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Found 2 results

  1. Forget the old case, DoJ tells Supremes, all hail CLOUD Act The US government has issued Microsoft with a new warrant to get access to emails held on the firm's Irish servers, while asking the Supreme Court to dismiss the existing legal battle. The long-running wrangle began back in 2014, when Microsoft was taken to court by American prosecutors who wanted access to suspects' emails that Microsoft had stored overseas. The Feds demanded the private messages under section 2703 of the US Stored Communications Act, but Redmond refused, saying that the search warrant couldn't extend beyond US borders. In July 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in Microsoft's favour – a decision the Department of Justice is in the process of appealing against in the Supreme Court. However, the passage of a new law, signed off last week, known as the CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act) has thrown a huge question mark over the dispute. In contrast to existing laws, the CLOUD Act specifies that authorities can demand that firms pass on data, even if it's held outside the US. And so the DoJ has filed a motion (PDF) with the Supreme Court saying that, given the passage of the CLOUD Act, the court should vacate the judgment made by the Court of Appeals and dismiss the case as moot. The DoJ's argument is that the CLOUD Act now directly governs the warrant that is at the heart of the dispute, which it said settles the dispute. The US government insisted it was still possible for Microsoft to fully comply and disclose the information in question under the existing warrant, but complained Microsoft wasn't playing ball. "Microsoft has refused to acknowledge either that the CLOUD Act applies to the Section 2703 warrant at issue in this case or that Microsoft plans to disclose the required information under the original warrant," the document stated. As such, the DoJ said it had decided "the most efficient means of acquiring the information sought is through a new warrant under the CLOUD Act" – and did so on 30 March – even though it maintains it shouldn't have had to issue one. The government is "unquestionably entitled" to the information, the filing stated, adding: "Microsoft no longer has any basis for suggesting that such a warrant is impermissibly extraterritorial because it reaches foreign-stored data, which was the sole contention in its motion to quash... There is thus no longer any live dispute between the parties, and the case is now moot." We asked Microsoft to comment, but a spokesperson said the company had "nothing to share". However, president Brad Smith has previously issued broadly supportive statements about the CLOUD Act. When it was passed last week, Smith blogged to say it was a "critical step forward in resolving an issue that has been the subject of litigation for over four years". It remains to be seen whether the new law is quite as water-tight in its ability to force firms to hand over any and all data as the government wants. Frank Jennings, cloud lawyer at Wallace LLP, said that although the CLOUD Act offers useful clarity for providers, it might not be the end of the dispute. "The CLOUD Act requires a provider to preserve, backup or disclose data even if the data is outside the USA. This clarity is useful... Cloud providers can now point to a clear obligation to comply with an up-to-date law," he said. "However, the battle is not over yet." Jennings said the next stage "will be for US providers to show that data outside the US is not in their 'possession, custody, or control' but that of someone else", possibly the customer or a third party. They could also offer data encryption as standard, with the customer holding the decryption keys, he said. "This is the 'You can have it but we don't know what it says' approach." The passage of the CLOUD Act and the access it grants to data held on EU servers – which has been condemned by campaign groups in the bloc – might also lead to other battles, he said. For instance, it may give new impetus to those seeking to challenge the transatlantic data transfer deal Privacy Shield, and it isn't yet clear what the EU's data protection agencies will make of it. "We await to see whether the new European Data Protection Board [which will come into being with the General Data Protection Regulation] will recognise this as a 'necessary and proportionate measure... to safeguard national security' or an attempt to overreach and undermine GDPR from afar," said Jennings. Source
  2. President Trump says the US is "acting swiftly on intellectual property theft", noting that the country cannot "allow this to happen as it has for many years." Coincidentally, or not, a panel in Capitol Hill yesterday discussed the streaming box threat, with the MPAA revealing that the Department of Justice is looking at "a variety of candidates" for criminal action. For the past several years most of the world has been waking up to the streaming piracy phenomenon, with pre-configured set-top boxes making inroads into millions of homes. While other countries, notably the UK, arrested many individuals while warning of a grave and looming danger, complaints from the United States remained relatively low-key. It was almost as if the stampede towards convenient yet illegal streaming had caught the MPAA and friends by surprise. In October 2017, things quickly began to change. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment sued Georgia-based Tickbox TV, a company selling “fully-loaded” Kodi boxes. In January 2018, the same anti-piracy group targeted Dragon Media, a company in the same line of business. With this growing type of piracy now firmly on the radar, momentum seems to be building. Yesterday, a panel discussion on the challenges associated with piracy from streaming media boxes took place on Capitol Hill. Hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), ‘Unboxing the Piracy Threat of Streaming Media Boxes’ went ahead with some big name speakers in attendance, not least Neil Fried, Senior Vice President, Federal Advocacy and Regulatory Affairs at the MPAA. ITIF and various industry groups tweeted many interesting comments throughout the event. Kevin Madigan from Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property told the panel that torrent-based content “is becoming obsolete” in an on-demand digital environment that’s switching to streaming-based piracy. While there’s certainly a transition taking place, 150 million worldwide torrent users would probably argue against the term “obsolete”. Nevertheless, the same terms used to describe torrent sites are now being used to describe players in the streaming field. “There’s a criminal enterprise going on here that’s stealing content and making a profit,” Fried told those in attendance. “The piracy activity out there is bad, it’s hurting a lot of economic activity & creators aren’t being compensated for their work,” he added. Tom Galvin, Executive Director at the Digital Citizens Alliance, was also on the panel. Unsurprisingly, given the organization’s focus on the supposed dangers of piracy, Galvin took the opportunity to underline that position. “If you go down the piracy road, those boxes aren’t following proper security protocols, there are many malware risks,” he said. It’s a position shared by Fried, who told the panel that “video piracy is the leading source of malware.” Similar claims were made recently on Safer Internet Day but the facts don’t seem to back up the scare stories. Still, with the “Piracy is Dangerous” strategy already out in the open, the claims aren’t really unexpected. What might also not come as a surprise is that ACE’s lawsuits against Tickbox and Dragon Media could be just a warm-up for bigger things to come. In the tweet embedded below, Fried can be seen holding a hexagonal-shaped streaming box, warning that the Department of Justice is now looking for candidates for criminal action. Neil Fried of @MPAA with one of the streaming Kodi boxes leading to big piracy problems during Capitol Hill panel talk. Says DOJ looking at ‘variety of candidates’ for criminal action. @Comm_Daily pic.twitter.com/aYIRA4wgTC — Matt Daneman (@mdaneman) March 7, 2018 What form this action will take when it arrives isn’t clear but when the DoJ hits targets on home soil, it tends to cherry-pick the most blatant of infringers in order to set an example with reasonably cut-and-dried cases. Of course, every case can be argued but with hundreds of so-called “Kodi box” sellers active all over the United States, many of them clearly breaking the law as they, in turn, invite their customers to break the law, picking a sitting duck shouldn’t be too difficult. And then, of course, we come to President Trump. Not usually that vocal on matters of intellectual property and piracy, yesterday – perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not – he suddenly delivered one of his “something is coming” tweets. The U.S. is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft. We cannot allow this to happen as it has for many years! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2018 Given Trump’s tendency to focus on problems overseas causing issues for companies back home, a comment by Kevin Madigan during the panel yesterday immediately comes to mind. “To combat piracy abroad, USTR needs to work with the creative industries to improve enforcement and target the source of pirated material,” Madigan said. Interesting times and much turmoil in the streaming world ahead, it seems. Source
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