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US film companies want to involve crypto exchanges in the fight against piracy

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The MPA is calling for changes to the US government cybersecurity regulation.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPA) is calling for changes to the US government’s cybersecurity regulation to help fight piracy more effectively. Among other things, according to the MPA, the decree should oblige IaaS providers, including hosting services, DNS server and reverse proxy operators, as well as cryptocurrency exchanges, to carefully verify the identity of foreign customers.

In January of this year, Donald Trump, then the President of the United States, signed a decree requiring American cloud companies to keep records of foreign clients to help authorities track people who commit cybercrime, including copyright infringement. The decree is intended to deny cybercriminals the ability to use IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) products in the United States by requiring such services to properly verify the identity of foreign customers.

The document was greeted with joy by groups of copyright holders (including the MPA) who constantly complain about anonymous operators of pirate sites and services using the services of American domain registrars, hosting companies, content distribution networks (CDN), proxy services, and even cryptocurrency exchanges. Therefore, when the US Department of Commerce launched a public discussion on how to implement this decree, the MPA responded immediately. According to MPA decree will help fight piracy, but only under the right conditions.

The decree already obliges online services to identify potential copyright infringers. However, as noted by the MPA, operators of pirate sites tend to use false information about themselves, so “the rules must ensure that verification of their identity provides a high degree of confidence that registered individuals are genuine.”

Among other things, IaaS providers should not just verify information when registering an account. They need to be sure that this information remains accurate as long as the customer uses their products.

According to the MPA, identity verification should be carried out not only in relation to foreign clients, but also to American ones. After all, the operators of pirate sites are not necessarily only foreigners.

The association proposed three steps to ensure efficient and correct implementation of the new requirements by IaaS providers.

First, online services must offer a tool that allows interested parties to notify them of cases of customers using fake identities. Second, they must delete accounts of customers using fake identities. The third step is aimed at the IaaS providers themselves – for failure to comply with the decree, they should be fined.

For this reason, the rules should cover a wide range of services, including web hosting, reverse proxies, CDNs, DNS servers, DDoS protection services, domain registrars, payment processors, ad networks, and cryptocurrency exchanges.

The role of hosting providers is clear, but the MPA emphasizes that cryptocurrency exchanges and DNS servers also play an important role in the piracy ecosystem. Thus, cryptocurrency has become a popular means of receiving and storing payments anonymously among pirates. In turn, DNS servers translate web addresses into corresponding IP addresses, which is a key function of the Internet, which is necessary for the operation of sites, including pirated ones.

At this point, many cryptocurrency exchanges are already using due diligence procedures, but the MPA clearly sees room for improvement. This can be tricky for DNS servers, as their clients are rarely site operators.

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Security

Instagram said it is strengthening the protection of its underage users

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The head of Instagram is due to speak at a hearing in the US Congress on December 7 and talk about the measures taken by his service to protect children.

Tuesday, December 7th, Instagram administration stated the intention to carefully select the content recommended for teens and to nudge them to other areas if they get hung up on one thing. On its blog, the service announced a few more changes that will affect teenagers.

Instagram chief Adam Mosseri is due to speak at a hearing in the US Congress on Wednesday, December 7, and talk about the measures taken by his service to protect children online.

Recently, Instagram and parent company Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) have come under fire for the potential harm to the mental health and safety of children online.

According to Mosseri, Instagram will disable the ability for users to tag or mention teenagers who are not their followers. Starting in January 2022, teenagers will have the opportunity to massively delete their content, previously set “likes” and written comments.

The service looked at control tools to limit potentially harmful or sensitive content to teens through search, hashtags, short videos (Reels) and featured pages, Mosseri said.

Instagram is also launching a Take a Break feature for users in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, which will remind users to distract themselves if the user is stuck in the app for a long time.

In March 2022, Instagram will launch its first parental control tool that will allow parents and guardians to see how much time a teen is spending on the app.

In September of this year, the Instagram administration decided to postpone the launch of the version of the application for children for now, and now the press service of the service has confirmed that the Instagram management does not intend to return to this project yet.

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Israeli authorities strengthen oversight of cyber technology exports

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The move follows a series of scandals involving Israeli spyware developer NSO Group.

Israel’s Defense Export Control Agency has decided to tighten oversight over the export of offensive cyber products. Companies buying Israeli cyber technologies will have to sign a declaration to use the products “only for the investigation and prevention of terrorist attacks and serious crimes.” Countries that violate the terms of use may be subject to sanctions, “including restricting and / or shutting down the cyber system.”

As the Associated Press reported, the decision was made just days after another NSO Group spyware scandal. US diplomats in Uganda have been targeted by a software tool developed by the NSO Group. Spyware, developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, has been used to hack iPhone smartphones by at least nine US foreign policy officials.

The NSO Group has faced a flood of international criticism over accusations that it helps governments spy on political opponents and human rights defenders. However, according to the company itself, its product is intended solely to help countries in the fight against crime and terrorism. Israel’s Defense Ministry has also drastically reduced the list of countries to which Israeli companies are allowed to sell their cyber technology. If earlier the list included 102 countries, now it has been reduced to 37. In particular, Israel’s new allies Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, in which cases of human rights violations are known, were excluded from it.

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Life360 service is suspected of selling geodata of children to third parties

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The company is one of the largest providers of confidential information on the personal data market.

Specialists of the non-profit organization The Markup spent investigation into the service Life360, which allows tracking the geolocation of children. As it turned out, the company is one of the largest providers of confidential information in the personal data market.

The Markup contacted two former employees of the so-called “data brokers” Cuebiq and X-Mode. Life360 made about $ 16 million in 2020 from selling user data to dozens of different companies, according to whistleblowers. In addition, two former Life360 employees also told the organization about the company’s additional source of income.

According to a former X-Mode employee, the raw location data from Life360 was one of the most valuable offerings on the market due to the sheer volume and accuracy of the data. A former Cuebiq employee joked that the company would not be able to carry out its marketing campaigns without the constant stream of location data from Life360.

The privacy policy of the application specifies the transfer of personal data, but the wording of the document actually allows the company to “transfer information to third parties in a form that allows you to identify the user.”

The functionality of the service allows you to prohibit the transfer of data, but this is not directly communicated to the user. This function is hidden in several sub-items of the settings, and consent to the use of information for commercial purposes is activated by default.

Whistleblowers said the company did not maintain adequate user anonymity and only removed names or home addresses prior to the sale. The rest of the information made it possible to easily identify the identity of the user. Any organization could become a buyer of data from Life360; the company did not enter into transactions only with government agencies.

The founder of the company, Chris Hulls (Chris Hulls) was unable to confirm or deny the results of the investigation.

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