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
    Spudd86, 5 Jul 2010 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: But will it work?

    I think you hit the nail on the head.

    Since isoHunt is a bittorrent tracker/search engine site it doesn't have the actual files being shared so all it can do is examine the hashes in the torrent, this is totally infective for video/image/audio data since just a simple reencode will result in a new hash, you don't even have to change anything... or you could add a tag to the container metadata, append junk to the end of the file (most media formats don't care about stuff that comes after the end of the content)

    There are more sophisticated audio/video/image 'fingerprinting' methods that are robust to even fairly extensive degradation/alteration of the material, but those are not an option for isoHunt since it doesn't have the actual file data that is need to compute such a 'fingerprint'. So yes defeating this measure is trivial, and it won't really stop anything...

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