'I poisoned P2P networks for the RIAA'
For two years Matt Warne worked for the IFPI (International Federation of
the Phonographic Industry), the international RIAA body whose avowed
priority mission is to "fight music piracy."
Warne worked with the RIAA and the biggest labels in, implementing
technologies to document and thwart file sharing, says Andrew Orlowski in
Britain's The Register.
And in a story delicately slugged "I poisoned P2P networks for the RIAA" -
whistle blower, Orlowski states: "The IPFI coordinated efforts to glean
detailed information about who was sharing what, and where. The
organization, backed by the labels, was responsible for providing detailed
evidence to the legal teams fighting Napster, Aimster and mined information
about the burgeoning peer to peer networks, such as Gnutella. IPFI is
responsible for trawling the world's web, ftp and irc channels and runs the
automated system that sends warning letters to ISPs and webmasters.
"We had to act quickly. EMI would ring up, ask 'What's this FreeNet?' and
want to know how many of their artists were on the network."
The RIAA were very precise about what they wanted, Orlowski quotes Warne as
saying. "When Napster said it couldn't say what was on its network, the IPFI
were able to provide file names. When users scrambled the names (using the
pig encoder) and Napster said these were too hard to decipher, the IPFI was
able to provide the real names."
The technologies he worked on stayed on the right side of the law - just
about - but Warne's most interesting claim to fame is, apparently, that he
suggested the networks 'poison' emerging p2p networks with trash. Does that
ring a bell?
"I was one of the people who suggested the 'rogue file' scheme on the file
sharing services," he told The Register.
"I suggested that they should put out files with legitimate titles - and put
inside them silence or random noise - and saturate the file sharing networks
with those files. That did start the poisoning."
Thus, Orlowski continues, the plan went into action and the IPFI created a
computer system that appeared to be many unrelated nodes, a network with
many members that in fact resided in one location.
"A former record label employee also confirmed this week that the industries
do order multiple DSL feeds to one location to simulate a P2P network," his
story continues. "For the IPFI however, the poisoned network grew too
expensive to justify."
Before he left, says Warne, the IPFI's original poisoned system was closed
down. The body wanted to concentrate its attentions on large scale copying
Warne left the music industry in disgust, adds Orlowski, "because the record
industry is stuck in the past."