FBI Prioritizes Copyright Issues; Not So Concerned About Missing Persons

from the say-what-now? dept

While we’ve seen that copyright infringement — which really should be a civil issue dealt with between private parties — has suddenly become a major priority for the FBI, it appears that the FBI has stopped caring about things that seem a lot more important. Earlier this year, we noted that the FBI had stopped considering identity fraud as a priority. Now, a new report notes that another thing the FBI appears to not care much about are missing persons cases. Specifically, the FBI has consciously decided to give such cases lower priority in the FBI’s laboratory, which is used to look at DNA evidence. This has created a massive backlog in missing persons cases. A new report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General notes that this has serious consequences:

“Backlogs can also prevent the timely capture of criminals, prolong the incarceration of innocent people who could be exonerated by DNA evidence, and adversely affect families of missing persons waiting for positive identification of remains.”

Perhaps I’m missing something, but doesn’t it seem like missing persons cases and identity fraud are the sorts of things the FBI should be working on, as they’re cases where individuals can be seriously harmed? Copyright cases are really just business model issues, where the only “harm” is caused by copyright holders refusal to adapt to a changing market. Isn’t it time the FBI got its priorities straight?

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Comments on “FBI Prioritizes Copyright Issues; Not So Concerned About Missing Persons”

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92 Comments
lolcat says:

Re: Re: Sounds like an education issue

Hmm.. don’t think US has many free thinkers anymore.

Just let them sub 70 IQ masses become the drones.

I laughed my arse off the other day when my aunt told me the FBI all came to her home, because the neighbours had seen a Turk living there… LOL.. SHe told me this in Turkey, so she was afraid to say it out loud.. but I laughed out loud, just how evil, debilitated, non-free, anti-civil US has become.

The quicker the world finds a way to get rid of this world’s public enemy #1, the better the future will be.

The way forward is for a revolution in US, the world as a whole suffers due to US pollution and hell… one day a yank will be lynched if attempting to leave it’s country and then finally those citizens will deal with their corruption and goernment.

lolcat says:

Re: Re: Sounds like an education issue

Hmm.. don’t think US has many free thinkers anymore.

Just let them sub 70 IQ masses become the drones.

I laughed my arse off the other day when my aunt told me the FBI all came to her home, because the neighbours had seen a Turk living there… LOL.. SHe told me this in Turkey, so she was afraid to say it out loud.. but I laughed out loud, just how evil, debilitated, non-free, anti-civil US has become.

The quicker the world finds a way to get rid of this world’s public enemy #1, the better the future will be.

The way forward is for a revolution in US, the world as a whole suffers due to US pollution and hell… one day a yank will be lynched if attempting to leave it’s country and then finally those citizens will deal with their corruption and government.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Priorities

It’s clear by now that all governments around the world think of things like copyright, patents and too big to fail as more important that actual human beings as do most legislatures.

Missing people, cold cases? DNA analysis? Bah! They’re just people, who cares? Call me when Disney or BofA or someone important stubs they’re toe, not real people!

/sarcasm off — I think.

Crabby (profile) says:

Re: Priorities

No, I think it’s a case that copyright infringement cases take money away from the rich Hollywood folk who give lots of money to a certain political group, and I’m not talking about the GOP.

Individuals are nothing to this administration except cash cows to be milked for tax dollars. They don’t care if someone goes missing, as long as the entertainment industry moguls and media hounds are fat and happy.

Jay (profile) says:

Huge problem with missing persons

There’s an entirely huge reason I feel that it was a matter of time before the FBI showed its colors.

Who they go after is disproportionate to gender

Thing is, when you look at CNN, Fox, or any other news syndicate. Some stories work rather well.

But it seems copyright infringement pays the bills now. Let’s remember this is still the agency that cheats on tests, can’t finish wiretapping requests, and outsources enforcement to the ICE.

interval (profile) says:

You can't escape the long arm of the RIAA

I especially loved the comments I heard from reporters covering the Gulf oil disaster; some said they met the Coast Guard in some of the affected shore lines and they they were told to leave the area by order of BP. Think on that; British Petroleum, a foreign corporation, was giving the American Coast Guard, its marching orders.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: You can't escape the long arm of the RIAA

First of all, that’s what you’re outraged about from his comment?? What, do you work for BP or something? Second, he didn’t even say it’s British, he said it’s foreign. Third, “BP plc is a global energy company headquartered in London, United Kingdom.” You have to be pretty pedantic to claim that a company with headquarters in England is not a British company.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They compete for resources, my slow friend, not DNA lab time. Copyright is siphoning off some amount of “the same” resources that could be used for…i dunno…crime fighting.

Whether it be headcount, lab use, desk-space, the Crown Victoria or the lavatory. The FBI is shifting resources towards protecting the misguided wishes of an industry, and away from protecting the American people.

You do understand that money can be on different things, right?

Thomas (profile) says:

Copyright issues...

ARE a major issue for the FBI since the people with the copyrights pay them enough to enforce it. Missing persons aren’t going to contribute any money to the FBI coffers, and identity theft victims probably don’t have enough money either. It’s all about big business and the money they contribute to the federal agencies; this is plutocracy at the worst.

Anonymous Coward says:

Get a gun kill a congressman and move this country forward in the right direction, while you’re at it take out a few CEO’s and their lawyers. If people really want things to change in this country there needs to be another revolution, plain and simple. The only way citizens of the US have ever gotten themselves out from under the oppressive nature of the tyrannical government is by overthrowing them.

Reed (profile) says:

Re: Forget the guns

I think anyone can understand your frustration, but using violence to remove power is in no way a future that we want.

The US government has to be changed through a peaceful revolution if we really want to move forward as a people. There are huge issue to confront and we have to stop thinking only about next years elections or next quarters profits.

We have to think generations ahead for our government and business sector to continue to work for everyone. We must evolve in our actions as we have in our speech. There is a long road to head down if we really want a better future.

Reed (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Forget the guns

All is not as it seems for the American revolution. The common man was not oppressed rather he was convinced he was oppressed through a masterful propaganda campaign conducted by the wealthy and affluent in the colonies.

It is clear that stories like the Boston massacre were blown up and distorted to demonize the English. From the point of the American revolution and on the poor got poorer and the rich got richer.

When you examine our history with a critical eye and stop trying to elevate our founding fathers on pedestals it becomes clear that what we were told about history is about the farthest thing from the truth.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Forget the guns

Um…perhaps…but in a democracy, or even a quasi democracy like ours, there are tools other than powderkegs.

If everyone today truly agreed that a certain change were necessary, then we would vote it so. However, this consensus doesn’t yet exist.

To my Tea Party friends, please, sirs, don’t believe them when they tell you that you are the majority and that you must rise up and fight the oppresor. If that were the case, then President McCain would surely lend you his ear.

Anonymous Coward says:

Nice “flaming” to once again craft an article in line with your pet projects.

Per the FBI, the following are just some of the areas in which their resources are used:

National Security Priorities and Criminal Priorities:

1. Counterterrorism
• International Terrorism
• Domestic Terrorism
• Weapons of Mass Destruction

2. Counterintelligence
• Counterespionage
• Counterproliferation
• Economic Espionage

3. Cyber Crime
• Computer Intrusions
• Online Predators
• Piracy/Intellectual Property Theft
• Internet Fraud

4. Public Corruption
• Government Fraud
• Election Crimes
• Foreign Corrupt Practices

5. Civil Rights
• Hate Crime
• Human Trafficking
• Color of Law
• Freedom of Access to Clinics

6. Organized Crime
• Italian Mafia/LCN
• Eurasian
• Balkan
• Middle Eastern
• Asian
• African
• Sports Bribery

7. White-Collar Crime
• Antitrust
• Bankruptcy Fraud
• Corporate/Securities Fraud
• Health Care Fraud
• Identity Theft
• Insurance Fraud
• Money Laundering
• Mortgage Fraud
• Telemarketing Fraud
• More White-Collar Frauds

8. Major Thefts/Violent Crime
• Art Theft
• Bank Robbery
• Cargo Theft
• Crimes Against Children
• Cruise Ship Crime
• Indian Country Crime
• Jewelry and Gems Theft
• Retail Theft
• Vehicle Theft
• Violent Gangs

Oh my goodness, we are more worried about sports bribery, cruise ship crime and jewelry heists than keeping CODIS updated in real time.

Let’s get serious and simply acknowledge that the FBI has a multitude of responsibilities covering a broad spectrum of law, and uses a multitude of people with a multitude of disciplines, some technical – some not, to handle its responsibilities.

Frankly, I do not recall the last time I heard of a field agent being dinged for job performance because the agent fell behind in his/her DNA lab work.

If there are persons who feel quite strongly about the CODIS backlog, perhaps they can “crowd source” the activity for free so that they can receive an adrenalin rush from the laudatory comments that will come their way because of their help.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So, yeah.. wow, I had no Idea they were so overstretched. It seems like they should consider cutting some of those loose, wouldn’t you say? Maybe start with the ones that are not…you know, crimes? I know, I know, “commercial infringement” but that’s not what this is about. This is about taking down file sharing websites and intimidation, and everyone knows it…. Weak argument BTW, you spent how long putting that together?

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re:

3. Cyber Crime
• Computer Intrusions
• Online Predators
• Piracy/Intellectual Property Theft
• Internet Fraud

Funny how “Piracy/Intellectual Property Theft” comes under “National Security Priorities”. Also, “Intellectual Property Theft”? Wouldn’t that be identity theft?

“Oh my goodness, we are more worried about sports bribery, cruise ship crime and jewelry heists than keeping CODIS updated in real time.”

I would hope that list is numbered for reference, not in order of priority.

“Let’s get serious and simply acknowledge that the FBI has a multitude of responsibilities covering a broad spectrum of law, and uses a multitude of people with a multitude of disciplines, some technical – some not, to handle its responsibilities.”

Why does ‘getting serious’ translate to ignoring the issue?

“Frankly, I do not recall the last time I heard of a field agent being dinged for job performance because the agent fell behind in his/her DNA lab work.”

The article was about them investing more in investigating copyright issues than missing persons. Who suggested that they should be hiring more field agents to do lab work?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If there are persons who feel quite strongly about the CODIS backlog, perhaps they can “crowd source” the activity for free so that they can receive an adrenalin rush from the laudatory comments that will come their way because of their help.

Yeah, just ask for help from all those people who have DNA sequencing equipment in their basements. That’ll work great.

wii1and (user link) says:

Really: You suck

You, I mean: you US-Americans, do what you want, but hell leave us alone with your war-on-the-whole-world, fuck-civil-rights, torture-people-to-get-meaningless-confessions and not copyright-brain-fuck shit. If you, US-Americans, really votet this and previous governments, then: Fuck off! Leave us the fuck alone! The world is better off without you 500 million arsonists.

Ben Weiss (user link) says:

Violent overthrow of the US government?

We’re not supposed to use violence to fix the US Government? Exactly what other avenues for change have been left to us, then?

If we write letters to congresspersons?
1. They laugh and continue to take the bribes from the corporations and do what they say.
2. They continue to bow to Wall Street and kiss their butts.

If we investigate the corruption and tell the newspapers?
Nobody does anything and nothing gets published.

If we investigate the corruption and publish ourselves on the internet?
Nobody does anything.

If we stop paying our share of the taxes?
1. They’d use violence against us.
2. It’d be a small share compared to the money the Fed prints, anyway.

If we tried to protest in the streets?
They’d use violence against us.

If we tried to take over resources that belong to us all?
They’d use violence against us.

If we drop out of the so-called “Economy” all together?
1. We still owe property taxes. We don’t pay? They steel our property.
2. We still have to buy or grow food. We still need fuel and energy. We try to grow our own and they drown us in administrative minutia so we can’t compete with the corporate agribusiness (which they prop up).

…So, tell me — exactly which avenues for actual change of this corrupted system are left to us??? Please, I really want to know.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Violent overthrow of the US government?

In a republic such as the US the avenue for change is an individual’s exercise of his/her franchise, aka…voting.

They had voting in Soviet Russia too. And they have voting in China. In fact, can you tell me where they *don’t* have voting? Voting is fine, as long as it works.

MythicalMe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Violent overthrow of the US government?

We’re no longer in a republic. In order to have any influence over the government at all you have to have money or be able to raise large sums of money. Plain and simple.

Elections are all about who can throw the most dirt at their opponents. I’m an American citizen living in British Columbia. What I saw in the last Washington elections simply made me wonder where my America went.

Well, I think that I’ve figured it out. The People have become fat and lazy. Instead of being innovators they’ve become dependent on jobs provided by big corporations which systematically erased most labor gains by defeating the labor unions.

The People would rather save a buck by shopping at Wally-world than going to an ailing small business, and when you see the people who shop at Wal-Mart you’ll see what I mean by fat and lazy.

Rather than taking direct action, like setting up picket-lines or protests, they’d rather complain on the Internet which amounts to almost nothing.

If you really want change, you have to take to the streets. Civil rights weren’t won by complaining to politicians. They were won in the streets of Selma, Alabama and in campus sit-ins. Politicians are afraid of the People rising up against them.

Freedom from corporate tyranny and the Plutocracy that the US Government has become must be started in the streets. You must become the change you wish to achieve.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Violent overthrow of the US government?

All wrong.

If citizens truly all agreed on a particular change they wanted, it would be done very quickly. Not much more than 4 years. But we never really agree.

For example, if we had mandatory euthanasia at age 45, we might all agree to get rid of him. In a democracy like ours, it would happen.

But most of the issues that bother us…you, me, whomever…are hotly debated with almost even division of opinion on both sides. Then, thought leaders like Fox news and such try to convince the faithful that their side is a landslide majority that is being oppressed by an illegitimate leadership. But it’s just not true.

That’s not to say that money doesn’t have too much influence, or that some media channels and though leaders aren’t corrupting the process, or biasing the people; but tough shit. Bottom line is that unless the citizens have consensus, we don’t get fast results.

And if we do have a violent revolution, who do we put in charge? My guy, or your guy? Using my system or your system? And so it would begin anew.

Best practice in a democracy, if you want change, is to explain to others why you want it, and support it with arguments that build consensus. Then you might see change. And that is part of what Techdirt is about.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Violent overthrow of the US government?

Exactly what other avenues for change have been left to us, then?

I believe the saying goes: Soap Box, Ballot Box, Jury Box, Ammo Box. In that order.

If you ask me, we are somewhere between Soap and Ballot. I imagine this particular problem will never get past the jury box stage. (That’s just my opinion, of course.)

Reed (profile) says:

Re: Violent overthrow of the US government?

“We’re not supposed to use violence to fix the US Government? Exactly what other avenues for change have been left to us, then?”

How did India free itself from the British? Violence isn’t the only solution and it is never the best one.

There are plenty of other options, you have to start thinking outside of the box though. If you think your only recourse is to get a gun then you have failed yourself and humanity.

Moving forward to me means abandoning the idea we can force our will on others through violence. Otherwise you just become what you feared to begin with.

B says:

Nonsense

What another nonsense anti-copyright article from Mike. Here’s the thing: unless the government reduces funding for crimes other than missing persons cases and spends that money on missing-persons cases, then, by this logic, the US government “must be” prioritizing those other crimes above missing persons cases.

To put it in more concrete terms, let’s imagine the same scenario, except let’s talk about crime Y. Let’s say the government spends X dollars investigating crime Y. At some point, they increase the funding from X dollars to X+10 dollars. This means (according to the article) that the FBI is “prioritizing investigations of X over missing persons”. Okay. Let’s do the reverse: let’s say the FBI is spending X+10 dollars investigating crime Y. Unless they reduce the spending from X+10 to X, and use that 10 to fund missing persons cases, then they must be prioritizing crime Y above missing persons cases. Therefore, any crime investigations that have *any* money while we need more funding for missing persons cases are obviously being prioritized above missing persons cases.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Nonsense

“unless the government reduces funding for crimes other than missing persons cases and spends that money on missing-persons cases, then, by this logic, the US government “must be” prioritizing those other crimes above missing persons cases.”

What logic are you referencing? Nothing in the article would lead to that conclusion.

loprohack says:

Re: Re: Nonsense

All logic concerning the issue CANNOT be contained in this article. Plus, the very fact that nothing in this article points to the FBI decreasing funding in other areas, certainly leads to that conclusion. Not everyone is chained to the logic of this article and this article alone.

We all (apparently) use torrent sites and this means the FBI could conceivably target any of us posting comments. This does not mean that our reactions should be completely emotional.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Nonsense

“All logic concerning the issue CANNOT be contained in this article. Plus, the very fact that nothing in this article points to the FBI decreasing funding in other areas, certainly leads to that conclusion. Not everyone is chained to the logic of this article and this article alone.”

Which brings me back to the question: what logic were they referencing? The only frame of reference we have at this point is the article they commented on. Use of the word ‘this’ implies something immediately previous.. given that nothing in the same comment would make sense and they don’t appear to have been replying to a previous comment then I have to assume they are referencing the article.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Nonsense

The article is pointing out some simple facts. The FBI is using resources to combat copyright infringement – a CIVIL offense in most cases, but even when it is criminal, something that rarely leads to the death of anyone.

Regardless of the amount of resources spent (but they have indicated it is a ‘priority’), can you really argue that these resources would not be better directed toward identity fraud (which they lowered on their list of priority) or missing persons cases? How about simply ignoring all civil copyright infringement and spending those resources on investigating anything that could lead to loss of life?

I understand that any law enforcement agency has to prioritize things and they need to listen to and respond to any criminal behavior brought to their attention, but as someone that has had property actually stolen from them, I can understand law enforcement ignoring my loss (which they did) and maintaining their focus on keeping people safe. Had they decided to create a task force to find and prevent theft of property in my area, I would have thought they were idiots.

Frost (profile) says:

America and production

The biggest export America has is entertainment and intellectual property. Once upon a time America actually made something, but that was then and this is now. So, IP is important for the US to actually get some money in from abroad as well. Thus, a minor civil issue gets prioritized way way out of proportion. The corporations rule, time to realize that and just wait for the next revolution to kick in.

TheSteelGeneral (profile) says:

Why are you people so naive??? "Even despite Obama ..."

Everyone knows that most if not all, missing person are blacks, Latinos and Asians, and they LIKE to be beaten up, murdered or raped, so of course the FBI is gonna prioritize money over missing persons!!! Unless it’s a pretty blond rich girl, like Elizabeth Smart, or Natalee Holloway, missing persons are NEVER gonna get FBI agents basking in the shine of national media coverage, and who’s gonna get them a lifetime multiplex subscription? Not those missing persons, bubba.

It’s high time for this new phrase “Despite Obama …”
In this case it goes like this:
“Even despite Obama, these things keep happening!”

Anonymous Coward says:

I must say that i can also agree with the opinion of investing resources into preventing loss of life rather than loss of money through copyright infringement. In my optinion this sounds very much like an industry thought than the view of any “normal” human. The value of a human life should be higher than a couple of thousand million hollywood dollars.

Zelix says:

I can sum this all up with these simple words, harsh as they may be:

FBI, is run by whores. Plain and simple.

This is proof, they’ve just admitted that they sell their favours to the highest bidder.

Is your child missing?

Your identity has been stolen?

Well, too bad, we have been paid 100 million dollars to crack down on something utterly stupid. We know we are supposed to be helping citizens and protecting this country, but we are greedy whores who need to be paid.

There is no prettier way to put it:

FBI is run by whores who spread their legs to the highest bidder.

The people do not matter, money does.

What are you going to do about it?

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