PhoenixFire

Immunicity Returns

On the 2nd of October the Government Intellectual Property Office and the City of London Police PIPCU posted to twitter about how they’d diverted 11 million views from ‘pirate’ websites since July 2014.

Unfortunately there’s a slight problem with their claim; some of the seized domains, such as immunicity.org, have been under the control of Brass Horn Communications for several months now, hundreds of thousands of those supposed diverts have actually been seeing the following page;

divert

Domain seizures are censorship and as we all know; the Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

Hopefully PIPCU will concentrate on people actually committing crimes rather than those who are just routing packets.

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Sony Email Leaks Shows Refusal To Fund PIPCU As Well As Conspiring With (and against) Government Ministers

Funding PIPCU

During a meeting on September 5th 2014 with Mike Weatherley (the Prime Minister’s IP Adviser) Sony noted that they and the MPAA were not pleased at the idea of being asked to fund PIPCU;

The potential (now likely) request for Rights Holders to contribute funds to support PIPCU will be limited to whatever the DCMS Minister (Sajid Javid) considers to be outside the definition of “policing”. So, for example, on-site assistance with review of evidence sent for the Advertising initiative, assistance with funding for training etc.

MPAA’s representative made clear that we are not pleased with the prospect of any contribution – and, at a subsequent meeting of the Alliance, it was confirmed that many other entities/groups endorse and will deliver the same view.

Following the news that the Government was going to fund PIPCU till 2017 Sony noted on October 23rd 2014 that

Note that the local UK/EU member company and MPA team have agreed already that we need to focus immediately on ensuring that Government funding continues beyond 2017 (assuming that PIPCU continues to be helpful) and also monitoring whatever spending review happens during and immediately after the 2015 election so that we don’t lose the current commitment.

That Sony considers that PIPCU may at some point no longer be helpful is interesting but such an assumption is a touch rude considering that in April 2014 Sony discovered that their ads were displaying on “rogue” sites thanks to a PIPCU seized site;

Despite these efforts and successes, there are still regular instances of Sony ads being placed on illegal sites, including an SEL ad (discovered during a domain seizure operation by the City of London Police) and two Playstation ads (discovered during web crawling initiatives by music trade associations RIAA and IFPI). Screen shots depicting these particular examples are attached here for your reference. We are aware of instances of poorly placed ads for SME’s music and SPE’s films as well. All of our companies have vulnerability in this area, and we’d like to work more closely together to ensure that Sony’s brand is supported by responsible ad practices across all of our companies.

Conspiring with (and against) Government Ministers

Elsewhere in the leaks one can see that Sony are cozy with Government Ministers at varying levels whom they’ll happily attempt to get fired;

… am sitting here with Bella and conspiring as to how to make you Minister of Culture and Sport. You are perfectly qualified. First step is to get ed Vaizey fired. I will do this with George Osborne. I will do this with George Osborne. Next step is to get you appointed. This requires you meeting CHARLES Dunstone and having him recommend you

It’s interesting to note that Charles Dunstone is the Chairman of TalkTalk Group who were the first ISP to deploy Huawei filtering hardware devices in their network and were one of the ISPs rumoured to be pushing for Default Filtering…

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Increase the Cost of Filtering to ISPs by Raising ADR Complaints

OFCOM has a lot of rules for ISPs to follow and under General Condition 14 (GC14.5 – Dispute Resolution) – all ISPs in the United Kingdom are required to be members of an approved ADR scheme like CISAS or Ombudsman Services, which are designed to supplement (not replace) the ISPs own internal complaints procedures and are only used after a dispute has gone unresolved for 8 weeks (the “Deadlock Letter” stage).

The ADR process is a very useful tool for consumers, albeit an unpopular one among ISPs (i.e. they still have to pay up to around £350 +vat in fees to the ADR regardless of whether or not they win), but some smaller providers continue to flout the rules by wrongly assuming that they don’t have to offer an ADR or by failing to make customers aware that one is available.

The key here is that if one were to make a request to unblock a website and the ISP doesn’t co-operate then you can start the ADR process.

Upon being told that the ISP won’t unblock the website request a deadlock letter in accordance with the Alternative Dispute Resolution process.

At this point the ISP representative will probably try and convince you that you cannot make an ADR complaint about this as they are scared of costing the company ~£350. Insist on your deadlock

Imagine if everyone with a censored Internet connection raised an ADR complaint for every blocked website.

Choose.net has an excellent guide on how to go about raising an ADR.

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Building a PIPCU Resistant Immunicity Style Proxy Using Tor

A Little History

In June 2004 BT took the step of putting technical measures in place that allowed them to censor the Internet.

At the time there was muffled dissent at the idea of creating and deploying such technology but those voices were silenced by accusations that opposition to CleanFeed was to support the abuse of children.

We warned that this was the start of a slippery slope.

In 2011 the MPA took BT to court in an attempt to block Newzbin, when the Honourable Justice Arnold understood that BT already had an Internet censorship system in place he ordered it to be used to block Newzbin

In respect of its customers to whose internet service the system known as Cleanfeed is applied whether optionally or otherwise, [BT] shall within 14 days adopt the following technical means to block or attempt to block access by its customers to the website known as Newzbin2 currently accessible at www.newzbin.com, its domains and sub-domains and including payments.newzbin.com and any other IP address or URL whose sole or predominant purpose is to enable or facilitate access to the Newzbin2 websiteHon Justice Arnold

On the back of the Newzbin success various other private entities took to the High Court to chase more ISPs and in February 2012 the Honourable Justice Arnold ruled

… that both users and the operators of TPB infringe the copyrights of the Claimants (and those they represent) in the UK.Hon Justice Arnold

The result of this ruling was that BT, TalkTalk, Sky and others were required to take measures to block or at least impede access by their customers to a peer-to-peer (“P2P”) file-sharing website called The Pirate Bay (“TPB”).

At the time the OpenRightsGroup issued the following statement;

Blocking the Pirate Bay is pointless and dangerous. It will fuel calls for further, wider and even more drastic calls for internet censorship of many kinds, from pornography to extremism.Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group

So here we are in 2014, a decade after we originally predicted the slippery slope of Internet censorship and we have Court ordered censorship at the behest of foreign private entities, secret URL blocklists courtesy of the IWF, varying levels of Internet Filtering in homes, Internet filtering in coffee shops etc and now the City of London Police appear to be using organised Crime Legislation to intimidate and shut down proxies.

How a PAC Proxy Works

The PAC (Proxy auto-config) file format was originally designed by Netscape in 1996 for the Netscape Navigator 2.0 and is a text file that defines which URLs are to be routed over a proxy and optionally which proxy to use on a per URL basis.

A very basic PAC file could look like this;

function FindProxyForURL(url, host) 
{    
    var list = new Array("wtfismyip.com","www.ipchicken.com");
    for(var i=0; i < list .length; i++)
    {
        if (shExpMatch(host, list[i]))
        {
           return "SOCKS socks.survivetheclaireperryinter.net:9050";
        }
    }
    return "DIRECT";
}

This PAC file defines two URLs (wtfismyip.com and www.ipchicken.com) and tells the browser that these URLs should be routed via the SOCKS proxy socks.survivetheclaireperryinter.net using port 9050. Any other URLs are routed directly (as in not using a proxy).

The Tor Project is one of the most powerful tools we have against Internet censorship and one of the features of a Tor relay is the ability to be used as a SOCKS proxy.

There are lots of Tor relays on the Internet that are configured not only as Bridges, pluggable transports, Exits & relays but also as SOCKS servers. We will create a Tor relay to be coupled with a PAC file to selectively route certain URLs over The Onion Routing network to bypass censorship.

Using the Tor PAC Proxy

To test a Tor powered PAC proxy simply set your Browser Proxy settings to; https://RoutingPacketsIsNotACrime.uk/pac.config?id=piratebay this will allow you to browse to thepiratebay.se via a Tor proxy in Russia.

To create your own list of URLs to route via your Tor proxy start by navigating to https://RoutingPacketsIsNotACrime.uk and identify which URLs you would like to route.

Note that the only URL selected by default is wtfismyip.com. To re-iterate, this is a technical demonstration of Censorship evasion and bypassing censorship is NOT illegal.

Add all of your URLs separated by a comma e.g. “google.com, yahoo.com, bing.com” then click “Save PAC File”.

Make note of your unique PAC file URL e.g. https://RoutingPacketsIsNotACrime.uk/pac.config?id=ABCDEF1234567890

Configure your browser to use your unique PAC file


Configure Internet Explorer

  1. Go to Start then Control Panel. (Windows 8 users hover your mouse to the bottom right, click Settings, then click Control Panel)
  2. Find Internet Options (sometimes under Network and Internet), then go to the Connections tab.
  3. At the bottom, click the LAN settings button.
  4. A new dialog will appear. Tick the box that says Use automatic configuration script.
  5. In the address field, paste in your unique PAC file ID e.g. https://RoutingPacketsIsNotACrime.uk/pac.config?id=ABCDEF1234567890
  6. Press OK, then OK on the Internet Options dialog.

Configure Mozilla Firefox

  1. In Mozilla Firefox, go to Options. In Windows, click the Firefox button then choose Options, or go to Tools, then Options. In Mac OS X, go to Firefox, then Preferences. In Linux, go to Tools, Options.
  2. Go to the Advanced tab, then go to the Network tab.
  3. Click Settings next to Configure how Firefox connects to the Internet.
  4. Select Automatic proxy configuration URL.
  5. In the text field, paste in your unique PAC file ID e.g. https://RoutingPacketsIsNotACrime.uk/pac.config?id=ABCDEF1234567890
  6. Press OK, then OK on the Options dialog.

Configure Google Chrome

  1. In Google Chrome, click the menu button to the right of the URL bar, and choose Settings.
  2. At the bottom, click the Show advanced settings
  3. Under Network, click Change proxy settings.
    1. On Windows, at the bottom click the LAN settings button. A new dialog will appear. Tick the box that says Use automatic configuration script.
    2. On Mac OS X, tick Automatic Proxy Configuration.
    3. On Linux, click Network proxy, select Automatic from the Method drop down menu.
  4. In the address field, paste in your unique PAC file ID e.g. https://RoutingPacketsIsNotACrime.uk/pac.config?id=ABCDEF1234567890
  5. Close the dialogs to save the settings. On Mac OS X, press Apply first.

You’ll note that the PAC file specifies the proxy as localhost:9050, trying to visit the URLs in question won’t work until we setup the local Tor relay.

Creating Your Local Tor Proxy

If you want to help the Tor network grow and create your own proxy to use with the RoutingPacketsIsNotACrime PAC files then these instructions should get you started.

If you don’t already have a dedicated server consider visiting DigitalOcean, Amazon EC2 or for some really good deals check LowEndBox.com.

For various reasons I would suggest hosting the server outside of the UK but that is a choice for you to make.

CentOS 6

Install EPEL

wget http://www.mirrorservice.org/sites/dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/6/i386/epel-release-6-8.noarch.rpm
yum install epel-release-6-8.noarch.rpm

Edit iptables

vim /etc/sysconfig/iptables

Allow the ORPort and the proxy port (in this case 9001 and 9150)

*filter
:INPUT ACCEPT [0:0]
:FORWARD ACCEPT [0:0]
:OUTPUT ACCEPT [0:0]
-A INPUT -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p icmp -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 9001 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 9150 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-host-prohibited
-A FORWARD -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-host-prohibited
COMMIT

Save and quit

/etc/init.d/iptables restart

If your server has IPv6 then make similar changes to ip6tables

Editing torrc

vim /etc/tor/torrc

A minimal torrc for use with a PAC file style proxy would look similar to the below (although you should read all the options to understand what you are doing);

SocksPort xx.xx.xx.xx:9150
ORPort 9001
Nickname TheNameOfYourRelay
ContactInfo YourContactDetails
ExitPolicy reject *:*

xx.xx.xx.xx should be a routeable IP (e.g. not 127.0.0.1) of your server, if you want to keep your relay server partially private you might want to add PublishServerDescriptor 0 to your config too.

There is no security here, if someone port scanned your server then they would see that it is an open proxy and could use it to do nasty things that people will blame you for!
If your Tor relay is on a public IP (e.g. not 10.0.0.0/8, 172.16.0.0/12 or 192.168.0.0/16) then you may want to restrict the IPTables allow rule to only allow your source IP addresses

Start Tor & Confirm it is working

/etc/init.d/tor start
tail -f /var/log/messages

You should see something along the lines of;

socks Tor[31452]: Self-testing indicates your ORPort is reachable from the outside. Excellent. Publishing server descriptor.
socks Tor[31452]: Bootstrapped 85%: Finishing handshake with first hop.
socks Tor[31452]: Bootstrapped 90%: Establishing a Tor circuit.
socks Tor[31452]: Tor has successfully opened a circuit. Looks like client functionality is working.
socks Tor[31452]: Bootstrapped 100%: Done.
socks Tor[31452]: Performing bandwidth self-test...done.

Done!

Assuming you have chosen the URLs you wanted in the previous section (Using the Tor PAC Proxy) you can now browse to the URLs that were previously censored as they are now being routed over Tor. Any non-restricted URLs will route over your normal Internet connection.

Windows

Follow our tutorial on Securely Installing Tor on Windows to get the full Tor Browser bundle up and running.

Once installed and started Tor will be running on localhost:9150 (do not close the Tor Browser as this will also close the relay)

Done!

Assuming you have chosen the URLs you wanted in the previous section (Using the Tor PAC Proxy) you can now browse to the URLs that were previously censored as they are now being routed over Tor. Any non-restricted URLs will route over your normal Internet connection.

Some Final Thoughts (and quotes)

Internet Censorship is abhorrent, we shouldn’t stand by and let the Government, Police or lawyers dictate what we can read. The slippery slope is getting steeper every day so we all need to help stop it.

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.Edmund Burke

I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.Lily Tomlin

Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.Bruce Coville

Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?Kurt Vonnegut

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.Harry S. Truman

Free societies…are societies in motion, and with motion comes tension, dissent, friction. Free people strike sparks, and those sparks are the best evidence of freedom’s existence.Salman Rushdie

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.T.E. Lawrence

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U.K. Government Willing To Block EU Net Neutrality Deal

BuzzFeed has reported that the Government is so intent on continuing to block online material, that it is willing to block the EU Internet Neutrality laws;

We wouldn’t support anything that restricted our ability to block illegal material.

We do not support any proposals that mean we cannot enforce our laws, including blocking child abuse images.Government spokesperson

Note that is no longer just about protecting children, it’s safe to say we’ll start to see the blocking of “extreme” material soon enough…

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More smackdowns for the UK Police / Government

TechDirt have reported that EasyDNS have been victorious in their pursuit of due process when it comes to seizure of Domains by the City of London Police.

As you may be aware, the City of London Police’s new intellectual property crime unit took it upon themselves to seize domains they believed were involved in copyright infringement and some registrars co-operated without even asking for a warrant or court order.

Thankfully EasyDNS had this to say;

Who decides what is illegal? What makes somebody a criminal?  Given that the subtext of the request contains a threat to refer the matter to ICANN if we don’t play along, this is a non-trivial question. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always thought it was something that gets decided in a court of law, as opposed to “some guy on the internet” sending emails. While that’s plenty reason enough for some registrars to take down domain names, it doesn’t fly here.

We have an obligation to our customers and we are bound by our Registrar Accreditation Agreements not to make arbitrary changes to our customers settings without a valid FOA (Form of Authorization). To supersede that we need a legal basis. To get a legal basis something has to happen in court.

The request also suggests we look at the whois contact information for the domain (which looks perfectly valid) and go ahead and suspend the domain based on invalid whois data. Again, there’s a process for that, you have to go through the ICANN Whois Inaccuracy Complaint process and most of the time that doesn’t result in a takedown anyway.

What gets me about all of this is that the largest, most egregious perpetrators of online criminal activity right now are our own governments, spying on their own citizens, illegally wiretapping our own private communications and nobody cares, nobody will answer for it, it’s just an out-of-scope conversation that is expected to blend into the overall background malaise of our ever increasing serfdom.

If I can’t make various governments and law enforcement agencies get warrants or court orders before they crack my private communications then I can at least  require a court order before I takedown my own customer.EasyDNS

Sounds interestingly similar to Andrews & Arnold’s reasons as to why they don’t like blocks doesn’t it?

Backlash’s Moral Panic Film Club

Backlash’s Moral Panic Film Club

The guys and gals over at Backlash are holding a fundraiser to ensure they can continue to provide legal advice and specialist solicitors to the people that are turning to them for help.

Backlash is an umbrella organisation providing academic, legal and campaigning resources defending freedom of sexual expression. We support the rights of adults to participate in all consensual sexual activities and to watch, read and create any fictional interpretation of such in any mediaFrom the Backlash Website

The evening will consist of film, talks and round table discussions by specialists including our solicitors, external campaigners and academics, then music and drinks until closing time!

Click the link above or here to visit their website for more details.

Whilst not directly linked to the technical issues of ISP Filtering they are certainly caught up in the morale furore that MPs & the media keep inciting around sex, sexuality and the Internet.