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Judge Allows Subpoenas For Internet Users 338

Posted by samzenpus
from the naming-names dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "A federal judge has ruled that the company holding a movie copyright can subpoena the names of people who are accused of illegally downloading and distributing the film. The judge ruled that courts have maintained that once people convey subscriber information to their Internet service providers, they no longer have an expectation of privacy."
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Judge Allows Subpoenas For Internet Users

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  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:39AM (#33545346)

    ... being an anonymous coward is the only way to protect my privacy?

  • Poooh (Score:5, Funny)

    by nospam007 (722110) * on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:40AM (#33545354)

    Am I glad that my ISP account is registered to my cat.

    • Re:Poooh (Score:5, Funny)

      by SQL Error (16383) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:42AM (#33545382)

      When cats are outlawed, only outlaws will have cats. Also, internet access.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Am I glad that my ISP account is registered to my cat."

      Am I glad I'm mooching off your cats router! (Cue new Prison Cat meme.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Am I glad that my ISP account is registered to my cat.

      My cat refused to let me register it in his name :(

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        that's why you always ask the dog, they'll do anything if you give them bacon ;-)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        My cat refused to let me register it in his name :(

        That's because your cat's credit is better than yours. He's worried that you won't pay your bill and drop his score.

    • Re:Poooh (Score:4, Interesting)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:04PM (#33546958) Homepage Journal

      Am I glad that my ISP account is registered to my cat.

      Do you pay your ISP with your cat's credit card? I don't believe there's an ISP that will take cash (at least in the US). For any of the big providers, you need to prove your identity (and of course, your address).

      I realize you're just joking, but it's an interesting point. I'm not sure there's any way to get anonymous internet access in the US, except illicitly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by flyneye (84093)

      Schrodingers ISP account is registered to both himself and the cat unless you pull up his data, then it is registered to either him or the cat depending on how much MPAA payola the judge is filtering through pacific rim bank accounts. Then you consider relativity...

  • Hrm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:40AM (#33545358) Homepage Journal

    Not sure if I agree with this or not. Subpoena's for information are generally thought to override any concern aside from providing the information requested (or, if an order to appear in court, than appearing in court). As a matter of privacy-rights, I think this judge is off his/her rocker. Seriously.

    • Re:Hrm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pitchpipe (708843) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @12:12PM (#33545662)
      RIP
      Privacy
      December 15, 1791 - September 11, 2001
      You had a good run...
      You were too good for us.
    • As a matter of privacy-rights, I think this judge is off his/her rocker. Seriously.

      Why? As someone recently said in a discussion on software and business method patents, adding "on a computer" changes nothing significant. Making something available for download is no different than putting a garage sale sign in your front yard - you've voluntarily given up your right to privacy by announcing to the world that you have something available for the public to take advantage of.

      Nor is this really any di

      • Re:Hrm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by commodore64_love (1445365) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:03PM (#33546044) Journal

        >>>Why?

        Because if I have "no expectation of privacy" from my ISP, then that means they could publish all my information on their website in public view of everyone. My name, address, phone, credit card name (BofA), which sites I like to visit (sleepysex.com), or files download (sexygrandma.torrent). It is a lousy, lousy ruling.

        Maybe it's time for us engineers/programmers to quit our jobs and become lawyers/judges because it's clear the current persons don't know jack about technology (see yesterday's ruling that says software can not be resold by a customer).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by crankyspice (63953)

          Because if I have "no expectation of privacy" from my ISP, then that means they could publish all my information on their website in public view of everyone. My name, address, phone, credit card name (BofA), which sites I like to visit (sleepysex.com), or files download (sexygrandma.torrent). It is a lousy, lousy ruling.

          The ISPs have privacy policies that prohibit "publishing all [your] information on their website..." That creates a reasonable expectation of privacy, IMHO. (IAAL.) Most privacy policies wil

      • Re:Hrm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:59PM (#33546390)

        "Making something available for download..."

        That's not what OP or TFA said. According to this judge (and what a bizarre decision it is), giving your "subscriber information" to your ISP removes any right you have to privacy. That by itself has nothing to do with uploading or downloading files.

        Since ISPs are basically Common Carriers (in every sense except the legal one), a good analogy would be "by giving your personal information to your phone company, you agree to allow others to listen in on your phone conversations".

        This ruling is so bizarre and out of "left field" I have a hard time imagining that it will stand up to scrutiny or appeals.

        The judge also appears to have completely ignored the plethora of prior decisions to the effect that IP addresses do not identify people.

        • by Sancho (17056) *

          It also violates the principle of some other laws guaranteeing privacy, such as the Video Privacy Protection Act.

        • by nospam007 (722110) *

          "...ignored the plethora of prior decisions to the effect that IP addresses do not identify people." ...or cats.

    • by Xyrus (755017)

      They can subpoena your phone records from your service provider. How is this any different?

      If you're infringing or breaking the law and someone has adequate proof of such, then I don't see where the problem is. You may be opposed to the law, but that doesn't change the fact that they can sue your ass and subpoena information.

      You're right to privacy goes out the door once you're breaking the law. After that, they can get warrants and subpoenas to invade your privacy in any number of ways.

      • Thats actually not true. If they have sufficient proof that its possible you did something illegal, they can only search areas of your house specifically outline in a warrant. For example, they can't tear your entire house apart without discretion if they have a reason to believe you are hiding illegal substances in a wall safe. The problem with this in particular is that an IP address is not sufficient "proof" that any particular person is breaking the law. Any computer connected through a router, or wirel
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Warrants? Ha.

          Police now write their own warrants. And apparently you've not seen the videos on youtube where cops bust into citizens homes SS-style, shoot the pet dog or cat, and then start tearing into everything to find that gram of marijuana (you evil drug-sniffing scum).

          The US is no longer the "free" country the Founders created in the 1780s. The Constitution is now just an inconvenient piece of paper that they pretend to pay lip service too but ignore, because they'd rather treat us like Wards of th

      • Re:Hrm (Score:5, Informative)

        by besalope (1186101) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @12:52PM (#33545956)

        They can subpoena your phone records from your service provider. How is this any different?

        If you're infringing or breaking the law and someone has adequate proof of such, then I don't see where the problem is. You may be opposed to the law, but that doesn't change the fact that they can sue your ass and subpoena information.

        You're right to privacy goes out the door once you're breaking the law. After that, they can get warrants and subpoenas to invade your privacy in any number of ways.

        Law enforcement can subpoena for your phone records if you've been accused a breaking a criminal law. This ruling is saying a Privately held company that is accusing you of committing a civil infraction can now subpoena for your information.

        Law enforcement has a right, as we've given any hopes of privacy from them away years ago. A private company however should not have the right to start subpoena issuing based of their "investigation" work we've seen thus far. Case in point: That old lady that had been sued by the RIAA a couple years ago that didn't even have a computer. [afterdawn.com] or RIAA suing the dead [theregister.co.uk]

        • >>>That old lady that had been sued by the RIAA a couple years ago that didn't even have a computer. or RIAA suing the dead

          Or RIAA suing teenagers that are not yet legal adults, and have no money (no job) to buy songs even if they wanted to. RIAA truly is out of control, and I still think a bullet in the CEO's head would do a lot of good for the American People. Yes I know they'd replace him but maybe the next CEO, fearing for his life, would stop terrorizing the public with extortion letters/la

          • by westlake (615356)

            Or RIAA suing teenagers that are not yet legal adults, and have no money (no job) to buy songs even if they wanted to.

            You kid can still cut the grass and baby-sit for his neighbors.

            Your kid doesn't pay the judgment.

            You pay the judgment as the legally responsible adult.

            The same as you would in any other civil case.

             

        • Re:Hrm (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Spazmania (174582) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:29PM (#33546216) Homepage

          You're at a membership-only swimming pool at 3 pm on the 11th. There are four other people at the pool. Your wallet is stolen. The owners of the pool refuse to tell you who the other four members were. What do you do?

          First you call the police. But if they don't help, you file a John Doe lawsuit and subpoena the pool for the identities of the other four members present. Then you speak to each one. And if you can figure out which one did it, you amend the lawsuit replacing John Doe with that individual.

          That's how it's done. That's how it's been done since I don't know when. What makes you think the Internet should be any different?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by icebraining (1313345)

            What makes you think the Internet should be any different?

            Because stealing a wallet is a criminal act and copyright infringement isn't? It's not about being on the "Internet", it's about stealing money vs. copying a song, since the latter isn't a crime.

          • Really? where I live (UK) you would contact the police. They investigate and the crown prosecution service would prosecute the thief for theft. You can't sue someone for a criminal offence.

          • You're at a membership-only swimming pool at 3 pm on the 11th. There are four other people at the pool. Your wallet is stolen. You report it to the police and cancel your credit cards. End of story. If you go to the trouble of filing a lawsuit then you must be a lawyer. Bet the next step is to sue the now identified John Doe for $23B in lost time, pain and suffering. You found your wallet in the car by this time, but the suit is already filled, so might as well cash in. The person settles and you have $8k t
          • The fact that the "pool" in this case the internet, has a few billion people in it....

        • You're right to privacy goes out the door once you're breaking the law.

          What? That is the most ridiculous thing I've read all day. If that truly were the case, law enforcement wouldn't be bothered by such pesky things as warrants and judicial oversight. The trick is finding a balance between the need for society to successfully prosecute criminals, and individual need to keep our private lives free of (and this is crucial) unnecessary government interference. Just because you've been accused of a crime does not mean that law enforcement can start pillaging your private life at

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FridayBob (619244)

      ... As a matter of privacy-rights, I think this judge is off his/her rocker. ...

      ... or corrupt.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:42AM (#33545386)
    It's amazing how prescient George Orwell was. His timing was off, but his prediction of a surveillance society police state was right on the money.
    • by SQL Error (16383) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @12:06PM (#33545596)

      1984 was written in 1947-48, when the Soviet Union was busily suppressing any kind of freedom in Eastern Europe. Orwell wasn't prescient, merely observant.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
        I think Animal Farm is a much better example of that.
        • by slick7 (1703596)

          I think Animal Farm is a much better example of that.

          1984 and Animal Farm are stories, not operations manuals.

          • You ought to tell that to the current crop in the White House.

            And no I'm not talking about Obama..... like George Duh Bush he's just a puppet. I'm talking about the people doing the real work, and who consider 1984 & other novels not just interesting stories, but a good place to extract useful ideas. You guys thought VP Cheney was evil? He looks like Mussolini compared to folks like Van Jones and Anita Dunn.

      • by Triskele (711795) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:05PM (#33546444)
        Rubbish. 1984 is nothing to do with the Soviet Union and Communism (see Animal Farm for that). 1984 is all about Britain of the day, the growth of domestic fascism and what the totalitarian nature of the wartime regime the country imposed to survive the war with Germany. Orwell was a propagandist for the wartime government. The Daily Hate of 1984 was directly inspired by the Daily Mail (and still justly merits that description today). Orwell's warning was aimed at Britain and America not Russia.
        • by lgw (121541) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:25PM (#33547208) Journal

          More specifically, Orwell was a Socialist who hated Fascism, but saw that unless people were very careful, Socialism could lead to a totalitarianism indistinguishable from the totalitarianism of Fascism. He was warning in both 1984 and Animal Farm: be careful lest what I advocate (Socialism) become what I hate (Fascism).

          And his warnings were right on target. England hasn't become a SciFi distopia, but it has developed precursors: the panopticon, the frequent stories of people, even members of government, being hauled into police stations for policially incorrect speech. They're seriously talking about using military UAVs to hunt for speeders and litterers. It's not 1984 by a long shot, but that's clearly the direction England is currently heading: exactly the direction Orwell feared and warned about.

          Here in the US it isn't nearly so bad, and comparisons to 1984 are still hyperbole, but nevertheless that sure seems to be the direction that we're headed. Only by vigorously defending your right to keep the goernment out of your daily life even if that means your neighbor can endanger you more than otherwise do we stop heading in that direction.

  • If you can have no expectation of privacy when you send information to your ISP, then use a fucking VPN, proxy, etc.
    • by shentino (1139071)

      That won't help.

      The ISP knows what IP address they've assigned your modem, and they know the mac address of the modem because it has to be registered with your account before they will provision it. Your account with the ISP has your billing information, which includes your name and address.

      • by sabernet (751826)

        Yes it will. By going via a VPN or proxy, the IP address they collect on the other side will not be your own but that of the remote agent through which you're doing the dastardly deed.

        So long as that agent keeps no usable logs or traceable info, there really isn't anything they can do.

  • Far Cry (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spatial (1235392) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:48AM (#33545440)

    Sued for watching a Uwe Boll movie. My god, haven't they suffered enough?
     

  • Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:54AM (#33545488)

    Er... how exactly do you get an internet connection from an ISP without giving them any subscriber information?

    Is there such a thing as an anonymous ISP subscription?

    • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @12:16PM (#33545692) Homepage

      If there were, many would not allow it. There are no anonymous bank accounts. Things like "credit card 'gift cards'" as payment are on the edge of matters and are closely associated with money laundering.

      Basically, there is no anonymous money. That freedom disappeared quietly long ago under the guise of many reasons -- war on drugs, war on terror and a lot more. Of course, we all volunteered much of it away by shifting from a cash and saving based society to one that is based on credit and debt.

      • by westlake (615356)

        Of course, we all volunteered much of it away by shifting from a cash and saving based society to one that is based on credit and debt.

        In 1900 your savings went into a bank.

        The availability of consumer credit means that change comes quickly: there are 22 million cars on American roads in 1920. "You can afford a Ford."

        • by erroneus (253617)

          That is an interesting theory. But it results in what we have today... massive waste, massive pollution and, of course, massive personal debt. So sure, "debt is good for you" right? It is until you have to pay it back and cannot.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          National Debt (credit extended to US by foreign nations) == over $140,000 per US household
          Personal Debt == about $80,000 in mortgage and $10,000 in credit cards per USH
          Unfunded Liabilities = $110,000 promised to Medicare and SS recipients (future retirees) per USH
          ==
          TOTAL $230,000 currently owed plus $110,000 promised but unfunded = $340,000 per USH (approximately)

          Yeah this cashfree, live on nothing-but-credit society is working out really great isn't? Oh and the claim the US is the "richest nation" simply

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dkf (304284)

            TOTAL $230,000 currently owed plus $110,000 promised but unfunded = $340,000 per USH (approximately)

            The problem is... that number simply doesn't tell the whole story. In particular, the length of time that different parts of it have to be repaid over varies. Credit cards are pretty short term debt (or should be at those interest rates!) whereas mortgages are much longer term, and a lot of government debt even longer than that. Perhaps a more useful figure to study is the approximate amount that the average household has to repay of that debt every month relative to their income; that gives a much stronger

    • Only if you suck wifi off your neighbors or the local starbucks.

      This precedent is really scary, if taken to its extreme if you conduct ANY business you have fortified your rights to privacy to the government and any other company that just happens to feel like getting your data.

  • by Jessified (1150003) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:58AM (#33545526)

    That isn't really a reason. That's just, "There's no expectation of privacy because I said so." That's like saying you have no expectation of privacy in your home as soon as you are granted a mortgage.

    • It's just another example of the government whittling away at common carrier status for ISPs. Soon, there won't be anything left, and ISPs will become unwilling extensions of the entertainment industry's enforcement division.
      • by smallfries (601545) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @12:28PM (#33545776) Homepage

        My god man, have you tried thinking before writing?

        Common carrier status means that the ISP is not liable for the actions of its customers. That in any legal action the customers would be the ones on the receiving end of a lawsuit or criminal conviction. Rather than whittling away at common carrier status THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT COMMON CARRIER status is.

        I also suspect that you don't know what whittling it, but I'll let it go as that is merely the tip of the iceberg that is your stupidity.

        • by ewieling (90662)
          ISPs do not have Common Carrier status. Regulated telephone companies are common carriers. Even if a regulated telephone company has an ISP, the ISP is not a common carrier. "ISP is a common carrier" is simply wishful thinking.
          • Err, yes. True. What I meant was "if" ISPs had common carrier status. Still, at least you have proved that the GP is even more of a brain-dead tool than I thought.

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        There is no common carrier status for ISPs in the US. There is something called Safe Harbor which seems to have stuck around between COPA and DMCA, but it isn't anything like a common carrier status.

        So no, there isn't any whittling away of it because it doesn't exist.

  • Phones? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @12:06PM (#33545610)

    So... I convey my subscriber information to the Phone company... do I lose my expectation of privacy for making phone calls?

  • by iONiUM (530420)

    If you can't run your own internet service, and there is no anonymous internet service offerings, then basically they can always get your information through subpoena. But, I'm not entirely sure that's a bad thing, it's not like you can buy a house and live there "anonymously". If you committed a crime, they'd be able to subpoena you. Of course, "crime" is subjective, I guess that's the real worry..

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xuranova (160813)

      You can buy a house under a shell corporation and hide the owners of that if you want to put forth the effort.

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        You want to remain anonymous? Fine. Fund a trust have it invest in bonds and use the proceeds to pay for Internet service for yourself. The account is in the trust's name, period. You can have the administrator of the trust be very, very careful about disclosing who is behind the trust, even in the face of a subpoena.

        If you are really worried, have the trust administered somewhere fun, like Lichtenstein. If someone wanted to try to pierce the trust they would have to file in Lichtenstein - good luck wi

  • Don't download movies without paying for them?

    Yes, yes, I know, there are far broader implications of the loss of privacy on the interwebs, and so forth.

    However, my point still stands. Don't download movies you don't have permission to and this case never would have come up in this manner.

    • by Barrinmw (1791848)
      But what if I own a copy of said movie and I can't find it in my house so I download it instead?
      • by mikkelm (1000451)

        You don't own the copy of the movie that's on the medium that you purchased. You hold a license to play the movie stored on the medium under certain conditions.

      • But what if I own a copy of said movie and I can't find it in my house so I download it instead?

        The old quote "possession is 9/10ths of the law" comes to mind. In most cases if you don't have it, you don't own it. Just because you lost something doesn't entitle you to any further property or license rights. That's your problem. Keep better track of your possessions or insure them for replacement value.

        • by Barrinmw (1791848)
          If I know said movie is in my house, its just packed in a box somewhere and it would take me hours to find, why should I have to bother looking for it when I have paid money for that movie already and it is more convenient for me to download?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You mean don't be accused of downloading movies. Even assuming this would never be used by someone solely for the purpose of discovering someone's identity and assuming that the ip addresses are accurately identifying computers sharing copyrighted material without permission, both of which are HUGE assumptions, the number of people who did not download movies but have their information released and get extorted simply because of clerical error is almost certainly non-negligible given the large number of peo

    • by jmerlin (1010641)
      Like I've brought up many times, if the big media companies would just make the movies available soon after theatrical releases ON THEIR OWN WEBSITES in digital form for a premium, streaming, a license for a direct download, and we know they'd want to put some kind of shitty DRM on it (see: DVD), at a REASONABLE price, who the fuck would pirate a movie? If I could go pay $2 to watch a movie that came out 2 weeks ago in HD streaming with unlimited rewatch time for 24 hours, I wouldn't bother downloading the
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cdrguru (88047)

        Why would you pay $2 when you can have it for free?

        A high percentage of pirates are just "collectors" anyway - they aren't watching the movies or listening to the music, they are just collecting. They aren't going to pay, ever.

        Another high percentage of the folks downloading are doing it because they are sure what they are downloading is crap. They are just checking it out to make sure. They watch it and, yup, it is crap - they would never pay for crap like that.

        There are a few people with high disposabl

        • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

          Why would you pay $2 when you can have it for free?

          I would. If the cost was really $2, it wasn't broken by some DRM scheme, and the quality was professional. What I'd get for going to the studio as opposed to some random torrent is quality and a guaranteed download. I wouldn't have to worry about my download dying in the middle. I wouldn't have to worry about waiting for a download to find out it wasn't what I expected. And the high-quality digital format would enable me to convert the file to whatever format I need for whatever device I need. I'd be

    • by PPalmgren (1009823) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @12:53PM (#33545972)

      You are missing the forest for the trees. People are against these kinds of decisions not because of the results for the pirates, but because the laws can be abused. Copyright law is currently being misused to quash political campaigns, as an example. The "First they came for the Jews..." quote is incredibly appropriate for any privacy issue.

      Do you not see the implications of any company being able to request private information from your ISP on a subpoena, even when that private information doesn't always reflect the person using the IP?

      • The potential for abuse is the key here. Do they have to provide any kind of solid evidence of their accusations? If not, they could theoretically (though it would raise flags) just randomly pick people whos info they want, make some shit up, and subpoena for their info. Now imagine that on a mass scale (the internet)

    • What if you do not agree with copyright law? Should we not disobey unjust laws? Im not saying download every new release and not pay for it. What I am saying is that media companies are literally trying to control every path you get your media from. If they had it their way you would have to buy the DVD, and then also buy digital copies for your computer and then after 5 years you would have to renew your license to view it. Meanwhile, if you show your video to other people in your household, you would have
    • AND don't go and see movies in the movie theater. Yes yes its hard to do at firstbut its been about 5 months and I've managed to kill my a movie per month habit for good. Now I still buy the movie used for $4 but MY money doesn't reach the move studios and I get my pop corn dirt cheap.
  • Robert Bork (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mounthood (993037) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @12:20PM (#33545726)
    When this happened to US Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork the politicians were so outraged they created the Video_Privacy_Protection_Act [wikipedia.org]. After all it's unfair to pry into a persons privacy, like what movies they watch. That's the principal right? Or is it all different if it's "pirates" on the "internets"?
  • Blind (Score:2, Interesting)

    Of course, the judge probably never bothered to consider the fact that the studio in question played the exact same recording industry end-run around legal procedures by first suing a bunch of "John Does", subpoenaing the ISP for their names and numbers, then dropping the case without prejudice and suing the individual "John Does" using their real names-- a clear misuse of the courts that wastes time and resources, but thus far unchallenged and thereby silently encouraged, to my recollection. The judge also

  • Since I am a registered voter, are my privacy rights, null and void, anytime, anywhere?
  • Renting & Leasing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by meerling (1487879) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:17PM (#33546142)
    I guess that judge would consider renting and leasing to also have no expectation of privacy. So anybody that's renting or leasing something, especially a home or car, is screwed. Heck, even having cable tv would make your entire viewing habits obtainable with that his interpretation.

    IMO the judge is an idiot. To have ANY paid for service, you have to provide that information to the provider. In no way does providing information necessary to the provider a waving of rights to privacy other than the minor level done with regards to the information the provider needs, and then, only with regards to the provider.

    Sorry, but I think we need to get rid of a lot of these judges that would rather screw the public than to be fair and just. I know in some places you can vote them out, and others, it's a till they die/retire thing. Are there any other means like yelling at politicians until they do something? (Maybe letting the individual judges know how you disagree with their B.S. might help, but I doubt those types would give a rodents donkey about the public and what it/they think.)
  • by xigxag (167441) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:04PM (#33546434)

    Three points:

    First, I find it interesting, to say the least, that the plaintiff in this case isn't Disney, Columbia, 20th Century Fox, etc., but "Achte/Neunte Boll Kino Beteiligungs Gmbh & Co KG" a crapware [imdb.com] movie distributor so obscure that Googling seems to 95% turn up links for this lawsuit. Wearing a tin foil cap, one could almost think they were acting as a front for the MAFIAA, much in the way that SCO was to some degree a front for Microsoft in its anti-Linux crusade. In the end, as we in the USA further lose our rights, the major studios will shrug and say, "It wasn't us, blame the Germans..."

    Second point is that there seems to be a conflation of the concepts "Privacy" and "anonymity" not only in this thread but in the original legal documents.

    Privacy = You may know who I am, but you don't know what I'm up to.
    Anonymity = You may know what I'm up to, but you don't know who I am.

    They're complementary terms, and both important rights, but for accuracy's sake we should be clear that, since the deed (file-sharing) is already known, just not the perpetrators, this is primarily a blow to anonymity.

    Alternatively, given that it is accepted legal practice to refer to internet anonymity as "privacy of subscriber information," one can think of anonymity as a subset of privacy, "privacy of subscriber information" being one tine along with "privacy of home", "privacy of beliefs", "privacy of association," etc. Even so, treating this ruling as a generalized blow to privacy to some extent muddies and obscures what's going on, particularly the salient issue at hand: Should we be entitled to an expectation of anonymity/"privacy of subscriber information" on the internet?

    Third, probably mentioned elsewhere by now, but here's the ruling [justia.com]. In point of fact, it's a mixed bag. While denying anonymity, it also says that jurisdiction may be a real problem for the plaintiffs.

  • Bollocks! By analogy, does this mean that if my name is in the phonebook, I no longer have a reasonable expectation of privacy in my phone calls? Does this mean that if I give the utility company my name, they no longer have to ring the doorbell to read an indoor meter, or they can be granted a warrant to pick the lock of my backyard gate?

    On the heels of the "first sale" ruling, I think it's time to donate to the EFF [eff.org] again. The courts have gone nuts, and I am sickened by what American business interests are

  • The Big Lie that this Foolish Judge bought into is that the law firm didn't know where to sue until they got personally identifying information - after which they will dismiss the suit anyway. If the law firm did their due diligence with reverse DNS look-ups of IP addresses then they'd know the likely district of every IP on their list and be able to file their suit much closer to the actual user as they should be required to do. But hey, that's too much work - even though lawyers are supposed to do this wo
  • by mykos (1627575) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @06:19PM (#33548550)
    " once people convey subscriber information to their Internet service providers, they no longer have an expectation of privacy"

    " once people convey medical information to their health care providers, they no longer have an expectation of privacy"

    " once people convey purchase information to their credit card company, they no longer have an expectation of privacy"

    " once people convey voice data to their telephone company, they no longer have an expectation of privacy"

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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