It’s time to burst into your child’s room and set their computer on fire, parents. According to Andy Archibald, deputy director of the National Cyber Crime Unit at the NCA (National Crime Agency), the overwhelmingly common enterprise of file sharing is going to lead your child down a path of malware design and cyber attacks.
During last week’s Infosecurity Europe conference in London, Archibald claimed that unauthorized file sharing such as torrenting movies, music, and games, is a “gateway” crime to more serious cyber crimes and deeper involvement in the dark web. More specifically, he stated:
“If you think about the illegal downloading of music, of videos and DVD’s, I think that practice is more common than we might imagine within the youth of today. That’s criminality. It’s almost become acceptable. That’s the first stages, I believe, of a gateway into the dark side.”
Archibald believes the gateway drug theory to be an appropriate analogy. The gateway theory, of course, is the idea that youths that experiment with substances like marijuana eventually move along to experimentation with harder drugs because of exposure to drug dealers. Even in such a case, the fact that marijuana is in the hands of street drug dealers is a product of the failed U.S. Drug War. But that’s a different story altogether.
This is yet another attempt at criminalizing youth for “stealing” intellectual property. For years, opponents of file sharing have claimed that sites like The Pirate Bay and Torrent Freak are responsible for crippling CD, DVD, and game sales and in effect, losing corporations and companies money. However, these claims have long been disputed by an expanding sea of research asserting that file sharing acts as a free marketing tool which increases awareness of a product on a digital scale and actually boosts sales in the long-run.
The fact is that file sharing is not going anywhere. Napster, Demonoid, The Pirate Bay, etc., were and are all just the beginning of an enormous and flourishing market with even larger potential. Businesses, in order to survive, must learn to adapt to a changing market. Media conglomerates are taking issue with new innovative approaches to entertainment distribution and experience the same way taxi drivers have taken issue with Uber cars rendering their business models virtually obsolete.
Thankfully, Archibald did not receive unanimous support for his preposterous claims.
“I’m not sure I’d agree with that,” said Bob Tarzey, a director at Quocirca. He continued:
“If you can download a bit of music, does that mean you’re all of a sudden going to try to become a reseller of pirated material? There’s probably some crime you can get into online that would lead you into something else, but people who do that are probably of that mind anyway.”
It seems reasonable to surmise that only people of criminal minds are going to pursue a life of crime. After all, even those of the dimmest wit could agree that running a stop sign isn’t going to inherently lead one down a path of stealing cars.
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Contributed by Josh Mur of The Anti Media.