Some sanctimonious bureaucrat is always lurking around the corner. Sony’s recent month-long outage of the PlayStation network brought out the roaches.
A “group of hackers,” which is far too generous a description, caused the outage in late April when they breached Sony’s servers.
This ragtag “group” of anarchists was more an unorganized'”and unwashed'”collection of kids living in their parents’ basements with too much time on their hands.
The nebulous movement calls itself “Anonymous” (apt given how inconsequential each and every unit of their number is to society), and its membership is as fluid as Al Quaeda’s. They are simply internet forum users who speak to each other through a kind of “geek grapevine.” There are no consistent members per se.
In early April, outrage began to form in a kind of niche “e-zeitgeist” as word traveled from forum to forum that Sony had sued hacker “Geohot” for uncovering and making public the PlayStation 3’s “root key,” a move that opened the floodgates to piracy of Sony’s intellectual property.
Over the course of a few days, the resultant onslaught of misguided outrage tied together these geeks’ limited knowledge of computer hacking into a moblike swarm upon Sony’s computer servers, thus knocking down every firewall in place. Sony had to shut down its servers, and consumers’ personal information was made accessible, including credit card data.
Wrought in the loins of the world’s growing regulatory bodies, a hideously disfigured consumer compensation package rent its way into the world, a product of the unholy, involuntary union that has been forged between business and the world’s power mongers since the New Deal.
Its natal throes sliced a festering gap in Sony’s financial soma, which will grow with time, eating away as much as $24 billion of Sony’s investment capital during its increase.
Somewhere between a tithe and an extortion payment to the public, Sony has granted every individual PlayStation Network client a $1 million identity theft insurance policy'”the hideous beast in reference. This, of course, on top of offering multiple $30-$60 pieces of software free of charge worldwide to its consumers as additional “recompense.”
Consumers might be happy with their freebies, but this response is perpetuating the problem at the root of the outage.
Sony doesn’t owe you anything for the criminal actions of the e-mob and the populist hackers that rallied them.
Why are consumers being treated like spoiled children? It probably has something to do with a letter that arrived on Sony’s desk from the “The Honorable” (straight from Sony’s response, folks) Congressmen Mary Bono Mack and G.K. Butterfield, ahead of some foreign correspondence from various government mobsters of the socialist republics of Canada and the United Kingdom.
Each missive bears its own particularly rabid form of passive-aggressive, blas© bureauspeak threatening investigations, fines, regulation, etc.
“If I have anything to do with it, [Sony’s] kind of half-hearted, half-baked response is not going to fly in the future,” says the half-baked, uptight exercise freak Bono Mack.
“We…will be making further enquiries…before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken by this office,” raves comrade Graham of Britain’s “watchdog” (read: attack dog) Information Commission.
And, from the rabble-rousing Canadian privacy czar, “It seems to me that it’s time to begin imposing fines ‘” significant, attention-getting fines.”
This faux government outrage in the guise of “consumer advocacy” is in fact a nascent policy movement that will expand well beyond the gaming industry. Its genesis is similar to that of the gun control lobby: politicians levy ostensibly logical appeals to an individual’s sense of order and security into a regulation nightmare. The citizen is duped, unfailingly left with less freedom, less security.
To understand the government’s catch 22, the reader must first know that Sony is a victim. The government’s caterwauling is comparable to a local law enforcement agency fining the victim of a home-invasion robbery for not having installed a more advanced security system, even if one was already in place.
The crucial piece of this puzzle is a fact of which most readers are likely ignorant: Any company doing business on the internet, Sony included, is in a constant arms race with two-bit hackers who simply run algorithms ad infinitum from their home computers. Their collective efforts will inevitably hit upon a sequence of numbers capable of breaching an institution’s data encryption.
Their strength is only in numbers, and their numbers can be curtailed with enforcement.
A sane response to this breach would be a concerted effort between Sony and law enforcement agencies to help the company protect both its intellectual property rights and the security of its online network. To do so would require one thing and one thing only: an aggressive, unforgiving round up of every individual remotely tied to the breach, from its instigation to execution.
If you think Bono Mack’s sanctimonious indignance is going to deter a credit card thief in any way, think again. You will be no safer under any new regulation that springs of this crisis than you were after the government abridged your right to blow away murderers and rapists.
New regulation in the name of deterring credit card fraud will only open a back door to multifarious new taxes, fees, and intrusions that will impact every corner of the internet, passing your information on to bureaucrats while making it no less susceptible to the prying hands of “Anonymous.”
Since we live in an insane, collectivist world, the response is to punish the victim, an increasingly common practice of our nanny state (see H.R. 4173). Prices will go up, freedoms will be abridged, and the victims–the companies and their consumers who were attacked by these internet trolls–will be punished. All roads lead to Rome in our statist society.