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Using Net Proxies Will Lead To Harsher Sentences 366

Afforess writes "'Proxy servers are an everyday part of Internet surfing. But using one in a crime could soon lead to more time in the clink,' reports the Associated Press. The new federal rules would make the use of proxy servers count as 'sophistication' in a crime, leading to 25% longer jail sentences. Privacy advocates complain this will disincentivize privacy and anonymity online. '[The government is telling people] ... if you take normal steps to protect your privacy, we're going to view you as a more sophisticated criminal,' writes the Center for Democracy and Technology. Others fear this may lead to 'cruel and unusual punishments' as Internet and cell phone providers often use proxies without users' knowledge to reroute Internet traffic. This may also ultimately harm corporations when employees abuse VPN's, as they too are counted as a 'proxy' in the new legislation. TOR, a common Internet anonymizer, is also targeted in the new legislation. Some analysts believe this legislation is an effort to stop leaked US Government information from reaching outside sources, such as Wikileaks. The legislation (PDF, the proposed amendment is on pages 5-15) will be voted on by the United States Sentencing Commission on April 15, and is set to take effect on November 1st. The EFF has already urged the Commission to reject the amendment."
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Using Net Proxies Will Lead To Harsher Sentences

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  • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @07:53PM (#27579915)

    Others fear this may lead to 'cruel and unusual punishments'

    No, it leads to excessive sentences. Those may be unreasonable and, unfortunately, quite usual, but there's nothing cruel and unusual about them, as that term is defined.

  • Re:But (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @08:00PM (#27580037)

    OT, but I twigged on the Opera Mini comment.

    Warning: Opera Mini fakes out the SSL connections - resulting in the Swedish proxy seeing all of the supposedly encrypted traffic.

  • by nebopolis ( 953349 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @08:10PM (#27580171)
    We must flee this tyrannical legal system in our army of privately owned submarines! oh wait, they though of that: page 30, PROPOSED AMENDMENT: SUBMERSIBLE VESSELS The Act creates a new offense at 18 U.S.C. Â 2285 (Operation of Submersible Vessel or Semi-Submersible Vessel Without Nationality), which provides: âoeWhoever knowingly operates, or attempts or conspires to operate, by any means, or embarks in any submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel that is without nationality and that is navigating or has navigated into, through, or from waters beyond the outer limit of the territorial sea of a single country or a lateral limit of that country's territorial sea with an adjacent country, with the intent to evade detection, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.â
  • Re:But (Score:5, Informative)

    by EkriirkE ( 1075937 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @08:18PM (#27580263) Homepage
    Wow, good to know. I'll rethink what I do on my phone now. After reading [wikipedia.org] about that, seems like it's Norway, not Sweden. Whatever.
  • by trentblase ( 717954 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @08:22PM (#27580311)
    First, it's not a law, merely a guideline (they are amending a comment). Second, the comment does not say "proxy". It says: "In a scheme involving computers, using any technology or software to conceal the identity or geographic location of the perpetrator ordinarily indicates sophisticated means". Note the word "ordinarily." I am a privacy advocate, but this is not a particularly scary turn of events. It's basically saying that if you commit a crime and use technology to hide who you are, judges are encouraged to increase sentencing because you are likely to be a more sophisticated criminal than one who did not have the forethought to hide his identity. It sounds downright plausible to me.
  • by MadnessASAP ( 1052274 ) <madnessasap@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @09:12PM (#27580839)

    I personally lead a hell of war agaisnt drugs. Why not last Saturday not only ground parts of the cannabis plant into very small pieces and proceeded to abuse them by packign them very tightly together, I lit them on fire. I take to ridding the world of all drugs quite often using similar techniques it's a wonder I haven't received more recognition for my truely valiant efforts.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @09:58PM (#27581337) Homepage

    Honeslty it only causes people to be more insidious. if I want to do something "illegal" online, I'm going to starbucks.

    Also this new "law" is only to criminalize the common citizen. Hackers, ones that are real not the ankle biter wanna-be's, have ALWAYS used not only a proxy but a different location, you dont hack from your home unless you are a complete moron. well you dont download your Mp3's and movies from home. build a nice high gain dish antenna and steal wifi to do your mp3 and movies. if you make it mobile and know what you are doing you can go to multiple locations and suck it up. Hotels are a great place to grab the free Wifi this way and sit and download that new album that the police will send you to jail for.

    Also, get yourself a "dirty" laptop. something that you can ditch and not have anything that can identify it as yours. Great idea is a laptop that has a easily removed hard drive. Think the heat is on? snatch the drive, dump the laptop (bonus points for having a decoy HDD to slap in it.) and now you can stash a 2.5" drive easily. cops dont have hard drive sniffing dogs yet.

    Because your government hates you, you need to adopt the tools and techniques of the past pioneers that figured it out before you. You gotta treat everything as suspect, be random in your open AP's that you use, and dont get lazy.

    They hate you and will be happy if you are rotting in jail. Dont give them the chance in capturing you, and be sure you can destroy your evidence if you are cornered.

    I'm not overblowing this, this kind of crap is only going to get worse. Many innocent people will be forced to become criminals because of more and more corrupt laws like this.

  • by Thing 1 ( 178996 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:42PM (#27581633) Journal

    So prison rape is approved by judges as a part of sentencing?

    Yeah, last time I was called for jury duty, the judge gave us all "his speech" and in it he mentioned something about PMITA prisons -- not using that acronym or referencing Office Space, but he definitely made us aware that he is aware that he is not only sentencing criminals to rehabilitation, he's also sentencing them to ... inappropriate widening.

    I was rather shocked. Not very surprised, since I've heard of this issue since high school if not earlier, and if "lowly me" has heard of it then I'm sure that judges have as well -- however, I was shocked at the way he conveyed his awareness of the issue to us.

  • Re:But (Score:5, Informative)

    by FSWKU ( 551325 ) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:50PM (#27581689)

    Don't do illegal sh** on your proxy and you'll be fine. If you do illegal sh** on your proxy, don't get caught, and you'll also be fine. But if you're using a proxy to prevent detection of your illegal activity, that is rationally a sign of sophistication and justifiably warrants increased jail-time.

    That line of thinking is all fine and good in a perfect world. Sadly, none of us live there. With the increases in domestic spying, dragnets to catch "pirates" and whatnot, this is a VERY bad thing. Sure, you're doing nothing illegal NOW. But whatabout when they change the definition of what is legal and what is not?

    Get caught using a proxy to write about why you hate Obama? Well, you just got five years instead of four, you dirty, hacking, unpatriotic racist! Post in a livejournal about your personal stance on abortion, AND do it while logged in through TOR? You must be planning to bomb a Planned Parenthood clinic. Go to Jail, do not pass Go.

    I'm not saying that you shouldn't be punished for doing something that's blatantly wrong. The problem lies in the fact that those in power can change the legality of certain things to pander to their target demographic. How long before unpopular political ideas are illegal in this country? Then, not only will sharing your ideas get you a prison sentence, attempting to mask your identity/location will get you MORE time behind bars. Think about that...

  • by ogdenk ( 712300 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @02:45AM (#27582975)

    That's like saying using a gun in an armed robbery constitutes sophistication. No, it's standard practice.

    Or sending cocaine in an opaque envelope with no return address instead of a clearly marked bag labeled Cocaine with the perp's social security number is "sophisticated".

    Using a proxy is much simpler than the crime itself, all you do is google "proxy", and type a URL.

    Using it to proxy your SSH connection to your employer when you wipe the servers takes a little sophistication so that might apply.

    Using a web proxy to post anonymous information on a forum or web site is NOT sophisticated. It's standard practice and should be protected as such. Just because governments are abusing their citizens and are being caught, doesn't mean I deserve 25% more time for using a proxy to post it.

    We already have computer trespassing laws. If they want tougher sentences, why not just amend those with harsher sentences? We already have laws against releasing sensitive government data? Why not just amend those with harsher sentences?

    This is the kinda crap I'm getting tired of. We have so many laws that you have no idea if the cop is lying to you about your supposed "crime" when your arrested. Everything in some form or fashion is against the law somewhere in this country and it's getting stupid.

    Any time someone says "There should be a law!", chances are they are wrong and one already exists to punish that offender anyway.

    I have a bad feeling this exists solely for "selective enforcement".

  • Re:Frorst (Score:3, Informative)

    by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @05:09AM (#27583589)

    Why TF don't they just encrypt CD's, DVD's.

    Well, music really does not have anything to do with this. I understand you may think it does, but it really does not. Media is just far too large to go across most proxies and CERTAINLY WAY TO FUCKING LARGE to go across TOR.

    Consider this: 10,000 people trying to suck down the same amount of gigs off a bunch of proxy/TOR nodes when they are already sucking it down from 100+ times the amount of open, and non-anonymous "pipes".

    That would be like you building a little archway over your street and having everyone pass under it, *FROM THE NEAREST FREEWAY* before they could back to the freeway and go to their original destinations. Sounds crazy doesn't it? The bandwidth just not exist on those networks yet to support media piracy.

    One of the only networks in the world that I am aware of that truly has the capacity to do this is Perfect Dark in Japan. That's because most of the regular citizens over there have 100 mb/s pipes (some even have 1 gb/s) to layer an anonymous network over. That's why it works. Each person is contributing a serious amount of bandwidth to the "cause".

    Americans in the U.S could never even hope to achieve anything remotely like that even if they dedicated 90% of their upstream. Not when it's a mere fraction of what is on other countries.

    Now as for the encryption, DVD's are *already* encrypted. It's called CSS. Your DVD players, and the software on your computer all have the ability to decrypt CSS and show you the content. If you tried to load those files up without doing so, it looks garbage on the screen.

    Both Blu-Ray and HDDVD came out with considerably more sophisticated methods to lock down the content with encryption. However, one thing DID NOT CHANGE. They needed to somehow, in some way, deliver those decryption keys to you so that you could watch the content you paid for. That means the players came with the codes.

    Guess what? They have been cracked. Even HDCP, which is what is trying to protect the information going across HDMI cables has been cracked.

    You have heard of the bullshit where when you buy a Spiderman 3 Blu-Ray it was not playing on the players right? Well that was because they changed the codes to thwart the "pirates" and a large number of players required firmware updates to play it.

    Kind of like the iPhone with its ever changing firmware designed to thwart the jailbreakers.

    It's all just stupidity, and pointless at accomplishing its goals.

    Don't think for one minute that this about ANYTHING to do with media. It has everything to do with preventing people from acting anonymously, since that is a threat to people who don't like being challenged by a small person who they cannot find to squash them like a bug with their considerable power and leverage afforded to them by their positions in soceity, government, etc.

  • by SlashWombat ( 1227578 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @05:55AM (#27583755)
    Honestly, aren't people getting sick of the old "You'd be amazed what you can find on used laptops if you know a bit about forensics. Even without CSI-esque equipment. Most people think that deleting something erases it." Seriously, this was somewhat true with 20 meg, and even 100 meg HDD's, but trawling through a 80 gig or larger HDD looking at "deleted" entries would be dreary in the extreme, I can not believe that many people would even be anal enough to bother, unless they already had some suspicion that there was likely to be a good prize for their effort! Add to this "file fragmentation", and finding a complete document might end up being nearly impossible.

    If you don't believe me, just look through the contents of your current hard disk drive. Have fun!

The best defense against logic is ignorance.