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+ - How 136 people became "7m illegal file-sharers-> 5

Submitted by
Barence
Barence writes "The British Government's official figures on the level of illegal file sharing in the UK come from questionable research commissioned by the music industry. The Radio 4 show More or Less examined the Government's claim that 7m people in Britain are engaged in illegal file sharing. The 7m figure actually came from a report written about music industry losses for Forrester subsidiary Jupiter Research — that report was privately commissioned by none other than the music trade body, the BPI. The 7m figure had been rounded up from an actual figure of 6.7m, gleaned from a 2008 survey of 1,176 net-connected households, 11.6% of which admitted to having used file-sharing software — in other words, only 136 people. That 11.6% was adjusted upwards to 16.3% "to reflect the assumption that fewer people admit to file sharing than actually do it." The 6.7m figure was then calculated based on an estimated number of internet users that disagreed with the Government's own estimate. The wholly unsubstantiated 7m figure was then released as an official statistic."
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How 136 people became "7m illegal file-sharers

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  • > 11.6% of which admitted to having used file-sharing software

    So any sharing of files is now illegal? The entire internet is file sharing software, including this website. By me posting here and you reading it we are sharing files, so lock us both up!

  • The phrase that is heard quite often in my office is, "You can make numbers say anything!"
    Now add in some of that fancy "new" math, and you can convince governments of pretty much anything..
    • The phrase that is heard quite often in my office is, "You can make numbers say anything!"

      Numbers don't lie and neither do statistics. A more accurate appraisal would be "You can make ignorant and naive people believe anything."

  • That's why statistics are FUN! Anybody can take any number and tune it in to any other number when extrapolating on their opinion and assumptions. 136/ x + x%^*/x = 7,000,000 volah!

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