Dictionary apps try to shame supposed pirates, plan backfires | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

A series of Dictionary apps recently took an, um, “innovative” path to fighting software piracy, though it didn’t quite work out as expected. Enfour is the developer of quite a few dictionary-style apps on the store, and it recently implemented an anti-piracy system that hijacked the pirate’s Twitter account, and posted an anti-piracy message with the #softwarepirateconfession hashtag. That’s a cute way to deal with piracy, you might think, except that the measure erroneously attacked quite a few non-pirates, not to mention invaded a user’s public identity via Twitter. Oh, and auto-Tweeted on behalf of a certain Mr. Teller.

via Dictionary apps try to shame supposed pirates, plan backfires | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog.


3 thoughts on “Dictionary apps try to shame supposed pirates, plan backfires | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

  1. I found this article very interesting – and troublesome. Software piracy is a concern in the IT industry, certainly because it is becoming easier and easier to illegally obtain software – there is no question about that. What is in question, and has caused a great deal of debate, is what consequences should be in place for those whole illegally obtain or pirate software systems. I agree that there should be some sort of consequences for software piracy, but invading a user’s Twitter feed does not seem to be the appropriate route – specifically because of it’s public nature. User’s Twitter accounts broadcast information to a great deal of others that could be friends, family, colleagues, employers, etc. Calling out these messages to this audience causes a public consequence, when the alternative likely would not be.

    This article pointed to a good example of what can happen with IT systems can have unintended consequences and in turn put certain users at a disadvantage by publicly call negative attention to them. It is especially troublesome that this method had a bug and incorrectly marked users are software pirates and these users had no way of controlling this.

  2. In my mind, there is no question that the tweets/facebook posts or other public comments that these teens have made is unacceptable as well as highly disrespectful. However, as we have discussed in class, the treatment of children and minors is a special case and must be considered differently than adults. It is likely the case that these teens did not fully realize the possible implications of their public actions (and also likely did not realize just how public they were) beyond the scope of sharing their disrespectful thoughts with their limited social network.

    Again, what these teens said is very disrespectful, but in my opinion publishing personal information about them like their names and schools crosses the line of justice. These teens will (hopefully) become more educated and mature and realize that it is not acceptable to post such things online. But until then, the internet has labeled them as racists, bigots, etc., terms that will follow them to future college applications, job searches, etc. It is important to think about how decisions made in their teenage years should carry with them into adulthood when their attitudes and maturity has likely developed.

  3. I feel two-fold about the manner in which the app creator tried to handle piracy. First, I thought it was awesome that this developer was taking into its own hands the issue of piracy and defending itself against those who try to attack it by stealing or copying the app. However, it is an invasion of privacy to hack someone’s Twitter account to display a message, even if it is retaliation and with good cause.

    The best thing a company could do to retaliate against piracy at this point in time is isolate those who are actually committing piracy and then relaying that information to authorities. It may not be in the best interest of the company or other users to try to take the matter into their own hands, especially in a case like this where innocent users become victims of the developer defending itself.

    Although I’m all for vigilante justice (not really), there are too many risks with an approach like this one this developer has taken.

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