… 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.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19677-2003May6.html

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 Playitcybersafe.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.playitcybersafe.com/images/kidshome_ferret.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!!!