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The U.S Department of Justice has accused a 28-year-old Dutchman of stealing pre-release digital copies of the Hollywood blockbusters â€œHow Do You Know,â€ "Rango" and â€œMegamind.â€ The indictment comes on the heels of the Sony hack, which prompted Hollywood to demand tougher cybersecurity laws. Year in and year out dozens of movies leak online, some long before they are set to appear in theaters. These pre-release leaks are of great concern to Hollywood and the cases often see the FBI become involved. But despite law enforcementâ€™s best efforts the leakers are seldom identified. This week, however, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Dutch resident Joey Vogelaar for unlawfully obtaining three Hollywood movies back in November 2010. The now 28-year-old from Delft allegedly accessed the Sony Pictures Entertainment film â€œHow Do You Know,â€ Paramountâ€™s â€œRangoâ€ and the Dreamworks movie â€œMegamind,â€ all of which were unreleased at the time. A copy of the indictment obtained by TF (pdf) shows that Vogelaar, also known under the aliases â€œTyPeRâ€ and â€œneXusâ€, is accused of computer hacking and identity theft. Interestingly, no copyright infringement charges have been filed. The Dutchman allegedly â€œhackedâ€ into the computer of a company involved in the production of the three movies. The term â€œhackingâ€ should be used loosely here, as Vogelaar appears to have accessed the computer with the login credentials of an employee, whoâ€™s mentioned by the initials T.H. How the man obtained the login credentials is unknown, but itâ€™s not unlikely that they were already available online. For the computer hacking charge Vogelaar faces five years in prison, and a possible identity theft sentence could add two more years â€“ if heâ€™s extradited to the United States. First the defendant will have to be served but according to his father, Ben, they havenâ€™t yet been informed of the charges. â€œWeâ€™ll wait, itâ€™ll be okay,â€ he says. The Department of Justice is taking the case very seriously, especially with the Sony hack fresh in mind. This hack put cybersecurity firmly back on top of the political agenda and in part triggered President Obamaâ€™s new cybersecurity plans. MPAA CEO Chris Dodd said that because of hackers certain companies have their â€œdigital products exposed and available online for anyone to loot.â€ â€œThatâ€™s why law enforcement must be given the resources they need to police these criminal activities,â€ Dodd noted at the time. http://torrentfreak.com/pre-release-movie-hacker-indicted-by-the-feds-150226/
A cold case comes back to life after facial recognition software recognizes an alleged US outlaw who'd been hiding out in Nepal. Facial recognition technology used on the photo in the Neil Stammer wanted poster led to his arrest.FBIIn 2000, after being accused of child sex abuse and kidnapping in New Mexico, Neil Stammer skipped town and went underground. Fourteen years later he was arrested in Nepal. How did the authorities catch this fugitive? Facial recognition technology. Stammer was first arrested in 1999 on multiple state charges, but after being released on bond, he never showed up for his arraignment. He was said to be a talented juggler who spoke a dozen languages and traveled the world as a street performer. The FBI thought he could be anywhere. After years of trying to locate Stammer, with no luck, the feds decided to shelve the case. Then, earlier this year, FBI Special Agent Russ Wilson was assigned to be a fugitive coordinator in New Mexico. "In addition to the current fugitives, I had a stack of old cases," Wilson said in a statement, "and Stammer's stood out." So, Wilson reissued Stammer's "Wanted" poster. At the same time, the Diplomatic Security Service, which cracks down on bogus US passports, had just begun testing facial recognition software designed to expose passport fraud. An agent from the Diplomatic Security Service ran the software on Stammer's poster and came up with something interesting -- a match with a passport photo of someone named Kevin Hodges. The agent contacted Wilson who quickly tracked down Stammer in Nepal. Stammer had been living under the alias of Kevin Hodges and was teaching English to Nepalese students. "He was very comfortable in Nepal," Wilson said. "My impression was that he never thought he would be discovered." Although facial recognition technology has attracted growing attention in recent years from law enforcement and commercial interests, its reception has been rocky. Privacy advocates raised concerns in April over a facial-recognition database being developed by the FBI that could hold 52 million images by next year. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has also questioned the FBI's use of facial recognition software, saying it could infringe on people's privacy. According to a report from July 2011, it's not just the FBI employing facial recognition software -- around40 law enforcement agencies across the US are attempting to use mobile facial recognition technology to identify individuals. http://www.cnet.com/news/facial-recognition-tech-leads-feds-to-fugitive-after-14-years/
Government communication obtained through a Freedom of Information inquiry reveals that several people have asked the authorities to shut down The Pirate Bay. The requests were originally sent to the FBI, who were also contacted by a mother looking for advice on how to deal with the pirating father of her son. There is no doubt that copyright holders repeatedly press the authorities to take action against The Pirate Bay. So, when a Pirate Bay-related Freedom of Information request was sent to Homeland Securityâ€™s National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, we expected to see letters from the major music labels and Hollywood studios. Interestingly that was not the case. Late June Polity News asked Homeland Security to reveal all information the center holds on the notorious torrent site. Earlier this week the responses were received, mostly consisting of requests from individuals to shut down The Pirate Bay. In total the center received 15 emails, and all appear to have been forwarded by the FBI, where they were apparently first sent. Some of the emails only list a few pirate site domains but others are more specific in calling for strong action against The Pirate Bay. â€œWhy donâ€™t you seize all THE PIRATE BAY domains? Starting with thepiratebay.se. You have no idea how much good that would do to writers, artists, musicians, designers, inventors, software developers, movie people and our global economy in general,â€ one email reads. The emails are all redacted but the content of the requests sometimes reveals who the sender might be. The example below comes from the author of â€œThe Crystal Warrior,â€ which is probably the New Zealand author Maree Anderson. â€œThe Pirate Bay states that it canâ€™t be held responsible for copyright infringement as it is a torrent site and doesnâ€™t store the files on its servers. However the epub file of my published novel The Crystal Warrior has been illegally uploaded there,â€ the email reads. The author adds that she takes a strong stand against piracy, but that her takedown notices are ignored by The Pirate Bay. She hopes that the authorities can take more effective action. â€œPerhaps you would have more luck in putting pressure on them than one individual like myself. And if you are unable to take further action, I hope this notification will put The Pirate Bay in your sights so you can keep an eye on them,â€ the author adds. Most of the other requests include similar calls to action and appear to come from individual copyright holders. However, there is also a slightly more unusual request. The email in question comes from the mother of a 14-year-old boy whose father is said to frequently pirate movies and music. The mother says she already visited an FBI office to report the man and is now seeking further advice. Apparently she previously reached out to the MPAA, but they werenâ€™t particularly helpful. â€œMPAA only wanted to know where he was downloading and could not help. I ask you what can I do, as a parent, to prevent a 14-year-old from witnessing such a law breaking citizen in his own home?â€ the mother writes. â€œIt is not setting a good example for him and I donâ€™t think that it is right to subject him to this cyber crime. Devices on websites used: www.piratebay.com for downloads and www.LittleSnitch.com so he wonâ€™t be detected. This is not right. Any help would be appreciated,â€ she adds. All of the revealed requests were sent between 2012 and 2014. Thus far, however, the Department of Homeland Security nor the FBI have taken any action against the Pirate Bay. Whether the pirating dad is still on the loose remains unknown for now, but chances are heâ€™s still sharing music and movies despite the FBI referral. http://torrentfreak.com/feds-receive-requests-to-shut-down-the-pirate-bay-140801/