Saturday, October 04, 2003

P2P: Internet Speakeasies for the Digital Age -- Internet evolves underground in wake of music-swapping lawsuits: "The decentralized peer-to-peer technology that enables a computer user to share his or her music collection with strangers remains an unbottled genie – and is now likely to evolve so ever more traffic becomes invisible not just to the entertainment industry's copyright cops but also to repressive governments, inquisitive employers and snooping relatives. "

Encryption, security, and privacy (in addition to already-implemented decentralized network architectures) may be helping P2P users to traffic incopyrightedd materials completely underneath the radar of the RIAA, MPAA, etc.Accordingg to this article. The Prohibition comparisons are interesting, to be sure. The article does point out, however, that some of the people already prosecuted by the RIAA were using applications that were supposedly "more secure": didn't keep the RIAA from nailing them.

This isn't actually a new argument, at all. Experts have been saying that encryption and other security/anonymity features would be built into next-gen applications for some time. Some are of the opinion that there will simply be a constant attempt to one-up the security and privacy features in successive releases or new applications. Applications become more secure and anonymous, the RIAA/MPAA types find workarounds, applications become even more secure and anonymous, and so on.

What I actually find most interesting in this article is the social-network aspect of "underground" traders:

"These high-tech Cotton Clubs usually require users to be trusted or at least know someone inside. The files being traded, instead of out in the open, are encrypted – the 21st century equivalent of hiding bathtub gin under a fake floorboard."

Decentralized cells of trusted or familiar individuals connecting to one another. Classic underground network organization. Based upon what? The ideological position that media/software should be free? Oh, this just gets more and more fascinating!

- posted by laurie @ 10/04/2003 03:16:00 PM
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