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November 27, 2010

Evil Always Starts at 15 Volts [rdbrewer]

Homeland Security shut down domain names that were suspected of violating copyright law. No trial yet. No homeland security threat yet. No copyright terrorism going on.

The investigative arm of the Homeland Security Department appears to be shutting down websites that facilitate copyright infringement.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has seized dozens of domain names over the past few days, according to TorrentFreak.

ICE appears to be targeting sites that help Internet users download copyrighted music, as well as sites that sell bootleg goods, such as fake designer handbags.

It would be nice to know what part of the act of Congress that set up the Department of Homeland Security permits this kind of action. So that I can know whether to thank George Bush or Barack Obama.

Philip Zimbardo, the leader of the Stanford Prison Experiment talks about one aspect of evil and how people can become monsters. "Evil always starts at 15 volts." This is a short, jam-packed lecture that moves fast. Everyone should watch it. Thanks to SarahW in comments for the find:

First they were grabbing crotches in airports...

This overrreach by the DHS is breathtaking and clearly violates the spirit of the act of Congress that created it and the public's understanding of the rationale for the creation of DHS. I'm not saying the domains were not involved in copyright infringement. I'm saying the DHS involvement is odd and the method--seizure of the domains--lacks a certain due process.

It's ugly and ham-fisted. And it is difficult to see how it could be aimed at drawing the public's attention away from the travails of the TSA. Rather, it looks like another run-of-the-mill stupid move on the part of Obama and Napolitano. It will be interesting next week to see the reaction of Representatives and Senators.

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posted by Open Blogger at 10:46 AM

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