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Dutch Officials Do Battle With Pirate Hordes

Earlier this week the Netherlands ordered Dutch Internet service providers to block file-sharing site The Pirate Bay (TPB).

Now authorities are taking on the Pirate Party.

A core issue of the Pirate Party, a political party that has branches in most northern European country, is that the Internet be entirely unencumbered by fees and censorship.

It is a minor party in the Netherlands, having received only about 10,000 votes in the 2010 national elections, but it’s a big enough deal to draw the ire of a court in The Hague.

From the BBC:

The Netherlands’ Pirate Party has been ordered to stop publicizing ways to circumvent blocks to The Pirate Bay …

The court also upheld an order banning the Dutch Pirate Party from offering a proxy to let users obtain TPB’s links without directly visiting the file-sharing site’s pages.

The original order had spurred on the Pirate Party to post suggestions for alternative ways to access TPB.

A blog post on the Dutch Pirate Party homepage dubbed the rulings “a slap in the face for the free Iternet.”

The post implores supporters to donate money should they want the Pirate Party to disregard the order and incur a euros 10,000 (US$13,000) fine.

Naked Security has additional details here.

Stream Wars

Ustream, an online broadcast and streaming service, was hit with a crippling cyberattack Wednesday,

The attack was targeted at streams broadcasting footage of protests against Russian president Vladimir Putin, according to Mashable.

From Mashable:Each of UStream’s previous service interruptions have coincided with protests in Moscow and other Russian cities.

Ustream experienced seven different types of cyberattacks, which were “highly adaptative and very actively managed throughout the day,” Brad Hunstable, Ustream’s CEO and cofounder, told Mashable.

Ustream has become a hotbed of coverage for recent protests in Russia. The site reported having some 500,000 viewers during a two-hour span, which it claims is on par with a Russian cable channel.

EU Restricts Roaming Fees

Europe’s notoriously expensive roaming fees are set to take a plunge after a decision by the European Parliament to cap the amount providers are able to charge.

From PC World:

The new caps reduce the costs for phone calls and SMS messages for Europeans traveling abroad. The current maximum cost of a one-minute call will drop from 0.35 euros (45 cents) to 0.29 euros (38 cents) from July and will be further reduced to 0.19 euros (25 cents) as of July 2014. Text messages will also be cheaper, with the current maximum price falling from 0.11 euros (14 cents) to 0.09 euros (12 cents) per message this year, dropping further to 0.06 euros (8 cents) in 2014.

Mobile data will be capped at 0.70 euros (91 cents) per megabyte and will fall in stages to 0.45 euros (58 cents) in 2013 to reach a maximum of 0.20 euros (26 cents) per megabyte in 2014, the EP said. That is a significant drop, since there is currently no limit to prices the operators can charge for mobile data, clients are likely to pay at least 2 ($2.60) euros per megabyte of data consumed when roaming.

The new regulations go into effect July 1.

“We have ended the rip-offs familiar to anyone who has used a mobile phone by traveling abroad,” Vice President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes said.

China’s Government Censors Erase 70M People

On Thursday, some cleansing took place on “Baidu Tieba,” which is a series of forums hosted by Baidu, the China’s biggest search engine.

Forums from the provinces of Chongqing and Liaoning simply disappeared from Baidu Tieba.

As Tech In Asia explains:

Collectively, these two provinces boast a population of more than 70 million, and the forums that have now disappeared contained tens, probably hundreds of millions of posts. Now, all they contain is this message:

Recently, in the [Chongqing/Liaoning] boards, illegal information has been discovered that requires concentrated cleansing. For that reason, this website has decided to temporarily close the board from 10:00 A.M. May 10 to 10:00 A.M. May 12. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Tech In Asia goes on to posit that the Chongqing and Liaoning forums were purged because Bo Xilai, a former Communist Party chief, had recently lived in each of the places on which those forums focus.

Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist currently living in the Netherlands. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here.

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