May 27, 2013 at 8:55 am #178832
From the IP Commission
Title: The Report of the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property
We present this report to the American people for their consideration. The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property reached consensus on its insights and recommendations after a thorough and independent investigation of one of the most pressing issues of economic and national security facing our country. We investigated the scale and complexities of international intellectual property (IP) theft, the driving forces behind it, and its consequences for Americans. We collected the evidence, formed assessments, and developed a set of policy recommendations for Congress and the Administration.
The scale of international theft of American intellectual property (IP) is unprecedented—hundreds of billions of dollars per year, on the order of the size of U.S. exports to Asia. The effects of this theft are twofold. The first is the tremendous loss of revenue and reward for those who made the inventions or who have purchased licenses to provide goods and services based on them, as well as of the jobs associated with those losses. American companies of all sizes are victimized. The second and even more pernicious effect is that illegal theft of intellectual property is undermining both the means and the incentive for entrepreneurs to innovate, which will slow the development of new inventions and industries that can further expand the world economy and continue to raise the prosperity and quality of life for everyone. Unless current trends are reversed, there is a risk of stifling innovation, with adverse consequences for both developed and still developing countries. The American response to date of hectoring governments and prosecuting individuals has been utterly inadequate to deal with the problem.
The Commission regards changing the incentive structure for IP thieves to be a paramount goal in reducing the scale and scope of IP theft. Simply put, the conditions that encourage foreign companies to steal American intellectual property must be changed in large part by making theft unprofitable. The starting point is the recognition that access to the American market is the single most important goal of foreign firms seeking to be international corporate leaders. Companies that seek access by using stolen intellectual property have an unearned competitive advantage, and because the costs of stealing are negligible or nonexistent, they continue to operate with impunity. Cheating has become commonplace.
Download full report PDF file ~1.7 MB
May 27, 2013 at 9:01 am #178839
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 amidst all that crazy, there’s a bit that stands out as particularly insane: 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.
It’s just more evidence that copyright enforcers’ network strategies are indistinguishable from those used by dictators and criminals. In 2011, the MPAA told Congress that they wanted SOPA and knew it would work because it was the same tactic used by governments in “China, Iran, the UAE, Armenia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Burma, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.” Now they’ve demanded that Congress legalize an extortion tool invented by organized criminals.
May 27, 2013 at 9:03 am #178837
Commentary from Lauren Weinstein’s blog
USA Intellectual Property Theft Commission Recommends Malware!
Oh boy. The “Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property” has released its long awaited report, and it’s 90 or so pages of doom, gloom, and the bizarre — including one section that had me almost literally doing a “spit-take” onto my screens while sipping my morning coffee.
I’m not going to try critique the entire report here and now. As you’d expect, it presents a dire scenario of intellectual property theft run amok, and while offering only a few words of lip service to the grossly flawed measurement methodologies that vastly overstate dollar losses in various sectors, the report instead suggests that those exaggerations are actually understatements — that the problem is far, far worse than we ever imagined. Oh, the horror. The horror.
But we expected this sort of skew to massively hyperbolize the underlying actual problems of IP theft.
What you may not have expected, however, is that the authors of this report appear to have been smoking “funny cigarettes” during its drafting. OK, we don’t know this for a fact, but it’s otherwise difficult to wrap your mind around this specific proposal in the “cyber” section of 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.”
Booooing! Say what? Is this the parody section of the report? Something from “The Onion” or perhaps a “Saturday Night Live” skit?
I’m afraid they’re serious. And what they’re proposing is no less than the legitimizing of a form of malware that has attacked vast numbers of Internet users, costing them immense lost time, money, and grief.
May 30, 2013 at 7:20 pm #178835
Additional information and commentary this time from Cory Doctorow blog on Boing Boing
Canada’s business groups wants to hack your computer even more than the creeps at the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property
“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.”
While many of the recommendations sound outrageous, it is worth noting that earlier this year Canadian business groups led by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce recommended that the Canadian government introduce a regulation that would permit the use of spyware for these kinds of purposes.
The proposed regulation would remove the need for express consent for:
“a program that is installed by or on behalf of a person to prevent, detect, investigate, or terminate activities that the person reasonably believes (i) present a risk or threatens the security, privacy, or unauthorized or fraudulent use, of a computer system, telecommunications facility, or network, or (ii) involves the contravention of any law of Canada, of a province or municipality of Canada or of a foreign state;”
This provision would effectively legalize spyware in Canada on behalf of these industry groups. The potential scope of coverage is breathtaking: a software program secretly installed by an entertainment software company designed to detect or investigate alleged copyright infringement would be covered by this exception. This exception could potentially cover programs designed to block access to certain websites (preventing the contravention of a law as would have been the case with SOPA), attempts to access wireless networks without authorization, or even keylogger programs tracking unsuspecting users (detection and investigation).
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