For my Guardian column today, I took the LibDem Lords to task
for introducing legislation that would ban web-lockers because these services allow for copyright infringement. I won't argue that copyright infringement takes place on services like Google Docs and YouSendIt, but the reason that these services are great for piracy
is that they're great for privacy
: the same feature that lets me use YouSendIt to send a family member a private video of my kid in the bath is the feature that lets a copyright violator to share a pirated movie. And you can't get rid of the copyright violations without eliminating our ability to privately share large files for legitimate reasons.
And separate from that, there's the infrastructural cost of establishing a Great Firewall of Britain in order to block access to web lockers. Developing a system whereby parts of the net can be shut off for all of Britain creates the possibility that someone will use the system to shut off the wrong part of the net. I'm not just talking about the danger of a hijacker breaking into the system to shut down or redirect traffic to legitimate sites (say, Microsoft Security Centre or the BBC), but the attractive nuisance presented by such a system. Once you create the facility to shut off parts of the internet that are implicated in civil disputes, how long will it be before people who've alleged a libel or are worried about a trade secret being not so secret are lobbying to have this turned to their aid?
My Lords, you can't please the entertainment industry and sustain privacy
Which isn't to say that this will actually stop infringement. File sharers have already demonstrated their ability to use the perfectly legal, widespread proxy services abroad to circumvent network blocks - ask any 14-year-old whose school network is censored by blocking software and I guarantee you'll get an education in how to evade this kind of thing. Which is great news if you're a pirate, but why should sound engineers, doting grandparents, and solicitors have to learn how to evade the Great Firewall in order to conduct their legitimate business?
(Image: Lockers 3, a Creative Commons Attribution file from dizfunkshinal's photostream)
In 2013, Lavabit — famous for being the privacy-oriented email service chosen by Edward Snowden to make contact with journalists while he was contracting for the NSA — shut down under mysterious, abrupt circumstances, leaving 410,000 users wondering what had just happened to their email addresses.
In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg (who insists that privacy is dead) bought 100 acres of land around his vacation home in Hawaii to ensure that no one could get close enough to spy on him.
In July 2012, professional poker-player Phil Ivey won $4.8M from the baccarat tables at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in 17 hours; on other occasions, he took a total of $9M out of the Borgata: he did it by asking the house to deal Gemaco Borgata cards, whose backs contained minute asymmetries in […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]
Using my iPhone while it’s charging is always a hassle. With tucked-away outlets and the meager length of included lightning cables, comfortable scrolling while plugged in is annoying. These 10-Ft MFi-Certified Lightning Cables are super convenient and probably the best iPhone accessory purchase I’ve made.At over three times the length of normal cables, these reach anywhere you […]
With countless applications for modern life, artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most in-demand fields of study in tech. Beyond modelling human decision making processes and learning abilities, AI can be used to analyze massive volumes of data and create complex interactive systems.This Machine Learning & AI for Business Bundle made mastering these concepts possible for […]