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14 Illegal Things You’re Doing on the Internet

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  • Iphonejailbreak

    1. Unlocking Your Phone

    As of January, it’s illegal to unlock your phone to use across various carriers. However, jailbreaking, or the process of removing limitations on iOS to allow for certain downloads and customization, is still technically legal.

    Even when your contract with a specific carrier expires, it’s still unlawful to unlock your phone by yourself using third-party methods, under a new ruling from the Library of Congress in January. If you want to switch carriers, authorized unlocking by an authorized carrier is still legal.

    Basically, you can’t unlock your phone yourself, but you can let AT&T or Verizon do it for you legally.

  • Grooveshark

    2. (Parts of) Grooveshark

    The seemingly innocent (but always glitchy) Grooveshark has experienced numerous run-ins with the courts. The music streaming service has been sued by record labels such as EMI. Even though the service has settled some charges with certain record companies, many of Grooveshark’s tracks are still available to stream illegally.

  • Adblocker

    3. Ad Blockers

    Though they may be annoying, those pesky banner, pop-up and in-stream ads that crawl the web are (surprise!) actually paying for the content you are viewing for free. By bypassing these ads, it’s almost like not paying the fare to view the content, and in some cases, ad-blocking may be illegal. For certain sites, there’s potential for billions of dollars in losses each year, due to visitors not actually seeing advertisers’ messages.

  • Qrcumiy

    4. Making GIFs and Memes

    Believe it or not, it’s illegal to use copyrighted material without permission. Though it’s legal to parody copyrighted material in the vein of criticism, lifting copyrighted material straight from the source is illegal. However, it’s almost impossible to prosecute GIF-making (looking at you, Tumblr users) because of its wide distribution and murky original sourcing.

    Image: Imgur, bonacheeta
  • Saveimage

    5. Downloading Files and Using Without Permission

    An obvious one, it’s actually illegal to just pull any old JPG, PNG, PDF or any type of file you’d find from a simple Google search. It’s fine to view them online as is, but once you download that image of a cat you’re Googling, you have the power to distribute it to your liking, and that’s where it becomes illegal. The exemption, of course, is if you are granted specific permission from the owner of the file, or if the material has a fair use license.

  • Travel

    6. Working Remotely on a Travel Visa

    “Working remotely on a travel visa” may be as simple as checking your work email while you’re on vacation abroad. A blurry line to cross, for some countries it is illegal to work within said country but be paid by another. For example, if you’re an American citizen working remotely for an American company, getting paid by this American company and paying taxes to the United States, it may be illegal for you to work remotely in the United Kingdom on vacation without a work visa.

    Image: Flickr, One-Fat-Man
  • Wifi

    7. Connecting to Unsecured Wi-Fi networks

    Look over your shoulder the next time you hop on that Starbucks Wi-Fi from across the street. Even though the network’s there for the taking, authorized usage of Wi-Fi networks could be counted as illegal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which applies to wireless routers.

    Image: Flickr, Sean MacEntee
  • Screen-shot-2013-08-21-at-5-34-17-pm

    8. VPN and IP Address Loopholes

    Abroad and can’t stream Netflix? Screwing around with VPN to make your IP address look like you’re in America is one way to circumvent this issue. Of course, it’s not technically legal, and the urge to binge-watch TV shows doesn’t help either.

  • Hbo

    9. Sharing Subscription Passwords

    Of the millions who subscribe to HBO Go and Netflix, about one-third admit to having shared passwords before. Freeloading on these services isn’t hard, and in fact, studies have shown that password-sharing has helped bring new customers to these companies.

  • Parodyaccount

    10. Parody Accounts

    You aren’t permitted to operate parody accounts on Twitter without clearly labeling that it’s “fake.” Under its terms and conditions, Twitter does not allow its users to impersonate others. So, as obvious as it is that @Bill_Nye__Tho (which is legal because it correctly labels itself as not real!) isn’t actually @TheScienceGuy, Twitter fears some poor being out there might actually misidentify. It’s also against Twitter’s policy to squat on usernames, a precaution against bots and spam.

  • Facebook

    11. Underage Facebook Accounts

    If you read Facebook’s terms and conditions, the social network does not allow anyone under the age of 13 to register for or operate an account. Not that this is stopping many middle-schoolers.

  • Domainname

    12. Registering Trademarked Domain Names

    Think again the next time you’re looking to sit on a domain name before a company gets to it. That business could have the right to sue in the court of law, even though you got there first.

  • Paywall

    13. Bypassing Paywalls

    Though it’s as simple as a few Google proxy servers, bypassing paywalls is just another way to get content you’re supposed to pay for without actually coughing up the cash.

  • Youtube

    14. Uploading Copyrighted YouTube Content

    Probably the oldest hack in the book, uploading copyrighted material to YouTube is, you guessed it, illegal. But when there’s just too much for YouTube to handle, you’re still bound to find that ’90s Simpsons rerun somewhere in the depths of YouTube — before mods take it down, that is.

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Deniselu

By Denise Lu

We’ve all done it. One day it’s pirating an album, the next day it’s streaming movies from a sketchy site. Of course, we know all these things are illegal.

But what about the other illicit activity you’re engaging in online? Some may not be as obvious as you’d think.

Criminal activity may be as simple as installing an ad blocker or hopping on an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. Though they may seem banal, some things we do every single day are technically counted illegal in the court of law.

Even if the likelihood of getting caught is slim for some activities, practice caution in the future. Take a look at our gallery above and think twice the next time you download a random image from a Google search.

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Business

AMAZON ERROR ALLOWED ALEXA USER TO EAVESDROP ON ANOTHER HOME

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A user of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant in Germany got access to more than a thousand recordings from another user because of “a human error” by the company.

The customer had asked to listen back to recordings of his own activities made by Alexa but he was also able to access 1,700 audio files from a stranger when Amazon sent him a link, German trade publication c’t reported.

“This unfortunate case was the result of a human error and an isolated single case,” an Amazon spokesman said.

The first customer had initially got no reply when he told Amazon about the access to the other recordings, the report said. The files were then deleted from the link provided by Amazon but he had already downloaded them on to his computer, added the report from c’t, part of German tech publisher Heise.

 

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Business

CRYPTOCURRENCY INDUSTRY FACES INSURANCE HURDLE TO MAINSTREAM AMBITIONS

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Cryptocurrency exchanges and traders in Asia are struggling to insure themselves against the risk of hacks and theft, a factor they claim is deterring large fund managers from investing in a nascent market yet to be embraced by regulators.

Getting the buy-in from insurers would mark an important step in crypto industry efforts to show that it has solved the problem of storing digital assets safely following the reputational damage of a series of thefts, and allow it to attract investment from mainstream asset managers.

“Most institutionally minded crypto firms want to buy proper insurance, and in many cases, getting adequate insurance coverage is a regulatory or legal requirement,” said Henri Arslanian, PwC fintech and crypto leader for Asia.

“However, getting such coverage is almost impossible despite their best efforts.”

Many asset managers are interested in digital assets. A Greenwich Associates survey, published in September, said 72% of institutional investors who responded to the research firm believe crypto has a place in the future.

Last month, Mohamed El-Erian, Allianz’s chief economic adviser said that cryptocurrencies would gain wider acceptance as institutions began to invest in the space.

Most have held off investing so far however, citing regulatory uncertainty and a lack of faith in existing market infrastructure for storing and trading digital assets following a series of hacks, as well the plunge in prices.

The total market capitalisation of crypto currencies is currently estimated at approximately US$120bil (RM502bil) compared to over US$800bil (RM3.3tril) at its peak in January.

“Institutional investors who are interested in investing in crypto will have various requirements, including reliable custody and risk management arrangements,” said Hoi Tak Leung, a senior lawyer in Ashurst’s digital economy practice.

“Insufficient insurance coverage, particularly in a volatile industry such as crypto, will be a significant impediment to greater ‘institutionalisation’ of crypto investments.”

Regulatory uncertainty is another problem for large asset managers. While crypto currencies raise a number of concerns for regulators, including money laundering risks, few have set out clear frameworks for how cryptocurrencies should be traded, and by whom.

Insurance might allay some of the regulators’ concerns around cyber security. Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission recently said it was exploring regulating crypto exchanges, and signalled that the vast majority of the virtual assets held by a regulated exchange would need insurance cover.

Custody challenge

Keeping crypto assets secure involves storing a 64 character alphanumeric private key. If the key is lost, the assets are effectively lost too.

Assets can be stored online, in so-called hot wallets, which are convenient to trade though vulnerable to being hacked, or in ‘cold’ offline storage solutions, safe from hacks, but often inconvenient to access frequently.

Over US$800mil worth of crypto currencies were stolen in the first half of this year according to data from Autonomous NEXT, a financial research firm.

Some institutions have started working to solve this problem, and may provide fierce competition to the incumbent players.

This year, Fidelity, and a group including Japanese investment bank Nomura have launched platforms that will offer custody services for digital assets.

Despite the industry’s complaints, insurers say that they do offer cover. Risk advisor Aon, received some two dozen inquiries this year from exchanges and crypto vaults seeking insurance, according to Thomas Cain, regional director, commercial risk solutions, at Aon’s Asian financial services and professions group.

“It is not difficult to insure companies that hold large amounts of crypto assets, but given the newness of the asset class and the publicity some of the crypto breaches have received, applicants need to make an effort to distinguish themselves,” Cain said.

The industry also says it is getting closer to solving the custody problem.

“This year there have been a number of developments, and some providers have developed custody solutions suitable for institutional clients’ needs,” said Tony Gravanis, managing director investments at blockchain investment firm Kenetic Capital.

“Players at the top end of the market have also been able to get insurance,” he said.

But this is not the case for all.

One cryptocurrency broker, declining to be named because of the subject’s sensitivity, said insurers struggled to understand the new technology and its implications, and that even those who were prepared to provide insurance would only offer limited cover. “We’ve not yet found an insurer who will offer coverage of a meaningful enough size to make it worthwhile,” he said. – Reuters

 

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Tech News

CTECH’S THURSDAY ROUNDUP OF ISRAELI TECH NEWS

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WeWork strikes a delicate religious balance with Jerusalem site. Shared real estate company WeWork launched its first Jerusalem location just two weeks ago and had already managed to dodge a bullet in the form of wide-ranging protests from the city’s large community of ultra-Orthodox Jews.Read more

WeWork in Jerusalem. Photo: Eyal Marilus
WeWork in Jerusalem. Photo: Eyal Marilus
How the U.S. embassy attempts to boost Arab tech entrepreneurship in Israel. While Israeli Arabs make up roughly 21% of Israel’s population, they only hold 3% of the country’s tech jobs. Read more

Scrapped London Skyscraper set to dominate Tel Aviv skyline. A tower ditched mid-construction in London due to the economic downturn of 2008 is now being resurrected in Tel Aviv in the midst of the city’s unprecedented tech boom. Watch the video

Acquisition by Medtronic complete, Mazor delists. Medtronic paid $1.3 billion in cash for the Israeli surgical robotics company. Including Medtronic’s existing stake, the deal is valued at $1.7 billion. Read more

Israelis receive 8.5 spam calls a month, according to Truecaller. The country ranked last among the top 20 countries affected by spam calls in 2018, according to a new report released by the company. Read more

Innoviz expands globally, sets up a commercial manufacturing line in China.The Israel-based LiDAR maker has doubled its employee count in the past year and intends to recruit additional personnel for research and development, business and sales. Read more

Particle analyzer company PML sold following liquidation. The company developed electro-optical systems for monitoring and measuring fluid particle sizes and concentration.

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