|reply to bobjohnson |
Read Karl's news article again.
I'm not arguing that an ISP should not turn over whatever records it has when a judge asks for information to proceed with a case. The ISP in question is complying with that request. It has asked for more time to comply because it wants to notify the customers that their information will be released and that the data may be used against them in a legal matter. (Probably because some other law requires them to do so or they might be held liable for privacy issues.)
I'm also not arguing for piracy and I don't have a position on whether or not the entertainment industry's business model is broken. If folks steal something and they get caught, that's how the system is supposed to work.
My question is should the ISP be in the business of policing activity taking place over its infrastructure? I understand the USPS has a police force that investigates things like mail fraud and those who seek to disrupt the mail service with harmful acts. However, they also wouldn't detect an illegal DVD copy mailed through their system as well as many other illegal activities because they don't generally open packages to inspect them. Regardless, we shouldn't use the bankrupt USPS model as an example of anything. The mere fact that they have a forensics lab rather than relying on local/national authorities to help with those matters is likely one of the reasons they are bankrupt. Yes -- someone has to do it but why would the postal service have to duplicate labs in other law enforcement agencies?
The copyright trolls want a lot more from ISPs and I'm asking what we require this country's "physical shippers" to do when their services are associated with illegal activity. Further, if we ask the ISP to do more, is this a wise decision? Do we want an ISP acting on behalf of the entertainment industry and charging all of us for these costs? What's reasonable?
My position is I think it's ridiculous (see the title to this thread) to ask the ISP to self-police the suspected illegal activity that takes place on its network. If we regulate them and demand it, they will pass that cost on to us and IMO, it's no different than those "music CD blanks" that had some sort of built-in fee paid to the music industry to offset the fact that those blanks would be used for pirating music. Whether or not they were didn't matter.
Elsewhere on this site I've also said that current government ideas around forcing ISPs to keep every e-mail, text message, DHCP address and browsing history just in case authorities need the data is very dangerous. ISPs should have the capability to trace and record user activities when instructed to do so by the judicial branch of government. However, outside of what's necessary for billing, they shouldn't be tracking any of our personal activities without a judicial review that finds sufficient cause to consider us a suspect of a crime that could be aided by recording our on-line activity.
I know recording all of our activity all the time would really help put the bad guys away. Again, as I've said elsewhere on this site, it isn't the good that could be done with this data, it's the bad that could be done with this data. What's the old saying, better to let the guilty go free than imprison the innocent? I think it would be a sad day in America to have our government mine this data for "subversive" activity. In any nation, beneath the surface lurks McCarthyism. A treasure trove of data that contained every person's on-line activity would be irresistible to those ideas and we should just say no. I understand technology now makes this possible but just because technology enables something does not automatically make it good or wise.