… well, sort of, any­way. Allow me to explain. 

Today, we had a news sub­mis­sion about the BSA’s new scheme to teach chil­dren about the ‘evils’ of soft­ware pir­acy. To make this ‘learn­ing’ (or should I say ‘indoc­trin­a­tion’) more fun for the kid­dies, they got a mas­cot. Take a good look at it, what do you think it is? 

It’s a fer­ret… supposedly. 

When I first read that the BSA was using a fer­ret, I thought that we should call it a rat instead, since BSA is filled with dirty low-life rats. Then I hopped over to the site and had a look at it for myself. I swear, it looks like a weasel! A drugged-up homie weasel!

On a whim, I fired off an e-mail to Mike Magee at my favour­ite IT news site The Inquirer. If you’re not famil­i­ar with The Inq, think of it as The Register without the hubris. Indeed, Mike was the founder of The Reg, and he told me that he still owns 23% of it. Here’s part of the e-mail I sent to Mike: 

The Busi­ness Soft­ware Alli­ance has received US Justice Depart­ment fund­ing of $200,000 to ‘edu­cate’ chil­dren about soft­ware pir­acy. More info at 

http://​www​.wash​ing​ton​post​.com/​w​p​-​d​y​n​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​s​/​A​19677​-​2003​M​a​y​6​.​h​tml

What I’m won­der­ing is why this organ­isa­tion, which boasts some of the richest com­pan­ies in the world as its mem­bers, is receiv­ing US gov­ern­ment funding? 

Anoth­er point of interest is the mas­cot of this new Play​itcy​ber​safe​.com ini­ti­at­ive. It is _​supposed_​ to be a fer­ret. To me it looks like a weasel. A ser­i­ously drugged-out, homie weasel. A weasel may be the per­fect choice for the BSA, but is a drugged-out homie char­ac­ter really the best choice to encour­age chil­dren not to steal? I would say it does the exact oppos­ite. You can see this weasel at 

http://​www​.play​itcy​ber​safe​.com/​i​m​a​g​e​s​/​k​i​d​s​h​o​m​e​_​f​e​r​r​e​t​.​gif

And here’s part of Mike’s response: 

Many thanks for the nice let­ter. And for the tip. The BSA is up to all sorts of tricks and we’ll cer­tainly cov­er this one. 

A few hours later… BANG! Weasel Watch is born! Some excerpts: 

HEAVILY SUBSIDED TRADE organ­isa­tion the Busi­ness Soft­ware Alli­ance (BSA) has received $200,000 fund­ing from the US gov­ern­ment to pro­mote a soft­ware pir­acy scheme aimed at children. 

But that has raised ques­tions about why the Justice Depart­ment has chipped into the scheme, see­ing as the BSA is already sub­sid­ised, in fact paid for, to the tune of mil­lions, by some of the richest IT com­pan­ies in the world. 

and 

In fact the BSA Weasel, pic­tured above, looks like it’s either drugged up or it’s about to bite someone’s ankle, don’t you think? 

SCORE!!!

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