The Internet is buzzing over a new report from the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property that recommends using spyware and ransom-ware to combat online infringement. The recommendations are shocking as they represent next-generation digital locks that could lock down computers and even “retrieve” files from personal computers:
Software can be written that will allow only authorized users to open files containing valuable information. If an unauthorized person accesses the information, a range of actions might then occur. For example, the file could be rendered inaccessible and the unauthorized user’s computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account.
While many of the recommendations sound outrageous (see further details here and here), it is worth noting that earlier this year Canadian business groups led by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce recommended that the Canadian government introduce a regulation that would permit the use of spyware for these kinds of purposes.