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Old 08-19-2008, 09:49 AM   #1
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News.com: Music, movie lobbyists push to spy on your Net traffic

I read with interest this latest News.com article in the music and movie industry's efforts to regulate illegal file transfers. Yes, much of it is the same old stuff: Piracy must be stopped, yada yada. However, of interest in the article are these points (taken from the text)-
  • A representative of the recording industry said on Monday that her companies would prefer to enter into voluntary "partnerships" with Internet service providers, but pointedly noted that some governments are mandating such surveillance "if you don't work something out."
  • During a discussion at the Progress and Freedom Foundation's technology policy conference here, (Shira Perlmutter, a vice president for global legal policy at the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) said one filtering solution would involve identifying particular files that are (or are not) permitted to be sent to particular destinations. That would be a "very tailored approach," she said.
  • Let's say that AT&T and some of its larger rivals start to filter pirated material and demonstrate (at least to a first approximation) that it's possible, but one ISP does not. Look for the RIAA and MPAA and their political allies to ask Congress for a law that would transform theretofore "voluntary" agreements into mandatory ones.

Clearly the pressure is still on to enact direct ISP support of content monitoring and filtering, encouraged by government-supported progress in other countries, and followed up by U.S. government regulations that will cement such relationships. The content industries are working by the numbers, and the ISPs aren't exactly putting up a fight about it... they are just publicly stating that they do not want to restrict their customers' ability to get content, without being any more specific.

This reads like the writing is already on the wall, whether consumers want to face it or not.
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:13 AM   #2
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bb say MAFIAA +++good.

More seriously, this will stop casual pirates, but not the more serious pirates. The true darknets, (the semi private pirate networks), will still exist, and go into full ecryption modes for all data streams. Shrug. Won't stop them. When you encrypt a file, you lose all the digital watermarking during transmission. How will the ISP be able to tell what is in the file? Or even if it's encrypted? A bit stream looks like a bit stream. All you can do is pattern match against known markers.

And then there's always sneakernet.

As long as digital recording devices and materials exist, there will be piracy. The more you try to block it, the more the "forbidden fruit" will challenge the teen-age hacker...
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
Clearly the pressure is still on to enact direct ISP support of content monitoring and filtering, encouraged by government-supported progress in other countries, and followed up by U.S. government regulations that will cement such relationships.
If ISP start doing this, people are going to start using encrypted traffic for everything they do. There are already some services that do this for you to avoid the monitoring that is already going on at ISPs by advertising companies. IPIG comes to mind. http://www.iopus.com/ipig/

BOb
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:54 AM   #4
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Also remember TANSTAAFL. Someone will end up paying for this "new" ISP duty. Do you think the recording or ISP industry will "eat" the cost? The consumer will end up having to pay more so the recording industry can find out that they are really not loosing sells after all. My prediction is that this will "increase" piracy in a backlash against the recording industry.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
...
Clearly the pressure is still on to enact direct ISP support of content monitoring and filtering, encouraged by government-supported progress in other countries, and followed up by U.S. government regulations that will cement such relationships. The content industries are working by the numbers, and the ISPs aren't exactly putting up a fight about it... they are just publicly stating that they do not want to restrict their customers' ability to get content, without being any more specific.

This reads like the writing is already on the wall, whether consumers want to face it or not.
In Italy the Pirate Bay site has just been obscured by T-Men (GdF).
And the DNS requests for that site are redirected to IFPI (who collects the IP).

Computer literate people are just modifying Windows configuration and going to the Bay as ever.
So, I don't know what all that is achieving...

Right now TPB is seen as Public Enemy #1, and eventually they'll succumb.

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Old 08-19-2008, 11:36 AM   #6
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If this ever happens it's going to backfire big-time...stuff like this always does...

It's the same game with Copy-Protection for PC games...a new and rather popular game is Drakensang, if you look at their Tech-Support forums you will see that half the problems are related to the Copy-Protection...and those who simply download a pirated copy of the game will never have these problems since there are several cracks available since Day One and they actually help people play the game since they prevent the Copy-Protection drivers from causing problems...so the pirates pay nothing and have more fun???

Strange world...

And then there is an Ad on the website that offers a download version of the game, legal download, but for reasons nobody will ever really be able to fathom, the price is actually higher than that of the version I buy here in the shop...and that includes a flashy box, manual, DVD and some ads...^^
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
bb say MAFIAA +++good.

More seriously, this will stop casual pirates, but not the more serious pirates. The true darknets, (the semi private pirate networks), will still exist, and go into full ecryption modes for all data streams. Shrug. Won't stop them. When you encrypt a file, you lose all the digital watermarking during transmission. How will the ISP be able to tell what is in the file? Or even if it's encrypted? A bit stream looks like a bit stream. All you can do is pattern match against known markers.

And then there's always sneakernet.

As long as digital recording devices and materials exist, there will be piracy. The more you try to block it, the more the "forbidden fruit" will challenge the teen-age hacker...
The way I believe they see it, the more people the system can turn to legitimate sales channels... in other words, using the law and the "difficulties" of skirting it to drive the larger number of casual consumers to iTunes-type services... the less they will worry about the shrinking number of pirates against their greater profits.

At any rate, the article is not so much a concern to the technical end, as much as it is a suggestion that orgs like the RIAA (and its European equivalent), the ISPs and the governments will all start to work together against hacking.

Here's the big concern: Suppose they can't stop hacking, but they can identify the hackers? With govt regulations supporting them, hacking could end up being on someone's public record...
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:07 PM   #8
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Sharing files does not equal hacking. And I wish them luck with this insane plan, the best that could come of it is driving massive end-to-end encryption for nearly all traffic, ending this stupidity and incidentally freeing up the secret service types to do some actual productive work instead of monitoring mostly-innocuous web traffic. The whole deal raises all kinds of privacy and net neutrality questions, but everything to catch the "bad guys", hey?

Last edited by acidzebra; 08-19-2008 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:25 PM   #9
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I'm afraid that I have to agree that this is an extraordinarily ill-advised plan, and will only drive darknet users to encrypt their communications, as everyone else has noted.

They'd be better off cutting deals with YouTube and the like, getting ad revenue, and making sure the legal sites are ranked higher on search engines than the free sites. I think a great many people don't even know they're getting content illegally. They just search, click, and watch, listen, or download as indicated. Finding a way to make money from this already-existing behavior is likely to be a lot more fruitful than trying to change said behavior.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:18 PM   #10
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I don't see this ending well for the RIAA. I mean they went after Napster and all that did was motivate more innovative persons to create torrents. hate to say it but the people who want their stuff for free (and without DRM related problems) aren't going to let something like the ISP stop them.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:19 PM   #11
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Yay, private entities filtering my traffic. Nice!

On a more serious note, this may well lead to more encryption or obfuscation. Both is pretty seemless nowadays and therefore not too much hassle for Joe Average.

Of course, the "Law" will just ban encryption. And then loosen privacy rights. Because non of this will truly work until you make your opponent completely helpless. Anything else will just be an arms-race as we see it now.

It's the same argument as with anti-terror bullshit, really. Complete control means complete surveillance means no privacy.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:57 PM   #12
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Already happening, if my experiences earlier today with gmail are any indication.
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:27 PM   #13
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The way I believe they see it, the more people the system can turn to legitimate sales channels... in other words, using the law and the "difficulties" of skirting it to drive the larger number of casual consumers to iTunes-type services... the less they will worry about the shrinking number of pirates against their greater profits.

At any rate, the article is not so much a concern to the technical end, as much as it is a suggestion that orgs like the RIAA (and its European equivalent), the ISPs and the governments will all start to work together against hacking.

Here's the big concern: Suppose they can't stop hacking, but they can identify the hackers? With govt regulations supporting them, hacking could end up being on someone's public record...

And with a ticket to Club Fed...I agree. But that's always been the way with illegal activities. Look at all the people stuck in jail for alcohol offences during prohibition.

I'm a proponent of legal downloading. To me, the problem is, one - are there legal channels for the information I want to download. With music, there usually is. Wth e-books, there often isn't. And two, I just hate the big brother aspect. Illegal or not, our freedom (in the US) is based privacy and probable cause. And these are being pitched out the window for a few cents...
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:48 PM   #14
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I wonder how big this hypothetical filtering database would be. Seems like it would be massive to start with and would grow at an astounding rate. Managing it would be a royal PITA. As for the encryption, the pirate sites can make sure the transfer is encrypted without Joe Average having to do anything, which I'm sure they'll do and ISPs can't ban encryption without banning stuff like e-commerce, online banking, and telecommuting.
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:13 AM   #15
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