California court to give up the personal information tweets of a British politician, Ahmed Khan, after a British local authority started an international court case complaining of libel perpetrated by the politician.  The judgment by the California court has started off a huge row in the USA concerning privacy and freedom of speech.

The local authority, South Tyneside Council, is reported to have spent more than £100,000 on the case which intends to bring to justice the author of a blog who goes by the name of Mr. Monkey, which is believed to be the blog of Mr. Khan.

Mr. Khan has refuted the allegations and is reported to be angry with Twitter for having disclosed his details. MailOnline reports him as saying: “This is Orwellian. It is like something out of 1984..if  a council can take this kind of action against one of its own councillors simply because they don’t like what I say, what hope is there for freedom of speech or privacy…I was never even told they were taking this case to court in California. The first I heard was when Twitter contacted me…I had just 14 days to defend the case and I was expected to fly 6,000 miles to hire my own lawyer – all at my expense”.

May 25, 2011

G8 Nations warned by powerful action groups – no Internet censorship, or else

[Kuzu Ahmed, Internet Freedom Contributor] Large Internet information services companies, digital players and Internet activists are warning G8 countries meeting in Paris this week, that if politicians continue to attempt to limit internet access and censor information sharing on the Internet, those restrictions will become increasingly irrelevant as they will be deliberately circumvented.

Recent times have seen increasing resistance from the large Internet information services companies like Google and Twitter as well as Internet activists who together have poured cold water on politicians’ censorships on the Internet, which they claim are in contravention of the human right of freedom of expression.

The message was discussed among the leaders of the Group of Eight  – eight of the world’s most influential countries – which began a meeting in France on Thursday to discuss the impact of the Arab uprising which seem to have been enabled by the Internet.

According to Jean-Francois Julliard of Reporters Without Borders “G-8 governments should say very clearly for once that Internet access is a fundamental human right.”  He says that more than 60 countries have Internet restrictions in activity and many are following suit.

Additionally,  Tony Wang, the general manager of the social networking site Twitter, said that Internet censorship is self-defeating and commented that:  “the response to bad speech should be more speech.”

Read more…

May 9, 2011

Twitter and other social media sites legally bound to obey UK superinjunctions

[Jenny Lang, Law & Courts Contributor]

Regarding the widespread confusion about the enforceability of UK ‘superinjunctions’, iTOD contributor, Jenny Lang, seeks to bring light on the subject.

For those of you who don’t know this, ‘superinjunctions’ refer to privacy orders given by a UK court whereby it becomes a contempt of court (punishable by imprisonment and fine) for the specified private details, about a person to be published, or for it to be revealed that they had sought the injunctions.

Contrary to confusing information abounding about the worldwide enforceability of the injunctions, the reality is that in fact, they can bind the whole world. They are not cheap – in the UK, they cost around £120,000 to achieve.  However, in other jurisdictions, eg., Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Australia, the cost may be considerably less expensive, but just as effective as it is possible to get the injunctions in any jurisdiction where this is not prohibited by the awarding country’s constitution, or similar laws. In particular,  courts of record (eg., High Court) in common law countries have an inherent right to grant these injunctions.  The USA, however, is an exception as the First Amendment of its constitution specifically prohibits the right to privacy of individuals.

What this means that worldwide publishers, be they Internet based, or not, will not be able to ignore the injunctions as most countries, like the USA, reciprocate judgment recognitions and enforcements under reciprocity protocols. As such for an Internet hosting site, or search engine to ignore a court order would be perilous. That is why Twitter was bound to ‘redact’ the list of published names of the ‘superinjuncted’ recently and Wikipedia in a similar situation recently, had done the same.

May 9, 2011

Privacy superinjunctions on Twitter

[Paul Jensen, LLB Courts and Law Contributor]

MailOnline reports that British newspapers are up in arms over the increasing prevalence of UK ‘superinjuctions’ and are delighted that it seems that Twitter has apparently flouted these privacy court orders by allowing one of its users to set up an account called ‘superinjunctions’ whereby the names of the British celebrities taking out the measures were named.

However, the media’s delight may well be short-lived, as today I searched Twitter and came up with the account and the list of names, but found that Twitter had moderated the list, so that the names were no longer available to be seen.

For those of you who don’t know this, ‘superinjunctions’ refer to privacy orders given by a UK court whereby it becomes a contempt of court (punishable by imprisonment and fine) for the specified private details about a person to be published. The injunctions can bind the whole world and generally cost around £120,000 to achieve in the UK.  However, in other jurisdictions, eg., Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Australia, the cost may be considerably less expensive, but just as effective.

Effectively, it is possible to get the injunctions in any jurisdiction where this is not prohibited by the country’s constitution, or similar laws. In particular,  courts of record (eg., High Court) in common law countries have an inherent right to grant these injunctions.  The USA, however, is an exception as the First Amendment of its constitution specifically prohibits the right to privacy of individuals. This glaring omission has created a raging monsters of ‘blogplainting’ whereby dissing can be done via multitude of complaint boards quickly and effectively upon anyone, by anyone no matter whether the complaints, or published materials are true or false.

The sad news for the British media is that it will be difficult for USA-based publishers, be they Internet based, or not, to circumvent the UK courts’ privacy orders as a result of the USA courts’ reciprocity of judgments recognition protocols which provide for USA courts to respect and enforce orders from any jurisdiction that has reciprocity of judgment recognition with the USA.  Hence Twitter’s quick action to ‘redact’ the list of published names.  Similarly, a few weeks ago, Wikipedia faced with a similar problem, removed the offending postings.

May 4, 2011

Americans to get Internet ID cards

By Tollat Kulie, Internet Security Contributor
Engadget: The USA in planning to give each American a unique Internet ID in a major plan to combat cyberterrorism and to make life easier for the regulatory agencies policing the current ‘wild west’ of Internet life.
The Obama administration expects the scheme to generally make Internet security better for millions of Americans and to, coincidentally, take away the need for users to memorise login details, passwords, etc, for online use.  The measure is being drafted as the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which is expected to be in project stage at the Department of Commerce shortly.
It is proposed that the new unique Internet ID system will be optional for all citizens, but many are saying that it looks like another ID card scheme. Time will tell.
May 1, 2011

‘Game over’ for 77 million users of Sony’s PlayStation Network as hacker makes off with their personal details Sony’s PlayStation Network, now down for a week, is a major embarrassment for the media giant which admitted last week that a hacker (‘unauthorised person’) has made off with personal data on 77 million of the network’s users.

According to Sony, the ‘unauthorised entry’ accessed user’s personal information (which includes addresses, users’ names, passwords and login details, email addresses, etc.) kept on the PlayStation Network and the Qriocity online music and video service. User’s credit card and purchase data may also have been stolen.

[Jerry Maines, PlayStation Network Contributor]

Hackers Are Selling 2.2 Million Stolen Credit Cards From The PlayStation Network (SNE) (
Sony PlayStation Network’s 77 Millions Users Information Stolen. (
PlayStation Network And Qriocity Services Questions And Answers (
“Sony Admits Security Breach In PlayStation Network, Qriocity Services” and related posts (
PlayStation Network Hacked – How to Protect Your Personal Security (
Sony says hacked PlayStation Network credit card data was encrypted (
Your PlayStation Network Info May Have Been Stolen (
Sony Admits Security Breach In PlayStation Network, Qriocity Services (
Sony PlayStation Network security breach exposes millions of accounts (
PlayStation Network: hackers claim to have 2.2m credit cards (

April 28, 2011

Wikipedia in trouble as it defies UK High Court privacy injunctions

[James Trou, Wikipedia News Contributor]

MailOnline: Wikipedia has published details of four UK celebrities hiding their private details which include sex scandals although they had been protected by UK privacy ‘super injunctions‘.

Wikipedia are said to be embarrassed over the exposures and are reportedly ‘scrambling’ to remove the postings made by users. It has since pledged to lock the profile pages to prevent such occurrences.

Even though the site is based in the USA, a UK privacy injunction as an order of a UK court can be enforced in any US court under judgment recognition protocols between the US and UK, so if the postings continue, Wiki is likely to end up in hot water with the UK legal system which would involve criminal proceedings.

Although the postings have been removed, their details are still appearing on the site’s history pages.  Wikipedia, has over 400 million readers.

The privacy orders include:-

  • THE FOOTBALLER: a UK married footballer who had a sexual escapade lasting over 6 months with Big Brother‘s Imogen Thomas.
  • THE ACTOR: a famous actor who had a raunchy affair with Helen Wood, the same prostitute that  the celebrity sportsman, Wayne Rooney enjoyed recently;
  • TV STAR I: a married celebrity who has been shown in photos in intimate situations with a woman;
  • TV STAR II: a celebrity who is preventing his ex-wife from saying that she slept with him after he remarried.
April 26, 2011

Sony ‘bewares of the power’ of hackers of its Play Stations

[Katherina Boreva, Sony News  Contributor]

MailOnline: Sony admits that its Play Stations’ networks have been hacked after its investigation into a major outage last week which had affected more than 70 million gamers worldwide who use the Play Station‘s network to game with friends online, shop and watch movies.

Sony has since apologised to users.

Patrick Seybold, Sony’s senior director of corporate communications and social media said: ‘An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services… we are doing all we can to resolve this situation quickly, and we once again thank you for your patience.’

Members of the hackers group Anonymous who are rumoured to have been behind the hack have said that they did not do it.

April 14, 2011

Article review: Cyberterrorism and you – how Internet reputation repair consultants are raking it in from your online misery

[Dr. Edward Lestrade, CyberCrime Contributor]

Professor Ann Bartow is a law professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law. In May this year she will be joining Pace Law School Faculty as a Law Professor.

International Times of Dominica CyberCrime Contributor, Sarah Blum, reviews her article, ‘Internet Defamation as a Profit Center: The Monetization of Online Harassment’ which was published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Vol. 32, No.2, 2009.

The article, although written primarily from a feminist perspective,  provides an insightful and seminal view of the increasing problem of cyberbullying and online harassment which has now reached epidemic proportions in the USA in particular and how this has provided for the birth of a brand new business form  – Internet reputation repair consulting.

The article, investigates the problem of cyberbullying/ online defamation, or harassment and particularly its effect on women due to the misery it causes to them. It explains that  in face to face harassment situations in a public place, or at work, a person can look to the police, or other state protection agencies (eg., Equal Opportunity Commission) for assistance. But when, harassment, be it sexual, or otherwise, takes place on the Internet, the level of protection that is available in face to face situations, simply is not there especially if the attackers are anonymous, as is often the case.

Professor Bartow explains that this lack of protection from cyberterrorism, or online harassment, is mainly due to the glaring loopholes in US privacy and harassment protection laws courtesy of the protective First Amendment protections and freedom of information laws in the US. As a result, victims of internet harassment and bullying are left to fend for themselves and are increasingly finding themselves at the mercy of entrepreneurs in the guise of ‘reputation repair’ consultants.

The ‘repair management’ companies tend to offer services to assist the victims to manage the information available on them on the Internet, not by erasing it (although some claim to be able to do so), but in practically all cases, by suppressing it – pushing it lower down the page ranks of the popular search engines.  Professor Bartow observes that generally the harder the abusers try to reduce the abundance of negative commentary on the Internet, the worse the problem appears to get. This appears to particularly in the case of women.

The Launch of the Internet ‘ProtectionBusiness

The Internet reputation protection business was effectively launched as a result of a recent spate of celebrity-type incidents of cyber sexual harassment and bullying and an abundance of not-so-hi-profile others.

The businesses promise to ‘squeaky-clean’ your online image to leave you free to go about your day to day basis knowing that your Internet reputation is intact.  However, as Professor Bartow points out,  these ‘knights in shining armour’ are not such gifts as they make themselves out to be for the very reason that it is in their interest to have as many people as possible harassed on the Internet.

Furthermore, due to their skills in the art of ‘de-dissing’, they are in excellent positions to do the opposite to prospective clients to increase the size of the market.  She points out that these companies also have little incentive to support changes in the law that would restrict the cyber terror of victims and enable them to seek the assistance of the courts without too much problems.

April 13, 2011

British courts ‘gagging’ orders enable worldwide privacy protection

[James Carter, Privacy Law Contributor]

Telegraph: Whilst in the USA, blog culture has made the Internet into a dangerous and ‘wild west’ zone where via complaint boards such as Ripoff, Complaints Board and Autosubmit anyone can be dissed with impunity under the US Freedom of Expression laws, the UK‘s courts recognition of the individual’s right to privacy is a shining light in the misery of those whose privacy has been mercilessly invaded by predators and opportunists.

For those of you who don’t know, the svelte British ‘gagging order‘ is an order from a British court prohibiting the publication of anything about the person to whom it relates irrespective of whether the information published is true or false. Along these lines, the Telegraph reports that an actor (we cannot tell you who he/ she is!) was recently awarded a High Court injunction prohibiting a woman and someone else from saying anything to a newspaper about the actor. As such, from the date of the order, should anyone breach its terms, they can be imprisoned for contempt of court.

But, there is more. The British ‘super injunction’ can even stop newspapers or others mentioning that a ‘gagging order’ had been obtained. On the other hand, a ‘hyper-injunction’ prevents the dissemination of rumours, or their discussion concerning the person to which it has been awarded.

This wonderful British invention may prove to be one if its most valuable exports as celebrities and others wherever they may be (and especially if they are in the USA, where their privacy can be literally blogged to death) wishing to protect themselves from ‘reputation repair/ protection’ bandits on the Internet. That is because, sadly, the US constitution does not cater for the privacy of persons. Whereas in contract, the UK High court as a court of record may interpret the law as it sees fit and subject to common law rules. Again, the British constitution is unwritten which means that it can be liberally interpreted by  all and sundry.

Therefore, in practice (as is already happening) celebrity ‘A’ in the USA may apply to a British court for a ‘gagging’ order which could be made ‘world-wide’. Once it is achieved, anyone breaching the order, wherever they may be will be in ‘contempt of court’ and subject to the full force of the criminal justice system, which will include arrest and imprisonment.