Freezenet’s Official Podcast: December 2019: The Year End Special

In this 14th episode of the Freezenet official podcast, “The Year End Special”, we take a look at the news and reviews we covered for December.

Welcome to the public version of the 14th episode of the Freezenet official podcast for December, 2019. This month’s episode is entitled the Year End Special because we’ve reached the end of yet another year.

This month, we talk about the RIAA legal win over Cox Communications. Additionally, we cover the ongoing Facebook encryption debate. Also, we touch on the GoldTV case which could bring Internet censorship into Canada.

Also this month, we talk about all the music and video games we’ve reviewed for the month. Additionally, we talk about that Ohio postal worker doing something a little extra on her rout. A little hint on that story: she wound up getting arrested for it.

Since this is the year end special, this month’s episode is extra jam packed with stuff. We decided to talk about 10 memorable stories that happened throughout 2019. Additionally, we cover what we consider the top 10 biggest security incidences, best video games, and tracks we’ve covered on the site.

On a side note, I did have some recording issues this month. So, the quality does change part way through. Long story short, a whole lot went wrong this month when recording this months podcast. On the plus side, the editing was done phenomenally quick (merely 2 days before it was done!). So, extra hats off to Nolan for doing his part to minimize all the delays this month (all the delays were on me, ugh!)

Anyway, you can check out our official podcast on Soundcloud or Anchor. Alternatively, you can take a listen below:

Edit: You can now listen to this publicly via Patreon.

What follows is a transcript of this month’s episode:

Intro

It’s the 2019 year end special!

Hi, I’m your host, Drew Wilson. Welcome to the 14th episode of the Freezenet official podcast for December, 2019. Here are your top 3 headlines:

The Top 3

The RIAA wins a $1 billion judgement against ISP Cox Communications, threatening to change what ISP liability entails.

Coming in at number 2 is Facebook suffers from another data leak as the US and UK governments pressure the site to keep its security weak.

Also, a major Canadian court ruling threatens to breathe new life into Canadian internet censorship.

Top Stories

First, we begin in the US where a major court ruling threatens to reshape ISP liability in the country. If a user infringes copyright through a file-sharing network, who is legally responsible? The alleged file-sharer who carried out the act or the ISP that he used? For the better part of a decade in the US, the answer is obviously the alleged file-sharer. After all, the ISP simply provides a connection. They aren’t responsible for what the user does with that connection. It’s a lot like asking who is to blame in a crime when a vehicle is involved. Do you blame the driver or the dealer for selling that vehicle to the criminal? While various rulings and changes to the law have worn down that type of protection, a recent court ruling could further erode safe harbour protection.

The jury handed a $1 billion judgment to the Recording Industry Association of America against US ISP Cox Communications. At issue were 1,000 tracks the RIAA says were being infringed by the ISPs subscribers. Cox Communications did forward notices of infringement to their subscribers as required by American law. Of course, the RIAA wanted more and they contend that the ISP wasn’t disconnecting alleged file-sharers fast enough. The RIAA contends that this is what sparked the court case. After the judgment was handed down, Cox Communications said that they will appeal the decision. They said in part that the fine is unfair and that they fully intend on challenging the ruling on appeal.

Turning things to another story that has been a major theme all year: the Facebook encryption battle with various governments. We’ve seen a number of developments on this file this month. This started with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children which continued to argue that better secured messages will lead to child grooming. The talking point was made in previous months and was quickly debunked as a very serious misunderstanding of how encryption works. Undeterred, the UK organization continued to re-iterate those points in spite of the fact that those points were already debunked.

After that, the US senate held a hearing with Facebook and other tech companies on encryption. Those hearings saw lawmakers trying to pressure companies like Facebook to create backdoor access to their encryption for law enforcement purposes. The community fought back by pointing out that weakening encryption would be a gift to the very “bad guys” the government so badly wants to go after. Intentionally weakening encryption would mean that innocent users would be vulnerable to malicious third parties. Additionally, encryption doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone else is blocked out. As we also elaborated on, security systems are broken into all the time. Law enforcement has already figured out how to break into Apple’s iPhone, so how is Facebook encryption going to be any different? Lawmakers responded by issuing an ultimatum. They said that the companies have 1 year to create backdoor access. Either the companies find a way to make backdoor access happen or lawmakers would legislate them into doing it.

Shortly after the hearing, Facebook sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr. The letter basically told the government that Facebook isn’t bowing to any pressure. Facebook says that they will not be weakening encryption to satisfy them.

In all of this, Facebook managed to reverse its image on privacy to a pretty impressive degree. They went from a company that sells user information to third parties and can’t be trusted to a staunch defender of privacy rights. That image Facebook worked quite hard to gain threatened to peal away when the site suffered from another data leak. In all, 267 million Facebook accounts were compromised. Some analysis suggest that the information was taken from 2018 when Facebook was much more open to handing out user information. Still, it continues the trend of yet another misconfigured cloud server leaking personal information.

In one last followup to this saga, the UK’s Home Office is continuing to dial up pressure against Facebook on encryption. The Home Office says that if Facebook continues its plans on encryption, then the government will lose the ability to track down child abusers and terrorists. The government dropped some data on how many cases of terrorism and child abuse is being tracked. After that, they make the logical leap that encryption would somehow magically put an end to all of these cases and block all future cases. All this has yet to be proven.

Turning things over to Canada, a new court ruling is breathing new life into the push to implement Canadian Internet censorship. For more than a year, major multinational corporations, in cooperation with major corporations in Canada, have jointly pursued the idea of being able to issue censorship orders on Canadian ISPs. Initially, it wound up being a two-pronged approach. One prong was to lobby and pressure the Canadian regulator, the CRTC. Through the notorious FairPlay Canada coalition, they called on the regulator to force ISPs to comply with the blocking of websites they don’t like. Ultimately, after hearing all the evidence, the CRTC sensibly chose to reject the proposed censorship orders.

The second prong is through the well worn path of lobbying the government. This is through the copyright review process where laws could be changed to make it possible to censor websites multinational corporations do not like. While they did make headway when the Canadian Heritage committee issued what many considered a one-sided report, the Industry Ministry heard from all sides. In response to their studying of the issues, they concluded by remaining rightfully skeptical that mass Internet censorship is not a solution. As such, the push to censor the Internet in Canada hung in legal limbo.

Now, a court judge has handed down a ruling in the GoldTV case saying that ISPs must censor the Internet when corporations come calling. In a ruling observers like Michael Geist call “going rogue”, the judge chose to rely heavily on UK law and UK court decisions to come to the legal conclusion that Canada must censor the Internet. Law experts, of course, point out that this is not how judicial precedence works. Canadian Judges need to rely on Canadian law and Canadian case law to guide their decisions. Major Canadian ISPs didn’t bother contending the ruling and have, instead, chosen to begin implementing the censorship ruling. This left Canadian independent ISP, Teksavvy, to appeal the decision alone. As many know, most ISPs are now owned by major entertainment conglomerates at this point. That could partly explain why TekSavvy is the only ISP to appeal the decision.

Certainly a lot going on here on Freezenet this month. Here are some of the other stories making news this month.

Other Stories Making News

The case of whether it is legal to post the law online for free is now headed to the US Supreme Court. Carl Malamud posted the annotated version of Georgia state law online for free. In response, the state of Georgia not only filed a copyright infringement lawsuit, but also labelled Malamud a terrorist for posting the law online for free as well. The annotated version features case law that would directly affect the laws in the books already, so it is the actively enforced version of the law. Georgia contends that, because they contracted out LexisNexus to create the annotated version, they would therefore own the copyright of the law.

The Canadian school district known as Near North has been “randomly selected” in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Access Copyright is suing various school districts after raising tariff rates on copied reading material. Some schools are rebelling against these new rates by refusing to be part of the Access Copyright system. In response, Access Copyright sued the education system for $50 million for refusing to pay their new fees. As part of the discovery phase of the lawsuit, Near North school district is one of the named school districts to partake in the process. Access Copyright is demanding all the copied reading material for the last 7 years from every school teacher in the district.

The total number of schools that were “randomly selected” is 300. In response, teachers are feeling the strain of having to partake in the discover process. It turns out, handing over 7 years worth of reading material is proving to be what some are describing as a “logistical nightmare”. Many school teachers are feeling the stress given that this has taken place at a very busy time of year when examinations and grading of final projects are taking place. Many overtime hours are being handed out to comply with the court order. In some districts, part time teachers are being brought in to help with the added workload this has brought.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is accusing Amazon owned Ring of throwing customers under the bus after a data leak. Earlier this month, reports circulated about how thousands of login credentials are being posted online. Some hackers are taking those credentials and actively began taking over the security system of various peoples houses. In one instance, a mother who installed a camera in her 8 year old daughters room for peace of mind discovered one day that her system was taken over. In a chilling video, a stranger played music, then began speaking to the child via the two way speaker system. In response to the growing controversy, Ring said that this data leak was the result of credential stuffing and nothing to do with their security. The EFF blasted the company, saying that the company is throwing customers under the bus instead of doing more to protect customers highly sensitive live feed information.

Australia’s notorious anti-security laws made an appearance in the news this month. Major computing company IBM is blasting the laws, saying that requiring backdoor access weakens and undermines security. They were critical of the existence of the Technical Assistance Notices and urged a review of that regime. The comments come as part of a review process currently in progress in the country.

In some countries, knowing how political parties track your data can be difficult. In the UK, however, it is actually possible to get a glimpse into the inner workings of political data tracking. This is thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation. The Open Rights Group created a study on what parties track and gather. In some instances, parties used a general idea of a given area for certain issues. In other cases, opinions and leanings are slurped up by various parties from social media accounts. When using a director within their organization, Open Rights Group found that some opinions were retrieved accurately while many others were way off the mark. In response, the group offered some free tools so other residents can find out how they are being tracked. The project is entitled “Who Do You Think We Are?

A major decision is going to soon be made that could reshape the behind the scenes side of the Internet at large. The .org top-level domain has been run by non-profit organization, the Internet Society. As some of you might know, websites that operate with .org at the end of their names tend to be charities and non-profit organizations. Now, the organization is potentially selling .org to Ethos Capital for $1.135 billion. Many non-profit organizations fear that the private takeover could not only mean prices for domain names will rise, but also cut into the very heart of what .org philosophically means in the first place. Some fear it may also bring about additional censorship. Many organizations, including the EFF, are demanding that the sale be stopped.

A Youtuber is finding out that even simply using public domain material isn’t enough to avoid copyright claims. Chris Knight shot a video of bees. He then took the public domain sheet music for Flight of the Bumblebee and fed it through a MIDI synthesizer. After that, he took the resulting sound and placed it over top of the video. In response, accused copyright troll, Adrev, claimed copyright over the music. The company then demanded that all money made from the video be redirected to their account after. In response, Knight accused YouTube of being biased against creators.

TeeSpring suddenly pulled t-shirts owned by opinion website TechDirt. Techdirt points out that there is no third party material on the shirt and the design is original. The site gets some of its revenue from t-shirt sales. Unfortunately, TeeSpring pulled it, claiming that the shirts contain copyrighted material. After pressing the company on what work they violated and what policy was specifically violated, the company responded by saying that they won’t debate the issue any further. In response, TechDirt put their shirt design on Threadless instead.

An American company operating in Russia had their offices raided by Russian police this month as well. NGinx’s co-founder, Maxim Konovalov, was briefly detained as part of the raid. Konovalov previously worked for a company known as Rambler Group in a non-technological role. He then went on to co-found NGinx after leaving the company. The Rambler Group contends that any code written by Konovalov is copyrighted to the Rambler Group. Copyright was then used as a pretext for the Russian raids. The company has since been seeking to drop the case after the raids received international headlines. Some observers fear that Russian police are being used to settle corporate disputes.

The fight to repeal FOSTA is continuing to carry on in the US. FOSTA is a law that says if human trafficking is occurring on a website by third parties, then websites are left with the liability. In response, many sites shut down after realizing Section 230 no longer applies to them. Sex advocacy group, Hacking//Hustling, posted some of the results of a study they are conducting about FOSTA. After interviewing many in the sex trade, 99% of respondents said that they do not feel safer because of FOSTA. Other statistics showed that FOSTA has resulted in a 170% spike in crimes in the sex trade. Others pointed out that many online tools that helped make the sex trade safer have been taken offline. This leaves sex workers to simply fend for themselves in the absence of these tools. While these results are being posted, US Democrats are tabling a bill asking to look into the affects and results of FOSTA. Observers suggest that the efforts will probably fail given how much Trump happily signed FOSTA into law.

There’s been some developments in the Desjardins data breach story. As you heard last month, the company suffered from a breach which resulted in every customer being affected. Now, with the Quebec government finally moving forward with an inquiry, it seems that the mounting pressure is potentially being too much for the company. In response to the breach, the insurance company fired two top executives. The Chief Operating Officer and their head of IT are now gone.

In another follow-up, the Desjardins data breach somehow managed to become even worse. Last month, we pointed out that it is unlikely that the breach would worsen given that all 4.2 million customers had their information compromised. It turns out that we underestimated how this breach could get worse than 100% of the customer base. Apparently, some 1.8 million credit card holders were also in a system overlooked by the insurance company. The holders aren’t really Desjardins customers, but now have had their information compromised as well. It’s unlikely the company wanted to exceed 100% in this manner.

Speaking of security incidences, we’ve got a few of them to report on – and some of them certainly are big this time around.

First up is T-Mobile. The company suffered from a data breach affecting 1 million customers. Among the compromised data are names, billing addresses, phone numbers, account numbers and rate plans and features purchased by T-Mobile’s prepaid data customers.

Shortly after, MixCloud suffered from a data breach. In all, 21 million accounts were compromised.

From there, Texas-based company TrueDialogue suffered from a data leak. In all, over 1 billion text messages housed in a 602GB database was left exposed, unsecured, and unencrypted on a server. The database has since been secured.

All this, of course, over top of the previously mentioned Facebook leak which saw 267 million accounts compromised.

So, certainly a lot going on here on Freezenet. So, let’s switch gears and take a look at what is happening in entertainment.

Video Game Reviews

Before we jump into the video game reviews, we wanted to point out that we posted another first impression video. This month, we tried the game Half-Life 2: Episode Two. This pretty much polishes off the Half-Life 2 sub-series. With the series complete, we wanted to say that it was a fun experience playing these games for the first time. If you want to see what our first impression of this last released part was like, I’ll leave a link in the transcript of the show so you can check it out yourself!

Now, here are video games we’ve reviewed this month:

First up is Star Wars – Return of the Jedi – Death Star Battle for the Atari 5200. Only 2 levels makes this game a very limited one. The length of each level leaves a lot to be desired, but there are reasonable controls. So, this game gets a mediocre 60%.

From there, we tried The Dreadnaught Factor for the Atari 5200. An odd segmented level system, but it does have a good difficulty curve. So, this game gets a decent 70%.

After that, we tried Mr. Do!’s Castle for the Atari 5200. Repetitive play and less than steller AI, though this game does sport a novel attack system. So, this game gets a mediocre 60%.

Finally, we tried Meteorites for the Atari 5200. A very low quality clone of Asteroids with no high score system or ability to move backwards. This game flops with a 42%.

Music Reviews

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

New York’s Sweet Sensation – If Wishes Came True

DJ Aligator Project – The Whistle Song

Nelson – (Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection

George Michael – Praying for Time

Stevie B – Because I Love You (The Postman Song)

C+C Music Factory – Gonna Make You Sweat

Timmy T – One More Try

… and finally, Bomfunk MCs – Freestyler

Picks of the Month

So, that, leads us to our pick of the month. This month, our pick of the month belongs to Bomfunk MCs – Freestyler. Also, be sure to check out DJ Aligator Project – The Whistle Song.

Oddities

And in other news…

A man in New Mexico has been arrested and accused of carrying out two armed robberies. Surveillance video captured the suspect using a weapon to rob a Pizza Hut. He then attempted to flee only to face-plant into a door that had been locked for the night. While he did initially get away, officers obtained a DNA sample from the door. They then conducted a database search and found a match of a known felon. The criminal was then tracked down and arrested. Ahh, the power of science and criminal failure.

A Detroit demolition company is in hot water. A fire damaged home was slated for demolition. Unfortunately, the company wound up showing up at the wrong address and destroyed a different home. While this sounds like a one-off incident, a reporter pointed out that this is the second time this happened in 18 months. The address slated for demolition was 14461 Alma. Instead, the company tore down 14661 Alma – a house one block away. Man, how do these things keep happening anyway?

An Ohio postal worker has been arrested. Police have been watching the postal worker for three months before moving in and making the arrest. The woman is accused of selling crack out of her mail truck while on her delivery rout. I’d ask what she might have been on if she thought she could get away with that, but I think I already know.

Year End Top 10 Lists

Since this is the year end special, we thought we’d run through some of the stuff we saw over the last year. First, we thought we’d cover 10 memorable stories throughout 2019 in no particular order.

10 Memorable Stories of 2019

One of the biggest stories we covered was, of course, Article 11 and Article 13. This European law was known as the Link Tax and Censorship machines. Citizens came to the streets in droves to protest. It seemed that the universal condemnation would get lawmakers to listen. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead, the law was passed by narrow margins along with some lawmakers later admitting that they hit the wrong button due to procedural confusion. Many citizens were sickened by the result even though a petition against the laws became one of the largest petitions ever signed on Change.org. If anything, though, it showed that European’s can come together for a common cause: saving the Internet.

In the months since, France pushed through their implementation of the laws. Google threatened to remove links and snippets in response. Lawmakers and large publishers simply chose to ignore those warnings. As it turns out, that decision was made to their detriment. Google carried through and deleted snippets to comply with the law. Major publishers were furious that Google followed the law and called the perfectly legal move “blackmail”. No doubt, more fallout is going to be seen with this story with such wide implications for the entire continent.

Of course, another big story we’ve been following all year is the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal. For a number of people, this wound up playing out in a very high profile manner throughout mainstream media. The story was a carry-over from 2018 where Cambridge Analytica used data-mining techniques to extract public information from people’s social media accounts. That data was then used to help both the Trump campaign and the Brexit vote. After several rounds of political testimony in both the UK and the US, Cambridge Analytica wound up declaring bankruptcy.

While the company was, in name, gone, the repercussions carried through. The FTC fined Facebook $5 Billion for privacy violations. Many consider this to be a fine for the record books. Facebook also faced legal hot water in other jurisdictions including Canada and Europe with varying degrees of severity. Certainly a story that we saw get played out for several months in a very high profile manner.

With Facebook facing multiple issues with privacy, a third memorable story wound up helping Facebook distance itself from the image of being a company plagued with privacy issues. In fact, it pushed the exact opposite image of Facebook being a stoic defender of privacy if you can believe it. That is the story of the implementation of end-to-end encryption. After the social media platform announced its plans to implement this new layer of security, governments from around the world wound up screaming to Facebook to stop these plans. It initially started with a joint letter from the US, UK, and Australia. Later on, Germany joined in on this anti-security crusade as well. Facebook refused to budge on their plans. In response, the UK summoned Nick Clegg to testify before a British committee. Later on, the US would haul various tech companies, including Facebook, before their own committee meeting. Lawmakers wound up issuing an ultimatum that either the company implements backdoor access for law enforcement or laws would be implemented forcing their hand. Facebook then sent a letter to Attorney General, William Barr, right after saying that they still refuse to comply with these demands. Some government arms and organizations made wild claims that encryption would kill off all investigations into abuse and terrorism. Naturally, the security community quickly debunked these baseless claims, but that hasn’t stopped some from continuing to push this narrative anyway. This story is so big, it will likely stretch well into 2020 as well.

With the US threatening to legislate its way out of secure Internet infrastructure, American’s can actually get a glimpse into the future of such an ill-conceived ideas. Australia implemented its own set of anti-security laws known as the Assistance and Access Act. Despite dire warnings from the technology and security sectors, Australia chose to ignore expert testimony and implement these laws anyway. The results were, as predicted, catastrophic. Business and investment began a mass exodus of the country, international businesses blacklisted the country, and security concerns expanded well beyond the countries borders. If that weren’t bad enough, Australia went even further to the point of making it onto this years list as well for another reason. The government conducted raids in the offices of various news organizations publishing material critical of the government. Utilizing the anti-security laws, they began monitoring major media outlets to gather evidence. After that, warrants were executed and Australian media and social media became flooded with pictures of officers rifling through reporters drawers and going through their computer systems as well. These stunning images prompted international journalism organization, Reporters Without Borders, to condemn the raids as an affront to journalistic freedom and freedom of expression. While we were well aware of many of the implications, that major development even took us by surprise as well.

Of course, journalistic freedom coming under attack isn’t exclusive to Australia. In this next memorable story, sometimes attacking the media ends up being an international effort as well. For years, Wikileaks co-founder, Julian Assange, was holed up in an Ecuadorian embassy fearing political persecution. Those fears revolved around his role in the publication of diplomatic cables, war diaries, and top secret international trade agreements such as the TPP and CETA. The US has issued multiple indictments against Assange which includes basic journalistic activity. This activity includes seeking sources, communicating over the Internet, and using a computer system for journalistic purposes. The EFF condemned the indictment as a breach of 20 years of not using the Espionage Act to go after journalists. Many dubious rumours were spread about Assange such as him flinging feces around the embassy and misbehaviour. Most, if not, all of these rumours have since been debunked by people working closely with Assange. Sweden said that they wanted him for an alleged sexual assault, but mysteriously refused to press charges. One accuser has since admitted that the assault she faced never actually happened. Assange, for his part, offered many deals such as leaving the embassy to face the charges in exchange for not being extradited to the US. Sweden would mysteriously not agree to those terms. After a major loan to Ecuador after new leadership was voted in, Ecuador relinquished Assange’s political asylum. British authorities then moved in and arrested Assange. Assange did not resist especially given how far his health deteriorated. Instead, he ended up being dragged out of the embassy, then thrown into solitary confinement in a prison meant for the most serious offenders such as murderers. The arrest ultimately ended a multi-year political standoff between the publisher and the US government. Now, many fear that he would be extradited to the US where he could face the death penalty. His court case is ultimately ongoing as his health deteriorates.

Of course, the news wasn’t all bad in Europe. In fact, this next memorable story wound up being a major win for consumers. That, of course, is the General Data Protection Regulation. A select few people said that these laws would be a massive new burden on websites and would add more red tape. Most, however, wound up seeing the benefits. More recently, it allowed the Open Rights Group to get a behind the scenes look at what political parties are tracking. They even released a tool called “Who Do You Think We Are?” so that other British citizens can repeat what the digital rights organization was able to do. Other signs of success is the fact that the government was able to hand out major fines for companies who violated privacy laws. Those fines tend to be a percentage of global revenue turnaround. As a result, the monetary figures have since skyrocketed. In fact, government wound up being a victim of the laws success. At one point, regulators were completely overwhelmed with the number of reports and complaints flooding their inboxes. As a result, enforcement of the law quickly became a question of man-power after hundreds of thousands of reports came forward that would not likely otherwise come to light. The laws only cost the websites a small amount of webspace which contains notices about how cookies are tracking the consumers movements and whether or not the consumer agrees. It’s a hard sell to say that this wound up being a terrible thing in the grand scheme of things.

Moving things back over to North American and we got a copyright case that seems to defy logic and reason. Carl Malamud wanted to perform a particularly large project that he felt was part of his civic duty. That project revolved around allowing people to be informed about what the laws say. So, he created a website called public.resources.org. From there, he published not only federal law, but state law as well for all to read. You would think that such an endeavour would be pretty non-controversial. The State of Georgia changed all that. The state, stunningly, sued Malamud for copyright infringement and even labelled him a terrorist for educating the public on the law. At issue were state laws. The state hired LexusNexus to create an annotated version of the law. The annotated version of the law includes case law that would affect how the law is enforced. This annotated version is, of course, what is enforced, not the non-annotated version. Georgia claims that they can lay a copyright claim on the annotated version, so therefore, can sue Malamud for copyright infringement for posting the law online for free. The state lost on appeal, but Malamud asked the Supreme court to weigh in despite the legal win. This is because other states were considering, or already pursuing, legal remedies against him and his site. A Supreme court decision could put many claims to rest without the costs of litigating those other cases as well.

Now, our memories come home to Canada. Of course, few stories eclipse perhaps one of the biggest issues facing Canadians – the threat of Internet censorship. Multinational corporations teamed up with allies in Canada to form a two pronged approach in their attempt to create mass Internet censorship in Canada. The first prong was to target Canadian regulator, the CRTC. Their efforts were to essentially demand that they should pick and choose what Canadians be permitted to see online. Any website they don’t like would then be placed on a Canada-wide Internet blacklist. They even went so far as to demand that the Canadian regulator not only administer this wall, but they even demanded that Canadian taxpayers pay for it too. The regulator examined the details of the proposal, weighed all the facts, and came to the sensible conclusion that they should reject the idea outright. Undeterred by the defeat, multinational interests then pushed with their second prong: lobbying the federal government. They even made headway when they convinced the Heritage Committee to conduct a study that almost exclusively looks at the opinions of people who agree with Internet censorship. After that, the conclusion wound up being that the Canadian government should implement Internet censorship. The scheme seemed to be going well until it ran up against the Industry Committee. That committee decided to take a neutral approach and hear from all stakeholders. They concluded that Internet censorship isn’t exactly something to jump into and that there is reason to be skeptical about such plans. It seemed that Internet censorship was dead in Canada as a result of the clash between two committees. Then, along came the GoldTV case. In a court ruling, a judge did what many called “going rogue”. He ruled that ISPs should censor the site and their services. He cited UK law and UK court decisions as the basis for his Canadian ruling. Many law experts obviously point out that this is not how case law works by any stretch of the imagination. Naturally, the only independent ISP, TekSavvy, appealed for many obviously glaring flaws in the ruling. We expect to see an update in 2020 to see if Canadians can finally shed the threat of mass Internet censorship in Canada.

In our 10th memory of 2019, we wound up looking into the Canadian election and its implications on digital rights. In our world class coverage, we examined the platform of every major political party running. We offered detailed analysis of the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Green Party, Bloc, and even the People’s Party of Canada. Ultimately, Freezenet would be the only site to do so through the lens of digital rights. From there, we examined the debates that were held. Most barely even touched on the subject while one actually offered a few relevant points. It wound up being very notable that despite so much emphasis on Canada being a technological leader in the world, technology wound up being drowned out of most of the debate chatter. After the votes were cast, the Liberals wound up with a minority government. That could mean that some of the worst technological policies could be shelved for the time being. The reasons can range from not having the political capital to spend or the simple fact that they could run out of time before the government falls. While the election wound up being rather disappointing, it did become memorable anyway.

Top 10 Security Incidences

Now, you might be thinking at this point, “where are all of those security incidences that you’ve been reporting on all year?” That is actually the subject of our next list. This year, we decided to also have a separate list for security incidences. In this list, we are counting down the top 10 biggest security incidences we’ve been able to report on. For this list, we decided to settle on some criteria. First, we are going by the size of entries. This could be actual records or the number of users impacted. We could have gone for actual hard disk size, but far too often, that goes unreported. Additionally, record size can vary. So, a database that has a million credit cards would be much smaller than a database containing video’s of a few thousand people. So, that would be a poor unit of measurement. So, that is why we went with entries or users as a unit of measurement instead.

At this point, you might be thinking that you already know some of the entries in this list. There’s the Desjardins data breach that might come to mind. Another one is the CapitalOne data breach. There are even a few leaks and breaches that encompass entire percentages of whole countries. If you thought any of those would make this years list, you are wrong. In fact, many of these security incidences look at those and say, “Aw, how cute.”

So, what did make the list of biggest security incidences we’ve seen this year? Well, here it is.

Number 10: The Canva breach. Total number of accounts compromised: 139 million. Occurred back in May. The cause: A hacker breached their servers.

Number 9: The 2 breaches of Flipboard. Total number of accounts compromised: 150 million. That one also occurred in May. The cause: A hacker obtained unauthorized access for over 9 months.

Number 8: The Dealerleads data leak. Total number of accounts compromised: 198 million. That one happened a bit more recently as it took place in September. The cause: An unsecured database.

Number 7: Another Facebook data leak. Total number of accounts compromised: 267 million. That happened very recently in December. The cause: Third party scraping data and leaving it exposed online after.

Number 6: A Facebook data leak. Total number of accounts compromised: 419 million. This additional leak occurred in September. The cause: An unsecured server leaving the data exposed to anyone with no login required.

Number 5: The Facebook and Instagram data leak. Total number of accounts compromised: 540 million. This deja-vu incident occurred in April. The cause: A misconfigured Amazon S3 bucket left the data exposed.

Number 4: Verifications IO LLC. Total number of records compromised: 800 million. This one happened in March. The cause: An unsecured Mongo Database.

Number 3: The First American Financial Group data leak. Total number of records compromised: 885 million dating back to 2003. That occurred in June. The cause: Anyone with a web browser that feels like editing URLs.

Number 2: The TrueDialog data leak. Total number of text messages exposed: 1 billion. This one happened in December. The Cause: Database left unsecured and unencrypted on an internet connected server.

Finally, the largest security incident we’ve seen is one of unknown origin. Total number of “enriched” accounts compromised: 1.2 billion. This happened in November. The cause: An unsecured server that allows anyone to access it – no login credentials required.

While hackers were, indeed, the cause of a number of breaches, they appear to have been no match for human error which clearly did far more damage to personal information then them this year. All I can say about the significance of the list is “wow”.

Top 10 Video Games

This leads us to our next top lists: entertainment. We started this tradition last year of counting down our favourite games and tracks. This year, we’ve expanded the tradition to include news as well as you just heard. First, though, let’s take a look at our top 10 favourite games we’ve reviewed throughout 2019.

Number 10: Miner 2049er for the Atari 5200. This one scored an 80%.

Number 9: Battletanx – Global Assault for the Nintendo 64. This one got an 80% as well.

Number 8: Duke Nukem: Zero Hour for the Nintendo 64. That one also got an 80%.

Number 7: Vigilante 8 – 2nd Offense for the Playstation. This one earned an 82%.

Number 6: Q-Bert for the Atari 5200. That one got an 84%.

Number 5: Pole Position II for the Atari 5200. That one also got an 84%.

Number 4: Mean 18 Ultimate Golf for the Atari 7800. This one got an 84%.

Number 3: River Raid for the Atari 5200. This one earned an 84%.

Number 2: Dig Dug for the Atari 5200. That one got an 88%.

Finally at number 1: Vegas Stakes for the Super Nintendo. That one also got an 88%.

Looking back on 2019, I have to say it was a very interesting year. Having grown up in the Super Nintendo and N64 era, I personally had very little exposure to any Atari games. So, playing these for the first time was an interesting trip. I did get an idea of what some console games that predate the NES were like. In the process, I now have a better understanding of how games evolved going into the incredible rise of Nintendo.

So, going into 2020, I’ll be reviewing a few more Atari games to see what others were like, but I will say that all things do come to an end. After finishing off a few more games, I’ll be heading into a different direction to give other gaming systems some time in the spotlight. What is the next system I’ll be playing around with next? You’ll have to wait to find out.

Top 10 Tracks

Of course, since we have a video games list, that naturally means that we probably have a top 10 tracks this year as well. We do and here it is:

Number 10: Above & Beyond Feat. Alex Vargas – Blue Sky Action (Above & Beyond Club Mix)

Number 9: 4 REEEL – Highs Off U (Scorccio XY Mix)

Number 8: The Qemists – Run You

Number 7: Thomas Bergersen – Our Destiny

Number 6: Wasted Penguinz – All For Nothing (Extended Version)

Number 5: Gigi D’Agostino – The Riddle (Original Mix)

Number 4: Starship Amazing – Bonk (You Got Bonked)

Number 3: Psy’Aviah – Alone ft Lis van den Akker (Etasonic Vs Andre H Dance Extended DJ Edit)

Number 2: Garfield – Cool Cat (Radio Mix)

… and this years best track we’ve heard all year is… Tritonal – GAMMA GAMMA (Ferry Radio Fix)

One thing is for sure, this is definitely a strong list of tracks this year. Every one of them deserved to be on that list and I highly recommend giving them all a listen at some point.

Outro

We’d like to thank Nolan for providing mixing services. His dedication for this project is definitely appreciated!

That will do it for the last podcast of 2019. We hope you enjoyed it. Here’s to another great year here on Freezenet!

If you’d like to get your hands on some behind the scenes stuff, exclusive content, and early access material, you can check out our Patreon page at Patreon.com/freezenet. Through this, you can help make Freezenet just that much better all the while getting some pretty cool stuff in the process. That’s Patreon.com/freezenet!

…and that’s this months episode for December, 2019, 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 @freezenetca. Thank you for listening and see you next month.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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