July 28, 2002

DAN GILLMOR TELLS IT LIKE IT IS:

If you or I asked Congress for permission to legally hack other people’s computers, we’d be laughed off Capitol Hill. Then we’d be investigated by the FBI and every other agency concerned with criminal violations of privacy and security.

Then again, you and I aren’t part of the movie and music business. We aren’t as powerful as an industry that knows no bounds in its paranoia and greed, a cartel that boasts enough money and public-relations talent to turn Congress into a marionette.

That’s why I don’t doubt that the just-introduced bill, dubbed the “Peer to Peer Piracy Prevention Act” and co-sponsored by the representative from Disney, will get a respectful hearing. Howard Berman, D-Mission Hills, whose campaign coffers are loaded with money from Disney and other entertainment companies, wants to confer on the entertainment cartel the legal right to hack PCs it believes are part of file-sharing networks.

What Berman is doing is a breach of trust every bit as bad as any business executive stands accused of.

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