Apparently the journalists are running out of new technologies to brand as evil so now they’re aiming at some of the older Internet technologies like IRC which, according to this article at the NYT, is EVIL! EVIL I TELL YOU! Specifically, they’re targeting the ability of chatters to engage in direct peer-to-peer file transfers.
“I.R.C. is where you are going to find your ‘elite’ level pirates,’’ said John R. Wolfe, director for enforcement at the Business Software Alliance, a trade group that fights software piracy. “If they were only associating with each other and inbreeding, maybe we could coexist alongside them. But it doesn’t work that way. What they’re doing on I.R.C. has a way of permeating into mainstream piracy.’‘…
“Basically the F.B.I. is interested in the best way to monitor the traffic,’’ William A. Bierman said…“Look, if we find one channel and close it, they move to another, it’s been like this for years. You can’t really stop it.’‘
Much like USENET newsgroups, I used to be a common presence on IRC back when I first started using the Net and there is truth to the statements that IRC is used for piracy and porn exchanges, but the same is also true of the newsgroups. Use of both of these systems requires a little bit more technical savvy than using things like Kaza, though, and there are certainly plenty of newsgroups and IRC channels that are used for perfectly legal and worthwhile activities so for the most part these two venerable aspects of the Net have been left alone by the powers that be. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the powers that be ignore either of these two technologies either. I find it somewhat amusing that the NYT is only just now figuring out that people are doing naughty things on IRC. In all honesty, it sounds like the impetus for bringing this to the forefront came from the folks who are trying to police it in the article than any real ignorance on the part of the NYT, but it still sounds silly the way it’s presented.
Oh, and John C. Dvorak still hates chat and instant messaging. Yeah, like he hasn’t ranted about that about four billion times already. We get it, John. You hate chat. I promise to never try and instant message you or engage in small talk. Hell, your columns aren’t particularly interesting so I can’t imagine your casual conversations would be all that engaging.