Thursday, August 28, 2008

IP Anonymity as regards P2P and Criminal Activity

It appears as if systems are far less robust, in regards to tracking users, than is perceived. A now "ancient" Cambridge study (from 2005) Anonymity and Traceability in Cyberspace by Richard Clayton concludes that the data stored by ISPs, while useful for business purposes, are less conclusive for criminal proceedings.

One should not be surprised that systems maintained by ISPs to provide traceability to ISP accounts become less precise once one is no longer using them for ISP purposes and start trying to trace back to actual people.

The authors stresses that not only would the traceability evidence have to be accurate enough to stand up in court but the prosecution would also have to account for numerous blocking and diversionary scenarios put in place "by the real" criminals and not necessarily the individual being charged with the crime.

If you're at all interested in the subject of internet privacy this paper is a worthwhile read.

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