How To Lie With Statistics: France Pretends HADOPI Law Is Working
from the doing-the-math dept
Now, if you're playing along with the home game, you should have quickly realized that the actual percentage of people surveyed is more like 3.5% -- and I could argue that it's even lower for a few key reasons:
- The key question asked wasn't whether the individual would stop file sharing, but whether or not they or someone close to them had. Suddenly you have a big statistical problem, because -- to take an extreme example -- let's say that everyone in a town knows the one big file sharer who shares content online, but no one else in the town does. And, that guy knows and makes it clear that if he gets an injunction, he'll stop. Now, since everyone knows this guy, the reports from that town would be that 100% of people receive letters and 100% of those recipients would stop using P2P, even if that wasn't true at all. Including the "or someone close to you" makes the effective data pretty close to useless, because there's no way to separate out the overlap.
- The whole thing is based on a survey, which is notoriously unreliable in getting accurate data. People quite frequently answer what they think others want them to say, rather than what they're really thinking. And, when asking them if they'll stop engaging in illegal activity, many are simply going to say yes, even if they have no intention to follow through.