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Chatroulette To Log IP Addresses, Take Screenshots 194

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the price-of-fame dept.
littlekorea writes "Chatroulette, the strangely addictive online game in which users are connected via webcam and microphone to random strangers at the click of a button, has had enough of users exposing themselves to the unsuspecting public, among other disgraces. The founder of Chatroulette has announced the company has hired developers to collect IP addresses and take screenshots of those users breaking the rules."
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Chatroulette To Log IP Addresses, Take Screenshots

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @09:44AM (#33043914) Journal

    Chatroulette, the strangely addictive online game ...

    So you're strangely addicted to staring at male genetalia [slashdot.org]? I think we all just learned a little something about littlekorea.

    That is by far the most positive review of that web site I have ever encountered. Personally I've used the service precisely once. Discovering what happened during that usage is left as an exercise to the reader.

    The founder of Chatroulette has announced the company has hired developers to collect IP addresses and take screenshots of those users breaking the rules.

    And then what? Actually it sounds like they have already done this:

    "We've captured and saved thousands of IP addresses of alleged offenders, along with logs and screenshots which prove wrong behaviour.

    "We are initiating a conversation with enforcement agencies and we are willing to provide all the information we have."

    Are they going to press charges? Do you think that site created by a lone developer has the legal resources to do that against that many offenders? Do you really think any law enforcement agency has the resources to investigate thousands of complaints with little more than a screenshot of someone's junk and their IP address? It's the internet. Your effort is futile. What ever happened to the recognition software? Has that already fallen through? Too many false positives? Light problems?

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @09:47AM (#33043968)

      Do you really think any law enforcement agency has the resources to investigate thousands of complaints with little more than a screenshot of someone's junk and their IP address?

      Maybe if the IP address resolved to Whitehouse.gov. Don't you miss Bill Clinton?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Do you really think any law enforcement agency has the resources to investigate thousands of complaints with little more than a screenshot of someone's junk and their IP address?

        Maybe if the IP address resolved to Whitehouse.gov. Don't you miss Bill Clinton?

        Number of my countrymen to be killed or wounded while Clinton nailed a fat secretary: 0. Number of my countrymen to be killed or wounded from the two wars started and unfinished during Bush's administration: 5,589 [washingtonpost.com] and rising.

        And which one did we try to impeach? Yeah, I kinda do miss Clinton.

        • by sunking2 (521698) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:03AM (#33044218)
          That just doesn't say a whole lot about Bill's stamina.
        • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:03AM (#33044224)
          Number of my countrymen to be killed or wounded while Clinton nailed a fat secretary: 0

          While not nearly approaching Bush's exploits, we had many military actions during the Clinton years.
          Somalia/Bosnia/Kosovo/Afghanistan/Sudan/Desert Fox in Iraq. And it was far more than '0' killed/wounded.
        • by magarity (164372)

          Number of my countrymen to be killed or wounded while Clinton nailed a fat secretary: 0
           
          That means you're not from Kosovo.

          • by bsDaemon (87307)

            or Oklahoma... or Waco, TX... or Ruby Ridge, ID...or that little Commie kid's closet in Florida.

        • I'm sure all of the family and friends of the 19 men killed and 84 wounded in Mogadishu [wikipedia.org] appreciate you telling them that now we don't even consider them our countrymen in addition to withdrawing and sweeping them under the rug after their mission failed.
        • And which one did we try to impeach?

          They actually impeached Clinton, there was no try.

          I -tried- to impeach Bush, but no one took me seriously. Maybe if I hadn't been drunk...

        • Number of my countrymen to be killed or wounded while Clinton nailed a fat secretary: 0. Number of my countrymen to be killed or wounded from the two wars started and unfinished during Bush's administration: 5,589 and rising. And which one did we try to impeach? Yeah, I kinda do miss Clinton.

          No shit.

          In any case, I think one of the perks of being president is that you should be able have all the girls you want, legally. And for some reason, I don't think there would be a shortage of volunteers willi
          • by TimSSG (1068536)
            You do remember Bill being disbarred because he lied in a sexual harassment hearing. She will likely not agree with you post. Tim S.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      Is it even illegal to expose yourself to a stranger over the internet? It might be a violation of the AUP/ToS, but that doesn't necessarily make it illegal. It's hard to prove theft of services when you aren't charging a fee and you don't have to apply even a digital signature to gain access to the site. IIRC all you really have to do is verify an email address. Unless you're displaying yourself to a child (even unknowingly is probably enough to get you in trouble) it seems likely to go nowhere.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by clone53421 (1310749)

        No, unless it is. For instance, if you’re displaying yourself to a child... and you’d probably have to be doing so knowingly, or at least without having taken any basic sort of steps to ensure that the person you’re talking to is over 18 (if they claim to be, that’s probably good enough unless it’s pretty obvious that they aren’t).

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          "But she said she was 18" isn't a valid defense.

          Unintentional violation of the law is still violation.

          • by clone53421 (1310749) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:21AM (#33044520) Journal

            That’s not necessarily true. It can be a valid defense, depending on the laws in your state. For instance...

            MO Revised Statutes, section 566.020 [mo.gov]:

            Mistake as to incapacity or age--consent not a defense, when.

            566.020. 1. Whenever in this chapter the criminality of conduct depends upon a victim's being incapacitated, no crime is committed if the actor reasonably believed that the victim was not incapacitated and reasonably believed that the victim consented to the act. The defendant shall have the burden of injecting the issue of belief as to capacity and consent.

            2. Whenever in this chapter the criminality of conduct depends upon a child being thirteen years of age or younger, it is no defense that the defendant believed the child to be older.

            3. Whenever in this chapter the criminality of conduct depends upon a child being under seventeen years of age, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant reasonably believed that the child was seventeen years of age or older.

            4. Consent is not an affirmative defense to any offense under chapter 566 if the alleged victim is less than twelve years of age.

            In short, if the person was under the age of thirteen / twelve (depending on the particular law being violated), you have no defense of “I thought he/she was old enough” (yeah... right). However, if the criminality of the act hinges on believing the person to be 17 (the age of consent is 17), and you reasonably believed that they were 17 and consented to the act, that is a valid defense against criminal charges.

            • In short, if the person was under the age of thirteen / twelve (depending on the particular law being violated), you have no defense of "I thought he/she was old enough" (yeah... right).

              Unless you're in Ireland, where this is actually a defense as criminal law assumes criminal intent. But it only works if you're a nice young man, not a dirty old codger, as confirmed by the Irish supreme court. I'm not making this up; google the "Mr. A Case".

          • by duguk (589689)

            "But she said she was 18" isn't a valid defense.

            Unintentional violation of the law is still violation.

            You want Chatroulette users to ask to see a Passport or Drivers Licence first?

            I can see massive privacy violations and identity theft with that...

            • by mea37 (1201159)

              It seems the point you may be missing is, chatroulette doesn't want to be in that business in the first place; hence TFA.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        In the UK we have a law called "Indecent Exposure", under which you can be prosecuted if you expose yourself to someone who had a reasonable expectation that you wouldn't (so it excludes your sexual partners, someone who walks in on you peeing, stripper nights etc) - why does the inclusion of the term "over the internet" change matters with regard to this law?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Vectormatic (1759674)

          after about a few days of chat-roulette, any person checking it out on the internet would have reasonably expected to see some wang, so by that logic it is now legal to show your wedding-tacle on chat-roulette

          • by mea37 (1201159)

            I've noticed quite often of late, that the only people using the phrase "by that logic" are people busily engaged in twisting anothers' words to try to "prove" a nonsense point.

            Just because a lot of people do something does not necessarily mean that you cannot reasonably expect them not to. People expose themselves at St. Louis Mardis Gras all the time; yet it's still technically indecent exposure and (depending on the authorities' mood any given year) there are usually a few arrests.

            I'm not familiar enoug

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by hldn (1085833)

          the internet is for porn.

          expect to see penises around every corner.

        • If you're on Chatroulette, can you claim to have a reasonable expectation that you won't be exposed to?
        • by Dhalka226 (559740)

          I wouldn't say it changes things, but it does greatly complicate them.

          Person A is in Germany. Exposes himself to Person B in the UK over Chatroulette, hosted in the US*. Where was the crime committed? Who prosecutes? Even if it were unequivical whose jurisdiction it is, indecent exposure is typically a misdemeanor. Is anybody really going to go through the hassle and expense of charging this person? Are they going to try to extradite for it? Because I'm not sure it's even legally possible, much les

    • by ZeroExistenZ (721849) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:00AM (#33044162)

      So you're strangely addicted to staring at male genetalia

      No, it's serendipity, not knowing what (experience) you'll get next, it might be something way out of your frame of reference, which gives a sense of something possibly entirely new by the click of a button.

      While for others it's a way to express themselves creatively, experiment and test the boundaries in a social setting without negative consequences.

      You were quasi annonymous, you could reinvent yourself over while knowing your chatpartner wont see or meet you again if you don't want to, while testing how to entertain, shock or interact with people.

      It's just normal that such a platform brings out also sexual fantasies and desires in people, but there's a whole lot more to such a platform imho.

      fe. see the piano dude [youtube.com], as there are many more of these type of people.

    • by gazbo (517111) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:01AM (#33044180)

      Personally I've used the service precisely once. Discovering what happened during that usage is left as an exercise to the reader.

      You told a 13 year old girl to show boobs?

    • Are they going to press charges? Do you think that *if that site handed over everything to the media companies, the RIAA has the legal resources to do that* against that many offenders with little more than a screenshot of someone's junk and their IP address?

      Fixed that for you.

      Gives new meaning to "this dick is a pirate".

    • I can already picture the naked penis police lineup to match the penis pictures to the correct IPs. Wait a minute, ChatRoulette does that already!!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by egcagrac0 (1410377)

      What ever happened to the recognition software? Has that already fallen through? Too many false positives? Light problems?

      Junk recognition software?

      "...just because the pictures aren't of your faces doesn't mean we can't identify you. At this very moment those pictures are on their way to Washington where the FBI has experts in this type of identification. If you turn yourselves in now, you may escape a Federal charge. "

    • by mea37 (1201159)

      "Are they going to press charges? Do you think that site created by a lone developer has the legal resources to do that against that many offenders?"

      Based on their quotes about willingness to share information with "enforcement agencies", it rather sounds like they believe the offenders are violating criminal law and hoping the state will prosecute accordingly. If that's so, they don't really need legal resources. That would be more a question if they wanted to pursue civil litigation (such as claiming da

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hoi Polloi (522990)

      So instead of a steady live stream of male genitalia pix they will be compiling an archive of genitalia pix?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228)
      Not to mention it is only gonna take just one of those "offenders" to be but a single day under 18 and they are collecting CP! You know, just when you think you've reached the bottom of the barrel when it comes to stupidity, someone comes along and shows you that if you just lift up the barrel you can dig even deeper! Dumb dumb dumb.
  • pr0n (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Speare (84249) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @09:49AM (#33043992) Homepage Journal
    So they're trying to rid the problem of flashers on Chatroulette, by capturing images? What happens when the flasher is a minor? Or even hint that some flashers are minors? Boom, easy way to get rid of Chatroulette.
  • as ''at the dick of a button'' -- which seems more in keeping with the story anyway!
  • 9 proxies (Score:5, Funny)

    by jDeepbeep (913892) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @09:57AM (#33044110)
    I went through them. Good luck.
  • How come nobody told me this 15 years ago.

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:00AM (#33044176) Homepage
    Wow, the law of unintended consequences sure bit them hard? I mean, who would have guessed that combining anonymity with video cameras resulted in distasteful or illegal images? You would have had to be Al Gore to see that one coming. No ordinary person would have predicted this outcome.
  • by adosch (1397357) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:05AM (#33044242)

    What did Chatroulette think was going to happen when they thought diving into the realms of social networking and adding the element of live video feed of everyone who is on there to anyone wanting to look? It's, of course, easier for an exposer or behaviorally creepy basement dweller to crawl out of their cave online than it is in public.

    ...but enough of the social network rant. I'm glad to see Chatroulette policing up their mess and trying to enforce some sort of civil 'net etiquette, but someone is going to throw the privacy flag up on this one. Let's be real here: it's a bird's eye view directly into A LOT of homes. Regardless of the intention to track IP addresses and gather screenshots, I can easily seeing this getting abused if it isn't controlled or greed doesn't rear it's ugly head into this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by clone53421 (1310749)

      What did Chatroulette think was going to happen when they thought diving into the realms of social networking and adding the element of live video feed of everyone who is on there to anyone wanting to look? It's, of course, easier for an exposer or behaviorally creepy basement dweller to crawl out of their cave online than it is in public.

      Throw in the whole concept of being anonymous and you have a service that is inevitably doomed for exactly what they’ve become.

      ...but enough of the social network rant. I'm glad to see Chatroulette policing up their mess and trying to enforce some sort of civil 'net etiquette

      Utterly futile. As DNS-and-BIND sarcastically pointed out, internet anonymity combined with video cameras is a recipe for ... this. Chatroulette is not simply flawed; it is fatally flawed. It cannot be anything but what it is.

      The only way that they could even attempt to stop the crapflood is by having a large moderator group issuing IP and cookie bans immediately to offensive

      • Utterly futile. As DNS-and-BIND sarcastically pointed out, internet anonymity combined with video cameras is a recipe for ... this. Chatroulette is not simply flawed; it is fatally flawed. It cannot be anything but what it is.

        Yes. And it's so obvious, that I wouldn't even dare call it a 'flaw'. It is SO obvious, that it might be the whole point of starting something like chatroulette.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cosm (1072588)

      but someone is going to throw the privacy flag up on this one. Let's be real here: it's a bird's eye view directly into A LOT of homes.

      Are you kidding me? Its a bird's eye view into your home if and only if you do not control the happenings in your home. It is not Chat-roulettes responsibility to nanny everybody so that somebody doesn't see the wrong thing and become psychologically damaged. I am not condoning that, I am just saying place responsibility where it belongs. If you go to chat roulette and see some guy doing the naked-dance, well, congratulations, welcome to the internet. If your kids get on your computer and see some guys j

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      Personally I think they should use their penis recognition software to just match them all together. If that's what people want to do, they can do it together without bothering the legitimate (?) users of the site.
  • So they'll have snapshots of Kirk Johnson (aka Goatse.cx guy [knowyourmeme.com]) showing his wares to the world? I mean why would I dangle my own privates on Chatroulette when Manycam [manycam.com] makes it so easy to put much more interesting vista's [encycloped...matica.com] on the screen?

    Do they still enforce their bans with easily deleted flash cookies?

  • Because they backtraced it. And they called the cyber police.

  • Take screenshots & IP of people jerking on a cam, then blackmail them.

  • CP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:49AM (#33044918) Journal
    so they are going to start by collecting what is technically child pornography and do what with it?
  • We've started collecting information, such as IP addresses, logs and screen captures of offenders who actually break US/UN laws

    Really? The UN wishes that it had jurisdiction over individual behavior but that doesn't make it true.

    • UN Laws as far as I can tell seem to only apply to countries, unless you are a pirate (Real, not copyright violator) or a war criminal?

    • by BobMcD (601576)

      Which is your disquiet? The UN can pass 'laws', can it not? Are you chafing at chatroulette's willful compliance, or what? I'm not seeing the panty-wrinkling here.

      • Which is your disquiet?

        I'm pointing out the absurdity of claiming to prosecute individuals under "UN law". Appealing to US law makes sense if the servers are located in the US or the users to be prosecuted are under US jurisdiction.

        Appealing to "UN law" makes as much sense as appealing to Nigerian law or Martian law.

        • by BobMcD (601576)

          Which is your disquiet?

          I'm pointing out the absurdity of claiming to prosecute individuals under "UN law". Appealing to US law makes sense if the servers are located in the US or the users to be prosecuted are under US jurisdiction.

          Appealing to "UN law" makes as much sense as appealing to Nigerian law or Martian law.

          Indeed it does, but is it not the website's right to decide which laws they wish to respect? I mean so long as the UN, Nigeria, Mars, etc, are passing laws, who are you to say which websites follow which laws?

          It is just odd.

          • I mean so long as the UN, Nigeria, Mars, etc, are passing laws, who are you to say which websites follow which laws?

            That website can say whatever it wants but if someone tries to convince me that I have any obligation to follow Martian law that person will promptly told to go fuck himself.

            • by BobMcD (601576)

              I mean so long as the UN, Nigeria, Mars, etc, are passing laws, who are you to say which websites follow which laws?

              That website can say whatever it wants but if someone tries to convince me that I have any obligation to follow Martian law that person will promptly told to go fuck himself.

              But you have that backwards. If you want to use their site, you'll abide by their policies. Otherwise you're the one doing the masturbation.

  • A good idea crippled by human failings. Too bad. I have a hard time believing that the founders didn't think that it would serve as a platform for ugly old men to masturbate to each other though.
    • More like (Score:4, Funny)

      by fishexe (168879) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:03PM (#33046258) Homepage
      ...terrible idea made hilarious by human failings. Who really wants to sit around talking to strangers knowing they will probably just hit Next right when you're starting to get interested? It's like it was made for the hopelessly desperate. The inclusion of penises is what makes the whole thing worthwhile, because now the rest of us get to hear about how the optimistic early-adopters got punked by the horndogs.
      • "Who really wants to sit around talking to strangers knowing they will probably just hit Next right when you're starting to get interested?"

        Another satisfied Chatroulette user?

  • ... until someone in a country where that doesn't matter launches an identical service and the game starts all over again.
  • ...underpinnings that would drive a male to show his genitalia? Seriously...WTF is going through these people's minds? Do they think they're funny? Are they true predators? Are they incredibly proud of their package? I'm just trying to understand here...

    • by kalirion (728907)

      Obviously they just wanna see how they measure up to other males. Doing that with regular porn ain't good for your self esteem.

  • by magro (1674958) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:57AM (#33046156)
    You might not be aware of this but any user can collect IP addresses and record ENTIRE video footage from random chatroulette users. I explained how in my blog http://fernandomagro.com/security/chatroulette-espionage/ [fernandomagro.com] . Anyway the concept is really simple because an attacker can open an even number of connections to chatroulette (2,4,6,etc) and then redirect the streams to each other. Say, I open connection1 and connection2 then I capture stream from connection2 and dump it as my primary webcam to connection1 and I capture connection1 and dump it as my secondary webcam to connection2. Only a tiny bit of linux hacking is needed.
    • It’s already trivially easy to use a screen recorder to capture video from those sort of sites. Plus, cam-to-cam has typically come with the caveat that your IP address can be known to your chat partner... I think it was MSN or AIM that used to warn of this when enabling your webcam? Unless they’re streaming everyone’s feed through their servers – which they don’t want to do – your computers will connect directly, and you can see the IP address of the other person listed

  • ...aren't they ridding themselves of their core audience? At this point, who else is left?
  • If the people who got offended would laugh at the idiots who pull stunts like that, the problem would probably be self correcting...

    • by axl917 (1542205)

      I laugh at the dick-wavers all the time, or hold up my thumb and index finger to the webcam about a half-inch apart, indicating that the size of their package is a bit lacking. When they stop masturbating for a moment and fumble around for the mouse or keyboard, it's time to "next". But it got em out of their, er, rhythm, so mission accomplished.

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