Tina K. Russell

April 1, 2008

LimeWire helps the terrorists win

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Tina Russell @ 7:53 pm

US Attorney General: Piracy funds terror

Five sentences into a speech on Friday at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Attorney General Michael Mukasey was already waxing eloquent about how technology could help an “international terrorist looking to advance a murderous plot.” Moments later, he was outlining the ways in which “criminal syndicates, and in some cases even terrorist groups, view IP crime as a lucrative business, and see it as a low-risk way to fund other activities.”

You know, I’m sure that some piracy money goes to fund terrorism. Here in the States, there isn’t really any thematic connection between drugs, prostitution, and offing rival gang lords other than the fact that they’re all illegal, and so organized crime can use less-glamorous dirty deeds (drugs and prostitution, as well as gambling until the government got into that racket) to raise money for those one can make one’s name on (offing rival gang lords). I imagine that is the same way with international terrorism, just as al-Qaida uses proceeds from selling heroin to give its recruits flying lessons.

But can we please stop the madness of attempting to correlate every kind of crime with every other kind of crime? I’m sure the dollar that’s in your pocket is naught but degrees away from some heinous act. The fact that criminals can use petty illegal acts to pay for monstrous illegal acts is a strong argument for law and order, but it shouldn’t be an argument for absolutism on any front. If it weren’t drugs, it would be prostitution, it would be money-laundering, it would be loan-sharking, it would be online gambling, it would be any of a bazillion areas that the seedy venture capitalist can choose to try and strike gold in America’s vast criminal underground. Instead of demonizing “That Kid on Napster” who is somehow supporting al-Qaida by downloading old Metallica singles, let’s admit that piracy is not an easy problem to solve and that we cannot afford to be absolutist in dealing with it if we want to expect results.

(Disclaimer: I don’t like piracy. I also don’t like misleading, mean-spirited fearmongering being used to push unrelated policy.)

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