Thank you for the wonderful threat, M. Hadopi!

I work for a company that sells security technology and consulting for smart cards and mobile devices. Although we would most likely deny it, we take new threats as opportunities. We don’t go as far as writing viruses ourselves (because we don’t do such things, and also because we don’t sell antivirus), but a good old threat often makes our pitch more efficient.

The French government is being very active about teaching its youth about cryptography and privacy protections. The first version of our world-famous HADOPI law (which makes music downloading illegal, and most importantly, creates a enforcement body who can spy on your download habits to fine you and cut your Internet access) has been very successful at teaching anonymity on Internet. Thousands of our youngsters now understand how important (and how easy) it can be to hide their tracks on Internet.

Sadly, that first version of the law was badly damaged by our Constitutional Court, who said that parts of this law were unconstitutional. They went as far as implying that access to Internet is a right, and that only a judge can cut this access.

Luckily, our government did not give up, and they are now back with the HADOPI 2. And like all good sequels, it is actually meaner than the previous version. The version discussed at the Senate allows the enforcement body to spy on all communications, including e-mails. that way, exchanging a MP3 file with a friend may be illegal, and on top of it, some guys somewhere will have access to all your e-mails. Let’s discuss that.

Doesn’t it sound great? The next lesson in computer security will be cryptography: how to encrypt all your computer communication so it doesn’t get snooped on. I do it at work, I could do it at home. No pain.

And what about work? Well, if our government becomes a very public attacker, our countermeasures may become more attractive. They may even become more attractive to youngsters with fancy phones, which could be very good.

What about music? I never really understood the necessity to download 1,000 songs per day, because it takes me at least a few days to appreciate a single album. People who do that are collectors, not music amateurs; Amateurs use streaming, they check out a few CD’s from public libraries (together with books), and maybe buy a few MP3’s on a store or another.

So? Let’s be slow in copying the music, and fast in adopting good security for our computers and phones. Maybe my next pitch …

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