The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) may not be quite as ‘in your face, and in your wallet’ as their evil step sister the RIAA. But the MPAA are definitely a group that shares the RIAA’s obsession with making the consumer suffer when it comes down to using their products. The MPAA love DRM (Digital Rights MIS-Management), and all of the other little tricks that come with preventing the customer to ‘tinker’ with a product that the customer legally owns.

Both Wired and Slashdot are carrying an interesting story on the web pages about the MPAA and just how much clout these Hollywood types have with the government.

Sen. Debra Bowen had proposed a tough piece of legislation in California. Bill  SB1666, would have barred private investigators and anyone else from making “false, fictitious or fraudulent” statements or representations to obtain private information about an individual. This would have included telephone records, Social Security numbers and financial information. Victims would have had the right to sue for damages.
In the light of the HP scandal over Pretexting to obtain information about a board of directors leak to the media, and the continued hype in the press about identity theft, Phishing scams, and all of the other anti social behaviors, one would think that there would be wide support to make Pretexting illegal.

Indeed initially Sen. Debra Bowen’s bill did have wide support from all of the political parties, who in their right mind would not support a bill that could help stem all of these illegal activities.

The only people that voiced any objection were the ‘Dog Chapman’ types, Private investigators and Bounty Hunters. The Dog Chapman’s of the world use Pretexting as a major tool in their bag of tricks to track people down.

It comes to light however that the MPAA were working behind the scenes spending a lot of money on a serious lobbying effort to kill this Bill. I hear you ask the question, why? Well according to the Wired story, the MPAA uses Pretexting to catch those bad pirates using peer to peer networks such as LimeWire to obtain illegal copies of movies.

Unfortunately this time the MPAA has won, the Bill is dead. So if in the future someone uses pretexting to obtain your personal information, and you suffer some financial loss as a consequence, you will have the MPAA to thank that Pretexting is not an offence!

Simon Barrett  

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