Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Copper thieves

One of the great tragedies of the 2005 (and ongoing) war in Iraq was the break-down in the power systems. The cause of the break-down was unrestrained theft of copper transmission lines following the collapse of any kind of civil authority.

It is the kind of thing you'd think wouldn't happen here, but apparently it does. The NSW Government is reported by iTnews to be preparing rules that will require the presentation of identity documents for certain sales of recovered copper.

This is entirely consistent with the kind of rules that apply to pawn brokers.

This case is more interesting because one of the direct beneficiaries is the telco sector. Though most of the nicked copper is electricity distribution the report included a case of a man allegedly he posing as a telephone technician to steal $110,000 worth of Telstra's old and active copper lines in December 2010, causing "major breaks in telecommunications for businesses and private residences" in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas.

These are, of course, the self same telcos who think that any imposition on them as ISPs to participate in a scheme to identify theft of copyright material is an unreasonable burden.

There is a moral in this tale, we all have an obligation to support the principles of property rights, and enforcement may require us to create business practices that facilitate that.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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