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Untouchable

Collective complicity or when apathy and inaction are criminal offences.


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The coming trial of The Pirate Bay in Stockholm could have widespread implications. Actually the risk is rather remote. But as is often said: 'in theory theory and practice are the same; in practice they're not'. But it's an interesting theory and most people would agree it'd be even better if theory and practice matched.

The case of Håkan Roswall - after all the time he's had to screw around and try to establish something substantial - hinges on TPB's servers being 'accessories' to a crime. That not by providing copyright protected media but by merely providing links to such media they are in fact accessories to a crime of breaking copyright law.

Stop there for a second and visit and read through this link.
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2008/01/untraceable_probably.html

It's about the new movie 'Untraceable' and Brian Krebs' take on it. When you're finished there go to the official movie site.
http://sonypictures.com/movies/untraceable/epksite/

Once you've had enough fun go to the 'ask an agent' section where things suddenly get interesting.
http://sonypictures.com/movies/untraceable/askanagent/stats.html



These are 'key statistics' for what cybercrime accomplishes.

  • US businesses lose $67.2 billion annually because of computer related crimes.
  • US consumers lose $4 billion annually to viruses, spyware, and Internet scams.
  • 93.8 million personal records have been reported lost or stolen since February 2005.
  • 50% of adults in the US will fall victim to identity theft in the next 10 years.

The Catch

Now here's the catch: everyone knows these crimes are perpetrated exclusively on Windows computers. And whilst it's a great idea to bring Bill Gates up on charges of being an accessory to all this Internet crime it could also be successfully argued that any Windows user was equally culpable.

What a staggering prospect. Law enforcement officials in hundreds of countries arresting most of the adult population. Just trying to build gaols big enough to house all these idiots. The court systems with backlogs several hundreds of years ahead. Or perhaps just levy a fine on all the idiots. Run Windows and you help pay for the costs of computer crime. That sounds both reasonable and doable.

Either that or operating systems have to be government approved for use on the Internet or in any connected scenario. At which point it will become a criminal offence to use Windows online and authorities can ferret out the criminal Windows users and fine them - and imprison the repeat offenders.

This scenario has been discussed for years in the open source community. Sooner or later use of Windows online becomes a criminal offence; use of Windows by corporations and government offices becomes an act of criminal negligence.

Look at that statistic again. $67.2 billion lost by corporations annually. In the US alone. And certainly not all the corporate leaders are so stupid as to think all computer systems are as crappy as Microsoft's. Certainly somewhere the suggestion's been made that by simply migrating operations from Windows the losses can be curbed to near zero.

But they don't do that.

Year after year they get clobbered again and again. Why? How can they withstand such financial damage? Could it be because they pass these additional costs onto their customers?

If as many as 200 million people in the US are connected to the Internet then by the same statistics each of these Internet users pays an annual 'crime tax' of $20 - that's what Windows malware costs per capita.

Brian doesn't like the movie. 'By virtue of watching the movie we are led to believe each of us is yet another tiny cog in the distinctly American voyeurism machine that churns out these kind of unfathomable sociopaths.' It's hard to agree or disagree with him without having also seen the movie.

But one thing's certain: if this or any other movie should ever come out and point the finger at ordinary people in the same way and claim that each of them was yet another tiny cog in the machine that churns out criminal malware - they'd be right. People using Windows online are - in theory - accessories to crime.

Bill Gates is the most prominent person of the 20th century. He is zero-made man, who made career from a meduim class to the reachest man on planet. And his difference from other 20th century zero-made men (like Hitler, Stalin, bin Landen, Berezovsky, ect) is that he never killed anyone and never stealed anything. I think he is really exemplary person.
 - 'BaulParry' at YouTube

Bill Gates is the biggest criminal of our times. He's done more to damage the planet than anyone in the past fifty years. But he could never have done any of this without the help of the absolutely dumbest and most selfish consumer group anywhere ever. Using Windows connected to anything is a criminal act.
 - J Heckler Beaver

See Also
Red Hat Diaries: Philanthropy vs Hypocrisy
Crosscut: Microsoft's $528 million Washington tax break

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