Strange Bedfellows: IsoHunt And Andrew Cuomo?

from the didn't-see-that-coming dept

This one is a bit odd and unexpected. We recently reported on how grandstanding New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo had kicked off a new project that would create a database of child porn, and offer up hashes to any website that wanted to use it to block such content from being uploaded. While the general concept seemed good, it wasn't clear how this database was being generated, or if there were safeguards in place to make sure that the list really only included illegal images. Either way, it appears that Cuomo has welcomed with open arms a surprising company who wants to use the database: IsoHunt. Yes, the torrent search engine in the midst of a legal battle for its survival has agreed to use the hash database to prevent access to such images via its system.

Considering that Cuomo thrust himself in the middle of the file sharing debate by supposedly trying (and failing) to broker backroom deals with ISPs to get them to embrace three strikes policies, it seems a bit surprising that he would embrace a site like IsoHunt. That said, it seems that he appears a lot more interested in getting publicity over child porn issues rather than copyright. As for IsoHunt, this also appears to be a pretty calculated move. Part of the site's legal argument is that the judge's demand to filter by keyword is way too broad, and it has argued that a similar hash database would make more sense. So, it's no surprise that IsoHunt wasted little time in letting the judge know about this new deal.
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Filed Under: andrew cuomo, copyright, hash database, porn
Companies: isohunt


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  1. identicon
    sum quy, 2 Jul 2010 @ 9:21am

    I think you guys are misunderstanding how p2p file sharing works. Yes, it is possible to change a bit and alter the hash sum. But this defeats the purpose of file sharing. P2p programs depend on the ability to find a shared file by its hash sum. If you change it, then you are not sharing the original file anymore and as far as p2p software is concerned might as well no longer exist.

    Think of it as a situation in which Google didn't account for misspellings in searches, so you had to type in the exact term you were looking for to find anything. Now add that the spelling of the term changed randomly on a daily/weekly basis with no warning and no way to know what the new spelling was. This would obviously make trying to find anything not impossible, but very difficult. That isn't an exact analogy, but hopefully close enough to get the point across. A more effective strategy would be, instead of removing the link, corrupt it so that it doesn't work. A search would return 100 links but no way to determine which 1 or 2 actually work. A user would get really frustrated really fast and probably give up.

    This has the potential to be very effective if executed properly, but I have a couple of questions:
    Who decides what child porn is? A committee examining pics/videos? Is Blue Lagoon child porn?
    So is there going to be a database somewhere of "the ultimate child porn collection"? I can already hear the outcry from that getting hacked!

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