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New Zealand ISPs start collecting data for anti-piracy law


Today the governments Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act, colloquially know as the Skynet Act, comes into effect, as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in New Zealand start to log internet users copyright 'infringements'.

The amendment becomes law on the 1st of September but ISPs can use activity detected 21 days before this date in any infringement notices issued from the 1st of September.

The initial detection of 'illegal' file-sharing is done by the 'rights holder' - think of of large media conglomerates such as Sony, Disney, Time-Warner - who then contact ISPs with 'activity' they think may be suspect.

The main target of these media companies are users of bittorent, a peer-to-peer filesharing system that distributed files over a network of computers. Multinationals have previously contracted out this detection to companies such as MediaDefender and the RIAA and will certainly be using companies like these here in New Zealand.

The main tactic used by these contractors to catch bittorrent users is by intentionally sharing copyrighted material and then logging the ip address of every computer that downloads from them. These ip addresses are given to internet users by their ISPs, who now, under the Skynet Act, have to divulge the name and contact details of the real user to rights holders.

There are a few simple options that help to avoid detection:

  1. Use PeerBlock, a program that blocks all known anti-piracy ip address from connecting to your computer.
  2. Use torrent sites such as that let you connect with SSL. This hides URLs from your ISP, which would provide hard evidence in a court case. Just put a 's' in front of your http, e.g.  [Where's yours indymedia??]
  3. Use encryption in bittorent programs. It's usually simple.
  4. Failsafe Method: Use linux and setup an SSH tunnel to a computer in another country.

This should make it reasonably tricky to trace you but it's not 100% failsafe.

For more information on the allegation and appeal process see the handy flow charts here.


Some thoughts on online anonymity

Cryptagon published a good summary of some of the issues around trying to be anonymous online:

The bottom line is, you can't. If there's anything you don't want anyone to know about ever, *don't* talk about it using *any* electronic media. For copyright violation, it's hard to tell how seriously the government will take it. Take every precaution you can think of, and hope for the best.

More importantly, encourage and support anyone who puts "anti-copyright" on their work, or uses a free culture license like those provided by CreativeCommons.

My question is, if the so

My question is, if the so called rights holders initially detect 'illegal' file-sharing, is it then up to the ISP to actually pass some form of threshold in proving that file sharing is actually taking place or do they just then immediately divulge the IP leaseholders details to the owner of the capital.

If the ISP has some small threshold to pass in order to establish the perception of illegality before passing on IP details then using SSL in your bittorrent application will still result in being snared by the rights owner, but the ISP will not be able to establish a base threshold of so called abuse.

However if its the latter where the rights owner has free reign to send endless lists if IP addresses to ISPs then SSL will not protect you from being charged.

However SSL will prevent the ISP from logging the content of your traffic, therefore any court hearing will have to depend exclusively on the data collected by the rights claimant.

Second question, what checks are in place for a so called rights holder demanding full lists of IP addresses from ISPs?

Lastly, what is stopping the police from abusing their powers (as they do) and setting up a rogue rights holder group to pretend to be a rights owner in order to get around those pesky crimes act thresholds for obtaining a search warrant to track an IP address? In fact what is stopping anyone from doing such a thing?

is it then up to the ISP to

is it then up to the ISP to actually pass some form of threshold in proving that file sharing is actually taking place or do they just then immediately divulge the IP leaseholders details to the owner of the capital.


Neither. There is no theshold for the ISP to reach, but they don't pass the IP details to the rights owner - rather, the ISPs send the warning to the customer themselves.

hey thanks for the links to

hey thanks for the links to encryption tips! Done :)

You can also add iblock lists to Azureus/Vuze which acts in the same way as Peerblock - but hey run both!