Guys privateers are not pirates. Sir Frances Drake was a privateer and sunk many spanish Warships in the Carribean. A privateer is a ship, even a powerful ship like a frigate, owned by an individual but funded by the state. It would fly the colours of the state, eg British flag, and not pirate colours. They did not partake in unrestricted warfare like pirates so were not hanged when caught. There were some who didnt stick to the "code of conduct" but these were normally captured and punished at some point. I see no reason why Privateering should not go into the modern era. I mean historically some nations hire Mercenaries to protect their land and sea. This is a modern day privateer. Agreed, none have battleships but whos to say in an alternate history this might have happened if individuals were powerful enough?