Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Judge Orders TorrentSpy to Turn Over RAM

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-do-not-think-that-word-means-what-you-think-it-means dept.

Privacy 726

virgil_disgr4ce writes "In an impressive example of the gap of understanding between legal officials and technology, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian 'found that a computer server's RAM, or random-access memory, is a tangible document that can be stored and must be turned over in a lawsuit.' ZDNet, among others, reports on the ruling and its potential for invasion of privacy."

cancel ×

726 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

What's the problem? (5, Funny)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509013)

Take the chips out of the machine and send them to the other side.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509093)

Exactly what I'd do too.

 

Re:What's the problem? (2, Funny)

no_pets (881013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509113)

Take the chips out of the machine and send them to the other side.
No shit. That is exactly what I would do.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509147)

The here is if they do so there may be info still on those chips. Ram "clears" itself on power down but info can still be retrieved from it if it's carefully read.

This happens because ram doesn't erase itself after data is moved off of it.

Re:What's the problem? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19509281)

Maybe a few minutes later. Not hours or days. The decay is total by then, and there isn't even theoretical equipment that could distinguish its state from noise.

Re:What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509339)

Yeah... uh right. I am sure there is some type of theoretical possibility here, but practically no. RAM has to be constantly "refreshed" to keep the charge high enough to be read. After about ten seconds without power, I doubt any instrument would be able to read the state before power down.

Re:What's the problem? (0, Troll)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509453)

Think of how ram works.

The reason ram "clears" is that the pointers are lost. It is very possible to retrieve data.

On ram a bit is only flipped high to change its value , if the bit is never flipped again the bit doesn't mysteriously drop to low again , it relies on being over written with a higher bit.

01 must go to 10 before it can reach 11 and must got to 11 before it can be "flipped" to 00 again. All memory works on the same concept.

There you have it my 2 bit example of ram :) Yes pun intended.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Funny)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509459)

So, lick the contacts before mailing right?

Re:What's the problem? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509487)

Bad form to reply to myself, I know. However, I wanted to make sure my knee jerk reaction wasn't too far off base. I could not find a definitive answer, but see the discharge rate for RAM's capacitors to come out to a "half life" of 0.6 to 0.8 milliseconds. I was surprised by how quickly the charge deteriorates.

If you think forensics is going to be able to do anything with your RAM half a second after the power button is pushed, you are out of luck.

Re:What's the problem? (2, Interesting)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509489)

info can still be retrieved from it if it's carefully read

Wow, I did not know that.

But then all you get is a snapshot of what the server was doing at the instant you turned it off, which would be AFTER all the programs terminated. And at termination the OS would probably re-use that RAM for its own shutdown code.

Then you need to wade through a huge pile of binary (ok HEX) printouts to try to determine the contents.

If the server held 8GBytes, and you get 16 bytes per line, and there are 66 lines per page, then you would have 8,134,407 pages to read through.

Of course you could put this on a drive, then try to use some sort of search program, but it is not trivial. Memory fragmentation(1), binary representation of text, object storage (rather than straight characters) would all contribute to the confusion.

1. Yes I know that the OS tracks the fragmentation along with pagination, but where is that in RAM?

Re:What's the problem? (5, Informative)

benfinkel (1048566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509205)

I read a couple of other articles on it (google 'em, easy to find) and basically the Judge understands more than this Slashdot abstract says.

Torrentspy was contending that they had no record of user's IP addresses, since they don't do any IP logging. The Judge has ordered that since, even though there is no logging, the IPs are available in the RAM for a period of time, that constitutes a recording and they were ordered to capture that information from the RAM in a more permanent spot.

This is new because it's the first time that volatile RAM has even been considered as evidence in that manner.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Interesting)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509483)

It also says

(3) the data in issue which is currently routed to a third party entity under contract to defendants

That's the achillies heel, if they are pulling the data out and transmitting it already, they are sunk.


Re:What's the problem? (0)

rsmoody (791160) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509463)

If the judge is this much of a moron, he will get the RAM chips, have them installed in a system, discover they are devoid of recoverable data, and then say the defendants are in contempt of court.

And By The Way (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509019)

I want covers on all those open ports!

What's next? (5, Funny)

raeb (1041430) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509021)

"Please sir, hand over your motherdisk."

Re:What's next? (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509237)

I insist that you hand over your ISDN drive. And your SCSI modem.

Re:What's next? (1)

drxenos (573895) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509343)

Saying cable modem is just as bad.

Re:What's next? (2, Funny)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509437)

Complaining about a common term promoted by the purveyors of the equipment is geekery at its best. I salute you sir, truly your pedantic nature must make you a hit at parties.

Re:What's next? (1)

timelorde (7880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509395)

SCSI modem? How moderne!

When I was young, all we had was a Megabyte Modem. [tetrap.com]

And we were happy to have it, despite all the screaming...

Lol. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509027)

They could claim that they lost all the information because it was stored in ram, which they unplugged to comply with the court order.

invasion of privacy (1, Insightful)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509031)

Besides the stupidity of try to gather information from confiscated RAM, how in the world could this be a privacy concern?

Re:invasion of privacy (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509129)

I imagine that if the judge gets a clue and decides that the contents of the RAM are the tangible documents, then basically every bit of information on the server from top to bottom will have to be turned over to the court. Even if the server was hosting other, unconnected sites or even databases.

Can't tell right now 'cos the link is sending me to zdnet.comnull ??

Re:invasion of privacy (4, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509227)

As the TFA explains, the judge means that the RAM would become a legal document, and that any information put on it would have to be retained for later examination, and that if this ruling were extended to things like SOX, a SOX-complying company would have to keep transaction logs or images of their RAM so that the state of the RAM at any point in the past could be accounted. EEep.

Re:invasion of privacy (5, Funny)

laughing rabbit (216615) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509393)

Damn! I knew we should have stopped referring to 'pages' of memory.

Re:invasion of privacy (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509435)

sure thing, court. you supply us with the hard disk space to store any and everything that gets put on my RAM, and i'll get right on that. i presume you'd like full copies of every moment... so lets see... the front side bus is 800MHz and we have 16gigs of RAM, so we'll be needing 400 bajillion GBs of space.

Re:invasion of privacy (2, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509449)

and that if this ruling were extended to things like SOX, a SOX-complying company would have to keep transaction logs or images of their RAM so that the state of the RAM at any point in the past could be accounted.

oh please let it be so... that would show just how ridiculous it is... the sheer amount of disk space and processor cycles required to effectively record the state of RAM for enterprise servers would bring this whole stupid ruling crashing down...

HD (5, Informative)

gregoryb (306233) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509037)

Maybe she meant 'hard drive'? The majority of the people I supported while working IT during college used the terms RAM and hard drive interchangeably.

-gb

Re:HD (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509209)

No, nothing like that. I can only presume that the judge's order explained the reasoning in detail, but basically the court has decided that if it's in RAM it's an electronic document. To that end, the judge has ordered TorrentSpy to turn on logging to capture these "electronic documents".

It's basically some wild legal theory invented to provide a method of giving the MPAA the discovery information they want. The bright side is that the judge has decided that the individual IP addresses may be redacted to prevent TorrentSpy's users from being targeted.

You would think that??? (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509405)

Remember judges and lawyers don't always understand technology.

I had Defendants in one case demand that I hand over the spam. The discovery act requires me to produce it in the form nomally kept in -- OS/2 files, with my notes in the extended attributes. He then later asked that they be printed in the form it is normally viewed. Of course, I responded that I'd be happy to do it, but he have to pay for that discovery.

Re:You would think that??? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509475)

Remember judges and lawyers don't always understand technology.

I remember. What I'm saying comes from TFA (which nobody bothered to read) so the judge obviously understands enough to concoct this wacky legal construction.

Re:HD (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509267)

Yeah, he probably meant "Hard disk data" or something.

Though, it's still pathetic. A court order needs to be specific, and correct. Anything else is a travesty of justice and open for abuse. How else are they going to expect it to be legally binding? "Send me your thingamajig and the whatzit or you go to jail for 30 days." How is one supposed to comply with something that makes no sense? Plus, point that out or be sarcastic and you risk pissing off the judge and landing in jail.

The judge made himself look too incompetent to pick up the phone and call a nephew for a reality check. Heck, I'd do that type of work for $30 an hour if he wants to email me I am ready.

Just more proof that all portions of the legal profession have no freaking clue and are out of touch with just about any reality aside from their own little money grubbing ways.

It seems pretty specific to me (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509345)

In the course of that case, U.S. District Court Judge Jacqueline Chooljian has ruled that TorrentSpy must turn over RAM data -- which is usually stored only temporarily on servers -- over to the court, disregarding TorrentSpy's privacy and free speech arguments.

The data that is in RAM seems like it's perfectly valid for a court to request. Of course you'd have to be a moron to be using TorrentSpy at this point in time.

Re:HD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19509403)

It is funny to me that you indicate that the Judge (he, as you refer to her) is too incompetent to phone a nephew about the nature of RAM, yet you obviously did not take the time to either read the article or you did not understand it.

Even better is that you feel this constitues 'proof' of some sort.

I think the problem, not with this ruling but with others, is that people like you somehow find themselves in the position of being Judges.

Blank RAM (4, Insightful)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509041)

And these guys get arrested for destruction of evidence when they find that the RAM is blank. Un-freaking-believable.

Re:Blank RAM (1)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509151)

I think once the court officers turn over the RAM to the guys in charge of the computer forensics lab, the techies there will have a good laugh and explain exactly what "RAM" is. I doubt anybody will get in trouble because a judge doesn't know a PS/2 port from a SATA connector.

Re:Blank RAM (4, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509311)

I doubt anybody will get in trouble because a judge doesn't know a PS/2 port from a SATA connector.

Don't count on it. In the UK, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, anyone can be required to turn over the password to decrypt any encrypted data they have that is needed for certain legal purposes... even if the "encrypted data" is just random bits, with no significance and not derived from any meaningful data. You are presumed guilty if you won't (or can't) supply the appropriate password.

If this case happened in the UK, the RIP Act would appear to make you guilty by default if you couldn't supply a password that "decrypted" whatever data was in the RAM when it was next powered up to turn it back into whatever they think was there before. And given that these are people who don't appreciate the volatile nature of RAM, I wouldn't hold out much hope of explaining to the judge why it's not possible to comply with their ruling.

Aren't you glad that our inept legislators and your incompetent judges work in different jurisdictions?

Re:Blank RAM (0)

fyrie (604735) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509157)

You beat me to it!

Re:Blank RAM (3, Insightful)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509193)

We're now at a stage where people should be employed by the courts system to act as educators and technical experts for any case - not advocating one side or the other of course but at least clarifying points like this for a judge. Why is this not happening.

Re:Blank RAM (4, Funny)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509203)

Apparently "Your honor, you seem to be an idiot," is not an effective objection.

Re:Blank RAM (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509359)

Catch-22. Best catch there is.

Forgive My Ignorance, But... (1)

Obyron (615547) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509043)

Isn't RAM volatile? Doesn't turning off the machine blank it out, such that whoever is seizing it is pretty much just getting blank RAM? I mean, this might be great if your law firm needs to update its workstations, but...

I'm sure this is probably a stupid question, and so I'm leaving off my karma bonus in case it's answer in TFM. ;)

Re:Forgive My Ignorance, But... (4, Funny)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509067)

You are correct, so the only viable solution is to remove the RAM with out turning off the machine!

-Rick

PS: KIDDING!!!

Re:Forgive My Ignorance, But... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19509225)

the only viable solution is to remove the RAM with out turning off the machine...
Wouldn't that void the warranty?

Re:Forgive My Ignorance, But... (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509251)

Actually you can still retrieve data from ram , just happens to be your stuck with only what was in ram before the ram was removed , which on most good servers would be the server actually going down . Maybe some pages that they were serving but not much else.

There is a reason both banks and the government destroy ram and hard drives when they cycle out computers now.

Re:Forgive My Ignorance, But... (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509325)

Isn't RAM volatile?

RAM just means that any portion of the memory can be read and written, as opposed to having to access memory sequentially (as with a tape). There's many different technologies. Since people want it to be very fast, affordable, and reliable over a long period of time, some technologies are better than others.

DRAM is volatile, and widely popular. But there are other kinds of RAM in the past (e.g. core) which weren't volatile, and there is R&D going on to make a form of non-volatile RAM that is superior to DRAM.

Indeed, all else being equal, I'd rather have non-volatile RAM. It'd be great for laptop battery life and preserving data against power loss. You'd want to add a switch that could purge the RAM in case you needed to restart from a crash, though.

Re:Forgive My Ignorance, But... (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509455)

Depends on the type of RAM. Some kinds are non-volatile (e.g. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_memory [wikipedia.org] or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferroelectric_RAM [wikipedia.org] )

What the judge really wants is the dump of /dev/mem or some such.

But - in theory- it might be possible to recover the data from 'volatile' RAM even after powerdown (looking at the alignment of dust particles or examining the capacitors with a tunneling microscope, or something like that, though it will probably require multimillion dollar setup and years of time, not worth using to bust a few 'pirates.'

What's the point? (1)

Higaran (835598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509047)

I thought that all RAM unless its MagneticRAM, which isn't sold yet loses the data on it as soon as you pull it off the mother board. Could this be a typo an the document actually supposed to mean the hard drive?

Re:What's the point? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509165)

I thought that all RAM unless its MagneticRAM, which isn't sold yet

MRAM is indeed being sold in limited quantities, but it's only used in certain devices. I forget who's making it, but someone else can continue your education. Or you could google.

You're correct insofar as you can't get it for your PC yet, but incorrect insofar as that it's being sold.

Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19509055)

Bad Gateway
The following error occurred:
[code=DNS_HOST_NOT_FOUND] The host name was not found during the DNS lookup. Contact your system administrator if the problem is not found by retrying the URL.
Oh no, they got Zdnet too!

Great idea there, judge. (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509059)

Smug user: *click*, yank, "Here ya go: my brand new Kingston DDR2 ram. Much fun may you have with it, ha ha ha ha."
Clueless investigator: *jam* *snap* *click* "Hey, wait, this isn't formatted with FAT32! It looks like completely random noise! You must be encrypting the data we're looking for! Hand over the password or it's off to a secret terrorist prison for you!"
Smug user suddenly looks less smug.

link is broken (4, Informative)

chip rosenthal (74184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509085)

Here is a working link to the article: http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-6190900.html [zdnet.com]

Re:link is broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19509175)

Here's another one:

http://government.zdnet.com/?p=3218 [zdnet.com]

What?? (1, Insightful)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509087)

RAM is, by definition, temporary data storage. Very temporary. How exactly does the judge think this could be accomplished in practice? You can't exactly pop a RAM card out of a machine, bring it to court, and expect there to be anything usable or readable on it when you get there. Nor could you log more than a tiny fraction of what goes through it (and even doing that would take a great deal of storage capacity over time). Do judges just think computers are magic boxes which they can order to do whatever they may like, and that there are no limits of technical feasibility?

Re:What?? (1)

dark404 (714846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509235)

Do judges just think computers are magic boxes which they can order to do whatever they may like, and that there are no limits of technical feasibility?
yes.

Re:What?? (1)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509239)

Do judges just think computers are magic boxes which they can order to do whatever they may like, and that there are no limits of technical feasibility?

Why, yes. Yes they do. They think they can have the letter M stricken from the alphabet, repeal Tuesday, and control objective reality itself. I think there's a Simpson's reference to back me up on this one.

Re:What?? (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509293)

Do judges just think computers are magic boxes which they can order to do whatever they may like, and that there are no limits of technical feasibility?
Um, probably. Isn't that how most non-technical users regard their computer?

Re:What?? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509379)

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0. Thankfully, truly effective copy protection is not possible.

And it's a good thing it isn't, lest people go back to the old fashioned method of stealing physical property out of the stores themselves.

Re:What?? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509481)

Well, I can't talk about judges, but I do know a lawyer who did believe me when I told him the Magic Smoke Theory [wikipedia.org] .

It was NOT easy to keep him from airtightening his servers...

New Law (2, Interesting)

Orclover (228413) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509103)

It should be Law that legal officials of all sort have to have a "qualified technical advisor" present when giving any court order or summons. Mind you we geeks would then lose our main advantage when it comes to skating on the fringes of laws *cough"mp3 collection"cough*.

Re:New Law (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509271)

you know, i almost couldn't figure out what you were typing there with the *cough*s around the phrase "mp3 coll...

*GUNSHOT*

*THUD*

Re:New Law (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509375)

It's usually up to the plaintiff and the defendant to provide expert knowledge, not the court. I doubt the judge came up with this "get their RAM" idea all by himself, more likely the plaintiff asked for it and the judge was just granting the request. So either the plaintiff has an idiot expert (highly likely given past experience), or they think they can actually recover enough information from the defendant's RAM (which may be possible, but I wouldn't bet my case on it).

Re:New Law (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509399)

The thing is, that would just lead to a whole bunch of not particularly well-informed people who have enough time/money to secure the appropriate (probably very expensive) certification from the appropriate (partial to vested interests but technically unqualified) regulatory body being given a loud voice in legal matters that their expertise does not merit. It would be like paying thousands for so-called expert witnesses, but for every court case that ever involved technology. Oh, and probably having them be deemed right by the court automatically, even if you (as someone who does know what they're talking about) present an informed opinion that disagrees.

Tagging (beta): greatintheory, hopelessinpractice

Broken Link? (1)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509107)

Try this: ZDnet.com [zdnet.com]

Volatile Memory? (1)

_anomaly_ (127254) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509111)

The story page wouldn't load for me, so I'm responding without having RTFA unfortunately.

But what can they hope to obtain from the RAM? Isn't it considered volatile memory because it loses any data once power is lost? Am I missing something? Are there some remnants of the data previously stored in the RAM remain once power is lost?

Re:Volatile Memory? (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509341)

Yes , depending on the ram it can actually still maintain the pointers as well. Data is retrievable from ram same as its retrievable from flash also.

Link? (1)

stevenvi (779021) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509115)

The link redirects me to http://news.zdnet.comnull/ [news.zdnet.comnull] .

Assuming this is a real news article, however, I wonder at what stage the court wants a snapshot of the RAM? Any attempts to copy it would, I assume, modify the current contents of it. Or do they want to actual chips out of the computers? The defendant would probably then be charged with destroying evidence when the chips were found to contain no data...

Just one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19509117)

Does this RAM have a Hemmy in it?

hmm.. (4, Funny)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509137)

I wonder if its floppy or hard ram?

What they want you to do is (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509141)

log everything relevant to serving pages as it changes in RAM as it could be discoverable evidence... so even if you weren't logging it, they want you to log it anyway as the Judge believes that it had presence for a brief period so may be relevant evidence

Re:What they want you to do is (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509247)

Which is what TFA said, so I'm thinking the logs should be in hex.

Re:What they want you to do is (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509289)

time to start encrypting my RAM as well as my disks so it only exists as real data in the cpu registers themselves...

Re:What they want you to do is (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19509291)

Mod parent up. While not technically feasible to hand over RAM, this would open the door to requiring logging to track the contents of RAM. Doesn't matter if your info is not stored to disk. If it was in RAM, it is fair game to be presented as evidence.

Seinfeld? (2, Funny)

eharvill (991859) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509149)

Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George wants to keep his high score in a Frogger arcade machine and rigs up a car battery so he can unplug it and move it elsewhere.

Re:Seinfeld? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509363)

newer video games use nvram or have ram with a battery backup on it.

Judges shouldn't be allowed on these cases. (1, Insightful)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509167)

Judges should not be allowed to preside over these cases unless they have a basic knowledge of computers. I would have to assume that the volatility of RAM was explained to the judge and if he still couldn't understand this udderly basic principle, how is he going to be competent with the remainder of the case?

Series of tubes (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509249)

Two words : Ted Stevens. Living proof that you do not need ANY knowledge of computers to be in charge of legislating any aspect of computing.

Re:Judges shouldn't be allowed on these cases. (2, Insightful)

benfinkel (1048566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509277)

Do some googling. This Slashdot bit doesn't adequately explain it.

Torrentspy has been ordered to retain records of all of the information that is in their RAM as part of discovery. Not turn the physical RAM chips over to the court.

Re:Judges shouldn't be allowed on these cases. (1)

loxosceles (580563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509415)

He's a judge, silly. By fiat, judges are competent in any cases over which they preside.

Sort of like how certified idjits are --again, by cultural fiat-- competent in the area of certification.

I'm OK with that (1)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509201)

I am hiding everything in /dev/null anyways.

Sure (4, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509213)

Sure, I'll unplug it and send it to you right away, your Honor!

Hey why not (1)

Orleron (835910) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509231)

Sure, Your Honor, please accept my RAM neatly packed in a box full of fluffy software to cushion any impact from shipping. Shall I compile a cover letter with that?

precedent (4, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509241)

Keep in mind this is a magistrate judge, which is one step below a trial court judge (who is already generally below 2 levels of appeals courts). Magistrate judges work on a very fact-specific level, so I don't think this ruling would make even persuasive authority. I think I cited a magistrate judge like once, and that was just because the subject was so obscure I couldn't find anything else...

So smarty - but are we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19509255)

True - turing off the computer should clear the RAM but maybe that's not the complete picture.

With RAM sizes increasing so much of the last few years is it unreasonable to think that advanced forensics can't get any useful information off them?

Confusing story (1)

Just some bastard (1113513) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509259)

The issue appears to be that a dump of the servers physical RAM would contain connected IP addresses. Removing the addresses from a RAM dump would be much more complex than removing or obscuring such data in a system log file. TFA is gibberish.

They want logs of what was in RAM?? (1)

joekampf (715059) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509273)

RTFA, "RAM is the working storage of a computer and designed to be impermanent," McCarron said. "Potentially your RAM is being modified up to several billions of times a second. The judge's order simply reveals to me a lack of technical understanding." The Judge wants a log of what was in RAM. Just nuts. There isn't enough storage in the world to save every state change of RAM in one of these huge servers for more than a few days. The hell with privacy. I think this ruling can single handedly destroy the technology industry making the price to run a single server astronomical.

Even if they had the information off the ram... (4, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509295)

Even if they had the information off the ram, there's no way to tell what context they're running the information in.

1001011010100100 - Well with this information I have no choice but to rule the defendant innocent... oh wait...
1001011010100101!! That changes everything! - I have no choice but to rule the defendant guilty !

Re:Even if they had the information off the ram... (1)

ruewan (952328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509473)

A printout would be a beautiful way to give the judge what he asked for.

What will they find?? (1)

ruewan (952328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509297)

Are the going take the RAM out of the servers and examine it? It seems as though the MPAA is getting everyone to spy for them. According to the L.A. Times AT & T has agreed to spy for the MPAA as well. Because AT & T wants to make money from pay-television. It is just like my ISP here. They started shaping bit torrent traffic 1 day and announced their television service the next day. http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-fi-piracy13ju n13,1,5531531.story?ctrack=1&cset=true [latimes.com]

And that "dude" can send me in jail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19509309)

...a spaceship to mars, please, and quick! :-(

I hope.. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509319)

I hope they handle the RAM with rubber gloves and masks to avoid possible cross-contamination of computer virusses.

Network cables are next (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19509321)

Next up will the the data on the network cables traveling over the internet tubes

What really needs to be turned over... (1)

dahl_ag (415660) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509335)

is the ethernet card. THATS where you will find your evidence! Duh.

No Problems here! (1)

Catiline (186878) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509355)

I don't see any problem with this ruling; TorrentSpy should take the RAM sticks out of their servers, place them into a static free bag and bubble wrap, then mail them to the MPAA's lawyers.

What, there wasn't any data on them? Oh, guess you don't know what "volatile storage" means.

Pirates and researchers rejoice! (1)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509371)

Load up RAM with lots of copyrighted works, send copies to them in discovery, and *poof* instant public record of it. I'd make sure to load up a legally purchased movie or two into ram. Heck, I'd buy extra ram and buffer an entire movie just for this.

Sounds like a way to bypass certain DMCA restrictions, too, such as the provisions against bypassing copy protection and such.

The beating on the dead horse continues... (1)

UP_Minstrel (70371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509411)

Your horse ate a carrot from a bunch that I sold someone who wasn't supposed to share them.
Your horse has the ability to digest carrots, but some chemicals may remain.
We demand the horse's spleen as evidence.

one word, two meanings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19509419)

a hard drive is that thing you turn on and off, plug your keyboard in, and put your cd's in... as a tech it's pretty much understood that you never take the computer stupid literally when tech terms are involved. the judge didn't ask for random access memory, the judge asked for that stores information. you can't be literal with an illiterate. the techies given the ram will have a good laugh, the judge will be schooled and re-issue the command with proper language, and next week the process will start all over again with someone else.

More details... (1)

AP2k (991160) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509425)

http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9727965-7.html [com.com]

According to that article, we see that the judge knows basically what RAM is.

They thing that puzzles me is that if one were using, lets say, closed source service software, how the hell are you supposed to figure out exactly where the IP is in memory to log it?

all well and good but.... (3, Informative)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509431)

Even if they could prove you went to torrentspy...theres nothing they can do......even if they proved you downloaded a torrent...there is nothing they can do, as torrents have no copyrighted data.....tey would have to prove you downloaded the content the torrent pointed to, which at that point is out of the torrent spy loop...but who know what they'll try to say

Seems like a fair turnaround (1, Troll)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19509493)

Considering the sheer stupidity displayed by technologists who expound upon legal matters (for examples, see this site, any given story), why is it fair to expect that legal experts would be strong on technology matters?

Still, this is an opportunity for nerds to play their favorite game: look how much smarter I am than you.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?