Freezenet’s Official Podcast: December 2018: The Year End Special

In our second episode of the Freezenet official podcast, we offer you our year end special! All this along with the top stories and more.

It’s only our second episode and already, we are having a special episode. To be precise, it is our year end special and last episode for 2018! You’ve heard about it first with out official Patreon release, but now, you can finally get your hands on it!

So, feel free to check it out below or via SoundCloud:

Transcript for December’s episode follows:

Intro

Happy holidays everyone!

Hi, I’m your host, Drew Wilson. Welcome to the 2018 year end special episode of Freezenet. Here are your top 3 headlines:

The Top 3

Our top story of the month is: the war on technology continues in Australia.

Coming in at number 2 is: Support for Article 13 evaporates as Europe’s copyright directive gets pushed back to 2019.

Finally, coming in at number 3, Multiple blockbuster data leaks continue with Marriott Hotels leading the size race at 500 million accounts compromised.

Top Stories

Starting with our top story: Australia’s war on technology continues with heavy hitters on both sides firing shots at each other on multiple fronts.

Earlier on, Google came out swinging against the proposal to ramp up Internet censorship in the country. In a statement, Google said in part “Google is concerned the Bill is being rushed forward despite no substantive evidence that the current legislation is deficient”

The company went on, saying, “Google’s view is that there is presently no reasonable policy basis for these amendments”

Unfortunately, despite heavy hitters coming out to support free speech, the Australian government rushed through the censorship proposal in spite of an overall lack of evidence.

While increasing Internet censorship is one prong of Australia’s war on technology, the other prong has to do with undermining encryption in the country. The legislation would force companies to install backdoors on encryption as well as various pieces of spyware.

Despite widespread outrage, the legislation was passed in a rushed process. The move was seen by many as a significant setback for digital rights and the tech sector as a whole in the country.

In response to the stunning move, a number of tech companies found themselves preparing to flee the country. Some trade organizations have revealed that many of their members are facing “difficult choices”. The choice ultimately being between staying and being forced to install backdoors and other pieces of spyware in their technology or simply leave the country entirely. While the laws still haven’t been passed in other houses, the lower house passage is already creating a heavy cloud over the sector.

More recently, the creators of encrypted app Signal said that they will not comply with Australia’s anti-encryption legislation. They said that the infrastructure within the app makes it impossible to comply with the proposed laws.

Faced with such widespread outrage and criticism, Australia’s spy chief, one of the few supporters of the legislation, hit back by blasting critics as being motivated by self-interest. He went on to say that criticism against undermining encryption is just hyperbole.

It seems that the attempt to calm things down, though, didn’t work. With the passage of the anti-encryption legislation, the policy to crack down on the technology is now threatening to become an international incident. Observers over in New Zealand find themselves questioning the push towards cloud computing with government data being hosted on Australian soil. It is causing some to question whether or not their information is safe because of Australia’s anti-encryption moves.

With so much drama and so much on the line, these issues are definitely not going away any time soon and will likely spill well into the next year.

Moving on to the second big story of the month: the battle over article 11 and article 13, Europe’s notorious copyright directive, continues. Earlier this month, some supporters of the censorship machine and the link tax decided to change the channel and say that the laws are little more than forcing YouTube to pay more to artists. The move is quite a bizarre one given that if this is the concern facing the industry, then it’s nothing more than a private matter between rights holders and YouTube, not a matter that needs to be settled through legislation.

Of course, the connection between the goals for major corporate rightsholders and the copyright directive has always been nebulous and loose. Previously, the corporate push was all about ending the so-called “value gap”. What that actually has to do with censoring the Internet was always up in the air, but for digital rights supporters, the threat of a curtailment of free speech is all too real.

Some suggest the switch in tactics means that even the major corporate interests are beginning to question whether or not the “value gap” campaign was ever really winning over public support to begin with.

In response, Cory Doctorow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation argued that if this was about forcing Youtube to pay artists more, then the corporate interests need to force YouTube to pay more. While discussing Article 13 and whether or not it would help pay artists more, Doctor argued, “Article 13 won’t help. Even if Big Tech has to pay a little extra for licensing at first, the long-term effect of Article 13 will be to reduce competition in tech, leading to even more concentration and even more market power.”

All this is happening in the backdrop of continued widespread opposition in Europe. A Chang.org petition against the legislation has reached over 4 million signatures from citizens voicing their opposition to the legislation.

Later on, it seems that public support is evaporating for the proposed copyright legislation. The major film industry has more recently come out against the legislation, saying that it does not go far enough to curtail vairous online communities and platforms. The move has caused some to argue that Article 11 and Article 13 is now devolving into the legislation no one wants.

With near universal opposition to the legislation, lawmakers ended up delaying the legislation for the remainder of 2018.

Finally, rounding out our top three is the multiple blockbuster huge data leaks and breaches that have hit various organizations. While there have been many breaches and leaks over the course of the month, none could top the Marriott hotel chains breach which saw a massive 500 million accounts compromised. Starwood Hotels confirmed that the breach occurred.

The scope of the breach is hard to understate. To our knowledge, it ties with the third worst breach in history. This is up there with two Yahoo breaches as well as the unbelievable Aadhaar data leak. The information compromised contained customer names, dates of birth, email address, and passport information. Some accounts may have also contained encrypted credit card information, though how many accounts had that remained unclear.

While Marriott was an extremely bad breach, it wasn’t the only one. The Lands Authority of Malta suffered a 10GB data leak earlier.

Additionally, the United States Postal Service website also suffered an embarrassing data leak which saw 60 million customers exposed. The leak itself allowed attackers to log into their account, then change their user information on the screen to access another customers account. Even worse was that the security researcher who discovered the leak warned the website staff about the leak, but staff took no action until Krebs On Security confirmed the leak and also warned them about it.

While some may see all these leaks and breaches and think that nothing ever becomes of it, those people would be wrong. Ride hailing service Uber was fined over 1 million euro’s for a 2016 data breach in Europe. The fine was handed down by two separate regulators: one by the Dutch Data Protection Authority who fined the company 600,000 euros and the other handed down by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office who fined them over 400,000 euro’s.

Meanwhile, question asking social media platform Quora also suffered a data leak. This one tallied in at a whopping 100 million accounts compromised. While the number may be daunting, the information that was compromised only contained minor pieces of information such as direct messages, and e-mail addresses. So, it really could have been worse, but the website staff probably wished there was no breach at all in the first place.

Later on this month, search engine giant Google suffered a second data leak on their beleaguered social media platform Google Plus. While the previous leak was bad enough with 500,000 accounts affected, the recent one saw 52.5 million users affected by the leak. The first breach is widely seen as the catalyst for the eventual sun-setting of the social media platform, however, this recent leak sped things up with Google announcing that the shut down will occur 4 months earlier then expected.

Facebook has suffered yet another data leak. This time, 6.8 million users pictures may have been exposed. The pictures were exposed to third party app developers. Facebook has since apologized for the leak and said that it is alerting affected users.

One other data leak of note revolves around Bethesda and their video game Fallout 76. Following the technical glitch of the entire game deleting itself on users computers just before launch, a second glitch saw user support messages being randomly distributed among the user base. The glitch caused many to raise concerns over what is happening with the company. Bethesda says that it has since fixed the problem.

And those are the top three big stories making news this month on Freezenet. Here are some of the other stories making news this month.

Other Stories Making News

The exodus of users continues at social media site Tumblr. After the sites app got the boot from the Apple store over the discovery of child pornography, the website decided to implement automated filtering to remove porn of any kind at all. While one might think such filters would only impact accounts that deal with adult content, it seems the filters are flagging a host of non-pornographic material. This includes abstract animations, fully clothed women, a picture of a dragon, and even fan art of Garfield the Cat. Other users are finding that instances of nudity are also being missed by Tumblr’s algorithm. The faulty algorithm, and the fact that it’s being implemented at all, are causing many users to jump ship and find other platforms to post material without the fear of being censored.

Meanwhile, Facebook is taking some heat over a policy change that deals with sexuality. In some instances, talking about sexuality is now being banned in the name of cracking down on human trafficking. The Electronic Frontier Foundation blasted the move, saying that it should be up to users to decide what they can and cannot say or see.

Moving over into Canada, the Canadian Bar Association made a surprisingly bizarre appearance in a copyright hearing. While the Canadian government supports the made-in-Canada approach of the notice-and-notice system, the legal organization says that such a system should be scrapped in favour of the problem-plagued notice-and-takedown system. They say that it is because some people “see” the notice-and-notice system as flawed. The call puzzled lawmakers given the evidence that the notice-and-notice system is working. When asked about why they are even thinking of proposing that Canada switch to the notice-and-takedown system, representatives seemed to deflect the question, saying that both systems have flaws and that notice-and-takedown should be adopted. There’s no sign that Canadian lawmakers are going to go ahead with tearing down the currently working notice-and-notice system at this point.

In a follow-up story we brought you on Freezenet, the Canadian government’s law that finally criminalizes shady file-sharing settlement demand notices has received royal assent. The law bans the practice of injecting settlement demands or demanding that customers visit a URL to pay a settlement fee or face millions in alleged penalties. The change closes that loophole in the system.

Those are some of the other stories making news here on Freezenet.

Video Game Reviews

Now, turning towards entertainment, here are the video games we’ve reviewed this month:

Fatal Run for the Atari 7800. A game that is definitely better then expected when compared to the Atari 2600 port. Features an ability to buy car parts and a password system to pick up where you left off. Unfortunately, the steep learning curve and odd AI does leave a lot to be desired in this game. In the end, our score for this game is 70%.

Next up is Water Ski for the Atari 7800. Complicated controls and difficulty concentrating on your character hampers gameplay. Compounding the problems is the high degree of difficulty this game features. Adding in poor graphics, this game gets the failing grade of 46%.

A third game we’ve played this month is Super Huey UH-IX also for the Atari 7800. Interesting momentum feature in the helicopter, but it just winds up being a repetitive turret gunner game. So, this game winds up with a 54%.

Finally, we tried Crossbow for the Atari 7800. Characters offer no sense of spacial awareness which makes the game frustrating. Still, the game does offer some interesting action which forces players to rely on skill rather than luck. Unfortunately, the graphics and audio don’t do a whole lot for this game. So, this game gets a 60%.

Music Reviews

As for music we’ve listened to this month, we’ve got…

Chrom – Visions
Assemblage 23 – Bravery
Temple City – Europa [yur-ROH-pah]
Sort of Expression – City of Calm
Planet Bliss – Tekest
Spirograph – Reverse Engineering
Beauty’s Confusion – Moments Like These

and finally, David Cooper – Glory Awaits

Picks of the Month

So, that, leads us to our pick of the month. This month, our pick of the month belongs to Beauty’s Confusion – Moments Like These. Also, be sure to check out Assemblage 23 – Bravery.

Oddities

And in other news…

Two robbery suspects held up a T-Mobile cell-phone store. After threatening employees, staff handed over 30,000 dollars worth of merchandise. For the trouble the criminals went through to rob the place, an employee threw in a free GPS tracker. Police found the criminals, excited to use the real-time data of their location. When police busted them, the criminals still had the stolen merchandise as well as the weapons used during the robbery.

You can add this to the list of things you shouldn’t do during a job interview. A Florida man just wrapped up a job interview at a Kolh’s store. On the way out, the man decided to pick up a little something for his mother. So, he stole a pair of shoes on the way out the door. The man was arrested. No doubt his mother must be proud of him.

In Jackson Mississippi, a police dog worked for a police department for 9 years. At that point, the dog had reached retirement. As thanks for the dogs dedicated service to the force, he was dumped at the local animal shelter. Fortunately, the person at the shelter recognized the dog and contacted the trainer. The trainer, in turn, picked up the dog, but told reporters that he is not training dogs for that particular police department ever again.

Year End Top 10 Lists

Now, for those of you who have been following Freezenet for some time now, you may recognize that we wrap the year up with a traditional set of top 10 lists for all the things we’ve reviewed. You might be wondering whether or not we’d do the same for our podcast, and the answer is “yes”. So, lets kick things off with the top 10 best games we’ve reviewed this year:

Number 10: Blueprint for the the Atari 5200. This one scored and 80%.

Number 9: Kirby Super Star Ultra for the Nintendo DS with a score of 80%.

Number 8: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 for the Playstation 2. Earned a score of 80%.

Number 7: River Raid for the Atari 2600. It got a score of 82%.

Number 6: Vigilante 8 for the Playstation. Blasts a score of 84%.

Number 5: Qix for the Atari 5200. This one draws up an 86%.

Number 4: Doom 64 for the Nintendo 64. It scared up an 86%.

Number 3: Super Mario World 2 – Yoshi’s Island for the Super Nintendo. This one finds an 86%.

Number 2: Beetle Adventure Racing for the Nintendo 64. This one breaks into a massive 92%.

So, that leads us to this years winner for best game we’ve reviewed all year. That title belongs to Kirby Super Star for the Super Nintendo. This game copies its way into a 96%.

Switching gears, here are your top 10 best tracks we’ve reviewed this year:

Coming in at Number 10: Andy Moor vs. Michael Wilson – Control Me (Toby Emerson Unreleased Mix) – 8.5/10

Number 9: G-Town Madness & The Viper – Live A Lie – 8.5/10

Number 8: DJ Eco – Light At the End (Original Mix) – 8.5/10

Number 7: Grindstone – Yesterday – 8.5/10

Number 6: Toby Emerson feat. Dwizz – Trippin’ On Lust (Original Mix) – 8.5/10

Number 5: Dan Stone – Drive (Stoneface & Terminal Remix) – 8.5/10

Number 4: Vision84 – Highway Central (Original Mix) – 8.5/10

Number 3: Predator & Angerfist – Legend – 9/10

Number 2: SSH – Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead) – 9/10

So, this years track of the year belongs to: Protoculture feat. Shannon Hurley – Sun Gone Down (Original Mix) – 9.5/10.

We hope you enjoyed those lists as much as we’ve enjoyed making them. We certainly look forward to finding out what is in store for next year as well!

Outro

One final note to everyone out there. Freezenet now has its own Patreon. If you want to support this podcast and this website, you can check out what we have to offer for you. The Patreon features exclusive access to early content, polls, and additional features not currently available on Freezenet. If you want to support us, this is an excellent and direct way to do so. So, check us out at Pareon.com/freezenet!

…and that’s this months episode for December 2018, I’m Drew Wilson for Freezenet. Be sure to check out our website at freezenet.ca for all the latest in news and reviews. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at freezenetca. Thank you for listening and see you next month.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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