Senator Joseph Biden has once again proven how inept he is when it comes to modern technology. His newest bright idea involves monitoring all peer-to-peer traffic on the internet to aid in the capture of child molesters and pornographers. He’s under some assumption that from the file name alone one can gauge the exact content of the file. Seriously. He does:
Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) said he was under the impression it’s “pretty easy to pick out the person engaged in either transmitting or downloading violent scenes of rape, molestation” simply by looking at file names.
What would be obvious to even the slowest minded of criminals would be to change the file name to something innocuous. There’s also the fact that a growing portion of peer-to-peer traffic these days is encrypted, which would further foil his brilliant detection methodologies.
Let’s ignore the fact that a filename alone can be absolutely misleading. There’s still the misguided belief by lawmakers that you can tie IP addresses to a specific individual. Ask the RIAA how well that one has been going for them. The problem is the people making these laws refer to experts who have next to no credentials in the field. It’s as if saying “he made the blinking 12:00 on the VCR go away, he must be an expert in media technologies!” Sadly our lawmakers spend too many times at luncheons on the dime of lobbyists rather than actually attempting to grasp a basic understanding of the technologies they seek to regulate.
I think going after these people who trade in kiddie porn is a great idea. I think working to develop some way to trace back these files, and monitor their trade so that the people responsible for them can be apprehended is an absolutely noble idea. I just wish people would have a clue before they charge headlong in to the fray thinking that they have the miracle device that will save the world. Right now a system such as this that is bound to cause a fair portion of false positives will go a long way towards destroying the reputations of innocent people. Once the label child molester is put upon someone, even if they are later found to be innocent, it never goes away. Our system might not be perfect, but we don’t need to further degrade it by embracing technologies that are such an obvious failure.