Feb 27, 2013

Feb - 13 2013 | By

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ISPs (internet service providers) are poised to implement a warning system for those suspected of illegal downloading. The ISPs include 5 or 6 of the largest like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Cox Cable. "They will, to some extent, permit the monitoring of the traffic coming and going from your internet connection and will launch a complaint against you if one of the copyright stakeholders discovers their movie or intellectual property being pirated". It's called Six Strikes or the Copyright Alert System (CAS).

Paul said a third party is authorized to log into pirate sites like Pirate Bay and monitor traffic. They will look for pirated works and possibly even put up fake content to see who downloads it, though the entrapment issues may limit use of that ruse. "Normally, there's a slap-on-the-wrist fine of $35 if you keep doing it". They may also throttle your connection speed. But you can then get your privileges back after viewing an educational video — similar to driving school after getting a speeding ticket.
<There's a bit more about CAS toward the end of this page.
Articles & radio shows about the CAS…
The Copyright Alert System and Six Strikes (audio & transcript):
Related: They Might Be Pirates: Who Is Really Sharing Digital Media (audio & transcript):
Article: US Adopts 'Six Strikes' Internet Piracy Policy

Piracy Alert System Raises Concerns About Fair Use, Misidentification (audio):
More info about the copyright warnings (CAS):
Resources & FAQ (CAS):

Glenn asked for clarification about who does the monitoring.
– The copyright holders gained permission from the ISPs to have contact information of suspected violators provided. <The copyright holders will use this contact info to issue warnings to the violators, I presume>
– The jury is still out about the consequences for the violators.
– Search Google for the words: ISP piracy warnings.
– Pay attention to any warnings you receive.

Be careful about clicking links in emailed warnings — they may be phishing attacks. There's often an increase of such attacks after the news of initiatives like this Copyright Alert System (CAS). In fact, this applies to all email you get. If you get a email warning or notification from your ISP, the alternative to clicking a link is to place a phone call to your provider. Rather than clicking on links in emails, type in the known, good web address for the website in question.

On a related note, Paul again mentioned that hundreds of thousands of Yahoo mail accounts have been broken into. Be suspicious of mail from a Yahoo account even if you know its true owner, as their account may have been compromised.

Over the years, Paul had done an informal survey about what people think is the number 1 security problem. Most got it wrong. From what Paul learned, the number 1 security problem is physical theft — stolen hardware. With the recent increased popularity of flash drives, theft of media is now #1. Be careful what you backup to flash drives — account numbers, passwords and such.

Glenn noted that with their increase of quality and decrease in price, surveillance cameras in the home are a good idea.

That led Paul to talk about the recent Russian meteor and the number of videos documenting it. Due to their failing judicial system and the need to make a case in court after traffic accidents, car dashboard cameras are very popular there. Some use the camera in an Android tablet pointed out the window. The tablet's built-in GPS and clock document the exact location and time of an accident.

Paul again mentioned that he's no too happy with the Android tablet he bought recently. But, he likes the Android on a Stick, which he talked about on the last show and on 1-23-13.

Glenn said he got the Vizio Costar he talked about on last week's show. It's a Google TV device selling for $99. He's not happy with it. He tried to download an app to play content from NBC but got the message that the app was not compatible with his device. While on the air, he got a reply from Vizio saying the apps for NBC & ABC will not work on the Costar because both companies have all of the Google devices blocked. Paul thought that's because the Costar is identified as a Google TV device, not a <generic> Android device (Android is the operating system by Google as opposed to the service called Google TV). It's a branding or licensing issue.

While playing a movie from a flash drive, the Costar would only allow him to Play, Stop and Pause — no fast forward/backward. Paul said there are different movie-playing apps at Google Play and since the Costar is an Android device, he implied an alternate player might work better. Paul said Android has to support so many platforms and so many devices, not all of the apps will work all of the time on all of them.

Paul noted that for Android & iPad you can get the free Kindle app. <It's available for the desktop PC, too> You don't have to have the Kindle to read books, newspapers etc. With the app & an Amazon account you get much of the same content — even a lot of free books. The quality of the display will vary, of course, with the device on which you install the app — it may not be as good as the Kindle.

Glenn wondered if the new Kindle Fire, with its color display, is as good for reading as the regular Kindle. Paul said he's seen one only briefly and he wants to evaluate it further, but the text does look good. Because the Kindle Fire (and its HD version) is pricey, he suggested that a lower-priced tablet <using a Kindle app> may be adequate. And, he said, the Kindle is more like a reading device with Android capability rather than an Android device with reading capability.

Glenn thanked the supporters of KVMR. <To become a member, visit KVMR>

Bonnie Lee called. She wanted to know what information is stored in digital photos and how to access it.
– When you take a picture with an iPhone, there is extra info stored along with the photo called exif data.
– Part of the data is the latitude & longitude of where the picture was taken.
– You can turn off that feature on the iPhone, it's under 'Settings' — look for location services.
– Bonnie is using a regular camera so it probably doesn't store the location data, though a few high-end cameras might.
– Some websites where you upload photos, Ebay or Craigslist, may strip out that data, but check with them to be sure.
– Paul found the website exifdata.com. You can upload a photo and it will tell you what info is stored with it.
– Some software will let you examine a photo's exif data using your home computer. Glenn found Picture Information Extractor at download.com.

Paul offered a tip for those with a smartphone but who want to use a quality camera that doesn't have the exif. Take the same photo with both. The smartphone will record the time & location and the camera takes the picture you'll want to keep. You can match them up later.

When Paul wants to get reliable details on some tech story, like the Copyright Alert System, he'll do a Google search and look for results that come from PC Magazine, Cnet or Techcrunch. Google tends to list the more reliable sources near the beginning.

Continuing the discussion about Glenn's Vizio problems, Paul said he download the Google TV app for his Android device and it works fine. He pays for each video he wants to watch. Downton Abbey is $1.99 per episode, he said, but he doesn't know if you get to keep it or only watch it for a limited time.

Ross called to ask about ZRTP by Phil Zimmerman (creator of PGP). It's supposed to encrypt data between 2 computers on the internet (both have to be running ZRTP). He wondered if it can be used to circumvent the Copyright Alert System (CAS) by disguising the size of the data being sent.
– Paul said that's one of failures of cryptography — it's not straightforward to mask the size of the message. Extra (useless) data would have to be inserted between the useful data.
– Ross said that, supposedly, is what ZRTP does. In that case, Paul said, you have to be careful about exceeding the data limits (caps) imposed by your ISP. <The inserted data adds to the file size>
– Paul said the Copyright Alert System is designed to detect who you're connecting with (your peer in a peer-to-peer connection) but not look at what data is being transferred.
– Paul: "if you encrypt something you better encrypt everything". You'll draw more attention if you look like you made a special effort than if you encrypt everything by default <I think is what he meant to say>.
<General info on ZRTP; see "External links" on that page.
This place
has ZRTP apps for Android; iPhone; PC desktop (I'm not endorsing this site — buyer beware)>

There was some talk about anonymity and trust. Some highlights…
– Anonymity can come from disappearing in the crowd. By not having a phone or the internet, etc. you draw attention to yourself.
– Use your judgment about giving true information when signing up for some internet services — they're likely to let you in anyway.
– You can be more revealing in proportion to the trust you have. <Banks, utility companies, close friends>
– You don't always know how much to trust. Yes and No are not the only answers to the question of trust. Error on the side of caution.

Last updated  11:31 PM 2/27/2013