It was reported here as well as a number of other sites that Scott McCausland (admin of Elite Torrents) was arrested on felony charges of uploading Star Wars Episode III to the Internet. When the verdict came down, he was told he had to install monitoring software onto his computer so the powers that be could keep track of his online comings and goings. There was a slight wrench in the works in that the monitoring software only worked with Windows. Alas, McCausland’s computer was running Ubuntu, so the punishment would not stick. Or would it? Because of this, the courts ruled that the felon must install Windows on his machine so they can keep track of him.
Hmmmm – I’m not really sure how I feel about this. No wait, yes I am.
A felon is told he has to use a particular software on his computer, a software that doesn’t work with his operating system. So the felon has either to comply and use Windows or never use a computer. Now I don’t have a problem with the courts ruling that the man be tracked. That is a smart move. But when the court insists that he use a software that is only compatible with one operating system, well to me, that shows these systems are a bit behind the times. Monitoring Linux usage is simple. And there are plenty of monitoring systems out there…many of them open source. It wouldn’t be difficult for the State (or the Federal) government to hire a programmer to create a cross-platform monitoring system to use.
Let’s face it, these sorts of crimes are going to continue. But allowing Microsoft to gain when a felony is committed that really has nothing to do with Microsoft? That just wrong in so many ways. Microsoft should have, in no way, benefited from this man’s crime. Yet here they are – doing so.
And I am sure that MS benefiting in such ways is not limited to this type of crime. Companies and governments need to open their eyes and join this century. There are numerous platforms out there. And it’s not just browser compliance, it’s everywhere. It’s schools, and businesses, and governments, and churches…everywhere.
I would like to think that situations like this, in this day and age, would not be happening. I would like to think that so much has crossed over to Web-based applications, that OS-based non-compliance would no longer be an issue. But it is. Why? Because so many people out there still do not get that the computer has evolved into something much greater than Windows. And until they get it, felons are going to lose and Microsoft is going to win – even when they aren’t playing the game.