I was very disturbed to hear during my first meeting in Paris about the recently passed Hadopi Law. (Hadopi means 3 strikes). In essence it is a collaboration between French President Sarkozy and the music industry to fight piracy, a seemingly run of the mill effort for a government to undertake and one for which I have a little bit of sympathy, despite my disagreement with RIAA et al.
In short, as you will hear in this video interview with the writers behind ReadWriteWeb France, Fabrice Epelboin and Damien Douani, this is a very very dangerous law, even for those of us who don't live in France. Essentially, if you get accused (not convicted, merely accused) of illegally downloading music or other creative materials 3x, they will cut off your Internet Access, period. The only way to get it reinstated is to install spyware on your computer so they can monitor everything you do, to prove you are innocent of the charges.
Not only is this a slippery slope, or as Perry deHavilland of Samizdata.net said to me, "its a bloody cliff", it is very dangerous to our security. Even the NSA has said this. The more encrypted traffic on the network, which is surely going to be an outcome of this law (at least in France), the harder it will be for the various security agencies to find the terrorist signals and catch the bad guys. Which may in fact be part of the case officials such as Sarkozy are trying to make in order to lock down society in an Orwellian police state.
As Fabrice says in our follow-on interview, which will be released later this week in audio form, "by the numbers, they will be successfull. they will demonstrate a reduction in file sharing traffic because it will be encrypted. So by their measures, it will be a success, leading to more and more encroachment of our freedoms."
I hope not.