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Thread: *B/DL, Furry, etc. Sites vs. ISP's: "Suspicous"? (WARNING: Long Post)

  1. #1

    Exclamation *B/DL, Furry, etc. Sites vs. ISP's: "Suspicous"? (WARNING: Long Post)

    I used to not worry about this, but a story a friend just told me (who has the same ISP as me) now has me paranoid as fuck. I initially was going to post this in the Computers/Games forum, but I don't feel as if it will be seen as well there, and I want answers from many others on this.

    This event happened 2 months ago, a bit before all this SOPA copyright shit was all the heat in the US. My friend, who likes to mod/remix roms of old Genesis and SNES games, received a call from his ISP (the same one I use, BTW). He said that they had logged him "repeatedly downloading copyrighted media from various sites." He stated that the log of sites that they gave him included almost all of the ROM/Emulator sites he frequently downloaded from, and if they were to log him visiting these sites again, they would cut his Internet and report to higher level authority. He said he hasn't been on a ROM site since that incident.

    Now what he was doing could well be considered illegal in most cases, but the legal shit is not what I'm worried about. What's making me worried is that they have proven that they actually do monitor Internet traffic closely.

    I mean, free music sites are easy to catch; just look for "Shared", "Music", "MP3", "Download", "Free", etc. anywhere in the URL. But ROM sites? That's not an everyday thing to come across


    Now as you can imagine, as a DL and a Furry I have every right to be worried. Why, am I doing anything illegal, such as downloading, distributing, or viewing child pornography, or sex-chatting/web-camming with minors? No. Then why should I be worried at all?

    Well first off, I visit Adisc frequently. Is there anything illegal about Adisc? No, but the related phrases associated with the site include "Adult Baby", "Diapers", "Diaper Lover", and other diaper-related terms.

    To the average person, diapers are directly associated with children, and when unfamiliar, rather sketchy sounding phrases like "Diaper Lover" appear in the URL and Google search results of "Adisc.org", they may relate it to pedophilia and view it as a possible link to child porn.

    Second, I browse furry art sites, including Furaffinity, e621, Inkbunny, and others. A good bit of these sites (with the exception of FA, since it was banned there), contain mass amounts of "Cub". For those unfamiliar, "Cub" porn includes drawings of underage characters engaging in sexual situations.

    I do not enjoy or support cub porn (though I'm not against it either), and even if I did, those drawings are still legal in the US as they do not depict actual children, therefore no child is exploited or harmed in the making. Some even say it's protected by the 1st Amendment for being artwork.

    However, while both of these instances are perfectly harmless and legal in the court of law, that does NOT stop them from flagging and possibly making a call to my house for suspicious activity. I even worry about clean babyfur art (involving diapers) even being taken as child pornography.

    But what happens if I do get flagged, and they gain strong suspicions of my Internet activity? Sure, they can accuse me, can access all of my Internet logs, downloads, search every track and sector of my hard drive, maybe find a few diaperfur images and [currently] unfinished diaperfur stories, but no child pornography or actual links to it whatsoever. So everything is fine, right?


    Legally, yes. I won't be going to prison for 20 years. Yay. But what about my family?

    Hear me now: do you think I would want to go through the miserable headache of having to explain to my Mother why she has our ISP calling with questions about accessing "child porn"?

    Do you think I would want to explain why some of the links they mention to her over the phone involve drawn, ~3yo anthropomorphic foxes and wolves in wet/messy diapers?

    Do you think I want to have to give an explanation for the other sites that contain other drawn anthros nude and in sexual situations/activities?

    And how do you think I would feel having to explain why the links are all diaper-related?

    Do you think she'll find any of this shit NORMAL? So what if I don't get arrested and fined, my life is still fucked if the ISP calls regarding this stuff. I'm not even going to go cross into that nightmare of what happens beyond...


    So as of now, I've discontinued the use of Facebook and email while browsing DL/Furry sites to avoid linkage to my real identity. I also don't browse DL/Furry sites as much, and I use SSL when available. I know it sounds like excess paranoia, but I do NOT feel it's worth the risk.


    Can anyone else speak towards this? Has anyone here (preferrably US members) been contacted by your ISP for potential "suspicious" activity based soley on *B/DL related content? Or for the furries: babyfur content?

    Any other thoughts on this?

  2. #2
    Peachy

    Default

    As far as I am concerned, the ISP's job is to provide you access to the internet (i.e. delivering data). Their job is not to judge what is legal and what is not. Or have you ever heard of a car salesman that calls you up half a year after buying a car and tells that the tracking device he installed on it when he sold it noticed you driving by an unusual number of banks and that he's worried you may be a bank robber. Does your grocery store call you up and ask you what you intend to do with the cylinder shaped object you bought in August, the fire crackers you got for NEw Year's and the bottle of pure alcohol from 2 years ago?
    Seems like a strange way to do it.

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand: I doubt ADISC is illegal. The usual rules apply to this site too: The owner has to remove illegal content as soon as he becomes aware of it, and I know that kind of content is removed immediately (and we all can help by using the report button). So therE's nothing to fear. Granted, I can see that no one is thrilled of the idea of having to explain their internet traffic in (what's usually a public) court of law, but if push comes to shove you shouldn't be worried.

    Peachy

  3. #3

    Default

    As far as I'm aware, ISPs certainly do have the ability to log information about the sites you visit. Here in Australia, at least, I've never heard of it being used against you without a court order (either obtained by law enforcement if you are suspected of illegal activity, or by a copyright holder, if you're suspected of downloading copyrighted content). It's possible your ISP has received a complaint from a copyright holder, which has prompted them to contact him.

    If you really are concerned about avoiding this sort of monitoring, there are ways around it, such as using the Tor browser or by using an SSL proxy server (as distinct from a regular proxy server). Either way will slow down your connection, though.

  4. #4

    Default

    Assuming it works the same in the USA as it does in the UK the ISP probably won't be actively monitoring your traffic. They will have the technical ability to do it (it's a common diagnostic method - search for "packet capturing" and maybe "wireshark" if you're interested) but to monitor a large number of users on a regular basis is unfeasible.

    In this case the content owner will probably have been actively searching out ways to illegally download their own content. On many peer-to-peer systems they'll be able to see the IP address of the people downloading their content. They can then report these IP addresses to the relevant ISP. The ISP will then check who had that IP address at the time and probably send you a warning.

    Suffice to say your ISP is almost certainly not going to be running routine keyword searches on your traffic.

  5. #5

    Default

    I remember seeing a news report a couple of years ago about Room 641A and thinking how crazy it sounded (yet completely plausible given the precedence that the Bush administration had set by that point). The thing that stuck out to me at the time, though, was that it was apparently legal and actually was happening, at least for some period of time, at the behest of the government. Forgive me for not citing specifics, but honestly, there's been a lot of beer between then and now .

    Besides that, I know already in the early 2000s, universities were actively monitoring for illegal downloads and whatnot in the wake of Napster and the legal fallout from that.

  6. #6
    Yagnuf

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by cew435 View Post
    As far as I'm aware, ISPs certainly do have the ability to log information about the sites you visit. Here in Australia, at least, I've never heard of it being used against you without a court order (either obtained by law enforcement if you are suspected of illegal activity, or by a copyright holder, if you're suspected of downloading copyrighted content). It's possible your ISP has received a complaint from a copyright holder, which has prompted them to contact him.

    If you really are concerned about avoiding this sort of monitoring, there are ways around it, such as using the Tor browser or by using an SSL proxy server (as distinct from a regular proxy server). Either way will slow down your connection, though.
    What is a Tor browser?

  7. #7
    TheSadWiseMan

    Default

    I don't know about all of you, but I smell a good case for a law suit, "the people VS. ISP". That case would be one for the record books cause monitoring of a said person's life without there knowledge of it can be a violation of a person's privacy and therefore unconstitutional.

  8. #8

    Default

    The ISP "ought" provide a data-pipe and keep their hands off it, only intervening when they receive a court order to do so, being limited to only the artifacts named in Rule 34A (discovery).

    This is in the ISP's best interest as well as the customers': once an ISP demonstrates that they can view, filter, shape, or modify traffic on their network in any fashion, they open themselves up to litigation.

  9. #9

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Yagnuf View Post
    What is a Tor browser?
    Take a look at https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en and https://www.torproject.org/index.html.en (the project home page). Basically, the idea is that instead of your browser making a direct connection to a website, the connection is made through a number of intermediary nodes, and encrypted. A bit like what a proxy server does, but on a much larger scale. Anyone monitoring your connection can only see that you're connecting to one of the tor nodes, not which site you're connecting to.

  10. #10

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by cew435 View Post
    Take a look at https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en and https://www.torproject.org/index.html.en (the project home page). Basically, the idea is that instead of your browser making a direct connection to a website, the connection is made through a number of intermediary nodes, and encrypted. A bit like what a proxy server does, but on a much larger scale. Anyone monitoring your connection can only see that you're connecting to one of the tor nodes, not which site you're connecting to.
    Not a bad idea to use Tor if you wish.



    Quote Originally Posted by cew435 View Post
    As far as I'm aware, ISPs certainly do have the ability to log information about the sites you visit. Here in Australia, at least, I've never heard of it being used against you without a court order (either obtained by law enforcement if you are suspected of illegal activity, or by a copyright holder, if you're suspected of downloading copyrighted content). It's possible your ISP has received a complaint from a copyright holder, which has prompted them to contact him.

    If you really are concerned about avoiding this sort of monitoring, there are ways around it, such as using the Tor browser or by using an SSL proxy server (as distinct from a regular proxy server). Either way will slow down your connection, though.
    This is what is common.

    Let's assume the most likely case

    It is unlikely that your ISP has been monitoring anyone, while it is not impossible, it's also not likely. What has probably happened is a copyright owner has emailed a bunch of ISPs about something being pirated, and has formally requested that the ISP contact people who have downloaded it, or log onto the site that holds that piece of content. So, if your friend logged onto this site and downloaded some material, then he would be called by the ISP to indicate that he has been downloading illegal material. This happened to a friend of mine, a specific item they downloaded was sent to the ISP as being downloaded illegally, they went and watched for people downloading the material and sent them a warning message.

    This is not uncommon, it is illegal to download pirated films, and it is illegal to upload them. The ISP can be asked to contact people who have done these activities.

    The next most likely scenario

    It is, as I said, possible that they are indeed monitoring everything that goes on (Although, I do believe there are laws against this). However, they aren't actively looking at every site people visit. Instead they are probably running visited sites of each user through a program. Firstly, this will look for keywords "Free, Torrent, etc."

    Now you pointed out that an emulator site doesn't contain the words free, etc. in the title so it would be impossible for them to know he was on it unless they were monitoring everyone. Well, that is incorrect, often companies, the government, and ISPs have a list of sites that host illegal material. It's illogical to think otherwise anyways, if your friend knows about the site do you *really* think the government doesn't?

    The government can't do anything about it since it's not in their jurisdiction and the SOPA/PIPA bills have not passed. However, they do know they exist and so does your ISP, and many other companies. What they can do is just monitor if someone goes on this site. If they tend to be using the site a lot, and flooding their bandwidth with illegal downloads, then they may contact that user about downloading illegal material.

    Note: The ISP reserves every right to terminate your connection for any reason, in most cases.

    The unlikely scenario

    If your ISP is actually monitoring everything, then it would end up being a lot of work for them. There are a lot of people that they would be monitoring, and a lot of them go on very weird sites . They aren't even going to be phased by seeing ADISC in the listings, nor will they even focus on or realize what the site is. In addition to that, they are most likely, as stated looking for people downloading illegal materials, they have no interest in looking at the thousands of fetish sites that would be incoming their monitors every single day.

    In short, if they *are* monitoring everyone, they certainly aren't going to care about a site for ABDLs, and in fact, they probably will not even notice it at all.

    If you are still concerned about it, the tor browser would be your best bet at this time.
    Last edited by Lobie; 24-Jan-2012 at 10:35. Reason: Harshness :)

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