Feeds

Mobile industry excludes self from filesharing regulation

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

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms firm here
Is goTenna tech a goer? Time to grill CEO, CTO
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.