US Feds lie about link between software piracy and terrorism

US politician tries to convince people there's a link between software piracy and terrorism

The US Justice Department seems to believe that if you tell a big enough lie, people will listen. Here's the latest: Attorney General Michael Mukasey claims that terrorists sell pirated software as a way to finance their operations, without presenting a shred of evidence for his case. He's doing it to push through a controversial piece of legislation that's bad for you.

In a talk last week before at the Tech Museum of Innovation, Mukasey used his best fearmongering tactics to link software piracy to terrorists. In his speech, which you can read in its entirety here, he told the group:

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.

Mukasey went on to cite numerous cases in which the US Justice Department has arrested those who pirate software, and in which the department has cooperated with other countries in investigations. He mentioned arrests in Florida, investigations in China, and warned about the Russian mob being involved in selling pirated software.

In not a single instance did Mukasey include a link to terrorism. Not one. You can be sure that if there were any links, Mukasey would make sure to get them on the nightly news.

So why is Mukasey trying to convince people there's a link between software piracy and terrorism, even though one doesn't exist? To force US Congress to pass controversial intellectual property (IP) legislation that would increase IP penalties, increase police power, set up a new agency to investigate IP theft, and more.

Industry lobbyists have been pushing for it. And now Mukasey is trying to convince the country that the bill needs to be passed as a way to fight terrorism.

Hmmm....let's see. The US federal government tells us a lie about a terrorist link that doesn't exist, then tries to convince US Congress and the country to take controversial action based on that lie. That has a familiar ring to it, doesn't it? We're still paying for believing that last lie --- let's not repeat the mistake.

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Preston Gralla

Computerworld
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