All posts by Patrick Hannaford

Netflix highlights the futility of internet filters

Internet piracy is declining, and it’s a direct result of new streaming services like Netflix.

That is the finding of a new report from consumer group CHOICE. The Australian reports:

Since Netflix launched in March, the number of Australians regularly pirating has dropped by a quarter, say consumer advocacy group CHOICE, which conducted the research.

This will come as no surprise to Netflix. As head of content and acquisition Ted Sarandos explained in 2013, similar falls in piracy have occurred all around the world:

One of the things is we get ISPs to publicise their connection speeds – and when we launch in a territory the Bittorrent traffic drops as the Netflix traffic grows. So I think people do want a great experience and they want access – people are mostly honest. The best way to combat piracy isn’t legislatively or criminally but by giving good options.

Netflix has become so confident in its ability to combat privacy that it has become part of their business strategy.

But this effect is not limited to Netflix. By making content cheap and easily accessible to consumer, online streaming services are only doing what Spotify has done for music, and what Steam has done for gaming.

This validates what the tech industry has been telling governments, and traditional media companies, for years: The best way to combat piracy is by making it it easier to access products legally. The one approach that has failed to have any significant impact is increased law enforcement.

Unfortunately, none of this discouraged the federal government from introducing an intrusive and unnecessary internet filter regime in June.

Read the full article at FreedomWatch.

The Nanny State – turning cyclists into criminals since 1990

[Boris Johnson and Arnold Schwarzenegger have both been caught by Victoria’s mandatory bicycle helmet laws.]

As an Australian living in Washington D.C., I am acutely aware of the rampant crime plaguing this city. No, I don’t mean the prevalence of gun ownership – it’s virtually impossible to own a gun – nor the political corruption that undoubtedly exists. I mean the thousands of people riding bicycles without a helmet.

Okay, so this isn’t a crime in the USA. In fact there is nowhere in the world with nation-wide, all age mandatory helmet laws… except Australia and New Zealand.

Penalties for riding without a helmet in Australia vary state by state. In Victoria it is punishable by a $185 fine, and ultimately, if unpaid, possible imprisonment.

These mandatory helmet laws are symptomatic of the Nanny State mentality that has infected all levels of Australian government.

Championed by so-called “public health” academics like Simon Chapman – 12th on the IPA’s list of a dozen opponents of freedom – an ever expanding network of laws have been enacted governing everything from what/how you eat and drink, to how tall you can grow your grass.

More often than not these laws are passed because self-appointed busybodies experts like Simon Chapman think they know how best to run other peoples’ lives.

There are few better examples of this attitude than Australia’s mandatory helmet laws.

Read the rest on Freedom Watch here.