Thursday, November 08, 2007

BPI hails encrypted peer-to-peer traffic

More and more BitTorrent traffic is being encrypted, according to a 'major UK ISP' quoted by The Register.

Matt Phillips, the pretty one from the BPI, seems to treat this as good news:

"Our internet investigations team, internet service providers and the police are well aware of encryption technology: it's been around for a long time and is commonplace in other areas of internet crime. It should come as no surprise that if people think they can hide illegal activity they will attempt to."

Well, Matt, it's great that you're "aware" of the technology; and we're not surprised at your instant denigration of an entire technology as being "commonplace in other areas of internet crime".

Of course, it's also commonplace in areas of legal use - after all, peer-to-peer transport is a great way to transmit large files to multiple users without getting a massive bandwidth problem, but there are just some things you wouldn't want to send out in the raw, are there? Matt, though, leaps to the conclusion that something wrong must be up:
"When encryption is used to cloak torrent traffic it tends to be to hide something, and attracts greater attention for that reason.

Hmmm... 'encryption', 'cloaking'... yes, you're right, the use of cloaking encryption might be a clue that something is being hidden.

Your IT department excels itself.

And yes, the fact that something is encrypted might make it raise curiosity, but - since that something is encrypted, it doesn't really matter, does it? Again, though, the mere act of choosing to make something encrypted doesn't mean it's illegal - after all, Matt, when you buy your black tshirts online, your credit card is encrypted. Perhaps, yes, that might make draw attention to it. Or maybe you choose not to use an encrypted webform when shopping online - after all, encryption is pretty much pirate activity all of itself, isn't it?
If certain ISPs are experiencing disproportionately high volumes of encrypted torrent traffic we expect it is partly in response to a combination of effective ISP abuse teams the enforcement efforts of the police and industry."

So, your expensive and unpopular campaign of attack on filesharers hasn't actually done anything to stop people filesharing, but has lead to increased use of cloaking technology. You'd probably know better than me, Matt, but I don't think that was your original aim for the campaign, was it?