back to article 'Don't break the internet': How an idiot's slogan stole your privacy...

"I am the head of IT and I have it on good authority that if you type 'Google' into Google, you can break the Internet. So please, no one try it, even for a joke. It's not a laughing matter. You can break the Internet" - Jen, The IT Crowd For 15 years internet companies have been waging a war against any kind of laws that …


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  1. phulshof


    Ah, the good old ACAP discussion again. Where did I read about that? Oh yes:

    ACAP hardly brings anything new to the table, and nothing useful. Hardly anyone uses it, so why should anyone wish to invest the time and resources to implement it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      lets be honest

      We all want our cake, but we don't like the consequences of eating it. So in some situations I accept that sometimes you have to compromise.

      What I don't like is the fact that the uk proposes to take what they want when they want. If they want to record my emails, sms etc then they should write to me and ask my permission. I have the copyright to what I write and should be able to charge a fee.

      In the case of any organisation that wants to snoop on you regarding crime, if they find nothing against you they should be made to contact you and tell you that you have been investigated. Councils for instance would then be less likely to snoop on spurious claims if they knew they could be held to account.

      Finally, what I do is no one else's business unless I want to share it.

      1. Eddie Edwards
        Thumb Down

        Re: lets be honest

        Is this wilful ignorance on your part? No one is proposing to store all your emails and SMSes. The information that will be stored is who you emailed and who you SMSed. I'm not sure you can claim copyright on that data.

        I enjoyed the article but now I'm wondering if Orlowski is making the same categorical error as you are in relating privacy and copyright in this way.

        1. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: lets be honest

          @eddie edwards - If I write an email / SMS I can claim copyright, but that's rather irrelevant I think. I would in any case not sell the content of my emails / SMSes. The real big no-no is "The information that will be stored is who you emailed and who you SMSed". There is no justifiable reason for this data being retained at all in a way that is personally identifiable.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: lets be honest

            Copyright on an SMS? Probably not as they are too short, and there is no real creative act taking place. Email would probably depend again on the length / creativity in it. (IANAL)

            1. Dave Bell

              Re: lets be honest

              SMS too short?

              Creativity not seen?

              Justice is blinded.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: lets be honest

          You've obviously not worked for the security services have you if you believe that content of email will not be stored. It's niave to think this is all it will be.

      2. James Micallef Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: "We all want our cake, but we don't like the consequences of eating it"

        "Privacy and copyright are two things nobody cares about unless it's their own privacy, and their own copyright.". Indeed! It seems that people want their own cake/privacy/copyright closely guarded, and yet also want to be able to eat other people's cake/privacy/copyright.

        I think the biggest dissonance here is that everyone has data that they want to be controlled by privacy laws, but relatively few people have created anything that's covered by copyright (with the vast majority of copyrighted works being owned by big corporates). On the other hand, almost everyone wants to consume created media that's covered by someone else's copyright, but very few people want to consume vast amounts of other people's private data (in effect ii's basically governments and corporations who want to do that, not private people)

        Hence while I agree with the general gist of the article that 'property rights' are essential for privacy, the key imbalance is not going to go away. If the first step in the process is to create property rights on the internet (in itself not a bad thing), the real-world result is that corporations will assert their rights on all their owned copyrights while they and the governments will continue ignoring everyone's rights to their private data. It's got to work the other way around, first step has to be we implement laws such as the proposed EU one where I have full rights over all my data.

        No doubt Google, Facebook, the governments etc will cry foul and claim that giving me full rights to track, alter and withdraw my data is technically impossible and/or too onerous. Well, screw them, if it was something they wanted to do they have always found a technical solution and they have no problems spending gazillions on data farms so we know those are just excuses.

        1. JimC
          Black Helicopters

          Re: few people have created anything that's covered by copyright...

          Not true of course :at least under UK law everything you create is covered by copyright, even emails and forum postings. Lets take the reg as an example: from the terms and conditions

          "8.2 You retain all your ownership, copyright and other interests and rights in your comments but by posting any comments on our Website you permit us to use, modify, alter, edit copy, reproduce, display, make compilations of and distribute such comments throughout our Website."

          But what has happened is that people have been trained by an unholy alliance of 'big advertising' and bizarre political theorists not to value their copyright, or indeed anyone elses.

          So big corporations really don't much copyright on the internet, at least under UK law. However the political activists would like you to think they do, because that suits their agenda, and 'big advertising' would like you to think that real people don't own copyright, because that suits their agenda.

          But the truth is that (again in the UK at least) when you upload your home made video to Google/YouTube you have copyright in that, and in a just world then Google would pay you a fair share of the advertising revenue it generates. But really for that to work you need strong artists rights management organisations, and you'll notice that such organisations are at the top of both big advertising and political activists hit lists...

        2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: "We all want our cake, but we don't like the consequences of eating it"

          Individuals own their copyright and negotiate it away through license or contract. Computer programmer's sign away theirs by contract in exchange for a full-time salary, just as many contract writers do too. The contract or license doesn't change the philosophical basis of the law and ownership though.

          The answer to Big Bad Corporations "owning" individuals' copyright and exploiting it unfairly, is to have better choices when an individual goes to market. Richer, broader, more diverse markets benefit the creator. Choices are good - see the choices Adele made, for example.

          Because (c) enforcement is so expensive online (as well as ineffective), only bigger companies can afford to do it - which tilts the playing field even more to larger players. One positive step would be to fight market consolidation, another would be to make enforcement easier, so smaller companies can afford to do it too.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: lets be honest

        Its not so much what information is held, it is WHO is allowed access to it. Your local council perhaps?

        If more than one person has access it is no longer private.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: lets be honest

        You're a slave to society, and society is run by the government. Privacy and content rights applies only to those on equal grounds. Unfortunately we are not on the same ground as those in power.

        Establish a better government system and ensure society itself isn't one big jail, then we can talk personal rights and privacy to governments.

  2. Jim Lewis

    Minority report? see Person of Interest

    For a more relevant example of what the Govt's new project will likely bring see 'Person of Interest'.

    Perhaps not as watchable as Minority Report, but probably closer to science fact than fiction and closer to being realised than we might wish to believe.

    1. LosD

      Re: Minority report? see Person of Interest

      "Person of Interest" is probably the most ridiculous show I have ever spent a minute on. Just the spoken intro is a remarkable piece of unintentional comedy. I almost though it was supposed to be real comedy, but no, they actually take it seriously.

  3. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    You seem to be arguing from an invalid position regarding copyright. The law already stands: materials are copyright the moment they are created. There's no need for the increasingly repressive and unworkable new copyright laws currently lobbied for as they are solving a problem that doesn't exist, attempting to extend the meaning of copyright to places it was never meant to go, or attempting to snatch works from their owners so they can be handed over to the state or huge copyright mills.

    Enforce the laws that exist rather than creating new ones. Of course that leaves copyright as a mostly civil matter in the UK, which is apparently an undesirable outcome for some people.

    Conflating the copyright issue with personal privacy is a non-starter as well. Our "traffic data" is not a copyright problem and making it one opens up all sorts of problems, not least being who actually gets the copyright on that traffic data - the person it is recording, or the entity that made the recordings of that person?

    In addition it's been established by precedent in the UK for centuries that we have the right to freely move about without interference from the government or its agents, under any name, without unjust challenge. It's been a bit battered recently but it's there - and it applies to everything we do, not just wandering the hills and dales. This ancient freedom establishes a right to privacy far more robust and flexible than the EU-inspired human rights bullcrap, which is so full of caveats and exceptions that it might as well not exist.

    Not that any amount of legislation matters a jot when the government is intent on ignoring it anyway. Stop making new laws and enforce that which already exists.

    1. tfewster
      Big Brother

      freedom? the UK ... we have the right to freely move about without interference from the government or its agents...

      I've often wondered what would happen if I just walked past Immigration control, especially when returning from within the EU, calling out "It's OK, I'm a British citizen, so the Queen wants you to let me pass freely, without hindrance." By never having enough Border Agency staff on duty, the Agency are effectively creating a hindrance to my "rights". Most other countries are more respectful of arriving people, be they visitors or returning nationals!

      On the other hand, you would just have a longer wait for your hold luggage.

      1. Cunningly Linguistic

        Re: freedom?

        Not been to the US much then?

        The land that no shoed person shall enter,

        I wonder if they got the idea from the Muslems?

        1. asdf

          Re: freedom?

          Glass houses, stones, etc. The UK is hardly a shining beacon of freedom, anti corporatism, or a small non intrusive state. The reason is because like the US the government sucks and in both places many people with a brain and conscious fight against the insanity. The problem is people having both is a tiny minority of the general sheep herd.

          1. Shakje

            Re: freedom?

            Since when did being part of a minority movement translate to being good? When people use the term "part of the herd" or "following the herd" it really pisses me off, because it's clear that instead of actually assessing whether or not they are right, and giving other people the reasons why they might be wrong, they're just happy justifying their position by saying it's a minority position.

            Just because you follow majority consensus doesn't mean you're right, but it does tend to apply more this way than the other (e.g. evolution, shape of the earth, heliocentrism, age of the earth, and so on). Sure, minority opinion is right some of the time, and that's when it really has to be fought for, but it should stand on its own merits, and it's never because it's a minority opinion that it is right, that's just incidental. By suggesting that this is the most important thing about what you're trying to say, it just looks like you don't have anything else worth arguing.

            Let's look at it the other way, what if not many people have the wrong conscience? Or have a miswired brain? But those that do agree with your viewpoint. Now for goodness sake try and convince me otherwise, because I'm quite happy to listen when people have something to say.

            1. asdf

              Re: freedom?

              >When people use the term "part of the herd" or "following the herd"

              TMZ, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Charlie Sheen the sheep know these names.

              Citizen United vs FEC, debt over %100 of GDP, the complete gutting of the already weak Frank/Dodd bill not so much.

              At least here in the US it has been amazing and sickening watching the education level of the population decline so rapidly in one generation. My point is not I am so much better for seeing the total horse crap destructive greed and lies out there. I am just disgusted so few other people see it and don't care. FFS Western Civ nearly collapsed a few years ago due to fail leadership and even that didn't get the people to pay attention for long.

        2. asdf

          Re: freedom?

          will say thought the hour plus lines even for citizens to get in the US for stupid security theater is beyond retarded. Homeland Security eh? Glad to see they have become just another department to defend the corporations. People are just here after all to buy stuff.

        3. Rodrigo Rollan

          Re: freedom?

          "The land that no shoed person shall enter" YOU HAVE EARNED MY RESPECT GOOD SIR

      2. tfewster

        Re: freedom?

        Good grief, 4 downvotes just because I _didn't_ slag off the the USA as being another country that treated arrivals as "guilty until proven innocent" ? Or because I asserted that some countries were more welcoming? Or maybe the downvoters think I should queue in turn like a good little Brit, giving up a little liberty for a little security (And just do the traditional Brit-grumble about dumb animals being treated better than humans)?

        Oh well - at least it got _some_ reaction (see icon)

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Enforce the laws?

      @Graham Dawson:

      "Enforce the laws that exist rather than creating new ones. Of course that leaves copyright as a mostly civil matter in the UK, which is apparently an undesirable outcome for some people."

      Erm.... I think that's what ACAP was trying to do -- produce a protocol that allows the existing laws to be enforced.

    3. Matthew Hale
      Thumb Up


      ...One of the most sensible and succinct posts I've read for a while on this matter.

    4. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Oh dear

      "Enforce the laws that exist rather than creating new ones. "

      Yes, agreed.

      "There's no need for the increasingly repressive and unworkable new copyright laws "

      Yes, agreed.

      "Stop making new laws and enforce that which already exists."

      Yes, agreed.

      There hasn't been a new copyright law for a very long time. Moral rights were added to UK law in 1988 and copyright was extended to cover collections in the early 1990s.

      SOPA and DEA strengthen enforcement, they don't extend it to new areas. SOPA and DEA are doing exactly what you want - perhaps not in the way you want it, but you haven't suggested anything better.

      Your post shows how deeply you misunderstand what's going on - at every level.

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Re: Oh dear

        Sorry Andrew, can’t let you away with that.

        Massive logic failure on your part. Just because no new laws have been enacted does not mean that the old laws haven’t been changed.

        You are right that no new laws need to be enacted to protect copyright and that all we need is for the existing laws to be enforce. You are also right when you say SOPA and DEA don't extend the law to new areas. However what SOPA and the other laws do is that they shift the onus for the enforcement of those laws.

        Under the old scheme the copyright mafiaa had to do the one thing they hated doing, they had to produce evidence that somebody was infringing copyright laws, go to court and get the law applied. Under SOPA and related crap, all they have to do is claim that somebody was infringing copyright to get them either kicked off the internet (the so-called 3-strikes graduated response) or have ISP block access to a particular web-site. The way law is enacted here the only way to fight such a claim is to go to the high court. No problem if you are EMI/Sony et al with deep pockets, tough-shit if you are a little guy.

        So yes; no laws have been changed, but now you are guilty until proven innocent.

  4. A J Stiles

    Ownership of data

    The idea that we own every piece of data about ourselves, if taken to its logical conclusion, means that criminals effectively have a right not to be caught, if they refuse to sanction the use of data they own by the police to catch them.

    On the other hand, any of us could suddenly be declared a criminal .....

    This is a much bigger issue than you think, whatever you think.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: Ownership of data

      "The idea that we own every piece of data about ourselves, if taken to its logical conclusion, means that criminals effectively have a right not to be caught, if they refuse to sanction the use of data they own by the police to catch them." (A J Stiles)

      In the US, this is actually enshrined in law. It is illegal to demand a suspect incriminates himself, (hence the phrase "taking the Fifth" in many US police procedural series). This is why search warrants were invented. You CAN search through a person's private property, but ONLY if you have prior permission first, and to obtain that, you need to provide valid reasons to the relevant authority in order obtain that warrant. You can't just go on a fishing expedition.

      If memory serves, most Western nations have similar laws. So no, better enforcement of both personal and intellectual property rights would not break anything. Yes, the police might have to work a little bit harder, but nobody has ever claimed crime solving [i]should[/i] be easy.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Ownership of data

        '[...]but nobody has ever claimed crime solving [i]should[/i] be easy."

        You obviously haven't had a conversation with a Tea Bagger recently, how you?

      2. Graham Bartlett

        Re: Ownership of data

        Sure it is. But you have the question of what's "private" once it's left your PC. Most people would argue that a published website is "public". Public Facebook posts? Probably, too. Facebook posts to your friends only? Unsure. Facebook messages? Tricky - it's between two people, but the data is always held on a third party's machine. Emails? Even more tricky. Text messages? Or files shared across wireless networks? At what point do you need a search warrant, or permission for a wire-tap, or what else...?

        1. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: Ownership of data

          @Graham Bartlett - It's actually very simple, anything posted publicly on a generally available website page (totally public or facebook post viewable by friends etc) is public. Any SMS, email, private message on facebook is private. It does not matter on how many servers worldwide it is stored, that is just incidental to the technical implementation. If I send someone a letter by post, it doesn't matter that the message is handled by the postal service, it's still a private message, so there shouldn't be any difference with email.

          Of course it would help if the whole internet / phone etc infrastructure were set up in a way that all messages are encrypted by default and the role of facebook, email provider etc is that of a postman (the way it should be). The way things really are, FB, Gmail etc etc take it for granted that it's OK to peek at your private messages. It doesn't matter that they do it to provide targeted ads etc, once in their mind they established the principle that they can read your mail, your privacy depends on their say-so, and you think they'll defend your privacy from a polite FBI / MI5 / etc request? They'll hand it over without so much as a warrant.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ownership of data

      Indeed... the law of the land changes as the powers that be see fit. By hook or by crook these men and women, who are determined enough to be in power, will also be determined enough to get `their way`.

      You are not a criminal today, but tomorrow, who knows.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best analysis I have read for a long time.

  6. El Presidente

    More evidence of Google Lobby™ in action ?

    "Privacy and copyright are two things nobody cares about unless it's their own privacy, and their own copyright"

    Freetards rarely create anything so even if one were to explain the fundamentals of ownership to them - even them owning their own stuff - they still wouldn't understand and would probably side with Google under an anti-copyright banner as a matter of 'principle'.

    Twisted logic but that's freetardism in action.

    The only privacy freetards care about is their ability to hide their IP address.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby
      Big Brother

      What does it mean to 'break the internet?

      I agree with El Presidente.

      (And I'm sure I will garner down votes just with that comment.)

      But I have to wonder what people mean when they say 'don't break the internet' ?

      Clearly its not a talk about actually causing the root DNS servers to fail bringing everything down with them.

      But I would gather more of the model that if we take a stronger stance on individual's privacy rights along with copyright protection, that we will break the models of companies like FB and Google. That they won't be as profitable.

      If we look at all of these start ups, what would happen if they couldn't be profitable would they stll exist?

      Is that what is meant?

      1. Asgard
        Big Brother

        Re: What does it mean to 'break the internet?

        @Ian Michael Gumby:"that we will break the models of companies like FB and Google. That they won't be as profitable."

        If their business models weren't so profitable, either they would change their business models or other companies with different business models will inevitably emerge to take their place. So its not the end of the world, they or others just have to change.

        Also spying on privacy is blatant exploitation and basing any business model on blatant exploitation of people is morally wrong however they try to argue its not. Exploitation and manipulation of people for profit has been outlawed repeatedly throughout history for good reason, not least because the exploited rise up to fight that exploitation, coercion & manipulation.

        Also Google would not be able to erect pay walls around its search as it would loose hugely from advertisers who seek to place their websites high in the search results. That search income money can be maintained by Google without any personal information required from us. So as much as they want to spy on everyone, their business model doesn't require them to spy on people to stay very profitable.

        Facebook would need more chance, but even they earn good money from for example taking a very good cut of sales of applications like games which doesn't require them to spy on people. Also they can advertise to millions without spying, its just they and Google know there is more money to be earned from spying.

        Our privacy is under relentless attack and we need to draw a line against companies and governments because they will never stop in taking all they can get until they are forced to stop. Enough is enough.

      2. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward

        Re: What does it mean to 'break the internet?

        I think "the internet" is google code for "our profitable business model" as in:

        It will break our profitable business model.... as indeed it would.

        Great article, great debate... you are definitely onto something Andrew

        and have gone right to the crux of the biscuit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah... of `those people` who seems to be under the misguided notion that if it doesn't make money it's not worth doing. Most of the great ideas have been conceived and created not by businessmen, but by artists, scientists and craftsmen of passion, who often choose to share their creation with as many people as possible. Many get little profit or recognition for their work. For many the money is incidental.

      I'm not saying people should not remunerate one another for each others labour, or that there is anything wrong with material Capitalism, but ideas are different, IMHO...

      I bet you even pay for love ;)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @El Presidente

      Don't feed the Trolls...

      'Cos yeah, nobody has EVER done anything worth while and gives it away for nothing, apart from most 17,18 and 19th Century science, tons of Public Domain software (remember that), Wikipedia, Linux, ...remember that 20 years ago you couldn't even pay for stuff over the internet - what a lot of freetard bastards these people were eh!.

      Nobody is stupid enough to think El Pres is being serios (other than the 16 or so up-voters - who think this is a real post - LOL)

      Shit - I forgot, DON'T FEED THE TROLLS

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        Re: @El Presidente


        So the company that paid for the programmer to do the basic research did this out of altruism?

        The developers at universities aka grad students, professors, aren't being paid or are trying to make a name for themselves so that when they matriculate they can garner a better salary?

        Bill Gates who is now donating the billions he made off of others wasn't a capitalist when he was making his vast fortune?

        Surely you jest.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    excellent article. it's the issue of *control* that really p***es me off.

    Governments have exactly the same attitude. They force you to supply it and then feel you they have no need to tell you who will use it (or more usefully who accessed it without a good reason) or even how long it will be stored.

    It'll be interesting to see how interested companies remain in personal data when they have to *pay* for it.

    Break the Internet? B***cks.

    Break Google? Now that might be a truer statement.

    And civil servants so *dumb* they can't ask the first follow up question (One of those PPE types not wanting to show their ignorance?)

    Thumbs up for the article. P**s poor behavior by Google and the governments.

    1. tfewster
      Big Brother

      Re: *control*

      Hmm, could that be why governments support Google & Facebook? Because establishing a right to delete your data would have severe implications for the State/police/credit reference agencies.

      I agree that as long as you "use" Google/FB/The UK, they can hold data on you. But if you leave?

      I can't see Google being badly broken just because they can't track you for targeted ads any more; Deleting your FB account won't remove photos others have posted with you tagged, or remove all your posts to other people. So I'm not clear why they would care so much as to come out with ridiculous statements like "break the Internet".

  8. ChrisM

    Because of the pushing back of dates by Disney and others (life + 70 years now IIRC) any reasoned argument is set against it.

    The intermingling of copyright and privacy as two sides of the same coin makes sense but will require google et al to respect our property however

    Interesting (and true) point at the end.e


      A highly specious argument.

      The idea that personal papers should be muddled with creative works that have been published is an unfortunate consequence of European ideas about copyrights. This includes the daft notion that every scrap of paper is precious.

      Private papers should remain as such and any attempt to drag copyright into this discussion is merely clouding the issue for the benefit of a miniscule set of corporate interests and their misguided lackeys.

      Any modern discussion on privacy needs to start by rolling back copyright concepts to 1783.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A highly specious argument.

        "The idea that personal papers should be muddled with creative works that have been published is an unfortunate consequence of European ideas about copyrights."

        No it isn't; the argument that "a digital copy doesn't cost anything" can be used to say that copying your private data hasn't deprived you of that data (only the abstract concept of privacy) so it can't be actionable (no civil or criminal liability).

        The article isn't really about the legal aspects of copyright; it's about the technical implementation of a system on the internet to mark content as being "owned by someone". It seems that Google has been working against such a technical system because it might hinder their ability to sell access (in the form of advertising) to someone else's content.

      2. Dave Bell

        Re: A highly specious argument.

        I can see what you're getting at, but I think you are mistaken.

        Copyright is essentially about documenting who owns something. In the old US system. there was a requirement to register copyright, just as there are registers of land ownership. It's a sometimes imperfect extension of the ideas of property and real estate. You can, especially in the digital age, drag in some sometimes non-obvious economic theory. You can steal a printed book, because the person you steal from can no longer use it. If I were to "steal" a file from your computer, you would still have the original.

        Privacy also depends on ownership rights. And sometimes gets complicated: when you rent a hotel room, do you have a right to privacy? In English law, there is a conflict between the right of a tenant to privacy, and the rights of the landlord to protect their property. There have been court cases. There are are words such as "reasonable" in the statutes. But at the heart of that balance is a clear identification of the parties to the contract.

        I suspect we all are over-simplifying a bit, and the whole idea of an absolute property right can be challenged. If you want to blame William the Bastard for it, feel free. But, in the world we have, it isn't stupid to associate privacy with property rights, and some way of documenting ownership.

        I don't want my privacy to depend on registering copyright with some government office. Which is why I dislike some of the assumptions that seem to be common amongst Americans. Some of them don't seem to have realised that US Copyright Law has changed to implement the Berne Convention. They have the same automatic copyright as us unfortunate Europeans.

        But, wherever we are, it seems that money talks. Google can make money out of playing fast and loose with our privacy. And, too often, money shouts, screams, and throws the mother of all temper tantrums.

        As far as privacy and copyright go, the various corporates and collectives are getting away with acting like spoiled children.

        Think of the adults, please.

    2. Sean Timarco Baggaley


      "Because of the pushing back of dates by Disney and others (life + 70 years now IIRC) any reasoned argument is set against it."

      This is rubbish. Governments don't spring magically from the foreheads of previous governments. In most Western nations—the US included—they are ELECTED. By "The People". If the people really don't want such laws enacted, they are perfectly entitled to make their position on the topic known to their representatives in government.

      Clearly they didn't give enough of a damn about this to do anything about it. Ergo, it's not unreasonable. 99.999% of the population of the USA have precisely zero interest in ripping-off Disney's characters, so why would they care how long the copyright on them lasts?

      In any case, the Disney argument fails on one important aspect: technically, the "creator" has not actually "died". Disney are still trading. If corporations are people too, (as a certain Republican presidential candidate insists), then the Disney corporation is perfectly justified in demanding that the [i]company[/i] owns the copyrights, not Walt Disney himself.

      Copyright law could trivially be rephrased to assert that the copyright is held valid as long as the "creating entity" continues to exist, with a time limit placing the copyrighted material into the Public Domain after an agreed period [i]after[/i] the creating entity dies or enters into liquidation. (You might even add a rider that such entities cannot transfer the copyrights to another entity after, say, 20 years from creation. That forces anyone who wants to buy up the rights to do so quickly. After that, the value of purchasing the entity falls dramatically.)

      You could add an arbitrary time limit—e.g. 100 years since date of creation—to prevent companies from just sitting on their property rights in perpetuity, but I think the argument for such limits is no longer applicable: The purpose of these was to ensure that copyrighted content remains available to the public, even after the author and / or publisher has disappeared, as archiving was expensive at the time. The BBC famously wiped many of its early video recordings because archiving them cost so much. Today, nobody's complaining that they can't find a copy of "Steamboat Willie".

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Pollyanna much?

        "Governments don't spring magically from the foreheads of previous governments. In most Western nations—the US included—they are ELECTED. By "The People". If the people really don't want such laws enacted, they are perfectly entitled to make their position on the topic known to their representatives in government."

        No, actually they spring up from the ass pockets of their landed patrons. Reference the Citizens United decision (

        Then, just for fun, look at the timeline for the campaign and governance for the current Govenrnor of Wisconsin. Pay special attention to the source of funds for said campaign, and the dichotomy between what was said, and what was (and is still being) done.

      2. Naughtyhorse

        Re: @ChrisM: you lost me right at the end...

        theres tons of pre digital content thats been ditched that people are endlessly moaning about. - or to pot it another way theres tons of people turning cartwheels about classic early cinema, though lost, but found mouldering in a besement somewhere.

        and really wtf is 100 years all about? the content churn in the post internet world is so massive that content a few years old is hopelessly outmoded.

        seems to me an attempt by copyright holders to get onto the same gravy train as the patent trolls - fuck that for a game of soldiers

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A really good start...

    ...would be independent tab browsing. Every tab on a browser should have exclusive access to its own memory space and not use shared resources. So if I am on Facebook in one tab the Gmail tab should be completely ignorant of that.

    And once I close that tab, I should have the ability to delete all record of that instance.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: A really good start...

      Now this is an idea I like.

  10. Turtle


    Most people would gladly sell their privacy for a mess of porridge, or free digital content, or even the illusion that by putting the details of their lives on Facebook they are somehow becoming "famous" like the celebrities they see in the supermarket tabloids.

    (Note for foreigners: "Supermarket tabloid" in the US are newspapers whose content is well indicated by their cover stories such as "Michelle Walks Out On Obama!" or "Jesus Returns To Earth In UFO!" I believe but am not certain that they are therefore somewhat different from what the UK understands by "tabloid".)

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Gladly.

      Don't knock the US supermarket tabloids! Some of them report more real news than the newsies (e.g. Monkey Business).

      Besides, if people weren't making money selling them, we'd have a lot more unemployed English majors.

    2. frank ly

      Re: Gladly.

      I prefer pottage myself. It has much more minerals and vitamins as well as a more varied taste.

  11. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Where you've hit the nail on the head... that politicians believe they can break the internet. And anyone who can break a thing has power over it. So they make laws as if they have the power to break it, when they don't.

    (And for the record, I'm a paytard; if I want to own music, I buy it.)

  12. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Break the internet? No.

    Break what trust remains in the major players in the internet? Oh yes... Ditto, for the governments (er, aren't they supposed to be *my* elected representatives, acting in *my* interests?)

  13. MonkeyBot

    Not entirely equivalent...

    The problem with privacy vs. copyright is that your privacy rights only really last as long as you do whereas copyrights keep being extended.

    The fact that they both rely on property rights, doesn't make it irrational to want to strengthen one and weaken the other. Or more importantly, strengthen and weaken the respective penalties for breaching those rights.

  14. Andus McCoatover

    He's right, you know!

    Typing "Google" into Google barfed IE6 a treat!

    'Course, it might have been just a coincidence....

  15. Tom 35

    copyright industries

    Think you should own all your data.

    Then "By clicking OK" you agree to give it all to them.

    But don't worry, for a small monthly fee they will let you use it.

    The copyright industries are not trying to help me. They are trying to increase the range of 'things' they can claim to own.

  16. CaptSmeg
    Thumb Up

    With you in spirit

    Hey, thank you Andrew for a very thought provoking article.

    I whole heartily agree with the spirt, especially the protection of property rights and privacy (and liberty). I also do not understand the arguments for treating the digital realm as some other special place removed from the rest of the world with its own special laws, that just seems absurd.

    However, as others have said, I don't understand leap you make to associate ownership of data to those that the data is about. Surely, this is too grey an area to base your argument on. It will just attract examples of extremes that with just distract from the important main message.

    Do they need to be linked? Is it not simply the case that we need to properly and consistently enforce the laws we already have?

    In true commentard form I don't have any answers...

    1. Tom 13

      Re: With you in spirit

      It seems to me there are two things which make the digital realm different from our usual physical realm and they are sort of inter-related.

      The first is that when you break the law in the physical realm, for the most part you are living in the places where there are people who are understood to have the authority to take the appropriate action. To some extent you can get away in car, boat or plane; but those actions tend to take more planning and resources than the typical person has available, and thus constitute a small scope problem for authorities even if the impact of such persons can be large.

      The second is that in the physical realm there are a relatively limited number of people who can commit those crimes against you, and they tend to take some effort.

      On the internet all that changes. For outright illegal activities you are likely to be being attacked by somebody outside your country border let alone outside the jurisdiction of the local sheriff/constable. As to information gathering, the internet takes that to a level never before possible, so extending the usual rules breaks down. The local grocery chain could legitimately gather all kinds of information about my buying habits, but it was of limited value. It's only joining that data to everything else that makes it valuable. So in that sense it is a new area of law that does need to be carefully thought through. There are benefits and risks and so far nobody has thought deeply into those issues and their balance.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: With you in spirit


      Property rights are the foundation of effective law in each case. You OWN your creations and you OWN your communications and traffic data in each case. The individual is sovereign. Ownership means you have the right to exclude others. Others may include Governments, corporations and Kim Dotcom.

      There's really no other way to have effective privacy, unless we put the individual, your or me, as the ultimate owner. The Hive Mind is not an effective. good custodian.

      "I also do not understand the arguments for treating the digital realm as some other special place removed from the rest of the world with its own special laws, that just seems absurd".

      The Utopian argument seems to boil down to this. It makes an exception for digital stuff - which can't be owned, and so people can't be excluded. The Unicorns run wild, and run free.

      But it means there will be no markets and no privacy in the Unicorn Meadow.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the Internet

    We can all be a dog.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: On the Internet

      No. Dogs are NOT ALLOWED!

      If you don't believe me, read the alt.religion.kibology FAQ.

      Or, as Kibo himself put it "Poor Spot. He's not even allowed to be not allowed! He's below all that. He's JUST A DOG and will NEVER be allowed!"

      Yes, I know, I'm dating myself ;-)

  18. Richard Neill

    Privacy and Copyright are unrelated

    Please don't muddle different concepts.

    * It would be perfectly logically consistent to have strong privacy protections and weak copyright.

    * Also,while we do need consumer protection from Facebook & Google, the real threat to privacy is our own government, and that of the US. So, for example, if we wanted to implement a "right to be forgotten", it needs to also apply to the spooks.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Privacy and Copyright are unrelated

      "It would be perfectly logically consistent to have strong privacy protections and weak copyright."

      No it wouldn't, and isn't.

      Unless you own your data you're always going to be "borrowing" rights from, and negotiating rights with, the Government and its agencies - including the spooks. And they'll find endless reasons to give you a shit deal.

      You're going to have to think about this a little deeper.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Privacy and Copyright are unrelated

        Actually, no AO, you're wrong.

        By the way, (and I'll probably get flamed for admitting this), but I am an IP and data protection lawyer. Privacy and copyright are very distinct concepts, with very different aims that they should not be (cynically) conflated.

        On the one hand, privacy is a fundamental human right, which seeks to address an inherent imbalance between the powers of the State (and these days increasingly also commercial organisations) and the individual. It is (in my view rightly) constitutionally enshrined in many countries and by supranational organisations (e.g. UN Charter, EU treaties, CoE's ECHR, UK's HRA, US's constitution etc.). Privacy does not require 'ownership' or (commercial) monopoly: it arises to protect information that by its nature is private, and which an individual subject (natural person) is entitled to protect.

        Intellectual property rights, on the other hand, are economic rights granting a monopoly to a person (natural or legal) to encourage creation and provide economic reward - and to avoid what might otherwise be considered unfair (commercial) competition (i.e. copying someone else's (hard) work).

        For example, if a pharmaceutical company invests £x Billions in making a drug to prevent or cure an illness, then people often agree that it is right that said company be entitled to a monopoly (patent) for 20 (in pharma cases often 25) years, so they can recoup their investment and make some profit, employ some people etc. All very well, but a distinct concepts to privacy.

        Human rights and economic rights are, in my view rightly, treated differently.

        What people find hard to swallow, is why computer software or artistic creations like songs and cartoons are protected (by copyright) for such a very long period of time (e.g. life + 70 years), and why those monopoly periods have been considerably extended in the last 3 centuries, including very recently, when distribution and other costs have dramatically fallen. There is certainly some 'cognitive dissonance' at work here.

        Accordingly, as said by poster above (Neill?), depending on your inclination, you can perfectly sensibly say: I want strong privacy rights and weak (or no) intellectual property rights. That is perfectly logical.

        Similarly, it would also be perfectly logical to lobby for the opposite: strong IP protection and weak (or no) privacy protections.

        In other words privacy and IP are not two sides of the same coin.

        You can argue which of the above two camps (or a different combination of camps) you fall into and prefer, but it doesn't help the debate to confuse these issues (much as such confusion might advantage some people, like those who want to increase the strength of IP rights for example).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two Things

    1) When did politicians not like passing new laws? During their 13 years in power Labour put about 3,000 on the statue books.

    2) Ownership of data is an issue I dealt with a couple of years ago. I have been with Amazon since

    2000. They have records of all my purchases going back over 12 years (unlike eBay which hide

    them from the buyer / seller after 90 days). I got nowhere with Amazon or the Information

    Commissioner. The only way to get rid of the information is to close my account.

    1. unitron
      Big Brother

      Re: Two Things

      Those business transactions with Amazon over the last 12 years? Amazon was just as much a party to those transactions as were you and has a much right as do you to a record of them. They have no obligation to "forget" any of them, although I'd argue that they have no right to tell others the details.

      eBay is a whole different kettle of fish, because they are neither end of the transaction, but rather the conduit for the negotiation, and it's probably just as well that they aren't both evil and quite competent at being so.

  20. kevin biswas
    Black Helicopters

    Same sides of the same coin

    It is easier for me to imagine a world where copyright is harshly enforced by content cartels bristling with lawyers etc but your privacy is non existent and everything you do is snooped on by advertisers, governemnt censors and software spooks. The content cartels are doing their best to cozy up with government anyway so they can push their agenda with the powers of the state (AND at taxpayers expense).Seems to me the 2 issues are the same side of the same coin, and it is heads down in the mud getting the boot on the tail.

  21. Philius

    robots.txt? Seriously?

    What would the robots.txt file look like for googles own web site?

    1. Irony Deficient

      Would he lie to you?

      Philius, just point your browser to to answer your own question.

    2. Blofeld's Cat

      Re: robots.txt? Seriously?

      "What would the robots.txt file look like for googles own web site?"

      Er, like this since you ask.

      1. Philius

        Re: robots.txt? Seriously?

        "it was Google that had insisted on ACAP being in robots.txt"

        So Googles own robots.txt would have to declare that it didn't own its own web pages.

        This comment was made in relation to the article.

        Sorry if I wasn't clear enough.

  22. Gannon (J.) Dick

    On average

    The problem with regression models is that neither wealth nor walking around money is an average.

    I wonder why we track a species which for 100k years or so has called home the most inhospitable places on the planet ? It just doesn't seem that humans are reliable when it comes to making good choices. Why don't we keep track of mosquitoes instead ? No problems with invading their privacy and there are a lot more of them, which lets advertisers off the hook, statistically.

  23. Keep Refrigerated

    I completely agree

    We can't have these freetards on the internet getting paid advertising money for what is essentially free content that has not been created by them!

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    1. The Grump
      Thumb Up

      Re: I completely agree

      This is EXACTLY why the internet should be kept free. My God, if you had to comply with all the crap listed above, no one but lawyers could use the Net... is that what THEY want ? This has RIAA written all over it. At the bottom of every attempt to muzzle the Net, there is a sleasy RIAA lawyer pulling the strings. RIAA = Pure EVIL.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        "the internet should be kept free"

        Please define "free".

    2. CD001

      Thing is...

      The thing is that the copyright notice on your comment, common to copyright notices everywhere, states that the comment cannot be copied with permission... if everybody contacted the copyright holders for every single instance they may have to ask permission (even if they're not sure; taking a DVD to a friend's house for a beer/pizza/film night for instance) the whole system would come crashing down under the weight of the administration required.

      That's probably about the only form of lobbying that would work - unfortunately the vast majority of people would rather just ignore the law rather than put the effort in to actually change it; and that being the case, the politicians will always "oil the squeaky wheel" and pander to the companies that lobby them unless it's a serious vote loser.

      That being said though, it would have to be something monumental to actually make any difference to people voting. I'm sure most people vote the same way each and every time without ever bothering to look at what they're voting for... the only time people change their vote is when they're sick of the governing party and will then vote against them (and vote for whichever party their newspaper/media outlet of choice "tells them to"). Actual policies hardly even come into it.

      1. PT

        Re: Thing is...

        "if everybody contacted the copyright holders for every single instance they may have to ask permission ... the whole system would come crashing down under the weight of the administration required."

        Probably not. It's far more likely that people seeking permission would have to call a phone number that's permanently busy, or answered automatically and then put permanently on hold for the "next available representative". Though I wouldn't put it past the copyright industry to log the incoming phone numbers for future enforcement investigations.

        1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Thing is...

          New World Order? Telephone conspiracies?

          We are truly into Tinfoil Hat territory here.

          Remember chaps - they're out to get you.

  24. PyLETS
    Big Brother

    privacy and property

    Privacy won't be respected by creating new property rights, and doesn't need this. If you want privacy more than business as usual, make it an offence to traffick in human data collected after a given date without provable confirmed opt-in consent of those it describes for each use and transfer.

    Slavery was not abolished by creating a property right but by destroying an existing one.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The remarkable 1850 Libraries Act didn't mention copyright – and didn't change it at all – it merely gave local authorities the power to raise taxes to create public reading rooms."

    Well, not quite. Public Libraries were competition to the private libraries which ultimately went out of business once the public libraries started to meet a demand for popular fiction rather than 'improving' literatrure. And there is also the debate as to wether authors lose royalty income if readers borrow rather than purchase thier books. To which the counter argument is that authors gain exposure to a market of potential book buyers. And also libraries purchase significant quantities of books; in the case of academic boks and journals just about the only purchasers.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You know, I'd like Google a lot more if they dropped the do no evil bit. You know, came out and said "We're really just like any other mega-corp - bastards". That's why I don't mind Apple - they're bastards and they know it. Also why I like Microsoft - they were bastards, then dropped the ball, but are desperately trying to be bastards again. You know where you are with them.

    Come on Google, you can do it. Stop the charade and get on with being the bastards you clearly are. You'll feel so much better for it - I mean you can tell that old Eric is gagging it....

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Facebook, Google, Snooping

    I imagine that both FB and Google will soon be replaced by GNUbook and GNUSearch. Both will run on a little ARM-based device such as the Raspberry Pi (when they can finally ship). You will own your GNUbook data, because it is on your own device.

    GNUSearch will be a distributed search engine which cooperates with millions of other little ARM-based systems to index the net and distribute the index on all these little machines. Everything including your search terms will be encrypted and routed to random boxes which contain the search terms.

    The alternative based on G$$gle and Face$ook will mean more and more government intrusion and snooping. Want to destroy an activist ? Get his FB and Googling profile by "National Security Letter" and then spread some nasty lies about that person in his neighbourhood, FB friend list and so on. A nice mix of lies and facts from the snooping of course.

    Don't tell me this will never happen.

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: Facebook, Google, Snooping

      ......And it might be finished about 90 years from now if you use Hurd as any sort of indicator about FSF's speed.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    OT: Cyborgs

    Must see:,1518,826389,00.html

  29. Anonymous Coward

    I don't quite see it

    A very interesting article, but I think privacy is a far more complex issue than is implied.

    I could want to assert ownership of anything I post or upload to the web, and then the issue of assigning properties would be relevant. But the need to do this implies that the data objects are available to be read/copied in the first place - hence hardly private.

    For me privacy is all about restricting visibility of communications to a specific person or group of people (in which case ownership is really irrelevant if it becomes visible) and ensuring that my actions (such as web sites visited) are not connected to me at all. In the latter case I don't want there to be any data that ownership properties could be assigned to.

  30. Barry Rueger

    Ahem, While You All Were Arguing I Noticed...

    Every one of you is leaving a long, intertwined trail across the Internet, and if you think no-one else is watching it you're dreaming. It's too late. Unless you can somehow magically undo the last ten or fifteen years of life on the 'net (Usenet anyone?) you've already missed the privacy boat.

    Yes, there are things that you can do to maintain some control of how much about you is known to the Inter-Corps, but really as long as you use Google, Facebook. Twitter, or even El Reg, you've already agreed to having really tidy profiles built up that tell more about you than you likely know yourself.

    None of this is going to change. Corporations (who fund the politicians that govern us) like this. Governments sure as hell LOVE having that kind of data. And honestly, in terms of day to day ease of use we like it too. We may grumble and complain about privacy, but having our data stored at Amazon or in our browsers is sure handy.

    And yes, if the pool of data about you is large enough and deep enough, there's no way government will keep their fingers out of it. We've reached the point where any intelligent person assumed that they're being watched, and behaves accordingly.

    The good news, I guess, is that sooner or later someone will develop the privacy/crypto/anon equivalent to Bittorrent, and the more thoughtful among us will be able to hide muchof what we do. Tor is a start sure, but just the beginning I hope.

    1. Blofeld's Cat

      Re: Ahem, While You All Were Arguing I Noticed...

      "... if the pool of data about you is large enough and deep enough ... "

      ... we might be able to drown a few of them in it.

      It's got the guide to La Brea in a pocket.

    2. CD001

      Re: Ahem, While You All Were Arguing I Noticed...

      ... And yes, if the pool of data about you is large enough and deep enough

      ... and full of shit, both new and old like an unemptied septic tank. Standard GIGO rules apply, and really, I suspect most people spout as much garbage on the Internet as anything even remotely factual.

      If you believe otherwise then I am Prince Abdul Hamanzar of Nigeria and I've recently come into $419,000,000 (FOUR HUNDRED AND NINETEEN MILLION US DOLLAR) that I need help with offshoring.

  31. jake Silver badge

    Minor correction.

    This concept isn't quite correct: "How could a network that was designed to be so robust it could withstand a nuclear attack" ...

    What we now call "The Internet" was designed to be a research network to research networking. That's it. The "survive nuclear attack" meme came after it started becoming mainstream ... for values of mainstream that include "available in the dorms, if you have a terminal, know how to pull wire, or can afford two modems & two telephone lines".

    I'll re-read the article and commentardary later and decide if I have anything further to add to the conversation ...

  32. Naughtyhorse

    The regression models that Facebook and Google use to predict......

    What exactly?

    I told FB i like Joni Mitchell a few years back, and have told them very little else about me since. so now, dutifully every other FB page load has a little ad exhorting me to buy 'blue' - something i have done a few times since 1970 - but no so much since i got the cd in the mid 80's and ripped it to mp3 in the 90's.

    2 weeks ago i filled out a new 'scrip for specs and, somewhat stupidly (i was trying desperately to find a pair of frames that didnt make me look like that uber-twat gok wan) i gave them my email addy. now i get an ad for varifocals along with my joni - blue ad.

    could someone please explain to my just exactly how there is 'value' in knowing my purchase history if all it is used to do is generate ads for stuff I ALREADY HAVE??

    and dont even get me started about the time i bought a sat nav and camera of amazon... 3 years later and they are STILL suggesting cameras and sat navs i might be interested in - admittedly both have been replaced since then BUT NOT AT AMAZON and not the week after I bought the fucking things.

    Its nice that we get to play with sites like FB and we certainly wouldnt be able to do so without the massive con these guys have pulled on the ad wankers, but surely one of these dickheads is going to notice that the emporor is naked some day soon?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The regression models that Facebook and Google use to predict......

      Ads for things I've brought are pointless, but Google 'shouldn't' know what I brought..

      So ads for things I've been searching for.. fine, IF they actually showed companies i've not visited I might even follow the AD!!!

      What I wonder about is that I regularly clean my cookies and ensure I am logged out of google when searching for things, but STILL I see ads for things I've searched for recently... I suspect some other non-cookie based tracking is in use!

  33. John Rose
    Thumb Down

    This ‘Breaking the internet’ statement just seems like another load of hokum put about by a commercial ‘internet’ company and taken up by ignorant politicians who love soundbites. A current idea in Britain is that all email should be available & be inspectable by government agencies without a court ‘warrant’ (apologies for this word which I used as I’m not a lawyer). This seems to be unjustifiable on a t least 2 counts:

    1. Government agencies need a court ‘warrant’ to inspect standard mail & phone conversation. email should have the same constraints for inspection as mail.

    2. It would not enable decrypting of 128 bit encrypted email. Surely, any intelligent criminal would be doing this. Thus the government inspection would not even work effectively. Web site monitoring can also be sidestepped.

  34. deadlockvictim

    Libraries & sharing books

    » The remarkable 1850 Libraries Act didn't mention copyright – and didn't change it at all – it merely gave local authorities the power to raise taxes to create public reading rooms...

    And look what happened: by allowing everyone to come in and just read a book without paying for it, they destroyed the entire book industry. Home reading is killing books.

  35. austerusz

    Rather poor attempt to link privacy to copyright.

    The two are completely separate issues as they refer to two different types of information. In any case, the privacy issue (if there is one) doesn't have to be solved via "information ownership" of the kind that defines copyright. Copyright is a good that can be sold or bought, an inherently flawed system that makes information a privilege of the rich, while privacy refers to information that should remain by definition unknown to any other party.

    The second can be defined and protected via rather simple laws simply because it doesn't need to regulate any kind of outside access.

    The copyright issue resides in the global oligopoly that has been formed around the matter and no further progress can be made there without a reform from the ground up.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Individual owns data.

      Others must negotiate with individual.

      It's very simple really. The childish conspiracy theory implied in your last paragraph gives you away, a bit.

  36. steeplejack

    Just understand that Internet means Stadium

    The internet is a public place in full view of everyone.

    A person on stage in a stadium wouldn't have 'privacy' and a document in view there wouldn't be private or restricted.

    Google are the only ones who seem to understand this.

    Things like newspaper Paywalls are a sort of corruption which tries to fight against the fundamental nature of the thing.

    All data can now be made public - by someone else - with or without our consent. And THAT's what the RIAA doesn't like.

  37. Dr.S

    Can't tell if serious

    You can feel how the idea that copyright law and data protection law are somehow set in stone permeates this whole piece. Usually you can identify these articles and authors by the abundant use of words such as 'property' and 'ownership'; a not too subtle rhetorical technique that seems to be increasingly common.

    But when trying to come up with sensible laws regarding creative works and personal data, using the concept of 'property' is a deceitful crutch that leads our minds astray. It just carries way too much intellectual ballast that is not relevant.

    Both copyright and data protection laws are intimately tied to the current state of Information Technology. They always have been, and always will be. This means that they must be evaluated and possibly changed as the technology shifts.

    But they are ultimately very different beasts and just like property law has very little in the way of usefulness to offer to either, they will not benefit from being confused or compared with each other.

  38. Adrian Midgley 1
    Thumb Down

    not designed to be nuclear war proof

    A wireless (or even wired) mesh might be said to be designed for that category of problems, but the Internet we have was not, and is not.

    What was designed to continuie communicating despite a lot of nodes being nuked was an earlier and limited wireless relay system.

    It is an old story, often repeated. But not true.

  39. scub

    Sheesh Kebab!


    Post office up for sale and no longer a good option to send and email??

    Hello? "(Cow) This is grass!?, were eating grass!?(/Cow)"

    did you know that "Sheesh Kebab" translates to "smelly pants" in english? Its True!

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