Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Crime of the 'lawful'
There has been a scandal recently in The Netherlands. It involves 3 parties: BREIN (a pro-copyright activist/lobbyist group), AlTransa (A hosting company based from Southern America) and Worldstream (A data-center company).
In january, BREIN took servers, belonging to AlTransa, from the data-center belonging to Worldstream. The reason they used was they suspected that a topsite (topsites are used to privately share data) was hosted on the servers. They ordered the servers without a court order. Worldstream handed the servers over without any protest. This on itself is already illegal, since it's basically the same as theft (since BREIN doesn't have any judicial powers). But it doesn't stop with this.
BREIN also didn't want to give the servers back, unless a certain agreement could be made. This agreement included that the hosting company (AlTransa) would give something (money/promises) in return for getting the servers back. This constitutes blackmailing in the most clear form. You thought it was over with the law violations, right? Well, there's more coming.
BREIN also said that they knew the topsite 'Swan' was hosted on the servers. Next to that, they also say that they didn't take a look into the servers' data. How can they know that the site is on there, while they didn't take a look? This can mean 2 things: 1. They're lying. Or, 2. They did take a look, but don't want to say it. The first is best-case scenario. It would mean libel and slander. The second means also a violation of the law. In this case, a violation of privacy. Both can lead to some serious punishments, in relation to the other things.
Well, you think that BREIN would be punished seriously because of this? Think again! BREIN is so much above the law (while they're no different than the default organization, and hold no judicial powers), that they only have to pay a small settlement with AlTransa. By this time, AlTransa is already bankrupt because of this. In return, BREIN gets to destroy the data on several of the servers (effectively erasing any evidence) and gets away with no punishment. This can have serious consequences, as it could basically mean that a competitor (who holds the same rights as BREIN) can easily shut down another smaller competitor.
The strangest of everything? It has not been in the mainstream media, while there's been huge coverage of the case by independent media. It clearly shows how biased the mainstream media is.
I think the main question isn't where this will lead to. The real question is: When will the general public start protesting against these practices (which happen daily around the world). It is only a matter of time before the Pirate Parties get a lot of support.