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UK ISPs To Hand Over Thousands of File Sharers' Data 180

Posted by kdawson
from the so-ordered dept.
Death Metal Maniac sends along a link from TorrentFreak on the latest development in game developer Topwear's battle against file sharers in the UK. "US game developer Topware Interactive, the people behind the now infamous Dream Pinball affair, are about to turn up the heat. Operating through London lawyers Davenport Lyons, they have managed to convince the High Court to send out an order demanding that ISPs in the UK start to hand over the details of several thousand alleged pirates ... BT, one of the UK's largest ISPs ..., confirmed it had been ordered to hand over details of alleged copyright infringing file-sharers ... Virgin Media was a little more slippery in its response but reading between the lines it seems obvious they are involved too."
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UK ISPs To Hand Over Thousands of File Sharers' Data

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  • Hard to pin down (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gotw (239699) <ninjacyclist.gmail@com> on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:07AM (#24887687) Homepage

    IANAL, but consider that the majority of BTs home DSL equipment ships with WEP, often 40 bit WEP, enabled by default. Would this in itself be grounds enough to plausibly deny that the traffic came from the person paying for the box? Not to mention she sheer, massive, embarrassing level of negligence on the part of BT.

  • I can't wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:16AM (#24887807)

    for everyone to panic when the authorities start looking at online data storage services...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:17AM (#24887823)

    Yeah, in the US, the ISPs are free to hand over that data without bothering the court.

    And if the FISA debacle has taught us anything, it's that they're more than happy to hand over data without worrying about minor little details like "due process."

    Fortunately there's an election coming up, and you can vote for change! Wait, both sides claim they're for change? And both sides support warrantless wiretaps and telecom immunity?

    Well, damn. If only there were another option, a third option...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:18AM (#24887855)

    Stop trying to sell single TV episodes for $2. If the price was $0.25 or $0.50 to rent it (i.e. view it once or twice, delete 48 hours after first viewing), I'd be a huge customer.

    Stop trying to sell downloadable versions of movies for the same price as a DVD. If I purchase and download a movie, it's already costing me my limited monthly bandwidth and hard drive space that I paid for. If the movie sells for $20 on DVD, sell the downloadable version for $10. After all, I'm missing the extras, too.

    Stop limiting sales to a single country, the internet is world-wide. I don't care who owns what and who's under exclusive contrats with which stations. It's your mess, figure it out.

    Stop trying to put DRM which limit the usefulness of the media we want to buy. I don't want to watch movies and TV shows on my computer and I don't want to be tied to Microsoft-only hardware/software.

    Do people want your content? Yes, otherwise they wouldn't pirate it. Do people want to pay for your content? Yes, if the price, format and limits are reasonable. Find the balance and it'll work itself out.

    I, for one, won't bother with P2P and torrents if it only cost $0.99 for a tune I want. It's easier and faster to buy it from the iTunes Music Store. Their TV shows and movies, however, are too expensive.

  • by TheMidnight (1055796) on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:22AM (#24887903)

    Ha! That's a good one. Almost every ISP in the United States has given user IP address and account information away to any subpoena by the RIAA and its lawyers. This of course is civil and not criminal, but the ISP response is exactly the same. I've only heard of ISPs giving up user data for criminal investigations in child porn or murder cases (i.e. search results for "kill wife" or whatever nonsense the bungling murderer tried to look up) but that doesn't mean it won't spread.

    Furthermore, even if the ISPs don't give up the information as easily here, they do track it, and if they're not using it for generalized network throttling, infrastructure improvement or aggregate trends, they'll sell every bit of data internally or to advertisers when they smell money. Privacy on the Internet via your ISP is an illusion in the States, at least for as long as the ISP can afford to keep the logs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:28AM (#24887983)

    I, for one, won't bother with P2P and torrents if it only cost $0.99 for a tune I want. It's easier and faster to buy it from the iTunes Music Store. Their TV shows and movies, however, are too expensive.

    You don't think that a TV episode (22 to 44 minutes) is at least twice as expensive to produce as a song (about four minutes)?

  • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:32AM (#24888041) Homepage

    if you're going to accuse or charge BT of negligence because they didn't catch these "pirates" then you might as well demand that ISPs start monitoring all traffic and forbid the use of encrypted connections. there's no way to accuse an ISP of negligence unless they're actually expected to encroach on the privacy of their subscribers. that's just not part of their job.

    it's like accusing telephone companies of negligence because they don't monitor everyone's calls and make sure we're not discussing illegal activities over the phone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:38AM (#24888117)

    Always up in arms when their file sharing is exposed, but leading the torches-and-pitchforks crowd to a lynching if spammers or tax avoiders are involved.

    You rubes don't seem to realize your views on privacy are leading to an internet where NOTHING is private. Everyone supports privacy when people are doing things you like, but we need a panopticon for people doing bad things. Just like the First Amendment only protects popular speech.

    Either you support true privacy or you don't. Even when "bad" people might do so-called "bad" things you don't like with their economic or political privacy. If you think only p2p transfers will be private, but spammers and drug dealers and tax avoiders will be exposed to every govt regulator/tax collector on the planet, you are fooling yourselves and inviting in big brother.

  • No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:48AM (#24888273)

    The correct response to such a request is a unanimous "no" from all large ISPs, and to await the fine.

    Then to put up subscription prices accordingly to reflect the amount of the fine.

    Then all users of those ISPs know what the "rights holders" are doing.

    Then it gets press coverage.

    Then everyone knows.

    Then people start to whine.

    Then politicians see a bandwagon to ride.

    Then the law gets changed.

    But it has to start with atlas shrugging.

    And I hate myself for making the Ayn Rand reference, sorry, but a group of powerful businesses needs to say "no, we want to trade freely and treat our customers with respect, fuck off government" rather than being in cahoots with them.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:54AM (#24888343)
    I wish 60% of the US population would "throw their vote away."
  • by gotw (239699) <ninjacyclist.gmail@com> on Friday September 05, 2008 @10:12AM (#24888591) Homepage

    Lots and lots of these boxes are in use, secured only by 40 bit WEP. I'm saying that considering that WEP can be cracked with great ease, how easy would it be to deny that the traffic came from you. Could someone up in court simply say "I didn't do it, I guess someone must be abusing my computer/access point".

    If BT thought such security was up to the user, why are they not supplying the boxes with an enabled, open wireless connection? They provide step by step instructions for its use and installation of WEP in an era when it is known to be deeply flawed. To what extent users should be expected to be educated about the security of their computer systems is an interesting point to debate. It would, however, be very easy for BT to use WPA-TKIP by default. The only reason I can fathom for not doing this would be the expense (and potential for bad feeling) involved in supporting users with old, WEP only drivers.

    What are the odds of a WEP network in a suburban area being cracked into over, say, a year? I suppose it all hinges on that.

  • by gotw (239699) <ninjacyclist.gmail@com> on Friday September 05, 2008 @10:17AM (#24888667) Homepage

    I'm not accusing BT of negligence for not catching the pirates. I'm accusing BT of negligence because they are supplying their users with broken, easily compromised security when much better alternatives are available using the exact same hardware.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday September 05, 2008 @10:20AM (#24888697) Homepage

    Alan Sugar got rich by making a HiFi with twin cassette units. If you didn't have one yourself, you knew somebody who did. Suddenly *everybody* could copy tapes easily (and at double speed!)

    Home taping was rampant. I knew people with tens of thousands of tapes in their room.

    The record business didn't die then, in fact their boom years came long afterwards.

    How come Alan Sugar got a knighthood but these days we're throwing away all due process over the exact same "crime".

  • by thermian (1267986) on Friday September 05, 2008 @10:21AM (#24888707)

    uh, didn't you only have a 30% turnout at the last election?

    Something pretty darned low anyway, so a lot of people already are.

    Same things happening in the UK though, the elected leaders are voted in by an ever decreasing number of actual voters.

  • by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Friday September 05, 2008 @10:24AM (#24888755) Homepage Journal

    I think Penn Jillette said it very well [hutnick.com], through the character of a sock monkey.

    You can waste your vote only by voting for someone you don't want. You don't want the winner. Don't waste your vote on someone who's going to win. He doesn't need your vote; he's going to win. Keep voting for the lesser of two evils and things will just keep getting more evil.

    -Peter

  • by You ain't seen me! (1237346) on Friday September 05, 2008 @11:10AM (#24889375)

    According to them that's no excuse. You're responsible for your own equipment.

    When you receive broadband equipment under a contract, you are told in the small print that the equipment remains the property of the ISP - they can't have it both ways.

  • Re:no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Friday September 05, 2008 @12:52PM (#24890781)

    democrats are not supporting it.

    Obama's vote in the Senate record suggests otherwise.

    but obama and his group had to vote for the bill...

    The claim of cowards and liars throughout history. Obama voted for telecom immunity, and has shown what sort of man he is. Sad that you're too taken in by his lies to realize it.

  • Just common sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frovingslosh (582462) on Friday September 05, 2008 @12:55PM (#24890823)
    It shouldn't even be an issue of a lack of research skills, it should just be common sense in an HTML medium that one would include a link in such a serious statement. Yea, Google comes up pretty dry unless you find the magic words to key on, but if you are doing web journalism, as /. claims they are doing, (as well as calling the people who somewhat arbitrarily pick stories to be "editors"), then it's not unreasonable to set an expectation that links would be provided in such statements. I'm as peeved about this as I am when Associated Press or Reuters run a story on the world's ugliest dog, or fattest cat, or how much Rielle Hunter's baby looks like John Edwards, without actually showing a photo of the subject. Perhaps more peeved, because (not to excuse the others) Slashdot is exclusively web based and should be more technical and should know better.
  • by lazy_playboy (236084) on Friday September 05, 2008 @01:53PM (#24891747)

    If someone steals your car and runs someone down, you're not liable. Why should it be different in this case?

  • by Atlantis-Rising (857278) on Friday September 05, 2008 @02:06PM (#24891987) Homepage

    Lots and lots of these boxes are in use, secured only by 40 bit WEP. I'm saying that considering that WEP can be cracked with great ease, how easy would it be to deny that the traffic came from you. Could someone up in court simply say "I didn't do it, I guess someone must be abusing my computer/access point".

    Sure you could say it.

    That argument, however, would not get you very far; it would be akin to arguing that somebody broke into your house, plugged their laptop into your router, and started downloading kiddy porn.

    "Sure", the court will say. "That's a very nice story, and I'm sure it's very favorable to you. Have you got any proof it happened?"

    Tossing out random and wild theoretical scenarios in which it is possible, but very unlikely, that somebody else did what you've been accused of and you've been framed is not generally looked upon very nicely by the Court unless you can provide some hard evidence to back it up.

    Yes, it may introduce some doubt. The amount of doubt it introduces, however, is likely to be so small as to be unreasonable.

It's a naive, domestic operating system without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption.

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