I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day Weekend. My big fun will occur this weekend at an undisclosed location. 😉 I would love to share this, but OPSEC dictates otherwise. I will still be able to post things, but time will be short. My next torpedo (or SLCM) will be fired while I’m away at this location – so the fight goes on.
A 30 May 12, article on ArsTechnica WiFi states that for 2011, approx. 40% of Internet traffic was WiFi. Not a big shock to most people. This number is estimated to grow to approx. 51% by 2016.
How this relates to copyright trolls is in terms of the numbers of people who run some sort of WiFi Internet access point, such as a WiFi Firewall/Router. Love it or hate it for security reasons/risks, the convenience of WiFi is great. With the growing number of network enabled devices out there, WiFi is almost a “must.”
The issue of running a WiFi Internet access point “open” or password protecting it really depends on your situation and needs. The claim of negligence in running it “open” by some trolls is baseless. Negligence Article. Now this doesn’t mean the trolls can’t obtain your personal information and threaten you with financial ruin – Lutz.
I do think it is great to share Internet access with people needing it, but I also don’t want people freeloading off of me. I was over at a friend’s house recently and it was really nice to be able to jump on his WiFi via my smart phone without having to plug in a password. I talked with one individual yesterday who stated that because he lives on a 6 acre piece of property, he runs his WiFi Internet access point open for convenience. Now if you live in a more congested area, such as a city apartment or condo, running your WiFi Internet access point open may be undesirable from purely a loss of bandwidth issue. Nothing worse than a continuously buffering Netflix movie.
I don’t have the numbers for all the Does defendants whose alleged infringement activity occurred in 2011, but it is pretty substantial. Taking some numbers from the wonderful Prenda Document (Declaration of Charles Piehl, 24 Feb 12). Piehl1_03336(CA) Piehl2_03336(CA) These numbers are not completely accurate (in true Prenda fashion), but I believe they are close enough. For the cases filed in 2011 by Prenda, there are a little over 7000 Doe defendants. By using the 40% WiFi Internet traffic number from the article, we can estimate that approx. 2800 of these Doe defendants were using WiFi at their residence. (I personally believe the number of people running WiFi in the U.S. is larger than 40%)
Now some of these Does were running it open, but a good portion had some sort of security enabled (WEP/WPA/WPA2/MAC address filtering). Security is not always perfect as the Lightspeed Password/Hacking case can attest to.
Due to most people not being overly computer/network security savvy, passwords are often easy to guess or brute-force. The manufactures of these devices even decided to help the average Joe and came up with – WiFi Protected Set-Up (WPS). The good intentions and bad follow through produced a glaring security vulnerability to WPS enabled devices – see US Cert WPS Vulnerability Note VU#723755. My posting on this – WPS Vulnerability As of this posting there is no fix to the WPS vulnerability, short of disabling it on the WiFi Internet access point.
Now I certainly can’t claim that all the people who have WiFi Internet access points didn’t download/share copyright protected content. But I can say with 100% certainty that some of the Doe defendants didn’t do it – someone other than the ISP subscriber used their Internet access. To what extent? I can’t be certain myself. I have seen recent court filings where one Troll stated approx. 30% (correct me if I’m off here) of the ISP subscribers are not the actual infringer. This is what makes it really hard for the Trolls to come after a defendant without having something more than a public IP address. To go after someone with only the public IP address, they are taking a serious risk of getting counter-sued and then having to expose their crappy technical monitoring set-up.
So how do they get that additional information? From YOU of course. That is why it is so critical that you don’t talk to the Trolls or at least limit what you say to them – Richard Pryor Response. Prenda has had limited luck in getting some courts to issue deposition subpoena for unnamed/unserved Doe defendants. For this type of deposition, the Troll tells the court the Doe defendant will not talk to them and is evasive. The Troll tells the court they need this deposition to determine who might have used the Internet to download/share Plaintiff’s copyright protected work. What the courts should do in this situation is tell Prenda to name/serve the defendant and move forward with discovery.
If you ever get a deposition subpoena, hire an attorney to represent you. It shows the troll you are serious and not an easy push-over. The attorney can also prepare you for the deposition and the Troll tricks designed to elicit possibly incriminating responses. Don’t assume you can talk you way out of this situation alone. The Trolls don’t really care and they are more experience in doing this.
Now the Trolls really don’t like the “open” wireless claim or that “someone else abused my Internet connection.” The reason they don’t like it, is because it is hard to disprove the claim. If “negligence” was a valid claim/count, the trolls would be happy as a pig in #$@!. As it is not, they have their work cut out for them.