Sunday, November 14, 2010

University vows to report all P2P users to the police

Valdosta State Univerity in Georgia has recently installed software that network administrators claim can identify students using P2P software. Once detected students will be disciplined by the school and then reported to the police, VSU said.

Here's what TorrentFreak reports:
In July, the US put into effect a new requirement for colleges and universities to stop illicit file-sharing on their networks. This legislation puts defiant schools at risk of losing federal funding if they don’t do enough to stop illicit file-sharers on their campus.
Schools across the country responded appropriately to the new rules and some have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to install anti-file-sharing systems on their network. This week, Valdosta State University (VSU) upgraded theirs. According to the university it can now identify students who use P2P software, and those who are caught will be reported to the police.

“Once individuals are identified, VSU hands responsibility over to police. Users can face felony punishments, including a possible prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000 per offense,” reports the student newspaper.
The school seems to believe this is educational. Joe Newton, director of Information Technology, said:
“As an institution of higher learning, we will take an educational approach to the problem and use approved campus procedures to reach appropriate resolutions.”
Naturally the response by students was not favorable. Additionally, the software has no way of knowing when someone is using P2P for a legitimate purpose (such as receiving World of Warcraft patches, or downloading a Linux distro).

Although, it will obviously catch many real violations, it will also catch faux ones as well. A suggestion that's been made is for everyone to start downloading Linux distros via P2P, so the police are inundated with false reports.

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