Jeff Atwood gives us this bit of common sense wisdom:
How did we end up in a world where it’s even remotely acceptable to ask for someone’s email credentials? What happened to all those years we spent establishing privacy policies to protect our users? What happened to the fundamental tenet of security common sense that says giving out your password, under any circumstances, is a bad idea?
I can understand the cutthroat desire to build monetizable “friend” networks by any means necessary. Even if it means encouraging your users to cough up their login credentials to competing websites. But how can I take your privacy policies seriously if you aren’t willing to treat your competitors’ login credentials with the very same respect that you treat your own? That’s just lip service.
There is this interesting NYT article about the accuracy of the detection algorithms used to generate MPAA takedown notices (from Bruce Schneier). Apparently the MPAA has been tricked into accusing laser printers of downloading copyrighted material:
The paper finds that there is a serious flaw in how these trade groups finger reported file-sharers. It also suggests that some people might be getting improperly accused of sharing copyrighted content, and could even be purposely framed by other users.
In two separate studies in August 2007 and May of this year, the researchers set out to examine who was participating in BitTorrent file-sharing networks and what they were sharing. The researchers introduced software agents into these networks to monitor their traffic. Even though those software agents did not download any files, the researchers say they received more than 400 take-down requests accusing them of participating in the downloads.
The researchers concluded that enforcement agencies are looking only at I.P. addresses of participants on these peer-to-peer networks, and not what files are actually downloaded or uploaded – a more resource-intensive process that would nevertheless yield more conclusive information.
In their report, the researchers also demonstrate a way to manipulate I.P. addresses so that another user appears responsible for the file-sharing.
An inanimate object could also get the blame. The researchers rigged the software agents to implicate three laserjet printers, which were then accused in takedown letters by the M.P.A.A. of downloading copies of “Iron Man” and the latest Indiana Jones film.