Memes not the only thing threatened by EU copyright law proposal

11 Jun 2018

Hall of the European Parliament. Image: Ikars/Shutterstock

The potential introduction of a copyright bill in the EU could threaten the livelihood of not just the average meme creator, but any kind of content producer online.

The big news this week in the world of infosec was Facebook’s latest security blunder that accidentally revealed the information of 14m users who asked to have information on their profiles hidden from public viewing.

The company admitted that the glitch was in effect between 18 and 27 May and that as of 8 June it was going to notify users around the world who were impacted by the bug asking them to review their status updates set-up.

“To be clear, this bug did not impact anything people had posted before, and they could still choose their audience just as they always have,” said Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer.

There was also the news that a stealthy malware attack dubbed VPNFilter, which has so far hit more than 500,000 routers in 54 countries, is more powerful than originally thought.

The attack, which is believed to have originated in Russia, was previously thought to be designed to hit the endpoints of routers from Asus, D-Link, Huawei, Ubiquiti, UPVEL and ZTE. But now, new devices are also being impacted, including routers from Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear and TP-Link.

Could Article 13 really ‘break the internet’?

Kim Kardashian supposedly ‘broke the internet’ a few years ago after a particular photoshoot, but privacy campaigners are preparing for a real content emergency should the EU’s Article 13 be passed into law.

The vote on passing the Copyright Directive is scheduled for 20 June and was written to create a new balance between copyright holders and the online platforms they appear on.

What has gotten people rather worried, however, is that this means that seemingly harmless and immensely popular internet mainstays such as memes would suddenly become illegal, but the issues extend far, far beyond captions on images from popular culture.

A collection of organisations and advocates campaigning under the banner group Copyright 4 Creativity has said that the proposals would “destroy the internet as we know it”.

The group also said that “should Article 13 of the Copyright Directive be adopted, it will impose widespread censorship of all the content you share online”.

The biggest fear is that, as machine learning will be determining what is and isn’t supposedly a copyright infringement, an algorithm will be incapable of nuance and understanding of a cultural reference.

Brexit will leave a major cybersecurity headache in its wake

We’re coming close to the two-year anniversary of the UK’s shock decision to leave the EU via a referendum, but still the realities of what will happen after the fact in 2019 are still being decided.

Among them last week was the claim that Brexit will have a major impact on the western world from a cybersecurity standpoint.

According to The Irish Times, infosec journalist and author Misha Glenny said at the Festival of Writing and Ideas in Borris, Co Carlow that the schism will remove a vital component of the world’s cybersecurity network.

“Britain is the key country which links the intelligence network of the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with the European Union and if Britain goes, that intelligence link goes,” Glenny said.

“It’s really important that countries like the United States, Russia and China get around the table and come to an agreement because not only will they get into trouble with each other but terrorist groups can start to play a real role in cyberwarfare and cyberespionage.”

Industrial cybersecurity firm Claroty bags $60m in funding

New York-headquartered industrial cybersecurity start-up Claroty has come on leaps and bounds since it was founded in 2014, confirmed by its latest funding round.

Claroty announced today (11 June) the closure of $60m in Series B funding, bringing the company’s total investment to date to $93m.

The round was led by Temasek and included Rockwell Automation, Aster Capital (sponsored by Schneider Electric), Next47, Envision Ventures and Tekfen Ventures.

Claroty now has large-scale customers with production installations across six continents in nine market segments including electric utilities, oil and gas, chemical, water, manufacturing, food and beverage, mining and real estate.

This investment comes on the heels of a breakout year for Claroty capped by a 300pc year-over-year growth in bookings and customer base.

“A perimeter defence to cybersecurity in today’s connected world is not enough,” said Hervé Coureil, chief digital officer at Schneider Electric.

“An end-to-end approach, with solutions that provide deep visibility into operational technology and industrial control systems, is critical for the security of heavy processing environments.”

Hall of the European Parliament. Image: Ikars/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic