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VPN hosting provider agrees to block access to pirated sites

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In recent months, a group of independent film companies have filed a series of lawsuits against VPN providers and their hosting companies.

Sharktech Hosting Provider settled a copyright infringement claim filed by several film companies. The companies accused the service of not taking action against VPN providers, some of whose subscribers were pirating movies. As part of the agreement, Sharktech agreed to block prominent pirate sites including Pirate Bay, YTS, and RARBG.

In recent months, a group of independent film companies have filed a series of lawsuits against VPN providers and their hosting companies. Films such as Hunter Killer and Dallas Buyers Club have accused the services of conniving at piracy.

Film companies have alerted Sharktech to this piracy activity through various copyright infringement notices that have had little impact.

“Sharktech was unable to remove the subscribers or accounts associated with these IP addresses and did not take any meaningful action in response to these notifications,” the filmmakers said in a complaint.

Sharktech said the company does not consider itself to be associated with pirates, as it provides services to VPN companies that provide services to end consumers, and the presence of pirates among the latter is extremely difficult to prove. The hosting provider likened the situation to a demand for the airline to stop providing transportation services to the postal service, since some of its customers may mail something illegal.

Negotiations to resolve the situation began last month and now the film companies and Sharktech have filed a motion to dismiss the case. Both sides agreed to a confidential settlement agreement. Sharktech was not alone in facing legal action, however. VPN.ht also settled a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by a group of independent film companies earlier this year. As part of the deal, VPN provider agreed block all BitTorrent traffic and log IP address information on their servers in the United States.

The companies have accused the VPN provider of promoting the pirated Popcorn Time app to their users, noting that VPN.ht’s IP address has been used repeatedly to distribute pirated movies. After filing the initial complaint, copyright holders increased the pressure. They received a temporary restraining order ordering PayPal to freeze the assets of Wicked Technology Limited, the operating company of VPN.ht.

In addition to blocking BitTorrent traffic, VPN.ht has also agreed to keep logs of IP addresses that are associated with their servers in the US. These logs must be kept for at least a year and must point to specific users.

Lawsuits against VPN providers began in September this year. A group of independent film companies has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Virginia (USA) against four VPN providers (Surfshark, VPN Unlimited, Zenmate and ExpressVPN), which they accused of widespread copyright infringement, writes TorrentFreak. In particular, the plaintiffs accused the providers of allowing their subscribers to circumvent the geographic restrictions of streaming services such as Netflix, including positioning the services as a means of anonymously downloading copyright-infringing content. Thus, the plaintiffs said, VPN services are liable for “direct, facilitating and indirect” copyright infringement.

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Chinese TikTok adds 5-second pauses between videos to combat addictions

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5-second warning clips will remind you to “put the phone away” or “go to bed”.

Douyin, the Chinese app “twin” of TikTok, owned by the same ByteDance company, is introducing measures to combat its own algorithms, tuned to keep users’ attention as long as possible. Now those who “stick” in the application for too long will be revived by forced pauses between clips. Reported by the South China Morning Post.

On the social network, there are five-second pauses between videos that cannot be missed. During such pauses, users will be forced to watch videos reminding them of the need to “put the phone away”, “go to bed” or that “work tomorrow”. They will appear when the user spends too much time in the application.

Previously, Douyin had already limited video viewing – then the changes affected the children’s audience. Teenagers under 14 were allowed to watch videos for a maximum of 40 minutes a day, and were also banned from entering the application from 10 pm to 6 am.

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Trump’s social network developers accused of illegal use of program code

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The Software Freedom Conservancy claims Trump Media and Technology Group copied the open source code of the decentralized social network Mastodon, created a new social network based on it.

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a not-for-profit organization that enforces the rights of open source software developers and the rules for using open licenses, accused in violation of the AGPLv3 license of the Trump social network developers Truth Social.

The Software Freedom Conservancy says that the developers of the service used the open source code of the decentralized social network Mastodon in violation of the license agreement.

Although the Mastodon code is free and free, the projects using it must comply with the terms of the Affero General Public License (or AGPLv3), among which is the mandatory availability of the project source code for all its users. Trump’s media company does not yet provide such an opportunity to TRUTH Social users and calls the social network a proprietary development.

The Software Freedom Conservancy gave Trump Media and Technology Group 30 days to improve, writes The Verge. Otherwise, the use of open source Mastodon will be prohibited for the company.

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Security

Facebook end-to-end encryption will give foreign intelligence services surveillance capabilities

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Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen criticized the company’s decision to transfer correspondence in its services to end-to-end encryption.

The introduction of end-to-end encryption in Facebook messengers could negatively affect the privacy of users and lead to increased surveillance by intelligence agencies. This opinion was expressed by a former employee of Mark Zuckerberg’s company, Frances Haugen, reports TASS.

According to her, after the launch of encryption in the Messenger application and the social network Instagram, which are owned by Facebook, the company will lose the ability to track possible “malicious operations of special services representatives.” “End-to-End Encryption Will Allow Facebook to Eliminate [от модерирования контента] and serve as an excuse for inaction, “Haugen said ahead of her October 25 speech in the British Parliament as part of discussions on online security bill.

The social network itself does not agree with this point of view. In their opinion, the introduction of end-to-end encryption in Facebook Messenger and Instagram applications, on the contrary, is aimed primarily at protecting the privacy of users and will protect them not only from foreign surveillance, but also from hackers.

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