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Georgia College's New Policy — Reporting All P2P Users To the Police

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the because-networking-is-wrong dept.

Piracy 421

An anonymous reader excerpts from an article at TorrentFreak: "Georgia's Valdosta State University has updated its network with software that can pinpoint students who use P2P software. The university is committed to stop file-sharing on its network even if that results in prison sentences for students. Offenders will be disciplined by the school and then handed over to the police, the university has announced." School policy is one thing ("don't use file-sharing software on our resource-constrained network, or we may kick you off"), but I suspect the police wouldn't appreciate the task of sorting out legal from illegal use of widespread, essentially neutral software tools. Update: 11/15 18:27 GMT by T : Reader (and VSU alumnus) Matt Baker contacted the school; he reports that the school's IT director Joe Newton in response flatly denied the claims in the TorrentFreak article, and says the school hasn't installed such P2P tracking software, and doesn't hand students over the police, and says instead "I cannot foresee that we would ever do so." Thanks, Matt.

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421 comments

Any forms of file-sharing? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229748)

Is this related to any forms? What about downloading cc music or shows and isos of linux?

Re:Any forms of file-sharing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229856)

I'd be surprised if there were objections to linux ISOs. Some campuses provide local mirrors to reduce off-campus traffic (and thereby costs).

Re:Any forms of file-sharing? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229876)

Is this related to any forms? What about downloading cc music or shows and isos of linux?

This is Valdosta State and SOUTH GEORGIA we're talking about here.....they wouldn't understand that kind of stuff....

LOL! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229750)

LOL!

Isn't this going to get expensive? (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229752)

Ok, I'm no expert on the US legal situation, but what's to prevent a situation like this from happening:

1) Student installs 100% legal copy of World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2 or any other game which uses a P2P updater system on their PC in their dorm room.

2) Game does its P2P stuff to get its patches.

3) College spots P2P activity and calls police.

4) Police charge college administrators with wasting police time.

5) Student sues college.

Like it or not, P2P isn't just about illegal filesharing. Yes, I'd fully accept that most P2P traffic is illegal, but a blanket policy like this just seems doomed to (probably expensive) failure.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (2, Insightful)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229800)

One would hope so. Recall that ATT did this during the Bush Administration with its warrantless wiretaps. The only difference is that ATT allowed access to everything, rather than a specific subset of everything.

This is a clear breach of 4th Amendment rights. I wonder when the police will be sued.

I would suggest the ACLU take this case, but with their late track record of kowtowing to the government (full body scanners anyone?), I wouldn't look for help from them.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (2, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229890)

I don't see the police department as being in the wrong here; at least not yet. The college has announced an intention to report all uses of P2P software to the police. I don't see that the police have yet given any indication of how they will respond, not least when presented with a case relating to legal P2P traffic. If the police take no further action with the information provided to them, then they are surely in the clear.

What does occur to me - and this is where I'd welcome input from somebody who does know the legal situation in the US better - is that here in the UK, and in many countries whose legal systems have historic links to ours, there is an offence of wasting police time [wikipedia.org] . If there is any equivalent law in the jurisdiction that covers this college, then I suspect they'd find themselves in breach of it, which could open their administrators to criminal prosecution.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (2, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229934)

A problem, though - copyright infringement with p2p *is* a criminal offence in the US, has been since the NET act. The police can't be seen to simply ignore a reported crime - they have to do something, even if it's just a stern warning. But if they do that, then the copyright holders will have to get involved, in order to prevent copyright infringement from becoming something the police demonstrate as beneath their notice, like littering. If the police do severely punish infringers, they have to face a public backlash... it doesn't matter what the police do, they are in for a hard time either way. So is the college, and so are the students.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (3, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229968)

Agreed, but a blanket policy of reporting all attempts at P2P filesharing (which may not be a crime) to the police as copyright infringement is going to result in a large number of false accusations. As I said in my OP, a large number of legal pieces of software, not least games, use P2P methods for their update systems. If I were running a police department, with limited resources, and suddenly began receiving a large number of false accusations from the local college, at the very least I would want to get the college's administration in for a polite but firm chat about the appropriate use of police resources.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (1)

gslavik (1015381) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230028)

NET act? AFAIK, according to DMCA, non-profit copyright infringement is a civil offense.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230096)

actually if you distribute more than 1000 dollars worth of copyrighted material within a given timeframe (can't remember the limit) then it can be a felony.

Now given that some software retails for more than that uploading even a single copy of the latest adobe creative suite could push you over the limit.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (2, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230064)

In Belgium all the police would do is send it to the court. They will then need to investigate if they have some time left. As it stands now as long as there is no financial gain, they will ignore it.

However if there is financial gain, then they will investigate.

Now try to file cases in large numbers and many where there isn't even anything illegal going on, will upset the court and those are not people you want to piss off.

The police will act only on command of the court and I am sure the court will say: "Your network, your problem.". Now if they would kick people because of use of p2p and these people will want to sue their provider, they will have much more chance of being heard and even winning their case.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230162)

One key problem here is that using P2P software itself is not a crime and may not necessarily indicate illegal activity.

That was rather the entire point of the example in the OP.

Copyright infrinnment may be a criminal offence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34230242)

...but as others have already stated, P2P is *not*

As: owning and using a gutting knife isn't a criminal offence, while killing my wife with one most definitely is.

Now for the quiz question: what would the police say if I reported every case of gutting knife posession/usage in my neighbourhood?

Oh, well. Let's be careful. Maybe some would even like that idea.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (2, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229974)

There's no 4th amendment problem here. You're a guest on a private network and the network administrator believes that you are committing a crime, so they report you to the police. There's no problem with that.

The problem is that Valdosta is taking the proper steps to verify that the behavior is actually illegal and they are going to end up wasting police time as a result.

But, if you're on a private network, you shouldn't have any real expectation of privacy, besides what state law may give you.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (2, Informative)

bemenaker (852000) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230010)

It's a state funded "public" university. The lines on that get a little muddy. The phones in the dorm rooms have the same legal protection that your phone in your house does.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229980)

Christ! Can you get any more lame with this crap? Bush is gone! Fuck him! I got news for ya. ATT still does warrantless wiretaps. And they've been doing warrantless wiretaps throughout their goddamn history! What kind of world did you grow up in that you think everybody is so fucking nice?! Jeeze! You sound like a bunch of a damn fools, all of you! Bad enough for people like me to want to jump to the other side, just because you suck balls!

Mass-downloading of legal software (5, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229850)

Students should just start downloading legal p2p software... at a massive scale.

Make sure that the university and the police department are getting overworked from false claims of illegal downloading.

It's a peaceful, harmless and non-violent way of teaching stupid people that p2p is not always illegal.

Re:Mass-downloading of legal software (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229982)

Problem: While the police may not do anything, the university would be entirely within its rights to ban you from their network or dismiss you from the university altogether. It's their network, and they do have the right to be dicks about it.

The only solution I know of is to go to the few universities which get it right. I'm at Iowa State, which does just about the bare minimum -- if they detect you using P2P software, they send you an automated email which says something along the lines of: "If we can see you're torrenting, so can the MPAA. Just thought you should know." You can opt-out of this email, also.

They used to throttle, but they don't seem to anymore, and they certainly aren't going out of their way to help the **AA, though of course if you are caught, they'd probably be happy to identify you by IP.

In other words, they realize this is not their problem, and so they're not spending time or money hassling students about it.

some more questions then (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230134)

TFA mentions that this is about the "campus" of a university.
Does that mean the university-owned computers that are meant only for educational purposes? Or does this mean the privately owned computers that students have in their own rooms where they live?

Makes a LOT of difference to me.

If I lived at a campus where the university would rat on me everytime I would download something that may be illegal (but isn't necessarily) - I would be out of there.
That's not a free country anymore... You'd be guilty until proven innocent.

However - if we talk about university owned computers for education - sure... they own it. They can block whatever they want on their own computers in their own buildings on their own networks... although I think it's childish.

Re:Mass-downloading of legal software (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230154)

It's a public university, so it is at the very least bad taste to be oppressive enforcers of an agenda in opposition to legitimate free culture.

Re:Mass-downloading of legal software (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230202)

Almost all bittorrent clients are 'legal' P2P software. It's what you choose to do with it that makes it illegal, just like a gun.

I highly suggest they all start downloading and deleting repeatedly any recent linux distros. See how fast the cops stop paying attention to the reports.

Re:Mass-downloading of legal software (2, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230208)

If the schools internet policy bans p2p software, they're still going to discipline and possibly expel the student.

Sure there may be little or no legal consequences, but screwing up your degree because you breach a contract you freely entered into might not be the smartest move.

Re:Mass-downloading of legal software (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230214)

Students should just start downloading legal p2p software... at a massive scale. Make sure that the university and the police department are getting overworked from false claims of illegal downloading. It's a peaceful, harmless and non-violent way of teaching stupid people that p2p is not always illegal.

I agree with the strategy, but it's easier said than done. It's a significant investment to get into school, and an even bigger one to upset the applecart: daddy paid some tuition, you borrowed the rest of the tuition, and you do have those midterms and other academic projects to finish on time.

As pointed out, more games are using P2P updating mechanisms, and some gamers may not even be aware of it. Suddenly, the cops want to know why the kids are stealing music, and if they can't connect the dots as fast as their games are connecting to peer nodes, they may screw up their own legal defense.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (5, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229922)

End result: College bans games. Games aid terrorism by masking real illegal activity in a shroud of legitimate traffic; they are therefore illegitimate by proxy.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (1, Interesting)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229954)

Yeah, I use my network connection in my lab to seed a few dozen different Linux distributions, uploading 10's of GB/day. If I was at Valdosta State, I'm sure I'd be one of the first to be contacted.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (1)

PsyciatricHelp (951182) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229960)

Maybe that is the point. I doubt it. But it would be nice for a public control method to fail miserably. Where will there college be after kicking out half its paying student base? How will they afford there new campus additions?

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (-1, Troll)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229970)

it's not "most" p2p that is illegal filesharing, it is "almost every single byte of it". It actually makes a lot more sense to consider all p2p infriging until proven wrong, than the opposite.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34230056)

Is the USA, we have this legal thing called "Inoccent until proven guilty".

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230062)

No, there a rather large share of it is legal. And it's better to let a thousand guilty people off than convict a single innocent person, particularly when there isn't any scientific evidence of harm caused by p2p. We have due process for a reason.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (4, Informative)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230076)

I dunno, there are a LOT of WoW and CoD players out there. Especially on a college network. With Cataclysm set to release in a month, and CoD just released (Hence needing to be patched most likely, games being what they are) it seems to me that there's probably a lot of legitimate P2P traffic on a university network right now. Gigs and gigs worth per client in WoW's case. I think my computer has downloaded something like 5 or 6 gigabytes worth of patches and preloads (They're making Cataclysm available for direct download rather than making you go to the store and buy a copy) in the last month or two with another 3-4 gigs expected before Dec 7. Then probably another 500MB to a gig in patches to fix the stuff that didn't scale like they thought it would.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (1)

polle404 (727386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230102)

could you point us to some numbers substantiating this?

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34230258)

The only number substantiating it that I know is 160321.

Dtella (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229986)

Someone should setup their own DTella [dtella.org] server. It's some pretty slick software that you can limit to on campus IP addresses.

The downloads there are only for the Purdue Campus, but you can setup your own server. They have some pretty complex IP allow rules. For example you can't use the wireless network between 8 & 5. Nothing off campus. Certain buildings etc. It doesn't count against off campus band width usage. Minimum share requirements, etc.

I've hit 40MB/s from some computer labs (that have GigE) with my laptop. Hands down better than any P2P service out there in terms of speed.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230004)

Sounds like a plan! Get them all to install utorrent and pull down and share Linux iso's and creative commons music. A great way for the kids today to stick it to the man.... Oh wait, college kids today don't really try to protect their rights and take the time to protest anymore..

The Ohio State massacre really taught college kids to obey and stay in line.... Very few have the guts to do public disobedience anymore.

Re:Isn't this going to get expensive? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230254)

More like

5) Police charge college administrators with filing a false police report.

This is a serious charge akin to perjury.

World of Warcraft-- (1)

NoxNoctis (936876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229754)

Yes... It uses BitTorrent for updates (yes, you can disable this but most don't). Suddenly people who pay month-to-month to play a game are considered criminals by the school. Um, what?

GNU/Linux, *BSD, etc. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229794)

There are a lot of uses for BitTorrent that have nothing to do with copyright infringement.

Re:GNU/Linux, *BSD, etc. (1)

NoxNoctis (936876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229820)

I am well aware of this. What I was pointing out was how ludicrous it is for the school to assume that all P2P is illegal when some people pay at least one company to use their fully legitimate and legal BT-based updater. I apologize if you missed that.

Re:GNU/Linux, *BSD, etc. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229844)

I didn't miss it, I was just adding to the list.

Re:GNU/Linux, *BSD, etc. (1, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229902)

yep, and they account for a whopping 0.001% of bittorrent traffic.

Re:GNU/Linux, *BSD, etc. (2)

amoe (550586) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230020)

Citation needed

Re:GNU/Linux, *BSD, etc. (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230052)

So? I'd wager that about that percentage of crowbar use is for helping to remove flat tires from cars, the rest being nefarious. After all, your typical tire-iron crowbar sits in a trunk gathering dust until needed. But when you need one for legal purposes, you really need it. So should we arrest anyone found with a crowbar in their hands, no matter what the reason?

Re:World of Warcraft-- (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229924)

Not just WoW. The new StarCraft game uses BitTorrent for updates as well.

I bet.... (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229756)

... the first people to be reported will be the lecturers!

I bought some lighter fluid... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229770)

Can you point me to the appropriate police department to turn myself in as a possible arsonist?

Re:I bought some lighter fluid... (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229806)

The best way to put it.

Re:I bought some lighter fluid... (2, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229928)

I passed a free newspaper to someone else on the bus this morning. The police showed no interest when I told them.

Re:I bought some lighter fluid... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230218)

Hahaha, Slashdot reader still reading a newspaper.

Good one!

So (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229784)

You're young, living on your own for the first time, and the place that's supposed to be teaching you stuff announces that at the first sign of a misstep they'll "discipline" you and then hand you over to the police for a second helping of same, with a permanent record attached to boot.

What a wonderful way to grow up.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229918)

You're young, living on your own for the first time, and the place that's supposed to be teaching you stuff announces that at the first sign of a misstep they'll "discipline" you and then hand you over to the police for a second helping of same, with a permanent record attached to boot.

For those of us who went or go from High School to the Military, this is fairly accurate.

What a wonderful way to grow up.

Oh it was.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229930)

Basically any disciplinary action at the school I was attending results in a students suspension or expulsion. (Since they rely on "preponderance of evidence", and the "hearings" are geared towards finding students "responsible") Being an engineering school, with a large number of students looking for jobs with government contractors (in the USA) requiring security clearances, it still poses a significant impact on the students future. (for even small missteps)

not necessarily a bad policy (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229788)

the police have discretions about pursuing perps. if they catch you parking where you shouldn't or smoking a joint or speeding, for example, they can just waive you off if the "crime" isn't that major. so the college wins: no administrative headache, the student wins: the police will mostly ignore the pirating. the only people who lose are the police, who have to look through a bunch of emails and hit "delete", and the RIAA, who will have a hard time justifying onerous financial impositions on what amounts to a crime that, in real life, is no more major than jaywalking

Re:not necessarily a bad policy (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229824)

the student wins: the police will mostly ignore the pirating

Until it turns out to be a student who runs a blog that criticizes the police department, or some politician wants to run on a "tough on crime" platform, or some police officer whose cousin works for the RIAA. Relying on the police to not prosecute people who are reported to them for breaking the law is not something I would do.

Re:not necessarily a bad policy (3, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229908)

of course the police can abuse you. of course anyone can abuse you. but you need to learn that, just as crippling in this world as an overabundance of trust to people who don't deserve your trust, is the existence of people like you: those with such a crippling poverty of distrust that you won't even expect a simple human baseline of behavior in civil society

the abuses you imagine above are rare. of course you might someday suffer from these kinds of abuses. and of course the ceiling can crash on your head right now. you can't live in a shell, expecting the worst all the time. you need to place some trust in your fellow human beings if only because you suffer the most when you assume the worst possible scenario all the time. most people are good and decent. really

Re:not necessarily a bad policy (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230104)

most people are good and decent. really

But we are speaking about the (US) police here...

Re:not necessarily a bad policy (1)

oji-sama (1151023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229826)

How is this going to prevent RIAA from suing them?

Re:not necessarily a bad policy (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229860)

it's not. how is not reporting them to police going to prevent the RIAA from suing them?

the point is, it makes their job of imposing six figure sums on financially poor students look that much more vile, when the police obviously don't consider it a crime, by not pursing it

Re:not necessarily a bad policy (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230088)

First, the point is, in this case, to knock P2P bandwidth hogs off the network.

Second, it's to give law enforcement the ability to harass "undesirables" through the use of probable cause, providing a nice end run around various legal protections.

And of course, yes, there is the money... There could be some kickback from the entertainment cartels..

...it makes their job of imposing six figure sums on financially poor students look that much more vile...

To whom? Public relations is very low on their list of priorities.. Be vile brings in big bucks. Vile are the people who prop up their business with their purchases.

Re:not necessarily a bad policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229878)

I don't recall jaywalking having a fine of well over 1k usd or jail time. You really can not compare them since jaywalking does not have lobbies of people spending an obscene amount of money to stop jaywalking.

All fear the jaywalking czar! or was it the ip czar...who knows?

Re:not necessarily a bad policy (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229946)

If they just waive it off, they'll incur the wrath of the copyright lobby - shortly followed by the threat of legal action from them.

this new file sharing app Ares?? (3, Interesting)

kamakazi (74641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229818)

Did I miss something? Have the people coding Ares implemented a new protocol, or is this college 5 years behind? Of course, having actually been involved in writing software to track computers on a college campus I am also curious how the college is fingerprinting machines to detect MAC address spoofing, but since this is a press release I wouldn't expect any technically informative information.

Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229870)

Managed switches?

Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (3, Informative)

kamakazi (74641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229990)

Managed switches don't help prevent MAC address spoofing unless you actually allow a MAC to only connect through the port it first connected on, which kinda gets in the way of people roaming on wifi. Yes there are actually wireless solutions that will approximate physical location by access point triangulation, but good luck in a busy spot. Actually identifying a specific computer on an untrusted network (which they all are these days) is extremely difficult. Knowing what port a particular machine is plugged into is easy, but knowing what machine it is is not. Some wireless solutions now also backhaul all traffic to a wireless controller, so when you roam your connection point to the network doesn't change, but like I said, specifically locating a wireless machine is also next to impossible in a busy public spot.

The problem with MAC spoofing is the incredibly difficult time the person who gets spoofed will have proving their innocence. And of course the legal types on the plaintiffs side will attempt to tell a jury that a MAC address uniquely identifies a machine, and if the poor innocent spoofee gets a normal non tech-savvy lawyer they will probably succeed.

Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34230050)

This is what would happen in a trial like that:

Plaintiff's attorney: MACs are uniquely identifiable.

Defendant: No they are not, and here is a rundown.

Jury: TL; DR. GUILTY, MOTHAFUCKA!

Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230120)

I think that the time is ripe to have full authentication of each network node in corporate/campus environments. 802.1X FTW. This of course raises the bar for spoofing only somewhat: if you have physical access to someone else's machine (think helping out a 'friend'), then you can copy the certificates and private keys. Then the spoofee is in even more trouble: it'd be so much harder to convince a jury that the spoofing took place.

Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230128)

The problem with MAC spoofing is the incredibly difficult time the person who gets spoofed will have proving their innocence. And of course the legal types on the plaintiffs side will attempt to tell a jury that a MAC address uniquely identifies a machine, and if the poor innocent spoofee gets a normal non tech-savvy lawyer they will probably succeed.

Until they accuse the son of an influential senator or other important person.

Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229964)

Did I miss something? Have the people coding Ares implemented a new protocol, or is this college 5 years behind? Of course, having actually been involved in writing software to track computers on a college campus I am also curious how the college is fingerprinting machines to detect MAC address spoofing, but since this is a press release I wouldn't expect any technically informative information.

Come on, really. How many college kids do you think are actually spoofing their MAC address? Very likely it's 1%.

Even if it's higher than I think it is, those who DON'T spoof their MAC address are not going to be sophisticated to use this as a defense "It wasn't me! Someone was spoofing my MAC address! I don't even know what a MAC address is!" and, lacking the technical background to muster a defense, they'll roll over.

They don't need to find the guilty party, they just need to make a few examples, doesn't matter if they're guilty or not. Everyone else will fall in line.

Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229992)

Most college networks require a login to use- even from your personal computer(s). Yes, you could spoof your mac- but the login would still be you... Unless you always do your p2ping on someone elses account, but the university may not care who actually did the (ill)legal activities- new harassment technique?

Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (3, Informative)

kamakazi (74641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230044)

"Most college networks require a login to use- even from your personal computer(s)."

Actually, not a login, for the simple reason that that breaks all non-browser devices. They require registration of your device, but if they required a login then no Playstations, Xboxes, or iPhones would work, because you can't login with an email client or a video game. Once a machine is registered (Identified by the closest thing there is to unique, the MAC)then all the bad guy needs to do is check to make sure the target machine is not on at the moment, and spoof the MAC address. The traffic will be logged as belong to the poor innocent spoofee. And yeah, it may be less than 1% that know how to do it, but a single innocent person be persecuted or prosecuted is too many.

Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (2, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230080)

since MAC addresses usually are bound to the network card (pcmcia, usb, pci, even onboard) it might be 'fun' to have a nic-trading situations where people have a POOL of usb wifi dongles and they simply do what they want on the net, drop their usb dongle into the barrel and pick another. could EASILY be done on campus.

keep switching the mac's around to make the whole process useless. ie, make one of their 'tools' worthless.

next up, have linux os's on thumbdrives that can be recycled in a similar fashion (with some changes; full restores to known configs with some 'salt' to keep each system unique enough). but rotate them and the uniqueness is invalid.

come on college kids: they're upping the ante. fight back in the creative ways you guys are known for.

Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230146)

Don't know about the college in the OP but at mine they had a WPA2 enterprise network with username/password required and also mac registration.

I could change my laptop mac to match my phone or a second laptop but if the mac and password don't match then you can't connect.

If I got someones pass off them then I could spoof their MAC but if anyone set up a pool like you describe they'd all just be kicked off the network as giving away your pass is against the AUP.

Re:this new file sharing app Ares?? (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230170)

My guess is it has something to do with "Small college in Georgia" and the fact that the network administrator for said college probably thinks you just said something about McDonald's best selling sandwiches. Luckily for them the students in question probably have no idea what you're talking about either. So it all works out I guess. Until someone does use MAC spoofing, and they screw some poor kid.

Online gaming against policy? (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229832)

Blizzard (and indeed most MMORPGS these days) uses filesharing to upload patches to their games. So I guess online gaming is not allowed for students there.

No biggie I guess if that's the way they want it. They'd just better make that clear to prospective applicants. "No gamers wanted here."

It's official (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229838)

The RIAA is not only above the law, they are the law /Dredd

Why should the police care? (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229846)

They're going to get dozens of reports from the university, they're going to have to sort out the WoW updates from the stuff that was genuinely pirated then they'll have to find the companies involved, contact their legal department and ask if they want to press charges. Why should they go to all that hassle for something that'll have no negative effect on their district and only serve to push up the crime statistics and take officers off the streets?

If the university cared about catching file sharers, they'd report the students activities to the companies whose work is being infringed. Of course they can't be arsed to actually put in the work and not risk their students facing a police interview for something that could be perfectly legal.

Re:Why should the police care? (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229864)

Why should they go to all that hassle for something that'll have no negative effect on their district and only serve to push up the crime statistics and take officers off the streets?

For the same reason that the police go after people who possess drugs: it keeps them employed.

Re:Why should the police care? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230192)

No. A drug bust will garner the cops involved some glory. This is why the cops and the FBI are all over drug enforcement and ignore things like BitTorrent.

No one wants to be the loser that gets the college pirate collar. No. They want the drug bust.

There is a good chance that the local cops don't want to be bothered by this crap and want to waste their time doing something that can get them promoted.

Let's download FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229854)

So, let's all download FreeBSD [freebsd.org] (or any of these [clearbits.net] ), I'm sure we'll be doing the authorities a great favor.

Valdosta State's rep in Jeopardy (4, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229874)

Valdosta State was right up there with Harvard and Yale at the top of my applications list but seriously, who would even THINK of going there NOW? ;)

Re:Valdosta State's rep in Jeopardy (1)

Arkham (10779) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230018)

When I grew up in Georgia (north of Valdosta, in the Atlanta suburbs), Valdosta was the home of Georgia football. Parents would hold their kids back a year before kindergarten so they'd be bigger for football in hich school (I kid you not). I don't know if it's as stupid a place as it was 35+ years ago, but it sounds like at least some part of it is.

This is absurd. I am quite sure the Valdosta police have better things to do.

Parents will appreciate this (1)

mux2005 (889557) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229880)

I thought in the US universities are expensive for-profit ventures. Why would parents pay money to send their kids to a college that will try hard to get them thrown into prison the first chance they get?

Re:Parents will appreciate this (2, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229950)

Because parents tend to believe their kids are perfect little angels who would never do anything illegal.

Re:Parents will appreciate this (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230156)

the 'you must go to college' meme is slowly dying.

actually, it should. not everyone should be in college. furthermore, the 'thinking arts' that america uses to be known for is fading (overseas). the notion of going to school, doing your time in studies and having it pay back is a BROKEN SOCIAL CONTRACT and those of us already at-age know this ;(

if I had kids, I would not send them to college. I'd send them to a trade school where they work with their hands in some form (mechanic, plumber, electrician, capenter, etc). these are the outsource-immune jobs. they're less 'sexy' than IT work but IT work simply won't exist in this country when elementary school kids reach the workforce age. like I said, the social agreement of 'study hard and you will get a good job' is busted now and will be even more as time goes on. american 'thinkers' are something companies are now considering to be *too expensive*.

universities are VERY expensive and often don't pay for themselves (again, lack of jobs can make school a pure expensive and not ever by worth what you paid for).

and now you have universities being openly hostile to their students.

I would simply drop out (in fact, I did, back in my day) and get my own education. work experience matters more than a paper degree for most jobs in IT once you get beyond entry level.

the day where you assumed 'grow up and go to college' was for everyone just does not apply anymore. in fact, sending 'everyone' to college was a failure waiting to happen.

if I was trained in construction or plumbing or auto repair, I'd still have a job. but being in software development means my country has sold me out to india/china/etc. I really wish I was in another field and I hope some of you software-thinking kids will reconsider this already saturated field and find something PHYSICAL that you can do for work. those things tend not to be outsourced.

These things tend to sort themselves out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229892)

...once legal users of filesharers are reported to the police, there is the rather interesting consequences of making a false police report. Then after that will come the private lawsuits. Hence, I suspect this will not be a "problem" for very long...

Re:These things tend to sort themselves out... (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229940)

Sort themselves out? Since when? Have you ever read the DMCA? We're talking about The South here. We're talking about Georgia. My prediction for the near future: dozens of arrests and convictions of college students for "illegal computing activity" that "frighteningly enough seems to be backed by a commercial organization" called "Blizzard, Inc." as well as some sort of underground mafia drug ring known variously as "Linux", "BSD", or "Open Source".

As A Georgia Resident... (3, Informative)

somaTh (1154199) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229938)

I found the headline misleading. Georgia College [gcsu.edu] is not doing this. North Georgia College [northgeorgia.edu] isn't doing this. South Georgia College [sgc.edu] isn't doing this. East Georgia College [ega.edu] isn't doing this. Not even Middle Georgia College [mgc.edu] is doing this. I'm just saying, if you're going to capitalize Georgia College, make sure that's actually in the name.

Re:As A Georgia Resident... (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230000)

What did you expect here? Competent journalism?- not had your morning coffee?

Re:As A Georgia Resident... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34230118)

I think he just wanted to point out the lack of creativity in the state's college naming convention. Do people actually come here for competent journalism?

oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34229962)

Can this institution of higher education see what people are downloading? Looks like a case of someone's guilty of murder because they happen to take advantage of open carry since only someone who owns a gun would freely murder another human being.
Anyway I doubt they'd be able to track this kind of nonsense if the students had a VPN or SSH tunnelled out to a remote computer.

making homework illegal? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229972)

When I was in college one of my classes required that I download, install, and play around with Linux.

At the time, BT didn't exist so the downloads were primarily FTP. But if a professor were to give a similar assignment today I'd guess that just about any distribution you tried to download would want you to use BT.

So, are we going to see students getting disciplined and handed over to the police for doing their homework? Or are the professors going to have to change the assignments to comply with these new rules?

Doesn't seem like a good solution either way...

Re:making homework illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34230014)

According to at least one major CEO, Linux is a Virus so yes they should stop it from being downloaded.

Ok, I'm joking but I hope you see the point.All it needs is for that CEO to give a College a hefty endowment and the college makes FOSS an illegal posession just like good quality dope.

$$$$$$ talks.

Re:making homework illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34230188)

But if a professor were to give a similar assignment today I'd guess that just about any distribution you tried to download would want you to use BT.

You guess wrong. What were you studying, I'd guess Business Management.

Higher education, by morons... (2, Interesting)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229984)

Yep. Can see that all the dollars from tuition that haven't gone into their "resource constrained" network have gone into getting quality staff there! They've all had the highest quality lobotomies that money can buy!

Criminal vs. Civil (4, Interesting)

watermark (913726) | more than 3 years ago | (#34229998)

I thought your run-o-the-mill copyright violation was a civil matter. Shouldn't they be reporting the students to the copyright holders?

Not firewalled??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34230032)

Maybe I'm old fashioned but couldn't they have just blocked it at the firewall?

Haha, 11.04.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34230072)

Everyone at that university should torrent Natty Narwhal the day it comes out, even if they're a mac or windows user, just to screw with the university.

You really think police will try to "sort it out"? (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230180)

I suspect the police wouldn't appreciate the task of sorting out legal from illegal use of widespread, essentially neutral software tools

Once the school reports someone, they're implicitly making an accusation that illegal activity has already occurred. I don't think it is up to the police to decide at that point; it is a matter for the courts.

So... what next? (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230196)

Will this school ban Linux because... well... hackers sometimes use it! To do illegal stuff!!!!

lol (2, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34230210)

Anyone that's gone to college knows that the university does it's very best to suspend every constitutional right they can while you're there. I've been to court over legal issues twice in my life and both times they were within a year of each other and while I was in college. In both cases I represented myself, challenged the counties evidence on constitutional grounds and won. Those weren't my only run-ins with the police either, just the ones that went to court. In one instance they searched my room while I was on Christmas break and charged me for having an empty wine bottle in my room. Unfortunately for them I was 23 at the time. In another instance a police officer asked if she could come into my dorm room. I refused, at which point she said if I didn't have anything to hide I'd let her in. I explained that rights were like muscles, they get weak if you don't use them. She came in anyway and despite a thorough sacking of my room found nothing.

The universities play these games because the students let them. I eventually just moved off campus. My rent was 1/3rd what the dorms were and I didn't have any more trouble with the university police. I recomend the same for everyone living on campus at this university as well.
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