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Author Topic: What if someone encodes kiddie porn into the chain?  (Read 1762 times)
FlyingMoose
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November 13, 2010, 01:26:34 AM
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I saw a post saying that for 50BTC you could encode something like 300K into the chain (encoded in the to address, the coin would be lost since those addresses don't actually exist).  Then just about everyone running the software would be felons.

I was thinking that this is a possible way the government could "take out" Bitcoin.
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ByteCoin
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November 13, 2010, 02:03:15 AM
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I saw a post saying that for 50BTC you could encode something like 300K into the chain (encoded in the to address, the coin would be lost since those addresses don't actually exist). 

I mentioned that a while ago but I realize now that there are more effective ways of storing data in the block chain without incurring any costs. I think you can assume that at the moment an interested party can store something approaching 50k of arbitrary data per block for free. If you generate the block hash yourself, I think it's possible you could store 500k.

The kiddie porn problem is real. I had phrased it in terms of Lady Gaga videos previously.

As far as I can see, nothing effective can be done about it. It's a byproduct of the design.

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November 13, 2010, 02:05:39 AM
 #3

I saw a post saying that for 50BTC you could encode something like 300K into the chain (encoded in the to address, the coin would be lost since those addresses don't actually exist).  Then just about everyone running the software would be felons.

I was thinking that this is a possible way the government could "take out" Bitcoin.

I don't think so much information can be encoded into just ONE address, is there a way of putting multiple addresses into the generated block ?

Anyway, only the person who put the porn in the chain can be treated as responsible, which makes rest of us innocent.
I think just any court would see this as obvious. The software is not even designed to send files between participants... This is a clear case to me.

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November 13, 2010, 02:20:33 AM
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I don't think so much information can be encoded into just ONE address, is there a way of putting multiple addresses into the generated block ?
If you want to know how to do it with the least effort, just make a number of normal, low value transaction to another address you control and put chunks of the data into the scriptPubKey followed by an OP_DROP.


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November 13, 2010, 03:01:12 AM
 #5

Um, no image will show up. You would have to apply an interpretation to the data, right? So who cares? It's weird that there are arrangements of data on the internet that people will hurt you for having, but they don't hurt everyone who uses the internet because of it.

1010101010100101010101001010101010101010100001010010011111001010001000011110000 0110101001001001010001010101000010100100111110010100101010100001010010011111001 0100101010010101010100010101010000101001011110010100101010010101010101001111100 1010001000011110000011010100100100101001010101010000101001011100101001010101000

That's the data for a naked stick child in my proprietary image viewer, good luck in jail suckers.

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November 13, 2010, 03:05:37 AM
 #6

With enough time and effort, you can turn any piece of data into any other piece or date... if you already know what result you want to get and you have a source, you need nothing else.

So, unless I'm mistaken and motive can be assumed from medium (like all files in bittorrent at some stage where considered piracy) I think we're safe. As Shadow already mentioned, it's hard to prove the bitcoin network is there for the purpose of trading lady gaga movies, or any other type of imoral material Smiley
RHorning
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November 13, 2010, 04:43:14 AM
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The problem I see here is that for an individual block, it would have to be interpreted as a legitimate transaction or it would be tossed out by the network.  This would restrict potentially the range of packets that could be included.

This said, I suppose you could put any sort of "payload" into Bitcoin work units by tying it into a micro transaction.  This is also one of the reasons why there is a fee for transactions less than 0.01 BTC at the moment, to keep this kind of thing to a minimum.

If you want to see what could be done, use your favorite search engine for "Twitter file system".   This is a way to store huge files on a series of tweets that are essentially meaningless garbage for anybody following them, but still can be reorganized and consolidated to become data files.

As for legal implications, Bitcoins and those running the network without actually decoding the packets would only be considered "common carriers" and I don't see how you could be accused of having kiddie porn on your computer if it was encoded on your computer as work units.  Besides, if you are into distributing kiddie porn, there are much, much easier ways to get that accomplished including Freenet and the previously mentioned Twitter File System.  There is also steganography, such as loading innocent looking images on Wikimedia Commons that cointains codes for some other files including stuff that may be illegal.

Seriously, of the things to worry about with Bitcoins, this is pretty far down the list.  I would be more worried about people paying for kiddie porn with Bitcoins as a much, much larger issue and something that may in fact cause some legal issues even for uninvolved people merely running a Bitcoins client.

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November 13, 2010, 03:38:23 PM
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Hmm, I think, you, guys, misunderstood the issue slightly.

There is no problem in illegality of data stored on your computer.

There is problem with the mass public opinion, bad PR, which can be associated with bitcoin
intentionally to have a pretty plausible reason to impose a law forbidding the whole bitcoin.

Then there would be a problem with illegality of bitcoins on your computer.

I think, it could be made possible to make legally equal the bitcoin's data and some kind of 'prohibited' information,
and then operate based on that. For example, a court may declare, that current block chain's content is equal to kid porn on the level of 'kidporness'.
That will be enough to seize your computer and perhaps you too.
Perhaps, they will release you, perhaps they will give you your box back, but you will be forced to sign some paper, making you liable for bitcoin operation later.
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November 13, 2010, 04:34:52 PM
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Hmm, I think, you, guys, misunderstood the issue slightly.

There is no problem in illegality of data stored on your computer.

Having child pornography on your computer is by itself a reason to have you arrested with a felony, get labeled a child sex offender with a legal requirement to constantly register as such (a highly controversial issue in itself), and face a significant loss of both liberty and property if you are found with the content on your computer.  It is a huge issue and something to be concerned about as you are essentially found guilty until you prove yourself innocent with a great deal of effort and money when the issue comes up.

Yes, I know that is not how the judicial system is advertised to work, but it is current reality.  Those pushing against child exploitation in various aspects are now found in high public office, and being "strong against child predators" is an easy way for a democratically elected official to get into office.  How do you run against that kind of platform?  "I want to protect the rights of mislabeled child sex offenders" isn't a good sound bite and makes you look soft on crime, where the easy thing is to let a few people go to jail who might be innocent of the charges in exchange for getting most of the "bad people" off the streets (however that is labeled).  Most juries also don't buy "I didn't know that stuff was on my hard drive".

As I said, guilty until proven innocent.

For a chilling example of how the judicial system can really screw you over on this issue, I'd suggest you look at this video:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/the-confessions/?utm_campaign=viewpage&utm_medium=grid&utm_source=grid

Raising the issue is certainly useful, and the concerned expressed that somehow data could be put onto your computer inadvertently is something of grave concern if you are worried about such things.  There have also been more than a few people dragged into court for other peer to peer software applications, which is one of the reasons why you see even formal legislation outlawing even the raw practice of writing peer to peer software in the first place, of course forgetting that what these legislators are essentially doing is outlawing the internet as a whole.

There are clueless legislators out there.  Raising issues like this is therefore something that I think is legitimate.  Also, bad PR can also result in criminalization of something like Bitcoins, which is something I think everybody here would love to avoid.  The use of pornography as a vector to shut down Bitcoins seems like something to generally avoid if possible.

My hope is that Bitcoins become widespread enough by the time some of these other ways to exploit the software are tried and noticed by law enforcement that the prosecutors will go after the people who decide to put this data onto the network rather than those who are running the network.  That may not be easy to determine, but is to me a much better way to run such an investigation.  Unfortunately the easy solution would be to simply shut down Bitcoins as a whole without even seeing other applications.

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ShadowOfHarbringer
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November 13, 2010, 05:07:46 PM
 #10

Having child pornography on your computer is by itself a reason to have you arrested with a felony, get labeled a child sex offender with a legal

Solution:
Use Truecrypt.

Using bitcoin without encrypting the wallet is at best irresponsible anyway. Money should be kept in safe => bitcoins should be kept on an encrypted hard drive.

FlyingMoose
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November 13, 2010, 05:11:53 PM
 #11

Perhaps it should be a priority to allow a "pruned" chain that just contains Merkle Tree hashes?
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