Coming soon to a country near you! If you thought ISPs throttling Peer To Peer (P2P) file-sharing was intrusive, I don't think you'll want to hear what Japan's doing to police illegal file-sharing. Organizations that represent copyright holders simply identify IP addresses of users sharing their content to the ISPs. That's easy to do. You just join the service and look around. If they find some content they hold rights to being shared, first the users would get a warning by e-mail. Then they'd get a temporary disconnection if they didn't desist. Try it again, and you'd have your account with the ISP canceled entirely.
It is a bold move that ISPs have been cautious about making thus far. Two years ago, a Japanese ISP proposed cutting off users detected using Winny and other P2P software, but backed off after Japan's Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry regarded that as illegal Internet snooping.
The current approach is different, says technology blogger George Ou, because copyright holders merely need to download the P2P system, search for their content and obtain a list of IP addresses serving the content.
"This method doesn't involve any of that politically dreaded DPI (deep-packet inspection)," Ou wrote. Indeed, it is now impossible for ISPs to examine the content of P2P transfers, since the latest programs are "already fully encrypted at both the protocol and data Relevant Products/Services level," according to Ou, an outspoken opponent of Net-neutrality legislation.
If content owners lurk as users on the systems, searching for and downloading their content, they automatically get a list of IP addresses that provided the content. "There's no decryption, key cracking, or deep-packet inspection going on here," Ou said.
You're not going to get any help from the ISPs on this. Filesharing is an enormous bandwith hog, and they make absolutely nothing on it. And the government represents the interests of the copyright holders right down the line. It's only a matter of time before this idea occurs to Washington.