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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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May 17, 2004

Compromising Darknets

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Posted by Ernest Miller

One common response to the RIAA's legal campaign against P2P uploaders is that filesharers will simply move to darknets where the RIAA's spies won't be able to follow. There is something to these arguments. The smaller a darknet, however, the more difficult it will be to find more obscure files. Thus, there will be growing pressure for the users to either opt for a legitimate download service which has convenient access, or to grow the darknet. Unfortunately, the bigger a darknet gets the less manageable it becomes and the easier it is to compromise.

A perfect example of this comes from The Register, which reports that anti-spam activists have infiltrated various spammer forums (Spam fighters infiltrate spam clubs):

Steve Linford of Spamhaus said spammers know this [that their "private" forums have been infiltrated] already but they don't know who amongst their number is working for the other side. In theory the members-only forums of these sites is accessible only by invitation and only to individuals who have a proven track record in spamming.

One would think that spammers would have a significant interest in protecting their networks from compromise. After all, from the report it sounds as if many spammers are engaging in many legally questionable tactics. Yet the "private" forums were still infiltrated. How much easier will large darknet filesharing networks be compromised?

Darknets for filesharing without fear of lawsuit can work, but only if they remain among small groups of friends known to each other. Once a darknet grows beyond a small group of people known to each other, they become ripe for infiltration. It is between the inconvenience and administrative costs of darknets and the current, excessive price of legitimate downloads that the P2P filesharing answer will be found.

via Slashdot

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use


COMMENTS

1. cypherpunk on May 17, 2004 8:25 PM writes...

That's a good point. And of course the problem with keeping the darknet small is that then there is not much of a body of content to share. Even today, when undoubtedly most of the darknet content was originally downloaded off the big networks, there is still not nearly as much variety as in the multi-million-user P2P nets. And if the big P2P systems did get shut down, that would make darknets even less effective without a larger supply of content to leech off of.

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