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United States Censorship The Internet

Using P2P To Make Gov't Documents Easy To Find 171

Posted by timothy
from the whaddya-mean-for-once? dept.
Trinition writes "Kim Zetter wrote for Wired News that "While legislators in Washington work to outlaw peer-to-peer networks, one website is turning the peer-to-peer technology back on Washington to expose its inner, secretive workings." For once, we have a concrete example to point to when citing the merits of P2P."
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Using P2P To Make Gov't Documents Easy To Find

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  • Hrm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by canwaf (240401) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:42AM (#9747078) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't "exposing secretive inner workings" make the US government want to shut down p2p even more?
    • Re:Hrm... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Erpo (237853) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:51AM (#9747126)
      Wouldn't "exposing secretive inner workings" make the US government want to shut down p2p even more?

      Of course, but it's a lot easier for your elected representative to read "We're legislating against p2p networks to stop criminals from stealing music," off of a 3x5 card given to them by the RIAA than it is to say, "Here in D.C. we're doing things we're afraid you might find out about."

      • Re:Hrm... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Evil Adrian (253301)
        Um, why can't you just post stuff to a web site? Why do you need p2p to post documents?
        • Re:Hrm... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by torpor (458) <ibisum@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @08:16AM (#9747739) Homepage Journal
          because that web site can be taken down.

          because it can be altered.

          we have seen many, many examples of the U.S. gov't altering published data to support political motivation.

          using p2p, where there is -no one single point of control- would actually be a far more Democracy-supporting protocol than FTP or HTTP, both of which are like the "fascist dicatorships of transfer protocols"...
          • we have seen many, many examples of the U.S. gov't altering published data to support political motivation.

            Name one instance where a private party altered its website against its wishes due to the U.S. Gov't for political reasons.
            • sharereactor.com
            • There was a show on NPR (maybe "Science Friday" or "Talk of the Nation") where there was a debate on sex-ed in public schools. There was some contention between 2 of the guests about the CDC changing the statistics about condom failure, allegedly to support a political agenda.

              It's not a private site, but I believe the root of this thread had to do with the government altering its own public data on a whim.

              • Yep- but it came with a disclaimer "when used properly". Now if you can tell me how horny teenagers can use a condom more than 60% properly, you'll have the answer to why condoms are considered 98% effective but still fail to prevent pregnancy 40% of the time.
            • Name one instance where a private party altered its website against its wishes due to the U.S. Gov't for political reasons.

              First, it's not just private parties -- the US govt owns websites too, and these are where many important documents lie. Ari Fleischer's transcript was altered to remove the embarrassing comment "Watch what you say." Documents on Iraq on whitehouse.gov were not altered but were intentionally obscured so that search engines couldn't find them easily. And the website of the National

          • Re:Hrm... (Score:5, Funny)

            by DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:23PM (#9751165) Homepage
            FTP or HTTP, both of which are like the "fascist dicatorships of transfer protocols"...

            What did you think FTP stood for?
        • You don't. It sounds like a horrible idea - multiple versions of multiple documents in the wild.

          CVS sounds like a much better idea.
          • It sounds like a horrible idea - multiple versions of multiple documents in the wild.

            • Sorry -- post seems to have submitted itself before I
              wrote anything (bug in new slashcode?). Anyway:

              Governments could trivially discredit such a channel,
              by having a few Winston Smyths constantly generate fake
              (and easily disproven) leaked documents. Articles found
              on P2P nets would soon have about as much credibility as
              random articles posted to "alt.kooks.tinfoil".

              • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:33PM (#9751289) Homepage Journal
                Governments could trivially discredit such a channel, by having a few Winston Smyths constantly generate fake (and easily disproven) leaked documents. Articles found on P2P nets would soon have about as much credibility as random articles posted to "alt.kooks.tinfoil".

                I've never understood why the government just doesn't do this anyway instead of messing around with classification systems. A good example would he the current war- how could you possibly endanger troop movement information if the newspapers have 15 different locations for any given soldier at any given time? Information Overload works.
        • I post game patches, linux distros, and crap like that on p2p. Makes my ISP work for my money.

          There are plenty of legitimate uses for p2p file sharing, even if you don't count music/movies/pirated code.
    • Hell, this site could possibly be the real reason why they're looking at putting this law in place! They might be tired of brown-noseing the music industry, but stopping something like this might be enough to get them going again.

      Hopefully, we can get the courts to strike down this law as banning a type of speech.

    • by Thad Anderson (798603) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:54PM (#9751554)
      I wanted to thank everyone for your comments, and address a couple issues.

      1) BITTORRENT: Due to a number of emails regarding this, I'm dropping Kazaa and going with Bittorrent. I'll have this set up by the end of the week, possibly earlier.

      2) RELIABILITY OF DOCUMENTS: Tonight I will finish synchronizing the names of documents offered via P2P with the names given on the Government Document Library page. Once that is done, if you've downloaded documents online, you'll be able to verify the documents by checking them against the PDF provided by the original source (say, the NRDC or the House Committee on Gov't Reform). The only surefire way I can confirm that you are downloading a reliable document is if you are downloading it directly from my usernames (provided on the Download For Democracy page). Also note that the filenames of all files will include the source. As I mentioned earlier, I'm working all the kinks out of this tonight.

      3) ON THIS USE'S EFFECT ON P2P OVERALL: As some people here have pointed out, none of the documents on my site are truly "secret" - I'm not breaking new documents. I consider the site's job to be one of an aggregator (and yes, I use that term because of my obsession with Google News). Anyway, considering that these documents have been made available by other sources - sources that have a degree of credibility that I have not built yet - I don't anticipate that this usage could have a negative effect on P2P. I'm never going to post anything that is not from a major media outlet, a legal or academic source, or the government.

      Thanks for your interest, comments, and advice, and keep checking back over the next couple of weeks - the P2P campaign will be improving in terms of the networks used, the number of documents, and the ability to verify documents.

      Thad Anderson
      outragedmoderates.org
    • Who needs peer2peer, when you have pocket2pocket document transfer.

      Sandy Berger, Clinton's national security adviser and John Kerry advisor, illegally removed classified documents from the National Archives [usatoday.com] during the 9/11 commission investigation by stuffing them into his jacket, pants pockets, and his socks.

      Maybe we need p2p to get this story out, since the mainstream media is doing a good job of burying the story.

    • "exposing secretive inner workings" [of the US government]

      Please, please! Why won't someone think of the children?? Clearly, they should not be exposed to such naughty and immoral things!
  • Ok... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nuclear305 (674185) * on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:42AM (#9747083)
    "For once, we have a concrete example to point to when citing the merits of P2P."

    Maybe, but this also gives the government one more reason as to why P2P is evil and should be banned, don't you think?
    • Exaclty what I thought, this gives the anti-p2p crowd some more ammo to use when trying to get legislation passed..
      • It does not give ammo; quite the opposite, but it would still give politicos MORE reason to want to do away with p2p. They are not going to say, "we don't like you trading government documents that are supposed to be public domain anyway". That won't cut it, at least in public. But I think this could make it more fashonable to talk about the evils of downloading music and that those pirate netweoks should be closed.
      • Re:Ok... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by torpor (458)
        it also exposes their intentions... if p2p is proven to be an effective, democratic process for publishing government documents, and yet some right-wing republican fascist attack squad tries to pass a bill that outlaws all p2p use, forever (lest the terrorists attack), then it really truly exposes the intention of that party to confuscate and continue to keep government from answering for its responsibility to The People.

        quick, everyone, get behind this effort to p2p'ize gov't documents and the public reco
    • Re:Ok... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fuzzix (700457) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @07:14AM (#9747239) Journal
      I don't think "For once" is a fair phrase myself. I have been using peer-to-peer technology for a few years now legitimately.

      I use bittorrent to download Linux ISOs. I use ED2K to get community films and videos (Like the Your Sinclair Rock'n'Roll Years [google.com] for example.) Even my home network could be described as peer to peer as I have no server for 4 client machines.

      All legitimate uses, no "For once" required.
      • Even my home network could be described as peer to peer as I have no server for 4 client machines.

        Its interesting you say that. Client / Server is really only defined at the transport layer or layer 4, and here is why :

        • Ethernet is a peer-to-peer protocol - a device sending or receiving an ethernet frame is no different from any other, which makes it a peer
        • IP is (or was designed to be) a peer-to-peer protocol - a device sending or receiving an IP packet is no different from any other, which makes it
    • Re:Ok... (Score:3, Informative)

      by TyrranzzX (617713)
      Peer to peer networks often remind me of one of my favorite bible verses (hey, it may be corny but :P);

      "Rev.6: 2 And I saw, and behold, a white horse; and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him and he went forth conquering and to conquer. "

      That verse reminds me of peer to peer networks because the white horse represents truth and purity and that truth goes forth and conquers unstoppably; once a file hits a peer to peer network, and a few people find out and begin telling their
      • Peer to peer networks often remind me of one of my favorite bible verses (hey, it may be corny but :P);

        "Rev.6: 2 And I saw, and behold, a white horse; and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him and he went forth conquering and to conquer. "

        That verse reminds me of peer to peer networks because the white horse represents truth and purity and that truth goes forth and conquers unstoppably...

        Not to be pendantic, but the "White Rider" is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a

    • Re:Ok... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by adam mcmaster (697132)

      Maybe, but this also gives the government one more reason as to why P2P is evil and should be banned, don't you think?

      Exactly, how long do you think it'll be before we hear about 'terrorists' trading secret government documents over P2P?

    • Re:Ok... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Oddly_Drac (625066)
      "Maybe, but this also gives the government one more reason as to why P2P is evil and should be banned, don't you think?"

      Yeah, time to finally close down that 'freedom of speech' loophole that the fags and pinkos have been hiding behind all these years.

    • "For once, we have a concrete example to point to when citing the merits of P2P."

      Maybe, but this also gives the government one more reason as to why P2P is evil and should be banned, don't you think?

      While P2P is clearly not "evil" as of itself, it is easy to see how such a network providing and disseminating information on governments and politicians could easily be abused. Because the decentralised structure of the network makes it nigh-on impossible to remove interesting reads (true or false) from

  • Bittorrent (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kyhwana (18093) <kyhwana@SELL-YOUR-SOUL.kyhwana.org> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:46AM (#9747100) Homepage
    Hmm, there's no bittorrent tracker/seed.
    Does anyone have a tracker/.torrent of all the stuff? Or would be willing to host one..
  • by Mant (578427) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:48AM (#9747106) Homepage

    The site doesn't actually link to anything secret, it is all available to the public. What it does do is make it very easy to find, particulalry compared to getting this stuff of government websites.

  • by Glock27 (446276) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:49AM (#9747110)
    When the government can use reasons like this [msn.com] to avoid releasing the data in the first place.

    The mind boggles...

    By the way, isn't this type of thing the raison d'etre for Freenet - how many Freenet nodes are up these days? Any DHS visits to Freenet node operators/sites?

    • by Bendy Chief (633679) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @07:31AM (#9747353) Homepage Journal

      Sounds to me like the agency was doing its job admirably when it wrote that database:

      "This database will self-destruct in five seconds..."

      Mr. Phelps would be proud.

    • After reading through that report I'm not entirely convinced it's as far fetched as it sounds. Yes, it's clearly a very poorly designed system, but the arguement they are making is that the system wasn't designed to be able to keep running as well as provide the overhead for copying. While they didn't give reasons for it, failed back ups could cause this sort of situation, as well as a system grossly over it's intended maximum capacity.

      Think about it, Slashdot crashes systems regularly. Of COURSE they n
      • Well first of all, all people are asking for is a backup of the database. They don't have backups that they can copy? That's far more incompetence than I would like to imagine in our government. Second, the revamp won't be done until December, conveniently after the election. Coincidence?

  • by iapetus (24050) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:49AM (#9747113) Homepage
    Over here in the UK, the government uses the more reliable low-tech approach of real paper documents available from laybys [bbc.co.uk] to spread information about its secret inner workings.
  • by Confused (34234) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:49AM (#9747118) Homepage
    I'm certain, that as soon as the first secret or confidential documents appear on the network, this will be used as pretext to apply all kind of national security and anti-terrorist laws to the network.

    Then we'll see, how anonymous, secure and resilient the P2P-network really is.

    As a whole, the concept is interesting, as much as watching mice baiting a cat.
    • "Pretext?" As in, "I'm certain that as soon as someone drags a passerby into an alley and whacks him in the head with a brick, this will be used as a pretext to apply all kinds of anti-mugging laws to the city streets?"

      As in, "as soon as somebody uses the network to commit a crime, the police will feel moved to enforce the laws they swore to uphold?"
      • Er, no, more in the sense of "as soon as some criminal finds it easier to commit armed robbery with a gun rather than a knife, people will use it as a pretext for more gun control".

        The basic issue is that laws directed at inanimate objects rather than at specific behavior are generally a bad idea.

    • And yet, p2p is also arguably a great benefit for national security, at least insofar as such security is improved by access to information.

      (The real problem, of course, is those in charge of national security actually using the information they have access to, as is well established by examples in the excellent book Imperial Hubris with regard to US government actions in the war on terrorism.)

  • um... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmaDaden (794446) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:51AM (#9747123)
    " For once, we have a concrete example to point to when citing the merits of P2P."

    Um...What about Bittorrent? Last time I checked it was the best way to download large files like Linux distros. Plus it makes it better to have more people downloading not worse, a big problem for huge servers with popular files. I can remember it taking FOREVER to get my first fresh Linux dostro downloaded
    • Re:um... (Score:4, Funny)

      by po_boy (69692) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @08:43AM (#9748045) Homepage
      ...my first fresh Linux dostro downloaded

      It was bound to happen sooner or later. Another "i" in "distribution" finally succumbed to the temptation of becoming an "o". I knew that once "distri" became "distro" we were on a slippery slope to destruction. Pretty soon, all we'll have left are "dostrobutoons". Mark this day.
    • Not just linux distros. I've been downloading government information like this from p2p for a long time now. When I heard about Abu Ghraib, p2p was the first place I looked for the photos, rather than the CBS website. I got the Diebold documents off p2p when that scandal first broke. At the beginning of the Iraq war, many documents were being shared that were useful to critics of the war rationale. Not just government documents either but interviews with people and snippets of news coverage, etc.

      I thin

  • by syrinje (781614) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:53AM (#9747132)
    Having gone through a gifted infancy, a troubled toddlerdom and an uncertain childhood, p2p is now officially adolescent. The kind of testosterone-driven head-butting that this represents cannot be accounted for in any other way. This is a case of nose-thumbing while jumping up and down screaming "I dare ya, nyaah na na nyaah na" to a Confirmed Texan(TM) who roams a mean praire...

    I am guessing this is one site that will have reason to be thankful for being ./ed.

  • flaw (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MarsDude (74832) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:57AM (#9747149) Homepage
    If people download these documents from kazaa or some other p2p network, who is to tell if the information in these documents hasn't been tampered with ? For fun or evil...

    You can get weird stories into this world this way.
    • Re:flaw (Score:3, Informative)

      by alex_ware (783764)
      with bittorent an MD5 sum of the file is held on each peer and if one doesnt add up he is a bad peer stoping tampering
    • If people download these documents from kazaa or some other p2p network, who is to tell if the information in these documents hasn't been tampered with ?

      MD5 exists, and can easily be integrated in any p2p client.
      • ok... so I take a document, modify it anyway I want, make an md5 for it.

        There's a document that has the same name as the original, AND there exists a MD5sum for it to check against.

        A better solution would be to have a PGP signed document. But then again... Almost no Joe Average uses PGP or GPG... so no one checks the source of the document.

    • Re:flaw (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If people download these documents from kazaa or some other p2p network, who is to tell if the information in these documents hasn't been tampered with ? For fun or evil... ...which is why the outragedmoderates.org site gives explicit instructions to search for their username and download those files (in pdf form), and they only guarantee the accuracy of files hosted by them.

      How can you judge if documents have been tampered with? Take a random sampling and find the originals (all are public documents) and
      • True... but to many people have the tendency to trust everything and everyone without checking what it is (examples? how many people you know open attachments from unknown sources on a windows machine?, how many people have spyware installed with some application because they never checked if the software is 'clean'?)

        So even though it IS possible to deliver documents that are 'original' and check for it... that doesn't mean that people actually pay attention.
        • These people are not likely to be the ones who are interested in such documents in the first place :)
    • by zogger (617870) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @07:48AM (#9747499) Homepage Journal
      you can't tell, same as with the "original" document that the government produced. They could start out pre-tampered. all you can do is find enough of them and compare them to look for inconsistencies. Unless you wrote it and signed it and released, you have no idea that any random government document is accurate,or is in the same form it was originally written in,you have little to no idea if anything in it is accurrate or purposeful disinformation or just busywork or a CYA effort for some reason. None of the above. Look at the way the reasons to invade iraq were presented, as "fact", based on "intel" from "multiple credible sources". Remember the pictures of the "mobile bioweapons labs" the regime was waving around that eventually were proven to be helium weather balloon "mobile labs"? That's just one example, there are probably thousands if not millions more when you think of all the projects government has been into over all these years. Pick any subject, any topic, any government agency, any year, any regime, you can probably find a lot of screwy documents that wouldn't past the honesty criteria.

      The system has been broken for a long time. I have yet to meet any civilian or military government employee, willing to talk about matters off the cuff and off the record, who isn't aware of illegal or questionable shenanigans going on, and the system never gets fixed, it just gets more complex and they get better at keeping the bad stuff hidden.

      I'm a skeptic, and based on decades of looking and seeing that this vague thing called "government" is just as apt to obfuscate and lie as tell the truth and be open, I am forced to assume anything they say-or release in document form, even so called "leaked" documents-should be treated with a high degree of incredulity. So the best you can do is compare it with some known data, and check multiple and diverse sources.
      • It's important to add that people researching such things are generally attuned to the issue of potential document tampering and are likely to be more wary when documents are gotten off p2p. Significant alterations are likely to be noticed by *someone*. I realize this is a risk, especially because lots of people will share the documents without ever looking at them, but when people do find bad data they will publicize it. md5 will be used, or other more simple ways of detecting changes in a document (cha
        • By the way, it occurs to me that the Wikipedia is a good example of the success (so far) of this distributed method of maintaining accurate content. While the technology and interface are very different, the idea of a distributed network of fact-checkers can work. There are distortions, but they tend to get noticed and fixed pretty regularly. P2p makes that somewhat more difficult -- you can never trust the integrity of the whole database -- but there are plenty ways to publicize the problems that do o
  • Lately the government has been reclassifying documents that have been previously declassified.

    I don't think they would support this and may even attempt to quash it because it would remove the controls the government has over their own information.

    Oh the times we live in.
    • The thing to remember is that it isn't their own information. Governments are transitory... and then there's that whole "elected by and responsible to the people" thing. In theory at least.
      • by mwood (25379)
        Exactly. It's not "their own information" because there is no "they". It's *our* own information; we just hired some people to take care of it for us. (Yes, I do remember that there's a world outside of the U.S. borders, but this story ain't about you.)

        If some of our hirelings sometimes act as if they don't see things that way, all the more reason for the rest of us to make sure that we act as though we do.
    • As opposed to officials of the previous administration, who just take the classified documents home [myway.com] with them and "lose" them.

      What this tells me is that there aren't enough controls (chain of custody) over documents...
  • Concrete examples? (Score:4, Informative)

    by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @06:59AM (#9747160) Homepage
    You're kidding right? How about software distribution? Even though there is lots of software being distributed that shouldn't be, there is a lot of free software out there that is perfectly okay to share that way. Many people get their latest [favorite_linux_distro] ISO images this way. It's very legitimate and has been going on long enough to show it's not an exception to the rule at all.

    Maybe the poster didn't think it through when he made the assertion, "For once, we have a concrete example to point to..." P2P is quite legitimate.
    • I wouldn't download software from a P2P network.

      Too easy for some crackpot to put up a compromised copy, wait a while, then sell his new spamming network to Ralsky or someone like him.
      • Too easy for some crackpot to put up a compromised copy, wait a while, then sell his new spamming network to Ralsky or someone like him

        Not easy at all. He'd have to sort out a tracker, have a decent amount of bandwidth to get seeds out there and get his md5 sums and torrents onto a trusted source. That's apart from creating a version of a Linux distro with a spyware/spamming component that nobody will notice. How many slackware users do you know who don't notice massive increases in processing or traffic

        • For a Linux distro, it's not a large risk, I'll grant you. Slackware users can be expected to pay a little attention to what their computer's doing.

          That doesn't generalise to more commonplace software, though.
          • Well, you'd want to be a right nut to trust software from most nets. BitTorrent tends to be used more legitimately than, say, Kazaa or ED2K.

            You takes your chances, I suppose but I don't get my tarballs from p2p anyway :)
    • Actually, I think the poster had it right.

      Sure, Linux distros and similar large software downloads is something you can point out as a legitimate use of p2p to sell the idea... to geeks. You don't need to sell p2p's legitimacy to geeks, though. That's preaching to the choir. You need to sell it to legislators. For that purpose, saying "Here, it helps the government do something it needs to do cheaper, easier, and better!" might be effective in ways that the software distribution example never could
    • by BlueStrat (756137)
      "Many people get their latest [favorite_linux_distro] ISO images this way. It's very legitimate and has been going on long enough to show it's not an exception to the rule at all."

      Actually, it may be viewed by legislators brib^H^H^H^Hlobbied by certain competitors of linux to be another reason to try to outlaw P2P.

      Strat
  • Hmm, there arn't even any of the files being shared, at least on fast track and gnutella (and openft)
    At least if there was a BT tracker, you could tell if it was up or not..
    I'd start a tracker, or seed the files somewhere, if I could just GET copies of them, but I can't..

    Has anyone sucessfully downloaded/mirrored the site?
  • what about google (Score:5, Informative)

    by dncsky1530 (711564) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @07:04AM (#9747180) Homepage
    we all love google, however their search technology allows any one to find out anything about the government. one of the special searchs primarily searches US government [google.com] documents. Not to mention peoples personal information [google.com] can be found just as easily.
    Please don't get me wrong, I love google, and use it, and I especially enjoy these types of searches
  • by carcosa30 (235579) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @07:10AM (#9747218)
    Some other comments are saying "But they will just want to ban it all the more!"

    In fact, if we use P2P to broadcast all kinds of government dirty laundry, their attempts to ban p2p will look like an attempt to crack down on freedom of information.

    It could very well be that free flow of information, anonymous and universally available, is a huge reason why world governments don't like p2p. Of course, the record industry's huge donations to Orrin Hatch don't hurt any either.

    I say dump Cryptome onto p2p sites. Dump whatever you can. We have a loophole right now; better try and widen it while we can. We might even give pause to some of the criminals on capitol hill while we're at it.
  • Zer0 day (Score:5, Funny)

    by minus9 (106327) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @07:21AM (#9747281) Homepage

    I'm downloading AGrikulturalPolicyNOCD+crakz.zip right now.

  • With the nature of P2P networks, what safeguards have been taken against "poisoning" the documents? Seems it would be too easy to take a document and modify/censor it then place it back into the network. Neither the article nor the website of the people doing this seem to address this possibility.

    =Smidge=
    • I guess you are right, we should trust the government.
      • And who do you think would most likely be doing the poisoning?

        I'm not opposed to making government docs more accessible. Far from it. But if you're going to do that you need to be careful against distributing someone's political agenda instead of factual information.
        =Smidge=
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @07:25AM (#9747309) Homepage
    Nearly all game demos and patches are made available through bittorrent. The game publisher saves some bandwidth and gamers don't have to sign their souls over to fileplanet.

    Some may argue that Congress wouldn't consider gaming worth of protecting. But just remind Congress that gamers are a billion dollar business, and that'll pique their interest.
  • by e6003 (552415) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @07:36AM (#9747395) Homepage
    ...at The Importance Of... [corante.com] - basically he makes the very sound point that this obfuscated distribution system is entirely unnecessary. All US Government documents are public domain (non-copyrighted) so any web site could put them up for static download without fear of DMCA attacks. It would make them far easier to find just by using Google. Instead "I go to the outragedmoderates.org website, go to the "Government Document Library," look up the documents I want, ignore the fact that I could download them from the website, start a P2P program, enter a search for the document name and/or outragedmoderates.org user name, and then download the documents, remembering that if I don't download the documents from outragedmoderates.org I might be getting inauthentic files."
    • All US Government documents are public domain (non-copyrighted) so any web site could put them up for static download without fear of DMCA attacks.

      Are you under the illusion that the DMCA is the only possible way the government could attack a website?
  • by davek (18465) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @07:44AM (#9747463) Homepage Journal
    This is exactly what so many people should be doing in the open-source and free-software communities. We need to prove that many of these tools are only considered "evil" because they take away money from corporations. They are not, by themselves, tools of the devil.

    This type of idea can be applied to many more things which can encourage social reform. Not just spreading information and accessing it easily (P2P and the Internet are doing just fine), but with opening tools and software/hardware solutions into the public domain. We need to figure out a way to develop software without fear of piracy (by making it free), and which still compensates those who spend thousands of hours toiling over it.

    We should apply this idea at all levels. Move out of the dark realms of piracy and software cracks, and prove that we really DO have better ideas than the current industry.

    -Dave
  • "It took Anderson about four hours and 2,000 mouseclicks to download more than 13,000 documents related to Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force" 2,000 clicks for 13,000+ documents?? via an html interface.. now that impresses me.. i map ~ 1 click : 1 document "Pornography, for example, had a role in pushing broadband into more homes." just giving you guys a reason to rtfa
  • by ewe2 (47163)
    it's the perfect disinformation channel!
  • The documents are a matter of public record . . . . how does this shed light on "secretive workings" The only difference here is that this website does is try to shed a little light on the documents and reduce the "practical obscurity"* of them.

    I'm not saying this isn't without value, but come on . . . I thought that responsible editors were supposed to make sure that such ridiculous exaggeration never make it to press.

    * Practical obscurity . . . a term used by courts to indicate that documentation that

    • Some years ago, my father and I secured the public printed documents on the manageement of the State of Alabama Board of Education and the various schools in the state. We recompiled the data by hand typing into a database and extracted much valuable management information. When presented to Mary Jane Caylor (State Board of Ed.) she was dumbfounded. She said with much excitement, "Where did you get this data!" It seemed that she had requested from the Bureaucrats this data in this form and they had told

  • by azaris (699901) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @08:23AM (#9747824) Journal
    Using P2P To Make Gov't Documents Easy To Find,
    Using Gov't To Make P2P Operators Hard To Find
  • by asv108 (141455) <alex AT phataudio DOT org> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @08:39AM (#9748010) Homepage Journal
    Networks and research projects out there today. Bittorrent is probably one most widely use protocols for public domain content distribution. Furthur [furthurnet.com] is a 100% legal P2P music sharing network for bands that allow taping.

    In the academic community, there are quite a few interesting projects going on. I work on a project called LionShare [psu.edu], which is integrating services like authentication, authorization, and directory in to a federated P2P network.

  • For once?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @08:57AM (#9748247) Homepage Journal
    Ok, reasons to use P2P:

    Software downloads - I get all of my Linux ISOs from Gnutella and BitTorrent
    Photographs - Yes, 99% of what's shared on Gnuttella in the way of images is porn. That 1% can be DAMN interesting.
    Video feeds - Back when the towers fell, the Internet was slow, but usable. Major news sites were effectively dead, though. Gnutella was klunky then compared to now, but was still your best bet for getting video of what was going on.
    Rare music - bands that have yet to make a name. Rare recordings from over seas that have never been for sale in the US. There are just so many GOOD things to listen to after you wade through the mainstream garbage.

    P2P is a healthy, vibrant community of free speach. That means that a lot of the speach is the sort of thing you'd hear out of the average high school student, true, but that doesn't make the rare, considered speech any less valuable!
  • Other Examples (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @09:11AM (#9748422) Homepage
    For once, we have a concrete example to point to when citing the merits of P2P.

    Let me offer a few others that have been around for a while:
    - Distributing FLOSS. For example, Linux [tlm-project.org].
    - Distributing music with the copyright holder's permission. For example, eTree [etree.org].
    - Distributing internally developed software to employees in a large enterprise. For example, LANDesk [landesk.com] and Marimba [marimba.com] use peer to peer distribution.
  • by autophile (640621) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @09:54AM (#9749023)
    Thad Anderson, a second-year student at St. John's School of Law in Queens, New York, said he was driven to launch the site by what he says is the current administration's disregard for fundamental democratic structures and its increasing practice of withholding information from the public.

    Drop me a postcard from Guantanamo, "Thad"... :)

    --Rob

  • Lets make this open source project, and make it great... Take an existing p2p project, and fork it... Change/break compatability with all other nodes(the gov wouldn't want 1,000 terabytes of songs to be among the search results), give it a clean interface, and let it use plugins...

    Say, a .gov website could use a g2p:// (government-to-people) protocol, and have IE be able to handle the download as if it were a search result in the g2p software... There are atleast 1 p2p program that already does this...

    I m
  • Hardly a new idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tiltowait (306189) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @10:33AM (#9749616) Homepage Journal
    LOCKSS-DOCS [stanford.edu] and even the US GPO Access [gpoaccess.gov] have already been doing this. But I suppose that given how online government information can go poof [firstmonday.dk] or be altered [usatoday.com], this project sounds like a good idea, albeit a partisan one.
  • It would be way easy for someone to modify a document and upload it back into the system and then you have two copies of the document. There needs to be some sort of repository of MD5sum's to check against what you download.

    Unlike that method of keeping our government transparent the most successful method has been our constitution. The document resides in a meuseum and copies are published in nearly all US History textbooks in our schools. That is one document though and it's far more difficult to main
  • Just give everybody access to Sandy Berger's pants.

The difficult we do today; the impossible takes a little longer.

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