Should we blame ACTA on Norton-style statistical manipulation?
Patrick Gray (Risky Business) has gone to town on statistics released by Norton. The claim is that cybercrime now costs us almost as much as the illicit drugs trade.
If the numbers are to be believed, these reports say, that means cybercrime costs us nearly as much as the global trade in illicit drugs. It’s a sensational claim and makes an awesome headline, but any way you slice or dice the numbers they just simply don’t stack up.
Norton’s cybercrime numbers don’t add up
Patrick points out that Norton’s figures include ‘indirect’ costs while the drug figures do not.
…But if you add the USD$114bn figure for direct cybercrime losses to the USD$274bn “time lost” figure, you wind up with a total just under the figure for drug sales (USD$402bn).
…Just think of the harm being inflicted on Mexico right now by the drug cartels, not to mention narco-related drama in countries like Afghanistan. Then there’s the money spent on the “War on Drugs,” keeping drug dealers in prison and the productive capacity society loses to all those dope-smoking young males glued to their PlayStation 3s.
What comes out of this post is the extent to which vested interests manipulate figures to suit themselves. It happens all the time and everywhere. It happens in politics and throughout industry. One of the most ridiculous, overbloated and absurd figures comes from the rightsholders to justify ACTA. They will take an area that has a high use of pirated goods, extrapolate that across the world, multiply that figure by the retail value of the goods concerned, and claim that they are losing the full amount to piracy. Firstly it uses an extrapolation based on ridiculously inflated assumptions, and then assumes that everybody using pirated goods would have paid the full amount if the ‘free’ version was unavailable.
The tragedy is that it has worked. ACTA is on the point of being signed. As far as Europe is concerned, this is undemocratic, secretive and illegal. As far as America is concerned,
The United States finds itself in a particularly bizarre situation – on the one hand, it claims that the Agreement is fully in line with domestic law while, on the other, it is reportedly not prepared to be bound by the Agreement and is treating the text as a non-binding “Executive Agreement.” The USA does, however, expect the other signatories of the Agreement to consider themselves legally bound.
Countries start signing ACTA, preparatory docs still secret