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Print 33 comment(s) - last by slunkius.. on Dec 8 at 1:14 AM


  (Source: Wired's Threat Level)
Firefox extension Linked Users to Same Product at The Pirate Bay

Internet pirates were in for a brief surprise Wednesday: art students from the Netherlands launched “Pirates of the Amazon,” a Firefox extension that linked Amazon.com product pages to their equivalent listing at The Pirate Bay. The following day, however, the website hosting the project took it offline after it received threats from Amazon.com lawyers.

The add-on’s authors are thus far anonymous, identifying themselves only as students of a Media Design M.A. course at a Netherlands-based university. Their website currently describes the project as a “practical experiment on interface design, information access and currently debated issues in media culture.”

“We were surprised by the attentions and the strong reactions this project received,” reads the site. “Ultimately, the value of the project lies in these reactions.”

A description of the add-on before it was taken down said its authors wanted it to be a “counterpart to the current models of media distribution,” and to “redistribute the wealth.”

Indeed, within a day of the add-on’s launch, its authors received a takedown request from Amazon.com’s legal department.

WHOIS records and what appears to be an artzilla.org posting indicate that the domain is held by artist Timo Klok, and that the add-on is to be publicly exhibited at an art festival at the end of next week.

Dslreports.com user “funchords” notes that the add-on retreives the “download 4 free” image from it’s home site, allowing administrators to monitor the extension’s spread through web server logs. It is unknown as to whether or not the add-on was designed with this in mind.

According to TorrentFreak, the add-on’s authors are not affiliated with The Pirate Bay – despite evidence that the add-on’s code transmits its queries to The Pirate Bay under the user-agent string “Pirates-of-the-Amazon”. The DSLreports posting describing this behavior posits that it was simply a “cute thing to do.”

Amazon.com did not respond to repeated request for comment from Wired’s Threat Level.

While the add-on is no longer available from its original page, a working mirror is available from TorrentFreak.



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By DaveLessnau on 12/5/2008 9:04:33 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting. AFAIK, Computer Science students (at least in the US), have to take an Ethics in Computing type of class which teaches the ethical aspects of the IEEE's and ACM's "Computing Curricula" standards. Apparently, art students (at least in the Netherlands), don't have an equivalent. I've also seen CS syllabuses which specifically state that students would be dis-enrolled from the class if they abused the information taught (i.e., used it unethically). Maybe these "artistes" thought they were being cute. But, in the US, they'd at least be running the risk of ruining their education program.




By choadenstein on 12/5/2008 9:27:56 AM , Rating: 2
For what it's worth. I graduated with a BS in ComSci in 2005 from a top tier school and did not have to take an ethics course. I had to take several in the following three years in law school, even one in IP ethics, but none in UG.


By choadenstein on 12/5/2008 9:28:57 AM , Rating: 2
btw... ComSci = Computer Science... meant to put CompSci... ComSci sounds like a communications degree or something.

Oh Dailytech, when will you give us an edit post button.


By quiksilvr on 12/5/2008 5:09:09 PM , Rating: 5
Oh DailyTech, when will you give us a temporary edit button? Like 5 minutes if we saw a mistake. Is that too much to ask?


By slunkius on 12/8/2008 1:14:42 AM , Rating: 2
NEVER!!! mistakes are unforgiven! :)


By Spivonious on 12/5/2008 9:31:20 AM , Rating: 2
There was no such course in my curriculum (university in southern PA), so it's far from a U.S. requirement.


By RandomUsername3463 on 12/5/2008 1:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
ABET (the accreditation organization for all American engineering schools) does require some ethics education. It does not have to be an individual class in ethics, but it must be included somewhere. It might just be a week or so of ethics discussion in some kind of engineering design project class, for example.


By Jedi2155 on 12/7/2008 3:21:30 AM , Rating: 2
My ABET accredited school has a whole quarter class devoted to Engineering Ethics.


By Regs on 12/5/2008 3:07:15 PM , Rating: 2
Ethically or not, it was just another grab for attention.


By cete on 12/7/2008 7:38:50 AM , Rating: 2
NO, dude, criticizing something does not equate hate, I see no hate in the down rated post. Stop this victim-like behavior ("they hate us because we are so perfect").

You definitely read it wrong...


By masher2 (blog) on 12/5/2008 12:15:27 PM , Rating: 5
> "If you are in debt, you can't get a job"

What fantasy this come from? Nearly all Americans are in debt in some manner. Most of them still have jobs, however. As for McDonald's doing credit checks on their burger-flippers, I rather doubt that also.

> "If a student mentions any idea of suicide (...no violent threads to others, no gun possession, no violence), (s)he gets suspended"

I don't know where this comes from either...probably a misguided misreading of a single news event?

> "Never mind that this country's law system guarantees a jury of your peers "

You're a bit confused. A right to jury is guaranteed only to enforce criminal penalties by the state.

> "Then they will follow the example of so many Hollywood movies shooting their way out of their miserable situation"

It's apparent whose been watching too many Hollywood movies.


By gmyx on 12/5/2008 2:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There are way more burger flippers than McDonalds in the US. And I know of some local franchisee companies that do routinely $39 background checks pre-hire. Have you filled out an application lately? It usually includes a release from you to do this kind of thing. Why?


With many jobs they want this. I know of a temp colleague who cannot be renewed because of a past conviction. We work in the IT field and has a hacking related conviction.

Same for my wife when she opened her daycare through an agency: they were checking for child related issue and found none.

This is normal. For McDs, I'm guessing they are looking for things such as theft, fraud, abuse/assault. would you want to hire someone who's been convicted of theft from his employer? I think not.

quote:
Just hop one step further, and realize that if colleges (universally) punish their students by refusing to educate them because the failed to follow some sort of ethics, it has the same effect as a criminal conviction, and that w/o the jury of your peers. Now you got my point.


1. That is for the civil courts to decide. 2. Post-secondary education is a privilege, not a right. You follow the rules or they can kick you out.


By Conficio on 12/5/2008 3:43:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is normal. For McDs, I'm guessing they are looking for things such as theft, fraud, abuse/assault. would you want to hire someone who's been convicted of theft from his employer? I think not.

You are making my point. It is up to society to make such judgments and to society to decide what are the punishments. If we follow your logic, then the criminal conviction does hang over your head for life, never goes away and never allows you a life w/o fear or a chance to integrate into society. Is there not such a concept of "you go to jail and that is your punishment" and when you get our of prison you get a chance to do the right thing?

I hear often politicians talk that way in their sound bites. But that does not make it smart in any way.

If you punish every crime with a life sentence, whether in prison or in the restricted life you allow an ex convict to have, it certainly violates the idea that punishment should fit the crime. It also produces people (neighbors) that have little to loose, because the difference between a life with little future and a life in prison is not that great anymore. This just makes any future punishment so much less of a deterrent.

P.S.: I'm not making any legal argument here.

quote:
1. That is for the civil courts to decide. 2. Post-secondary education is a privilege, not a right. You follow the rules or they can kick you out.


Again, I'm not looking at what is legal (So no comment on 1.) but at what are the consequences. If you punish a young person for life for something that is a one time failure, and certainly not always black and white (How is an ethics code to be interpreted? How a statement of suicidal thoughts?). What you get is a person that has a life long grudge, that can't fulfill his or her potential and is likely at some point to retaliate. I simply think a teaching institution like a university does fail its mission if it acts like this.

What kind of teaching is that if a single mistake, often only verbal and of no real consequences, does make you ineligible for (their) education? Isn't education about learning from your mistakes?


By masher2 (blog) on 12/5/2008 4:05:04 PM , Rating: 2
> "It is up to society to make such judgments and to society to decide what are the punishments"

Again you confuse free choice with government-dictated punishment. Putting someone in jail is a punishment. Exercising your choice to not offer someone a job is freedom. Are ugly people being "punished" by not being hired as models? Are short people being punished by not being signed by NBA basketball teams?

If I find out my neighbor did time for rape and murder, I have a right to not invite him over for dinner. If I own a business and find out a job prospect has regularly stolen from other bosses, I have a right to not offer him a job.

Freedom. It's a simple concept...but remarkably difficult for some to grasp.

> "If you punish a young person for life for something that is a one time failure,"

Are we still talking about the suicide attempt here? I don't see how anyone was "punished for life". So they got kicked out of one school. Stop whining, and go apply to a different one. Big deal.


By gmyx on 12/5/2008 7:36:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you punish every crime with a life sentence, whether in prison or in the restricted life you allow an ex convict to have, it certainly violates the idea that punishment should fit the crime. It also produces people (neighbors) that have little to loose, because the difference between a life with little future and a life in prison is not that great anymore. This just makes any future punishment so much less of a deterrent.


Ever hear of a pardon. I don't know how long it takes to get one in the USA, but in Canada it's 8 (i think) years minimum depending on the crime. Once you have your pardon, no one can hold it over you head from a job perspective, but your reputation is still there.

quote:
If you punish a young person for life for something that is a one time failure, and certainly not always black and white (How is an ethics code to be interpreted? How a statement of suicidal thoughts?). What you get is a person that has a life long grudge, that can't fulfill his or her potential and is likely at some point to retaliate. I simply think a teaching institution like a university does fail its mission if it acts like this.


Is there only once place in the universe to get an education? Many places will allow someone who has been kicked out a second chance - because there is money to be made. Don't let one incident that may or may not of been properly reported skew your view of education. Many people do not get kicked out for suicidal thought - they get help.

Mental health is a serious issue that needs addressing - one bad example is not the rule.


By masher2 (blog) on 12/5/2008 3:08:47 PM , Rating: 2
> "There are way more burger flippers than McDonalds in the US. And I know of some local franchisee companies that do routinely $39 background checks pre-hire"

You're conflating "background check" with "I can't get a job if I owe money". A background check includes a wide variety of items besides credit, and even a simple credit check will show things such as civil judgements.

In short, your notion that "people who owe money can't get a job, even flipping burgers" couldn't possibly be more wrong.

> " it has the same effect as a criminal conviction"

Quitting your job voluntarily "has the same effect" as being fired for exposing criminal fraud. But they're two totally different situations, now aren't they?

In any case, I reject your premise that even the effects are the same. If a University tosses you out for making suicide threats, you can always apply to another one. Unless you actually caused a police incident, it's not going to be on your record.


By TomCorelis on 12/5/2008 3:23:06 PM , Rating: 2
Besides, its not the fact that you're in debt that they're interested in with your credit report -- it's whether or not you're in an excessive amount of it and whether or not you are good for repaying them. Debt, in and of itself, is insignificant... because it's the USA. Everyone is in debt.


By Conficio on 12/5/2008 3:52:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Besides, its not the fact that you're in debt that they're interested in with your credit report -- it's whether or not you're in an excessive amount of it and whether or not you are good for repaying them.


I'm glad you see the catch 22. If you are deep in debt and struggle to pay it back, you are then denied a job (or at least a good paying one assuming such checks are done more intensely for those) so you are for sure unable to ever pay back your debt.

So what are you going to do? You are denied by a faceless society to do the right thing and stand by your debt, work hard and pay it off. Tell me, what is your solution if you are in that pickle?


By ipay on 12/5/2008 1:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
Seung-Hui Cho, is that you?


By wvh on 12/5/2008 8:22:44 PM , Rating: 3
Interesting indeed.

It is widely known only Americans have strict ethical codes, and the world beyond operates on principles from the Dark Ages or even prehistoric times. Obviously, no student in any of America's fine institutions would ever write, build or contribute anything that could be remotely construed as immoral or illegal, not even to make a philosophical point or raise an interesting issue. All American university students are good, morally upstanding folks. The Dutch however are clearly up to no good. One can only hope these primitive thieving communist students will be flogged or perhaps extradited to the US where they can learn the true meaning of justice.

Appropriate action at this point would be to raise the U.S. threat level to High, or Orange. All Americans should continue to be vigilant, take notice of their surroundings, and report suspicious items or activities to local authorities immediately. Everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and emergency plan for themselves and their family, and stay informed about what to do during an emergency.

While you occupy yourself with this, the rest of us will discuss piracy and experimental browser plugins.


"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates











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