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back to article Extreme pron vigilantes are after you

Just when you thought it was safe to dip your toe back in the waters of internet smut, along comes a bunch of vigilantes who could be about to make life a great deal more worrying. Or perhaps not - read on and make your own mind up. This week, the new law on extreme porn went live throughout the UK (except Scotland). Hopes in …

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lol...

They're nothing but amateurs, i can't believe El Reg would even give them the honour of an article!

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Oz
Stop

Hmmm

I may have missed a trick here, but doesn't the site owners categorising illegal material mean that they had to download and vet it first? In which case, they would be guilty of the very crime they are trying to prevent. As they have no legal standing or powers, it's likely the defence of "we were downloading it to vet and report it" won't wash with the judiciary. It's either a joke or rather short-sighted in my opinion

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Anonymous Coward

Errrm.....

"it could be that the police will already have their hands full"

The pron police have their hands full?

Freud would be proud of you.

Anyway, it all has the whiff of a scam to me.

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Anonymous Coward

From the Guardian article...

"The law, which comes into effect today, was passed in response to a three-year campaign by the mother of the teacher Jane Longhurst, who was murdered by a man obsessed with hardcore internet pornography."

Presumably, had the murderer been obsessed with Harry Potter, we could have banned stories about witchcraft?

Perhaps, if he had been obsessed with children, we could have banned those instead? That wouldend child abuse overnight.

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Stop

DDoS in...

... 3, 2, 1

Actually, how long before their site is hacked? Anyone opening a book?

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Paris Hilton

Meh

In this 1984 day and age, I run torrents through a proxy anyway.

Can't wait to see how quickly this site gets pwned though.

Paris because it may not be extreme porn, but still...

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Stop

It was bound to happen. Again.

Who knows what their motives are? But one thing is certain - these kind of laws enable all sorts of self-styled advocates (or - yes - vigilantes) to set themselves up as some sort of moral arbiters for the rest of us, whilst hiding behind a very dubious legal curtain. Just look at the antics of Perverted Justice for all the evidence you need of how self-styled, morally superior internet watchdogs can quickly run out of control and yet, concurrently, enjoy practically no censure themselves from law enforcement. In other words, such laws as these enable idiots to declare 'open season' on anyone they figure is ripe for a good seeing to, without fear of legal ramifications = legalised bullying.

I realise this group might specialise in irony. I hope they do. I guess that remains to be seen, but if the advent of the 'online predator' (and all the myriad business opportunities it has presented for countless online (and offline) wholly unprofessional 'child protection' organisations it has offered) teaches us anything, it is that the very real danger is that this lot, like so many others before them, take themselves very seriously.

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Anonymous Coward

Rule of Law

If a law is worth making, it's worth enforcing. Making a blanket of laws that are usually not enforced is giving police a license to arrest when they don't like the look of someone, and a precedent for ignoring others who are obviously breaking the law. This opens the police to cries of prejudice for every arrest they do or do not make. The more lawmakers ignore their duty, and shift judgment to police officers, the more the public image of the police force suffers.

If a law isn't worth enforcing, get it off the books.

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Coat

Very clever, I'm sure.

Presumably, because of this:

"....live throughout the UK (except Scotland)."

It isn't very surprising that people:

"......get away Scot-free....."

The tartan one with the CDs of smut in the pockets.

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Anonymous Coward

I

downloaded some awesome porn last night!

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Anonymous Coward

"Monitoring" torrents?

The only way to find out whether a torrent contains illegal material, is to download it and view it. That is illegal. Perhaps the "extremeporn" vigilante is using his aims as a cover.

To presume the content of a torrent is illegal (without viewing it), and then shop people to the police on the assumption that they might be breaking the law, must be harassment, as there will be a proportion of false positives.

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Bronze badge
Coat

Ready Men ..... CHARRRGGGEEEEE

DDOS anybody ????

Mines the one with impossible hacker laptop that takes out spaceships in the pocket

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Anonymous Coward

can

Can their software and users navigate sites that don't use western character sets? Pretty useless if they can't, but I'm not sure as to my take on them, are they taking the p--- by flooding the system or do they seriously believe in the cause of anti-extreme pronz.

Of course I agree that if the politicos have been stupid enough to put a law on the books they best make sure the s----y thing is enforced. If only to prove what a piece of turd it is and if it isn't enforced it should be got rid of.

One thing I've always wondered though, is if you look at the IP addresses on a torrent how do you know they're actually actively sharing unless you manage to connect to that machine and exchange data.

Also how has this person decided on what is extreme porn... oooo i like that idea, just report everyone who is downloading any porn! As an "ordinary reasonable" person who doesn't like swearing on TV let alone naked people you would be discusted by all of the filth out there!!!

I like it. I wouldn't do it (the filth all just nick you for wasting their time) , but I like it.

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Guess they've gone fishing

for a big fish - politician, priest, journalist or campaigner perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

First we need to identify

which torrents are illegal by downloading and inspecting the contents. Then we tell the police what we have have now got on our PC.

Ah yes I see a slight problem here.....

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Flame

Categorising torrents ...

by name or by content?

How many times have you downloaded "Nasty dog animal teen anal rape sex hardcore XXX" and it turned out to be a run of the mill lesbian porn flick? A few thousand times no doubt.

And do people torrent for porn? Don't most people use something a little bit more ... private throuh embarassment or something?

Whether they are doing it seriously or because they want to redicule the new law, I still think they are bunch of twats and would be no great loss to the human race should their heads be accidentally introduced to a few bullets.

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this will work

"IPs and then use GeoIP technology to identify UK-based IPs. Where a match is found, the system will, in principle, email the abuse contact for that IP."

cos that has worked SOOO well for others in the past

(we need a sarcasm icon)

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Anonymous Coward

Contradiction

The vigilante says that "the torrents themselves are not illegal, as they do not contain any pornographic images". But they may send your "boss/girlfriend/lesbian partner/husband [.. an ..] abuse reports about my activities" and ".. We don't care. Sure, your life may be ruined now".

In other words, he doesn't care if f--ks up your life for doing nothing illegal.

Doing this is surely in contravention of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

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Joke

Um...

It's a joke.

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Hmm, interesting

If they plan to hunt down torrents that are illegal so that they can monitor them, aren't they guilty of actively searching for and accessing the content in the first place?

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Anonymous Coward

Little Hitlers

Sounds like a bunch of jumped up little hitlers with too much time on their hands if you ask me.

There is also this on the web site...

"We are enforcers of the law where the government dares not tread, we are the watchers of perverts everywhere, we are legion."

So who elects them to be 'endforcers' huh? What gives them the right to decide what other users do with their internet connection. Sure there is a law and the police are there to enforce them.

I dunno, I'm surprised that they don't have Pink Floyd's Run Like Hell playing in the background on the site, I mean it sounds like they're doing to send any offenders back to mother in a cardboard box.

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Pirate

And they will verify the contents of these torrents how?

So if I stick a bunch of Tellytubbies episodes up on PirateBay and call it "The World's Best Snuff Movies!!!", will these cowboys go shopping everyone who downloads it to the police? Sounds like an ideal way to waste the cops' time... So in order to verify they're not reporting people who have done nothing wrong, these idiots are going to have to download and view the contents of every torrent they track, thus putting them in breach of the law they're zealously promoting.

Perhaps this is all a clever scheme by their members so they can download "extreme" porn with impunity under the guise of catching perverts and protecting citizens...

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Black Helicopters

I Knew It Wouldn't Take Long

Until one of the self appointed supposedly "moral" majority decided they would do this.

Assuming the name is a real one, who is this self appointed protector of the masses?

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Tricky

Is he a genius comedian or a total dick?

I'd love to go off on the stupidity of this idea but I suspect it's an effort to use the XP law to persuade people to start hiding all their traffic from the government, prying eyes, etc. See, e.g. the section about Tor on their FAQ.

We need an icon of a thumb hovering horizontally, like a Roman Emperor deciding the fate of a gladiator.

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Anonymous Coward

Eh?

So how does this extremeporn vigilante know if the material is illegal? Surely the only way for him to check the legality of a torrent is to download it himself. And then he would of broken the law.

He can't just rely on file names as they are rarely correct.

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Black Helicopters

I wouldn't be surprised

if said site found itself the target of a certain amount of electronic abuse. I suspect those peddling/seeding smut will not take kindly to this sort of behaviour and will take effective action. I hate to generalise, but I rather think that the more intelligent/capable denizens of the net are pro-free speech/expression. I may be wrong.

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Give up

They should just stop caring now. The hate campaign against file sharers didn't go too well with all the man power and money behind that, did it? What makes them think a few nutbulls and one python script can do any better at this? No one really cares about this law, it'll hopefully all blow over and they should simply give up now before they embarrass themselves. Go and spend your time and resources in doing something useful and that people will thank you for, not send you abusive emails for. As a final touch of irony, I like how they used the expression 'Scot-Free', as all Scots are for the time being.

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Hmm, sooo...

There's a guy called Adam Gleave downloading shitloads of pr0n from torrents to "see which ones are extreme".. I see a basic flaw in the plan here...

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Unhappy

We've still not seen any evidence

...that extreme porn is actually a direct cause of violent sex crimes.

Still, time will tell. Maybe there'll be research in a few years to show a correlation between the ban's introduction and a drop in violent sex crimes.

Meantime, I've made a prediction:

http://www.thatsfuckingstupid.com/index.php/2009/01/just-a-prediction/

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Anonymous Coward

Charities as law enforcers

Nanny will elevate people who share her opinion above everyone else, and we'll have charities enforcing this law instead. IWF springs to mind (The people who make the filter list that decided Wikipedia was to be banned).

They're just people, but somehow when it's your view vs their view, your view counts for nought and they're view counts for everything, no discussion.

You see this (charities as law enforcement) happen in other walks of UK life:

Did you notice that RSPCA started wearing uniforms, and reading people rights like a pseudo police force, the laws were then changed so that they could seize animals prior to harm on their judgement. e.g. the fat dogs seized by the RSPCA:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/4331467/Fat-dogs-seized-by-RSPCA.html

You the owner have a opinion, they the charity, have an opinion. This law allowed their opinion to overrule yours. IMHO RSPCA's have killed more dogs than I ever will and so my opinion counts more than theirs. A fat dog is not necessarily worse than a dog put down because it could not find an owner.

RSPCA kills one third of all dogs it receives:

http://www.petrescue.com.au/article/488

Another example, BBFC the film classification board is just a body set up by the studios to avoid legislation of taste, somehow it got written into laws (including this one), so now films require BBFC classification.

Charities as law enforcement.

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Paris Hilton

Yes, I support there action

>>>> We believe that the law should be enforced; not doing so breeds laziness and impreciseness in the legislature, lack of inspection of the law outside of the legislature, increased power of the executive due to selective enforcement and permits many people guilty - of a crime, if nothing else - to get away Scot-free … This is bad for everyone. <<<<

even if you disagree with the law, the fact that it did become a law must be remembered and it *MUST* be enforced. If they are going to be selective about enforcing the law, then there are a number of side effect. One that springs to mind at the moment, the law was passed to catch those that the government want to deal with but can _not_ since they didn't break the law.

to elaborate, someone who is annoying the government... annoying her really really REALLY bad. This law can be used as a way to catch this annoying person, make his/her "private interests" known to the public, shame him/her, then dare him/her to stand up and annoy her again.

that law have been based is a fact that can not be ignored, the law itself can be "selectively" enforced. If this law is allowed to have "exception" then be ready for other laws to have "exception" as well.

PH because she have nothing to hide, just like the rest of us (not)

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Paris Hilton

Skating on very thin ice

So let's see... they're going to "categorise and monitor torrents." In other words, they're going to build up a collection of so-called extreme porn themselves. A legal friend tells me they could be the ones getting their collars felt by Mr Plod, as if their evidence is enough to secure a conviction under the Whacky Jacqui Act 200n, they themselves have broken the law by obtaining it. It's not as if they came across it accidentally and reported it to the police - they intentionally went looking for it. Mr Gleave needs to watch his step. The cops don't like competition.

(IANAL, but I'm posting this after speaking to someone who is).

Paris, obviously.

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What are they smoking?

"If there is a member of the public who is concerned that they have an illegal image in their possession, they should seek legal advice,"

So, you're not sure if you have things that are illegal. So you ask. If the answer is yes, then you can be locked up for producing it.

If no, then you've just wasted legal time. Would be amusing if everyone took 'innocent' pics and asked for legal advice if this were free, othewise, are we (the average public) expected to foot the bill for actually defining this fuzzy and imprecise law?

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Really bad idea...especially for the vigilantes

So they're going to monitor and grade the material which means they'll have to download and view it; thereby commiting the crime of being in possession of extreme pornography.

There may be a defence for legitimate people being in possession of extreme pornography; i.e. those people with the authority to investigate extreme pornography cases such as police officers, defence experts, etc. A vigilante group, no matter its intentions, will not be covered.

By downloading the torrents they will also be sharing their torrent as they download and so only help to propogate the material easier.

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Anonymous Coward

Vigilantes are possessors, too

It boils down to what one might loosely refer to as the Pete Townsend defence: yes, I had this material, but I was doing so as a vigilant member of society / serious academic researcher / recovering victim. Which may be true, but strict liability offences are quite risky places to attempt to run that argument (because it can only be a plea in mitigation, not a defence).

And the vigilantes never quite explain how the legal system is supposed to tell the difference between the materials the vigilantes collected as part of their genuine pursuit of bad people, and the materials bad people posing as vigilantes collect as part of their bad peopledom. Indeed, if I wanted to collect large amounts of illegal material, a reputation as a doughty fighter against it would be good cover.

This legislation has been drafted with some interesting clauses. The most interesting is that the injuries required to fall into the net are to breasts, anus and genitals. The notable exclusion is buttocks, which means that 95% of BDSM material --- even really quite alarming, blood-drawing stuff --- is excluded. There was a case some years ago in which a bloke lent his friend a copy of a DVD from Rigid East (google for it, but probably not from your office) which was legal to possess and got jailed for distributing obscene material: there's an interesting legal argument to be had over material which is `that sort of thing' but not sufficiently `that sort of thing' to fall under the new legislation.

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Pirate

Who's breaking the law here?

"They claim that they will primarily categorise and monitor torrents."

Presumably this means they have to download the torrent to ensure it is actually illegal. Which means they are breaking the law themselves. Hmmm...

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So...

If your conclusions are correct, then they're actively sending people up the river for breaking censorship laws, as a form of protest against excessive government censorship.

Riiiiiight.

So all the government and police have to do, to beat these guys, is to say "cheers!" and convict those who extremeporn have found for them. Thus turning the slightly odd minded, but presumably well meaning, freedom-o-speach chaps into Wacky-Jaque's pocket Stazi.

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purpose?

"Although if this site is genuine, it could be that the police will already have their hands full. ®"

I suspect that's the purpose. By providing a landslide, a deluge of preverts, it might serve to demonstrate just how ludicrous, impractical and un-enforceable this law might be.

Thumb up: watch where you put that thumb, it might be classed as "extreme porn"

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Flame

Monitor and Report ?

Sounds like an great excuse for being caught with extreme material on your PC.

"Honest M'Lud, I only downloaded and watched it to make sure it was too extreme for the public"

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Unhappy

Establishing a police state.

To establish a proper police state you first need to make sure that everyone is always guilty of something.

You have to also do the ... if you have nothing to hide why do you object to being spied upon/randomly searched thing ...

So far the UK seems to be making steady progress in both directions.

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Ash
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Where are they based?

I am willing to bet nobody is charged as a result of the information given to the Police, as no information will be give. As has been stated before, if they're based within the UK then they fall foul of the same legislation the rest of the general public does, and the very first case brought against somebody resulting from their notification will bring about the question "How did they know?"

I see this as a very short lived project, typical poorly thought out knee-jerk over-reaction I would expect from a middle-class over-educated and under-informed twit.

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a few, loose-knit members

sounds an apt description of this bunch.

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Pum

I hope they ironically catch a senior figure

This site sure sounds ironical - alomost like a piece of ironic performance art.

I really hope actually use it to catch a few senior public figures, like the politicians who helped push this stupid, bad, wrong law through, or a judge or bishop or two. Now that's the kind of irony I'd like to see and might actually help get this law quietly removed a years or so down the road.

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Flame

DDoS...

...is for wimps.

DDoS attackers are the ASBO weilding vandals of the hacking world, they spend their time breaking things because thats all the know how to do.

Proper hackers/crackers (Fuck off. I'll use whatever term I want) are like cat burglars. With the skill necessary to break in though a hole you didn't know existed, disable the alarms, and leave again undetected.

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting move

Reading between the lines, it looks like a clever move to highlight the ludicrousness of the law.

There is going to be a lot of people who fall foul of this law, but it is going to be one of those things not enforced often, and those are dangerous to have in your legal system. Theoretically everyone in the UK could be a criminal by now, it doesn't take much to break a law in the UK, and when that happens it makes a mockery of law itself.

Law needs to be clear, and ethical, otherwise it is just a tool of a despotic group.

People in authority tend to break these odd laws more than others, it is because these style of laws really don't make sense, and they release that, they also know they are used as control elements on a society, and they think of themselves as the controllers, manic delusion really. So, I would expect to see a lot of police, politicians, psychiatrists, doctors, civil servants fall foul of this particular law, should be interesting.

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Flame

An analysis of this technique

The following was recently posted to an email discussing law, liability, torrents and extremeporn.org.uk. Posted here with permission from the original author, a Dr Richard Clayton of Cambridge University.

-=-=-=-=-

I am sure that many, but perhaps not all, abuse teams are aware of the limitation of the above procedure, which is that having your IP attached to a torrent implies one of four things:

a) you are actively fetching or distributing the file

b) you are an academic researcher who is monitoring the torrent, but who is not uploading or downloading at all

c) your IP address has been selected at random by the owner of the tracker to add to the list of active IPs so as to bring this type of tracking into disrepute.

d) your IP address has been specially chosen by someone who wishes you harm and who has deliberately added it to the list of active IPs so as to cause you trouble.

-=-=-=-=-

Case (a) is what these people think they are dealing with.

Case (b) has been well documented by researchers at the University of Washington

http://dmca.cs.washington.edu/

Case (c) is believed to be behind the large number of incorrect copyright abuse allegations currently flooding the market :(

There is a strong belief in some quarters that The Pirate Bay is doing this deliberately (anyone with an on-the-record citation for this, I'd be really pleased to get this)

Case (d) is of obvious concern. The UofWashington people falsely accused their laser printers of sharing hollywood movies. In this area, there is an obvious risk of defamation or worse :(

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Alert

Joke

It's a joke, but a sick one.

From their own site: "Media trials can be just as effective as court ones."

I see this as being a very clever attempt to point out the absurdity of the law; a bit like Howard Marks going into police stations with a lit bifter and demanding to be arrested (this was before the smoking ban; so nowadays he probably *would* be nicked, but not for the dope).

All those who are saying "it's illegal", it's a defence to any crime that committing it was the only way to prevent a greater crime.

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MUST be inforced

maybe they are doing it to prove how silly this law is

it is interesting going back a couple of years to the law on replica fire arms I know a couple of major uk retail chains (one of who has just gone bust) that where selling toys that where then made illegal and there was a big discussion on weather those of us a posed to the law should report them and if the police did nothing we could then hold it up as an example of how stupid the law was

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Scotty

>This week, the new law on extreme porn went live throughout the UK (except Scotland). ..."to get away Scot-free"

Well, it is home-coming year. Like charity, coming starts at home. I wonder what Gary Glitter wears under his kilt?

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