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Hack Claims to Make BitTorrent Downloads Untraceable

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While it is virtually impossible to find universal agreement for any technology topic, the 60+ damning comments on our story about the passing of the Digital Economy Bill (which followed the Digital Britain Report and crucially, amendment) suggest there are some. And here is a fundamental example of why we're all right and the MPs who passed it are so hopelessly wrong...

It's called (and you'll have to fill in the blanks for yourselves) 'SeedF**cker'. It's just 86 lines of C# code and it has been developed to make downloads using peer-to-peer software completely untraceable. The Register reports it works by not only faking the IP address of a server from where a file is downloaded (protecting the source), but also by flooding a torrent with dozens of fake peers (protecting the user). In short: such masking would lead the traffic monitoring attempts of the RIAA, MPA and MPAA on a wild and unending goose chase.

Interestingly SeedF**cker comes from an exploit discovered in BitTorent code last year, but could help safeguard its future and with a bit of tinkering it could be integrated into every mainstream P2P client.

All of which is just the latest example of how the Web evolves faster than the authorities and laws which aim to catch it out. Coders behind SeedF**cker admit it was produced because of the Digital Economy Bill and it could serve to make illegal downloading safer and more prevalent than it has ever been before. Of course all involved in the #debill (as it is referred to on Twitter) should have known this and now their draconian steps could lead to even more lost revenues as sympathy for the copyright holders' cause evaporates and P2P masking technology comes to the forefront.

So let's reiterate the sane approach: distribution models need to evolve. Their smaller file size meant music was first targeted by downloaders and over the last 10 years these models have greatly improved through the likes of online stores such as iTunes and streaming services such as Spotify, Napster (ironically once an illegal download tool itself) and Last.fm. There isn't really a justification for users to steal music anymore, though improvements can still be made.

Where it does need to change drastically is video - a sector only relatively recently exploited thanks to ever faster broadband connections. Here the backward thinking of regionalised discs, snail speed roll out of content from country to country and rip-off pricing for HD material means for many illegally downloading their favourite shows or films is the only way to get them without incurring months - and sometimes years - of wait. Multi-format global day one availability (cinema, Blu-ray, DVD, download and streaming) is the only way forward, you know it and I know it.

Until then putting short term profits and lawsuits first simply won't work for either the government or the copyright holders they so desperately try to protect. The ingenuity that runs through the core of the Internet will always be more nimble than those who seek to control it for their own gain. Furthermore, with an election coming, there has never been a better time to make your voice heard...

Links:
via The Register
theyworkforthebpi.com (site detailing how every MP voted on the DEB)
theyworkforyou.com (site keeping tabs on individual MPs, UK parliaments and assemblies)

Story thumbnail again courtesy of zeta.net

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