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MPAA Kills California Anti-Pretexting Bill 299

Posted by Zonk
from the revealed-to-be-playing-dirty-pool dept.
IAmTheDave writes "A California anti-pretexting bill that got unanimous support in the state senate with a vote of 30-0 was struck down after heavy last-minute lobbying by the MPAA. The bill aimed to make deceptive 'pretexting' (lying) to gain personal information on another person illegal. The MPAA told legislators 'We need to pose as someone other than who we are to stop illegal downloading,' and thus killed the bill when it came up for a final vote. California passed a much narrower bill that 'bans the use of deceit to obtain telephone calling records, and nothing else.' In a final 'think of the children' bid, the Califonia Association of Licensed Investigators also opposed the bill, saying it needed to be able to use pretexting to help find missing children, among other things."
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MPAA Kills California Anti-Pretexting Bill

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  • by mikelieman (35628) on Friday December 01, 2006 @11:37AM (#17065898) Homepage
    As we've seen, it's been proven to be not broad enough for our needs.

    How about this:

    Amendment $NEXT_AMMENDMENT_NUM

    The right of The People to Personal Privacy and Security and Control of any information or data directly created by them, or by their indirect acts shall not be infringed by either any Governmental Body, Federal, State, or Local,, OR ANY ARTIFICIAL LEGAL ENTITY created by any act of any Governmental Body.

    (That should take care of the damned Corporations. )

  • Re:my thoughts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrTester (860336) on Friday December 01, 2006 @11:42AM (#17065978)
    Oh really? So its OK if I call your phone company pretending to be you and get a copy of your phone records?
    Its OK if I call your Satelite/cable provider and get a list of all of the services you signed up for?
    Its OK if I call you bank and get a list of all of your acounts and their balances?

    The problem is not that these people are pretending to be someone they are not, the problem is that they are pretending to be some one in particular and useing that to gain information they could not otherwise gain.

    What the MPAA has just done is say "There is information out there that we cant gain through normal legal channels, so we want to be allowed to gather the information through semi/non-legal channels" and the governemnt said "Oh, OK".
  • by davermont (1001265) on Friday December 01, 2006 @11:54AM (#17066220)
    On the one hand we have the RIAA trying entrap media pirates under false pretenses. On the other, we have Universal trying to extort royalties for mp3 player manufacturers because they are "repositories for stolen music": http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/11/29/ 2328222 [slashdot.org]. So I'm supposed to pay a tax on my mp3 player to keep the RIAA at bay, and then go home and not download free music? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.
  • by hey! (33014) on Friday December 01, 2006 @12:07PM (#17066466) Homepage Journal
    Deceit in these cases is practiced to obtain information disclosures. It is an imposition of the deciever's wishes over those of the deceived. The question should, then be this: does the deciever have a fundamental right to the information he is seeking?

    So, outlaw pretexting except where it is used to obtain information that, if it were in the posession of an officer of the law, that officer would have a duty to disclose.

    For example, you are a police officer who finds out Mr. X, who is in a custody dispute with Mrs. X, has kidnapped the children. You would have a duty to disclose to Mrs. X the whereabout of those children.

    However suppose you know Mr. X is having an affair with Ms. Y. You have no duty to tell Mrs. X this, and depending on how you found out you may have a duty not to tell.

    In the case of the MPAA, if they are seeking evidence that people are illegally sharing materials whose copyright they hold, this is information to which they have a well established legal right. However, they have no right to other kinds of information they could gain by pretexting, such as who your friends are.

    By creating exceptions to a law against preteting, we are in a sense deputizing private parties to conduct searches by force. This entails some invasion of privacy. An officer of the law may obtain sensitive private information while executing a warrant, but if the information is not relevant to some sort of crime he may not disclose it. Neither should a private party acting under an exception to the law against pretexting be allowed to go on a fishing expedition.

    Therefore groups using pretexting should be forbidden to use any information they gain as a result unless it is relevant to an exempted purpose.

    So, if a record company looks for copyright infringement for its copyrights and finds infringement on another company's copyright, that is disclosable. They can't, however, create a database of music preferences for marketing purposes.

  • by calcutta001 (907416) on Friday December 01, 2006 @12:08PM (#17066496)
    Like in the movie "Enemy of the Sate", someone should pretext as the lawmakers and get their phone records. Maybe this will make them understand the gravity of the situation.

    Any ideas ?
  • by Technician (215283) on Friday December 01, 2006 @12:12PM (#17066574)
    We're fucked.

    Look on the bright side. They just made sure social engineering to obtain personal information on politicians perfectly legal. I think it's time to show them what legal advantages they have given their people. Anyone care to open a public database online in California with government officials personal information? Start with judges, city councel, and the like. Think of the children. Listing all the children's DOB, SSN, school, home address, IM username, ISP, IP address, and such should be a good wake up call to the error they just enabled.
  • by bunions (970377) on Friday December 01, 2006 @12:43PM (#17067188)
    > The answer is that succesful politicians are not developed, they're bought.

    There was an interesting piece on PBS some years back where they interviewed 4 former California governors at once: Davis, Wilson, Jerry Brown and ... uh ... someone whose name escapes me at the moment.

    Anyway, there was an interesting discussion about what they'd do to 'fix' California if they could, and one of them was to -increase- the amount of time legislators were elected for. They said that the situation now was that the legislators were there for such a brief amount of time between elections that they basically had no time to learn how to do their jobs. When faced with this dilemma, these freshman legislators turn to the only people there with experience at the job at hand - the lobbyists, who have typically been around Sacramento for many years and know how to get things done. As the governors explained it, this is the mechanism by which lobbyists essentially buy laws.

    Another thing they thought would be a good idea: pushing the legislature back to part-time, so they had less time to pass useless laws. Say what you will about Arnold, he's like the veto king. He vetoed more laws in his first month than previous governors did their entire term.
  • by Moofie (22272) <leeNO@SPAMringofsaturn.com> on Friday December 01, 2006 @12:54PM (#17067414) Homepage
    "Do you really want to live in a state where lying is illegal?"

    Don't be ridiculous. It's legal for the MPAA and HP. If one of those, whaddyoucallem, "citizens" tries to do it, well, that's a horse of a different color, isn't it?
  • by kangman (748644) on Friday December 01, 2006 @01:00PM (#17067570)
    on a related note... there was a recent court ruling making it legal for a customer to modify his/her cell phone. I think it was on slashdot but don't want to slog through the threads. In particular was the ability to hold mp3's. In general the phone manufacturer advertises their product as having certain features... obex, mp3 etc. and carrier disables them then warns the customer of penalties if he/she wants to enable them through seem edits. Hopefully this precedent will free us from being hostages of the corporations.
  • by Tungbo (183321) on Friday December 01, 2006 @02:13PM (#17069092)
    That sounds like the best approach to getting around the bought assembly.

  • Re:Already exists... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NineNine (235196) on Friday December 01, 2006 @03:20PM (#17070344)

    I would love to see the Libertarian Party gain enough influence to get their ideas out there in public debate. Unfortunately a lot of the Libertarian candidates that I've met would rather blame the Republicans and the Democrats for "shutting them out".


    That's because the way that states keep ANY party off of the ballot is no less than Consitutionally wrong and simple conspiracy between the Repubs and the Dems. The Libertarians will not compromise on having a free and open democratic system that allows anybody on the ballot. I'm collecting signatures to the the Libs back on the ballot in my state because I happen to agree with that. I'd do the same for the Greens, the Reforms, or whoever else has to fight the currently very corrupt election system to get on the balance and get their voice heard.

    The Big Two want nothing more than to absorb these slowly growing parties, which they do successfully with Nader's people, but Libs tend to be pretty staunch about not selling out by buying into the "throwing away your vote" bullshit.

The Universe is populated by stable things. -- Richard Dawkins

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