Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Exploiting Kids as Copyright Cops

There's a scary story in today's NY Times about how the Hong Kong government is somehow getting Boy Scouts and other kids in uniforms to spy on and report copyright infringers.

It's bad enough when Access Copyright and other private interests try to warp the minds of children with inaccurate propoganda. But when the State turns little kids wearing Boy Scout and Girl Guide uniforms into spys and snitches, it's really regrettable. According to the story:

Starting this summer the Hong Kong government plans to have 200,000 youths search Internet discussion sites for illegal copies of copyrighted songs and movies, and report them to the authorities. The campaign has delighted the entertainment industry, but prompted misgivings among some civil liberties advocates.

The so-called Youth Ambassadors campaign will start on Wednesday with 1,600 youths pledging their participation at a stadium in front of leading Hong Kong film and singing stars and several Hong Kong government ministers.

The Youth Ambassadors represent a new reliance on minors to keep order on the Internet. All members of the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and nine other uniformed youth groups here, ranging in age from 9 to 25, will be expected to participate, government officials said.

It's too bad the the Boy Scouts leadership can't follow it's own motto and "be prepared" to speak truth to power in this instance.


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