Smeargate: they may not know if you are a dog but they know which lamp post you pee'd on

I would like to juxtapose Kier Starmer’s surreal proposal to re-write the law to protect unpopular twats (or is it twiterrers?) from prosecution, the debate on proposals to waste a few £billion on duplicated data retention and the unravelling of the Andrew Mitchell story . The ability to supposedly track an e-mail to a Conservative Whip from a fictional witness to the home computer of policeman who claims he did not send it put all three, plus the famous New Yorker Cartoon into context.

Over the Internet no one knows if you are a dog. But they do know which lamp posts you pee on. They know the dog food put in your bowl – albeit not necessarily that it was you who ate it. And who has access (legitimate or otherwise) to the electronic footprints you have left behind you? 

This gives context to the proposals for an Intellectual Property Crime Unit and a Digital Copyright Exchange . Time is running out to rewrite the relevant sections of the Digital Economy Act before they are seen to bring copyright enforcement into as much disrepute as the Volstead Act did for prohibition.    

Happy Christmas and a thoughtful New Year.

P.S. I you have not yet become an active participant in the Foundation for Information Policy Research, the Internet Society, Big Brother Watch or the party political grouping of your choice (e.g. the Conservative Technology Forum or its Labour, UKIP or LibDem equivalents if you can find them – I still cannot) then remember the motto of this blog – “the silent majority gets what it deserves – stitched up”.

For those who are willing to spent time helping progress the constructive debate that is needed to find sustainable win-win ways forward to difficult problems with no easy answers – then you should be active on the issues via your professional body (e.g. BCS or IET) or trade association (e.g. BBA, BRC, Intellect or ISPA) or join the Digital Policy Allliance direct.