Pocketing Police

An odd bit of news from the xorg foundation. During some discussion on their mailing list about missing funds it became apparent that PayPal had simply taken $5k of their money because PayPal thought xorg foundation were some sort of scam.

This has lead to more people boycotting paypal and a general unease about the liberty of financial transactions online.

For me it demonstrates a core corruption in the way our governments tackle law enforcement online. Instead of improving the police and the judiciary so that they can effectively cope with online fraud, copyright infringement and illegal computer entry, the governments are instead creating laws which force service providers to be the police, judge and executioner of punishments.

Everything from this PayPal misappropriation to the infamous three strikes internet connectivity laws currently being discussed in Europe. All of it shows the same disregard for impartiality, fair, open courts with a proper objection process. Instead we can replace courts and police with companies who’s job is providing us goods and services we pay for, so they can’t really be impartial.

Mix in heinously badly written laws like the DMCA who vagaries rank right up there with bible quotes. Who’s job it is to spread around the job of criminalising the general population so that everyone is responsible for watching and reporting on everyone else…

Wait that sounds awfully familiar…

There is no replacement for the judiciary for criminal activity, if the majority of people are tipping up over a law it’s because the law is wrong, not the majority of people. Most of these laws that grant corperate policing powers are so vague that even the mere hint of infringement or suspect activity is dealt with same severity as the worst offenders of real criminal activity. (if real criminals get caught by these schemes at all)