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Encryption Security Media Music Your Rights Online

Encrypted Torrents Growing Fast In the UK 432

Posted by kdawson
from the deeply-inspect-all-you-want dept.
angryphase writes "The British Phonographic Institute (the UK's RIAA) has noticed a significant increase in the amount of encrypted torrents — from 4% of torrent traffic a year ago to 40% today. Whether it follows a trend for hiding suspicious activities or an increased awareness of personal privacy is up for (weak) debate. Either way, this change of attitude is catching the eye of ISPs, music industry officials, and enforcement agencies. Matt Phillips, spokesman for the UK record industry trade association explains, 'Our internet investigations team, internet service providers and the police are well aware of encryption technology: it's been around for a long time and is commonplace in other areas of internet crime. It should come as no surprise that if people think they can hide illegal activity they will attempt to.'"
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Encrypted Torrents Growing Fast In the UK

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  • Or maybe.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jnaujok (804613) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:33PM (#21283167) Homepage Journal
    Maybe it's because all the more recent clients are supporting encryption by default?
    • Re:Or maybe.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Technician (215283) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:48PM (#21283413)
      Maybe it's because all the more recent clients are supporting encryption by default?

      Your snail mail is able to deliver packages in plain brown wrappers. Online the delivery is in clear plastic baggies and carried by many people besides the government post office. In addition, third parties are able to examine your packets. Now that expensive attacks are happening because of the contents of some of these displayed packets to others, the search for security envelopes has began. The mail from an to my bank is not in clear packages. My online packets should have the same expectation of privacy.

      Vendors of the envelopes has noticed the users crying the packages are transparent and the carrier is not providing privacy. Vendors are responding with providing security envelopes in place of the transparent packaging.

      The real world security breaches have shown the need.
      • by 0x15e (961860)
        I wish I had mod points right now. That's a fantastic analogy, IMO.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:19PM (#21284767)
        > The real world security breaches have shown the need.

        I don't know if it's "security breaches" per se. After all, encrypting the torrent does NOTHING to prevent anyone who knows that that torrent contains copyrighted material from finding your IP from the tracker and going after you legally.

        The ONLY thing it does is bypass some ISP-level throttling aimed at BitTorrent traffic. In other words, the ONLY reason people use it is because it makes the torrents go faster, rather than being stuck at low speeds.

        That said, more people are probably doing it because it's on by default. And the reason it's on by default in more clients is because it's faster.

        So yeah, the spokesman here is an idiot. Encrypted torrents will NOT help you evade responsibility for sharing copyrighted materials. Not even a little bit. This guy is a dumbass.
        • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday November 08, 2007 @04:39PM (#21286691) Journal

          So yeah, the spokesman here is an idiot. Encrypted torrents will NOT help you evade responsibility for sharing copyrighted materials. Not even a little bit. This guy is a dumbass.

          He's not a complete dumbass. Encrypted torrents will defeat the purposed ISP level copyright-filtering that some telcos (*cough* AT&T *cough*) are advocating. How do you tell if that encrypted data is the source code to Windows 2000, a Linux ISO or a collection of Chuck Norris jokes?

          Granted, I think this is a good thing. It's none of my ISPs business what are in my packets.

          • by MrNiceguy_KS (800771) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @05:33PM (#21287443)

            He's not a complete dumbass. Encrypted torrents will defeat the purposed ISP level copyright-filtering that some telcos (*cough* AT&T *cough*) are advocating. How do you tell if that encrypted data is the source code to Windows 2000, a Linux ISO or a collection of Chuck Norris jokes?

            The Chuck Norris joke collection is easy - the packets perform their own QOS by kicking the hell out of any other packets in their way.

    • Re:Or maybe.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by secPM_MS (1081961) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:57PM (#21283571)
      Actually, I expect a full scale move to encryption for all web traffic. ISP's can rob the web sites (which are supported by advertising) by using deep stream filtering and reconstruction to rip out adds from the web site and replace them with adds that they are paid to display. The equipment that Comcast is using is quite capable of it. Once the web sites realize the threat by malicious middlemen, we will see them pony up for crypto hardware and move en-mass to HTTPS. At that point, essentially all traffic will be encrypted and middlemen will be blocked.
      • Re:Or maybe.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:13PM (#21283815)
        except for the vast majority of people who just run whatever "Install The Internets" package provided by their ISP; this package will add a special ISP trusted root certificate to keep the browser from reporting an invalid certificate when they transparently proxy your HTTPS sessions and replace the keys (so they can still monitor/modify your traffic)
      • by cybergrue (696844) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:23PM (#21283983)
        Like a certain Canadian ISP is doing [torrentfreak.com] now. [michaelgeist.ca]
      • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:56PM (#21285215) Homepage
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        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Is that perl?
  • They'll demand the right to see what's being encrypted.

    Guy Fawkes masks all around

  • Maybe... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Matt867 (1184557) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:34PM (#21283183)
    Maybe its because they aren't doing anything illegal yet they are being prosecuted?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Memo

    To: All Revolution Participants
    From: Agent 1011128

    Encrypt all communications because Mr. Evil [whitehouse.org] is listening. [rawstory.com]

    Regards,
    Kilgore Trout, ACTIVIST
  • by Arathon (1002016) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:35PM (#21283195) Journal
    why anyone thinks the encryption will be effective? Since the RIAA (for example) catches torrenters by downloading the file from them in order to prove that they were 'making copyrighted content available', it doesn't really seem to matter whether or not it's encrypted. You're sending the RIAA a file that won't be encrypted on their end....
    • by click2005 (921437) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:40PM (#21283275)
      It seems to be more about stopping Comcast/BT style bandwidth throttling than trying to stay anonymous.
    • by compro01 (777531) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:41PM (#21283283)
      i don't think that's the purpose.

      the purpose is to make the traffic not recognizable (to a degree) as torrent traffic so it can bypass the mindless traffic shaping of torrent traffic by some ISPs.
      • by kripkenstein (913150) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:35PM (#21284159) Homepage

        i don't think that's the purpose.

        the purpose is to make the traffic not recognizable (to a degree) as torrent traffic so it can bypass the mindless traffic shaping of torrent traffic by some ISPs.
        Exactly. People see 'encrypted bittorrent' and they presume it is meant to be hidden from the RIAA. But in fact bittorrent is, and always was, a public protocol: anyone can connect to a tracker, anyone can get the list of peers from the tracker, and anyone can connect to anyone else running that torrent. Everyone in the swarm sees everything else: IPs, what pieces everyone else has, etc. All the **AA need to do is connect to the swarm and download from your IP (at least to incriminate the IP, if not you personally).

        The reason for encryption was to prevent people outside the swarm from easily seeing that certain packets were bittorrent traffic. ISPs wanted to do that to throttle bandwidth. Now, the ISPs can connect to all the torrents and figure out what to block, but that is a hassle, so they mostly don't. In that respect encryption was a success; it made bandwidth throttling much harder and people got faster download speeds. But it has nothing to do with the **AA.

        There have been some attempts at 'private' trackers - registered users only can connect to the tracker. This might be useful in recording upload ratios, but isn't really useful against the **AA, who can register like anyone else. Some sites try to be 'invitation only', and presumably the **AA won't be invited to the party. I am unaware of any large-scale useful network of this sort (but I might be uninformed).

        Another issue here are blocklists, which any filesharer should use: PeerGuardian, SafePeer, lists from BlueTack, etc. These are constantly-updated lists of **AA and other malicious IPs that you can automatically block. This might be a partial solution to hiding a client from the **AA, but an unreliable one. It does, however, improve download speeds, if it blocks anti-p2p agents that attempt to 'poison' swarms.

        In the end, bittorrent was never meant to let people share data covertly. Attempts to make it do so are cumbersome and impractical. Yet, despite this shortcoming for file-sharers, it is still highly popular, simply because it is easy to use and fast, and at this point has basically every type of recent content you could want - movies, TV shows (on the day after, if not the same day), music, etc.
    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:41PM (#21283285)
      So we're locking something and then handing them the keys to those locks in an attempt to keep them from using it in a way that we don't want them to? My how the tables have turned...

      But in all seriousness, it's not hiding the activity from the end users, but from the ISPs that are blocking torrent traffic.
    • ...and I'd like to find out a summary of implementation details that answers that question.

      If the scheme does not use a crypto-based trust mechanism, then there may be ways to decrypt and find out who is downloading what. OTOH if its really clever, then a snoop might be able to see what's being downloaded without seeing who.
    • by fictionpuss (1136565) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:46PM (#21283385)
      Torrent encryption [wikipedia.org] was developed primarily to avoid traffic-shaping. E.g. a good percentage of those legitimately downloading Fedora 8 today via torrent will probably use encryption just to ensure a quicker download.
    • by DaleGlass (1068434) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:47PM (#21283397) Homepage
      It's not for that.

      Encryption prevents traffic analysis, which means that a router can't easily detect that something is a BitTorrent connection and throttle it.

      Really this seems to be a case of "the more you tighten your grip, the more will slip through your fingers". The excessive amount of filtering first made sure that about everything learned to talk over port 80. Now they'll add encryption over that, so that ultimately a large percentage of traffic will be completely opaque and going through port 80, making it pretty much impossible to filter.

      There might be a consequence for the RIAA though: It means that no traffic analysis will tell you what somebody is downloading. Sure you can see which computers and tracker are involved, but you don't know what's the file being transferred. So no way to tell anything by listening to traffic at strategic points, now you need to maintain a connection with a tracker for every file you want to monitor.

      As an user this doesn't seem like such a bad thing, but as a sysadmin it has the potential of becoming quite annoying. Read on what it takes to stop Skype from working for a preview of what might become universal eventually.
      • by BlowChunx (168122)
        Your ISP will just disallow UDP packets to your house.

        Then of course, P2P will just institute TCP/IP port knocking to randomize and protect itself.
    • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:08PM (#21283725) Homepage Journal

      why anyone thinks the encryption will be effective?

      Effective for what? Who gives a shit about pirates? ISPs are interfering with torrents whether copyright infringement is happening or not. If Comcast is going to forge packets that interfere with your Ubuntu download, then you need to have that download happen inside a secured pipe, so that packets from the other end are authenticated.

      And yes, that will help.

      Personally, I think bittorrent is a generally bad idea; http should usually be used instead, so that the ISPs can cache things closer to the downloader. But they're not doing it! Instead of trying to really solve the network load problems in a non-user-hostile way, they're filtering. So the trend toward using crap like bittorrent is going to continue. And to make it reliable, it's going to be encrypted. We're heading toward a situation where everything needs to be encrypted anyway.

      If that makes things harder for the xxAA, oh well, too bad. But like you said, they can just participate in the torrents, and gather info that way.

  • by kyle11 (1186311) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:35PM (#21283199)
    I'm curious. Do we all have a right (by DMCA in US) or otherwise to the encryption we put on our data? Does it take a court order or other legal instrument to lawfully break encryption? IANAL, but I would think that decrypting the traffic would be unreasonable search and invasion of privacy myself.
    • I don't think so. However, if you claim the encryption is a "copyright protection device" and you actually own the right to whatever it is you're encrypting, you can probably slap them upside the head with a DMCA violation.
      • by oyenstikker (536040) <slashdot@[ ]rne.org ['sby' in gap]> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:44PM (#21283337) Homepage Journal
        Somebody should create a file sharing program that has the user create a small copyrightable piece of art, and encrypt it along with the data to be transfered. Any attempt to decrypt the data is also (illegally) decrypting your copyrighted art.
        • by Bryansix (761547)
          The program could just ask you to wiggle your mouse and then draw random lines based on those wiggles. They'll call it "Modern Art".
        • by shark72 (702619) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:09PM (#21283743)

          "Somebody should create a file sharing program that has the user create a small copyrightable piece of art, and encrypt it along with the data to be transfered. Any attempt to decrypt the data is also (illegally) decrypting your copyrighted art."

          Stuff like that's been tried. I recall somebody writing a script to ROT13 song names in P2P indexes. This was in the days of Kazaa or even the original Napster, if I recall. The reason was the equally bogus claim that undoing the ROT13 violated the DMCA.

          Some time ago I ran a pretty popular site exposing Make Money Fast letters and their writers. A popular claim at the time was that if you called your chain letter a "recipe exchange" or added the words "please add me to your mailing list" when you sent your money, you were actually paying for a service. Like your decryption idea, these served solely as panaceas to make the participant think they were getting one over on the powers that be. That is all.

          Putting it another way: courts have something called "the laugh test" and this would not pass it. A false hope that somehow you can sue a record label for decrypting your artwork might get you some sympathy from the uninformed masses (the same legal geniuses who've marked your post "Insightful"), but will do you not one bit of good when the record company takes your house.

  • Is it just me? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:36PM (#21283201) Journal
    ... or is this yet another hit on the use of privacy-protecting encryption?

    I use encryption all day long in a very legal, legitimate form. (ssl/ssh/mcrypt) It's a core part of my operating principles - I don't even allow unencrypted connections to my production systems - EVERYTHING IS SSL ENCRYPTED.

    So it really annoys me when the case is made that (encryption == criminal). Yes it can be used for illegal purposes. So can cars, guns, and tennis rackets. It's not the tool that identifies the crime, it's the crime that identifies the crime.
    • Not just that... you realize this is a piece... of a much bigger puzzle.

      They have to get the regular sheeple to clamor for back doors to be put into all encryption software.

      It has little to do with "stolen moozak" or whatever crap they're claiming. That's just to make a legit story.

      "We want to know what you ate for breakfast" is not going to sit so well with the common sheep as "moozak is being stolen, save us, those illegal encryptors are stealing our muzak!!"

      And it will be the MASSES that vote themselves
      • "And I accept no actual private email without it either..."

        How did that go? I have considered configuring my system to reject any unencrypted email. (It would surely cut down on spam for a while, though that is not the primary goal.) However, after talking to my friends and family about it, I concluded that none of my family and few of my friends would ever email me again, and my phone bill would go way up.
  • by lavalyn (649886) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:36PM (#21283215) Homepage Journal
    If Comcast is going to disrupt Bittorrent traffic, all users will see benefit from using encrypted Bittorrent, just to keep Comcast's systems from sending the RSTs to them. Even a UK user, talking to an American system. Legitimate traffic or otherwise.
    • From what I understand, Comcast was sending the RSTs based on traffic patterns and port use, not what the packets contained. That's how they were able to catch encrypted traffic as well.
    • Comcast may be falsifying/ending recognizable bittorrent traffic... but my experience shows that they severely throttle any upstream traffic that's encrypted. Try a large-ish upload with scp sometime and you'll see what I mean... your throughput will be greatly reduced within 20-30 seconds.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:37PM (#21283217) Journal

    Matt Phillips, spokesman for the UK record industry trade association explains, 'Our internet investigations team, internet service providers and the police are well aware of encryption technology: it's been around for a long time and is commonplace in other areas of internet crime. It should come as no surprise that if people think they can hide illegal activity they will attempt to.'"
    (emphasis mine)

    Why why why why is it automatically assumed that encryption by non-government entities is in actual fact an attempt to cover up illegal activity?

    I believe that in general, western societies have set up laws that generally respect the rights of an individual to whisper a secret in the ear of a friend and not be forced to reveal the message to anyone else. If I choose to encrypt email and torrent files, there is no reason that I should be thought guilty of some crime... fscking idiots.

    It would entertain me greatly for them to find out that these illegal encrypted downloads were in fact, a Linux distribution.
    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:48PM (#21283419)
      Saying that encrypting traffic is only used to cover up illegal activity is like saying that sealing the envelope before giving it to your postal carrier is only being used to hide illegal activity. In fact, there are laws in the US saying that you can't open a letter that's not yours, so why is it so suspicious suddenly when we demand and enforce the same thing online?
    • Why why why why is it automatically assumed that encryption by non-government entities is in actual fact an attempt to cover up illegal activity?

      In this case it is not automatically assumed. A significant portion of bittorrent traffic is in fact infringing copyright. If a bunch of it suddenly goes encrypted, I don't know why you wouldn't suspect that the encrypted traffic wasn't largely illegal as well. It may well not be, but the fact that it's encrypted works against that assumption based on the legality of unencrypted traffic. You can see that a large portion of visible traffic is infringing and you can exclude from your stats the stuff that isn

  • Perhaps... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wattrlz (1162603) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:37PM (#21283221)
    They are trying to avoid packet-shaping?
  • If the encryption really works, then I might distribute a lot of my own personal storage to torrent networks, and just cache locally only copies of what I need to access fast and often. Not only would I have a much larger storage capacity, but I could replace or upgrade (or enlarge) my local storage only whenever I liked the price point, or after something actually failed, without worrying about losing any data. And I could get all of my data from anywhere I connect to the torrent network.

    Now what would rea
    • by darthflo (1095225)
      a: The communications channel is encrypted. The data itself is decrypted at the recipient.
      b: Why would BitTorrent users store your encrypted data on their systems for free and provide you with free bandwidth? Remember, in "normal" BT use, everybody gets something.
    • by paul248 (536459)
      Like this? http://wua.la/en/home.html [wua.la]
    • by compro01 (777531)
      the problem as i see it would be keeping track of different versions of the same file in a torrent, which i don't believe there is any provision for in the protocol.

      if you change a file in a torrent, you pretty much have to make a completely new swarm and all that entails, as that change requires a new hash for that file and a new hash for the torrent on the whole.

      i don't see how bittorrent would work for that (unless it might be doable through some interesting hack, like Azureus's alternate distributed tra
    • Only the connection is encrypted, all the data is readable to other peers. Also, using torrent networks as storage is not very reliable, you would still need at least one seed (or one full copy of the file between the peers). Most people would not be very interested in seeding a torrent whose only purpose is personal storage, so this would be a problem.

      Unless you meant building a private torrent network, where every peer is a computer you own&control. In which case you would probably be better off usin
    • If the encryption really works, then I might distribute a lot of my own personal storage to torrent networks, and just cache locally only copies of what I need to access fast and often.

      Similar concept to Freenet, but Freenet is really really slow and no guarantee you'll ever get back anything you put on it. As for bittorrent, that only works if you can convince a bunch of people to not only download the "files" you want to distribute, but to keep them available for downloading at some undetermined point in the future. Bittorrent is great for propagating large files in high demand to many people quickly, but it really sucks as a persistence system.

      You would be better off either getting

  • evolution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TrippTDF (513419) <hilandNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:37PM (#21283231)
    you know how antibiotics have a huge downside, in that the infection can evolve and become resistant? There's a similar downside to the RIAA's tactics with regard to torrents- now that everything is heading towards being encrypted, it's going to create a (somewhat) safe haven for child pornography to skip through undetected. If the traffic can't be monitored at all, then people you really are trafficking something terrible are going to be able to do it more easily.
  • It should come as no surprise that if people think they can hide illegal activity they will attempt to.'

    Or maybe it's all the traffic profiling we've been hearing so much about. And when they finally force all the pirates that don't want to become debt slaves for the rest of their lives into fully anonymous encrypted networks and all sorts of wierd shit go unchecked, they can whine and complain all they want but then they've really screwed themselves up one side and down the other.

  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:41PM (#21283277) Homepage Journal
    From my research into the daily actions of differing people I meet and know, I would say that legal actions are hidden more closely than illegal ones. I grew up in a "mob town" of Rosemont, Illinois, and saw that most illegal activity was out in the open, relatively known by common citizens and the police department (both corrupt and straight). In the town I live in today, the drug dealers, prostitutes and other "criminals" are relatively out in the open also. Sure, there are a lot of criminals who attempt to obfuscate their identity or actions to try to get ahead of the law, but in reality, the best way to perform a crime profitablly is to just pay off the overseers of the law. Problem solved, and you can expand your market because you can be more open about it.

    Yes it is the LEGAL activities that surprise me at how much people try to hide. Look at slashdot. My name, my real name, is right here. You can look me up and call me or visit my home. I hide nothing, why should I? Yet most of you are hiding your identities for whatever reason -- and how many of you are doing something illegal by posting here? Browse the blogs, too, and see how many people use their real names.

    We hide more than that -- I brought up the question of sex (marital) with a friend, and he freaked when I asked him about his sex life. As if sex when you're married is immoral or illegal, but still people hide behind the idea that we need privacy about such matters.

    Most of what the law officers do is hidden, with even FOIA acts not bringing much information to light. This is supposedly legal operations of people who serve me, and yet I have no ability to discern what they're doing, and if they're doing their jobs right. Again, hidden yet probably legal actions.

    The more I look around my life, the more I am amazed at how private people are, because they're afraid that some of their actions may be construed as immoral, or immature -- yet most of the people in my life are doing the exact same thing as others, and just hiding it. We post on forums and blogs, but we feel we must keep our names private because others might see what we write, even if others are thinking the same thoughts, or if those same others pretend to believe in freedom of expression but may secretly use it against you.

    In terms of encrypting torrents, I do. I run a video sharing site for church videos, and all our torrents are legal and public domain. Yet we encrypt it because unencrypted torrents seem to run slower (I'm sure there is a reason for this, but I never really inspected the protocol specs). Therefore, we encrypt not to obfuscate the legality of what we're sharing, but because the market's limitations on torrent sharing give us a need to encrypt so we can provide a higher bandwidth for the sharing of legal, public domain content.

    Are most torrents legal? I have no idea, but I do use torrents to send large files to multiple people every day in a variety of markets I do business in. For me, the torrent is an awesome solution to a problem I've had for years dealing with large files.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ardor (673957)
      There is a simple rule:

      What is known about you can be used against you.

      Just search for senator sex scandals and the subsequent end of their careers.
      Another example: before WW2, it was common to ask immigrants about their ethnic origin. This information was archived, and later used when concentration camps for Japanese were created.
      Or, imagine ultra-orthodox "Born Again" christians take over the US government, and start "cleansing" (read: slaughtering) the "tainted" (read: anybody practicing sex, any religio
  • Libel, anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by darthflo (1095225) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:41PM (#21283279)

    [...] in other areas of internet crime. It should come as no surprise that if people think they can hide illegal activity they will attempt to.
    I'm not an expert on this kind of stuff, but hasn't the MAFIAA furnished BitTorrent copyright holders and maybe even the interviewed ISP's customers the perfect occasion to take a nice bit of revenge? They realize it's encrypted, they realize they don't have a fucking clue about what's running through the pipes, yet they criminalize it? Free speech is great and all, but this seems like openly stating that thousands of users participate in illegal actions, without any proof.
  • by Matt Perry (793115) <perry.matt54NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:46PM (#21283387)

    Matt Phillips, spokesman for the UK record industry trade association explains, 'Our internet investigations team, internet service providers and the police are well aware of encryption technology: it's been around for a long time and is commonplace in other areas of internet crime. It should come as no surprise that if people think they can hide illegal activity they will attempt to.'
    So they assume that because someone is using encryption that they must be doing something illegal. This is yet another reason that we need to start encrypting everything by default. It needs to be automatic or easy enough for the average joe or jane to use. Does anyone know the status of general purpose opportunistic encryption software these days?
  • The worst thing that will happen as a result of this is encryption in general becomes the equivalent of criminal intent.
  • Pre-emptively... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ochu (877326) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:52PM (#21283485) Homepage
    I'd just like to point out that "if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide" does not hold up. Apart from the myriad of things which, while not wrong, any sane person would want to hide, we need to keep it clear in judges minds that hiding something does not mean one was performing illegal activities. The comment by Matt Phillips hints at a worrying application of just that principle, and I can quite easily imagine the BPI or RIAA suing someone who they think was sharing copyrighted material, and using an encrypted torrent (which could contain anything) as evidence of that activity.
    • by RiffRafff (234408)
      I came here to say that. Good job.

      Taking it a step further, I believe ALL data communication should be encrypted...just because. Email, IM, thumb drives, etc. If only to emphasize that it's no one else's damn business.

  • Serves them right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:56PM (#21283537)
    Nobody has enough resources to monitor everyone, all the time. Cracking down on public P2P networks resulted in encrypted, invitation-only networks. If the pressure is still on, pretty soon we'll have office "potlucks" where everyone brings their music and movies to swap. Once people get completely pissed off about DRM, they will not mind analog copying with microphones and camcorders to get around it. If nothing else, it is possible to simply exchange movie discs or even portable players without even necessarily breaking the law. The end result is the same though - only one person in 10 will actually pay for the content they are viewing.

    The solution? Unencumbered, reasonably priced, possibly watermarked legal product. Even Radiohead strategy yields 1/3 of the downloaders paying.
  • ...for providing a perfect reason for encrypting that will even satisfy some small fraction of the "if you have nothing to hide..." crowd.

  • The Internet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by driftingwalrus (203255) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:01PM (#21283625) Homepage
    This reminds me of an old quote,

    "The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."

    Recording Industry associations: You are now being routed around. Congratulations.
  • Remember... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:02PM (#21283647)
    When people can communicate without government or big business listening, it must be illegal and it emboldens the terrorists!! It has to be stopped!!
  • "It should come as no surprise that if people think they can hide illegal activity they will attempt to."

    And it should be remembered that the best way to live outside the law, is to live within it..."
  • "it's been around for a long time and is commonplace in other areas of internet crime".

    Like DRM.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:19PM (#21283913)
    I had a talk about P2P networks recently with someone who is very non-tech (his son has a computer, and he won't go near it without a good reason and maybe some holy water to dispell the bane that resides within, despite being anything but a religious person). We had a talk about illegal filesharing and lawsuits, and it culmunated in his question "why don't they just outlaw that crap?"

    I was kinda taken aback by that and had quite some trouble retaining my calmness at the question alone. But he was dead serious. Outlaw that crap and the problem is gone.

    His train of reason was that he can't check what his kid does on the computer, whether he engages in the sharing of copyrighted files and thus it's easier for him if it was just outlawed. What doesn't exist can't be a problem.

    That was quite an eye opener for me, especially why crap like our current legislations can happen without any kind of resistance. Actually, there are people supporting it. Mostly because they don't know jack about the situation at all. My question why he would like to incriminate his son automatically when he uses the program was answered with "If it is illegal to have it, he can't get it". It took quite a while to explain to him that the internet is international and that it's no problem to get it from abroad.

    I received a horrified blank stare at this revelation. And the quite insecure question "He can get it from abroad? He doesn't have a credit card, he can't get stuff from there."

    I'm not kidding you, this is not made up, this is real. Those people do exist. They don't realize that borders are meaningless on the internet, that national laws prohibiting the possession of software don't affect a thing, except to criminalize people who did nothing wrong. I had a very hard time convincing him that a law against P2P would only harm his son, not solve the problem.

    I think this was the moment when I learned that I have to reconsider my strategy for getting support against such BS laws. First of all you have to explain to people that laws like this only criminalize the ones they want to protect, their kids, but laws like this don't protect their kids from breaking the law, intentionally or unintentionally. They want to protect their kids by eliminating the problem rather than trying to solve the problem. They do not want to deal with it.

    And that's the underlying problem.
  • by AppleTwoGuru (830505) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:22PM (#21283971) Homepage
    This caught my eye...

    "It should come as no surprise that if people think they can hide illegal activity they will attempt to."

    'People' also means groups of people, which can also include Microsoft, who has long since denied any wrongdoing of growing their collection of software and inventions since their inception. Yet... they insist that they are protecting their Intellectual Property by hiding the source code to Windows and other Microsoft softwares. How can we know for sure (in the public eye) that they themselves have not stolen software from others over the years. Law is about absolutes. It is enforced with absolute counter-measures, unless a payoff can lessen a punishment and the bribe can be hidden from others eyes that care about such matters.

    So this goes for corporations as well as common citizens, no?

    And another thought....

    And I always thought the death of Gary Kindall, was a bit fishy.

    http://www.ipopisp.com/marksofesteem18.asp [ipopisp.com]

    Perhaps he could have shut down the operations of a particular large monopolistic software company with some carefully placed testimony that closed source software could not conceal?

    Maybe he got hit with a thrown chair at the bar and died?

    I certainly hope this did not happen. But mafia-types tend to protect their profits in unlawful and immoral ways. (Did you ever see the Godfather movie series? If my comments are considered slander, I blame it on watching the Godfather as a kid and seeing "the Pirates of Silicon Valley." )

    ---

    The power of an open internet... showing mankind itself for all it is...
  • by KonoWatakushi (910213) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:04PM (#21284597)
    Encrypting the peer connections is fine, but it does nothing to hider Comcast-style traffic disruption. Almost all public trackers use plaintext for tracker communications, and it is trivial to intercept this. With this information, traffic analysis isn't even necessary, the tracker gives them everything they need to discover and block peer connections.

    This is almost certainly what Comcast is doing. After setting up Azureus to use only DHT and Peer Exchange for peer sources, it is once again possible to seed torrents, in spite of Comcast's evil doings. It is still not at all great, but much improved. Not nearly as good as my new ISP though. :)

    If you run a tracker, please consider using SSL in the future. Ideally, requests for .torrent files and downloads should also be done over SSL.
  • Azureus over I2P (Score:3, Informative)

    by alexandre (53) * on Thursday November 08, 2007 @05:52PM (#21287645) Homepage Journal
    http://azureus.sourceforge.net/doc/AnonBT/i2p/I2P_howto.htm

    Let's all switch now and incorporate this by default in any clients...

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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