From Wired: “The RIAA detected what it claimed to be infringing activity on an IP address the university linked to the student. The unidentified student moved to quash a federal judge’s order that the university forward the student’s identity to the RIAA…. The appeals court ruled in the RIAA’s favor after balancing a constitutional right to remain anonymous against a copyright owner’s right to disclosure of the identity of a possible ‘trespasser of its intellectual property interest.”
Wait—a right to disclosure against a POSSIBLE trespasser? So how about a right of disclosure of the identity of RIAA Chairman Mitch Bainwol as a “possible” child molester or serial killer? Here on the Earth the rest of us live on, where ordinary people haven’t been granted de facto police state surveillance powers, that’s called a “false accusation.” In other words, that appeals court was balancing an absolute right against garbage.
The logical response to this sort of thing would be to start disclosing the identity, home addresses, etc., of the RIAA’s leadership and senior management of affiliated record companies—not to mention of the offending judge.
For that matter, I’m surprised that some hackers haven’t responded to the cutoff of Internet service for alleged file-sharers by helpfully cutting off the RIAA’s Internet service with a denial-of-service attack. Not that I’d advocate such a thing. That would be wrong.
It’s amazing how irate such people become when hoist by their own petard. One example I recall especially vividly was of a town where the police were sued for going through someone’s trash. The court ruled there was no reasonable expectation of privacy because trash left at the curb was abandoned. Fair enough. The local newspaper sent reporters to dig through the trash of the chief of police and the judge, and published all the interesting items they found. The cop and judge, of course, were incensed about the invasion of their privacy.
Another example, not long after 9-11 when the U.S. government announced the creation of the Total Information Awareness (TIA) agency under John Poindexter (a former state sponsor of terrorism in the Iran-Contra affair). Someone helpfully posted Poindexter’s home address and phone number online, so he could learn what it was like to live without privacy.
Before this guerrilla war is over and the bleeding heads of proprietary content owners are displayed on our battlements, I want the people at the RIAA to see themselves as surrounded by a hostile population. I want them to feel palpable waves of hatred from the American people, to be overwhelmed by it every time they go online, until they finally breathe a sigh of relief on abandoning their unjust crusade.
We’re living in a network age, and these fine folks at the RIAA who want to nullify our privacy rights may find they’re living in glass houses.