MPAA Blocked Identity Theft Law, Because They Need To Be Able To Spy On People
from the how-nice-of-them dept
A few months back, of course, you’ll recall the big scandal over HP’s use of “pretexting” to spy on various people to figure out who leaked some information from the board of directors. Pretexting is a nice way of describing a basic form of social engineering identity theft. Basically, you call up a company pretending to be someone in order to get their information. It seems pretty clear it should be illegal, and while Patricia Dunn was eventually charged with crimes over the practice, there were plenty of questions as to whether or not California laws actually made pretexting illegal. This surprised many people, who then started trying to push through such laws, which haven’t really gone very far. In fact, there were similar laws that politicians had tried to put in place earlier that had failed as well.
A bunch of folks have submitted this morning that a Wired News investigation found out that the California law to make pretexting illegal had strong (nearly unanimous) support… until the MPAA killed it. Apparently, MPAA lobbyists explained to California politicians that they need to use this identity theft method to spy on file sharers. This isn’t an idle threat either. The entertainment industry has a long history of doing pretty questionable surveillance activity. They’ve stalked the CEO of Kazaa and folks who worked on the Pirate Bay. They also were caught doing a pretty thorough private investigation of one accused file sharer’s children, collecting all sorts of non-public information on them in order to scare the mother. And, now we know why it was legal for them to do so: they simply prevent any laws against it.