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Georgia College's New Policy — Reporting All P2P Users To the Police 421

Posted by timothy
from the because-networking-is-wrong dept.
An anonymous reader excerpts from an article at TorrentFreak: "Georgia's Valdosta State University has updated its network with software that can pinpoint students who use P2P software. The university is committed to stop file-sharing on its network even if that results in prison sentences for students. Offenders will be disciplined by the school and then handed over to the police, the university has announced." School policy is one thing ("don't use file-sharing software on our resource-constrained network, or we may kick you off"), but I suspect the police wouldn't appreciate the task of sorting out legal from illegal use of widespread, essentially neutral software tools. Update: 11/15 18:27 GMT by T : Reader (and VSU alumnus) Matt Baker contacted the school; he reports that the school's IT director Joe Newton in response flatly denied the claims in the TorrentFreak article, and says the school hasn't installed such P2P tracking software, and doesn't hand students over the police, and says instead "I cannot foresee that we would ever do so." Thanks, Matt.
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Georgia College's New Policy — Reporting All P2P Users To the Police

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:04AM (#34229748)

    Is this related to any forms? What about downloading cc music or shows and isos of linux?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by seeker_1us (1203072)
      According to TFA,, it is ALL file sharing

      The new system is undoubtedly going to cause collateral damage, since an effective P2P detection tool will be unable to make a distinction between legitimate and illegitimate use of P2P software. This means that booting up your BitTorrent client to download free films such as Snowblind will result in a referral to the police station.

      This is abolutely ridiculous. Furthermore, copyright infringement (even if it was real) is a civil matter. Referral to the police st

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) *

        Referral to the police station is of very quesitonable legality.

        Uhh, referral to the police is foolish and a waste of time but it's not of "questionable legality". I can refer anything I want to the police. Doesn't mean they will investigate it or do anything but it's not a crime to tell the police about a civil affair.....

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mr_mischief (456295)

        Actually, copyright infringement can be a criminal matter. It's just that you need to make money from it for it for it to be criminal.

        What is criminal is using the university's network against their authorization. They don't authorize anyone to access their network using P2P file transfer software. That's probably going to be a tricky legal situation, but they do have the right to set the terms of use for their own network.

        What's really funny, though, is that P2P swarm-style file sharing software isn't the

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by stinerman (812158)

          Copyright infringement can be a criminal matter. However, it is a *federal* criminal matter, not state.

          The local cops would have to call up the FBI. Unless Georgia has separate copyright laws on the books, the state police have nothing to charge the students with.

        • by burris (122191) on Monday November 15, 2010 @10:11AM (#34230856)

          You don't have to make money. The No Electronic Theft Act of 1998 changed the definition of "financial gain." 17 USC 101 now reads:

          The term "financial gain" includes receipt, or expectation of receipt, of anything of value, including the receipt of other copyrighted works.

          In other words, now they can go after people trading. I don't doubt that a prosecutor could convince a jury that the ratio system on a Torrent site, for instance, shows that the defendant expected to receive other copyrighted works in exchange for continuing to seed whatever it is they downloaded.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Teancum (67324)

          More properly, if you want to ban peer to peer software, you need to ban the use of TCP/IP on the network. There are networking protocols that won't permit peer to peer connections at all. Perhaps this college needs to consider some other network architecture for their internal network instead.

          Of course doing so would have some far reaching consequences including leaving their students unprepared for life outside of the university, but such things don't matter in higher education circles, do they?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Wovel (964431)

      Or patching WoW... It is fun when the clueless come out of the closet..

  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:05AM (#34229752) Journal

    Ok, I'm no expert on the US legal situation, but what's to prevent a situation like this from happening:

    1) Student installs 100% legal copy of World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2 or any other game which uses a P2P updater system on their PC in their dorm room.

    2) Game does its P2P stuff to get its patches.

    3) College spots P2P activity and calls police.

    4) Police charge college administrators with wasting police time.

    5) Student sues college.

    Like it or not, P2P isn't just about illegal filesharing. Yes, I'd fully accept that most P2P traffic is illegal, but a blanket policy like this just seems doomed to (probably expensive) failure.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stargoat (658863) *

      One would hope so. Recall that ATT did this during the Bush Administration with its warrantless wiretaps. The only difference is that ATT allowed access to everything, rather than a specific subset of everything.

      This is a clear breach of 4th Amendment rights. I wonder when the police will be sued.

      I would suggest the ACLU take this case, but with their late track record of kowtowing to the government (full body scanners anyone?), I wouldn't look for help from them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RogueyWon (735973) *
        I don't see the police department as being in the wrong here; at least not yet. The college has announced an intention to report all uses of P2P software to the police. I don't see that the police have yet given any indication of how they will respond, not least when presented with a case relating to legal P2P traffic. If the police take no further action with the information provided to them, then they are surely in the clear.

        What does occur to me - and this is where I'd welcome input from somebody who
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SuricouRaven (1897204)
          A problem, though - copyright infringement with p2p *is* a criminal offence in the US, has been since the NET act. The police can't be seen to simply ignore a reported crime - they have to do something, even if it's just a stern warning. But if they do that, then the copyright holders will have to get involved, in order to prevent copyright infringement from becoming something the police demonstrate as beneath their notice, like littering. If the police do severely punish infringers, they have to face a pub
          • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:32AM (#34229968) Journal

            Agreed, but a blanket policy of reporting all attempts at P2P filesharing (which may not be a crime) to the police as copyright infringement is going to result in a large number of false accusations. As I said in my OP, a large number of legal pieces of software, not least games, use P2P methods for their update systems. If I were running a police department, with limited resources, and suddenly began receiving a large number of false accusations from the local college, at the very least I would want to get the college's administration in for a polite but firm chat about the appropriate use of police resources.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by houghi (78078)

            In Belgium all the police would do is send it to the court. They will then need to investigate if they have some time left. As it stands now as long as there is no financial gain, they will ignore it.

            However if there is financial gain, then they will investigate.

            Now try to file cases in large numbers and many where there isn't even anything illegal going on, will upset the court and those are not people you want to piss off.

            The police will act only on command of the court and I am sure the court will say: "

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            One key problem here is that using P2P software itself is not a crime and may not necessarily indicate illegal activity.

            That was rather the entire point of the example in the OP.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Lord Byron II (671689)

        There's no 4th amendment problem here. You're a guest on a private network and the network administrator believes that you are committing a crime, so they report you to the police. There's no problem with that.

        The problem is that Valdosta is taking the proper steps to verify that the behavior is actually illegal and they are going to end up wasting police time as a result.

        But, if you're on a private network, you shouldn't have any real expectation of privacy, besides what state law may give you.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by bemenaker (852000)
          It's a state funded "public" university. The lines on that get a little muddy. The phones in the dorm rooms have the same legal protection that your phone in your house does.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by elrous0 (869638) *

          It's not a private network. This is a state school. It's the government reporting these kids to another government entity, a clear. I smell a civil rights lawsuit just waiting to happen here (especially if the police start acting on these reports).

        • by icebraining (1313345) on Monday November 15, 2010 @09:43AM (#34230572) Homepage

          No, they're not guests, they're paying users of that network - that's part of what tuition pays for. Are you a "guest" of your ISP's network? Do they have the right to go through your data? Then why is it any different in this case?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by KingMotley (944240) *

            No, your tuition isn't for the network. The network is a benefit of being a student (in most cases). And yes, actually your ISP does have the right to go through your data if you broadcast it on their network. Perhaps you need to read your ISP agreement sometime.

        • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Monday November 15, 2010 @09:48AM (#34230608)

          Wow, I got modded "flamebait". Amazing.

          To answer the replies I've gotten so far:

          -Yes, it's a private network. My lab on campus is funded by the NSF and the state, but that doesn't mean that you have any right to come in off the street and use my desk. Similarly, most public libraries require you to register (ie, get a library card) before you can use their networks and even then they tend to block a lot of services (including p2p).

          -The fourth amendment has typically only been applied to your own personal property (ie, your house, your car). I'm unaware of any 4th amendment legal precedent that the government is not allowed to monitor the traffic on its own network. Again, the 4th amendment works on the idea of the expectation of privacy and I don't think you can have that when you're using a state-funded Internet connection on a state-funded campus.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Shakrai (717556) *

            I'm unaware of any 4th amendment legal precedent that the government is not allowed to monitor the traffic on its own network.

            I'm going to refer to your post the next time somebody suggests that we need a municipal owned last mile to "fix" our broken broadband market.....

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mrchaotica (681592) *

            Yes, it's a private network. My lab on campus...

            But we're not just talking about labs, we're talking about dorms -- i.e., the students' homes. There's a difference between a lab (i.e., work) Internet connection and a dorm Internet connection!

    • by captainpanic (1173915) on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:16AM (#34229850)

      Students should just start downloading legal p2p software... at a massive scale.

      Make sure that the university and the police department are getting overworked from false claims of illegal downloading.

      It's a peaceful, harmless and non-violent way of teaching stupid people that p2p is not always illegal.

      • Problem: While the police may not do anything, the university would be entirely within its rights to ban you from their network or dismiss you from the university altogether. It's their network, and they do have the right to be dicks about it.

        The only solution I know of is to go to the few universities which get it right. I'm at Iowa State, which does just about the bare minimum -- if they detect you using P2P software, they send you an automated email which says something along the lines of: "If we can see

        • TFA mentions that this is about the "campus" of a university.
          Does that mean the university-owned computers that are meant only for educational purposes? Or does this mean the privately owned computers that students have in their own rooms where they live?

          Makes a LOT of difference to me.

          If I lived at a campus where the university would rat on me everytime I would download something that may be illegal (but isn't necessarily) - I would be out of there.
          That's not a free country anymore... You'd be guilty until

        • It's a public university, so it is at the very least bad taste to be oppressive enforcers of an agenda in opposition to legitimate free culture.
          • by Nimey (114278)

            It's at the least in bad taste to be hogging the uni's network for non-essential massive downloading, too. The uni's got a legitimate interest in making sure that the students can use their net for actual education-related stuff.

      • Almost all bittorrent clients are 'legal' P2P software. It's what you choose to do with it that makes it illegal, just like a gun.

        I highly suggest they all start downloading and deleting repeatedly any recent linux distros. See how fast the cops stop paying attention to the reports.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Albanach (527650)

        If the schools internet policy bans p2p software, they're still going to discipline and possibly expel the student.

        Sure there may be little or no legal consequences, but screwing up your degree because you breach a contract you freely entered into might not be the smartest move.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by kyrio (1091003)
          If you already entered a contract and the other party decides to add a couple of new lines to the contract without your initials to approve the additions then the contract becomes void. At this point you sue the other party for damages.
          • by DurendalMac (736637) on Monday November 15, 2010 @10:32AM (#34231080)
            Unless there was already a clause that policies may be subject to change with proper notification, in which case it is not void. The university would be retarded not to have that in the contract already.
      • by Speare (84249)

        Students should just start downloading legal p2p software... at a massive scale. Make sure that the university and the police department are getting overworked from false claims of illegal downloading. It's a peaceful, harmless and non-violent way of teaching stupid people that p2p is not always illegal.

        I agree with the strategy, but it's easier said than done. It's a significant investment to get into school, and an even bigger one to upset the applecart: daddy paid some tuition, you borrowed the rest of

    • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:26AM (#34229922) Homepage

      End result: College bans games. Games aid terrorism by masking real illegal activity in a shroud of legitimate traffic; they are therefore illegitimate by proxy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Lord Byron II (671689)

      Yeah, I use my network connection in my lab to seed a few dozen different Linux distributions, uploading 10's of GB/day. If I was at Valdosta State, I'm sure I'd be one of the first to be contacted.

    • Someone should setup their own DTella [dtella.org] server. It's some pretty slick software that you can limit to on campus IP addresses.

      The downloads there are only for the Purdue Campus, but you can setup your own server. They have some pretty complex IP allow rules. For example you can't use the wireless network between 8 & 5. Nothing off campus. Certain buildings etc. It doesn't count against off campus band width usage. Minimum share requirements, etc.

      I've hit 40MB/s from some computer labs (that have GigE) with

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Sounds like a plan! Get them all to install utorrent and pull down and share Linux iso's and creative commons music. A great way for the kids today to stick it to the man.... Oh wait, college kids today don't really try to protect their rights and take the time to protest anymore..

      The Ohio State massacre really taught college kids to obey and stay in line.... Very few have the guts to do public disobedience anymore.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      More like

      5) Police charge college administrators with filing a false police report.

      This is a serious charge akin to perjury.

  • ... the first people to be reported will be the lecturers!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:07AM (#34229770)

    Can you point me to the appropriate police department to turn myself in as a possible arsonist?

  • So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:09AM (#34229784)

    You're young, living on your own for the first time, and the place that's supposed to be teaching you stuff announces that at the first sign of a misstep they'll "discipline" you and then hand you over to the police for a second helping of same, with a permanent record attached to boot.

    What a wonderful way to grow up.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Atrox666 (957601)

      Hey a university is no place for the free exchange of information young man.

      You should be spending your time doting on dusty old profs and their stale ideas.

  • the police have discretions about pursuing perps. if they catch you parking where you shouldn't or smoking a joint or speeding, for example, they can just waive you off if the "crime" isn't that major. so the college wins: no administrative headache, the student wins: the police will mostly ignore the pirating. the only people who lose are the police, who have to look through a bunch of emails and hit "delete", and the RIAA, who will have a hard time justifying onerous financial impositions on what amounts

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:13AM (#34229824)

      the student wins: the police will mostly ignore the pirating

      Until it turns out to be a student who runs a blog that criticizes the police department, or some politician wants to run on a "tough on crime" platform, or some police officer whose cousin works for the RIAA. Relying on the police to not prosecute people who are reported to them for breaking the law is not something I would do.

      • of course the police can abuse you. of course anyone can abuse you. but you need to learn that, just as crippling in this world as an overabundance of trust to people who don't deserve your trust, is the existence of people like you: those with such a crippling poverty of distrust that you won't even expect a simple human baseline of behavior in civil society

        the abuses you imagine above are rare. of course you might someday suffer from these kinds of abuses. and of course the ceiling can crash on your head right now. you can't live in a shell, expecting the worst all the time. you need to place some trust in your fellow human beings if only because you suffer the most when you assume the worst possible scenario all the time. most people are good and decent. really

        • those with such a crippling poverty of distrust that you won't even expect a simple human baseline of behavior in civil society

          Look, I do not distrust everyone around me, but I really do not think that trusting the police to not pursue someone who breaks the law is a good idea, even for mild offenses that harm nobody. Where I live, the police suddenly and unexpected started ticketing people en masse for jaywalking, traffic violations by bicyclists, and other offenses that were previously ignored. When I was in college, the police used to go around looking for students who were smoking pot in their dorm rooms -- in private -- an

    • by oji-sama (1151023)

      How is this going to prevent RIAA from suing them?

      • it's not. how is not reporting them to police going to prevent the RIAA from suing them?

        the point is, it makes their job of imposing six figure sums on financially poor students look that much more vile, when the police obviously don't consider it a crime, by not pursing it

    • If they just waive it off, they'll incur the wrath of the copyright lobby - shortly followed by the threat of legal action from them.
  • by kamakazi (74641) on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:13AM (#34229818)

    Did I miss something? Have the people coding Ares implemented a new protocol, or is this college 5 years behind? Of course, having actually been involved in writing software to track computers on a college campus I am also curious how the college is fingerprinting machines to detect MAC address spoofing, but since this is a press release I wouldn't expect any technically informative information.

    • Did I miss something? Have the people coding Ares implemented a new protocol, or is this college 5 years behind? Of course, having actually been involved in writing software to track computers on a college campus I am also curious how the college is fingerprinting machines to detect MAC address spoofing, but since this is a press release I wouldn't expect any technically informative information.

      Come on, really. How many college kids do you think are actually spoofing their MAC address? Very likely it's 1%.

      Even if it's higher than I think it is, those who DON'T spoof their MAC address are not going to be sophisticated to use this as a defense "It wasn't me! Someone was spoofing my MAC address! I don't even know what a MAC address is!" and, lacking the technical background to muster a defense, they'll roll over.

      They don't need to find the guilty party, they just need to make a few examples, does

      • by gblackwo (1087063)
        Most college networks require a login to use- even from your personal computer(s). Yes, you could spoof your mac- but the login would still be you... Unless you always do your p2ping on someone elses account, but the university may not care who actually did the (ill)legal activities- new harassment technique?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by kamakazi (74641)

          "Most college networks require a login to use- even from your personal computer(s)."

          Actually, not a login, for the simple reason that that breaks all non-browser devices. They require registration of your device, but if they required a login then no Playstations, Xboxes, or iPhones would work, because you can't login with an email client or a video game. Once a machine is registered (Identified by the closest thing there is to unique, the MAC)then all the bad guy needs to do is check to make sure the targ

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        since MAC addresses usually are bound to the network card (pcmcia, usb, pci, even onboard) it might be 'fun' to have a nic-trading situations where people have a POOL of usb wifi dongles and they simply do what they want on the net, drop their usb dongle into the barrel and pick another. could EASILY be done on campus.

        keep switching the mac's around to make the whole process useless. ie, make one of their 'tools' worthless.

        next up, have linux os's on thumbdrives that can be recycled in a similar fashion (

        • Don't know about the college in the OP but at mine they had a WPA2 enterprise network with username/password required and also mac registration.

          I could change my laptop mac to match my phone or a second laptop but if the mac and password don't match then you can't connect.

          If I got someones pass off them then I could spoof their MAC but if anyone set up a pool like you describe they'd all just be kicked off the network as giving away your pass is against the AUP.

    • My guess is it has something to do with "Small college in Georgia" and the fact that the network administrator for said college probably thinks you just said something about McDonald's best selling sandwiches. Luckily for them the students in question probably have no idea what you're talking about either. So it all works out I guess. Until someone does use MAC spoofing, and they screw some poor kid.

    • I suspect that the p2p-track-and-block software just isn't programmed for Ares. It's not one of the big protocols like BT, kad, gnutella. It's some obscure old software that hardly anyone uses.
  • Blizzard (and indeed most MMORPGS these days) uses filesharing to upload patches to their games. So I guess online gaming is not allowed for students there.

    No biggie I guess if that's the way they want it. They'd just better make that clear to prospective applicants. "No gamers wanted here."

  • The RIAA is not only above the law, they are the law /Dredd
  • They're going to get dozens of reports from the university, they're going to have to sort out the WoW updates from the stuff that was genuinely pirated then they'll have to find the companies involved, contact their legal department and ask if they want to press charges. Why should they go to all that hassle for something that'll have no negative effect on their district and only serve to push up the crime statistics and take officers off the streets?

    If the university cared about catching file sharers, t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Why should they go to all that hassle for something that'll have no negative effect on their district and only serve to push up the crime statistics and take officers off the streets?

      For the same reason that the police go after people who possess drugs: it keeps them employed.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        No. A drug bust will garner the cops involved some glory. This is why the cops and the FBI are all over drug enforcement and ignore things like BitTorrent.

        No one wants to be the loser that gets the college pirate collar. No. They want the drug bust.

        There is a good chance that the local cops don't want to be bothered by this crap and want to waste their time doing something that can get them promoted.

        • Nah, cops get super aggressive about minor traffic violations when things get boring around here, despite not really bringing any glory to speak of. IIRC, they even get a little kickback for each ticket they give.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:19AM (#34229874)
    Valdosta State was right up there with Harvard and Yale at the top of my applications list but seriously, who would even THINK of going there NOW? ;)
    • by Arkham (10779)

      When I grew up in Georgia (north of Valdosta, in the Atlanta suburbs), Valdosta was the home of Georgia football. Parents would hold their kids back a year before kindergarten so they'd be bigger for football in hich school (I kid you not). I don't know if it's as stupid a place as it was 35+ years ago, but it sounds like at least some part of it is.

      This is absurd. I am quite sure the Valdosta police have better things to do.

  • by somaTh (1154199) on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:27AM (#34229938) Journal
    I found the headline misleading. Georgia College [gcsu.edu] is not doing this. North Georgia College [northgeorgia.edu] isn't doing this. South Georgia College [sgc.edu] isn't doing this. East Georgia College [ega.edu] isn't doing this. Not even Middle Georgia College [mgc.edu] is doing this. I'm just saying, if you're going to capitalize Georgia College, make sure that's actually in the name.
    • by gblackwo (1087063)
      What did you expect here? Competent journalism?- not had your morning coffee?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by skywire (469351) *

      Despite the fact that the first sentence of the very short story clearly names Valdosta State University, and the fact that everyone learns as a child that significant words in headlines are capitalized, you still managed to confuse yourself into believing that the school in question is Georgia College? I don't buy it. You are feigning confusion as an excuse for posting. Behave yourself.

  • When I was in college one of my classes required that I download, install, and play around with Linux.

    At the time, BT didn't exist so the downloads were primarily FTP. But if a professor were to give a similar assignment today I'd guess that just about any distribution you tried to download would want you to use BT.

    So, are we going to see students getting disciplined and handed over to the police for doing their homework? Or are the professors going to have to change the assignments to comply with these n

  • by Chas (5144) on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:34AM (#34229984) Homepage Journal

    Yep. Can see that all the dollars from tuition that haven't gone into their "resource constrained" network have gone into getting quality staff there! They've all had the highest quality lobotomies that money can buy!

  • Criminal vs. Civil (Score:4, Interesting)

    by watermark (913726) on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:37AM (#34229998)

    I thought your run-o-the-mill copyright violation was a civil matter. Shouldn't they be reporting the students to the copyright holders?

  • I suspect the police wouldn't appreciate the task of sorting out legal from illegal use of widespread, essentially neutral software tools

    Once the school reports someone, they're implicitly making an accusation that illegal activity has already occurred. I don't think it is up to the police to decide at that point; it is a matter for the courts.

  • Will this school ban Linux because... well... hackers sometimes use it! To do illegal stuff!!!!
  • lol (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday November 15, 2010 @09:05AM (#34230210)
    Anyone that's gone to college knows that the university does it's very best to suspend every constitutional right they can while you're there. I've been to court over legal issues twice in my life and both times they were within a year of each other and while I was in college. In both cases I represented myself, challenged the counties evidence on constitutional grounds and won. Those weren't my only run-ins with the police either, just the ones that went to court. In one instance they searched my room while I was on Christmas break and charged me for having an empty wine bottle in my room. Unfortunately for them I was 23 at the time. In another instance a police officer asked if she could come into my dorm room. I refused, at which point she said if I didn't have anything to hide I'd let her in. I explained that rights were like muscles, they get weak if you don't use them. She came in anyway and despite a thorough sacking of my room found nothing.

    The universities play these games because the students let them. I eventually just moved off campus. My rent was 1/3rd what the dorms were and I didn't have any more trouble with the university police. I recomend the same for everyone living on campus at this university as well.
  • I knew plenty of people who shared files on the campus network just by sharing their directories (read-only, no password) with everyone. Would that be banned under this action? What if they are sharing a directory of freeware or open source material?
  • by rAiNsT0rm (877553) on Monday November 15, 2010 @09:14AM (#34230302) Homepage

    I used to work for a university's network dept. at a fairly high level and it fell on my shoulders to handle the RIAA complaints, I pretty much refused because it was ridiculous. When I would be forced to turn info over, I would just give them IP's which were basically useless but they would never get back to me for more info. When the pressure really got strong, I decided the only way I would comply would be to install a device that did actual audio fingerprinting. This way it wasn't just a witch hunt or false positives based on someone simply using P2P or a filename but verified inspection and reporting. Even then, it had it's own way of handling it internally, after each offense it encountered it would email the user with the info and a warning, after 3 infractions it basically cut the port speed to 56k for that user so they could still do school work but little else, any additional infractions resulted in reporting.

    It put the onus on the student and was as reasonable as could be for the screwed up system in place. In the end the RIAA should never have as much power as it does and the fines should be at most $5-20 per song which is between a 500% and 2000% penalty which is quite enough without being so insane as the current system is. No matter how you slice it, it is B.S.

  • I see a lot of replies about legal torrents, false accusations, etc. These kind of news items tend to be purposely sensational and leave out the practical stuff. I'm pretty sure that in reality their P2P filter will check which torrent tracker is used before determining whether something should be forwarded to the police or not. Sure it's possible that "illegal" trackers host something legal, but I bet it will get them a 99% accuracy or better.

    That said, a school should simply block all torrent use and leav

  • Everyone download the latest Fedora.

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.

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