Japan's ISPs agree to ban P2P pirates

Japan's ISPs agree to ban P2P pirates

Summary: Four of Japan's largest Internet provider organizations have come to an agreement with copyright holders on how to tackle the illegal file trading on P2P (Peer to Peer) networks.  Comprised of about 1000 major and smaller Japanese Internet providers, the four organizations agreed to target flagrant copyright violators by first warning them and then banning them if their behavior doesn't change.

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Four of Japan's largest Internet provider organizations have come to an agreement with copyright holders on how to tackle the illegal file trading on P2P (Peer to Peer) networks.  Comprised of about 1000 major and smaller Japanese Internet providers, the four organizations agreed to target flagrant copyright violators by first warning them and then banning them if their behavior doesn't change.

According to the Daily Yomiuri Online, the Internet providers two years ago attempted to disconnect users anytime they detected the use of Winny (a popular Japanese P2P application) or any other file-sharing software.  But that ran afoul of the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications because of concerns of privacy and the providers abandoned that practice.  This time the Internet providers seem to have learned from the past and they're going to be much more targeted by going after the most obvious transgressors of illegal file trading.

When the copyright owners see a list of IP (Internet Protocol) addresses downloading their copyrighted content, they'll send that list of violators to the ISP (Internet Service Provider) and the ISP will warn and then ban the copyright infringers if necessary.  This method doesn't involve any of that politically dreaded DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) since the copyright owner merely needs to look for their own content on the popular file trading sites and ask for a list of peers by merely participating in the file trade.  Not only does this method avoid privacy concerns, it also happens to be the most practical if not the only way of attacking the problem since many file trading applications are already completely encrypted against packet snooping.

Update 5:40AM - Just to make myself extra clear since many people refuse to believe that we are not talking about deep packet inspection here.  P2P in Japan like the latest "Perfect Dark" application (successor to Winny and Share) is already fully encrypted at both the protocol and data level.  That's encryption is completely bypassed since the content owners merely need to download the Winny, Share, and Perfect Dark and look for their own content that's being pirated.  Then all they need to do is connect to it as if they were a user and then download the content to see if it is indeed their content.  Then they already have a list of IP addresses that participated in that file exchange.  There's no decryption, key cracking, or deep packet inspection going on here.

Japan is considered one of the most connected broadband nations on the planet with widespread 100 Mbps broadband service.  Many people in this country believe that by simply offering more capacity, there would be no need to manage the network since congestion problems would be gone.  But Japan teaches us that no matter how much capacity you throw at the problem, congestion will always be a problem and the vast majority of it will be caused by P2P traffic.

At the iGrowthGlobal Panel on Network Management on Capitol Hill (my recap here), I met Haruka Saito who is Counselor for Telecom Policy from the Embassy of Japan.  Mr. Saito was my fellow panelist and he shared the following data with the congressional and FCC staffers in the audience.  He presented the following data from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications which had been studying the issue of Net Neutrality in Japan for more than a year.

Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Haruka Saito, Counselor for Telecom Policy, Embassy of Japan

[Updated 3:15PM - I had incorrectly stated that 1% consumes 63% of all traffic because I read the charts wrong.  The corrected text is in bold below.] As you can see, the utilization levels especially for uploads are dangerously high and that P2P traffic absolutely dominates both upload and downloads by a very large margin.  Winny, WinMX, and Share (a successor of Winny) dominates the P2P usage.  From this data, the P2P users that make up 10% of all Internet users in Japan hog ~75% of bandwidth resources and 1% of all Internet users in Japan consume 63% of that 75% share.  That means just 1% of users consume 47% of all the Internet traffic in Japan.  It's no wonder the ISPs in Japan want a solution that cuts off the most egregious illegal file traders who also happen to be the biggest bandwidth hogs.

Topics: Piracy, Browser, Security, Telcos

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43 comments
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  • Anonymous P2P and ressource usage

    If ISP, or more generally IP holder proxy start collecting IP over the P2P networks, the result will be a massice swithc from current generation of P2P protocols to encrypted, anonymous protocols. The result will be a huge increase in ressource requirement for the same P2P usage, as the overhear for anonymity is immense.

    Not only won't they be able to block the sharing, but they will end up with a congestion of their making.
    s_souche
    • P2P in Japan is already fully encrypted at both protocol and data

      "The result will be a huge increase in ressource requirement for the same P2P usage, as the overhear for anonymity is immense."

      P2P in Japan is already fully encrypted at both protocol and data. As I pointed out in the blog, that does NOT matter. The content owners merely need to download the Winny, Share, and now Perfect Dark and look for their own content that's being pirated. Then all they need to do is connect to it as if they were a user and then download the content to see if it is indeed their content. Then they already have a list of IP addresses that participated in that file exchange. There's no decryption, key cracking, or deep packet inspection going on here.
      georgeou
      • For the programs you are talking about

        you are perfectly right; but if they are planning to track IP adresses of peers downloading illegal files, they will have a hard time retrieving those of such software, at least if published feature list of these software are correct.

        What I dont understand from the link you provide, is how they are planning to do that. they want too retrieve IP adresses from pragram specifically designed to ubfuscate IP address. the article does not explain how they plan to do. do you have any specifics aside from this article ?
        s_souche
        • Explain to me how is it difficult to infiltrate

          You download a copy of Winny, Share, or Perfect Dark. You search for content you produced/own. You start downloading that content. You see in clear text the IP addresses you're uploading/downloading to plus a list of potential peers. It's most likely not ALL the peers on that particular file share but it's more than enough to make an example out of. There's nothing high-tech involved here and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.
          georgeou
          • You can have at least two approaches that block identification

            Anonymous P2P will have each peer to their network act as a local encrypted proxy to some of the content. the P2P software will of its own dowload to each peer part of the content available in the network with the following specifics:
            - the peer do not know the content of the cache
            - the cache is encrypted
            as a result of that first technic ( which cannot be considered high tech I agree with you ) some, probably most file downloader will not know they are downloading any specific content, and won't be the destination of the downloads, which mean that even if their IP can be identified they are not infringers, and no action can be taken against them.
            the second technic related to IP obfuscation, where the sender does not send packet to the destination, but to an identifier that is decoded to the destination IP by the P2P cloud. as a result, a peer connecting to the network wont know to whom he is sending packets.
            I'm pretty sure there are plenty other technics that can be used next to these two to ensure that peers cannot either resolve nor deduce other peers identity; as the route legislators are taking worlwide is toward peers IP identification and settlement, most likely anonymous p2p will develop adding new technics to the one I mentionned above, in order to block IP identification.
            s_souche
          • At some point in time, you need to know who the source of the file is

            At some point in time, you need to know who the original source of the file is so you know what decryption key to use. Encryption was only designed to prevent Eve from learning the content that Adam is sending to Eve; not the fact that Adam is sending content to Eve.

            The plausible deniability here is also dubious because the proxy in the middle is also willingly and deliberately participating in piracy. It's not the same as an ISP where the ISP MUST route the data. The Proxy is routing data via extra hops deliberately generating more traffic on the network to deliberately hide the fact that someone is downloading illegal content.
            georgeou
          • Also, the ISP can ban proxy activity explicitly in their terms of service

            Also, the ISP can ban anonymous proxy activity explicitly in their terms of service. I'm not saying there's anything illegal about being an anonymous proxy of content you can't see, but the ISP has no obligation to serve you.
            georgeou
          • there are different problems at hand

            * content encryption: it prevents anyone not participating to the data exchange to access the content
            * protocol encryption/tunnelling: encrypting one protocol paquet within another general protocol prevents protocol identification and also ensure content encryption
            * basic anonymization : hide sender or receiver behind an address translation mechanism
            * advance anonymization : address translation is done [i]in the cloud[/i], paquets are expurged of any data permitting sender identification. destination of paquets does not contain permanent identification of destination, but a transient ID that is decoded/translated during routing. Sender cannot identify destination.

            Still more variety can be added, regarding routing, message split with different routing... etc

            of course as you stated, some of these techniques can be prohibited either by law or contract; however, as the whole online economy is based on secure crytography, as the use of crytography in essense make it hard/impossible/prohibited to identify underlying usage of cryptography, it will be hard/impossible/prohibited to enforce such limitations.

            Moreover, perfectly legitimate use are possible for all these technics ( online payment, VPN, DRM, free speach ... etc ) limited the probability of complete ban of them.
            s_souche
          • An ISP can choose what to sell you. Free speech has nothing to do with it.

            An ISP can choose what to sell you. If they say no servers or proxy servers when you're only paying $50/month, they have a right to do so. If you want an uncapped and unrestricted connection, they can offer a $200 to $2000 per month link. Free speech has nothing to do with it.
            georgeou
          • As I said

            They can sell you a service banning you from offering proxy. But were you offering such services would they be in a practical position to prove you are ?

            In the good old days, they could simply ban any server application, but things have eveolved in such a way that this is to my knowledge not possible anymore. to many things depends on you accepting connections now.

            Assuming you can accept incomming connections, and subsequently use encrypted protocols there is no way they can know if you are serving as a proxy or not, except making assumption based on your network activity profile. These however are not certain identification, but only clues.

            As for free speech, i was only mentionning, among many other legitimate uses, that encryption and anonymization is a way of circunvemnting censorship. As these techniques have many legitimate usages some of which are essential for the economy, other beingpokitically/philosophically appealing, i doubt they will be banned altogether by the legislators ( ISP have nothing to do with that )
            s_souche
          • cleartext?

            ou start downloading that content. You see in clear text the IP addresses you're uploading/downloading to plus a list of potential peers.

            This is the part I can't understand. Winny claims to be an anon P2P based on freenet, that it anonymizes users in the filesharing portion. The arrests that occurred appear to have been based on tracking down users from the non-anonymized bulleting board.

            So, are user IP addresses shown in cleartext or are they blocked and what do you have to do see them? If it's police-level investigation, I have a problem with saying there's no privacy implications.

            See: http://government.zdnet.com/?p=3716
            rkoman@...
          • Yes, it's clear text after you decrypt it by participating as the client

            The anonymous aspect of Winny or its successors makes it more obscure, but not impossible to crack. When you download content from an anonymous proxy peer who does not know what content he is proxying, that proxy peer has "plausible deniability" in the crime of illegal file trafficking and that proxy peer doesn't have to disclose the other end point to you.

            However, there's nothing to prevent the content owner from setting up a bunch of proxy nodes and clients and gathering data. If the content owner finds and downloads content that belongs to them that is being illegally shared and if that content flowed through a proxy server under the control of the content owner, then you can figure out who the source of that file is. It's a lot harder than normal P2P to track down because of the extra man in the middle but it's still sufficient to make a few examples out of.
            georgeou
          • Re: Yes, it's clear text after you decrypt it by participating as the clien

            [i]However, there's nothing to prevent the content owner from setting up a bunch of proxy nodes and clients and gathering data.[/i]

            Which is why so many Tor nodes are run by various governments.






            :)
            none none
          • Yup, you got it

            "Which is why so many Tor nodes are run by various governments."

            Yup, you got it. You have enough of those anonymiser nodes collecting data samples and there is no anonymity.
            georgeou
      • RE: Japan's ISPs agree to ban P2P pirates

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  • You read the article wrong then. I never said they're blocking all P2P

    You read the article wrong then. I never said they're blocking all P2P. I said they're specifically targeting those who have been confirmed to be pirating content. I also said that they're not using deep packet inspection since it's more expensive and you can't snoop encrypted content. All you need to do is participate in the file sharing and it will at least tell you a pool of IP addresses that are sharing that file. It most likely won't tell you ALL the IP addresses with one sample, but it's enough to make a few examples of.
    georgeou
    • Not what I meant...

      I meant that I was bothered by the spin of "we should do this because these people are bandwidth hogs" near the end of your article. That paragraph was blaming the P2P protocols for the majority of high-bandwidth use. You're not going to get rid of high-bandwidth [i]users[/i] by attacking the [i]protocols[/i] of the users. I was saying that it is indeed better to be focusing upon copyright infringement instead of blaming the protocol like you did near the end of your article. The article started out okay on this point when it described how the Japanese got there, but ended badly.
      AySz88
      • It is not an opinion that P2P hogs bandwidth like crazy, it is fact

        "That paragraph was blaming the P2P protocols for the majority of high-bandwidth use."

        It is not an opinion that P2P hogs bandwidth like crazy, it is fact. Those charts I posted weren't just pulled out of thin air; they're from the Government of Japan who has been studying the issue for nearly 2 years.

        Just 10% of all Japanese Internet users are using P2P to consume 75 to 90 percent of all traffic in Japan and it's about the same everywhere else in the world. I am calling it as I or any reasonable person would see it.
        georgeou
        • P2P is not inherently bad

          You picked out just one sentence of my post.... :( I know that P2P uses a lot of bandwidth, and I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing; let me try to clarify again...

          "Just 10% of all Japanese Internet users are using P2P to consume 75 to 90 percent of all traffic in Japan and it's about the same everywhere else in the world."

          It's inconsistent to criticize the P2P protocols and and then go after just the copyright-infringing users. P2P in general is not inherently bad, so I'm not sure why you're deciding to criticize P2P on the basis of "bandwidth hogging" just because P2P protocols happen to be the method of choice for a lot of high-bandwidth uses.

          The P2P usage pattern is a fixture now, and there are already innovations being built to leverage it (ex. Verizon and P4P, and Vuze and the current vision of the Semantic Web in general). It would be heinous to block P2P usage as a whole - P2P is not inherently bad, and can have lots of good applications. So, saying that certain P2P protocols are using lots of bandwidth is true but doesn't mean anything - it would be as if you pointed out that IPv4 was "hogging" all the bandwidth. Why shouldn't P2P be an acceptable use of the network? The answer, as the Japanese apparently found, is to avoid focusing on P2P protocols and find out how why it's being used [i]so much[/i].

          So Japan goes after the illegal part of all that P2P traffic. I think you should be analyzing how much of that P2P bandwidth is illegal content, since that's really the only angle from which reducing P2P usage for the sake of reducing network congestion might be acceptable and legit to the majority of people. Trying to reduce P2P usage just for the sake of reducing usage probably won't fly.
          AySz88
          • I never said block the P2P users as a whole or anything like it

            I never said block the P2P users as a whole or anything like it. I don't know where you read me saying that. In fact I don't even think we should put a cap or meter on how much they can download before we charge them more money. I think that the bandwidth hogs should be able to download/upload as much as they want so long as there is a fairness mechanism in place to move them to the back of the transmit queue whenever the rest of the 90% of PAYING customers want to use the Internet.

            Right now the user with 10x more active sessions automatically get 10x more bandwidth when resources are under contention because TCP congestion control is fundamentally broken. There are very smart people working with the IETF to address this issue but it may take another decade before that gets implemented. Until such time, we need cruder methods handle the bandwidth hogs who HAPPEN to all be P2P file traders.

            I never said P2P was fundamentally bad, but it does use way more bandwidth than it needs to which is why they're trying to make it more intelligent and efficient with the P4P working group. P2P and P4P also fundamentally bypasses the TCP congestion control because of its multistream advantage.
            georgeou