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The BBC says if you use VPN you are probably a pirate

by on09 September 2014 3172 times

The concept of the VPN (Virtual Private Network) is one that is intended to allow people to make a secure, encrypted connection from point A to point B. in most cases this connection is from a remote location back to the home or an office. VPN actually covers a few different protocols that include IPSEC (IP Security), PPTP (point to point tunnel protocol), L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol), SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and a few other less common ones. In recent years it has also become a method to get around DNS blocking and also as a form of maintaining private/ anonymous communication.

Because of these last two uses the innocuous communication concept is now being looked at as an indication of piracy. Yup you read that right. According to the BBC ISPs should monitor their customers’ data usage and become suspicious of piracy if they use VPN connections a lot. The fact that anyone would suggest this shows that they are so far out of touch with the way the world works that it is not even remotely funny. Sadly you cannot take someone or a company to court for being blatantly stupid.

Like many other copyright holders the BBC wants to force ISPs to take up the job of global internet police and not only identify suspected pirates, but also to punish them with a graduated response that could lead to denial of service if they keep going (although this would be the extreme). The idea is absurd simply because it is not really the ISPs responsibility to monitor traffic any more than it is the guy that built a road to keep people in line. If content owners want to keep an eye on things and report issues to the police or sites that might accidentally be hosting information that is fine, but requiring ISPs to do so is just dumb.

Back to the good part of this article. The BBC, as we mentioned, now feels that the use of VPN should be considered an indication of piracy. They spelled it out pretty clearly in a statement sent to the Australian government. “Since the evolution of peer-to-peer software protocols to incorporate decentralized architectures, which has allowed users to download content from numerous host computers, the detection and prosecution of copyright violations has become a complex task. This situation is further amplified by the adoption of virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy servers by some users, allowing them to circumvent geo-blocking technologies and further evade detection” they follow this up with a statement indicating that they feel the use of this technology should be considered suspicious behavior. “It is reasonable for ISPs to be placed under an obligation to identify user behavior that is ‘suspicious’ and indicative of a user engaging in conduct that infringes copyright.”

Honestly, I am at a loss for words on this one. That anyone can try to push the concept that the use of a VPN tunnel or high bandwidth use is indication of piracy is so far beyond normal thinking that is stuns me. As the world pushes for more and more secure methods to conduct business and to ensure their private information remains safe the copyright industry wants to turn that into a sign of illegal activity. It hurts my head trying to find how they made the leaps of logic they did to get to this one, then again I never could figure out the fantasy math they use when presenting the cost of piracy each year alongside record profits.

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Last modified on 10 September 2014
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