As Infamous Joe pointed out, all I really want is for people to approach these issues when they're able to think like statisticians and logicians and generally make sensible, data-driven decisions to maximize benefit, rather than reacting like a mob of angry chimpanzees.
From my own perspective on this, I'm a target shooter, but I live in a country with stricter gun controls. I also play video games. I used to play D&D. And so forth. I just get a little annoyed at how people get worked up and angry here, and charge off with little regard for facts, and want to ban something that is a relatively common hobby that, importantly, they don't understand and don't engage in (and certainly don't feel any need to fact-check). There's serious arguments to be made and had on all sides of this, and probably some workable compromises that could be reached, but unfortunately the discussion is kind of wedged between ignorance and intractability, and will continue to be that way so long as emotion is the main driving force behind legislation of this sort.
As an example, if you're trying to reduce overall deaths from firearms, rampage shootings are a poor way to go. On average, they're probably in the realm of 50 deaths/year, as compared to peanuts, which are estimated to kill 2-4 times as many people each year (and I'm not saying peanuts are a public health hazard). That doesn't mean the U.S. doesn't have a serious problem with violence, including violence involving firearms (most of which is around criminal activity, mind).
Humans are generally bad at risk analysis, especially for rare events, and we are /terrible/ at it when we're responding emotionally. We need to try to be better, which includes not passing reactionary laws.
I support a moratorium of 6 months before passing or discussing any laws in the wake of a tragedy. "There ought to be a law!" almost always leads to bad laws. Hence why we have people urinating in public and ending up on sex offender registries for life.
Blaming video games makes about as much sense as blaming crime comics, pinball, heavy metal music, rock music, rap music, Dungeons and Dragons... or guns.
But, in the wake of a tragedy, we look to blame something, and for the illusion that we can regain control easily.
The moral of the story is that if you have nothing to hide, the FBI will just make up reasons why you're guilty anyway.
Innocent people look terrible on the stats. No one ever got promoted finding a million innocent people, but find a guy you can talk into buying a fake bomb and that's another 10 grand/year. Not to mention that if you arrest a guy, he'd better have been suspicious, so it's more convenient if you find excuses to ensure everyone's suspicious in some way or another.
This list was a real eye-opener. I can only conclude, after careful perusal of the list, that I used to be a terrorist.
After all, I used to travel for work, and while there I exhibited the following signs:
1. Declined to provide place of residence: At the time, I thought I just liked my privacy, and disliked getting promotional materials from hotels.
2. Making front desk requests in person/not using the room phone: Much as I thought it was just convenient to make my requests in person when I was going in/out, especially given that I was at the same hotel week after week and thus was recognized visually by far more staff than would recognize my voice or name (and thus got fantastic service when they knew it was me), I can see now that there may have been more sinister motivations for my actions.
3. Interest in using internet cafes, despite hotel internet being available: In theory the hotel had internet. In practice... not always so much. Or maybe I was just trying to hide my nefarious plans.
4. Non-VIPs who request that their presence not be divulged: After having a creepy student drop by unexpectedly (the work involved teaching, often out of the conference room of the hotel I was staying at), I asked that they not divulge my presence. But apparently this takes me one step closer to bomb-making.
5. Extending stays for one day at a time: Didn't do this one often, but I did do it a couple of times.
6. Access or attempted access of areas normally reserved for staff: At a couple of points when I was stuck in rooms with no internet, they started letting me hang out in one of the employee areas, where I could sit and use the internet. I could have done the same thing in the main lounge, but oddly enough the hotel didn't like the advertisement of "the internet in the rooms is sketchy as hell" being conveyed to new guests.
7. Use of credit card in someone else's name: The company booked the hotels, and needless to say, the card did not have my name on it.
8. Requests for specific rooms/floors/etc: Remember what I said about the sketchy wireless? I definitely asked for rooms known to have good wireless, if they were available. Perhaps this was an integral part of my scheme. Or perhaps I just occasionally liked to browse porn, which isn't really acceptable to do from the hotel lobby/internet cafe/employee lounge/hallway/etc. But maybe there were terrorist plots steganographically encoded into the naked lady bits.
9. Use of a third party to register: My company. Were they involved? How far does this conspiracy go?!
10. Multiple visitors/deliveries to one room. Before I stopped letting students figure out where my room was, I'd do tutoring out of my room. Which meant I might have one student from 12:00-2:00, another from 2:30-4:00, and then later another one from 6:00-8:00. And then I might order Chinese. Clearly this is nefarious.
11. Unusual interest in hotel access, including main and alternate entrances, emergency exits, and surrounding routes: I know it's unusual, but I like not dying in fires. Also, when the hotel is on a city block comprising joined buildings, and my favourite restaurant is behind said hotel, it's nice to know how to get out the back door so that I don't have to go around the entire block to get there and back, even if this means cutting through a service entrance.
12. Unusual interest in hotel staff operating procedures, shift changes, closed-circuit TV systems, fire alarms, and security systems: I was there often enough to know a lot of the staff, many of whom would cut me all manner of breaks, some of whom wouldn't. Knowing when the guy who'd get all huffy about me using the internet in a hallway or taking the service entrance was on shift was useful. Also, perhaps I was needing to figure out when the nuclear device could be smuggled in.
13. Use of entrances and exits that avoid the lobby or other areas with cameras and hotel personnel: Oh my god, that back door route was even more dastardly than I thought.
14. Attempting to access restricted parking areas with a vehicle or leaving unattended vehicles near the hotel building: Man, sometimes I left my rental (OMG!) vehicle parked for entire days without attending to it.
15. Leaving the property for several days and then returning: Sometimes I was invited over by friends. Sometimes the invitation included alcohol. Sometimes I did not feel inclined or able to return immediately afterwards. And sometimes I just felt there were better places to spend my time than in a hotel room that was decorated in what I'd call "suicide beige" (or suicide bomber beige?).
16. Abandoning a room and leaving behind clothing, toiletries, or other items: I'm forgetful. Also, when you're going back each week, and they know you, if you forget something important it'll be waiting in your new room next week.
17. Noncompliance with other hotel policies: I used to cook myself food in the hotel coffee maker. I suspect that 'coffee pot eggs' are probably a violation of some sort of policy.
The worst part is that this list clearly establishes that I was up to some sort of terrorist activity, but that I still don't know what it was. Was I some sort of sleeper agent? I didn't read about any major disasters, but maybe it was covered up. Maybe it was just a dry run. Not knowing is really going to bother me.
After all, I always hear how the people who pay for copies of Playboy are doing so for the articles, whereas people who download free internet porn are doing so for crass reasons.
I'm sure that once you sign up for a porn website it's all well-cited essays about the pressing social issues of the day, hard-hitting political commentary, and so forth. You know, to appeal to the erudite, sophisticated person out there that whips out their credit card (amongst other things) for porn.
Of course they have some project that they can point to as doing "good work". They pretty much have to. They have their anti-mosquito lasers, just like the Hells Angels have toy drives for children. Organized shakedown rackets have always needed to have some cover activities to avoid a full public backlash.
I don't know about you, but I think this app is going to be awesome. I've got a few thousand cute cat pictures that are just begging for an audience, and now the London police have volunteered. Each and every picture of my wuggums is going to have to be personally enjoyed by some nice policeman, to be sure he's not a riotous thug (my wuggums would never do anything like that).
And I know that they might very much like to meet Wuggums, or his charming owner, but I'm afraid we live too far away for personal visits (or extradition).
Oh, and I've got a really pesky boil on my behind that I've been meaning to get checked out. A doctor's really expensive and you have to make an appointment... a police officer's almost as good, right? Better send them a few hundred pictures to be sure they've got a good angle.
I think it's really sweet of the London police service to volunteer to provide this helpful service. I'd say more, but Wuggums made a sick on the carpet, and I just have to share it with the nice bobbies.
In law school, one of my profs made exactly this point. To paraphrase:
"You need to look at the interests of the client to determine if litigation is really the answer. If you have an employee suing someone who fired them, they might really want a good reference, and you might be able to get that with just a polite phone call. And if someone is out there publishing embarrassing but true details about your client, and he wants them to stop, a lawsuit is often the last thing you want to do. It puts the details into the public record, and makes it easy for journalists to report them without running afoul of any laws themselves--they can just report that someone else is saying something. It also makes it vastly more likely to hit the news. That's the time to send a polite letter asking for them to help you out, not to go nuclear.
And above all, remember that you can always go nuclear /later/, unless you're up against a limitations period. But you can't lead off by being aggressive and then try to play nice You've already blown the opportunity at that point."
Short-term effect: Piracy goes down a bit. People are scared.
Longer-term effect: The motivations for the piracy still exist. People are still unable to access the content they want through legitimate means, and/or those legitimate means come with digital handcuffs that make this 'availability' unsuitable.
Result: People start looking for ways to continue to access material, but taking additional precautions. People figure out how to turn on privacy/anti-tracking/etc features in torrent clients, switch to private trackers, and various other means. Whether these means work or not is irrelevant, so long as thye provide some psychological comfort for the users. Downloading resumes.
Further, as a result of having invested the effort into taking the above precautions, people feel less responsible to support the artists, and more entitled to download material. So people who occasionally downloaded do so more frequently, and in larger quantities. You convert people who are casual downloaders into people who have made a commitment in terms of time and effort to become more serious downloaders.
In the longer term, tools to protect privacy get made more common, more easy to use, and more effective. But, again, whether they actually work is irrelevant. They only need to provide a safety blanket, and people are going to want to believe these measures work, because they want to continue to access content. Eventually, even the most timid people initially deterred by the new laws are back to it, convinced that the danger has passed.
Plus, the shrilling about piracy serves as an effective advertisement for it, so when someone who hasn't downloaded before finds their favourite show/song/etc unavailable, they think, "well, what about downloading it illegally?".
These measures are therefore ineffective at best, and self-defeating at worst (and the latter more often than the former).
When you hear something this stupid, you know there's a very simple explanation. What you're hearing is the voice of a lobbyist that has been echoing around in an empty skull, until it could be released somewhere suitably destructive.
In my area, there's a provision called "security for costs".
Where I am, the courts can (and usually do) award costs against one party, which are an amount of money intended to help defray the costs of the litigation, usually awarded to the winner. So, the loser also pays part of the winner's legal bills.
Now, there's also a rule that allows you to ask for security for costs, which is money that the plaintiff has to put up up front, to pay costs if they're awarded. This is intended to prevent people who couldn't pay costs, and who have weak claims from 'shaking down' others, knowing that they're immune to ever having to pay out. Getting security for costs requires showing that it'd be hard to get costs from the plaintiff if they lost, and that the claim isn't particularly strong (a strong claim rarely will attract an order for security for costs).
So, when these copyright trolling lawsuits come to my area, I think the /first/ line of argument would not be one about improper joinder. The first line of argument should be that the plaintiff has to put up security for costs. Point to Righthaven as an example of one of these companies not paying out when required to do so. Point to the various places these tactics have been shot down. Point to rulings like this, that talk about the abusive and predatory nature of these practices.
With them asking for millions of dollars from each defendant, and thousands of defendants, the amount required as security for costs would be itself in the millions of dollars, most likely. They can't pay, the suit dies there.
Honestly, this sort of 'lawsuit as business model' is /exactly/ the sort of thing that security for costs is intended to prevent.
Canada's copyright laws are far from perfect, but they have been moving in very progressive directions lately, with a strong emphasis on user rights—and Canadian universities should be harnessing that momentum, not working against it.
The direction they're likely to go in the near future is to create a 'DRM right' for publishers.
Looks like they're trying to say "don't make copies of infinite goods, because you might lose scarce goods". It's not a bad ad--I mean, they knew how to scare people, by suggesting the loss of those scarce goods. It'd be a lot less effective if it was suggesting people might lose infinite goods.
Just for laughs, picture it. Bored office drone is sitting there, eating a sandwich and looking for pirated (or free, it's not clear) software. Suddenly, there are creepy eyes peering at them, and dramatic music as they get closer to their download... suddenly, the creepy guy is also eating a very similar sandwich. A moment later, the guy finds the software he wants, and the creepy guy is now wearing the same outfit. When he hits download, the creepy guy now has the same hairstyle.
A forensic specialist, on seizing the drive, will have loaded it in a write-blocker, and made a bit-for-bit copy. The only thing they'll give you to let you enter your nuke password on is one of those copies.
You enter your nuke password, and send back the disk. Now they can compare the two disks, and find that you've changed them.
Now they're charging you with destruction of evidence, and they /still demand the unencrypted contents/. What does that mean? Well, it means they can hold you in contempt, and detain you indefinitely until you comply. IE, instead of that 30 years to life, you're there for "until you comply". After you comply, you still have the 30 years to life to face.
I'm in Canada. The FBI has neither jurisdiction nor presence here.
It's just people name their access points random things. When I lived in an apartment the crack dealer on the second floor (I think, anyway--the SSID went away when he moved) had his named "Secret Service", and another person had one named "Playboy Mansion". I'm also pretty sure that there was no Playboy Mansion in that neighbourhood.