There’s lots of academic and commercial effort put into stopping software and other intellectual property piracy, especially for videos. A form of risk management, I suppose, but one that ignores the much bigger risk to traditional intellectual property
of causing political blowback such as what just happened in Sweden:
“Together, we have today changed the landscape of European politics. No matter how this night ends, we have changed it,” Falkvinge said. “This feels wonderful. The citizens have understood it’s time to make a difference. The older politicians have taken apart young peoples’ lifestyle, bit by bit. We do not accept that the authorities’ mass-surveillance,” he added.
Funny thing about what happens when the majority of the population participates in an illegal activity: eventually it’s not illegal anymore.
At least partially, The Pirate Party puts its increased popularity down to harsh copyright laws and the recent conviction of the people behind The Pirate Bay. After the Pirate Bay verdict, Pirate Party membership more than tripled and they now have over 48,000 registered members, more than the total number of votes they received in 2006.
With their presence in Brussels, the Pirate Party hopes to reduce the abuses of power and copyright at the hands of the entertainment industries, and make those activities illegal instead. On the other hand they hope to legalize file-sharing for personal use.
Many of those abuses of power probably already are illegal; the appropriate laws
just aren’t being enforced. We saw this during alcohol prohibition in the U.S., and we
see it now with marijuana prohibition in the U.S. The first prohibition ended, the second probably will, and meanwhile, online “piracy” is on its way to being redefined.
I painfully predicted a few years back that phishing and related identity theft would result in class action suits. I lost my bet as it didn’t happen fast enough, but a significant step has been taken (reported by Lynn) with the publication of a book that apparently blames the banks and the software manufacturers for identity theft.
Interesting that Germany has more respect for privacy than the U.S. does:
Government surveillance of personal computers would violate the individual right to privacy, Germany’s highest court found Wednesday, in a ruling that German investigators say will restrict their ability to pursue terrorists.
The Karlsruhe-based Federal Constitutional Court said in a precedent-setting decision that data stored or exchanged on a personal computer is effectively covered under principles of the constitution that enshrine the right to personal privacy.
“Collecting such data directly encroaches on a citizen’s rights, given that fear of being observed … can prevent unselfconscious personal communication,” presiding judge Hans-Juergen Papier said in his ruling.
Although apparently Germany also has lazy cops who think spying on individuals
is their birthright, just like in the U.S.
Not regular police, mind you, but
…secret services’ ability to use virus-like software to monitor suspected terrorists’ online activity.
The court rightly said suspicion is not enough:
“Given the gravity of the intrusion, the secret infiltration of an IT system in such a way that use of the system and its data can be searched can only be constitutionally allowed if clear evidence of a concrete threat to a prominent object of legal protection exists,” Papier said.
If privacy and security really were a zero-sum game, we would have seen mass im
migration into the former East Germany and modern-day China. While it’s true th
at police states like those have less street crime, no one argues that their ci
tizens are fundamentally more secure.
We’ve been told we have to trade off security and privacy so often — in debate
s on security versus privacy, writing contests, polls, reasoned essays and poli
tical rhetoric — that most of us don’t even question the fundamental dichotomy
But it’s a false one.
Security and privacy are not opposite ends of a seesaw; you don’t have to accep
t less of one to get more of the other. Think of a door lock, a burglar alarm a
nd a tall fence.
The debate isn’t security versus privacy. It’s liberty versus control.
You can see it in comments by government officials: “Privacy no longer can mean
anonymity,” says Donald Kerr, principal deputy director of national intelligen
ce. “Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard
people’s private communications and financial information.” Did you catch that?
You’re expected to give up control of your privacy to others, who — presumabl
y — get to decide how much of it you deserve. That’s what loss of liberty look
Or is it really phishing when the victim first broadcasts his bank
BTop Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has admitted he was wrong to brand the
scandal of lost CDs containing the personal data of millions of Britons a
“storm in a teacup” after falling victim to an internet scam.
The outspoken star printed his bank details in a newspaper to try and
make the point that his money would be safe and that the spectre of
identity theft was a sham.
He also gave instructions on how to find his address on the electoral
roll and details about the car he drives.
However, in a rare moment of humility Clarkson has now revealed the
stunt backfired and his details were used to set up a £500 direct debit
payable from his account to the British Diabetic Association.
The charity is one of many organisations that do not need a signature to set up a direct debit.
Beijing has recently added a new weapon to its arsenal of surveillance
technologies, a system it believes to be a modern marvel: the Golden
Shield. It took eight years and $700 million to build, and its mission
is to “purify” the Internet — an apparently urgent task. “Whether we
can cope with the Internet is a matter that affects the development of
socialist culture, the security of information, and the stability of
the state,” President Hu Jintao said in January.
The Golden Shield — the latest addition to what is widely referred
to as the Great Firewall of China — was supposed to monitor, filter,
and block sensitive online content. But only a year after completion,
it already looks doomed to fail. True, surveillance remains widespread,
and outspoken dissidents are punished harshly. But my experience as
a correspondent in China for seven years suggests that the country’s
stranglehold on the communications of its citizens is slipping: Bloggers
and other Web sources are rapidly supplanting Communist-controlled
news outlets. Cyberprotests have managed to bring about an important
constitutional change. And ordinary Chinese citizens can circumvent
the Great Firewall and evade other forms of police observation with
surprising ease. If they know how.
While Sony BMG’s customers first became aware of the dangers posed by
the rootkit through media reports following Russinovich’s October 31
announcement, the company was on notice that its product contained a
rootkit, at the very least, four weeks earlier.12 Finnish anti-virus
software developer F-Secure contacted Sony BMG on October 4, 2005,
alerting it to the presence of the rootkit.13 Of course, First4Internet,
as the developer that chose to incorporate the rootkit into its design,
necessarily knew of its presence from the outset.
Yet Sony apparently thought that they could still sneak a rootkit
onto CDs its customers paid for.
The customers knew better, because Amazon reviews told them,
and sales CDs plumetted as soon as rootkit-infested versions were issued.