So anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last week has heard about the attempted hijacking and hostage situation on the cargo ship Maersk Alabama. It has been all over the news channels and they have deified Captain Richard Phillips who offered himself as a hostage before his crew retook control of the ship from the Somali pirates. Its not like the pirate situation has started all of a sudden, but has been a constant threat off the coast of Somalia for the last six months or so. Only with the attempted hijacking of an American vessel has the media given this any attention. This is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and has billions of dollars worth of goods going through it at any one time. As of yet, no one has been able to identify and take out the source of all the hijacking attempts. Somalia has a 1875 mile coast line and while naval ships from all over the world patrol its waters, it is almost impossible to thwart attacks on all cargo ships. The lack of a strong central government has hindered the ability of the international community to deal with the threat of piracy. That to go along with greedy, argumentative, and self-centered politicians that have held back Somalia’s economy for decades and have subsequently hurt their own people’s lives tremendously. So I can see why piracy has prospered in a country so poor that it has to resort to hijacking in order for people to live. Its a shame on many fronts.
Another form of piracy that has been in the news lately is the trial of four men in charge of running the bit torrent website The Pirate Bay. The Pirate Bay is one of the largest websites that connects people for the purpose of legal and illegal filesharing. Just in the last day the four men were found guilty of aiding in breaking copyright laws. The Pirate Bay has previously denounced what they were doing to be illegal due to the lack of laws against file sharing in the country of Sweden where the website was hosted. They have been so vehement that they have posted threats and warnings from multiple media companies along with their contentious responses. The four defendants have stated they will appeal the decision if found guilty. So this should be interesting to watch in the following weeks whether they can get off from the charges or not. In any case Sweden has recently passed a number of new laws specifically prohibiting illegal file sharing. So it looks like file sharers will have to find some other country to host their websites.