City Of London Police Claim That 'The Tor' Is 90% Of The Internet, And Is A Risk To Society

from the say-what-now? dept

We’ve written a bunch about the City of London Police* and their extrajudicial campaign against “piracy” by trying to scare web hosting and domain registrar firms into taking down websites based on nothing more than the City of London Police’s say so. However, Adrian Leppard, the guy in charge of the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (funded both by taxpayers and legacy entertainment companies) spoke at an IP Enforcement Summit in London and his comments, relayed by Torrentfreak, should raise questions about whether or not this is the right person to have anything to do with stopping “crime” on the internet:

“Whether it’s Bitnet, The Tor – which is 90% of the Internet – peer-to-peer sharing, or the streaming capability worldwide. At what point does civil society say that as well as the benefits that brings, this enables huge risk and threat to our society that we need to take action against?”

Yeah, try to parse that one. Beyond not being true, it’s almost entirely nonsensical. And this guy is ordering websites completely shut down based on nothing more than his say so?

This sounds kind of like the idiotic debates that were had a decade or so ago, when clueless folks from the entertainment industry were first getting online.

“The Internet pushes through every border control legislation we have and it is carrying a huge amount of harm to our society, as well as offering creative opportunity for business. At some point there has to be a debate and a challenge about the harm the Internet brings.”

Yeah, that debate happened long ago, and people realized (1) the claims of harm are completely overblown by folks like yourself and (2) the benefits are massive. Debate closed.

But, really, what Leppard is doing is trying to declare war on the internet, because it’s upset the business model of a few businesses that are funding this effort (which would suggest a less-than-unbiased view of the issue):

“The new legislation that’s necessary is not just about prosecuting people and protecting people, we’ve got to think about some of the enabling functions that allow this to happen that we just take for granted.”

“Enabling functions”? He’s talking about regulating the internet to add deeper layers of secondary liability, thereby effectively destroying one of the most important ingredients to the internet’s success. All because his friends in the obsolete legacy parts of the entertainment industry haven’t figured out how to adapt.

It would appear that the City of London Police are the legacy entertainment industry’s dream law enforcement group: completely clueless about technology and innovation, and not all that concerned about basic legal concepts like due process and protections against third party liability. That lets them rampage through the internet like bullies trying to shut down anything their friends in the industry don’t like, oblivious to any collateral damage it might cause. That’s a very dangerous tool, and it’s going to cause serious problems before too long.

* I don’t know what it is about the City of London Police that always seems to make people want to clarify stuff in the comments, but just to cut all this off: (1) Yes, I know that the City of London Police covers just “the City of London” which is about a 1-square mile area within London, rather than the wider London police force and (2) I also know that many of the big banks and big London businesses are in City of London, so the City of London Police have some amount of powerful connections with businesses. There is no reason to clarify any of that in the comments. We know already.

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Comments on “City Of London Police Claim That 'The Tor' Is 90% Of The Internet, And Is A Risk To Society”

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Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Declaring war on the Internet? Let’s see how well that goes for you.

(also, we know that you know about the City of London. That footnote is perfect. Some small and somewhat powerful organizations want to appear much more important and powerful than they really are, and when there’s a significant source of confusion, I think it’s important to point out what they really are. It’s like saying that the Chamber of Commerce isn’t part of the government even though many confuse them with the Department of Commerce, which is what they count on.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: But...

“An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

Martin Luther King

Because if we let them pass bad laws Hollywood would start pointing to them as a good example and all the bought politicians and judges will start agreeing that this is such a great idea and before you know it they will start passing laws like this everywhere.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: But...

“Why are we taking them seriously again?”

Because some domain registrars and ISPs appear to be taking them seriously and removing property from people accused of a crime without due process on their say-so.

As with the **AAs and copyright law, just because they don’t have jurisdiction where you live, that doesn’t mean they can’t still convince people to screw your jurisdiction up.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

It wasn’t until Edward Snowden revealed the massive secretive spying that every government was conducting that jumpstarted the push for everyone to hide their browsing.

As usual, every government on the planet claimed this massive doomsday scenario that everything was at risk.

Don’t you just love doomsayers and how our browsing hasn’t become “at risk”.

Anonymous Coward says:

At what point does civil society say that as well as the benefits that brings, this enables huge risk and threat to our society that we need to take action against?

If by “civil society” you mean the music and movie industries, they’ve been saying so ever since they first noticed that the Internet could be used to distribute their works. If by “civil society” you mean ordinary citizens, their actions suggest they don’t see it as any kind of threat to society. I suspect the latter are more likely to be correct.

DogBreath says:

Re: Re: Re:

And that will be their top speed, until they figure out they’ll need to replace the 8250 UART in their XT PCs for 16550 UARTs. Based on their apparent intelligence, it should only take them around 10 to 20 years to figure out.

The relevant paragraph:
Replacement of the factory-installed 8250 UART was a common upgrade for owners of IBM PC, XT, and compatible computers when high-speed modems became available. At speeds higher than 9600 baud, owners discovered that the serial ports of the computers were not able to handle a continuous flow of data without losing characters. Exchange of the 8250 (having only a one-byte received data buffer) with a 16550, and occasionally patching or setting system software to be aware of the FIFO feature of the new chip, improved the reliability and stability of high-speed connections.

gorehound (profile) says:

1.Make War on the Internet then I say we see some really smart IT Geeks go on your Database and release all your dirty laundry.UK Folks will love reading thru all the bad things you have pulled in the back room.

2.London………..and you think you can blah blah blah about my nation or any other place for that fact.You are London and nothing else.

3.Fearmongering……….we are not all dumb fucks !

4.TOR…………..har har har…………obvious ass hat clown who has very little tech knowledge.Next they will talk about the under-under net or some other crazy term.

5.Whack A Mole ……………. LOL

6.Fuck The MAFIAA !!! Gonna stop that one too.Buy and purchase Indie and local non-MAFIAA Art

Anonymous Coward says:

These guys make me think of all the tv shows when there is an episode with computers in them:

“I will create a bittorrent client in order to ping the federal jugglers association and use their hotspot to find out who this IP address belongs to… but we gotta hurry! it will run out of terabytes soon and then we will never find him”

That is how utterly stupid these guys sound to me.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Dear Sir,

We represent the World Organization For Users of Crack Knowledge (further referred to as WOFUCK) in legal matters pertaining to their trademarks and other Intellectual Property matters.

The City of London Police have not joined WOFUCK as members and we would like to ask you to cease and desist referring to them as being “on crack” as we would not like the WOFUCK membership to be associated with their comments or actions.

We humbly ask that you change any current postings referring to the City of London Police as being “on crack”, having “used crack”, or being “crackheads” to something else. Some suggestions from our members include “crazy”, “stupid”, “incompetent”, and “challenged”.

Thank you for your assistance and understanding.

Glenn D. Jones (profile) says:

He probably meant to refer to bittorrent -- and I'm not sure he's correct

?…The Tor ? which is 90% of the Internet…”

I suspect he meant to refer to bittorrent — incorrectly, according to the famous study:

AFAIK, the highest figure ever reported was only 70% — and that was confined to Eastern Europe.

aldestrawk says:

Re: He probably meant to refer to bittorrent -- and I'm not sure he's correct

The 90% figure comes from the estimate of the percentage of the web portion of the Internet which is not indexed by the various robots (e.g. google-bot). So, we know this is not the same as the percentage of the Internet that is not accessible via DNS much less the percentage that is only accessible via the use of a TOR browser. The COLP have apparently, taken their juvenile fear of dark places, together with a basic misunderstanding of Internet architecture, and projected this into a fear of everything connected to TOR.

Vel the Enigmatic says:

You know...

I bet Mr.Leppard wasn’t appointed to his position for his detective skills or ability for critical thinking. After all, if he had those, the legacy entertainment industry would never have their way, and that is just simply no good now is it?

The legacy industry doesn’t want to have to actually substantiate any of it’s claims, nor do the any corporate or government agencies wish to do so, cause they know if they did, they would find they have nothing but a pile from the bulls they keep in a special room for just for such occasions. Just throw it at people and hope they will wash themselves of anything that could counter their claims.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t know what it is about the City of London Police that always seems to make people want to clarify stuff in the comments… We know already.

You’re not the only ones reading the comments, and these things are perceived to not be widely known (probably accurately: most people from outside London will think these are the police for the entire metropolis, unless somebody clarifies it).

Anonymous Coward says:

i find so strange that when people are given quite a large degree of power, they dont have the mentality to use it. considering the guy in charge is, from what i remember seeing somewhere, an ex-industries lobbyer or something, he has the same mentality as the rest of the heads of the entertainment industries. he comes out with complete crocks of shit and expects everyone to believe what he’s said. first it was Google that was at fault, now it’s Tor. with a bit of luck he’ll quickly get to the big problem causers, the entertainment industries themselves. if he can get them sorted out, the better off everyone, including them, will be!!

DocGerbil100 (profile) says:


Note to PIPCU: just so you know, we’re not being wilfully obtuse about what Mr Leppard meant. The sentence “Whether it?s Bitnet, The Tor ? which is 90% of the Internet ? peer-to-peer sharing, or the streaming capability worldwide” literally makes no sense.

I read this on TF the other day and I still can’t figure out what “Bitnet” and “The Tor” are meant to be, or what the 90% figure is meant to refer to. I’m guessing the bittorrent protocol is supposed to be in there somewhere, but beyond that, the sentence is basically just vaguely-technical-sounding gibberish.

If you’re going to weigh in on issues like this, it’s probably a good idea if your spokespeople know what they’re talking about before they start. Especially when said spokesperson is in charge of your entire department, supposedly.

TF’s article mentions something important which isn’t covered here – Mr Leppard said “organized crime is motivated purely by money and the way to start dealing with this is to target the money flows and how people make money out of this crime”.

The important part of that sentence is the phrase “organised crime”, which is very telling. The phrase really only gets used by FACT – it was most visible during one of their earlier anti-piracy ad campaigns on VHS (they love to claim that profits from pirate videos funds organised crime, human trafficking, drugs and terrorism).

It’s appearance here strongly suggests that the MPAA – via FACT – are really in charge: Mr Leppard and PIPCU are not very much more than sockpuppets who have yet to learn their lines properly.

The reality that organised crime has rarely had any involvement in the distribution of pirate media via disc – and none whatsoever via the internet – is obviously beside the point for an anti-piracy sockpuppet, especially when the hand up it’s backside goes out of it’s way to conflate manufacturing fake medicines with watching episodes of The Flumps without permission.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Eh?!

profits from pirate videos funds organised crime, human trafficking, drugs and terrorism

—take out the word ‘pirate’ and you hit the nail on the head….Hollywood is full of criminals, makes films using people in third world countries who get little to nothing in return, drugs (3/4 of Hollywood actors are stoned more often than a woman in Iran trying to get an education) and ‘terrorism’….Surely threatening to sue grandmothers and 2year old children (a particular favorite MPAA target) would count as a form of ‘terror-inspired’ threats?

Anonymous Coward says:

” I don’t know what it is about the City of London Police that always seems to make people want to clarify stuff in the comments..”

It’s because many of your readers skip the Read More and jump straight to the comments to find out what’s going on (see note below), and many other readers know that too (because they do it) and try to cover up their own misdeed (not reading the fine article) and show off at the same time.

Note: I wouldn’t do that of course.

ps For those who don’t know, the City of London Police are not the Metropolitan Police, who are a whole other bunch of PC Plods.

Anonymous Coward says:

Just think, I had to learn about the interwebz from this yoyo. Here I was thinking I was on the interwebz and now I’m gonna have to go download this TOR thing to actually get on the net. /s

As usual if you’ll listen to the puff pieces you find out where all the good places are. Nothing like having a traffic cop of sorts direct you.

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