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"Anonymous" File-Sharing Darknet Ruled Illegal By German Court

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the your-virtual-papers-please dept.

Privacy 285

An anonymous reader writes "A court in Hamburg, Germany, has granted an injunction against a user of the anonymous and encrypted file-sharing network RetroShare. RetroShare users exchange data through encrypted transfers and the network setup ensures that the true sender of the file is always obfuscated. The court, however, has now ruled that RetroShare users who act as an exit node are liable for the encrypted traffic that's sent by others."

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Exit node malware coming soon (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078489)

Who thinks it will take long for the hackers to create malware that sets OTHERS up as unwitting exit nodes?

Re:Exit node malware coming soon (5, Insightful)

Squiddie (1942230) | about 2 years ago | (#42078497)

About two days ago.

Re:Exit node malware coming soon (0, Offtopic)

tqft (619476) | about 2 years ago | (#42078609)

Stupid mod button was supposed to be insightful

Re:Exit node malware coming soon (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079689)

Stupid mod button was supposed to be insightful

Yeah, it's the button's fault.

Re:Exit node malware coming soon (5, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#42079751)

Yes, it is. In the older times, moderation was a two-step process: First you chose the moderation, then you pressed a button to submit it. That way, when you mis-clicked (and honestly, it happens to everyone from time to time), you could correct your mistake before submitting the moderation. Now moderation goes into effect immediately when you click. No chance to fix mistakes.

Re:Exit node malware coming soon (2)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#42078601)

Dunno, but I bet you could make a tonne of money by sending adverts through it.

Re:Exit node malware coming soon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078611)

It likely already exists now.

Many people who have the ability to make botnets would likely already have many encrypted darknets setup in such a fashion.
Even if it is only a 100 or so nodes, still pretty useful for low-level use.

Would I like to see it explode in numbers? Oh, certainly. As long as it wasn't security breaking nightmare infections that could break computers, go for it.
Most people don't even use their networks as is.
To use it to prove a point to stupid judges is more than needed. Of course, they would just do the whole "see, they are pirates and hackers, ban it all!" attack. (which they do have a point for, but still, it is tired)

I find it odd that germany is the main location of a bunch of people who do network security projects and mesh networking as this comes up.
I wish I remembered the name of some groups though. There was a forum I remember that had a group of people who discussed things like mesh networking and encrypted networks like this.

Re:Exit node malware coming soon (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078853)

Someone should hack the Judge's computer and use as an exit node....

Re:Exit node malware coming soon (4, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#42079119)

Someone should hack the Judge's computer and use as an exit node....

Probably happened about two days ago.

The Internet interprets censorship ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078995)

ARM boards are so cheap and light on power that I bet people will be installing them out of sight wherever a trickle of current won't be detected.

The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

We expected this to happen in some 3rd world countries, not in our own, but it seems that we were wrong.

Re:The Internet interprets censorship ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079667)

Good thing we drone bomb counties that are against freedom eh? Good thing we are spending every last dollar we can spare defending our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, eh?

Remedy probably forthcoming shortly :P (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078859)

I can see it happening already, someone will donate to the judge a cheap and crap computer (Raspberry Pi fits the bill perfectly) and run up a Tor exit node on it. Much hilarity ensues. :-)

It's academic anyway, because this is a ruling that will get overturned in the EU for being in conflict with basic freedom of speech. Encryption of communications is not illegal in EU.

What's more, Europeans tend to be strongly opposed to the excesses of the copyright lobby, and strongly supportive of freedom of file sharing. The politicians even listen to them on this subject, as the official political representation shows. So, that judge is out on a rather lonely limb, and a stupid limb if he'd thought about the implications for two seconds before running off to the golf club. It's unlikely to stand.

Re:Remedy probably forthcoming shortly :P (2)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#42079419)

It's academic anyway, because this is a ruling that will get overturned in the EU for being in conflict with basic freedom of speech. Encryption of communications is not illegal in EU.

Doubtful. Remember, we're dealing with people who have a vested interest in declaring copyright infringement as 'theft of ideas'.

Re:Exit node malware coming soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078885)

I feel liable for the spam I receive.

And here I thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078517)

...Germans were perhaps slightly more intelligent than others.

Guess in the legal system, the word "ignorance" is known the world round.

Good luck enforcing that shit, morons.

Re:And here I thought... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079213)

Did you just call the country that banned "hacking tools" intelligent? Really?

Note to self: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078519)

Do not run Tor exit nodes in Germany.

Re:Note to self: (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42079281)

Everyone I know uses exit nodes located on Sandy Island [slashdot.org] .

I don't understand German law but... (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | about 2 years ago | (#42078541)

This is ridiculous. All common carriers then should be held liable for the network traffic that passes around.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078637)

Except common carriers are usually legitimate carriers. This network was specifically designed and is commonly used for illegal file sharing. People using it know exactly that they are part of it and they are encouraging and helping it. Kind of like Google vs. The Pirate Bay. One is a search engine designed and used to find Information on the Internet while the other is designed and used to find magnet links to torrents containing pirated (illegal) material.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (5, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42078789)

Anything can be arbitrarily deemed as "legitimate" or not. Google is not more or less legitimate than Piratebay it just have a much larger legal budget. Similarly no darknet is designed to do what you imply they where, they were designed to allow for people to freely transfer data (whatever type of data they see fit) without the fear of being persecuted by governments be it China, North Korea or US. The former will persecute you if do anything against the interests of the party, and the latter will persecute you if you do anything against the interests of corporations.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about 2 years ago | (#42079443)

Yep, regarding the 9-yo-girl with the Winnie the Pooh laptop: she searched (or her dad searched) on Google for the link to get the video/music on piratebay. So shouldn't google be held just as liable for contributory infringement. And hell, look at the youtube "videos" which have static images and mp3 music in the background. Isn't that the epitome of hosting copyright infringing material?

Re:I don't understand German law but... (5, Insightful)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#42078873)

Technology shouldn't be deemed illegal because of the intents for which it was originally conceived. Or should we regulate microwave ovens like we regulate fighter jets?

Re:I don't understand German law but... (3, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 years ago | (#42079039)

Yes. We don't regulate either. You may have some issues obtaining a fighter jet given you don't have a couple of million dollars laying around to develop and build one but (certain rich) people regularly (once every couple of years) buy an old MIG or something similar to spruce up their back yard (at least that's what I imagine they do with it).

I think there is a separate regulation on the 50mil cannons and rocketry on fighter jets for most states (or federally regulated) but that's an entirely different thing.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079079)

ahhh 23 millimeter please

Re:I don't understand German law but... (2)

Garybaldy (1233166) | about 2 years ago | (#42079129)

If you have the money you can get almost any piece of military hardware obviously. As for vehicles/aircraft and such all of the offensive/defensive systems need to be removed or made inoperable. Before you are allowed to take delivery of it in the US.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (1, Flamebait)

MrNaz (730548) | about 2 years ago | (#42079703)

Cannon is the plural of cannon.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#42079461)

Technology shouldn't be deemed illegal because of the intents for which it was originally conceived. Or should we regulate microwave ovens like we regulate fighter jets?

When the microwave ovens turn into Star Trek like food dispensers, then yes, you will see regulation because the corporations who provided food before will be suing that they can't compete.

Oh, and they won't like copies of name brands because it would be "stealing" from them.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (1)

theswimmingbird (1746180) | about 2 years ago | (#42078703)

Don't give them any ideas.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (3, Informative)

gtirloni (1531285) | about 2 years ago | (#42078833)

On the contrary, someone please make sure these people hear about it. Only then will the nonsense stop.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (1)

mrmeval (662166) | about 2 years ago | (#42078805)

Common carriers are government sanctioned and they have very specific meanings. The court in that case is most likely not insane but ruling on the law and past precedent.

Germany does not have free speech in some cases. That's another attack vector against it.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (4, Insightful)

Zorpheus (857617) | about 2 years ago | (#42078847)

But common carriers give police the names of the customer that was responsible for certain traffic.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (1, Funny)

garcia (6573) | about 2 years ago | (#42078957)

So the common carriers know I have an encrypted VPN running between work and my house 5 days a week. They know I have an encrypted VPN between my house and my mobile device 24/7/365 the rest of the time.

So they give the police my name, what then?

Q: "What are you doing with that encrypted VPN?"
A: "Hiding from my fantasy football league friends the fact that I'm watching Barbie.com".

Please.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079057)

Copyright holders aren't coming after you because they don't imagine you're using your links to send their copyrighted material. You might be, but VPN is ubiquitous and mostly just used for business so they wouldn't suspect you.

There is more to TOR (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 2 years ago | (#42079073)

TOR obfuscates the source and destination of traffic. Common carriers are required to allow police to have that info. Once they know what they're looking at they can force you to give them your encryption keys. There is no "we will take no for an answer" EVER with the authorities. If you're legit then you've agreed to play ball with them, it doesn't work any other way.

Re:There is more to TOR (0)

amazon10x (737466) | about 2 years ago | (#42079493)

But in the U.S. the 5th amendment would protect you from having to reveal the encryption keys.

Re:There is more to TOR (3, Informative)

dissy (172727) | about 2 years ago | (#42079635)

But darknets aren't illegal in the US anyway. We are talking about Germany here.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 2 years ago | (#42078913)

Be careful what you wish for...

They are (2, Insightful)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 2 years ago | (#42079051)

if they don't provide law inforcement with the ability to tap into the traffic and identify its source and destination, and content too modulo user encryption. If you want to REGISTER your TOR network as a common carrier and be subjected to (in the US) CALEA then be my guest!

This whole thing is the UTTERLY predictable response to the whole TOR thing. When you join a conspiracy to hide what everyone is doing then don't be surprised when you're held responsible for the actions of the whole group (network). When are hackers going to learn that you can't route around the law? You might fool it or avoid it for a while, but in the West at least public order will ALWAYS dictate that the authorities WILL be able to drop a hammer on you. That's what power IS.

Re:I don't understand German law but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079547)

So, as a thought experiment, if the judge that did this ruling was signed up for various kiddie porn, such that it was sent to their email address. They would need to go to prison, since they had received the spam. Right?

who needs advertising... (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42078543)

...when the moron legal system and media of the world are happy to spread the word about how awesome RetroShare is

you can't buy this kind of publicity

What's next? (4, Informative)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#42078547)

Germany declares Tor illegal?

Re:What's next? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078591)

Well the most likely next targets are HTTPS and SSH. Those darn encryption thingies that hackers use to secure their nefarious transmissions of who knows what...

I doubt the ruling matters... (1, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | about 2 years ago | (#42078557)

...You might wonder why:

That's because an IP address is not a human being [itworld.com] when it comes to matters of law.

This is what our friendly folks in Germany will find out sooner or later. The trouble is that they'll have wasted so much time. Sad indeed.

Re:I doubt the ruling matters... (5, Informative)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#42078875)

That's because an IP address is not a human being when it comes to matters of law.

The decisions of a US district court can't be expected to carry much weight in Germany.

On 12 May 2010, the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Supreme Court - BGH) granted an injunction to a music rights marketing company against the private operator of a WLAN under contributory negligence rules.

The BGH agreed that the plaintiff had no civil law entitlement to damages for breach of copyright by the defendant, either as perpetrator or participant, since it had not been proved that the defendant had shared the music himself or deliberately helped a third party to do so. There was every reason to assume that the person to whom an IP address had been allocated would be responsible for an infringement committed from that address. However, in this case, this assumption had been credibly refuted by the defendant's claim that he had been on holiday when the offence was committed. Neither had he intentionally participated in an infringement by a third party.

However, under contributory negligence rules, the BGH found the WLAN owner liable for failing to prevent a protected work from being made available to the public (Art. 19a of the Urheberrechtsgesetz - Copyright Act). By operating a WLAN that was not sufficiently secure, the defendant had wilfully and, with sufficient causality, contributed to this infringement and failed to meet his duty of due diligence in this respect. Even private individuals - if only in their own interest to protect their data - could be expected to verify whether their WLAN was sufficiently secure to prevent its misuse by third parties standing outside.

BGH Finds WLAN Operator Liable [coe.int]

[2010]

TorrentFreak, to, to its credit, posted this link as an Update to its original story.

Re:I doubt the ruling matters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078941)

"an IP address is not a human being"

Automatic speed cameras can be used to generate speeding tickets. You only need to discern the registration number of the vehicle. You can hold the owner liable unless they can point the authorities to some other driver.

If your gun is used in a crime, the authorities will have a question or two for you.

The IPv4 addresses by and large are dynamic, but the ISPs can pin-point the subscriber if a time-frame is given. With IPv6, even that is not necessary because every subscriber gets a static network prefix.

The first victims to the "IP address liability" will be employers, who allow any employee device to connect to their LAN and won't typically maintain common-carrier grade logging. Even if they did log everything, a personal laptop with a spoofed MAC address would defeat it and leave the employer on the hook.

It's going to be legal fireworks. I'm looking forward to the copyright laws collapsing under their own weight. Sorry for the few poor bastards who will be crucified before then, though.

Re:I doubt the ruling matters... (2)

dadioflex (854298) | about 2 years ago | (#42079365)

The last thing anyone in the EU wants is a legal system similar to the USA. We'd have to build ten times as many prisons. We have NO money.

The "Prisoner Defence", ie "I am not a number, I am a free man" is a grand idea but it's hard to avoid contributory negligence. So, if you had a car and you let anyone borrow it regardless of whether they had insurance or even a driving license then you'd be committing a crime. If you pay for an internet connection and you are equally lax about how it's used then you should also be held responsible. I don't understand how anyone has a problem with this. Say you have a legally held firearm and just leave it on your lawn. That's okay, is it?

It's possible to spoof IP addresses, but currently EU law requires for a record to be kept of what you're doing with your Internet connection at the ISP level. This is as much a tool to prove innocence as it is a hammer to smite the sinner.

Re:I doubt the ruling matters... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079429)

I don't understand how anyone has a problem with this.

Anyone who cares about privacy, freedom, and anonymity has a problem with this. Equating the desire for anonymity to letting random people drive your car or leaving a gun out in your yard is just ridiculous.

Re:I doubt the ruling matters... (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#42079473)

...You might wonder why:

That's because an IP address is not a human being [itworld.com] when it comes to matters of law.

This is what our friendly folks in Germany will find out sooner or later. The trouble is that they'll have wasted so much time. Sad indeed.

Germany is distracted with building their forces up for another go at taking over the world. please forgive them.

That's what I always thought about Tor (5, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#42078587)

The problem is not whether it is "legally" "legal." You cannot afford a lawyer that can argue that part. If the traffic came from your computer you are guilty, and that's it - this is how most judges will interpret the act. There is no way to prove otherwise - your incoming traffic is encrypted. Even if the judge understands the technology he may slap you with being an accessory to the crime.

Some mention public telecommunications services. I'm sure those services have an entirely different legal environment - starting with their corporate charter that is signed by the Secretary of their State. A peasant in his hovel does not have even a shred of paper to point at; he is not a corporation, nobody with the government had a chance to audit his intentions... not that it should be required, but as things are it is required.

Re:That's what I always thought about Tor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078717)

If the traffic came from your computer you are guilty, and that's it - this is how most judges will interpret the act. There is no way to prove otherwise - your incoming traffic is encrypted.

Well, I know it's more of an outdated ideal than an operational standard these days, but, supposedly, the defendant is not tasked with proving his/her innocence.

Re:That's what I always thought about Tor (2)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#42078783)

Well, I know it's more of an outdated ideal than an operational standard these days, but, supposedly, the defendant is not tasked with proving his/her innocence.

It's not outdated; simply the strategy has its own drawbacks. Like the taking of 5th, you can sit still and not say a word ... while the prosecutor piles up one accusation on top of another. If you do not participate in the process the prosecutor will be unopposed, and you will be convicted. If the subject is so highly technical you will need a good lawyer, lots of expert witnesses, and lots of investigation done on the contents of your HDD. Probably $100K would be enough to get started, but I don't think it will be nearly enough. Those peanuts will only pay for 200-300 hours of your lawyer's time - and lawyers know how to do billing.

Re:That's what I always thought about Tor (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 2 years ago | (#42079647)

You could try to observe the MAC address(though equally possible to spoof) if the network topology is sufficiently shallow and the routing sufficiently transparent.

Also, all traffic from an IP address doesn't necessarily come from a single computer. It just means it comes from a certain network.

Run it on ports 80, 8080 and 443 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079827)

The natural expectation and greatest probability is that encrypted traffic on the web, web proxy and SSL ports is encrypted web traffic. Let the burden of proving that the encrypted stream is something different fall on them.

Hindsight is 20/20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078595)

RetroShare derives its security from the fact that all transfers go through “trusted friends” who users themselves add. In this case, the defendant added the anti-piracy monitoring company as a friend, which allowed him to be “caught.”

"Well it seemed like a good idea at the time..."

Re:Hindsight is 20/20 (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | about 2 years ago | (#42079287)

Paging Admiral Ackbar...

Relax, it's just a Hamburg court (4, Interesting)

zergl (841491) | about 2 years ago | (#42078615)

For what it's worth, this is a copyright case and Hamburg is the preferred location for ridiculous lawsuits by rights holders due to their excessively industry friendly media rights chamber.

The BGH [wikipedia.org] overturns their verdicts with satisfying regularity and the defendant hopefully will appeal that one.

Re:Relax, it's just a Hamburg court (1)

kenorland (2691677) | about 2 years ago | (#42079249)

Oh, please, who are you kidding? German politicians and courts are so completely in the pocket of media companies and copyright holders that people don't even realize anymore what's going on because it is so entrenched. Germans have to pay GEMA, VG Wort, and other such organizations if they fart. And much of the ridiculous copyright legislation in the US is pushed by German media companies like Bertelsmann.

Re:Relax, it's just a Hamburg court (2)

zergl (841491) | about 2 years ago | (#42079357)

True, copyright/IP law around here is quite bad, but I wouldn't agree that the courts are in Big Media's pocket (well, except for Hamburg, obviously), the pirate party has been gaining considerable traction causing some rethinking in the bigger parties when it comes to sucking up to the content industry for IP legislation and it doesn't change that this verdict has reasonable chances of getting overturned if appealed considering the stellar track record of the OLG Hamburg when it comes to that.

Ah, German courts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078625)

Irrelevant since October 1946.

Re:Ah, German courts... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078665)

Irrelevant since October 1946.

Not as irrelevant as the US justice system bought and paid by the Corporations of America.
Yeah, I'll trust the German legal system many times over before even coinsidering the American one.

Re:Ah, German courts... (1)

chilvence (1210312) | about 2 years ago | (#42078835)

You know, that kind of sarcasm is really useless unless you also make a token attempt to educate us all.

Before someone asks... (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#42078629)

... This is no legal precedent, as in German law, there is no precedent. Another court can rule completely differently, and Hamburg has some fame for ruling quite strongly in favor of big media conglomerates and contrary to the interest of the internet users. Only if the highest court in Germany, either the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal High Court) or the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court) rule, it sets legal precedent.

Re:Before someone asks... (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#42079007)

Another court can rule completely differently, and Hamburg has some fame for ruling quite strongly in favor of big media conglomerates and contrary to the interest of the internet users. Only if the highest court in Germany, either the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal High Court) or the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court) rule, it sets legal precedent.

But you have to be realistic about these things.

Hamborg, officially Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, is the second largest city in Germany, the fifteenth largest German state, and the sixth largest city in the European Union. The city is home to over 1.8 million people, while the Hamburg Metropolitan Region (including parts of the neighbouring Federal States of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein) has more than 5 million inhabitants. Situated on the river Elbe, the port of Hamburg is the third largest port in Europe (after the Port of Rotterdam and Port of Antwerp) and tenth largest worldwide.

Hamburg [wikipedia.org]

Liability, the law, and you (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42078635)

Let's be honest: If you're doing something that someone with significantly more money than you is upset by, you will be punished. Most of what you were taught as a kid was a lie; The law isn't here to protect you, but control you. Every law advantages one group by disadvantaging another. And the idea of morality, ethics, punishment proportional to the harm, any judicial concept you care to toss out I can show numerous and significant examples where it has been thrown out because of the money issue I mention at the start of this.

Money isn't power per-se, but in this society, the value of a person is the balance in their accounts. If you're a valuable person, you get special treatment -- police will investigate crimes for you more readily, favors are easier to get, and everybody wants to be your friend. But if you don't have money, then the only real power you have is that people like you greatly outnumber people like them. But unless that potential is actualized, forget it.

Laws like this will continue to punish file sharers because file sharers are poor. You're being punished, not because what you're doing is unethical or immoral, but because you make less money than the people who say it should be illegal. Whether it's the german courts, the european courts, the american courts... it doesn't really matter. All countries are the same: With enough gold, anything is possible. And when you have enough gold, the first thing you do is punish and inflict harm on anyone who has less than you do... or else. Or else they could some day have enough gold too.

Re:Liability, the law, and you (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 2 years ago | (#42078897)

Laws like this will continue to punish file sharers because file sharers are poor. You're being punished, not because what you're doing is unethical or immoral, but because you make less money than the people who say it should be illegal.

Perhaps, but only in so far as it's economical to do so. One might easily imagine a scenario where these encrypted darknets, perhaps aided by those whose machines were hacked and turned unknowingly into exit nodes, remain so difficult to penetrate that the effort will only be expended as part of larger military conflict between nations and not for what amounts to a relatively minor economic matter like copyright.

Or to put it another way, if it costs too much to track down the file sharers then the effort will not be expended.

Re:Liability, the law, and you (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42079143)

One might easily imagine a scenario where these encrypted darknets, perhaps aided by those whose machines were hacked and turned unknowingly into exit nodes, remain so difficult to penetrate that the effort will only be expended as part of larger military conflict between nations and not for what amounts to a relatively minor economic matter like copyright.

One might imagine that instead of imagining, one simply looks to history: When PGP 2.6.2 was released, it opened the possibilities of encrypted and secured data exchange between private citizens that the government could not easily crack. Citizens now had access to technology only the military had, and it proliferated rapidly. It led to the rapid expansion of the internet, secured business transactions; It made quite a few people very wealthy, and changed the entire landscape of society. Our society now relies on something that was, not even all that long ago, considered to have no practical application beyond military conflict.

And now, private citizens are building their own technologies and tools to withstand the sustained efforts of a coalition of the world's largest governments to spy on them. It's being used to help people organize politically and socially in oppressive regimes, bring medicine and information about the outside world to those who otherwise could not. It's also helping terrorists, pedophiles, and murderers. There is good, and there is bad, but encrypted "darknets" are increasingly a part of our lives, and looking at the history, it's only a matter of time before outlawing them will not only be impossible and foolhearty, but also not in the best interests of national security.

When I hear about this endless bullshit with the RIAA, copyright law, filesharing... I realize that they're helping to create a digital underground not unlike what happened during the prohibition. Thanks to them, identity thieves have convenient and covert forums to ply their trade, and a lot of that money winds up in the hands of terrorists and political extremists both foreign and domestic. Because they've targetted such a wide swath of the general population and forced them to develop effective defenses against snooping, they've made it easier for those truly damaging to our interests to hide in the noise. It speeds the development of ever-stronger crypto and secret communication channels.

Would we really need cryptography if the governments, corporations, and wealthy private interests, were not so aggressive in turning everyone into a criminal? No. Which means crypto communications would be easily spotted, and it would be easier to monitor and track the truly dangerous. It is a direct consequence of heavy-handed tactics like this that has created a significant and well-connected network of "cyber" criminals; In the beginning we had Napster. Now we have bittorrent and P2P software. You know who else has those? Bot herders. Identity thieves. Non-criminals developed the technology to protect themselves from over-zealous enforcement agents, and as a consequence hundreds of millions of computers right now are engaged in acts of terrorism, vandalism, sabotage, and theft, on a scale that is hard to even comprehend. The size of these criminal enterprises dwarfs that of the entire entertainment industry, globally.

By the time the governments of the world wake up and realize what they've done, we'll be looking at a global criminal infrastructure mated to our communication networks, with a robust distribution network thanks to the drug trade, that not even a coalition of every first world government will have a snowball's chance in hell of dismantling. All because they listened to a few people out to make a buck, and conveniently forgot the law of unintended consequences.

Re:Liability, the law, and you (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#42079385)

I wish I had the option to rate this "pedantic unsubstantiated crap", but I have to settle for a comment.

You mix pseudo facts with outright fabrication and opinion, and present it without backing. If you would make a statement somewhere in there that was meant to be offensive, you would even be trolling. Get some facts in there. PGP was created because Phil wanted us (the people) to have something besides the equivalent of a post card to send on the nascent internet. No more, no less. You can continue from there.

Re:Liability, the law, and you (1)

WillDraven (760005) | about 2 years ago | (#42079581)

I don't see where they said what PGP's intended purpose was, only the effects it had on society. You make all these rude noises about unsubstantiated crap, and then the only thing you really said was refuting a claim that the GP didn't actually make.

Re:Liability, the law, and you (1)

MrNaz (730548) | about 2 years ago | (#42079775)

There's a class on reading comprehension being held at your local primary school. I suggest enrolling.

Re:Liability, the law, and you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078961)

Sounds about right. I'm happy to see that there are still some people who can think for themselves. Hopefully this becomes a trend ;-)

Re:Liability, the law, and you (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#42079099)

Sounds about right. I'm happy to see that there are still some people who can think for themselves. Hopefully this becomes a trend ;-)

You hope thinking for oneself and realizing this situation where money equals power becomes a trend, whereas I hope one day there won't be a need for such at all. Then again, as the realist that I am I believe the situation will only go worse.

Re:Liability, the law, and you (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42079541)

Then again, as the realist that I am I believe the situation will only go worse.

Likewise. It seems the world learns its lessons the same way a four year old does: No matter how many times you tell them what will happen if they don't wear their hat and mittens, they will still cheerfully ignore you. It seems that only after you've frozen the little bastard half to death that they learn.

It's unfortunate that we haven't yet managed to evolve a society that learns in any other way than by bludgeoning of the clue bat.

Re:Liability, the law, and you (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42079417)

The law isn't here to protect you, but control you.

It's neither one or the other, it's both, that's why she wears a blind fold.

Re:Liability, the law, and you (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42079519)

It's neither one or the other, it's both, that's why she wears a blind fold.

Tell me, what inspires your confidence in a blind woman wielding a sword passing judgement on others? Because generally, that's the kind of thing that makes the evening news, not the basis for justice.

Re:Liability, the law, and you (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#42079601)

Justitia (the Roman God of Justice that the statues are modeled after) refers to the Egyptian Goddess Maat who is charged with upholding the laws of the Creator.

If 4500 year old Gods aren't good enough for you I don't have an answer.

Re:Liability, the law, and you (3, Insightful)

countach (534280) | about 2 years ago | (#42079747)

If that's true, the law has failed. The only reason we have law is to protect those with less resources from those with more.

Oh, good.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078673)

Now, I can finger my ISP as an "exit node" when I get a C&D, right?

Okay... (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42078683)

So is this some back handed prohibition against the use of any encryption without a license?

Re:Okay... (1)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#42079387)

It has nothing to do with the encryption. It simply redefines who the criminal is. According to this ruling, if several people form a chain that, in the end, is involved in something unlawful, then the real criminal, the one who does the time, is not the person at the end of the chain but the last person in the chain that the police was able to track.

This is not new, though. Plenty of US crime fiction is built on the plot where the police grabs the first guy who has no alibi and declares him a criminal. This happens IRL from time to time too.

Stop stealing you fucking faggots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078705)

Just pay for shit and everything will be kosher.

Re:Stop stealing you fucking faggots (5, Insightful)

chilvence (1210312) | about 2 years ago | (#42078927)

I have to laugh at the copyright fundamentalist viewpoint, having seen with my own eyes that outside of western Europe and north America, it is taken about as seriously as a Lada full of Clowns trying to qualify for a formula one race... In some places even the idea that you could have 60 quid to waste on a computer game to begin with! But carry on living in your bubble, it is obviously our god given duty to ensure that imaginary property remains obscenely over valued, so that we can continue to produce the Bill Gates'es and Kanye Wests we all so heavily depend upon in society. It must be fun to imagine how much richer you would be if everyone just played fair...

Re:Stop stealing you fucking faggots (2)

popo (107611) | about 2 years ago | (#42079053)

The term "stealing" refers to a felony. And yet the practice you are referencing is a civil offense. Ergo, you do not understand "stealing" or the law.

Re:Stop stealing you fucking faggots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079217)

Heheheh.... Germany, kosher... that's funny.

Germans acting like morons.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078731)

News at 11...

Idiot fucktard judges (yes, oxymoron, I know) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078871)

That ruling just made *ALL* Internet Service Providers liable for every piece of child porn exchanged on the internet.

Way to go fucktard judges... You're fucking morons who are totally clueless about technology.

here's a clue.... Water and Electricity don't mix. So don't use lights around your malfunctioning brains!

FAIR IS FAIR !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078925)

Exit nodes know it is kiddie porn; the other nodes know it is, too, but can make believe they do not. Kiddie porn is illegal, even in Germany (Hamburg, too). Therefore, exit nodes are gonna eat shit and die !! FAIR IS FAIR !! Creeps !!

Mein Fuehrer !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078947)

We have to control the minds and hearts of the masses.

Allowing them to share secret files is against party doctrine !

SIEG !

heeeeiiiiiiillllll !!!!!

US Postal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078967)

US Postal Services are responsible what A sends to C? Great, I just think I found my way to the trillions. Ah, Germany, got to get there fast!

Gay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42078997)

Gay law is gay

Re:Gay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079259)

I didn't know that laws could enter homosexual relations.

I guess you learn something new every day.

Need to know (4, Informative)

Tom (822) | about 2 years ago | (#42079141)

Two things you need to know:

One, this particular court (and I know it well, this is my home city) is being ridiculed throughout Germany and its judgement are routinely reversed by the higher courts. It does cause trouble, but it is an outlier, not the norm.

And that is important because Germany follows the CIVIL law system, not the common law system - courts do not set precedents, other courts will interpret the law, not whatever some court elsewhere decided. And the so-called "flying court", a system where you can choose which court to sue in if you can reason why the case falls into its jurisdiction - easy for Internet-related cases to do - has been dramatically culled back this year, with more and more courts not accepting the easy arguments anymore.

So, in essence, this is one court well-known for being crazy. Still unfortunate, but not half as consequential as the summary makes you believe.

Not really a darknet (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#42079153)

From The Wikipedia: "A darknet is a private, distributed P2P file sharing network where connections are made only between trusted peers — sometimes called "friends" (F2F)[1] — using non-standard protocols and ports."

What they're talking about in TFA is something like TOR.

Re:Not really a darknet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079449)

I haven't visited wikipedia much lately, but that has to be the crappiest definition of darknet I have ever seen. The wiki must really be in decline.

remember (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#42079181)

The Internet started as a darknet.

That German court ... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079227)

... can kiss my exit node.

liability (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079241)

That German ruling was inconsistent with the US ruling that ISP's are not responsible for user content.

I Told Ya So. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42079383)

The very nature of governments is that no government will tolerate communications that they can not control. It actually means the free speech does not exist since all speech is subject to examination and judgement by governmental agents. Speech that even has the potential to be regulated is not free.

then why not the comm path too? (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about 2 years ago | (#42079427)

Then why aren't the communication stream providers also deemed to be just as liable and guilty for this infrinement/infringing activity?

New protocol ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#42079563)

... based on random source address in UDP datagrams. The payload is still fully encrypted, and the receiving app that decodes it with its own private key can discover the context of the datagram (e.g. which network session it belongs to, and which aspect of that session it means ... like which file and offset in the file). This way the party receiving the content can't see what exit node is involved.

ISPs could block forged source addresses. It's expensive. But if they do, then maybe DDoS attacks would go down.

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