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PeerGuardian Interview
December 10, 2003
Thomas Mennecke
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PeerGuardian has become one of the more essential tools of the file-sharing trade. Considering the ferocity of the RIAA's campaign against the P2P world, the community has been quick to counter this strike. PeerGuardian has stepped up to the challenge by providing software that blocks known IP addresses, typically from the RIAA and its minions, from scanning your shared directory. We would like to thank PeerGuardian for their time and efforts, and Bullet for conducting and contributing this interview to Slyck.com.

Bullet: Speak briefly about the origins of Peerguardian.net and it's current state.

RIPper24: PeerGuardian.net was born from the need [to] have a unique portal to solve PeerGuardian application problems.

"Eremini" originally conceived the idea and founded the site. The forums at Methlabs, while very useful, were not providing all the answers that we were looking for, so these forums were born. However Peerguardian.net has become more than just a support tool for the PeerGuardian application. We have grown in size and improved the content, we have created Firewall support forums, International support forums, and we have also created a news team which cover most of the P2P related news around the globe.

One of our biggest assets is the PGIPDB (PeerGuardian IP Database) where we have concentrated almost the 80 % of the resources with the invaluable help of Seraphiel who works on the maintenance of the Database, also "DingDongDing" aka "ddd", and "Bluetack", who is the Owner of the site and Administrator.

"Bluetack" has created the Block List Manager, which now interacts with the PGIPDB his help, commitment effort and patience is what really has us only on this day. His dedication is invaluable. The continuous effort to improve our site is what we all have to look to for an example.

Bullet: Is there a limit to the number of IP ranges that can be blocked?

Bluetack: The amount of IP ranges that are specifically anti-P2P is finite, so the scope of PeerGuardian as an anti-P2P blocklist is also finite. However, there are plans to generate other lists that cover other types of blocklist such as Government & Military, Hacker, Spammer, Spyware and so on.

SeraphielX: No limit so far, as I'm blocking well over 7800 IP address for testing and everything is still working fine.

Until IPv6 becomes the standard then there are only so many IP addresses that you can have, it's just the matter now of finding out what is where and how to address them.

RIPper24: I think there is no limit on the IP ranges that we have covered how ever should not be more than the 25% of the net ( I hope.)

Bullet: PeerGuardian.net is not only forum support, but is also a portal of Internet security. Tell us about it's features.

Bluetack: The forums are predominantly support based, for people wanting to know about PeerGuardian, IP blocking using firewalls and discussing the PGIPDB. We have International forums for those that would prefer to speak in their native tongue, and regular news. Beyond that, there are members only tools for converting the PGIPDB blocklist to different formats and getting network information about Internet addresses. We also have an IRC server where users can chat with us for more interactive assistance.

JFM: Well from my point if view as News Editor I am interested in the news that we provide in the portal. Since PeerGuardian is now becoming widely used, with as many as 1 million downloads, and more than 7000 members on the forum, I thought that it was time to start publishing the news that is important to our community. While this is a new venture, we aim to provide information on our (very specialized) area of interest. We do not aim to compete with other news providers, but simply to place an unbiased view of the conflicts that affect the digital world today. We are also interested in covering issues in places outside the United States, an area often ignored by major news companies (many of which still do not address the issues of privacy in any real depth).

The other areas of our portal are far more developed, such as our guides and FAQ. We also now have direct database access, and we keep track of the issues users face from the various anti-P2P organizations, and use some of this to judge the IP ranges that we need to block. It is a challenge to work like this: we are beginning to realize the scale of what we are up against. However, I believe that we can achieve our aims, the way the Internet works, means that we can eventually check every single IP address through the whois databases, and the rest is just detective work on behalf of our users.

PeerGuardian.net has become like a centre for the PeerGuardian project, as well as many other aspects of privacy and security, and we must not forget our responsibility to our members. We're more than just a little underground forum now.

RIPper24: Well thanks to the effort of people as Seraphielx, Dingdongding, Bluetack and the_dial_up_boy (Bullet) we have formed a security forum where we discuss applications that have as they primary goal to get information about companies so we can improve our security measures.

Bullet: Why do they (the IP range enemies) monitor us; what are their priorities?

SeraphielX: Its all about money. The economy is down and they want cash, plain and simple. The companies are not doing that well in their business because people are not spending as much money on music and movies.

RIPper24: Well it think they mostly are searching for warez people which I think is good, however the methods are not the right ones, big corporations can't violate our rights to protect their profit margins.

Bullet: I feel today that the web is sort of like where an average pc user is swimming in a sea full of sharks. Is there something that you would say to the average user?

Bluetack: If you don't have a firewall, get one. Internet privacy is a valuable commodity which we should all aim to preserve.

SeraphielX: If your blocking their IP address then you can at the least keep a few of your arms, because if you are blocking an IP address that computer cannot connect to your computer.

RIPper24: Keep informed. Visit our site or any other related place, support the places that dedicate his effort to give you security and information, read every day about what is out at the market and share the info with others become a part of the solution and no a part of the sued ones

JFM: Yes, do not give up. The more people stand up against law changes and breaches of privacy, the more likely we are to be saved. Remember that the issue is about money, if the scanning is not cost effective, then RIAA etc will not take part. People are beginning to realize that in a world of free speech that corporations do not control the rights to the Internet. What would happen if books were publicly burnt for being incorrectly distributed? I think people would start noticing the situation then.

Bullet: The exclusive Peerguardian.net initiative is to defend the P2P community. However, are you comfortable leading this attack against powerful copyright holders?

Bluetack: PeerGuardian and its community are working on passive techniques to go up against the anti-P2P organizations. The initiative does not actively attack anti-P2P organizations, and although others are doing this, it is not what we are about. In the end, however, we are two sides of the same coin, we just have different approaches.

Bullet: If the P2P developers agree to some law which will legalize their networks, would there still be a reason for an user to continue to use PeerGuardian?

Bluetack: Yes. Regardless of whether P2P becomes truly anonymous for the masses, PeerGuardian and IP blocking will still play a role in Internet security. Increasingly, users have their PCs on and connected to the Internet permanently, and it will continue to be wise to block any traffic that has no business connecting to your pc.

SeraphielX: Yes, even if P2P was totally legal do you want companies connecting to your machine? There would be no reason for that.

RIPper24: Well, we are evolving as most of the people over the network, we have [gained] experience and get a lot of feedback from our members so we will adapt our tools to the times to come. Why keep using PeerGuardian? Well, I think we have a good application and is getting better every day we offer security to our members and you will never need to stop that you need to be safe all the time. Besides we are free .

Bullet: How do see the file-sharing/digital distribution situation in the future? Is this a time of great transition?

RIPper24: Well, humans evolve and are in that continuous transition, so I think we will see some changes in the future in the way all the information is passed or shared between users. I hope to see a really low CD cost, the capacity to decide which song I want to get without paying 15 or 17 $ for the only good song from a cd, and the capacity to do what ever I want with my song once I have purchased it .

Bluetack: There are many new developments, all working towards a safer environment for P2P file sharing. I think that the future looks exciting, as we have seen that the P2P communities will not just roll over in the face of threats from large corporates, and I hope to see more developments which will allow the P2P world to flourish.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Software

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