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Piracy Privacy The Courts The Internet Your Rights Online

IP Addresses Not Enough To ID Users 266

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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  • Re:Bad news bears. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @02:16PM (#37343014) Homepage

    Sadly, I don't expect this will end anywhere good. I expect RIAA enforcement to suddenly extend to 'all computer equipment on the premise' and more draconian identifying methods by ISPs.

    Or, we can hope, sanity will prevail and it will more or less come down to "you don't have enough information to tell us who to look for, and you can't just go on a fishing expedition to look for computers that might be the one you think it is".

    This is mostly about someone using information which the rest of us have always known was insufficient, using that to get far enough to identify someone, and then deciding they need to look at any computer within a 5 mile radius just in case it was them.

    Their "evidence" gets weaker every time they try to say "we need to look at more because the last one wasn't enough". They're also at the discovery phase, which basically means they don't have enough evidence to know if they should be proceeding.

    And, unless someone makes it illegal to have an open wifi, you can't go around saying that there is any contributory negligence or anything like that.

  • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @03:40PM (#37344138) Homepage

    Although this is won't work with DSL because of PPOE login, with a cable modem your IP address is not proof of anything.

    Why? DHCP is not the only game in town. On many networks, you can take a DHCP-assigned address and determine the appropriate subnet mask, default route, and DNS server. But nothing really stops you from manually overriding the IP address, as long as you choose one in the same subnet that happens to be unused at the moment. The ISP can make this a little more difficult by remembering the MAC address associated with each address, but there are workarounds for that too.

    I became aware of this when my cable modem stopped working and the support technician discovered that my IP address was in use from someplace other than my house. In those days, all addressing was static. Some other customer had inadvertently (or deliberately) assumed my IP address. The tech gave me a new address assignment and everything worked. So whoever hijacked my IP address left the audit trail pointing to ME. The hijacker was (from an IP address perspective) invisible.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 08, 2011 @03:59PM (#37344364) Journal

    Weeeellll...considering the fact it has been slashvertisement city here as of late frankly we ought to be damned happy that it isn't some more Infoworld or that other site (you know, the one that had the brass balls to put a FIFTY ONE PAGE TFA under "Best FOSS software!" like a giant douche?) so personally I say welcome aboard dude.

    As for TFA, yeah that is ALL we need, considering their "detection software" said a fricking laser printer was file sharing, is to give these douches an excuse for a fishing expedition on EVERY PC IN THE HOUSE. Be honest guys, how many of you have receipts for every bit of media, software, movies, etc, that you have? I know I'm moved 4 times in the past 5 years and have NO clue as to where half of my damned discs are. That was kinda the whole point of backing everything up onto a HDD as it is a hell of a lot easier to keep up with a USB HDD that holds thousands of discs worth of stuff than it is to keep up with thousands of discs.

    I know some got crunched and tossed when my amp fell over on the box (boy that was a mess!) some are in storage, some I lent to my mom (whom I'm sure has promptly lost them or her damned goat of a dog had them for lunch), some I lent to friends (yeah good luck seeing THOSE again, hell I don't even remember who has what), some are in storage and some lord only knows where I put those boxes.

    Personally as much as I hated Wesley Crusher I saw a video of Wil Wheaton at some convention and he nailed it "Make it simple for people to have the files legally" because as Gabe at Valve pointed out the pirates are offering a better value. I should be able to buy a disc ONCE, register it, and that's it, I'm done. i should from then on be able to put it in any damned format I like, toss the disc, whatever, I paid and I'm done. The IP bullshit is the only damned thing I can think where they say it is property AND/OR a license, apparently on the whim of the IP asshole. If I have the disc I only have a license, but then I lose the disc I only had the media and need to replace, WTF?

    If I would have kept up with every single disc I swear i wouldn't be able to even walk in my damned apt, and if scum sucking lawyers like in TFA start using that excuse to make fishing expeditions frankly we're all fucked.

Happiness is twin floppies.