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Author Topic: Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (potential problem?)  (Read 970 times)
hazek
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May 11, 2011, 04:59:41 PM
 #1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Assistance_for_Law_Enforcement_Act

Can the ISPs forced by the state through this law monitor or even block my IP for Bitcoin traffic?

p.s.: I did a search and couldn't find anyone asking this question yet.

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

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hazek
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May 11, 2011, 09:37:03 PM
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The reason I ask is because I had a conversation with someone on another forum and he said this:

Quote
It's easy to block bittorrent traffic. I owned and ran a small ISP for years. I managed hundreds of routers. We could identify bittorrent traffic and give it more or less priority. We could even block it. In fact we were required by the FBI to have the ability to sniff and retain ANY traffic from any customer on our network at a moments notice. Every ISP in the USA must comply with CALEA laws: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communi...nforcement_Act

Please don't misunderstand me on this one. I really like bitcoins as a currency. I think you came up with a good solution. You need to be able to trade bitcoins in person because if a transaction goes through a router it can be identified and blocked. And no, Tor does not help here. Tor makes you anonymous but the traffic can still be blocked. I'm not sure how the in-person thing will work since every transaction is supposed to be propagated out to the whole network. This will need to be resolved because if bitcoin continues to grow like this it will compete against the banking cartel and their fiat. The government hates competition and they will outlaw it. We'll see how the bitcoin development community handles this. They've been pretty damn clever so far.

And this:

Quote
I don't expect you to take my word for it. I'm glad you don't.

In my business we used Mikrotik routers mostly. A very simple filter rule could be applied to drop all bitTorrent traffic. See this forum for a short discussion on it: http://forum.mikrotik.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=19613

I can delve into more technical details, as deeply as you want on this.

The reason bitTorrent traffic is not blocked everywhere is because it is not illegal. In fact, because of net neutrality laws an ISP can face legal challenges for blocking or slowing bitTorrent traffic (or any other traffic). I know Comcast has been challenged on this in the past and lost (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10004508-38.html). Yes, bitTorrent is used for illegal purposes but the copyright lawyers have chosen to go after individuals or ISP's rather than try to change net neutrality laws. I can't tell you how many "Cease and Desist Infringement of Copyrights" notices I received as an ISP. The last one I got was from the "Zappa Family Trust". Some guy on my network was illegally downloading a song by Frank Zappa called "Titties & Beer". That's the kind of ridiculous crap you have to deal with as an ISP. Don't get me started. Anyway, in that particular case if I didn't remedy the situation the lawyers would target my upstream provider who would then cut me off. My whole business could be wiped out by one asshole downloading "Titties and Beer".

I don't think Bitcoin and bitTorrent will be treated the same by the FCC. Bitcoin is a challenge to the government's power and they will hammer it if they feel threatened. Can Bitcoin survive in a black market scenario? I think so but it will be an arms race. Bitcoin will need to constantly modify their network traffic to get around the traffic filters. This might be tolerable by the market if the rest of the world has gone to shit.



Can anyone respond to his concern?

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

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BitterTea
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May 11, 2011, 09:41:48 PM
 #3

Hmm... on that forum thread he linked...

Quote from: guru
Quote from: noob
I tried this rule also but it not working properly.

My question: Is bit torrent traffic same as utorrent traffic?

thanks
uTorrent is a client for the bittorrent protocol.

The short story is that you can't block p2p protocols by trying to detect them (blacklist). The best you can do is classify all traffic you want to permit (whitelist) and then block everything else.

edit... From another thread (Googled "torrent site:forum.mikrotik.com")

Quote
Torrents are some of the hardest programs to detect, especially on a layer3 device. You can guess based off of the p2p firewall matcher provided by MikroTik, but that is unreliable as the definitions are out of date. It is also very easy for someone to encrypt their p2p traffic, or even send it over port 80 to masquerade what they are really doing. To reliably detect a torrent, you need something that operates and inspects the packets at layer7, very expensive hardware, or very expensive on the CPU time for a router.

What it all comes down to is guess work.
1.) Is the end user maxing out their upload on a regular basis for extended periods of time? If so this could be an indication of a torrent user.
2.) Is the end user opening up several TCP and UDP sessions to several remote IPs, more than normal. This can be an indication of a torrent user, or a virus.

Those are some of the more common give a ways, but by no means are it. It is also easy for an end user to set limits on their client so they come in at under those values, so there is no definite answer to your question. Also torrents can be, and are often used for legitimate reasons. You can try to actively identify and do stuff about people that torrent, but chances are you are going to spend more time and money dealing with it than it is worth.

If you want to find a way to deal with it, probably the best approach is to identify traffic that you "like" and assume everything else is stuff you don't. Then set up queues and priorities for those kinds of traffic.

How can we make Bitcoin network traffic as difficult to detect as BitTorrent traffic?
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May 11, 2011, 09:49:57 PM
 #4

Not a problem at all. Bitcoin uses a lot less data than bittorrent and so is much easier to conceal. But even bittorrent can't be blocked. You can always just use an encrypted VPN to reach the real internet.
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