SpyMonday October 01 2007: fifteen percent of the people that are using P2P networks, are spying for the authorities or record and film company representatives like BREIN, MPAA, RIAA, FPFI and more. They are looking for people that share illegal files via the network to collect as much information as they can, so authorities can sue them for copyright infringement.

Three American investigators wanted to see how file sharers could stay anonymous on P2P networks, and it seemed an nearly impossible task. In 2006 they investigated the data traffic of a popular P2P network like Gnutella, for 90 days. “We discovered that an naive user stands no change at all to stay anonymous. All the time the unprotected sharing of files was monitored by people working for the authorities, collecting proof of copyright infringement.”

The use of Block-list software, like PeerGuardian, Bluetrack and TrustyFiles gave an improvement. The change to be monitored whit one of these block-lists dropped to 1%, but it would only have effect when the list is updated at regular intervals. No one suggests that downloading illegally is a good idea, but P2P technology is here to stay and the entertainment industry better think of ways to offer users a cheep and simple alternative of legally downloading copyrighted content, investigator Michalis Faloutsos says. The investigation report named P2P: “Is Big Brother Watching You” can be downloaded here (.pdf).

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