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UK Government’s Copyright Tsar Blames ISPs for Facilitating Sony Hack

Thursday, December 4th, 2014 (12:07 pm) - Score 669

The UK Prime Minister’s (David Cameron) sometimes controversial Intellectual Property Advisor, Mike Weatherley (Conservative MP for Hove and Portslade), has somewhat bizarrely blamed broadband ISPs for helping to “facilitate” major hacks like the recent once that took place against Sony.

As any seasoned IT person knows, tracing hackers, whom more often than not know precisely how best to exploit the Internet’s underlying weaknesses, is an incredibly difficult thing to do. Indeed from the ISPs perspective there would be virtually no way of knowing what a hacker (e.g. one of their customers) was actually doing without breaking various privacy rules and even then hackers always mask their activity.

Never the less Mr Weatherley, who once also called for seemingly casual Internet pirates to be put in prison (we’re not sure the prison service could handle that one), has reacted to the serious hack of Sony’s servers (among other things this resulted in several pre-release films being leaked onto the Internet) by putting some of the blame onto the shoulders of ISPs.

Mike Weatherley said (TorrentFreak):

Piracy is a huge international problem. The recent cyber-attack on Sony and subsequent release of films to illegal websites is just one high-profile example of how criminals exploit others’ Intellectual Property.

Unfortunately, the theft of these films – and their subsequent downloads – has been facilitated by web-hosting companies and, ultimately, ISPs who do have to step-up and take some responsibility.”

Funnily enough there’s no mention of Sony’s failure to correctly secure their infrastructure against attackers, as demonstrated by several high-profile hacks against their servers over the past couple of years. Not to mention that all reputable ISPs have strict rules against abuse of their networks, although the nature of the Internet makes those very difficult to enforce.

Blaming ISPs is also a bit like blaming the road network because some of those who drive on it might be planning criminal activity, but you can never be sure who and even then the hacker would be the one driving an almost completely invisible car.

No doubt this all falls into the Government’s growing push towards the development of an even tougher Internet Snooping law than currently exists, which has twice been defeated in the past due in part to significant opposition and public distrust of the Government’s motives / politicians in general.

Lest we not forget that in Sony’s case one of the current suspects is North Korea, which is rather different from looking at a domestic individual.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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9 Responses
  1. Jamie says:

    Just another misguided politician, they should employ someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

    It’s more like blaming a toll booth for not doing a full car security check, it’s not their problem!

  2. Con Bradley says:

    Again we have someone who is not technically minded commenting on something very technical, i.e. how the Sony hack was carried out. I’m sure Mike Weatherley is well meaning but he is a qualified accountant. I certainly would not be comfortable commenting on technical matters of accountancy so how can he comment on how a complex hack was achieved?

  3. dragoneast says:

    Sorry but when did a politician ever worry about the facts? They just need to build up a head of steam that they’re doing the elusive “something”. Sorting it out is never something that bothers their tiny minds. As long as they can make it “someone else’s problem”. Playing “The Blame Game”.

    Most people only look to “talk the talk”. By the time the walking comes around they’ve forgotten what it was all about. Time, and opportunity, for the politicians to start the talk again. And we all just carry on as before. All waiting for something to “turn up”, eventually.

  4. david says:

    the theft of these films LMAO what next !!!! back to blocking sites again lol

  5. Good God Man says:

    Dear Mr MP

    As someone who is clearly of an educated standard above the level of most ISP’s technological experts, I am sure it would really help the ISP’s a lot if you could explain how they are culpable in this hack and how you would rectify the problem technologically given your expertise in such matters.

    While you are at it perhaps you could also suggest how the home secretary’s brilliant idea of ip matching is going to help law enforcement teams catch the ‘alleged culprit’ of any dodgy activity, as opposed to the subscriber of the account responsible for use of that account who is now going to be very vulnerable and likely innocent.

    Clearly you and her are of a technological level not seen before within the ISP industry and who have a vision and solution that will make these things work where ISP’s and technology experts have so far failed.

    I really do believe in you and hope you will step up to the plate and take on that role yourselves. I mean come on we could be at risk of an imminent marshmallow attack on some vulnerable old biddy care home and we all know how much you take the security of your citizens safety, seriously. (Right kids!)

    Perhaps ISP staff should come to Westminster and do your difficult job whilst you do theirs and fix the world to help make it a better place (apologies for the Wacko reference).

    Oh and while you are at it you might want to let the chancellors know in the respective parties that Britain no longer has any chance of doing business with those countries who have now seen us as a laughing stock due to MP’s taking on the role of internet service providers, judges, jurors and executioners.

    1. dragoneast says:

      Dear Mr. Good God Man,
      Thank you for your kind suggestion. Of course as a politician I can do everyone else’s job better than they can. Sadly, no-one else can do my job like I can.
      Any MP (you care to mention).

  6. X66yh says:

    I suppose you lot on here have forgotten about all the calls to force car makers and car radio makers to improve the security of their products against theft?

    So rather than the thieves being blamed it was the innocent middlemen
    No different here.

    1. Ignitionnet says:

      This is kinda more like blaming the property developer or council for building the road that allowed the thief to reach the car.

      If the guy were blaming Sony I’d agree.

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