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Senator Proposes to Monitor All P2P Traffic for Illegal Files 626

Posted by Zonk
from the kind-of-strains-the-mind-to-think-about-huh dept.
mytrip writes "Senator Joe Biden (D-Del) has proposed an ambitious plan, costing on the order of $1 billion, aimed at curtailing illegal activities via P2P networks. His plan involves utilizing new software to monitor peer-to-peer traffic on an ongoing basis. 'At an afternoon Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing about child exploitation on the Internet, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) said he was under the impression it's "pretty easy to pick out the person engaged in either transmitting or downloading violent scenes of rape, molestation" simply by looking at file names. He urged use of those techniques by investigators to help nab the most egregious offenders."
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Senator Proposes to Monitor All P2P Traffic for Illegal Files

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:19AM (#23103156)
    Republicans belong to big business and the wealthy. Democrats belong to trial lawyers and Hollywood. And BOTH of them want to spy on me, tell me what I can and can't do on the internet, and use the government to impose their interest groups' agendas on me by force. And between big business and Hollywood, they're both just *aching* to crack down on file sharing, DRM circumvention, or anything that doesn't make some studio money, prop up a lethagic music industry and their 80's-era Compact Discs, or protect an overextended movie industry and their overpriced "tentpole" movies.

    Fuck them. Fuck them both.

    • by CogDissident (951207) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:29AM (#23103312)
      So, he has a "unique serial number" that always identifies a computer. But won't tell anyone how he got it. I'm guessing that they're assuming a MAC address is unique, even though it can be spoofed.

      In any case, all the more reason to use the TOR network.
      • by Firehed (942385) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:56AM (#23103698) Homepage

        Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) said he was under the impression it's "pretty easy to pick out the person engaged in either transmitting or downloading violent scenes of rape, molestation" simply by looking at file names.

        Does that quote suggest to you that he's technical enough to even know what a MAC address is, let alone know that it's spoofed with five seconds worth of work in the command prompt? People have of course screwed with filenames just to see what happens (much more in Kazaa/Limewire than Bit-torrent), probably to test Rule 34, with interesting results; more importantly, it shows that filenames are completely meaningless if you're looking to actually reveal content. In any case, just ticking the "encryption required" box in your torrent client solves that problem - and you can bet your ass that any sort of unique serial number would be the much more industry-standard (and equally absurd) IP address. You know - take the RIAA approach.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        please don't use tor for downloading shit. you'll drive away all the exit nodes. setup a freenet node.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Alarash (746254)

        MAC addresses don't go past the first network equipment (usually your router or switch). As far as I know there are only two ways of seeing the original MAC address : encapsulate the Ethernet frames, or directly ask the number from the NIC driver. Both are currently impossible to do in a passive way (ie: network probe or traffic filtering). You need a layer 7 tool to do that.

        I don't think it's enforceable to require every single computer to have such a software (just to many of them, and too many versions)

    • by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:48AM (#23103578) Homepage

      Republicans belong to big business and the wealthy. Democrats belong to trial lawyers and Hollywood. And BOTH of them want to spy on me, tell me what I can and can't do everywhere, and use the government to impose their interest groups' agendas on me by force. And between big business and Hollywood, they're both just *aching* to crack down on file sharing, DRM circumvention, or anything that doesn't make some studio money, prop up a lethagic music industry and their 80's-era Compact Discs, or protect an overextended movie industry and their overpriced "tentpole" movies.

      Fuck them. Fuck them both.

      There, fixed that for you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Danny Rathjens (8471)
        This "fixed that for you" meme is quite obnoxious. Everything on the internet is archived and when you modify someone's quote to make it look like they said something other than what they actually said there is now a lie about what they said in the permanent record.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by neersign (956437)
      and both Reps and Dems continually find ways to waste my money and tax me more. Some of the things these people come up with is absolutely ridiculous. Did you know that in Maryland, our senate/congress just passed a very important bill to name our official state cake? Seriously. These people get payed with our tax dollars to sit in a room and discuss these things, and they just raised our state sales tax because they have so many more excellent things to talk about. Thank you for wasting my money, Gove
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by c00rdb (945666)
      Aside from the obvious issues in actually implementing this horrendous idea- I have to wonder since when is this the governments concern? Copyright infringement has always been a civil matter. I think this would be the same as the government monitoring the internet for libel against any citizens. It's ridiculous. The fact is our government is horribly run. Stuff like this really makes me angry. How about concentrating on saving money instead of inventing new taxes and new ways to monitor us. How about someo
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Aside from the obvious issues in actually implementing this horrendous idea- I have to wonder since when is this the governments concern? Copyright infringement has always been a civil matter. I think this would be the same as the government monitoring the internet for libel against any citizens. It's ridiculous. The fact is our government is horribly run. Stuff like this really makes me angry. How about concentrating on saving money instead of inventing new taxes and new ways to monitor us. How about some
    • by dave1791 (315728) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:09AM (#23103944)
      So a senator said something stupid about a subject outside of his domain of expertise. Every slashdotter, if elected to the senate, would say stupid things about SOMETHING. This is not a proposal for a law, or Iâ(TM)d be seeing it on my opencongress.org feed. Just kindly wite to the man and inform him that within a week of any such law coming into play, P2P programs would be randomizing the filenames.
      • by tsotha (720379)

        This is a lot worse than someone talking out of school. He's proposing to snoop on every packet that wends its way through the intertubes. Did you see how he wants to catch videos of rapes and molestation? Do you believe that for one second, or do you think it's more likely they want to catch people downloading Rocky XXIII?

        This is a "trial balloon". If he doesn't hear a lot of screaming you'll see it on your precious feed. Disgusting.

    • The payoff (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PoliTech (998983) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:10AM (#23103956) Homepage Journal
      Where's the payoff ... hmmmm let's see:

      Biden pushed for passage of a bill known as the Combating Child Exploitation Act. It would authorize more than $1 billion over the next eight years to hire 250 new federal agents devoted to Internet crimes against children...

      One billion dollars! (puts pinky to lower lip) I see the tip of an ice berg, but ok since ... "It's for the children"!

      provide additional funding to regional computer forensics labs, and give out more federal grants to the regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces. The House of Representatives passed a companion bill in October.

      Ah! The rest of the iceberg! Now how will we pay for it? [slashdot.org]

      No matter that it cannot possibly work, it is for the children you see. So naturally if it's not working, we'll simply need to provide a bit more funding in this year's budget, and the next, and the next...

  • And I'm sure . . . (Score:2, Insightful)

    by base3 (539820)
    . . . this dragnet surveillance "for the children" would never be used to enforce copyright. Right, Senator RIAA?
    • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:30AM (#23103334) Journal
      He's the senator from MBNA and Citibank.

      Totally different.
    • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:39AM (#23103452) Journal
      You are exactly right in your suspicions, get ready for darknet p2p programs to start popping up all around us. When Mr. Biden asks what a darknet is, I hope he is summarily ejected from public office. Subsequent to this law, the information on the internet made available to share via darknets will in turn make its way to those who would share materials that are illegal, so the end result is nearly zero. Some idiots will always get caught, but they are just as likely to get caught without this law.

      Anyone with his position should have enough intelligence to seek out smart people and see what can be done sensibly. Of course, all his intelligence is in his wallet; which is (un)fortunately under his ass most of the time.

      It really is time to get rid of big business lobbyists. Their damage to the US is unfathomably huge. Time for open lobbying, not dissimilar to having to post your lobbying requests on the legislator's wiki site for all to see.

      We need a LOT more transparency in the influences on legislators. Clearly.

      This legislation is being promoted without clear evidence that it is needed. Where is the supporting evidence to show that this legislation will stop what it is intended to stop? How will it stop those from posting to the Internet from countries where the material is not illegal? There is no evidence to support it. If there is, the law is not needed. They can use the evidence they already have to arrest those guilty of the supposed crimes. Fucking idiots.

      What an asshat. Yes, your child can click on the 'download britany spears' link and get childporn. Those filenames are ALWAYS accurate. Damn, even the **AA were using wrong filenames to spoil P2P sharing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        get ready for darknet p2p programs to start popping up all around us.

        I wish I could share your optimism, but I doubt it. Freenet has been around for a long, long time (over 10 years now, I believe). It's barely usable because it depends on there being lots and lots of nodes - and why aren't there lots and lots of nodes? Because everybody's afraid of installing it since it might be used for illegal purposes! Nobody's willing to support truly workable anti-censorship measures because deep down, they support some censorship... which is unfortunate because you either allow

  • WHAT!?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ceiynt (993620) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:21AM (#23103184)
    pretty easy to pick out the person engaged in either transmitting or downloading violent scenes of rape, molestation" simply by looking at file names. Ok, so all my Metallica files will be relabled (Not Metallica_Not Illegal file_Ignore). That should keep the feds off me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Swizec (978239)
      Even though at first glance it might seem filenames aren't that important, it's actually a pretty good heuristic method to gauge what a file might contain.

      This is because people are hardwired to organising their stuff. A filename by the name of "rapeMe" is far easier to find when you need id than the same file, but named "rU2:s" don't you think?

      Now, since people are also lazy they forget to rename these files before transmiting them.

      Sure, the method is not perfect and yes sooner or later filenames
    • Re:WHAT!?! (Score:5, Funny)

      by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:42AM (#23103498) Homepage
      I propose using "JoeBiden_[number].jpg" as a generic filename for all pornographic material.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thynk (653762)
      News alert: Billion dollar federal monitoring program defeated by ROT13 file name encryption. Feds calling "ROT13" the worst thing to happen to national security since 9-11.

      It's unfortunate that none of this Billion bucks they want to spend catching people who swap illegal porn will actually help any of the children who were abused and in reality, won't stop it from happening to other children. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm pretty sure this isn't it.

  • Tags (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (todhsals+nysyaj)> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:22AM (#23103194) Homepage Journal
    I've never seen a better use for the "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" tag in my life.
    • I think "peopleunclearontheconcept" is more like it.

      "simply by looking at the filenames"


      while (conscious)
            head->desk();
    • Re:Tags (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:47AM (#23103562)
      How about a new tag, maybe... naive. Seriously, the way the government does stuff it would cost a billion just to implement what he's proposing. And we all know that child porn addicts never use encryption or, God Forbid, change the name of the files from "kiddy porn101" to "my cool bands music".
  • by beavis88 (25983) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:23AM (#23103204)
    And here I have been giving you credit for not being a total tool. How wrong I was...

    Post Attachment: Cowboy_Neal_Riding_Congressman.jpg
  • I understand now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:24AM (#23103208)
    I understand how these politicians can't get a handle on terrorism, crime, drugs etc.

    They think the people that deal in them are as stupid as they themselves are.

    What light through yonder window breaks? Tis the clarity of seeing people for what they truely are: idiots.
  • File names?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ChuBie (945413) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:24AM (#23103210)
    He wants the filtering done on file names?? Is he serious? That would be one of the easiest filters to get around.
  • by GuyverDH (232921) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:24AM (#23103212)
    Give them all names like "Senator Joe Biden's Personal Photo and Video Stash.tbz"
  • encr, lbhgu, puvyq, nff, shpx, cvff, yvpx, gbegher, encr, crrcrr, qhatrba, fubj, gryy, gbhpu, gvr, ovaq, fgevc, fcnax, fyvpr, oyrrq, qevax, fvfgre, oebgure, 8, 11, wvmm, ovgpu, fhpx, onfu, xvyy
  • ugh (Score:5, Funny)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:25AM (#23103234)
    I hate it when they can't keep the script straight. The dems are supposed to be the stupid ones, the republicans are supposed to be the evil ones. Quit horning in on their territory!
    • by wizkid (13692)

      I don't want to disappoint you, but stupidity is shared by both republicans and democrats these days. But then, so is greed which is part of the cause of the stupidity.
  • pretty easy to pick out the person engaged in either transmitting or downloading violent scenes of rape, molestation" simply by looking at file names
    BWAHAHAHAHA! Oh? He's serious? Well, I guess Windows.exe is really used to let sunlight in my house, eh?
  • I see two approaches here... name every file you transmit a) fluffykitten.jpg or b) underageSexDrugsRockRoll.mpg depending on the actual content
  • Of Course (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gx5000 (863863) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:26AM (#23103256)
    Of course they can do this... They can also stop spam dead in its router or switch feeds... We know where the viruses are originating from, and spam and and and... Since these greasy rogues produce over 90% of the e-mail, then one can take from that that they're also paying big bills to do this... The Golden rule persists, and this InterTubeTechnocrat hasn't a clue.... The thing is probably a work around for the FCC accounting which states that ISP's cannot restrict (reads choke P2P) network feed or else they lose their blanket immunity to prosecution on content.... this guy is trying to build them a trap door...ain't gonna work.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:27AM (#23103274) Homepage Journal
    If encryption is used, you can't do it.

    If monitoring is heavy-handed AND encryption isn't illegal, it will be used.

    The net effect: Wasted CPU time for encryption/decryption.
    • Heh, and Wasted CPU time translates to an environmental issue, so the EPA will probably be able to ban that with some bureaucratic regulation rather than going thru the bother of law.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:29AM (#23103314)
    Real issues: economy, environment, crime, international relations

    Distraction issues: file sharing, gay marriage, abortion, drugs, bosnian snipers

    • Real issues: economy, environment, crime, international relations Distraction issues: file sharing, gay marriage, abortion, drugs, bosnian snipers
      More Distraction issues: racism, The Pope, American Idol, elitism
  • by ween14 (827520) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:29AM (#23103316)
    If I was an ISP who wanted to slow the use of P2P on my network, I only have a few options.

    Comcast tried the first option, which is to drop the connections. The outrage on tech sites was massive, and eventually led to them being investigated by the FCC.

    Barring that option, why not put the burden on the government to handle the filtering. Heck, that is even better because now you don't have to pay for it anymore, your customers pay for it through their taxes.
  • by zerocool^ (112121) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:30AM (#23103336) Homepage Journal
    From now on, I'm renaming all the tarballs I package.

    tar -cvf XXX-9yo-boys-blowjobs-and-crystal-meth.tar dovecot-1.0-stable/

    ~Wx
  • Remember when search engines used to rely on Meta tags? Yeah this is a brilliant plan. There should be a new rule: if you don't know what your talking about when you make a *law* then you get five lashes.
  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:32AM (#23103356) Homepage Journal
    I propose we monitor all government communication for evidence of corruption.
  • by spookymonster (238226) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:34AM (#23103380)
    ... we wait for the Senators to open the file "report_on_perverts_downloading_rape_and_molestation_files.doc" and then BAM! arrest the whole lot of them.

    Genius, I tell ya!
  • Where he creates a (filter or firewall or program) to stop a 12 year old in finding 'naughty pictures' on the net. Then you hear a boinging sound and Dilbert says "I hope that is not his eyes popping out'. Lets face the facts. Anyone can build something to get by any type of restrictions on the net. Period.
  • As much as I'd love to register as a Democrat, it's boneheads like Biden that keep me from doing so. When I read the DNC platform I get excited. When I hear Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, et. al. pontificate, I remain registered as a Republican (in the RHINO or Southpark sense only).
  • My first thought when I read this was 'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot'. (Well. Not exactly, it was actually the terms that those letters stand for, but hey).

    This is really sad, because I just know he's serious about this, and he really does think this 'saves the children'. And he's giving the exact proof why people with no knowledge about these sort of technical things, should not be allowed to even propose a law about it.

    You're not going to let a truck driver design your house. You're not letting a CEO have root ac
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:46AM (#23103544) Homepage Journal
    I am sure that Sen Biden's idea has nothing to do with the fact that he has taken $178,358 from the TV/Movies/Music [opensecrets.org] lobby in this last cycle. The ROI on paying off a politician is insane. Just look at Orrin Hatch and the DMCA.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:21AM (#23105324) Homepage Journal
    Right Joe, all P2P traffic is used to propagate kiddie porn and allow those child raping Mooshlum terrorists to convert your virgin daughters to abortion-having car bombers.

    I'm really starting to hate this fucking country.
  • by moxley (895517) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:37AM (#23105636)
    Could this be anymore disingenuous? Could this be anymore bullshit?

    So is is about violence? Take a look at TV. I don't see him concerned about that.

    SO this is about porn? I think not as P2P is one of many ways to obtain porn and has nothing to do with the production of it.

    So this is really about lobbyists and big business buying support for an assinine policy that goes against the interests of the people this man is supposed to serve.

    Now let's look at the technical side. Doe he even know what he is talking about? Obviously not. MAC addresses and IP addresses can be spoofed; neither of them can definitively ID a person.

    Does he even understand general technology concepts? Obviously not, because if he did he would realize that the second one technological avenue is closed, the tech community will create a new one. Innovation cannot be stopped by repressive minded politicos who are in the pocket of consortiums.

    This is an important issue - one that could be used to basically take away the privacy you have on your computer and internet connection. When this government uses things like this they will take advantage of them to the hilt.
  • by moxley (895517) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:45AM (#23105758)
    P2P Users Propose to Monitor All Senators for Illegal Activity:

    Including:

    Taking of bribes or payment for votes/policy quid pro quo.
    Hiring of prostitutes
    Possession of Child Pornography
    Violation of Campaign lows relating to finances
    Violation of Federal "do not call" registry
    etc, etc, ad infinitum.

  • by DarthTeufel (751532) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:51PM (#23106904)
    C47CH ^^3 N0\/\/ j03 8id3n
  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:21PM (#23107400)
    tags: democratswantpolicestatetoo or getridofrepublicanstosaveusfrom1984

    Obviously just getting rid of Bush is not going to save us. Both democrats and republicans want big intrusive governments. The only difference seems to be that the republicans are in favor of borrowing and inflation to feed their spending addiction while the democrats are quite content to use old fashioned taxes more (in addition to the other methods). Both parties want to be spending a lot more of our money with each passing year. Both parties are funded more than adequately by Big Business. Do the democrats still talk about class warfare while at the same time proposing raising taxes on the poorest segment of the population with regressive tax schemes? I don't see the point to listening to anything they have to say. It is all lies and they will do whatever they please once elected. Idealists, however naive, are not elected anymore. Only pragmatists whose only beliefs are in serving themselves and saying whatever they think will get them elected.
  • Lies and Glory (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Miros (734652) * on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:40PM (#23107710)
    What annoys me about this article is the glorification of the system that they have created. P2P networks use open protocols which are exceedingly well documented. Almost every bittorrent client that I've ever seen has a specific window with which to view the peers you are connected to. Literally, someone could copy and paste code from an OSS project, couple it with a dictionary of keywords, and then end up with this system. It's infuriating that someone could be taking so much credit for it. Finally, and most egregiously, they fail to point out that this entire system is ineffective in monitoring people with even the least bit of intelligence (you would imagine if you were transferring one of the only types of illegal content on the internet, that you would use an encrypted session), further indicating that this system is probably just a totally behind the scenes funded starting point for the enforcement of copyright through active federal monitoring of open P2P systems.
  • Intrusion is good, extrusion is bad, inclusion is ....

    Government Intrusion into personal life is good for plutocrats and dogmatist.
    Government extrusion up your ass is a fact of life in totalitarian countries.
    Government body inclusion in the public body is a poison to personal freedom.
    Public body exclusion from the Government body is totalitarian decapitation.

    Government, Corporatist, TeleClerics, Plutocrats want to get in your pants, under your skin, break your bones, suck your marrow, eat your heart, rot you brains, and finally fuck the dead fetid corpses of the public.

    Corporatist/oligarchy government is big business with public resources to exploit, squander, and destroy. Like rich kids with toy soldiers ... it is all for their grand, bland, and fleeting glory.

    Depression when it hits is bad for US never them. Toy-soldiers, Suzie-homemaker ... are just things to play with in a clueless life that has no sense of reality.
    Intrusive constant warrantless P2P searches and virtual home invasions for US, does not mean politicians, judges ... (so they think) or CEO/CFO plutocrats and law breaking holy dogmatist.

    Have you ever noticed how detached Cheney/Bush or Kennedy/Johnson/Nixon look/act when answering questions about our dead and wounded Warriors? To fools such as they and other PTB members we are just toy-Soldiers for play and fun. Look at the education system, health care, economic, telecommunications ... decline for the last 40+ years. Politicians accept corporatists and plutocrats funds and play the almost have some (wealth) folks against the have nothing (need help) folks ... always to the benefit of the PTB members. Fewer more wealth individuals every year and corporate/government and religion (catholic/mormon child molesting) accountability is close to nonexistent for US.

    Anyway, ... get use to it ... more to come ... just before ... more to cum in your ears.

    This (P2P intrusion) is not any more obscene, troll ... than what has been happening to US for decades.

The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it. -- E. Hubbard

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