Intellectual Property and I.C.E.

So day 1 of E3 is here. I really didn’t expect to see any security related booths, nevermind find one outside the show hall, but lo and behold the U.S. Government provided me with one. Right in the front of hall 1 there was a small booth where a nice Agent was kinda enough to entertain some of my “pre-E3 Expo floor opening” questions.

ICE Booth

I.C.E. stands for U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, interesting how they are involved with the handling of IP rights. From what I could gather this group investigates claims presented to them in one of 2 ways. Either A) one of their agents happens to come across it some how or B) a report is filed by a company that is actively trying to protect themselves. Obviously their biggest clients right now are the RIAA and MPAA. They investigate all kinds of IP rights claims, everything from Digital to Physical products. They perform some investigation work, but most of the digital investigation is handled by another department. After the investigation is finished this department handles the prosecution and all the other legal stuff.

There are 2 things I found interesting while chatting with the Agent. First was that they don’t perform any real preventative services yet and secondly they investigate claims of user fraud and account stealing also.

For the first point, I find it interesting that they don’t go out and actively try to help companies protect themselves from being stolen from. Instead they are more of a reactive group. They wait for the crime to be committed and then go and find out what happen. At these trade shows they do a little bit of speaking about how to report the crimes, but not very much about how to protect your company from being attacked. It seems like it would make sense to actually have the government help prevent the attacks in the first place too, but that’s probably pretty expensive.

The second point was interesting because I didn’t think the U.S. had reached the same points the rest of the world was at regarding the User and it’s property. Now don’t get me wrong here, they are not investigating actual users, instead they will investigate big groups of users that have been hacked and then bring the hackers to justice.

It’s good to see that the US is keeping pace with the rest of the world when it comes to IP rights, the agent mentioned a few times that he their team is relatively small, so lets see if we can help them out by reducing the IP that can get stolen.

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