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Virgin Media Wants to Spy on You

Virgin Media is now acting as chief lapdog to the Lord Mandleson sell out of the internet to the dying music distribution industry. Virgin Media is to trial deep packet inspection technology to measure the level of so called illegal filesharing on its network. Customers being monitored will not be informed.

Virgin will use a product called CView, sold by Detica, a BAE subsidiary that specialises in large volume data collection and processing, and whose traditional customers are the intelligence agencies and law enforcement. BAE profited massively from the Neo Con Labour War in Iraq and Afghanistan, now it loks set to profit again from The War Against Piracy.

The CView product will operate at the centre of Virgin Media’s network with an aim of estimating the proportion of filesharing traffic that infringes copyright.

40 per cent of Virgin Media’s traffic will be monitored. If you are on Virgin and are not being monitored today, tomorrow you may well be. If this is truly limited to peer to peer traffic then your next game on your XBOX 360 may be monitored. It would be all but impossible to identify the difference between a game played on your XBOX 360 and an encrypted bit torrent file. This will therefore exaggerate the amount of “illegal” bit torrent traffic.

The system will look at traffic to identify peer-to-peer packets. The programme then looks at those packets to determine what is licensed and what is unlicensed, based on data provided by the record industry.

Virgin promises data will be aggregated and and made anonymous. The trial though has no scheduled end date.

It should be remembered that CView uses the the same technology that powered the Phorm advertising system, which monitored individual internet users to target advertisements. It too was trialled – by BT – without customers’ consent or knowledge. The Government faces an EU investigation for allowing this.

Detica will want to sell this to other ISPs. So there may be no escape from this. Once all ISPs have this, how anonymous will traffic be then?

Virgin Media’s implementation will they promise focus on music sharing. Of course their proposed music download service has nothing to do with this. Are you sure you will not be flagged because of a video you watch on youtube or even Vidzone on the PS3? Do you trust the list provided by the Music Industry?

Detica has is also trying to flog CView to the Government. In the sales document, Detica said that as well as aggregate data, CView could be used to categorise filesharers and apply technical measures against them, or target them to be sold legal alternatives.

Welcome to Digital Britain.

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  1. cliffsull
    November 27, 2009 at 2:10 am

    i think its great that our ISP’s are taking action on this – intellectual property is abused constantly by illegal downloading pirateers . Hopefully they (our network providers) will also give its users a warning when they know people are sharing certain drives/files/folders !
    Spare a thought for Gary Mckinnon who is facing extradition from the uk to the usa while your reading ‘stuff’ today. Take a minute at http://www.freegary.org.uk

  2. thebigotbasher
    November 27, 2009 at 2:25 am

    This does nothing to protect rights holders, it protects a pretty much dead distribution industry. The artists are not protected at all. In fact the economic arguments presented by the Digital Britain report show that this is the case because they are unable to quantify the numbers of people who buy artist products, such as going to concerts, as a consequence of hearing a downloaded track that they would otherwise have never listened to.

    The problem with this technology is how do you identify the difference between an encrypted peer to peer game session and an encrypted peer to peer film? Especially as it needs an “approved list”. Legitimate purchases may still be recorded as unlawful.

    I will be doing a story on Gary later today, I have done previously, I have even pushed his case in the US. I will do so again.

  1. November 27, 2009 at 12:31 pm

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