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Privacy Encryption Networking Security Your Rights Online

"Anonymous" File-Sharing Darknet Ruled Illegal By German Court 285

Posted by timothy
from the your-virtual-papers-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A court in Hamburg, Germany, has granted an injunction against a user of the anonymous and encrypted file-sharing network RetroShare. RetroShare users exchange data through encrypted transfers and the network setup ensures that the true sender of the file is always obfuscated. The court, however, has now ruled that RetroShare users who act as an exit node are liable for the encrypted traffic that's sent by others."
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"Anonymous" File-Sharing Darknet Ruled Illegal By German Court

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  • by zergl (841491) on Friday November 23, 2012 @08:26PM (#42078615)

    For what it's worth, this is a copyright case and Hamburg is the preferred location for ridiculous lawsuits by rights holders due to their excessively industry friendly media rights chamber.

    The BGH [wikipedia.org] overturns their verdicts with satisfying regularity and the defendant hopefully will appeal that one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2012 @09:03PM (#42078859)

    I can see it happening already, someone will donate to the judge a cheap and crap computer (Raspberry Pi fits the bill perfectly) and run up a Tor exit node on it. Much hilarity ensues. :-)

    It's academic anyway, because this is a ruling that will get overturned in the EU for being in conflict with basic freedom of speech. Encryption of communications is not illegal in EU.

    What's more, Europeans tend to be strongly opposed to the excesses of the copyright lobby, and strongly supportive of freedom of file sharing. The politicians even listen to them on this subject, as the official political representation shows. So, that judge is out on a rather lonely limb, and a stupid limb if he'd thought about the implications for two seconds before running off to the golf club. It's unlikely to stand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2012 @10:21PM (#42079213)

    Did you just call the country that banned "hacking tools" intelligent? Really?

  • by tftp (111690) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @12:59AM (#42079927) Homepage

    The person who pays for the Internet will get an offer that he cannot refuse. It's like speed cameras - nobody can be sure what specific member of the household drove that car, but the ticket is sent to the title holder.

    If a crime had been committed and all N possible suspects are equally likely to be guilty, an enlightened idealist would say that the police will let them all walk. However a police professional will tell you that the police/prosecutor will select a prosecutable individual and railroad him regardless of his actions. If they picked a wrong man, chances are good that he will start talking and "the real killer" can be then arrested.

    Besides, in most cases it's not rocket science to find out who did what. If the list of suspects includes your mother, who is an accountant, your grandfather who retired 30 years ago, and you (of the tender age of 18, studying computer science) many detectives will point their finger straight at you. A few hours in detention, a few colorful scenarios of whatever remains of your life, all masterfully explained to you by a seasoned professional, and you will break. They will question you for days asking the same questions, you will mix something up or lie in small details, they prove it, and that lie seals your fate. But why do I explain all that - the whole story is exactly about that, how they get "their men." Only Assange is still safe, but he can't hide forever. And if he does, it's nothing but a self-imposed prison sentence.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @01:47AM (#42080071)
    If I knowingly delivered packages from people who wanted to hide their identity, making it more expensive and slower due to the extra steps required to hide, I would expect to be held responsible for any bombs or drugs I delivered. How Is this different from.an ISP? An ISP delivers content as efficiently as possible - they don't take extra steps to hide the perpetrator of unlawful acts.
  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @05:12AM (#42080657) Homepage Journal

    Wait - who said that you get to define "darknet"?

    Seemingly, the most accepted definition of a darknet would be, "I'm actually anonymous, there are no lights shining on me, I can be who and what I want to be, and no worries about the law, or the church, or my kin, or mobs chasing me down!"

    For the most part, the people on the darkwebs I have navigated don't give a damn who sees their material. Their primary concern is that an oppressive government doesn't come kicking their doors down. Their secondary concern is to avoid embarrassment for the stuff being traced back to them. MOST people want other to read, or view, their original material. Whether that material be political in nature, or religious, or even CP, the people who produce it are indeed distributing the stuff as widely as they dare.

    The public can download I2P or any other darknet software, install it, and browse the material published there. The government can do the same. Darknetizens WANT their voices to be heard.

  • by Seeteufel (1736784) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @06:56AM (#42080907) Homepage
    The story is wrong. The judge decided a particular case where the user is said to have used Retroshare [sourceforge.net]. You cannot rule that it was set up to defame retroshare. Nowhere did the Court rule that using Retroshare was illegal. It didn't and it was not entitled to. In reality Retroshare is the future and F2F is a nightmare for the content mafia. Simply because with Retroshare no one would find out that you shared a file, and F2F creates a network of bilateral trust. The CeBit, the largest European computer fair, will focus on shareconomics next year.

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