Thursday, July 26, 2007

Congress Promotes Resistance to Technology - Again.

Reading this "Listening Post" item (a Wired Mag blog) made me want to bang my head on the keyboard.

In a typically technophobic reaction combined with their continued kowtowing to the demands of the insane R.I.A.A. and their slimey pocket-picking lawyers, Congress is encouraging institutions of higher learning to attempt to block the use of P2P services, obviously without giving thought to:

1 - Whether there was actually good reasons to use file sharing,
and
2 - Whether the colleges could actually succeed in blocking them.

File sharing is used by some to, yes, acquire illegal copies of commercial software as well as music, but that's by far not the only ways P2P technology is used. Film companies regularly release trailers and teasers of soon-to-be-released movies on file sharing systems. Many perfectly legitimate software companies use P2P sharing to distribute their shareware or freeware. In particular, Open Source producers like Linux distros make great use of file sharing.

P2P file sharing is an efficient method of distributing anything digital. The downloads come through faster and from multiple sources, in the long run using less (NOT more) bandwidth overall than old style FTP up and downloads. It only seems like more bandwidth is used, because far more people are using it at a time. If the same numbers of downloads were being done via FTP alone, the bandwidth load would be much higher.

And as to their actual ability to block a determined P2P file sharer, well...maybe. They really try, and can stop the uninformed or incapable casual users, but there's a concerted group of far more talented techies out there who are addressing the problems of getting past a blocked IP. Here and here are a couple examples of ways a block can be defeated, and this is just after a few minutes googling. There's much more out there, and yet more to come, so stay tuned.

Congress, get your fumbling, ignorant thumbs off the Internet. If you can't get your cojones together enough to address the HUGE problem of corporate-sponsored spyware (you know, your big money sources and overlords), and at least declare it illegal, then go back to your quills and parchment and leave the technological decisions to the more qualified.

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