THIS COMPUTER WILL SELF-DESTRUCT. . .

Stephen Green, back from his long exile–not, apparently, in Utah–explains he doesn’t vote straight Republican because of Orrin Hatch and his ilk who seem not overly concerned about civil liberties and the due process of law:

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday he favors developing new technology to remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music from the Internet.

The surprise remarks by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, during a hearing on copyright abuses represent a dramatic escalation in the frustrating battle by industry executives and lawmakers in Washington against illegal music downloads.

During a discussion on methods to frustrate computer users who illegally exchange music and movie files over the Internet, Hatch asked technology executives about ways to damage computers involved in such file trading. Legal experts have said any such attack would violate federal anti-hacking laws.

“No one is interested in destroying anyone’s computer,” replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to disrupt music downloads. One technique deliberately downloads pirated material very slowly so other users can’t.

“I’m interested,” Hatch interrupted. He said damaging someone’s computer “may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights.”

Holy overreaction, Batman! I’m all for copyright protection, seeing as how I make my living in the publishing industry, but think terrorism may be going a wee bit far. I mean, destroying a $1000 computer–with no due process!–because someone downloaded a song worth a few cents?!

I suppose shooting jaywalkers and litterbugs on site would also tend to eliminate those activities over time, as well.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.