Malayasian Government Blocks The Pirate Bay, MegaUpload And Other File Sharing Websites

According to a leaked confidential memo, the Malaysian government is ordering the ISPs in the country to block many file sharing websites including The Pirate Bay and MegaUpload. The decision to block the websites is taken by the Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (SKMM) the arm of the Malaysian government which supervises the telecom and multimedia industry in Malaysia.

According to memo sent by the SKMM to the Malaysian ISPs, file sharing websites are in violation of Section 41 of the Copyright Act of 1987. The SKMM is, therefore, ordering the ISPs to block access to those websites under Section 263 (1) and 263 (2) of the Communication and Multimedia Act of 1998.

This is what Section 263 (1) and Section 263 (2) of the Communication and Multimedia Act says:

 

(1) A licensee shall use his best endeavour to prevent the network facilities that he owns or provides or the network service, applications service or content applications service that he provides from being used in, or in relation to, the commission of any offence under any law of Malaysia.

 

(2) A licensee shall, upon written request by the Commission or any other authority,assist the Commission or other authority as far as reasonably necessary in preventing the commission or attempted commission of an offence under any written law of Malaysia or otherwise in enforcing the laws of Malaysia, including, but not limited to, the protection of the public revenue and preservation of national security.

The websites that the SKMM wants to block are:

  • www.warez-bb.org
  • thepiratebay.org
  • www.movie2k.to
  • www.megavideo.com
  • www.putlocker.com
  • www.depositfiles.com
  • www.duckload.com
  • www.fileserve.com
  • www.megaupload.com

The decision by the Malaysian government to block these websites will come as a surprise to many. In April, Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, promised that his government will never censor the internet. This is what he said in April:

Some of their politicians are even calling a gag on the internet, or at least some form of government controls and regulations, in the name of national security. I’m not sure why other governments do it, especially if it is true that these told of the Internet can be a pain in the neck. But on behalf of my own government, I can say for certain that it is because we know that this is the way forward. We practice open democracy, and as digital democracy is concerned, it is inevitable, that it would be silly — perhaps even futile — for governments to resist or ignore.

So, what has changed between then and now? Apparently the interpretation of the word censorship. According to Section 3 of the Communication and Multimedia Act of 1998, any action that the Malaysian government takes under to the Communication and Multimedia Act of 1998 cannot be regarded as censorshipof the internet. This is what Section 3 of the Communication and Multimedia Act of 1998 says:

(3) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting the censorship of the Internet.

This means that according to this Act, censoring the internet by blocking the websites mentioned above cannot be called censorshipas the blocking is done through Section 263 (1) and Section 263(2) of the same Act.

The non-censorship stance of the SKMM and the Malaysian government has been just a facade so far. It is an open secret that various porn websites are blocked in Malaysia. The blocking of porn could be justified because pornography is illegal in Malaysia. However, the case with these file sharing websites is different. Not every file they host is illegal or in the case of The Pirate Bay, they do not even host any of those files on their servers. Many independent application developers and indie bands release their applications/albums through such channels to keep the cost of bandwidth down. As an example, the band Sick of Sarahrecently released their album “2205” through such channels.

As of now, it seems that some ISPs are yet to take action and many of these websites are still accessible. The ISPs that have implemented the block seem to have done it only at the DNS level. So, the block can be easily be undone by simply using Google DNS or OpenDNS. The IPs for Google DNS are 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 and that for OpenDNS are 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220.

You will also out Tutorial on setting up Google Public DNS on Windows very useful for setting up alternative DNS on your PC.

Here are the leaked documents:

(Click to see the full size images.)

skmm1 skmm2

 

[Source: W//W]

Reference: Malaysia Communication and Multimedia Act, 1998 (PDF)

 

India Ranks 21st Among 25 Developing Nations On The Broadband Connectivity Scorecard

The broadband internet connection scenario in India is deteriorating gradually. If you are finding hard to believe this then you do not have any other option than believing this. India ranks very poorly on the list of 25 developing nations which were the part of a new global report as compiled and published by Nokia Siemens Networks.

Here are a few noteworthy points from the report:

  • India’s broadband penetration rate, which is measured as number of subscribers per 100 households is around one eighth of the rate that has been achieved in China.
  • India does not perform well even when it comes to Mobile internet penetration and lies behind even the Latin American countries when it comes to Mobile internet.
  • India has a score of 1.25 on the Broadband Connectivity Scorecard whereas Malaysia and Chile have have got a score of 6 which almost 4 times that of India’s score.
  • The four countries which India ranks ahead of are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Kenya respectively.

Akamai Technologies, an internet company that addresses problems associated with the Internet such as performance, security and scalability has found out in a separate report that there has been a 9.1% overall decrease in internet connection speeds. By the end of 2010, almost 35 per cent of all internet connections in India metered an average speed of 256 kbps.

Image courtesy

 

India’s Internet Control Laws: As Vague As It Gets

Pssst: don’t tell anyone. Sneaking this post in before Techie Buzz gets blocked for posting articles that threaten the unity or integrity of the country, and before my free speech right is taken away because I have been blasphemous in a secular country. Yes, I will be clapped in irons because one of my posts deals grossly harmfuldamage on some entity of the Indian nation like calling him enna rascilla!and I will be put to trial for reading Wikileaks because that threatens friendly relations with foreign states. These are the kinds of clauses in the new Internet Control Laws which might soon become Internet Control Acts. You can download the original PDF of the Law here.

ICL

As MediaNama reports with righteous anger, it appears that these laws have been made specifically to curb free speech, instead of aiding and abetting free speech. It seems that in this country, free speech is a curse that must be lifted bit-by-bit by the bureaucracy in order to make life easier for them since once the Laws (especially this one) are turned to Acts, there is very little chance of recourse. It also seems that whenever the lawmakers make these laws, they make sure it is so ambiguous that everything can be turned against the alleged perpetrators.

While the number of IT crimes are on a rise these days and unethical cracking is a menace, curbing the free speech rights and making ambiguous laws against such crimes is definitely not the answer. For what it’s worth, I believe the MPs need to use the internet and see the differences between the knowledge part of the internet with its free and unadulterated sharing of free knowledge and very easily accessible, and the seedier parts of the internet which are accessible only to those with an already criminal intent, and make their laws according to their observations.

That, or a huge proportion of us internet-using Indians need to stand for elections next year.

Google’s ISP Speed – 524 Mbps Download Speed, 147 Mbps Upload Speed

Google is known for it’s speed in search results. Not only are they blazing fast, they are literally there before you blink your eyes. In recent times, Google also took faster to a new level with .

Google ISP Speed

From this information it is easy to gauge that Google’s servers are powered by some really big servers who have an enormous bandwidth. But what about people working in Google’s offices? Do they have fast internet connections?

Well, yes. Let’s just call it blazing fast. Brad from The Next Web unearthed a speed test done by a Google employee on a Reddit QnA session by the team.

The speed test as you can see above is something unbelievable. Google offices in SFO have a download speed of 524Mbps and upload speed of 147.2 Mbps speed. Being in US, I am used to some high speed connections, but it does not come anywhere close to what Google has in it’s office. Also the speed test says that it is faster than 99% of US users, so are all the other 1% Google employees Smile.

The ISP that provides internet in Google offices, is Google themselves. I Bet the people who are going to get the Google ISP lines will be really happy about it.

Internet in Libya Meets its Fate

Libya is becoming the next Egypt, and the Internet in Libya keeps coming off after every few days. However, this time, it is a total shutdown for quite sometime now. You can check this page, which shows access to Google services across the globe. Clearly, Google services are all inaccessible in Libya and they have seen no activity for long hours.

google-traffic

As this graph is a significant marker of the web-traffic Libya generates, we can quite well understand that the Internet in Libya has been pulled down and has been done in style. Egypt used the crude method of disconnecting the servers and use them as choke-points. Libya on the other hand, has servers which are still connected to the Internet, but are not allowing any outgoing connection.

After the Egypt incident, the Internet is being seen as a medium of mass civic unrest and agitation. Thus, when anything goes wrong, the first thing many countries are planning to do is take down the Internet. This does not come as a surprise after earlier happenings where,

Previously, Internet traffic volumes had been operating at 60-80% of normal as the Libyan government reportedly blocked social media and popular video sites after the start of the popular uprising on February 18th.

The Libyan Firewall was ineffective in shutting rebels from using social media a few days ago. this was a desperate move by the Libyan government and it is not welcome. You can follow up with a discussion on this topic at Hacker News.

Anonymous Pwns Westboro Baptist Church: Sends a Special Message during Live Interview

There is no shortage of crazy people in this world, but then there are a few who deserve a special mention simply because of the magnitude of their stupidity. The Westboro Baptist Church, which is more of a hate group than anything else, happens to shelter quite a few such choice individuals.

In short, WBC is infamous for its extreme homophobia and anti-gay protests. The latest saga started last week when a press release from Anonymous that issued an ultimatum to WBC was posted on AnonNews. The statement was later confirmed to be fake by Anonymous, but not before it went viral. Soon after, WBC responded to the threats, and made a defiant stance, which set the stage for the following confrontation between Shirley from WBC and the Anon.

Initially Anon refused to wage war against WBC, and denied responsibility for knocking down godhatesfags.com, yourpastorisawhore.com and westborobaptistchurch.com (which was actually the handiwork of th3j35t3r). However, after being incited by Shirley, Anon proceeded to sucker-punch WBC by hacking their website, and leaving behind a special message. Check out the screencaps embedded below to catch up on the full saga.

Anonymous-Threatens-Westboro-Baptist-Church
Initial (Fake) Ultimatum from Anon
Westboro-Baptist-Church-Responds
Westboro Baptist Church’s Response
Anonymous-Denies-Threatning-Westboro-Baptist-Church
Anon Denial
Anonymous-Hacks-Westboro-Baptist-Church
Anon’s Response to WBC (view full image)

Another Man Dies Due to Addictive Internet Gaming

The people of China need to stand up and pay attention not only to the censorship that is rampant in the country, but also to the danger of addiction (to the point of not eating or drinking) to video games. It is not safe to test your limits while maximizing your character in an online universe. One must remember that the real game is real life, and video games are just an escape (albeit short and fun-filled) from the reality.

Internet Bar by Fang Guo

An unidentified 30 year old Chinese man slipped into a coma, and died in a clinic later, after playing a video game in an internet café non-stop for three days. The man had not slept for the three days, and had consumed very little sustenance. The café, in the capital city of Beijing, also said that in his last month, the man had spent more than 10,000 yuan ($1,500) on massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs).

While this kind of behavior can be attributed to players who are completely at the mercy of the virtual world, it seems that this man had some unresolved issues with his life due to which he turned to video gaming. The indifference to life in general and a sudden, unhealthy addiction to something points to depression or other psychological problems.

Nevertheless, internet café providers need to meter the usage of patrons. The casual ignorance of the managers of the parlor is partly to blame; just because the man had the money does not mean the providers ignore his health.

Indian Internet Growth; 25K Users in 1998 to 100 Million in 2010 [Infographic]

India is one of leading countries in the world which has seen a large growth in Internet usage. It also incidentally has the world’s largest number of mobile users, currently around 600 million.

So how much has India grown? Well, from a meager 25,000 users in 1998 it has grown to 100 million users. Though it is hardly 10% of the Indian population it still puts India at number 3 in world Internet users after China and the United States.

Internet was first started out in 1995 and has radically grown through the years. Most of the Indians go online to check emails, visit social networking sites like , and , download music, instant messaging, watching online videos and more. However, India does lag behind in one area; internet speed. They are currently ranked at number 144 with an average speed of 1.42 Mbps speed.

Interesting facts right? Check out the entire infographic of growth of Internet users in India through 2010 below (click to enlarge).

indian_internet_growth

(h/t @manan – via Flickr)

Libya Crucifies the "Internet" Too; It Should Just Win a Nobel Prize

For the past few years I have been on social networking sites like and , there has been a trend. That trend has defined what social networking can do. No, it is not promoting advertisements, it is promoting real-life situations and revolutions all around the world and spreading news about disasters as quickly and efficiently as we could have imagined.

Google Search Libya Traffic Drop

In the past month or so there were revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, both these countries strangulated the Internet and it looks like Libya is doing the same now.

In the wake of the rising protests, the first thing these countries do is to cut-off their ties with the external world by cutting off the cord that allows them to breathe into it; these two include cutting off phone lines which are obvious and now the "Internet" which is the second biggest way for people to communicate with each other.

So is this justified? No, but there is no democracy anywhere. There have been blockages by the Governments of India and Pakistan who have banned websites for no reasons which do not call for these bans at all. These are countries which are purely democratic in nature.

It definitely hurts me that Countries target the internet because people can use it to post their views. Well we know how autocratic China is, but should each and every country be like them? Of course, I can’t say that Libya is a liberal country, but curtailing access to the Internet is not a justified way (and most likely sensible way) of killing protests across the board.

People around the world will find ways to know what you do, it does not matter whether you do or do not allow access to the Internet. People will also find ways to access blocked websites, whether or not you allow access to it. So stop acting like you are stopping a child from having candy, when they desire it so much.

If this does not stop, I bet that the Internet will go from being nominee for the Nobel Prize to actually winning it.

(Traffic drop image via @mattcutts)

Meta Assassins Turns the WWW Into a Subtle Battlefield

The internet has always been obsessed about itself. Its narcissistic tendencies have been the driving factor in the making of data visualization about its own technologies, semantic web technology and other endless lists full of the emerging science of the hive mind and the self’s position in this meta-world.

logo

Did you understand that previous paragraph? I sure didn’t but that’s how you start these intellectual and deep posts about the internet, data and other characters of the philosophical nature of the World Wide Web.

However, we are not talking about the philosophical nature of the World Wide Web. We are here to talk about the launch of an extremely new kind of experimental game that takes social browsing and networking to a completely new level.

Meta Assassins is a new appthat promises to rid you of your social life, more or less. It is a game in which gamers will be given specific targets (other gamers), who will surf the web. Your job is to track your quarry to the site they are on and kill them in a [virtual] shootout. But, beware you are also someone’s target. You accomplish all this with a Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox plugin.

The game is currently on a hiatus from the 12th of February. The short playtesting stint was apparently a success, so the developers will be making a redoubled effort into a new avatar.

Although the game works mostly on the world wide web, the amount of data privacy issues this could cause if it were not a game is quite staggering. I would totally turn this into a Hollywood blockbuster (given the right amount of nudging here and there), call it Meta Assassins, and mint money.

If you are interested in this, do check their web page out.