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IP Addresses Not Enough To ID Users 266

Posted by timothy
from the yes-that-is-correct-yes dept.
phaedrus5001, with his first accepted story, points out an article at Ars Technica from which he's excerpted a chunk relevant to nearly anyone with an internet connection: "A file-sharing lawyer admitted this week that IP addresses don't by themselves identify someone accused of sharing copyrighted material online. To figure out who actually shared the pornographic movie at the center of the case, lawyer Brett Gibbs of Steele Hansmeier LLC told the judge (PDF) he would need to search every computer in the subscriber's household."
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IP Addresses Not Enough To ID Users

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 08, 2011 @02:04PM (#37342802)

    Does it really matter? Do we need to know every time it's someone's first accepted story? I know I get a good feeling deep down in my heart to know that phaedrus5001 has finally found acceptance...

  • Search them all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @02:11PM (#37342920)
    So what if they search all the computers in the house hold it doesn't prove who was sitting at the computer when the actual sharing was done. Most house holds have at least one computer that everyone uses at some point.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 08, 2011 @02:22PM (#37343124)

    Before you can surf the web, you have to log in with your social insurance number and an ISP password. Once that's done, your ISP will allow your traffic. Time to authenticate individual users.

    Don't want to do this? NO INTERNET FOR YOU!

    Sent from EXXON-Mobil MGM Coca-Cola iPad

  • Re:nothing found (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @02:29PM (#37343224) Journal

    They always find something. It only takes six lines written by the most honest man to find something on which to hang him.

  • by 2names (531755) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @02:32PM (#37343274)
    Nope, it's completely about who the jury likes.
  • by FellowConspirator (882908) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @02:36PM (#37343314)

    Just because the computer in question shared a file doesn't mean anyone in the house did it or was even aware of it. For that matter, there are trojans and viruses more than capable of establishing a personal computer as a file-sharing node without the knowledge of the owner / operator. The person at fault is the person that intentionally caused the content to be shared, not the computer owner or operator(s).

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @02:39PM (#37343350)

    It could be argued that you are a bit responsible for what your computer does

    Except that computers connected to the Internet are sometimes taken over by malware that causes the computers to do things outside of the control of their owners. There was a case a while back where a guy was accused of downloading child pornography, and it was discovered that it was actually malware that did the downloading. Is it really that far-fetched to think that some hacker who wants to download music without getting sued would use a botnet to hide his activities?

  • by jank1887 (815982) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @02:44PM (#37343410)

    and that means that within the contractual arrangement with the ISP, they are able to hold me responsible for things that happen on my connection. They can ask me to pay when there are costs as a result. They can disconnect the connection at my expense if nefarious things happen over it.

    But that contract has nothing to do with my legal liability with a 3rd party. If the 3rd party sues the ISP, and the ISP, through my contractual relationship, holds me responsible, that's one thing. But that's not what they are doing. If they're going to try to prove that I'm legally liable for what they think went on, for damages they think I did to them, they're going to have to show enough proof of that.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @08:59PM (#37347260)

    and if scum sucking lawyers like in TFA start using that excuse to make fishing expeditions frankly we're all fucked.

    There have already been Constitutionality questions raised about many aspects of the RIAA lawsuit mill. In fact, we're already beyond the merely ridiculous, in both the outrageous claims these lawyers make, the "evidence" they present, what courts have been accepting from overpaid Armani suits.

    The thing is, there's some precedent for these kinds of fishing expeditions, and it doesn't even take a schlock outfit like the RIAA to start one. The first of which I was aware was the infamous Steve Jackson Games [wikipedia.org] case, where the Secret Service took the word of a phone company (a phone company!) that wrongdoing had been committed, and caused quite a bit of damage. When it got to court they lost, and received a reprimand from the judge for their sloppy investigative practices.

    Law enforcement always tends to take the side of large corporate legal departments over individuals: the tragedy there is that the corporation can afford to pay for its mistakes, while the average citizen cannot and can easily be bankrupted.

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