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It seems that the Canadian government, along with the US and EU, have decided to tackle copyright infringment the same way they do everything else, by invading the privacy of their citizens.

Called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the new plan would see Canada join other countries, including the United States and members of the European Union, to form an international coalition against copyright infringement.

The deal would create a international regulator that could turn border guards and other public security personnel into copyright police. The security officials would be charged with checking laptops, iPods and even cellular phones for content that "infringes" on copyright laws, such as ripped CDs and movies. gets better!

The deal could also impose strict regulations on Internet service providers, forcing those companies to hand over customer information without a court order.

Apparently the key with this is that it is a trade agreement and not legistiation. Which means here in Canada it can be negotiated without the approval of Parliament. I don't know if it is the same with the EU or the US.

If the above wasn't bad enough, guess who's going to be making the decision ...on the SPOT...if what you have on your iPod or laptop is an invasion of copyright? Border guards!

The deal would create a international regulator that could turn border guards and other public security personnel into copyright police. The security officials would be charged with checking laptops, iPods and even cellular phones for content that "infringes" on copyright laws, such as ripped CDs and movies.

The guards would also be responsible for determining what is infringing content and what is not.

I'm a Librarian, I live and breath copyright everyday, but I am no way an expert on copyright regulations for my own country much less internation travellers! Imagine the chaos?? Like the lineups aren't long enough going through customs or crossing the border!

Why this hasn't become a bigger news story I don't know as it will have a significant impact on everyone who travels and that includes all the journalists out there!

Read it all here...

EDIT: I know them morning isn't the best time to write a diary like this, so maybe someone could bring this topic up again later tonight.  It really is not being reported as it should be given the potential impact it will have on all our lives.

Originally posted to MsLibrarian on Thu May 29, 2008 at 05:19 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Goodbye to travel to Canada, then... (10+ / 0-)

    ...and maybe that's the real intent.

    So long as men die, Liberty will never perish. -- Charlie Chaplin, "The Great Dictator"

    by khereva on Thu May 29, 2008 at 05:21:04 AM PDT

  •  I cross the border into the US (20+ / 0-)

    two or three times a year. I also travel to the UK now and again. Now, even music I buy legally, could get me fined simply because I have them on an MP3 device.

    •  and, isn't the whole POINT of having an MP3 (12+ / 0-)

      so you can record and carry your tunes with you, without having to crate around the CD?

      "Do not freak. All things pass." - escapee

      by Pandoras Box on Thu May 29, 2008 at 05:37:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It will be interesting to see (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oortdust, G2geek, Pandoras Box, Lujane

        how the big companies like apple, etc, respond to this. The cell phone companies as well.

        •  word to the wise... (9+ / 0-)

          I've been using Macintosh since my first computer in grad school.

          Whether I continue to do so will depend quite seriously on how Apple deals with the issues of copyright fascism.  If they continue to provide tools that support privacy & autonomy, good, they have another $1,500 coming from me later this year.

          If not, then bye-bye.  "Dream system":  top-of-the-line Panasonic Toughbook running one of the Linuxes or BSDs.  (Expensive too: so the practical compromise is an eeePC for travel and a compatible ASUS machine with a larger screen on the desk. As it stands, I'm going to get the eeePC for travel anyway, and load it up with the kind of crypto etc. I've mentioned in another posting in this diary.)

          There are plenty of open-source operating systems out there that will work just fine, and give you complete control over what happens in your own machine.  Perhaps not as seamlessly and instantly as MacOSX with its legendary (and real) perfect integration of everything.  But I can live with something taking a few more seconds to open, or having to copy-and-paste material from one app to another rather than just dragging it across the screen, and whatever other minor and truly trivial inconveniences go along with that.  

          Minor inconveinence is a trivial price to pay for freedom.  Ask any soldier.  

  •  Can you imagine the lines at the airport?! (4+ / 0-)

    I wonder how much enforcement of this there would be in practice--not that that excuses it, of course.

  •  Realistically... (4+ / 0-)

    I don't see how this could work. There are probably thousands of GB's worth of info in every screening line. They could not possibly inspect each indidvidual file for content.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Thu May 29, 2008 at 05:29:31 AM PDT

    •  Won't work to protect copyright (16+ / 0-)

      Will work to provide a pretext to search thru pretty much anybody's data.

      Or get a look at pretty much anybody's ISP logs.

      Matter of what you're really trying to accomplish.

      Stranger than fiction? At this point,the truth is stranger than japanese cartoons...

      by Remembering Jello on Thu May 29, 2008 at 05:34:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  you could say the same about phone calls.... (9+ / 0-)

      and you'd be wrong both times.

      As it is, when you return to the USA, the customs guards can and do copy your hard drive.  And force you to reveal your email passwords and decryption passwords.  

      The fact that the guards themselves can't review all of the content on the spot doesn't matter: the copied information can be examined later using various technologies, in a manner analogous to scanning for keywords, voiceprint information, and header information in phone calls and email.  

      Yes, we are truly becoming like East Germany, and in the case of copyright fascism, the dictator is Herr Mickey Maus.  Bush und der Maus.  It sounds as funny as a fart, except the stink it raises is the smell of the 1st Amendment going up in flames.  


      Your fellow freedom-loving geeks are not taking this BS lying down.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (go to is already promoting various means of security you can use to protect the contents of your hard drive: your speech, press, and associations, from arbitrary unwarranted search and seizure.  

      And others of us are at work on other solutions, some of which are fairly drastic but will present the Gestapo with blank slates, or in this case, blank hard drives.  

      We are also working on solutions to the situation wherein you are forced to reveal a decryption password.  Notice I said "a" password, not "the" password.   More about which later, when it's ready for prime time.

      Ultimately the way to fight copyright fascism is to simply not buy what those pricks are selling.  Boycott Hollywood.  There's independent film and independent music, more than enough to keep you busy.  And when people in your monkeysphere attempt to mock you for not watching, listening to, and reading what everyone else is watching, listening to, and reading, you can tell them that you've found something better, and explain why, and eventually more and more of the monkeys in the zoo will come along.  Hollywood will be reduced to suing people to make its profits, except that by then it won't make any difference, as Hollywood will have sued itself into irrelevance.

      •  What happens if you refuse? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        As it is, when you return to the USA, the customs guards can and do copy your hard drive.  And force you to reveal your email passwords and decryption passwords.

        That's happening now?  Boy, am I behind.  So what happens when I refuse to tell them any passwords? Because I absolutely will not tell them anything.

        I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

        by tle on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:15:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  if you refuse, they will confiscate the device (0+ / 0-)

          And then it will most likely have its contents read, including your passwords and decryption keys.  

          Yep, welcome to East Germany, where information is a threat to the State.

          That's why a bunch of us in the geek universe are working on solutions to this one.  For all intents and purposes you'll be able to travel with a "sanitized" machine that has nothing on it but the operating system and applications.  No files.  No content.  Nothing.  The stuff won't be hidden, it will be simply absent, missing, gone.  

          You'll log into a VPN at your destination and download whatever you need, and then before you leave to travel again, you'll log in again and upload everything.  And then wipe your drive and do a multi-level wipe so that it can't be read even with a forensic examination.  And then re-load the default config from a CD.  As clean as the day you bought it.

          And then when you travel, it'll be your choice whether to just play stupid or to tell the border guards that you strongly object and thus you have taken steps.  

          BTW, go get one of the new 8.9" eeePCs.  This is likely to be the platform on which our secure apps will be based.  Use it as a travel machine, so you don't have to deal with doing the wipe-and-replace on your regular machine.  The 8.9" eeePC costs about $550.  Small price to pay for protecting your 1st A rights.  

          •  Thanks, G2Geek (0+ / 0-)

            Sorry I didn't see this response earlier.  Fortunately, I already have plans similar to what you describe.  I may be traveling to Latin America soon, and when I do, I'll take along a POS PC with, as you describe, nothing but applications.  I'll certainly miss my Mac, though.

            I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

            by tle on Mon Jun 02, 2008 at 07:02:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  And THESE are the folks (5+ / 0-)

    who are supposed to stop "the terrorists"?


    "Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say "Why not?" - RFK

    by ATLSandlapper on Thu May 29, 2008 at 05:29:32 AM PDT

  •  Customs agents/Border guards.,, (6+ / 0-)

    sounds like a growth industry.

    CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. A. Bierce

    by irate on Thu May 29, 2008 at 05:33:44 AM PDT

  •  I live in the US and have a wife that is a... (5+ / 0-)

    Foreign National (Italy,EU) and a son who is a dual cttizen. We travel regurally and we get few hassels from the EU upon entering - although there was one memorable Itallian asshole in Venice, my wife's hometown!

    On the whole I can say I am ashamed of my country every time I enter at JFK. The personel there are the rudest bunch of curs I have encountered. I can say at least that they don't seem to discriminate - they yell and act badly to everyone.

    This is clearly a case of giving them too much authority and it manifests itself in there being abusive.

    Who TRAINS these idiots? I personally had one inspector investigated and fired and will gladly lodge complaints against more if the occasion arises.

    I can't wait until they start looking into out personal electronics - removing our shoes on the way out is bad enough.

  •  Holy Crapola! (6+ / 0-)

    ....add to this that upon entering the US, contents on your laptop were already open to 'review' by DHS for....for....'incriminating' information re GWOT. Since the contents of everyone's hard drive cannot be thoroughly reviewed at the gate, a copy is made. Our Data is no longer ours, due to the possibility that we could have (whatever) on there. Best not to have proprietary technical info on there. Just exactly what, I wonder, is the non-disclosure policy of DHS, and how the hell would we know it has been breached, until some competitor suddenly has your new technology?

    I'm really curious to see the guidelines by which border agents decide what's a legal copy of a song, movie or podcast, and what is not.

    Will they also be looking for burned CD's and checking the contents?

    Yet one more wrecking bar levered against the remnants of our personal freedoms.

    you were sick, but now you're well again and there's work to do- vonnegut

    by zzyzx on Thu May 29, 2008 at 05:39:12 AM PDT

  •  First of all, how the hell could they do that (5+ / 0-)

    effeciently without greatly increasing travel time? I have almost 3,000 songs on my iPod, and I'm not going to have the patience to wait while the government goes through it, and not to mention the fact that I have personal things on my computer that I'd rather not have the government going through.

    And if you don't rip stuff to your iPod/computer how in the HELL are you supposed to get it on there? Buy everything from iTunes? I think not.

    There is nothing naïve about your impulse to change the world. ~Barack Obama-5/25/08

    by Muzikal203 on Thu May 29, 2008 at 05:40:54 AM PDT

  •  That is positively fabulous (9+ / 0-)
    I was once told during an IRS audit that my entire business (music copying) was illegal, and therefore none of my deductions were legitimate.  It was government at its best /snark.  "Music Copying" a.k.a. "Manuscript Preparation" which is now all but a dead art, involved taking a new piece of music - at the composer's request - and copying out (by hand, in pen and ink) each individual part so that it could be performed by a group of musicians.  And here I had this brilliant government official telling me that to copy music FOR ANY PURPOSE was illegal.

    I count myself extremely lucky that I had all my documentation in order, and that the audit took place in NYC in the summertime, back before everyone had air conditioned offices.  My auditor's boss was in the next room, and because of the summer heat every window and door in the place was open.  After about twenty minutes of going around in circles with my auditor, who simply could NOT get his head around what I was explaining to him about my profession, the boss came in, pulled up a chair and said to his employee "I'm going to show you how to do an audit".  But for that, I would have had a hard time getting out of that room without some serious IRS trouble, based on the opinion of a guy who didn't know what he was looking at.  As it turned out, the audit ended up showing that I had paid a dollar more than necessary (which I didn't get back!)

    I can only imagine the mess it will create if we actually give unqualified people the JOB of enforcing laws that they're not all that familiar with.  

    'The votes are in, and we won.' - Jim Webb, 11/07/2006

    by lcork on Thu May 29, 2008 at 05:50:46 AM PDT

    •  Quite the interesting story (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Pagan

      not to mention interesting occupation.  Glad to know there are still some of you around that haven't been chased out by software! And how do you suppose those idiots thought music was distributed before Sibelius, Finale, etc.?

      It still seems really wrong to play jazz off a shiny white part with perfectly shaped notes! It just looks so...defined. ;)

      The truth always matters.

      by texasmom on Thu May 29, 2008 at 07:36:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh it was years before (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        texasmom, justalittlebitcrazy
        computers could do what we did by hand - back in the late 70's and very early 80's.  I could see what was coming, and moved on to other things.  I'm sure that it's all done by computer now - why would you not want to do it that way... much more cost effective.  

        The problem with the IRS guy was that he couldn't get past the word "copying" and couldn't understand that there is a process to the creation and production of music.  That's why this whole thing with the border guards is a scary idea - they're not going to know what is and what is not legal and legit.  

        Having been in the music business, I'm not a fan of folks who indulge in acquiring pirated copyrighted material, but this is not the way to fix that problem.  

        I have no idea how you fix that problem, but I would imagine it would be fixed more thoroughly through education of the consuming public than any other way.  I will never forget my teacher at Juilliard telling me to never, never, NEVER use photocopied music - because that is what drives the music out of print.  He made a big impression.  The royalties and fees that are paid to the "little guys" in the music business are what keep them afloat financially.  It's not the big artists, but the small-time musicians who are hurt the most when fair payment for fair use is not made.  It's a funny coincidence, but I just got a re-use check for work I did way back in the day on a score for a Public Television project, and it was a very welcome addition to my family's budget.

        'The votes are in, and we won.' - Jim Webb, 11/07/2006

        by lcork on Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:11:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's great! (0+ / 0-)

          You'll be glad to know they are still teaching that - my son just grad. with a music degree (not from Juilliard, though!) and his teachers/conductors were adamant about the need to turn in or destroy any copies made for page turns, etc.

          I've found a few one-line fold-outs in my bag that I couldn't quite identify, though.  ;)

          The truth always matters.

          by texasmom on Thu May 29, 2008 at 08:52:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  If the airline industry has anything to say... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oortdust, joe shikspack, snafubar

    ...this nonsense will never see the light of day.  They already suffer from worsing perceptions to the point where people are avoiding air travel, with flight delays already costing industry of $41 billion...

    I want my Two Dollars!

    by Ken in MN on Thu May 29, 2008 at 05:53:48 AM PDT

  •  Definitely a dumb idea (3+ / 0-)

    . . . This is definitely worth fighting, even though it's the kind of thing that doesn't affect me too much personally.

    (I travel with a corporate-owned laptop, and my musical tastes run to rare classical, so good luck finding free downloads.)

    I agree though that if this actually becomes practice, it's going to slow down border crossings even more than before. Technology isn't yet robust or efficient enough for them to process this data. Also, with respect to MP3's--how exactly are they going to prove that your downloads are legal or illegal?

    More proof that you actually need people who understand a field in order to write legislation on it. And by that, I don't mean lobbyists. (It would be nice to see someone from an indie label--film or music--become a Congresscritter. At least that way we might have some people who understand what's going on, rather than just kowtowing to the Disney line.)

    •  Seems to me that no corporation is going to allow (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Pagan

      their company data to be searched by anyone.

      And how will the border guards know what to look for again? They have trouble moving the wand around without injuring someone; now they're going to be able to navigate Windows/Mac operating systems in french and english?

      Who the hell thought this up? Did he dress himself that morning?

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Thu May 29, 2008 at 12:21:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Re'cd and tipped (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, Liberal Pagan

    Would this also include photos you have on the computer, iPod or phone as well? Who is to decide if they are personal pictures you took or someone's copyrighted photo you downloaded or scanned into the computer.

    My 12 year old daughter went to France a month ago and took her iPod. I can't imagine her reaction if someone pulled her aside to search through it. This smacks of Gestapo-like fascist brownshirt tactics.

    "Without our playstations, we are a third world nation"-Ani DiFranco

    by NoMoreLies on Thu May 29, 2008 at 06:21:46 AM PDT

    •  My porno? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MsLibrarian, Liberal Pagan

      So if I buy some gay porno, apparently legal under the community standards of NYC where I live, and happen to download a kinky little item onto my laptop, does this mean the next time the border guards in Cowpasture, Texas, check my laptop photo and video contents, I could be in big trouble?

      Hey, is this a free country or what? I think I know the answer.

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