Great metaphor...."the gaze of that confounded RIAA eye peering over the mountains of Mordor"
I was like roflmao for like 10 mins...
Written by Karl Bode
With the increase in RIAA lawsuits there was a brief boom in programs and p2p networks promising greater security; the majority of them - like Earthstation5 - failing to really deliver. One programmer claims he's developed a method of protecting file-trader identities for the rock-bottom price of $5.95 a month. According to the Associated Press, programmer Wyatt Wasicek offers anonymity via a program he's developed dubbed AnonX. The application sets up a virtual private network between the user's PC and the the company's network, a user paying for access to their proxy servers.
"I'm doing this to protect the family with the 13-year-old, not the 25-year-old with 25 movies he's sharing with his buddies," says Wasicek, whose service disconnects kiddie porn hunters and heavy pirates. "I wanted to go back to the good old days when people could surf anonymously." Of course there's nothing to say the RIAA couldn't eventually sue AnonX for a list of the company's 7,000 customers, though Wasicek claims the company's "real owner" lives on the Pacific island of Vanuatu.
Earthstation5 promised the ability to go into "stealth mode" when they unveiled their service last year. User data was relayed through one of their many public proxies, masking your IP address. The program also promised to help users dodge Packet shaping technologies (used by many campus's to control bandwidth use) by utilizing Dynamic ports. Of course the company lost much (all?) of their credibility when reports surfaced of malicious code (since removed) buried in the application.
Various cryptographically secured and private services have sprung up since the subpoena madness began. One service named "Winny" turned out to be anything but anonymous after the network's creators were arrested by Japanese police last December. That system - 250,000 users strong - was based in part on the Freenet code (so the creators claim), another encrypted private service that promises anonymity and the inability to be forced off-line. Freenet's creator insists it was a simple knock-off.
While private networks (as well as Torrent forums, IRC and newsgroups) are generally safer (in the protection from the RIAA sense), one Staganos executive says the majority of products like AnonX are little more than "snake oil". Steganos of course would rather you buy their product Internet Anonym (free trial download available here), which routes you through their updated lists of proxy servers automatically and includes other tools such as a data shredder and various PC cleaning tools.
Of course none of these products are guaranteed to cloak pirates from their nemesis: the gaze of that confounded RIAA eye peering over the mountains of Mordor. The intelligence firms employed by the RIAA (who sniff networks for illegal files and plant bogus files of their own to frustrate users) claim there's no service that offers true anonymity.