War on Digital Pirates

Are Bit Torrent users next?

Authorities raided five residences and and an Internet service provider Wednesday morning in the first federal criminal enforcement action against private peer-to-peer (P2P) (define) networks.

Search warrants were executed in Texas, New York and Wisconsin as part of an investigation into the illegal distribution of copyrighted movies, software, games and music over P2P networks. Federal agents seized computers, software and computer-related equipment in the raids.

"Todays actions send an important message to those who steal over the Internet. When online thieves illegally distribute copyrighted programs and products, they put the livelihoods of millions of hard-working Americans at risk and damage our economy," U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

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Funny, John Ashcroft's

Funny, John Ashcroft's antitrust division damages the economy every day through unconstitutional antitrust prosecutions. I don't see anyone arresting him.

(sarcasm on) Damn, it was so

(sarcasm on)

Damn, it was so bitchin' getting all of that music for free and now these giant coporate monopolies are bummin' me out!

or

Music should be free or at least we should be able to easily steal it in the privacy of our own homes!

)sarcasm off)

Uh oh.

Uh oh.

The war against file sharers

The war against file sharers is the same as the war on drugs. It's expensive, makes for very odd criminals (like 12 year old girls) and it will ultimately be lost. The government has outlawed trading in unlicensed information, and by doing so it has created a black market. Now it wastes stolen (pirated?) taxpayer dollars on enforcement and incarceration.

One fortunate side effect of these bad laws and enforcement actions is that people who used to just use unlicensed software or listen to unlicensed music ("I never paid for a copy of Windows in my life! Why should I care that I don't have to pay for Linux?") are now going for free (as in speech) software and independent artists instead. Pathetic way for the government to go about promoting free software and independent artists, but there ya go. Way to go Ashcroft!

The internet may be an

The internet may be an anarchist's paradise, but our actions here still have real-world (meaning gov't sponsored) consequences. Sigh.
Perhaps the latest in encryption software and anonymity-guaranteeing software prevents this from happening?

Well, there's Tor,

Well, there's Tor, Mixminion, and GNUnet (which is slightly more theoretically sound than Freenet). None of these absolutely guarantee anonymity and they still have a ways to go until they are even reliable. They do make it much more difficult for baddies to casually snoop, and the more people who use them the better, because it will be harder to outlaw them. These networks do nothing about problems of social engineering, however.