Internet Legislation and Piracy

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mark Gardner


Net Neutrality in the US and the Digital Economy Act in the UK are attempts by Governments to start to legislate the Internet.Certainly the Digital Economy Act in the UK was written to prevent the piracy of film, music, photography etc. For what it's worth I don't agree with the measures in the Act, which gives the Government power to checktraffic and potentially block sites involved in the breach of copyright.

To me, whilst I have nothing to hide, I feel this is a breach of my privacy. Also, due to the nature of the way the Act is written,  the potential is - whilst I suggest it would never happen, for sites like Google and You Tube to be taken down because of the content you kind find on there. 

There is a hope that due to the Government change in the UK this Act will be repealed. However, can Security compliance or awareness practices affect the levels of piracy?

I believe that yes, it can. However, I also believe that there are business practices which could be amended to also start to cut the levels of piracy. This may stray into the area of "stating the obvious," but here goes. Firstly, I think that having a single worldwide movie release date, would relieve some of the clamour from non-US territories for pre-release films. This, of course would not reduce the clamour in countries where these films are  never going to be released.I think particularly in the UK, the cost of CD's, DVD's and trips to the Cinema's etc. does all affect levels of piracy, particularly as we are, hopefully, just coming out of a severe worldwide recession.

I also cannot believe, that people have the gall, and worse, get away with using a camcorder to record the film whilst sat in the Cinema or Movie Theater.

So to return to my original point, how can security compliance measures and awareness affect this? There are of course the technical measures such as blocking sites, restricting file types etc. This will always be a constant fight as both "sides" try to outdo each other and stay one step ahead.  I am thinking that Physical Security, Security awareness and Vetting have a huge part to play in the fight against piracy. For example, monitoring of the cinema to try to catch people using camcorders in the act. However, more pertinent are actually based on countermeasures which affect people who work in the Studios. Many pirated films actually come from the Studios, on DVD's that they produce , I guess of early rushes of the movie, or for award  consideration. Physical security is more than just the buildings you work in, and should include securing media in transit. Therefore, awareness should be raised about protecting the DVD's when away from the Studio, thereby hopefully protecting the DVD's getting into the wrong hands.

Couple this with Security Vetting - are your employees a high risk when it comes to being offered a financial incentive? If so, are you going to put them in positions where your property could be sold and then distributed? This ultimately is a business decision but influenced by security practices.I will caveat these thoughts by the fact that I don't work in the movie industry - these things may already happen, however, they don't seem to stem the tide. 

The value of commercially sensitive property is on the increase - we have seen in recent weeks Apple, who are famously paranoid and private about their work have started losing property in public, namely the new iPhone. A culture and many security practices cannot prevent human error or carelessness.What we can do as security professionals is highlight the risks through comprehensive Security Awareness packages coupled together with technical and physical security measures and then cross our fingers. Not much of a holistic perfect solution, is it? 

This blog was originally posted on my personal blog at 

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