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Not Sure You Can Pin This One on the RIAA

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John Dvorak blames the RIAA’s announced assault on file sharers for a raft of upcoming problems, including terrorism and the disappearance of the rain forest:

    The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) may become indirectly responsible for our inability to stop the next terrorist attack on the US. Hear me out on this one. The association’s recent move to bust individuals, mostly students, for music trading will spark a movement toward anonymous computing unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Already two anonymous music swapping systems have appeared: Filetopia and Blubster. This is just the beginning.

    We can expect to see the development of new stealth technologies that will be used routinely by everyone. A massive trend toward true Net anonymity will have repercussions that are all bad. Child porn rings will be harder to uncover. E-mail sources will be harder to find. Spam will rule. Virus coders will remain in the shadows. Terrorism can flourish in such an environment. And the RIAA still won’t win the battle over file swapping. But it will have set off a bad chain of events.

    ….In the meantime, as anonymity software ups the technology ante and throws the ball back into the RIAA’s court, I suspect that the organization will have to open some anonymous file-sharing portals of its own to snare and scare off users. It has to do this sooner rather than later. And, of course, that will up the ante one more time, and eventually we’ll end up with completely anonymous computing – with all its negative implications. Won’t that be peachy? [PC Magazine]

Clearly, the search for online anonymity is heightened by RIAA and MPAA actions against file sharers, but this is a trend that has been coming in fits and starts anyway, as Dvorak notes.

As we quoted Freenet’s Ian Clarke yesterday, “It is impossible to guarantee anonymity against someone with infinite resources and no constraints,” which in the case of suspected terrorists, the U.S. government will essentially have. The RIAA’s actions accelerate an arms race already engaged, but they can no more be blamed for the ultimate result than the tech companies so eager to appease content providers.

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