Ignorance is Strength
I didn’t think I’d have much more to say about politics for awhile, after writing my piece on REAL ID. But now this: the FBI and DHS have started cracking down on hubs belonging to the BitTorrent file-sharing service. One of the first to be targeted is EliteTorrents.org, which has been reduced to a flashy red warning composed in Microsoft Word. (How do I know? Check the page’s source code.)
BitTorrent isn’t an inherently bad service (more details); it isn’t specifically for illegally sharing music and movies, like Napster was. In fact, BitTorrent is primarily intended for the distribution of open-source software – and open-source is by definition free to use, distribute, and modify. Projects like Mozilla depend on BitTorrent to reduce bandwidth loads.
It very well may be that this particular hub is intended more for music- and video-swapping, but it worries me a bit that Homeland Security is devoting resources towards a more wide-reaching effort to eradicate BitTorrent hubs. And what next? I hear that illegal file-swappers are looking to Usenet these days. You just might find it on Google Groups (Do No Evil) someday.
It’s interesting that the Department of Homeland Security is a key player in the case. You’d think that the Department of Justice would handle the case, since it usually does. But this time it’s “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” perhaps because it was probably used worldwide, so copyrighted works could’ve been distributed worldwide by this
It’s an odd consequence of so many departments and agencies being brought under the DHS’s umbrella due to the Homeland Security Act in 2002.
No, this case isn’t quite as scandalous as the REAL ID legislation, but it does make you stop and wonder how sensibly our government is organized these days.