The Oregon Attorney General’s Office has asked a federal court to require the RIAA to tell the state who is downloading information from computers belonging to students at the University of Oregon. In proceedings to determine whether the University must reveal the names of its students in response to the ex parte subpoena issued by the RIAA’s lawyers, the AG’s office has filed a brief opposing the release of the students’ information and alerting the court that the RIAA’s motion raises serious questions of criminal activity by the record companies’ investigators.
Plaintiffs’ third-party investigator, MediaSentry, is investigating in Oregon without a license as required by ORS 703.405. Affidavit of von Ter Stegge, 1/10. By investigating Oregonians without proper licensing, MediaSentry may be in violation of ORS 703.993(2), a misdemeanor crime.
Also, the AG’s Office expressed deep concern that the record company’s investigators were prying into students’ private data without the permission of those students.
Plaintiffs’ investigation practices probably provide the capability to “mine” private, confidential information unrelated to copyright
infringement…. [F]ile-sharing programs… sometimes upload personal and confidential information of the user and make that information available for sharing unbeknownst to the user. It only follows that Plaintiffs’ investigator, MediaSentry, has access to such information when it is stored in a file-sharing program that it is “mining.” … Plaintiffs may be spying on students who use the University’s computer system and may be accessing much more than IP addresses.
What kind of information that the AG’s Office is concerned about? Oh, nothing special, just “email, credit card information, user name, passwords, internet purchase information, internet search history, and file sharing.”
Would you trust unlicensed investigators with your email, credit cards, or passwords? Neither would I.
The brief, which you really ought to read if you care about privacy and due process, also raises concerns that the RIAA’s lawyers are submitting misleading affidavits to the court, along with other unsavory tactics.