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Forensic Investigator Outlines BitTorrent Detection Technology

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the vee-simply-attach-ziss-collar-to-each-bit dept.

Software 193

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In one of the many BitTorrent download cases brought by pornographic film makers, the plaintiff — faced with a motion to quash brought by a "John Doe" defendant — has filed its opposition papers. Interestingly, these included a declaration by its 'forensic investigator' (PDF), employed by a German company, IPP, Limited, in which he makes claims about what his technology detects, and about how BitTorrent works, and attaches, as an exhibit, a 'functional description' of his IPTracker software (PDF)."

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193 comments

Track me (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577445)

Posted from 127.0.0.1

Re:Track me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577955)

aha so you are at home !

Anonymous is really at 0.0.0.0, try looking there

Re:Track me (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40578009)

Only the old farts....

00:00:00:00:00:00 is where the hip anons lurk.

Re:Track me (3, Funny)

zoloto (586738) | about 2 years ago | (#40578461)

Kids these days don't know about ::1 I take it?

IPTracker Based on Shareaza 2.4.0.0 (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577467)

Wouldn't that mean that it is subject to the GPL since it is derived from a GPL based product? So, let's see the source.

Re:IPTracker Based on Shareaza 2.4.0.0 (5, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 2 years ago | (#40577487)

My understanding is that one is only required to give the source if one is distributing the product to other people. As long as the individual keeps the software for themselves, there's no requirement to make the source available.

Re:IPTracker Based on Shareaza 2.4.0.0 (5, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#40577969)

I dunno about that. If something is GPL'd and being used in the courts to prosecute me, hell, even if it's closed source I want to see the source so I can tell whether or not it's tampered with.

We already do this with other forms of evidence gathering tools, it should be the same with data gathering tools.

Re:IPTracker Based on Shareaza 2.4.0.0 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578431)

Sure but this would be the same whether it was GPL'd or not. I seem to recall a breathalyzer lawsuit awhile back where the closed-source designs to the breathalyzers were subpoenaed by the defendants.

Re:IPTracker Based on Shareaza 2.4.0.0 (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578567)

Coca-Cola made me sick. Let's see the recipe! Come on...

courts are not governed by GPLs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578151)

>there's no requirement to make the source available

Court are not governed by GPL. Court abide by rules and discovery rules are irrespective of licencing.
There were cases of source code examinations of breathalyzers in DWI cases.

Re:IPTracker Based on Shareaza 2.4.0.0 (2)

hawks5999 (588198) | about 2 years ago | (#40577489)

Source code or it didn't happen.

Re:IPTracker Based on Shareaza 2.4.0.0 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577715)

If it's based on Shareaza 2.4.0.0, there's a remotely-exploitable buffer overrun vulnerability.

Fair's fair.

I2P/Freenet (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40577493)

Try tracking us there.

Good luck.

Re:I2P/Freenet (4, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#40577603)

Try tracking us there.

Encrypt all you want. Traffic analysis still screws you every time. The network tries to keep latencies low, so it forwards whatever it receives onto the next hop as soon as it gets it. If you're monitoring the source and the destination, then when it gets decrypted at the destination, you can correlate that with the traversal time through the 'black box' of Tor, Freenet, or whatever... and viola, you know who sent it, when, and what it was.

This is a known problem. It's discussed at length on EFF's website. If your connections are made in bulk, at regular intervals, instead of interactively, then it's a lot harder to do traffic analysis if all the other nodes exhibit the same behavior. But as long as you're trying to be anonymous by simply using a series of proxies that are set to store-and-forward... you're still screwed.

Re:I2P/Freenet (5, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40577665)

Read up on how Freenet works and you will see its not just about data encryption. Due to how it routes, and that data chunks are scattered about It also hides the source and requestors to the point that even if you are on the same LAN and sniffing packets directly you wont know for sure. Sure you can be caught using it which could be a legal problem for you depending on where you live, but they wont know if you are doing the requesting of file parts or you are just passing requests along.

I2P i believe has something similar in place but i'm still learning how their stuff works.

Re:I2P/Freenet (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#40577731)

It's still just extra obfusciation. You can't hide the fact that data leaves and arrives at certain times, and each node forwards data as it receives it... if you can monitor the traffic, you can derive from that who's talking to who, whether you know what the traffic is or not. And somewhere, either at the source, or the destination, is a decrypted copy. Since the US government already monitors all traffic that occurs domestically, this kind of analysis is already practical and being used right now.

Don't assume that just because you can't do it, nobody can do it. That's arrogant, and it will come back to haunt you.

Re:I2P/Freenet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577821)

No, really, you should actually look up how it works and see how specifically wrong you are.

By assuming that all network protocols work exactly the same and that any suggestion to the contrary is arrogance on the part of suggester is arrogance on your part.

Re:I2P/Freenet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578385)

Your comment is wrong but might be "interesting" if this weren't directly covered in the FreeNET FAQs where it clearly states that an opponent who has control over a large proportion of the network can potentially (in other words; the almost certainly are) track traffic. The reason for this is simple. If traffic comes out of a node when no other traffic has come in, then you know that node originated a request. If a request at one node always corresponds with unencrypted traffic at another node and no other node reliably corresponds (or always corresponds later) then you know that that node is originating the traffic.

Anon in order not to draw attention to your wrong post.

Re:I2P/Freenet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577849)

You are still not understanding how Freenet works. Once a file has been inserted into the network there is no single node that holds it (unless it's very small). There's no way of figuring out "who's talking to who" because there's only one computer that is talking to the rest of the network, where the desired file is spread out.

Re:I2P/Freenet (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#40577921)

You aren't understanding how the Internet works. If you had taps on all nodes at the same time and the data was encrypted end to end, then you would still be able to "see" who sent what when. You are assuming that "the network" is a cloud. It isn't. "cloud" doesn't exist. It's a finite number of other (likely) residential users. If one can see all the data from end to end, then, even if encrypted while in "the network", it's still visible.

Re:I2P/Freenet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577953)

Assuming zero chaff and completely unique file sizes.

Re:I2P/Freenet (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578001)

Freenet sends constant same size chunks. There's no way to tell if you're actively downloading something or not because the node's activity is always the same. Same upload/same download. When it's not fetching stuff for you it's fetching stuff for storage, when it's not uploading your stuff it's uploading "random" stuff from storage. At least that's my understanding of it.

Re:I2P/Freenet (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#40578291)

The "activity" isn't the same because your traffic is bursty, and the sum of the constant-size chunks is correlated with the activity (even if compressed/padded to hide the true exact same amount as original, I know of none that send large amounts of "random" data large enough to cover any peaks of real data, allowing information to be learned about the peaks, if nothing else.

Re:I2P/Freenet (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40578031)

"You aren't understanding how the Internet works. If you had taps on all nodes at the same time and the data was encrypted end to end, then you would still be able to "see" who sent what when"

so if you do something impossible, you can then do the impossible.

Taps on all the exit nodes... That's the same as counting all the grains of sand on the beach.

Re:I2P/Freenet (1, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#40578091)

You aren't understanding how the Internet works. If you had taps on all nodes at the same time and the data was encrypted end to end, then you would still be able to "see" who sent what when. You are assuming that "the network" is a cloud. It isn't. "cloud" doesn't exist.

Are you retarded? Every router, switch, etc., has port mirroring capability. Most of those pass through telecommunications equipment. That telecommunications equipment has taps built into it. That's what most of the internet is built on. They can tap it. They do tap it. They're building a nationwide infrastructure to capture all the IP header data at each point where it enters a telecommunications network. YES, THEY CAN DO THIS. THEY ALREADY HAVE DONE THIS. THEY DO THIS ALL THE TIME. Am I getting through your neanderthal skullmeats?

Re:I2P/Freenet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578513)

I'd be tempted to give you credence, only you can't distinguish between an 13th century musical instrument (viola) and a french-language exclamation (voilÃ)...

Re:I2P/Freenet (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40578673)

You're overstating your case, in at least a couple of different ways.

First, being able to capture packets doesn't equate to being able to capture realtime statistics on those packets at any given moment. It takes a large amount of hardware and coordination to do that for even a relatively small bitstream... trying to do it to everybody and everything would require more resources than the human race currently possess.

Second, it *is* possible to use secure protocols that make this technique useless. Take the OneSwarm program, for instance. With it, you can set up a P2P network, and not only is it not even theoretically possible to determine where files reside on the network (they are kept in discrete encrypted chunks that reside on random servers at any given time, and which changes over time). But also, when you request a file, it is again not even theoretically possible to determine which computer on the network sent which pieces of which file.

When I say "not even theoretically", I mean unless you actually have monitoring equipment between EVERY computer in the network, and monitor the traffic in realtime. The effort would be enormous for even a very small P2P network... and perhaps even then not entirely possible.

Re:I2P/Freenet (4, Interesting)

EllisDees (268037) | about 2 years ago | (#40578189)

No, it really, really isn't. You apparently don't know the first thing about freenet, yet feel that you somehow know enough to spout off about it. If I insert a file into freenet, it is split into many parts and distributed randomly to other freenet nodes. When someone requests that content, there is a reasonable chance that they won't get even one chunk of data from my computer. Monitoring all of the traffic between nodes buys you almost exactly nothing.

Re:I2P/Freenet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578255)

You monitoring scheme relies on an implicit assumption that at a time instant, there is only one user requesting file from those multiple nodes. However, in a more real scenario, there are multiple user to request multiple (and different files, in most cases) from multiple nodes. To achieve the monitoring you mentioned, you have to associate each data receiving to data sending.

Assume there is only one user to request one file from ten different nodes, then it is very easy to monitor the whole file transfer process (assuming the latency from user to each node is constant).

However, assume now there are two users requesting 2 different files simultaneously, and each file is located in 10 different nodes. Now it is very hard (or even impossible) to monitor the file transferring. To achieve the type of monitoring you mentioned, you have to distinguish follow types of hypotheses:
(1) user 1 is receiving file 1 from node 1-10, user 2 is receiving file 2 from node 11-20;
(2) user 1 is receiving file 1 from node 11-20, user 2 is receiving file 2 from node 1-10;
(3) user 1 is receiving file 1 from node 1,3-11, user 2 is receiving file 2 from node 2,12-20;
The total number of hypotheses increase exponentially with respect to number of user and nodes that working simultaneously.

Furthermore, you have to consider the fact that the latency between user 1 and node 1 is not constant. For example, in tor you can always click "use new identity" button.

Re:I2P/Freenet (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#40577933)

Since the US government already monitors all traffic that occurs domestically

I saw someone on Facebook complaining about the government tracking them online.

Re:I2P/Freenet (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 2 years ago | (#40578953)

What's even worse is the government is tracking sales of tin foil so they know who has their hats ready.

Re:I2P/Freenet (5, Interesting)

Znork (31774) | about 2 years ago | (#40578041)

Which is why some p2p software, such as WASTE, has modes where it will always load links wether or not there is real traffic.

If the arms race goes on, we'll end up with a constantly saturated internet with only random connections sending apparent random data, leaving any actual signal indistinguishable and drowned out by the massive amounts of random noise.

Re:I2P/Freenet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578087)

It doesn't matter what the NSA can deduce if they're not willing to provide the evidence to the plaintiff in a copyright case.

Re:I2P/Freenet (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40578191)

Not true. Such analysis is foiled by the fact that each note re-encrypts each packet and bundles bunches of them together. Even if there are no other packets available at the time the node can simply add junk data to pad things out. You see some packets go, each one possibly a bundle of more than one that but there is no way for you to tell, and see a different and uncorrelated load go out.

Tor already does this.

private trackers solved this long ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577669)

its why so few get nailed .....and using ssl transport protocol everythign you said is a lie.

ME - encrypted - internet - decrytped - YOU
back n forth

the best you can do is see where the traffic went
or came from and last i checked that does not get you any evidence to do shit....

aka everyone needs to force ssl on websites and force ssl on clients
then the only way is if they have a warrant ( how to get one when you cant get legal evidence ) and then seed a complete copy to people and have them all share it.

entrapment aside....tons a issues to come sideways...
all one does need do for you lil private site is make an client that WONT show any ips and ban the rest.
admins only so you can prevent ddos and other crap like that russian stuff.

Re:private trackers solved this long ago (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40577743)

Only takes one person to sell out an entire private tracker.

Re:I2P/Freenet (5, Informative)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#40577727)

that is why there is garlic routing. garlic routing is a modification of onion routing used by tor, what it does is bundle packets together so as to make traffic analysis useless. it does have greater latency but should not be a problem unless you are streaming

Re:I2P/Freenet (4, Funny)

Idbar (1034346) | about 2 years ago | (#40577805)

Hey! They have the technology now. They can write a GUI interface using visual basic to track your IPs!

Nothing new (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577513)

Fairly straight forward explanation of how any one would create such an application to function. Still doesn't mention or highlight the fact they can't prove who the actual person behind the IP was.

Anyone can show what IP you're connected to as well as the few further steps to show that the content you downloaded off that person was infringing but that's never been the problem.

Re:Nothing new (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40577557)

It cant prove who, but it can prove who's ISP account was used, and you can possibly claim that they are responsible as either they allowed it to happen, or didn't secure their systems properly.

Sort of like if you left your rifle on the front seat of your car, with the doors unlocked, and then it was stolen and used in a crime. You would be partially responsible too.

IP matching could also serve as enough 'suspicion' to be granted a warrant ( part of why they want this stuff moved to criminal court and not civil court ) for a fishing expedition. And who among us would make it thru one of those completely unscathed?

Re:Nothing new (3, Informative)

Grumbleduke (789126) | about 2 years ago | (#40577737)

It cant prove who, but it can prove who's ISP account was used, and you can possibly claim that they are responsible as either they allowed it to happen, or didn't secure their systems properly.

Possibly, possibly not. Being a legal thing, this will vary hugely by jurisdiction, but in general I'm not aware of any contested case where an individual has been found liable, either jointly/vicariously, or through negligence, for the mere actions of another using their Internet connection.

A while back TorrentFreak looked into this, getting a couple of US lawyers to argue for [torrentfreak.com] and against [torrentfreak.com] this sort of liability. Unfortunately the "for" one only discusses negligence, and the "against" only looks into indirect and vicarious liability, so both could be perfectly correct...

Sort of like if you left your rifle on the front seat of your car, with the doors unlocked, and then it was stolen and used in a crime. You would be partially responsible too.

This is where the tests for "negligence" come in (ignoring any statute law on the handling of firearms; obviously, where I'm from, possessing a rifle would probably be illegal in the first place). In common law negligence generally requires that there be some duty of care owed by the defendant to the claimant/plaintiff, that the defendant fell below the appropriate standard of care, which caused damage to the claimant that wasn't too remote.

Wrt allowing someone to use your Internet (or not securing it), it seems possible that there may not even be a duty in place (due to a lack of proximity, unless children are involved), and it would be easy to argue that the standard wasn't breached by simply having an unsecured or weakly secured network, or letting someone use a computer unsupervised (that would be far too onerous).

It would be an interesting, if pointlessly expensive, case to argue, and afaik, that hasn't been argued either in the US or the UK (the first article references a case, but I have a strong feeling that may be a summary judgment).

Re:Nothing new (2)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#40578955)

Perhaps, but having your electronics taken by the FBI for further analysis is usually enough of a pain in the ass that it might as well have been a punishment. And that of course assumes that you have nothing on anything electronic that would point to your guilt. As the linked PDFs claim, the vast majority of these cases when identified by IP address, and then served with a search warrant do indeed provide incriminating evidence.

You don't need beyond a reasonable doubt to get a search warrant, just just need probable cause. And as long a there are stupid people out there, there will always be a high probability that the guy/girl that owns is the registered subscriber with the ISP is either guilty, or someone living with them is guilty.

Re:Nothing new (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#40577739)

not really that would mean my collage, library, and local starbucks responsible for my torrenting which they are not.

Re:Nothing new (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40578111)

Until its tested we don't really know. They may well be liable for what transverses across their networks.

Eventually that case will be heard.

I can say that a company can be held liable for what their employees do online.. so its impossible.

Re:Nothing new (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#40578583)

"transverses across"? Ugh.

Re:Nothing new (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40578853)

Hey, i dont proofread. its slashdot after all.

Re:Nothing new (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#40578919)

if they are liable then would it not fallow logically that the isp and everyone who owns a cable between my and my fellow pirates are responsible? i mean DMCA safe harbor protect them so would not the same apply to anyone allowing unfettered Internet access to others? but they don't want that because then they would have to prove you actually did copy the content they would have trace it two your MAC address but then i could simply be spoofing my MAC address. also if you have encrypted wifi then they would try to uses that as proof you did it but i can crack that with aircrack-ng. really unless they have a unencrypted access to the contents of your hard drive they cant prove you did copy anything and shouldn't be able to sue you.

GUID (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577541)

It is not possible that an allocated GUID is allocated to another user again.

I would look into this. As it is written it sounds, at least, misleading. Even if it is true this GUID thing for all P2P protocols (which I sincerely doubt), I would say that it should be spoofable directly or indirectly (compromising the machine if public key cryptography is used).

Re:GUID (4, Informative)

Jahava (946858) | about 2 years ago | (#40577811)

It is not possible that an allocated GUID is allocated to another user again.

I would look into this. As it is written it sounds, at least, misleading. Even if it is true this GUID thing for all P2P protocols (which I sincerely doubt), I would say that it should be spoofable directly or indirectly (compromising the machine if public key cryptography is used).

He is technically correct, assuming that the act of "GUID allocation" involves the correct use of a valid GUID generation algorithm by the software in question. That said, as you noted, it's remarkably easy to spoof such a GUID (in this case). His statement implies that a GUID positively identifies a user, which it does not, and is thus a misleading statement.

Re:GUID (0)

Local ID10T (790134) | about 2 years ago | (#40578117)

A GUID is not necessarily unique. There is no central registry enforcing uniqueness. The likelihood of randomly generating the same GUID twice is extremely slim:

128-bits is big enough and the generation algorithm is unique enough that if 1,000,000,000 GUIDs per second were generated for 1 year the probability of a duplicate would be only 50%

V1 GUIDs are generated by an algorithm using the system time as a seed and ending with the MAC address. The third group of numbers in the sequence will always begin with a 1.
V4 GUIDs are generated using one of several different algorithms, and are identifiable by a 4 instead of a 1 in the third number group.

Various applications use GUIDs as unique keys, requiring only that the GUID is internally unique -although patterns can be seen in the GUIDs several applications allowing predictability of the generated GUIDs (Oracle's SYS_GUID, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Windows Registry, GUID Partition Table (aka GPT), etc).

Read their software specs (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577547)

I've read their software specs. Seems they have some typo,

The data can only be decoded and used by the responsible lawyer, only his software contains the deciphering method and this one one in this case also secret (called "public") key.

Seems at least that one typo. At least I *hope* that's a typo.

... it is not possible that an allocated GUID is allocated to another user again.

Same could be said about MACs, and cell phone ID numbers. No one ever clones those!!!

So it seems, by their reasoning, if you go on a P2P network and clone someone else's GUID, well, then I guess the other party must be guilty, no?

Seems that even if you use Bittorrent or similar to only download Linux distros or even WoW patches, someone can just clone that and use it and then they will just send the innocent the bill?

Re:Read their software specs (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#40578967)

My GUID seems to be faulty, an I borrow yours for a bit?

Hmm. Claims to get a screenshot. How? (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 2 years ago | (#40577581)

Reading the description, his application claims to get a screenshot of the "offending" computer.

How? I can't imagine that any of these P2P applications include such functionality.

Re:Hmm. Claims to get a screenshot. How? (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#40577639)

How? I can't imagine that any of these P2P applications include such functionality.

They don't. This guy might be a programmer, but he's got bricks for brains when it comes to proper terminology.

Re:Hmm. Claims to get a screenshot. How? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40578139)

I get the impression english isn't his first language, so some errors of terminology are forgivable.

Re:Hmm. Claims to get a screenshot. How? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40578711)

"They don't. This guy might be a programmer, but he's got bricks for brains when it comes to proper terminology."

That's not what the description said. They capture a screenshot of the MONITORING computer, which is displaying data that is presumably evidence.

That's why it goes on to say that data that is not relevant to a particular infringement is blocked from the screenshot.

Re:Hmm. Claims to get a screenshot. How? (1)

justdiver (2478536) | about 2 years ago | (#40577663)

I read this differently. Instead of getting a screenshot of the offending computer, he's screenshotting the offending computers IP as listed on the screen. Why on earth there would be need for this mechanism, I can't imagine.

screenshot or it didn't happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577771)

They haz learned that on the interwebs.

Re:Hmm. Claims to get a screenshot. How? (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 2 years ago | (#40577819)

That was the only way I could see it made sense.

But the image on page 5 seems to directly contradict this view - it strongly suggests that the screenshot comes from the client.

Re:Hmm. Claims to get a screenshot. How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577977)

Not really, if you read the "visualisation" image like that, it also implies that the client writes his own IP and signature into their database. Obviously not what's happening.

I think the image is using "//"'s to indicate that their software has taken over the information. So really the lines should go from the client to the server then be marked as screenshot, and also added to the database.

As another commenter said, the science behind this isn't hard. But holy crap they're screwing up the explanation with terrible graphics, bad grammar, typos, and poor wording.

Re:Hmm. Claims to get a screenshot. How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578027)

The image also shows that the database is not stored on the fileserver (in fact they don't even interact with each other), WTF? There's your out, the database is stored in thin air, obviously MySQL cannot run on thin air so the whole thing is a sham!

Re:Hmm. Claims to get a screenshot. How? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40578723)

"Why on earth there would be need for this mechanism, I can't imagine."

There isn't. These people have historically inept at trying to produce what amounts to actual "evidence" in court. Apparently they are still struggling with the concept.

Now that court after court has ruled that an IP address does not identify an individual, they're still trying to use IP addresses to do that very thing.

Re:Hmm. Claims to get a screenshot. How? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577721)

Of course they don't.

Optionally the screen can be capture automatically to backup another evidence

In other words, "Sometimes we hit the "print screen" key as we're using Shareaza to download copyrighted material."

From the description: (2)

justdiver (2478536) | about 2 years ago | (#40577645)

"3.1 Protection of data privacy and data security: The rack-servers are stored in a room which is locked and protected with most current security mechanisms." But it doesn't go into what those"current security mechanisms" are. My guess is that it's in a locked closet in someone's apartment with a chihuahua sitting in front of the door.

Re:From the description: (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 2 years ago | (#40577903)

They also have an RSA key, which is super secure at 4096-bit...except they include the raw key in a compiled library with the software. Gee, let's see how long it takes me to find this key with my trusty decompiler and a good CS education.

Hash Collisions (2)

nuckfuts (690967) | about 2 years ago | (#40577679)

TFA states that BitTorrent uses "the so-called BiTH" hash alogorithm. Basically, his software doesn't look at filenames, it compares hash values to determine if a downloaded file is infringing.

Perhaps a defence would be to argue that a hash collision had occurred.

Re:Hash Collisions (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577717)

Doubtful. It doesn't fly in normal court and it won't fly here.

Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577735)

Does the investigator host the files on the network that the "infringing client" is downloading?

Re:Curious (1)

Grumbleduke (789126) | about 2 years ago | (#40577749)

In some cases, I believe so. However, this would still not necessarily provide immunity from a copyright infringement claim wrt downloading from the investigator (depending on jurisdiction). You probably wouldn't be able to get away with an implied licence, as it could be argued that it is common knowledge much of this stuff is unlicensed. The point might, however, go some way to limiting the damages awarded (and any equitable remedies) if it can be shown that the only person at the other end of the connection was working with the copyright owner; i.e. there'd be no damage caused by uploading it to the investigator. Unless you're in the US, with you're lovely statutory damages...

Re:Curious (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#40577761)

It wouldn't matter, he would have permission from the copyright holder.

And if you are thinking 'entrapment', you had to go to him to ask for the file parts..

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578179)

He has permission from ONE copyright holder.

One. Out of billions.

And yet one... Gives him free pass to download and upload anything he wants without oversight.
Well fuck. I own one copyright. So i'm safe too!

Does The IPP Company Exist? (4, Interesting)

andersh (229403) | about 2 years ago | (#40577767)

Does this so-called "IPP" company in fact exist at all? I've had a cursory glance on Google, but didn't find much of interest.

German companies are not called Limited or Ltd. if they are indeed "governed by German law", as claimed in the court declaration. Under German law it should be called "IPP GmbH". I would normally assume a "Ltd." company was based in the UK, on one of their islands or somewhere far away from Europe in general.

IPP seems to be a fairly common name in the German business register (Unternehmensregister), but none of them seem to be the company in question? Does anyone out there have further information?

Re:Does The IPP Company Exist? (3, Informative)

eruza (2679307) | about 2 years ago | (#40578145)

Found their website for you: IPP International Unternehmensgesellschaft [ippint.de]

Lesser Form (2)

andersh (229403) | about 2 years ago | (#40578375)

Thanks, after looking it up in the business register I see it's formally "IPP Int UG" (i.e. haftungsbeschränkt or almost the equiv. of Ltd/LLC).

In other words this is the "light version" or less serious company form, founded with €1 in capital, i.e. not a very serious business [in my and the bank's opinion].

Well (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about 2 years ago | (#40577777)

Truth be told, the private copyright cops have no reason to lie or cheat. What they are doing is quite easy and straightforward. All they have to do is hit a major torrent site like TPB, click a tracker with their hacked version of an open source bittorrent client, and save all the IP addresses in the swarm. The rest is just meaningless fluff that costs stupendous sums of money. The IP addresses they record are by PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE (meaning at least a 51% chance) guilty of infringement. 51% chance is a pretty darn low threshold to reach, and we know that millions of people occasionally pirate, so legally it's an open and shut case.

If the U.S. legal system were in any way remotely efficient or speedy, it would dispose of all these cases in a week. And if the legislature were also not so corrupt, the fines for these infringements would be in some way based on reality.

Are you on drugs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40577807)

The "private copyright cops" are operating behind closed doors, in a foreign country, with no oversight at all.

It's completely absurd that such weak "evidence", with NO proof whatsoever, is accepted in a US court.

I can claim that 2,000,000 German people are pirating my movie! Look here, I have exactly as much proof! None at all!

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 2 years ago | (#40577869)

the private copyright cops have no reason to lie or cheat

Sure they do. Since this is really just an elaborate extortion racket, the more IPs they deliver to their clients, the more they get paid. Their clients just file a bunch of John Doe lawsuits and hope for settlements. The more IPs they have, the more possible settlements -- false positives be damned.

Re:Well (4, Informative)

Grumbleduke (789126) | about 2 years ago | (#40578015)

Indeed. My understanding of the situation (having followed some of these cases etc., including attending court hearings) is that the tech companies get paid by the IP. Most other parties involved (the copyright owner, the legal team, the holding company that brings the case) get either a percentage of net profit, or a fixed fee. As such, it's in the tech. groups interests to provide as many IPs as they can, as cheaply as possible.

This is why they have been known to cut corners (such as just scraping a list of IPs from a tracker, rather than checking that any given IP is actually sharing the file at the particular time), or spend too much time actually looking into the technology. Interestingly, an "expert witness" in a recent English case noted that he"did not have [the software he was testifying with regard to] installed on his computer, and did not concern himself with how it worked").

In the ACSLaw leaked emails, one thing that was noted was that around 1 in 4 IP addresses that had been identified as infringing weren't even assigned by the ISP at the time when the alleged infringement occurred. That statistic, to me, suggests that something is pretty screwed up is going on with data gathering.

Re:Well (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | about 2 years ago | (#40578393)

This assumes that false positives are costless. They aren't. Think: attorney's fees.

Re:Well (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40578737)

"The IP addresses they record are by PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE (meaning at least a 51% chance) guilty of infringement. 51% chance is a pretty darn low threshold to reach, and we know that millions of people occasionally pirate, so legally it's an open and shut case."

Not true. Since the courts have ruled that an IP address does not identify an individual -- and in some cases not even a household -- then your 51% gets cut down to more like 25% or possibly even less.

Oh REALLY.... (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 2 years ago | (#40577889)

To guarantee the immutability of the data, IP, date and time is signed with a private 4096 bit RSA key. The RSA key is included internally in the IPTRACKER program using a precompiled library and cannot be read or used elsewhere.

Challenge accepted. Now where do I pirate IPTRACKER from?

Technical errors in Exhibit A (1)

Mathinker (909784) | about 2 years ago | (#40577909)

On page 7, RSA public key encryption is described, but it claims that it has "a public key with which decoding or signature checks are made possible". The typical way asymmetric encryption is described is that the public key is used for encoding and the private key for decoding. And even if somehow the broken English has inverted the two keys, the paragraph claims that both keys are used for decoding, which is silly, at least one of them has to be used for encoding. Possibly too minor an error to make a big deal over, since the algorithm seems to actually be used in this software for digital signatures, not encryptions.

A blaring error is on page 13, where (based on my understanding of the bad English) the data-block hashing algorithm of BitTorrent is claimed to be "BITH" (which I have never heard of, as far as I know BT uses SHA-1), and the hashing algorithm of Gnutella is claimed to be "SHA1" when a Tiger tree hash [wikipedia.org] is used. Kind of hard to rely on a program designed to monitor P2P transfers when the description of the P2P technologies contain such errors.

Ah, he may have meant "btih" --- but my understanding is that that's used by BitTorrent to identify the whole file or fileset, not the individual chunks.

Plausible Deniability... (4, Interesting)

Jahava (946858) | about 2 years ago | (#40577929)

So in all of these cases, as a technical person, I can't help but wonder how they're connecting an IP address to positive evidence of a specific person's deliberate action. There are countless plausible scenarios where a person can own a number (IP address) involved in a crime and yet not themselves be aware of or involved in said crime. Some examples are:

  • The defendant has (or had) an open WiFi access point at the time. The crime was committed by someone who used that connection.
  • The defendant has (or had) a secure WiFi access point with bad credentials at the time. The crime was committed by someone who guessed those credentials.
  • The defendant has (or had) a secure WiFi access point with secure credentials. The crime was committed by someone who obtained those credentials (overheard them, password reuse, friend-of-a-friend, etc.).
  • One of the defendant's computers is (or was) infected by malware at the time, and the malware performed the crime on behalf of someone else.
  • The defendant's IP address was spoofed by an employee at the defendant's ISP who was the actual party committing the crime.
  • The defendant was tricked into executing commands resulting in the crime on their system without knowing what those commands were doing (jerk tech-support guy, etc.).
  • The defendant's system performed the crime without the defendant's knowledge during routine execution of third-party content (Flash, Javascript) laced with malicious code.
  • A friend or associate of the defendant performed the crime using the defendant's systems without the defendant's knowledge or permission.

In all of these scenarios, the crime could have been committed without any knowledge of the defendant. In some of these scenarios, the defendant has little-to-no chance to detect or thwart the crime. How does any lawyer convince any judge or jury that the person on trial committed a crime in light of this?

From a defensive point of view, what is the minimum number of compromises that one should run in their own network to provide themselves with sufficient plausible deniability from this type of thing?

  • Can you prove I didn't have an open WiFi enabled at the time, or that my password was bad? What if I reset my router's logs daily?
  • Can you prove I didn't have malware? What if I sold a computer recently - it must have been infected, since all of the ones you confiscated aren't - and wiped the disk prior?
  • Can you prove someone didn't use my computer without my permission? What if I didn't have a password on it and frequently left it lying around work?

Furthermore, from an activist's point of view, imagine someone built a malware variant that monitored browser usage (Google, Facebook, etc.) for movie names and automatically downloads movie titles that were mentioned to a secret directory? I've now got a piece of malware that automatically, without any user knowledge or intervention, downloads illegal files that that user is interested in. What if the malware downloads new movie releases instead by monitoring public release knowledge bases [wikipedia.org] for titles? Is being infected by such a malware enough for innocence? If enough people are thusly infected would the entire concept of using IP subpoenas for prosecution fall apart?

Just food for thought. I'd really like to know how someone can be held criminally-liable unless the prosecution caught them using the illegal file or captured an attributable confession.

Re:Plausible Deniability... (1)

Jahava (946858) | about 2 years ago | (#40577999)

As a quick follow-on regarding "preponderance of evidence" (and legal burdens of proof [wikipedia.org] in general) mentioned in another post: If I'm infected with a downloader malware, or if I have an open WiFi point, I could argue that this points to the likely scenario being that I didn't download anything illegally.

In the case of downloader malware, if someone finds stolen art in my basement, and, upon further investigation, discovers that someone else has built a hidden tunnel into my basement and used that area to store tons of stolen art, no person in their right mind would say that I likely stole that one specific piece of artwork.

In the case of an open WiFi access point, if a car used in a hit-and-run was found parked in a parking garage amidst several other random cars, no person in their right mind would say (by that fact alone) that it's likely the parking garage owner committed the hit-and-run.

I suppose all pirates should self-infect with some malware and run open access points just for plausible deniability. Sandboxed, of course...

Re:Plausible Deniability... (2)

cdrguru (88047) | about 2 years ago | (#40578141)

So far my understanding of the sequence of events is:

  1. Find an IP address that is associated with uploading materials that are not public domain. Log this as an "event" with the date and time.
  2. File a lawsuit and use discovery for the lawsuit to get the owner of the IP address to disclose the account holder using the IP address at that date and time.
  3. Again using a discovery motion, have the account holder's computer(s) examined for pirated materials.
  4. If such pirated materials are found, lawsuit moves forward - if nothing is found on the computer(s) then maybe it was something else...

The problem is that in a predominance of cases so far upon reaching item 3 the defendant is screaming about their rights and begging for a cheap way out. The lawsuit never moves forward. In the few cases where settlement hasn't been reached - and it has been a very,very small number - it turns out that it is obvious to everyone that looks at the computer(s) in question that uploading of pirated materials was clearly going on to an unknown extent.

Sure, it could be that it is someone else and if all that was required was "we found your IP address, pay up!" it would be clearly unfair. But there is a lot more behind what is going on than that in spite of what some people would like to believe. So far there have been some mistakes but it is unclear how those mistakes were made. Carelessness on the part of the monitoring/capture of IP addresses, such as just writing down the wrong address? I don't know and I don't think the specific problems have ever been described. I do know that the people that have tried to use the "open WiFi" defense have been found with pirated materials on their computer and other supporting evidence that it had been being uploaded.

The fundamental issue we have to come to terms with is either this is going to be a non-crime and copyright is meaningless or not. If we choose to go the route of copyright being meaningless and unlimited redistribution is allowed then there has to be some pretty significant realignment in how things work in most of the Western world. I, for one, would be out of a job and my employees would be on the street. So would a lot of other people. And while we would have ego-driven productions (think Yentel and such) where the people doing it want to and don't care if it ever makes any money the idea of investor-supported media would be out the window.

The thing that most people don't understand today is just how much of the economy is related to promotion of coopyright-protected works. Lose the monopoly edge that is copyright and you lose the promotion. What is Amazon at its core? A vehicle for promoting the sale of copyrighted works in different media forms. Think about that for a while and consider what happens if we lose all promotion of such works. We are probably talking about something that would affect 30% of the workforce in US and EU. No, not all of them are involved in copyright works production but they are affected by the promotion industry, which is huge.

Re:Plausible Deniability... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578339)

Copyright is not worthless. Copyright in its current form is completely meaningless and justifiably being ignored by a large percentage (dare I say a majority) of the populace.

Copyright was originally recognized as 14 years, ONLY if explicitly registered, and it could be extended once (only if explicitly requested). That was barely in the days of the printing press, and yet less than three decades MAX was considered completely reasonable.

Compare to modern-day's lifetime+70 years, and the fact that most corporations (which don't die, isn't that cool!) are the actual copyright holders, which in this case last for 120 years of date of creation. Except now within days of publication, millions of sanctioned works are sold worldwide (see: Harry Potter).

Do you think we need MORE than the original 14 years? No way in hell. I think a HARD maximum these days would be 5 years, bring back explicit registration of works for protection, and allow renewal for an additional 5. Beyond that it's all public domain.

Now, here's where it gets interesting. If copyright were returned to anything resembling a moral framework like the one I just described, do you think people would be pirating everything like they are right now? I think not. There would be a moral framework not to, which currently does not exist. Large corporations sitting on libraries of works would cease to exist (Disney, all the MAFIAA) and contrary to your Armageddon-like predictions, their roles would be replaced by a smaller, nimbler, less profitable but more artist-focused ecosystem.

I hope we see that future. Until then, mass civil disobedience will rule the day.

Re:Plausible Deniability... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#40578507)

> If copyright were returned to anything resembling a moral framework like the one I just described, do you think people would be pirating everything like they are right now?

Yup. The vast bulk of what is pirated today is less than 10 years from original release.

Re:Plausible Deniability... (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | about 2 years ago | (#40578601)

I don't even think Disney would disappear - it might get smaller, and they might have to come up with more, higher-quality works(and lower profit margins), but I doubt it'd really affect them. It could hurt the Home DVD market(Because lots of people don't have broadband or internet at all... and BluRays are too expensive media-wise) as more companies make compilations and sell them dirt cheaply, but hey, that's good for the consumer.

Re:Plausible Deniability... (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40578873)

You are simply muddying the waters here, by getting the procedure wrong, and conflating several things that are actually quite separate.

(A) First, the procedure. You have items (1) and (2) right, but it has almost never gotten to (3), and that will probably happen even less in the future. Why? Because the courts have finally realized (and so ruled) that an IP address does not identify an individual. You can't prosecute a neighborhood or a house or even a family. You can only prosecute individuals.

(B) Good luck identifying that individual. You may have an IP address, but few judges these days will allow a search or issue a subpoena on an IP address alone. And even if they find a computer with many downloads, that STILL doesn't identify the guilty party. It could have been the husband, it could have been the wife, it could have been one of the kids, or a friend who visits often.

(C) The reason it has almost never gotten to (3), is that the "copyright trolls" are not interested in prosecution at all. They merely intimidate the people they identify into voluntarily paying an outrageously large settlement, so they don't have to go to court. It is nothing more than coercion, in a moral and also (in my opinion) legal sense.

"The fundamental issue we have to come to terms with is either this is going to be a non-crime and copyright is meaningless or not."

Nonsense. It already isn't a "crime" in the United States, and never was. What is a crime is "piracy", which is actually a legal term. Essentially, piracy involves making unauthorized copies of copyrighted works, and distributing them for profit. P2P filesharing is almost never genuinely "piracy". So it is NOT a crime. It is a civil infraction.

But more to the point: even if it were a crime, the punishment should fit the crime. In the case of a downloaded movie, the copyright holder would be hard-pressed to show damages (in the form of lost profits) of more than maybe about $1. A CD that was downloaded rather than purchased might have brought the copyright holder $0.50 in royalty payments.

So, the issue we REALLY have to come to terms with is: should we allow corporate Mafias to punish people to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, over lost profits of a couple of bucks AT MOST???

"The thing that most people don't understand today is just how much of the economy is related to promotion of coopyright-protected works."

This is not a valid argument for getting rid of copyrights. At best, it is an argument against the abuse of copyrights that is perpetrated every day by the entertainment industry.

Re:Plausible Deniability... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578181)

Heh, I wrote your hypothetical "malware" for myself as a useful piece of software. Checks the Rotten Tomatoes new on DVD RSS feed, discards anything with a rotten score, uses Torrentz search API to search for a variety of strings, prioritizes blu-ray rip over DVD rip, more seeds over less seeds, user "verified" torrents over non-verified torrents, tries to weed out common strings that denote non-English languages "ITA", uses release year to resolve ambiguities, and then feeds the magnet link into uTorrent via Web UI.

I get a bunch of great new movies every week, including stuff I haven't even heard of. Accuracy rate is >=90% and when it does backfire, it generally just downloads another movie.

And then another script I wrote is triggered when the torrent is done downloading, unzips if necessary, and moves the movie files to the appropriate directory.

Re:Plausible Deniability... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40578243)

From a defensive point of view, what is the minimum number of compromises that one should run in their own network to provide themselves with sufficient plausible deniability from this type of thing?

Some ISPs provide this for the customers by giving them all secondary semi-open wifi networks. For example BT Broadband customers have their own private wifi network but the router also broadcasts a second BT OpenZone SSID that allows other BT subscribers to get internet access after logging in. Fon offers something similar. The deal is you provide free wifi to other subscribers in exchange of having use of the same service when you are out and about.

Can you prove I didn't have malware? What if I sold a computer recently - it must have been infected, since all of the ones you confiscated aren't - and wiped the disk prior?

Can they confiscate your computers? In the UK they can't because copyright infringement is a civil matter. They can ask to examine it and you can tell them to fuck off because the burden of proof is on them and you are not required to aid them in any way, other than sharing evidence you yourself intend to rely on.

Re:Plausible Deniability... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40578755)

You forgot one:

The defendant has (or had) a secure WiFi access point with secure credentials, but the password was cracked by someone using commonly available, easy to use open source security tools.

In one case it took me 20 minutes to crack somebody's WPA2. And no, the passphrase was not a common dictionary word.

What if some of the IP's are other forensic apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578075)

So if the forensic app logs ip addresses, and a ip address that is logged happens to be another forensic app, do we have dueling apps accusing each other of torrenting? How do we verify logged ip addresses are downloading and not just observing the swarm?

Re:What if some of the IP's are other forensic app (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#40578947)

You can see the completion status of the torrent for other members in the swarm, you could confirm downloading by monitoring it over time. Swarm trackers could indeed flag each other as pirates - to get the longest and greatest number of connections to downloaders, they have to complete the torrent themselves first.

Declaration issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578173)

I'm a developer by trade, but not an expert in the bittorrent protocol. Here are my thoughts on the declaration:

#6 and other places. IP address identify computers, not people, and in many cases, not even that due to NAT.

#15. Why is it necessary to state that the tracking software was installed in the US?

#18. This statement seems backwards. Peers connect to other peers to ask for files, not to say "Hey, I have this file, you want it?" There is something very strange with this statement. I suspect they are attempting to hide the fact that they were a full participant in the swarm.

#20. A false statement. There is no way he can know what other members of the swarm were doing with each other. The only way I can see to prove what other members of the swarm were sharing data is to poison the data and see if you receive any corrupt pieces back.
I believe most bittorrent clients have protections against this attack.

#21. an implicit admission that he did not receive a complete file from any one user. Not sure if this means anything.

Re:Declaration issues (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#40578973)

#6 - you're absolutely right, but the legal system stil doesn't get it

#15 - hell if I know

#16 - you're right again

#20. Right again, BT clients will block any peer that transmits too many corrupt pieces

#21 - receiving a complete file from any one user is extremely unusual in Bittorrent. The only way that will happen is if only one user has a full copy of the file (happens sometimes with old/rare torrents). Usually many users contribute different pieces of the file, this is faster for everyone.

How to not be sued for copyright infringement (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#40578421)

So all the user would need to do is introduce a commented-out line within the code of any downloaded file, in order to change the hash value, and essentially tell RIAA/MPAA to shove it.

Filesearch (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578595)

I was always curious about a certain point in this process of attributing specific shared files to copyright holders, in which certain files were deemed infringing. Under 2.1.1 in the provided "functional description" (Exhibit A) PDF, as I suspected, anyone doing this type of work needs to download the full file (or at least enough to be considered copyright infringement) first to verify that file is an infringement and that users sharing the file too are infringing.

So my question is, what happens when these groups download copyrighted files from organizations/copyright holders they've not been given permission from that are simply mislabeled or similarly labeled to works they're looking for? This might seem trivial but if I were on a jury, I'd find it quite interesting that evidence obtained to prove copyright infringement committed copyright infringement in the process. This mistake seems inevitable by any group, no matter how careful they may be.

What if a small media file was created, copyrighted, then attached to virtually all P2P files in a fashion so the only way to separate the two files required downloading the full media set. As such, even if one of the two files were legally obtained by a private group given express permission by one of the copyright holders, the second copyright holder happened to be a fan of the a free and open internet. Interestingly enough, the second copyright holder and fan of free information only sought infringement damages from private groups trying to take P2P networks down. It wouldn't even be difficult to track since large John Doe court cases would essentially admit to copyright infringement at the starting gate, if they planned to have any evidence in their case using the described method in Exhibit A.

One obvious problem is that the second copyright holder would have to be always trusted by everyone and never sell the rights to his/her IP, otherwise that could be quite a mess.

Just a thought, I'm sure there are holes I'm unaware of.

According to Fieser's declaration ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40578765)

there are at least 266 days in March 2012 (page 4). Sees a little odd to me. I do hope he isn't lying under oath.

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