A report asking Congress to legalize spyware, malware, trojans, and ransomware has been issued by a group of attorneys from the US entertainment industry calling themselves the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property.
In the 84-page document, the commission writes, “Additionally, software can be written that will allow only authorized users to open files containing valuable information. If an unauthorized person accesses the information, a range of actions might then occur. For example, the file could be rendered inaccessible and the unauthorized user’s computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account. Such measures do not violate existing laws on the use of the Internet, yet they serve to blunt attacks and stabilize a cyber incident to provide both time and evidence for law enforcement to become involved.”
The recommendation to take control of one’s computer and hold it for ransom (ransomware) until one goes to police to confess their crimes comes in the second paragraph of page 81 and is officially titled “Support efforts by American private entities (or Hollywood if you want to get technical, ed.) both to identify and recover or render inoperable intellectual property stolen through cyber means.”
Sounds foolproof, which we’re sure it is. (Sarcasm.)
Hollywood and its supporters could never be accused of being anti-Big Brother nor wholly rational when fighting piracy in the past.
If the folks in Tinseltown were to ever support the death penalty, we’re pretty sure it would be for pirates and not for murderers and rapists.
In August 2012, they got a man thrown in jail for linking to pirated sites, not providing the actual content himself. And then, of course, there was the massive support in 2011 for the poorly conceived Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that would have probably killed the entire Internet.
But the request to legalize spyware and other cyber-criminal tools, smacks of home invasion and a massive invasion of privacy (from the same types of people who are anti-Patriot Act, by the way).
(Hat tip to BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow for making us aware of this little bit of insanity.)
Do you think we should legalize spyware, malware, trojans, and/or ransomware, and if so, which movie studio do you work for?
[Image via ShutterStock]