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The FBI Can Now Wiretap All Internet Users

The Internet’s success is largely attributable to the lack of government intervention in it. The online population has proven themselves capable of self-governance, yet governments persistently attempt to control it. In the United States, the lack of government control over the Internet has allowed it to remain a largely uncensored medium of communications. Government regulation combined with capitalism’s influence in communication mediums historically have proven dangerous to their continued success, and prime example of this is television.

Today we face a growing threat to the democratic nature of the Internet, as all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) last week had to meet the mandate put forth by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) to allow the FBI to wiretap all Internet users. This includes the ability to wiretap Voice Over Internet Protocal (VoIP) services. The use of wiretapping on the Internet will be limited to those who have obtained court warrants to do so, but nonetheless this is setting a dangerous precedent.

As ZeroPaid.com points out, this will become a tool of surveillance in an increasingly Orwellian society that has already forsaken to many freedoms for a little temporary safety. While surely incidents of Internet surveillance go on in secrecy, this mandate now legalizes the act, and makes it all the more simplified. They furthermore rightly suspected, as did I, that the MPAA and RIAA will lobby for to use this new ability to wiretap suspected file-sharers. It should come as no surprise that they won this right.

The real danger comes when the FBI and corporations abuse this new ability by manipulatively using techniques such as heresay to take the place of actual evidence and reason to qualify as probable cause, or even more dangerously foregoing probable cause all together when obtaining a court issued warrant. This will most certainly happen as many lawsuits placed by the RIAA and MPAA couldn’t win an argument for reasonable suspicion, a far weaker standard of evidence.

While it may sound rash, I think we are on the brink of watching the Internet suffer the same fate as television. This could be the beginning of the end for the Internet as we know it. More and more net governance laws are being created, which seek to further regulate and control this seemingly uncontrolled communications medium. Make no mistake, this is only the beginning of far stricter net governance and surveillance. Governments and corporations alike greatly fear the Internet, and rightly so, as it puts the power back in the people’s hands and that’s the last thing they want to see happen. They will do everything they can to gain the control over the Internet that they have on television.

If we want to enjoy the continued uncensored, unregulated democratic nature of the Internet, it is incumbent upon us to do everything in our power to retain the integrity of the Internet.

The MPAA Lists The Top 25 Movie Piracy Schools

no mpaa The MPAA Lists The Top 25 Movie Piracy SchoolsThe MPAA has decided to “copy” the RIAA’s List Of Top 25 Music Piracy Schools, and release their own Top 25 List Of Movie Piracy Schools. If some of the schools mentioned in this list look familiar, it’s because 10 of these schools were dishonored on the RIAA’s list as well, with Purdue University taking the highest average rank in the two lists.

Number of “dishonor roll” students identified who are making unauthorized use of copyrighted material according to the MPAA:

  1. Columbia University – 1,198
  2. University of Pennsylvania – 934
  3. Boston University – 891
  4. University of California at Los Angeles – 889
  5. Purdue University – 873
  6. Vanderbilt University – 860
  7. Duke University – 813
  8. Rochester Institute of Technology – 792
  9. University of Massachusetts – 765
  10. University of Michigan – 740
  11. University of California at Santa Cruz – 714
  12. University of Southern California – 704
  13. University of Nebraska at Lincoln – 637
  14. North Carolina State University – 636
  15. Iowa State University – 586
  16. University of Chicago – 575
  17. University of Rochester – 562
  18. Ohio University – 550
  19. University of Tennessee – 527
  20. Michigan State University – 506
  21. Virginia Polytechnic Institute – 457
  22. Drexel University – 455
  23. University of South Florida – 447
  24. Stanford University – 405
  25. University of California at Berkeley – 398

You can read more over at ArsTechnica.