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:
- Use PeerBlock, a program that blocks all known anti-piracy ip address from connecting to your computer.
- Use torrent sites such as thepiratebay.org 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. https://thepiratebay.org [Where's yours indymedia??]
- Use encryption in bittorent programs. It's usually simple.
- 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.