July 10, 2009

Three Strikes and you're out (of internet)

Torrent Freak writes about a counter measure:

Yesterday we reported that a provision in the revamped French “3 strikes” bill will allow for the punishment of ISP account holders for the copyright infringing actions of others. Now a group of hackers has set out to compromise WiFi routers en masse, in order to create an environment of plausible deniability.

I very much like this idea. It goes to show they're missing the point. They can't stop people from downloading movies and in trying to they're creating toothless laws, who will disproportionately hurt a small segment of offenders and be ineffective at stopping the behavior.

It's similar to clients asking me to lock down their computers so their kids can't get to porno websites or so they can limit their Facebook usage. I can do it, and have, but I tell them the kids will find a way around it, it's much better handled though social rather then technological methods. Educating the kids about the net is a far better method for keeping them honest, but happens to be a tall order when their parents often don't quite understand it themselves.

Recently I've found a rather effective web monitoring method that instead of blocking sites it just reports to the user how much time they spend on the site. It's meant for offices and is called webspy, and works on the theory that people don't want to spend all day at work browsing the web, they want to be "good" but just need to be kept in check. It follows the principal that when you know people are watching you'll do a better job.

I'm not going to touch on the internet piracy 3 strike laws, but I'm glad in France they're making sure a judge makes the decision to cut someone off the net and not the accuser. The overhead in that is so immense it probably wont happen. Who wants to jail their own community anyway? If everyone's committing the crime is it a crime? If it's "considered harmful" like crystal meth for example, what do you do then?

There's a big meth problem in a lot of towns and cities in the united states, I'm wondering if "Jail" is the answer. If you have a large community doing something harmful to itself, (that may actually be a crime as well) how do you recover from that? Obviously there needs to be a group effort, and some level of amnesty. I'm curious what kind of effort would be effective.

Going back to something a lot less "harmful", what about file sharing and copyright infringement? I don't consider it to be harmful to society, people are making other business models work in regards to music and movies, and there's a lot of room for growth and discovery in those directions. But lets for the sake of argument say that our current/old business models were the only ones that could work and if we want art we need to stop infringing on copyrights so artists can afford to be artists. Do we jail all offenders? Do we punish them and keep them from being able to communicate with society? Or do we find a way to convince our consitiutents that they need to come together to fix the problem?

I say constituents because it's our elected officials that pass these laws to police how we act. These are questions they should be asking, and that we should be making them ask.

And with that I'm lost in my own rant, so I'm done. Feels good to write even if it is dribble.

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