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July 26, 2016

The War On File Sharing is the New War On Drugs

“It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.” — Aaron Swartz

Federal authorities recently arrested the owner of the website Kickass Torrents, Artem Vaulin. KAT, as it was commonly known, had, following the end of the Pirate Bay and subsequent jailing of its owners in Sweden, become one of the world’s most visited websites and certainly the go-to place for torrents. As the reader is probably aware, there’s no good way to limit the content of a [...]

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January 19, 2016

Popcorn Time Is Still Going Strong despite Netflix’s Global Expansion

Movie- and TV shows-streaming platform Popcorn Time is still being used as a go-to viewing resource for users around the world.

An MPAA-led takedown ensured that headlines were made of the demise of PopcornTime and its streaming resource YTS. YIFY, the group behind YTS was declared to be shut down permanently. An unnamed individual in a quiet suburb in New Zealand was revealed to be the mastermind behind the movie-release operation. All of the above occurred during the final months of 2015.

At the time, the takedowns were heralded as a comprehensive blow to piracy and illegal streaming.

2016 saw Netflix expand globally to a 130 new countries, adding the internet [...]

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December 8, 2015

Encryption, “Dark Spaces” Demonized on Both Sides of the Aisle

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.

The above quote is attributed to Daniel Webster, a Senator who fought off some of the earliest attacks on American civil liberties by early would-be tyrants. His idea applies today more than ever, as attempted autocrats decry the inability to know every private thought of the citizenry and seek to deprive Americans of the liberties so many have died [...]

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December 7, 2015

Hillary Clinton Wants Silicon Valley to “Disrupt” ISIS

Arguments against strong encryption will break down on a long enough timeline. If not for the simple reason that strong encryption protects everyone and weakening it will inevitably make us all less safe, then the fact that interfering encryption research in the west won’t stop malevolent actors from further developing the open source encryption tools permanently available to them by law. For many of these tools are open source, not merely made available at the whim of their creators, and this means their code is immutably available, for better or worse.

However, the tools we refer to here are not the ones that everyday people, and, if the governments have it right, [...]

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