I’ve got your number

First you call 1176 households. You find that 136 people actually admit to using file sharing software. Not necessarily illegal, but who cares when you have a good story?

Then you take the percentage that those numbers represent, 11.6, and bump it up to 16.3; why? because people lie, of course. Not you.

Then you take the 33.9m people published as online by ONS and bump that up as well, to make it 40m. Because statistics also lie.

Mash the percentage with the target population. Et voilà, you get to 7m.

The 7m illegal downloaders referred to in the onslaught on “illegal file sharing”.

Sounds better than 3.9m, doesn’t it? Has a nice whole ring to it.

Sounds so much better than 136.

Full story at http://www.pcpro.co.UK/news/351331/how-UK-government-spun-136-people-into-7m-illegal-file-sharer

6 thoughts on “I’ve got your number”

  1. Top posting – I love it. Reminiscent of the ‘Bad Science’ column, a consistently excellent piece of analysis in the Saturday edition of the Guardian…

    John

  2. In the same way there are now 60 millions rats in the UK…

    Years ago, some scientist guessed that there was, oh, let’s say one rat for every human in London, and that that, oh, no-one was more than 5m away from a rat… and hence…

    The rat population now grows (as if by magic)

    Doh!

  3. On the one hand, 1176 isn’t that bad of a sample size.

    On the other hand, users are pretty terrible at identifying what software they’re using. A lot of users get web sites and applications mixed up. How many of those people who said they’re using “file sharing software” are saying yes because they watched a YouTube video?

Let me know what you think