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US Entertainment Industry To Congress: Make It Legal For Us To Deploy Rootkits 443

An anonymous reader writes "The hilariously named 'Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property' has finally released its report, an 84-page tome that's pretty bonkers. But there's a bit that stands out as particularly crazy: a proposal to legalize the use of malware in order to punish people believed to be copying illegally. The report proposes that software would be loaded on computers that would somehow figure out if you were a pirate, and if you were, it would lock your computer up and take all your files hostage until you call the police and confess your crime. This is the mechanism that crooks use when they deploy ransomware."
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US Entertainment Industry To Congress: Make It Legal For Us To Deploy Rootkits

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:28AM (#43831841)

    Do you remember when Sony sneaked rootkits on their CD's and USB-memories and got away with a slap on the wrist.
    It won't happen again, the wristslapping that is.

  • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dinfinity ( 2300094 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:32AM (#43831861)

    More commonly known as: []

    Although one could wonder to what extent feelings of guilt and the drive to reciprocate are applicable in this situation.

  • by Esteanil ( 710082 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:38AM (#43831903) Homepage Journal

    They also want to allow private companies to make "aggressive actions" in retaliation against "foreign cyber spies".

    Like, there's no way THAT could possibly escalate or cause the end of the internet as we know it...

    Link []

  • Re:Seriously.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by citizenr ( 871508 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:45AM (#43831937) Homepage

    umm they did, Sony got rooted. All it did was give them more ammunition.

    Maybe it would of worked if hackers targeted individuals within corporation. Leak personal details of everyone above VP inside Sony for example? Schedules, bank records, credit ratings, private photos no one was supposed to see, this kind of stuff.

  • Wow ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:48AM (#43831953) Homepage

    So they basically want the right to maliciously hack and damage other people's computers on their belief that someone is stealing from them.

    No court, no proof, just what they believe. So they want to be judge, jury, and executioner.

    OK Anonymous, there's your targets. Each one of the people who contributed to this report are now fair game. Since they've decided it should be their right to hack us, they're now perfect valid targets. Their families, bank accounts, and mistresses are good starting points.

    What a bunch of douchebags. These guys would have us undercut all of computer security to give them special access to enforce their claims without oversight, and in the process, they'd probably make most computers far less secure.

    If these guys want the right to commit what would be crimes for anyone else, then I suggest they don't deserve a whole lot of consideration.

    This is shameful, and I really hope the lawmakers tell them a big "no friggin' way".

  • Intereting idea! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EzInKy ( 115248 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:51AM (#43831967)

    So how about a system that requires registration to make it illegal to remove the rootkit? They could even make that registration database searchable so that people can decide for themselves whether or not they wish to form a contract by agreeing to the installation of a rootkit. Perhaps it could be called the "National Copyrighted Works Database" or something like that? A searchable database of things you can't copy would be good for creators as it would indicate their intent on not having their works copied, and it would be good for the people as it would provide them with them a list of content whose owners do not wish to be copied. Such a database would be a win-win and perfectly doable.

  • This is Feudalism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @08:53AM (#43831973)
    The last stripes of a so called "free market" are being washed away into corporte feudalism, where the corporations now take over law enforcement, and soon after, law creation and destruction.

    Denying citizens all due proccess of a Jury of their peers, set up by a democraticly elected republican government is an assault on everything we stand for as a nation. This moves beyond the scary police state, dirrecty into feudalism. No longer do corporations control us with soft power, but they not have the right to directly interfere in our lives in place of the government, without the shred of due process the former has afforded us. This even gives them more power than the NSA/FBI, who to date have yet to request or start putting root kits on people's hard drives.

    It should go without saying that the RIAA will likely use this based on past actions to:

    1. Falsely labeling people as pirates, due to apathy. Don't give a damn who's really a pirate or not.

    2. Falsely label random people as pirates due to malice.

    3. Black Hat activities against critics. They could plant evidence of serious crimes(kiddie porn, bomb making materials, terrorist manefestos, etc..) on the hard drives of victims. They could also remotely wipe hard disks, spy, and delete or manipulate selective files, making it harder for people to mount a defense against their

    4. Set people up. I.e. open connections to whatever machine they want and do whatever activity they want. They want someone to say something terrorist related they can now.

      and locking there machines, wiping their hard drives, deleting files related to criticism, giving them virrii, planting evidence, setting them up for criminal activity, etc....

    Just went you thought SOPA and PIPA cannot be worse.

    I think we need to propose our own laws permanently banning the practice across the board, and stiff penalties for everyone who would try. The laws need to have the CEOs, and corporate officers go to jail. The law also needs to make whoever wrote that, go to fucking jail.

    By go to jail I mean

    1. Pre-dawn raid where they shoot they're pets, smash their houses, and intimidate their family
    2. Denied bail, intimidated into making confessions with ridiculous sentences.
    3. Freeze their bank accounts so they can't pay for lawyers.
    4. at least 15 years in federal prison in general population.
  • Will it ever end? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:05AM (#43832015) Journal

    Are we still having this conversation in 2013? You lost. It's over. Our society at large accepts and supports file sharing for non-commercial use. You can't put that toothpaste back in the tube, you can't roll back the cultural clock. You will not stop filesharing. Figure out a way to make money in this new economy or die quietly. Something as non-essential and ephemeral as the entertainment "industry" doesn't deserve a minute of face time with our government. There are important matters to be dealt with, going after filesharers doesn't even register on the importance-scale.

    Is anyone really entertaining the delusions of these detached, clueless, dinosaurs? Meanwhile, our infrastructure is literally collapsing, and they want us to waste government time having a discussion about imaginary property. Grow up. Your racket is over, you had decades of a free ride, longer than you deserved, to see this coming and do something about it. You sat on your hands, so now knuckle under and let that sweet creative destruction wash over your entire industry.

  • by cp.tar ( 871488 ) <> on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:27AM (#43832131) Journal

    I'm thinking of something different. I'm thinking of disassembling their rootkits, devising a completely innocuous file that would be flagged as a false positive, and then distributing that file in an even more innocuous manner. Then we wait for shit to hit the fan.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @09:33AM (#43832163)

    As I read it, this plan constitutes a conspiracy to commit extortion; such a conspiracy is a felony under California law. I think it should be brought to the attention of the Attorney General of the state of California.

  • Re:Salem, MA 1692 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @10:10AM (#43832393)

    > It seems to me that our emotional reasoning is the biggest enemy humanity has. .. need to learn to set feelings aside

    Having been called "Spock" for being completely unemotional / detached when interacting with people, I think I can provide a different perspective. I shared your conclusion most of my life but within the past year I have seen why that is an incomplete view.

    You are indeed correct emotions are a problem but you are (partially) solely focusing on the negative and ignoring the positive. i.e. Don't toss the baby out with the bathwater. There is a saying "Show me your strength, and I'll show you your weakness." and vice versa.

    When you take away emotion you also take away the joy. I have 4 loves in my life. Programming is and always has been the first. When I program I literally enter into a "time warp" because I so engaged in writing / debugging in solving an interesting problem (applied math.) The "time warp effect" also happens in other things I love doing such as riding motorcycles, playing drums. This weird perception of time is your soul's way of communicating to you that you are practicing applied meditation -- "Becoming one with the Source." To lose access to the joy that programming enriches would be a extremely boring life.

    Regardless of the spiritual over-tones EVERYONE has a passion in life. The hard part is knowing what the hell it is!

    Emotion is not the enemy. It is a "symptom", not the cause. Emotions _almost_ always follow beliefs. The TWO biggest problems with humanity are:

    * Greed

    Greed is due to an archaic belief system: "There is never enough." Ask people the simple question "How much money is enough?" WHY do they have such a difficult time pinning down an exact answer?

    Greed is like a cancer upon everything it touches. It corrupts politics, entertainment, art, science. Humanity keeps killing and fighting one another petty wars over idiotic objects due to greed and sometimes you have to wonder "When the hell are we going to get 'it'?" One of the main problems is that we as humanity have not realized the next level of truth -- "The Universe Will Provide For You." This century we will discover free-energy. This will be the catalyst to help people understand how to use this power responsibly. We are already starting to see this different perspective with respect to software. All code+data is just a number! Why is it "illegal" to share/trade numbers??

    * Free-Will

    You may think it quite tripe but Neo in the Matrix 2 said "The problem is choice." and he is spot on. Earth is one of the few places where humans have free-will. You can't as truly allow someone to be who they are / decide who they really are unless you give them the freedom to make their own choices. Which means they will make ignorant (based on lack of experience), stupid (based on lack of wisdom) choices from time to time. :-/ Would we better without our free will? Partially, Yes, but then we would lose a sense of our individuality. When you cross over you will find out you no longer have free will. You will still be unique but your "direction" will be more focused.

    One thing that helped me to "just let it go" was "Why am I unable to respect another people's choices whether it be regarding greed, free-will, etc even if I disagree with it?? They don't know any better!! Yes sometimes there totally awful consequences but they are eventually learning 'What NOT to do.' (which is JUST as important.)"

    So nay, emotions are not the biggest enemy. Would we do better to keep our emotions in check? Absolutely! Being balanced in both sides: Love & Logic is THE key to our spiritual growth / ascension / enlightenment. Humans are still spiritually immature compared to the truly advanced species -- the difference is that we are exploring the "negative" side and are now ready to start exploring the "positive" side. As we "grow the fuck up" -- we will start

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27, 2013 @10:35AM (#43832529)

    Don't you remember that Sony deployed rootkits on their customers' devices for this very reason.
    I guess it shows that if a tactic like this doesn't work, wait a while for everyone to forget; then try it again.

  • Let 'em Do It. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Monday May 27, 2013 @10:40AM (#43832563)

    This would just backfire so fiercely that it would turn the Entertainment Industry inside out. Publishers are not needed. They add no value to the work. The bits are in infinite supply, thus no value. What's valuable is the ability to create new works. We now have the ability to pay the artists directly for their new works -- They can simply withhold their efforts until money is assured -- Like Mechanics, Home Builders, Burger Joints, 100% crowd funded projects, etc.

    With a burger, home or car, there is one customer purchasing the work -- The work benefits one customer. With arts the customers are all mankind. Marvel of Marvels: The bits are infinitely reproducible! Is this a match made in heaven? No, it is the nature of information. Humans are information duplication devices, right down to their very DNA. All Life Is.

    The current publishing model runs counter to the Nature of the Universe, and employs evil economically untenable practices such as Artificial Scarcity, and Data Sharing Restrictions. To force the people into a system counter to human nature is what it means to create a police state. This has always backfired. The sooner, the better.

  • Re:Will it ever end? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @10:59AM (#43832653) Journal

    Cry me a river, shit-heel.

    Either find a way to stay relevant in a society where your product has succumbed to lack of scarcity or die. Actually, I'd rather not see you die because I am a compassionate and rational human being. I'd rather the material cost of your existence be subsumed by the welfare state until you can be retooled to do something useful and productive--unless you can't, which is probably the fate of most people, most self-styled "content creators."

    Your shortsighted self-indulgent entitlement makes me weep, and only just. Barfing I reserve for legitimate affronts to my sensibilities.

  • Re:Will it ever end? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @11:49AM (#43832997)

    Are we still having this conversation in 2013? You lost. It's over. Our society at large accepts and supports file sharing for non-commercial use. You can't put that toothpaste back in the tube, you can't roll back the cultural clock. You will not stop filesharing. Figure out a way to make money in this new economy or die quietly.

    They have. It's called "THE CLOUD;" with the end goal of ending physical distribution of entertainment and software. Once they do that, file sharing will be much more difficult to the point where it becomes an insignificant problem. For that to happen, high speed access needs to be more prevalent, and the content owners need to find a way to either share revenue with the bandwidth providers or develop their own delivery infrastructure, such as Google is doing. Until then, they will fight rear guard actions such as this in an attempt to stay in business long enough to make the transition. Oddly enough, copyright extensions will be in some ways less important because once you control the storage media to the point where, even if a copyright expires, if others cannot obtain re-distributable copies then the original holder can continue to control the work. Of course, for every advance in protection someone else will look to ways to circumvent it.

  • by DadLeopard ( 1290796 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @04:44PM (#43834891)
    Since i use Linux and most Government computers are locked into Windows, I think it is a better bet that it will lockup some part of an important agency before it gets me! If they does this to their usual level of competency then there will be a whole lot of Falls Positives, hopefully some of them will be in the offices of some really good Lawyers who will sue them till their wallets bleed!
  • Re:Greyzone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Monday May 27, 2013 @04:54PM (#43834977)

    The problem is that they have no way to know that they are losing customers, so they have no motivation to change their behavior.

    Well, first, if they lose enough customers, they actually will notice.

    But even if they don't, it's not like you're helpless here. You can actually contact them through a number of different channels and say, "I just want to let you know that I used to be a major customer, but I will no longer buy from you because of X." If a company starts receiving hundreds or thousands of messages like that about some issue, there is at least a chance that they might think about their behavior. Of course, they may just think that they're big enough and the new policy is important enough that they won't.

    But if you appreciated the quality of their products before, the least you could do as a former loyal customer is tell them what they did wrong. Then they can choose whether to act (or not) on that behavior.

    I've even on occasion done this in person. Did your favorite restaurant make a policy change that makes it less economical for you to eat there, or one that significantly affects the quality to you? Well, you can either just not go there again, and the owner gets to wonder about what happened... or you can give them some feedback and say, "This is important to me, and I'm letting you know that you won't see me much anymore if this is the new policy." Just be polite, and they can do what they want with that information. At a minimum, if you're polite, and the owner knows you're a regular customer, you might get a couple free meals or something... or they might get defensive, and you just politely say, "Well, I thought I'd let you know" and leave quietly.

    A lot of people seem to be taught that "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all." In general, that might be the polite way to go. But when you're dealing with someone's business as a regular customer, and then you suddenly decide to leave, it's actually more polite and potentially useful to give them feedback about why.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!