The Switchboard: This video led to Aaron Swartz’s prosecution

December 4, 2013

(MIT)

This is the MIT surveillance video that undid Aaron Swartz. "The door to the network closet pops open and a slender figure enters, a bicycle helmet hanging from one arm," Wired writes. "He sheds his backpack and pulls out a cardboard box containing a small hard drive, then kneels out of frame. After about five minutes, he stands, turns off the lights and furtively exits the closet. This scene, captured by a video camera hidden in a wiring closet at MIT, was the beginning of a probe that led to federal charges against the late coder and activist Aaron Swartz."

Hotfile settles MPAA copyright case, agrees to $80 million in damages. "Six days before movie studios were set to begin a jury trial over alleged copyright violations by the 'cyberlocker' site Hotfile, the case has settled," Ars Technica reports. "Hotfile has agreed to pay $80 million and to stop operating 'unless it employs copyright filtering technologies that prevent infringement.'" Major studios "sued Hotfile over copyright violations in 2011. The case was finally teed up for a trial that was to begin next Monday, December 9."

House to vote on patent bill Thursday. "The House is expected to consider the Innovation Act — the patent reform bill authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) — on Thursday," according to The Hill. "After a Tuesday Rules Committee meeting, which will move forward eight of the proposed 26 amendments for the House to consider, the entire chamber is likely to vote on the amendments and the bill Thursday, according to a Rules Committee aide." The White House has endorsed the Innovation Act, but some House members have asked for a vote on the legislation to be delayed until 2014.

House to re-write foundational communications law. Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee "announced Tuesday that they will begin re-writing the Communications Act, a foundational law that regulates the television, telephone and Internet industries," The Hill writes. "Updating the act will be a multi-year effort, and each potential change will likely prompt intense lobbying from powerful industry groups. The Communications Act, which outlines the power of the Federal Communications Commission, dates back to 1934, and was last updated in 1996."

IG finds holes in DHS’s cybersecurity. "The Department of Homeland Security is leading the charge to bolster the country’s porous digital defenses, but it’s also struggled this year to safeguard its own systems against hackers and spies," Politico reports. "A report Monday from the DHS inspector general reiterated that the agency for months failed to patch its systems regularly against known cybersecurity thre."

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Brian Fung | December 3, 2013