Thursday, July 17, 2008

G8 World "leaders" - a sense of perspective

well, the 'biggest' and 'most important' world leaders all met in Japan or somewhere recently. you will note the lack of the word 'best' there, as few (if any) of them are currently all that popular, with at least two of them challenging for the title of "worst national leader of all time".

when not indulging in massive dinners or symbolic planting gestures, you would have thought that they would have turned their collective attention on the biggest problems facing the world. it would have been nice, for instance, if they had thought up some way of resolving the fossil fuel reliance and cost of the world, or economies facing harsh times or ruin. they could have even contemplated a chat about the alarming tales of food shortages, or even that dubious matter of "global warming", also known as "climate change" when it is too cold to get away with the initial term. oh, and perhaps all of those military conflicts that some started and could not finish might have been worth an honourable mention.

it would, however, seem that these matters are of no concern to the (ahem) top eight nations in the world, and were pretty much discarded. the focus of these curious minds, it seems, was instead on that all important, world threatening and critical matter of paving the way to allow inept and unqualified airport security staff to have a good look at your ipod or music player and see if they can determine if all on it is legally there.....

G8 leaders ratify 'iPod search'
G8 leaders meeting this week in Hokkaido, Japan, will ratify an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) which would give customs officials the right to search laptops or iPods for illegally obtained music.

One of the provisions of Acta states: "Members shall provide for the provisions related to criminal enforcement and border measures to be applied at least in cases of trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy."

This could be interpreted as meaning that individuals could be asked about content such as music and films on their MP3 players or portable computers.

now, other than being a subject not worthy of the attention of those who wield the power for the most powerful nations in the world (in mind if not in fact), this idea is just plain silly. as those of you who have an ipod thingie or some other music / media player will know, once the files are on the device, it is impossible to tell if a file is a "pirate" or if it has been legally purchased. the files would all look exactly the same to a trained or, in the case of airport security, untrained eye!

there's also the small matter of just how much you can get on to an ipod. are they seriously suggesting that airport security and customs staff really take the time and trouble to examine and give an analysis on the contents of a 160GB player? that could well be tens of thousands of files that one would have to check. that could lead to some spectacular delays and issues, and that's without going anywhere near the privacy issues this idea throws up.

the fight against piracy and intellectual property theft is an important one, but should rather be a battle of common sense than this display of alarming stupidity. rather tackle the "big guns", ie the ones that obtain and distribute these law violating files, instead of trying to pick of someone who has, for all anyone knows, abided by the laws and has everything on their media device in a perfectly legal manner.

in the mean time, i can only look forward to my next flight somewhere. i would imagine that, after having my shoes x-rayed, my ipod examined and my travel bag emptied into a clear, see-thru environment damaging bag, the usually rude and incompetent flight attendants on the actual flight itself will seem like an odd, but welcome comparative joy to deal with.

be excellent to each other, and do give thought to actually using the vote you have as and when the above clowns next ask if they can be in power again......
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