This is exactly the sort of arbitrary legislation that was used to punish Aaron Swartz and what ultimately led to his suicide. I have many close friends whose parents fled the USSR in the second half of the 20th Century and all of them have told me that this is exactly what the Soviets did in order to make everyone a criminal by default. That way the government can then go after anyone they don’t like at any time. This is also a great time to read up on the post I wrote recently titled A Broken Justice System: “Most Americans Commit About Three Felonies a Day”.
Our country is becoming more of a totalitarian state by the day. From The Atlantic:
BY DECREE OF THE LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS
IT SHALL HENCEFORCE BE ORDERED THAT AMERICANS SHALL NOT UNLOCK THEIR OWN SMARTPHONES.
PENALTY: In some situations, first time offenders may be fined up to $500,000, imprisoned for five years, or both. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty increases to a fine of $1,000,000, imprisonment for up to ten years, or both.*
That’s right, starting this weekend it is illegal to unlock new phones to make them available on other carriers.
It’s embarrassing and unacceptable that we are at the mercy of prosecutorial and judicial discretion** to avoid the implementation of draconian laws that could implicate average Americans in a crime subject to up to a $500,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
But there is another matter of critical importance: Laws that can place people in jail should be passed by Congress, not by the decree of the Librarian of Congress. We have no way to hold the Librarian of Congress accountable for wildly unfair laws. There are still plenty of crazy laws passed by elected officials, but at least we can then vote them out of office.
And if you thought this was bad, provisions of the DMCA relating to anti-circumvention are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Treaty — and the United States is the party asking for it as part of the negotiations. Placing it in the treaty will enact our dysfunctional system on an international level in countries that don’t want it, and it will “re-codify” the DMCA in an international treaty making it significantly more difficult to revise as necessary. Copyright laws are domestic laws and they need to be flexible enough to adjust accordingly to not inhibit new innovation.
Just another reason to be very concerned with the TPP. Land of the free.
Full article here.
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