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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 8:42am

    Declaring war on the Internet? Let's see how well that goes for you.
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140612/06532727555/copyright-troll-malibu-media-tells-court- that-its-critics-opposing-lawyer-are-part-psychopathic-hate-group.shtml#c55

    (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.)

     

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  2.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 9:32am

    But...

    If the only jurisdiction that these guys have is 1 square mile...

    ...Why are we taking them seriously again?

     

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  3.  
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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:17am

    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".

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:18am

    Re: But...

    Because they've somehow convinced registrars and ISPs that their one-square-mile jurisdiction actually covers the entire world.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:23am

    Re: But...

    because the internet doesn't give a shit about jurisdiction, so they think that neither should they. the few, the proud...the london cyberpolice.

     

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  6.  
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    8bit, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:26am

    missing the point...

    Yes, there are elements of this that are about patent and copyright enforcement.

    I think the bigger picture is that, security services need to piggy-back on the proprietary code that consumers are obliged to willingly infect their computers with to access content.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:30am

    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.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:31am

    Wow, I didn't know Bitnet was still in (widespread) use. I guess you learn something every day.

     

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  9.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:37am

    Ummm...
    Yeah I got no polite way to say it.
    If you want to regulate it and be taken seriously... LEARN THE FSCKING WORDS.
    You sound like a complete idiot completely detached from reality, well shit... well played old man well played.

     

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  10.  
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    Mike Shore (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:39am

    Who is this guy?

    This guy is totally deaf, I guess that makes him a Def Leppard.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:41am

    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

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:42am

    Bitnet hasn't been around since the late 80's to early 90's. That's all we need is a bunch of illiterate technophobes dictating internet policy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:46am

    Re:

    Hopefully after shutting down bitnet they're go after Telenet and FidoNet next.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    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.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 10:59am

    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.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 11:01am

    We should all be afraid of (insert tech jargon) because someone told me it was destroying the internet and I don't understand those things so I'm taking their word for it without research and we should ban it.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 11:02am

    Re:

    And the internet is where I forward my funny emails to everyone I know!

     

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  18.  
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    Mark Wing, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 11:04am

    Looks like the London police are on the crack.

     

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  19.  
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    bob, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 11:13am

    Re: But...

    1> because that 1 square mile reaches into the internet to shut down web sites.
    2> because there are general principles at play and at least part of the posts on this site deal with the principle of a thing. (ie. It's not always about the specific act, sometimes it's about underlying concepts involved.)

     

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  20.  
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    DogBreath, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 11:44am

    Re: But...

    Why? All because of the independent micronation of "Petoria" incident.

    i.e. "terrorists".

     

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  21.  
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    Michael, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 11:44am

    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.

     

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  22.  
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    DogBreath, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re:

    No, I think the next on their list is Tymnet.

     

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  23. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 11:56am

    Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced.

     

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  24.  
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    afn29129 (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 11:58am

    Abolish the City of London Police.

    Abolish the City of London Police, they have become obsolete.

     

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  25.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:10pm

    Re:

    "If by "civil society" you mean the music and movie industries"

    And even they have been unable to demonstrate that this "huge risk and threat" is actually real.

     

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  26.  
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    Glenn D. Jones (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:10pm

    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:

    http://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-the-one-third-of-all-internet-traffic-myth/

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

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:13pm

    Crickey, the rozzers are on to us!

     

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  28.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    Yeah, get back to us when they ever get involved with actual 'copyright enforcement', and then maybe someone will take you seriously.

     

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  29.  
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    Michael, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:18pm

    Re:

    smart IT Geeks go on your Database and release all your dirty laundry

    Yeah, they can totally post it all on www.TheDirty.com and the site will not even lose it's Section 230 protections.

     

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  30.  
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    Ruben, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:23pm

    Re:

    But we all love you.

    Don't you ever forget it.

     

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  31.  
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    Vel the Enigmatic, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:25pm

    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.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:29pm

    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).

     

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  33.  
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    Personanongrata, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:32pm

    Adrian Leppard of the City of London police has spoken and the internet trembles in fear the ignorant and bombastic balderdash escaping his gaping maw.

     

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  34.  
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    Mr. Oizo, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    This isn't about copyright. It is about due process. I hate it that you troll harder than I can. Moron.

     

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  35.  
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    Michael, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:35pm

    Re:

    Give the guy a break, he can't even change his spots.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:39pm

    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!!

     

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  37.  
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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:51pm

    If Scotland secedes...

    If Scotland secedes from GB, will the Metropolitan Police have to drop the name "Scotland Yard"? What idiot inspectors will Sherlock be able to work with then?

     

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  38.  
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    Illiterate technophobe, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Re:

    Those darn intertubes are such a scary place, what ... with all those bits and bytes flying around you're liable to get hit by one.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 1:05pm

    So the City of London Police are like the Pinkerton's of old ? The Corporate Law Entitlement Police aka CLEP.

     

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  40.  
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    techflaws (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    "yawn"

    *clicks report for tired old tropes*

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: But...

    Double insightfull

    This is something they've come to rely on.....its disgustingly WRONG

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 1:21pm

    Corporate London Police

     

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  43.  
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    DocGerbil100 (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 1:34pm

    Eh?!

    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.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 2:11pm

    I think they meant to say, "Bittorrent, other peer-to-peer sharing, TOR, and streaming comprise 90% of internet traffic."

    If you added all of those together it might get close to 90%.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 2:15pm

    " 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.

     

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    aldestrawk (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 2:43pm

    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.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 3:22pm

    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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  48.  
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    Meany, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 3:23pm

    "The Tor" sets a new record at squeezing redundancy into 7 characters.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 4:10pm

    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?

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 4:13pm

    Keep calm and surf on.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 5:10pm

    Hey wait a minute, I though The Google was the Internet.

     

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  52.  
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    maltot, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 5:47pm

    "The Tor which is 90% of the Internet"

    I laughed.
    It's good to know that "experts" - as usual; know what they're talking about.
    Oh, and don't forget to go after the Marianas web, Mr Officer!

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 6:01pm

    Re:

    "Copyright law is enforced" - you mean like this, fucktard?

     

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    Jay Lahto (profile), Jun 16th, 2014 @ 9:57pm

    Huh

    I always thought "Def" Leppard was a typo. Now I know it's a contraction for Adrian "Definitely off his rocker" Leppard.

     

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  55.  
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    Techanon, Jun 16th, 2014 @ 11:00pm

    Re: 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).


    Also known as the Deep Web.

     

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  56.  
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    Bergman (profile), Jun 17th, 2014 @ 12:42am

    Re:

    Perhaps it is in City of London. Perhaps sometime in the coming years they might even upgrade their data systems to those new-fangled 9600 bps modems.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2014 @ 12:51am

    Re:

    I also didn't realise "The The Onion Router" accounted for so much bandwidth. I actually thought Netflix was hitting 30% of the worlds bandwidth at peak times?

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2014 @ 12:52am

    Re:

    "You are London and nothing else."

    The reason why the footnote is on the article is because you are insulting the people of London with these sort of comments when this idiot is actually from the "City of London".

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2014 @ 12:55am

    Re: Abolish the City of London Police.

    Its nice to see them riding round on their horses in the City, I just think they have overstepped their jurisdiction somewhat.

    Abolishing them is not the answer, but severely limiting what they actually do is.

     

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  60.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 17th, 2014 @ 12:59am

    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.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2014 @ 1:39am

    Re: But...

    To laugh at the quixotically deluded nature of the statement and the ignorance it displays. And also to warn that alot of harm can be done by people with good intentions that lose focus of the big picture and slowly drift towards frothing-mouth fanaticism.

     

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  62.  
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    quawonk, Jun 17th, 2014 @ 3:59am

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

    Replace 'society' with corporations and/or authoritarian governments and you'll get the truth.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2014 @ 4:47am

    Damn kids, turn your mp3's down and get the hell of my LAN!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2014 @ 6:16am

    Think of the children you insensitive Tech Dirt terrorists!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    gant, Jun 17th, 2014 @ 8:10am

    "The Tor"...
    "The La Trattoria" comes to mind. (Italians might have heared of "la 'the la trattoria'".)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Jun 17th, 2014 @ 11:47am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2014 @ 8:40pm

    Re: Re:

    Hopefully they leave my Gopher server alone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:26am

    It's fine. We can route around the City of London.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:54pm

    Re: But...

    Because that 1 square mile has more wealth than your country

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    James Roderer, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 8:22pm

    Stupid Brits

    gosh all it takes is "risk to society" over there and its all over. I mean i know it can happen in america but you people are horrible with that. The way cops do raids over there is all fucked too. bill of rights my ass

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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