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Customs officers may get power to scan devices for piracy

Posted at 30 May 2008 21:51 CET by Seán Byrne

Those who travel by plane may have to face longer security delays, thanks to a new international copyright treaty secretly proposing an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that would allow customs officers to check media players, laptops, storage media and mobile phones for pirated material.  Basically, this ACTA is aimed at seriously targeting the distribution of unlicensed content. 

This information has been leaked by Wikileaks that received documents detailing the extent of the treaty which has been setup between the US, EU, Canada, Japan and Australia.  According to this Canada report, the agreement is structured similar to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with the exception that this will introduce rules & regulations that deal with copyright laws and home copying.

Going by the leaked info, suggestions include removing the distinction between those who profit from piracy and those who do not, which will result in tougher penalties for those who do not profit from copyright infringement.  Custom offices will be given the power to confiscate and destroy anything they believe to be pirated as well as be able to fine the owner and confiscate their equipment.  Finally, ISPs could be forced without court order to hand over customer details if an intellectual property owner believes the customer may be infringing their copyright.

To make matters worse, as it is often quite difficult to tell whether files have actually been pirated or obtained legally, it will be the officers that will be responsible for determining what is and is not copyright infringing content.  So a consumer could still be fined and possibly have their equipment confiscated if security officers finds what they believe is pirated material, even if the person does not have a single piece of infringing content on their equipment. 

Further information can be read in this RTÉ report and this lengthy Canada.com article.

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There are 36 comments

greensabath
CD Freaks Rookie
Posted on: 30 May 08 22:40
    I don't understand. So if I have all my cds ripped and then copied to my mp3 Player. I then take the mp3 player to the Airport, how will they know if its pirated or not. SIMPLE (THEY DO NOT KNOW AND CANNOT FIND OUT AT ALL). I don't see this working. Also, not sure about other countries, but in the US, for the US to search your property (digital or otherwise) they need warrants. But since this is with Customs, I guess this only deals with International Traffic?
    Dr. Who
    MyCE Resident
    Posted on: 30 May 08 23:38
      "Going by the leaked info, suggestions include removing the distinction between those who profit from piracy and those who do not, which will result in tougher penalties for those who do not profit from copyright infringement. " I hope this is a typo as those that do this for profit are the ones that need targeted.
      RTV71
      MyCE Member
      Posted on: 31 May 08 00:32
        I think this is a good idea. It will greatly increase the use of encryption and stegonagraphy. It will also cause greater demand for miniaturized, camouflaged, and disposable devices. It will cause even greater demand for public WiFi and WiMAX. Imagine having a $2 USD encrypted MP3 player disguised a pen that had wireless connectivity. Nearly impossible to find or decrypt, that can easily access your collection using a VPN or SSH connection across any public wireless network. If it gets confiscated then you just buy another at any discount store and sync up again. Soon technologies like these will be available everywhere all thanks to government; and here I though they were idiots.
        No longer with us
        Posted on: 31 May 08 01:09
          I can see this coming.. ALL mp3s, avi's and vob's are ILLEGAL unless you can prove otherwise... and guess what will be accepted as proof? That's right, absolutely nothing, so you are guilty. Can't wait until some customs dick wipes out $1,000 worth of songs on an ipod. This is going to be entertaining.
          RTV71
          MyCE Member
          Posted on: 31 May 08 02:08
            The EFF submitted comments on this in March.
            No longer with us
            Posted on: 31 May 08 04:45
              Listen, do you hear that noise??? TRAMP TRAMP TRAMP TRAMP You got it right, it's the JACKBOOTS getting closer every day
              No longer with us
              Posted on: 31 May 08 12:45
                This is how democracy dies, to the sound of applause :B
                neo1918
                CD Freaks Senior Member
                Posted on: 31 May 08 15:17
                  Don't bring anything too cool to the aiport, lest the shady customs agent will declare there is pirated content and "confiscate" the item. How much do you want to bet that refusing to enter the password to log the agent in will create a presumption of guilt?
                  headquarter84
                  CD Freak
                  Posted on: 31 May 08 17:43
                    Ok now what the hell!!!! I just left my country and moved to work in another one... i had a 300+ Audio CD Library at home... so... am i taking this with me? HELL NO!!! I bought a 500 GB External HDD and ripped them all!!! So next time, when i move somewhere else, or even get back home, with my library that's over 600+ Albums by now... how am i gonna prove it's not pirated? well, surely there's no way!! and guess what!!! even if i was the one working at the customs i won't believe they're not as well!! I encode files in too many different formats, APE, FLAC, MP3, OGG, MP4, MPC,WavePac... and that will SURELY look pirated for the trained eye, as if it comes from different resources... and no one will believe that i'm just a guy who loves experimenting and messing with the new audio codecs, and tries to find the best encoder for each job... and last... even if i get the originals as a proof... there are still 300+ that lie back in my mother land... waiting for the dust to conquer... the best thing that possibly can happen, is that everybody gets some 500 GB hosting space on the web... so he uploads all of his files, and download them when gets to wherever he's going... now catch me if you can... greedy #$%^%$...
                    This message was edited at: 31-05-2008 17:47
                    ivid
                    MyCE Resident
                    Posted on: 31 May 08 19:25
                      HOLY F*** Hollywood is in power. What Studio are you voting for in this fall's election ? Read those articles people and educate everyone you know to these travesties, it goes beyond customs: "In addition, ISPs could be forced to hand over customer account details without a court order and solely on the say-so of the intellectual property holder. This measure may breach the European Convention on Human Rights."
                      ivid
                      MyCE Resident
                      Posted on: 31 May 08 19:39
                        I have to make another post to state how ANGRY I am at this. My blood is boiling. Its a Saturday, I'm supposed to be relaxing, an this rights-trampling BS is getting me all riled up. Secret documents, closed door meetings, lack of public consultation. My Canadian government should be ashamed to go down this path. Down with ACTA ! Scream NO to ACTA !
                        Hypnosis4U2NV
                        MyCE Resident
                        Posted on: 01 Jun 08 02:14
                          Whatever happened to the peoples freedom and right to privacy? I mean as long as your not sneaking in IED's and rabid, disease and virus riddled monkeys in your suitcase, what the hell do they care whats on your digital devices? Folks, take a look around, OUR countries are turning into communist states!
                          This message was edited at: 01-06-2008 02:14
                          cd pirate
                          MyCE Resident
                          Posted on: 01 Jun 08 10:49
                            So I guess uploading some videos and MP3 to watch on a device on your 12+ hour plane trip is now out of the question? Thanks now we have to die of boredom during flights.
                            headquarter84
                            CD Freak
                            Posted on: 01 Jun 08 13:37
                              @Hypnosis4U2NV "Folks, take a look around, OUR countries are turning into communist states!" Oh well, beleive it or not, but Communist states have NEVER done such actions... thery were not greedy enough to do such a low-life-blood-sucking type of "official" actions to steal your money... and at least, they offered some good music to the world... who can EVER deny that? they did not need to pirate music because music was for EVERYONE!! you were classically trained since your childhood... now look at the "capitalist" countries, they won't let you enjoy ANY music any more!!!
                              Hypnosis4U2NV
                              MyCE Resident
                              Posted on: 01 Jun 08 13:49
                                Agreed..
                                No longer with us
                                Posted on: 01 Jun 08 16:48
                                  why dont you lot just shut up and do as you are told like the fodda you all are you know you have to obey you know there is no more freedom BUT if you act with your wallets and the one brain cell you may have then TOGETHER you might just upset the wrong person to make thiings right again I LOVE THE FRENCH AND THE WAY THEY STAND UP FOR THEIR RIGHTS
                                  Zod
                                  MyCE Resident
                                  Posted on: 01 Jun 08 18:58
                                    I'm Canadian and I don't get it, How can they pass this law in Canada and not have it conflict with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? You need a warrant to get an ISP to provide information on a user, its stems from the charter, and supreme court cases? So how can they pass a law that conflicts with the constitution? Surely this would go to the supreme court and get shot down? Has to be some lawyer that would do it for exposure. Canadian Government is selling us out.. hopefully we get a full blown Scandal to keep them occupied rather than pass this BS. Try to charge copyright violaters who don't do it for profit as the same who do. The punishments will start outweighing the crime.
                                    idc
                                    CD Freaks Rookie
                                    Posted on: 01 Jun 08 19:16
                                      The problem is that the majority of the population just accept this kind of legislation instead of protesting en masse. Stand up for your rights, people.
                                      No longer with us
                                      Posted on: 02 Jun 08 13:45
                                        If this is the case.... goodbye Iphones, MP3 phones. Can you imagine having your Iphone and all your contacts taken away because some custom beeotch thinks a song could be pirated. Or you have an important presentation with a movie file and they take it all way. Now solidified as the most hated people at an airport.
                                        DukeNukem
                                        MyCE Resident Commenter
                                        Posted on: 02 Jun 08 14:47
                                          I'm Canadian and I think this is a great idea. We've had too many privileges for far too long. We need someone to take control. DukeNukem... pushing people's buttons for longer than he can remember.
                                          No longer with us
                                          Posted on: 02 Jun 08 16:30
                                            Welcome to 1984, may I take your hat sir? :S This treaty is why I have stopped posting on certain 'public' boards. This will be agreed upon by the major players and will probably be in effect by this fall. The alphabet boys and their handlers are desperate now and desperate times call for desperate measures.
                                            Zod
                                            MyCE Resident
                                            Posted on: 02 Jun 08 17:25
                                              "I'm Canadian and I think this is a great idea. We've had too many privileges for far too long. We need someone to take control. " I'd disagree with that, I don't the DMCA in the US works, its more of a nussience. We only have a limited police for and so much money to pay for it. And we want them to investigate and bust people for personal copyright infringment? I think thats bad allocation of resources, when they could be going after coke/heroin dealers, rapists, murders, etc... or do we have the corporations do all the investigation like in the US? That doesn't really doesn't seem trustworthy now does it?
                                              gamo62
                                              MyCE Junior Member
                                              Posted on: 02 Jun 08 18:53
                                                Here's the deal. All you need to do is zip up ALL of the files into a few "encrypted" zip files. Once you're past security, unzip them. Quick and to the point.
                                                DukeNukem
                                                MyCE Resident Commenter
                                                Posted on: 02 Jun 08 19:45
                                                  @ Zod Are you crazy? I'd rather we catch a few illegal downloaders than drug dealers, rapists, or murders. I'll sleep better at night knowing the movie studios are getting every hard-earned cent. DukeNukem... psychotic thought-free since June 1, 2008.
                                                  shaolin007
                                                  MyCE Resident
                                                  Posted on: 02 Jun 08 23:01
                                                    I guess, "Innocent until proven guilty", is a thing of the past. Now it is, "Guilty until proven innocent; and in the mean time, I am goingt to destroy your stuff and fine you!". It is amazing that our goverment works so hard on catching people probably with legit music they have purchased but not bother strengthing our border security. Well, on 2nd thought, it isnt amazing. This and among others is why I am for term limits for any goverment position. You should only serve 2-4 years and then you are out! You cannot run for that position ever again but could run for a position higher or lower. That way, we could minimize special interest groups influencing our politicians. Right now, the most important thing on a mind of a politician is, "How can I get re-elected?", when it should be, "How can I serve the people?".
                                                    ron spencer
                                                    MyCE Member
                                                    Posted on: 03 Jun 08 04:32
                                                      @dukeNukem You're baked....LOL typical Canadian thinking bad ideas are good ones.... take off eh..... Canadian politicians and biker gang girlfriends...you guys have it all
                                                      Zod
                                                      MyCE Resident
                                                      Posted on: 03 Jun 08 07:19
                                                        I don't think spending inordinate amounts of money on border security is useful in Canada. Our borders are so huge, its not really a problem to get into canada. Take a boat Labrador, or the northwest passage, or the BC coast.. We have so much coastal land and border, that it'd be impossible to lock up. So you'd just be pissing money down the drain.
                                                        This message was edited at: 03-06-2008 07:20
                                                        No longer with us
                                                        Posted on: 03 Jun 08 08:36
                                                          Time to stop buying anything digital. If they are going to confiscate it anyway then I might as well ....
                                                          headquarter84
                                                          CD Freak
                                                          Posted on: 05 Jun 08 07:31
                                                            Maybe time to stop buying anything at all!!! Why bother buy it if you're getting fined anyway!? :d I'll get it pirated, then send money DIRECTLY to the artists... of course... only to the ones who really deserve it all
                                                            No longer with us
                                                            Posted on: 05 Jun 08 20:35
                                                              headquarter84 has a point. The industry is too big to be stopped. I see several things possibly happening, not all of them good: 1) a huge upswing in easily hideable devices and encryption 2) more people downloading/pirating, after all why bother paying if it'll get confiscated anyway 3) more rights taken away by governments searching online storage, etc. This will do more harm than good, for everyone. Corporations these days are too greedy and too powerful. A lot of artists want they're music heard, which it's legal or not. I know I would if I had my own CD. I'm with ZOD, here's hopping for some sort of scandal or lawsuit.
                                                              beamdump
                                                              MyCE Rookie
                                                              Posted on: 06 Jun 08 00:14
                                                                I read the article and have not researched it further. However, if this is actually the case, the the simplest work around is on-line, encrypted, storage. Example. Rip a DVD and make a backup. Encrypt it, compress it (zip, rar, whatever you are comfotable with. Uplad it to online storage, still encrypted. Then at your destination. Download, decrypt, and enjoy. You can upload and download from anywhere on earth and when travelling, how much junk do you need anyway? The part about a poorly recruited and even more poorly trained government "cop" with judicial power is a frightening step toward the "Gestapo" state the US has been heading for for the past decade. To do it to protect corporate profits rather tham ensure liberty or security is ludicrous. Write to your governments and let them know you wwon't tolerate a police state. Yes, I'm from the US.
                                                                shaolin007
                                                                MyCE Resident
                                                                Posted on: 06 Jun 08 00:51
                                                                  or an easy way to mask it is to just rename it to something and change the extension to like .txt to make it look like a document or something. A programmer could make a program that could rename and then undo the rename in mere seconds.
                                                                  No longer with us
                                                                  Posted on: 08 Jun 08 04:41
                                                                    What did anyone expect, they've taken our guns ( which by the way I don't own any ), now they want to take our other priviledges. Did anyone really think that it would all stop once they got the guns? Amazing. I don't really think this is all due to Hollywood, tho they did start it. This is a simple and logical progression of what we have allowed to happen for to long. Right now it is only our laptops, ipods, and cellphones we are worried about, tomorrow it will be something else much closer to our hearts as like with Texas when they tried to take the kids away from their parents. If we don't protect everyone's rights, we will surely and finally lose our own. I paid to much money for this laptop and only from my cold dead hands will they get it.
                                                                    headquarter84
                                                                    CD Freak
                                                                    Posted on: 08 Jun 08 06:48
                                                                      Will, i would say Rikki has finished it so damn right as well!!! "A lot of artists want they're music heard, which it's legal or not. I know I would if I had my own CD. " That IS true... maybe not for Metallica, but for too many other great bands! There are too many bands that i've tried to buy their albums, but never succeeded, they were unavailable were I live, and buying on the internet was not possible for me, so well, i got the MP3s from the net... and even THAT was NOT easy!! as there was actually albums that i paid for downloading more than they would really cost if they were imported and brought in a Concord ESPECIALLY for me... anyway, when i contacted the bands later, they didn't feel bad for being "pirated" and not being paid for the music... they actually were really grateful for the time and hassle I've spent just to get their albums!!! and others even encouraged me to actually "SPREAD" the MP3s so they may get heard were the Physical CD's and PayPal can't reach!!! well, enough said... i guess!
                                                                      beamdump
                                                                      MyCE Rookie
                                                                      Posted on: 08 Jun 08 11:12
                                                                        Reading down the column, it seems we all agree: This sucks. We're being screwed by the governments involved and it's still all about the money and power. There's an organization in the US called the ESS. They are standing vangard on this issue. Contact them, listen to them, help them. ESS.org. These folks have beaten back immunity for the telecom companie spying. case after case of imprpoer DCMA acts...omn and on. Join us! Foil the Pr*#ks!
                                                                        beamdump
                                                                        MyCE Rookie
                                                                        Posted on: 08 Jun 08 11:19
                                                                          MY BAD!!! My bad typing. It's EFF.org. Sorry. Attached is the laterst blog entry from them. Join us to stop this B#llSh@t. Taken from: EFFector Vol. 21, No. 18 June 6, 2008 editor@eff.org A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : In our 471st issue: * ACTION ALERT: ASK YOUR SENATOR ABOUT ACTA. Disturbingly little information has been made publicly available about a wide-ranging intellectual property enforcement treaty, known as ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). The trickle of information available points to a select group of industrialized countries negotiating an elevated standard of intellectual property enforcement, which stands to impact innovation, commerce, and technology users' privacy and civil liberties. With so much potentially at stake, the lack of transparency is cause for concern. Contact your Senator -- urge him or her to shed some sunlight on the contents of ACTA and to give citizens an opportunity for meaningful consultation.

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