Feeds

Mobile industry excludes self from filesharing regulation

We'd love to help, but just can't

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Mobile operators have kicked off the PR war against identifying those sharing files by revealing themselves as the ideal conduit for any kind of online crime.

The details come from the Mobile Broadband Group, which counts all the UK's operators as members and told ZD Net that mobile operators don't allocate IP addresses to individual users and therefore will have to be exempted from any legalisation requiring identifying copyright infringing users.

We got in touch with Hamish MacLeod, spokesman for the Mobile Broadband Group, who repeated the claim that operators "are not allocating one IP address per customer" and therefore "can't track back" without a database costing £35m to build.

The good Mr MacLaod is referring to the way that mobile operators provide internet access through a Network Address Translator (NAT). That means every Vodafone customer appears to the internet to be sharing a single* IP address, say 212.183.140.20, but internal to the network they have separate addresses, such as 10.47.192.31, and the NAT routes incoming data to the internal address that requested it.

The same mechanism is used by companies, originally to preserve IP addresses, but these days mainly as a security mechanism as the NAT will only route data that was requested from an internal user, blocking attacks from the internet automatically.

Given that network operators already store the location of every handset on the network and the details of every call and text - not to mention counting every byte of data carried - it might seem a small thing to record IP address allocations. But the operators we contacted admitted they keep no such records.

Not that it would cost £35m to add the capability - that figure was for the whole broadband industry, and includes notifying copyright infringers and even the reduced demand for broadband given the increased cost.

As it stands, though, a mobile connection would seem the ideal way to conduct illicit business online, be it illegal file sharing or hacking major governments - no one's watching you when you're inside the operator's space. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
BEST EVER broadband? Oh no you DIDN'T, Sky – ad watchdog
Rival BT moaned that claim was misleading
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.