February 23, 2004
Earth Station 5, the long questionable "anonymous" P2P network, has frequently been the target of heavy criticism by virtually every segment of the legitimate file-sharing community. Its brazenly anti-copyright stance and horrific public relations policy has made it a bad apple of the P2P community; leading to its virtual excommunication.
Much dissent towards Earth Station 5 (ES5) has been attributed to the dubious nature of the program. Several months ago, Random Nut, spearhead of Kazaa Lite, discovered a malicious backdoor code within the ES5 program. The code could be remotely activated to delete any shared file. Legitimate programmers we spoke to stated that they would never "accidentally" leave such a portion of code in their work. The ES5 administration generally responded with a "whoops, how'd that get in there?"
ES5 managed to further excommunicate itself with its association with US fugitive Stephen M. Cohen. Stephen Cohen is wanted in the US for stealing the domain, "Sex.com", forgery, and failing to pay over 65 million dollars in fines. With these facts in mind, many question those who trust ES5's supposed anonymity features to a criminal mastermind.
In addition, the Washington Post further questions ES5ís supposed anonymity features. Slyck.com has already reported that Mesocom.com, creators of P2PWatchDog, can easy detect and block ES5 traffic. Supporting this, the Washington Post also reports that its anonymity features are lacking at best.
"It's a sophisticated protocol, but it's not set up for all the claims they make," said Mark Ishikawa, the head of BayTSP, an Internet security company that investigates piracy for record companies and other high-tech industries. "We looked at them, and the people who were downloading files were not anonymous."
"We can easily target infringers on their network," said Matt Oppenheim, senior vice president of the RIAA. He said Earth Station V "was throwing stones at us because that's how they get more press and grow their pirate network."
While many question the RIAA's motives, they have rarely made empty promises or threats.
The real icing on the Washington Post's report was a journalistic investigation to the Jenin Refugee camp, in Palestine, where ES5 is supposed to exist. However, no one in the town of 34,00 had ever heard of the operation.
"Questions about its founder and president, who calls himself Ras Kabir -- Arabic for "Big Head" -- drew laughter."
In addition, none of the authorities in the region, neither in Gaza or Palestine, had ever heard of this seemingly non-existent company.