Who's More Ethical: TorrentSpy Or The MPAA?

from the just-a-simple-question dept

Wired has an interview with Robert Anderson, the guy who hacked into TorrentSpy's servers and handed over a bunch of internal TorrentSpy info to the MPAA. From the interview, it's quite clear that the MPAA knew that it was getting access to content that had not been legally obtained, but it still pushed Anderson for more such info (including asking him if he could obtain similar info about The Pirate Bay). Yet, because they know how to cover themselves legally, they made Anderson sign a contract saying that all of the info he gave them had been obtained legally. But, still, it's quite clear that the MPAA has no qualms spying on people using questionable means. At the same time, however, we've noted that TorrentSpy is so aghast at the idea of spying on its own users, that it shut off US access to its site to protect its users from court-ordered spying. So, which organization comes across as more ethical here? The MPAA, who's actively trying to get confidential information from various torrent tracker sites? Or TorrentSpy, who's actively trying to protect the privacy of its users? Yet, why is it that people act as if the MPAA has the moral high ground here?

Filed Under: bittorrent, hacking, spying
Companies: mpaa, torrentspy

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  1. identicon
    IANAL, 24 Oct 2007 @ 9:37am

    Re: Hold on...

    That would be a legally gray area. You can't hire someone to hack the MPAA and just hope that it's legal; however if you hire someone to be a paid informant and your contract stipulates that any and all information they provide has been obtained legally and without prejudice, then technically you have a document to point at that absolves you from the techniques used to obtain said information.
    In that respect, you are legally in the right (though as it appears, morally in the wrong). The problem with that argument is whether or not the MPAA had knowledge of the wrong doing on the part of the hacker. If so, then it would be gross negligence to continue to accept the information. Such knowledge should end the contract and any further information gathered from the source would then be illegally obtained.
    It's pretty much the same thing as buying fenced goods. If you're aware the goods are stolen, you're liable for some of the blame for the theft; if you're unaware, then you may lose the stolen goods and your money, but you aren't criminally liable.
    Makes sense if you think about it, it's about as fair a deal as an impartial system can allow.

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