Worst Idea Ever: Fighting Copyright Infringement with Malware and Rootkits

If rights holders had their way they would have the ability to install rootkits and deploy malware that would include Ransomeware (restricted access to your computer until you pay them a fee) on to the computer systems of hackers and illegal file downloaders in order to fight piracy and cyber attacks. This may sound a little too over-the-top, but these are just some of the crazy ideas presented in a new report by the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property.

Given the ability of rights holders to actually identify when a person downloads a file illegally in court, the idea of installing malware on PCs "suspected" of ill behavior seems like the worst idea ever, but that's what they are proposing. From the report:

Additionally, software can be written that will allow only authorized users to open files containing valuable information. If an unauthorized person accesses the information, a range of actions might then occur. For example, the file could be rendered inaccessible and the unauthorized user’s computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account. Such measures do not violate existing laws on the use of the Internet, yet they serve to blunt attacks and stabilize a cyber incident to provide both time and evidence for law enforcement to become involved.

To deal with cybersecurity threats, the group proposes allowing those attacked by hackers to attack back:

While not currently permitted under U.S. law, there are increasing calls for creating a more permissive environment for active network defense that allows companies not only to stabilize a situation but to take further steps, including actively retrieving stolen information, altering it within the intruder’s networks, or even destroying the information within an unauthorized network. Additional measures go further, including photographing the hacker using his own system’s camera, implanting malware in the hacker’s network, or even physically disabling or destroying the hacker’s own computer or network.

The report highlights just how backwards rights holders are when it comes to protecting their intellectual property. Installing malware and rootkits people can't get rid of (and on PCs that they cannot 100 percent confirm actually engaged in illegal activity) is the worst idea in the history of ideas. It's almost as bad as letting lobbyist write laws in Washington.. Oh wait.

You can read the rest of this report here.

Source: Boing Boing


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