Nabbing the Pirates of Cyberspace

Will the latest crackdowns make a dent in the global problem of illegal software duplication?

The sweep, when it came last month, was swift and thorough. Dozens of Italian customs officers fanned out across the country and began pounding on doors in Milan, Bologna, Pisa and Pesaro. Their target: a loose alliance of computer bulletin-board operators suspected of trafficking in stolen software. By last week, according to unofficial reports, the Italian police had shut down more than 60 computer bulletin boards and seized 120 computers, dozens of modems and more than 60,000 floppy disks. In their zeal, say the suspects, some officers of the Guardia di Finanza grabbed anything even remotely high-tech, including audiotapes, telephone-answering machines...

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