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Author Topic: Illegal content in the blockchain  (Read 21906 times)
Thai8acu
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June 02, 2011, 05:29:03 PM
 #1

Over the last weeks I managed to use steganographic methods to store custom data in the block chain. The only required information to retrieve the data is the starting block number and information about the algorithm that was used to store the data.

This data contains information that is considered illegal in most Western countries. In fact, most countries are likely to send you to jail, if you knowingly spread this data. Which is exactly what you're doing right now - if you're running a Bitcoin client.

Please consider this as a warning. In exactly one week from now I will inform US police departments about the way how the data can be retrieved from the block chain and how IP addresses of nodes distributing this data can be collected. I can't tell you what to do, but by running a Bitcoin client right now you're in legal jeopardy.
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TraderTimm
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June 02, 2011, 05:37:52 PM
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Over the last few weeks I managed to use steg-trolling methods to store custom data in the block chain. The only required information to retrieve the data is the starting troll post number and information about the algorithm that was used in my parents basement to store the data.

This data contains information in my diary of trolling. In fact, most countries are likely to do absolutely nothing, as I'm a troll, if you knowingly spread this data. Which is exactly what you're doing right now - reading a parody of a lame troll post.

Please consider this as a warning about the troll's intelligence. In exactly one week from now he'll inform his parents that at the ripe age of 40, he'll finally move out. I can't tell you what to do, but by reading this post at least you'll get a cheap laugh from some silly fool trying to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Choke on my bitcoins, you silly troll.

fortitudinem multis - catenum regit omnia
Nesetalis
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June 02, 2011, 05:39:42 PM
 #3

+1 :p

ZOMG Moo!
spleeder
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June 02, 2011, 05:42:26 PM
 #4

+2

Funny indeed!

Bitcoin Escrow
1PTia7jCZdQUpMakq3ZqfuEeBrvg21U3Ln
nodemaster
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June 02, 2011, 05:43:39 PM
 #5

Over the last weeks I managed to use steganographic methods to store custom data in the block chain. The only required information to retrieve the data is the starting block number and information about the algorithm that was used to store the data.

This data contains information that is considered illegal in most Western countries. In fact, most countries are likely to send you to jail, if you knowingly spread this data. Which is exactly what you're doing right now - if you're running a Bitcoin client.

Please consider this as a warning. In exactly one week from now I will inform US police departments about the way how the data can be retrieved from the block chain and how IP addresses of nodes distributing this data can be collected. I can't tell you what to do, but by running a Bitcoin client right now you're in legal jeopardy.

*yawn* printed this information and loaded it onto the wayne train heading to Mt. Whateverest...
syn
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June 02, 2011, 05:45:39 PM
 #6

Over the last few minutes I managed to use xor substation methods to store custom data in the op post. The only required information to retrieve the data is the accompanying xor data set and information about the algorithm that was used to store the data.

This data contains information that is considered illegal in most Western countries. In fact, most countries are likely to send you to jail, if you knowingly spread this data. Which is exactly what you're doing right now - because you read op's message.

Please consider this as a warning. In exactly one week from now I will inform US police departments about the way how the data can be retrieved from the op's message. I can't tell you what to do, but by reading the op's message you're in legal jeopardy.

send btc --> 1F1avjWuBy1Ah8vuEkyVDPJ93ev3unfC3J
proudhon
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June 02, 2011, 05:47:18 PM
 #7

Over the last weeks I managed to use steganographic methods to store custom data in the block chain. The only required information to retrieve the data is the starting block number and information about the algorithm that was used to store the data.

This data contains information that is considered illegal in most Western countries. In fact, most countries are likely to send you to jail, if you knowingly spread this data. Which is exactly what you're doing right now - if you're running a Bitcoin client.

Please consider this as a warning. In exactly one week from now I will inform US police departments about the way how the data can be retrieved from the block chain and how IP addresses of nodes distributing this data can be collected. I can't tell you what to do, but by running a Bitcoin client right now you're in legal jeopardy.

skittixch
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June 02, 2011, 09:38:03 PM
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So we can all agree that this guy is trollin' hard, but this sort of thing has been discussed a little previously

(...) As a proof of concept, I have two transactions in the queue which stego one of the Bitcoin logos into the block chain, at a cost to me of 0.02 BTC.

Append all the address fields in these two transactions together, and do a yEnc decode, and you will get back a file called "bitcoin.jpg".


I can see many uses for this, but consider this if you will (You'll need your tin foil hat)

if you can encode images into the blockchain, and everyone downloads the whole blockchain, then, by causality, if an illegal image were to be written to the blockchain (you all know what I'm talking about), and we download the data, would this be grounds for govt action against any user of bitcoin?

Are end users, in fact, liable for data they unknowingly transmit?  Discuss.
nodemaster
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June 02, 2011, 10:09:56 PM
 #9

Are end users, in fact, liable for data they unknowingly transmit?  Discuss.

At least in Germany to charge someone with a felony it requires a premeditation. As I only intent to spread the blockchain in order to transmit BTC there is no crime. Dunno what western countries he is talking about but it is more or less like jailing the house owner after someone painted something illegal onto his frontage. I hope this is impossible in other countries as well. Furthermore the thread owner already made a confession to own and spread illegal content. If he's tellling the truth (and I really doubt it) I hope he is not that dumb to tell the police as it is more likely that they detain him.
gigi
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June 02, 2011, 10:33:32 PM
 #10

I work in a large US software company which deals with UGC (user generated content).

Illegal content is serious shit. We have systems which MOVE the illegal data when we find it to non-production machines. We are also required to notify the authorities. The authorities come and potentially REMOVE THE HARD DRIVES with the illegal data. If we don't move the data off the production machines, they have the authority to shut them down and/or seize them.

Not removing illegal content that you are aware of is very serious.
demonblack
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June 02, 2011, 10:39:17 PM
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vuce
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June 02, 2011, 10:42:17 PM
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I this guy thick or what? In one week HE will inform US police departments about illegal data HE put in the block chain? Orly?
mcdett
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June 02, 2011, 10:45:38 PM
 #13

In the US you must also have intent when transmitting the data.  The court must show that actions you took had the intent to distribute (transmit) something that is illegal.

I've worked on the forensic legal side of this stuff in the past.

Quite simply any collection of 1's and 0's can be made into something illegal given the correct, "algorithm."  So given the right additional data the bitcoin logo could be a harbinger of illegal content!

The important question to ask is, did the person, knowingly and willing, transmit digital content of an illegal nature.

So far the only person here that is doing theoretical illegal activity is the OP.  Did the admins get his ip addr?


Dear diary, today OP was a massive....
nodemaster
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June 02, 2011, 10:46:07 PM
 #14

EDIT: This is a reply to gigis post:

You are talking about take down notices. IMHO this is not applicable here as I can not remove the content. You need to balance the legally protected interests. What has more legal worth? Some illegal content or an entire blockchain?
skittixch
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June 02, 2011, 11:07:58 PM
 #15

Doing a little more thinking on the nature of a situation like this.

you'd have to isolate the exact segment of data and perform whatever algorithms are needed to view it...in that way, let's say someone made an illegal representation out of lego blocks, then dismantled the representation, and kept the instructions for how to recreate said image, and then sold the kit of legos...by the logic our troll friend used, the recipient of said lego kit would be guilty of sharing illegal content, as the contents could be reconstructed into an illegal image  The end user does not posess the knowledge to recreate the content, and even if they did, it seems like this extra step of obfuscation would be incredibly useful in legal matters. (I don't even know how to y-enc etc etc).  Then again...I don't know shit.

edit* OR

A graffiti artist tags a wall with an illegal representation.  A security camera across the alley is pointed at the wall, and is subsequently transmitting said image.  Surely the users of the security system couldn't be targetted. etc etc
gigi
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June 02, 2011, 11:13:13 PM
 #16

@nodemaster: No, I'm not talking about copyright infringement, but of illegal content (ie: which you are not legally allowed to have possession of).

Situation 1: You are a web-hosting firm. One day, somebody notifies you that one of the files that is hosted on your servers is actually an encrypted file which can be decrypted using BestCrypt with the password "nasty" and if you do that you will get access to illegal content. Are you required to check, notify the authorities and delete the file? The mail in which you were informed is equivalent with clicking Report Abuse on Youtube - you are required to investigate to avoid legal problems.

Situation 2: You are hosting an ISO image of some Linux distribution. Like someone said here, using a large enough XOR key you can make that into anything. The relevant question is where exactly is the illegal content - in the ISO file or in the application with the XOR key? If you can prove that the illegal question is in the ISO file, that ISO file is illegal and must be deleted.

The fact that you have to go through a process to access the content (download Bitcoin blocks, run this software using this password) is not relevant. Think about this: everybody would be doing this if you could get away with this. Illegal content stored on secret Internet sites with complicated access protocols (port knocking) and multiple layers of encryption is still illegal.

To the previous post: no, your code is illegal if contains a XOR pattern (or something else) which is actually an encoded representation of illegal information.

EDIT: Don't forget that forensics/cryptography experts can be brought in to determine exactly where the illegal content is. The judge doesn't need to understand cryptography.
reijgjerigerji
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June 03, 2011, 12:01:26 AM
 #17

I have created an algorithm that counts by one and hidden it in the block chain. As 4+4 = 8 and 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8 as well, you can see that my algorithm is merely a compression technique equal to all potential numbers. As child pornography and copyright protected data are merely numbers, if you run Bitcoin you have accessed not only all known child porn ever created up to this date, but you have also accessed child porn that has not yet been created making you a futuristic time traveling pedophile as well as a serious pirate. As you also have compressed child porn that will never be created in this universe, you are a wanted pedophile through out the multiverse!!!

Acg4SdrNktd9h1tw9tA2e7nVap7EiYkQMv
mcdett
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June 03, 2011, 12:25:47 AM
 #18

This is my favorite one:

Given a large enough computation of pi there is any possible data structure (even illegal content).
joan
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June 03, 2011, 12:34:37 AM
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Think about this: everybody would be doing this if you could get away with this. Illegal content stored on secret Internet sites with complicated access protocols (port knocking) and multiple layers of encryption is still illegal.
Plausible deniability. If you really think illegal content stored in the blockchain is an issue for the network, you should check freenet.
There is illegal content on freenet. After all, it is primarily designed to store content, unlike Bitcoin's blockchain.
Like the blockchain though, this content cannot be removed. It's decentralized, redundant, encrypted… Live with it.
Quantumplation
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June 03, 2011, 01:23:34 AM
 #20

I have created an algorithm that counts by one and hidden it in the block chain. As 4+4 = 8 and 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8 as well, you can see that my algorithm is merely a compression technique equal to all potential numbers. As child pornography and copyright protected data are merely numbers, if you run Bitcoin you have accessed not only all known child porn ever created up to this date, but you have also accessed child porn that has not yet been created making you a futuristic time traveling pedophile as well as a serious pirate. As you also have compressed child porn that will never be created in this universe, you are a wanted pedophile through out the multiverse!!!

You're also responsible for plagarism, identity theft, credit card fraud, access to state secrets such as nuclear launch codes, reading your neighbors mail, Conspiracy and treasonous plans for mass murder, expressed intent and detailed plans to produce nuclear devices, etc.

Against my better judgement... 1ADjszXMSRuAUjyy3ShFRy54SyRVrNDgDc
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