Feeds

Gadgets safe from global airport anti-piracy plan

Conspiracy theory not conspiracy fact

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Alarming headlines claiming that our laptop hard drives and iPod libraries could soon be scanned at airports for illegal copies of content are unfounded.

Several recent reports, including one by the Daily Telegraph, claim that the governments of the G8 nations are considering an anti-piracy plan that would see customs officials granted the power to examine travellers' gadgets for digital contraband.

The scheme is enshrined in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), drawn up to combat intellectual property theft.

However, a closer reading of ACTA reveals the agreement is actually focused on large-scale commercial piracy and - as The Register has reported before - online file-sharing.

According to a leaked ACTA discussion paper (PDF), the international agreement’s key objective is to establish “a common standard for IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) enforcement” to "combat global infringements of IPR ,particularly in the context of counterfeiting and piracy". Its focus is "IPR infringements for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain".

The agreement sees border controls as a key battleground in the fight, and it talks about measures allowing customs to “suspend import, export and trans-shipment” of suspected IPR-infringing goods. In most instances, officials must have good reason to suspect the presence of counterfeit or pirated content.

But while the discussion paper mentions the need to enact the power to make "ex parte searches", there's nothing to suggest it has individuals' laptops, mobiles and media players in mind - even if such searches were remotely practical, which they are not.

And how would officials identify tracks or videos as illegal copies?

The real story? ACTA will seek to crack down on large-scale illegal disc production - impounding 50,000 dodgy copies of Hancock found in a shipping container, for instance - but these measures will primarily apply to countries known to produce large quantities of illegal discs.

ACTA may never become law, and if it does, which potentially IPR-infringing goods will be checked – and where – remains unknown. It is clear that you are not going be pulled aside by rubber-gloved customs staff so they can probe the portions of your laptop where the sun don't shine, for dodgy MP3s at the very least.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.