Thumb Screws

I read a really good article over at ars-technica about the music industry. Sales of CDs are dropping and they are desperately seeking something to staunch the flow of lost revenue. For some reason none of them have come up with the revolutionary idea of offering their customers the option of downloading CD quality music for a slightly reduced cost (as there is less overhead). Instead their approach has been to erect larger and larger barriers to keep people from pirating, the latest of which is apparently filtering internet traffic. The article has a great quote:

the real issue is that filtering won’t work until the thumbscrews are so tight that blood is pouring from people’s hands. Should that day ever come, the revolucĂ­on won’t be far behind

The article goes on to say that they need a different business strategy not tighter thumbscrews.

This is turn reminds me of the circus that is airport and border security. The Washington Post has a great article talking about the search and seizure of electronics at international borders. Right now your laptop can be seized without a reason given, held indefinitely, all of your data copied, and you can be forced to reveal all of your passwords. To me this doesn’t seem much different from them holding you in the airport while the police in your home town do a thorough search of your home and office. I’m not really sure what they are hoping to accomplish; maybe that a randomly selected business traveler will somehow turn into a terrorist and keep all of their plans and Osama’s home address on their laptop? The above quote is just as true here as it is with the music industry, it isn’t that this might not help, it’s that for it to help we have to surrender all of our civil liberties. The police/intelligences agencies/military/homeland security don’t need less restrictions, they need a new strategy.

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

-Benjamin Franklin (or perhaps Richard Jackson)

One Response to Thumb Screws

  1. Grad Student says:

    Preach it!

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