July 12, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

Dodging the Silver Bullet - Debunking Audible Magic's P2P "Solution"

The RIAA has been touting technologies offered by Audible Magic as the cure for peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing on university campuses. The company has also been making the rounds of congressional offices in Washington, DC, talking up its technologies as a silver bullet for P2P infringement.

We're all for universities taking steps to educate staff and students about copyright law, as well as to control excessive bandwidth usage. At the same time, it's important that universities are not sold expensive, ineffective solutions simply to appease the public relations needs of the RIAA. EFF Staff Technologist Chris Palmer took a close look at how Audible Magic's "filtering" technology works and argues that it's no silver bullet.

"Session encryption for file transfers based on ephemeral keys represents a cheap, easily implemented countermeasure that would effectively frustrate Audible Magic's filtering technology," writes Palmer. "Based on publicly available information, it does not appear that this vulnerability can be easily remedied. Should Audible Magic's technology be widely adopted, it is likely that P2P file-sharing applications would be revised to implement encryption. Accordingly, network administrators will want to ask Audible Magic tough questions before investing in the company's technology, lest the investment be rendered worthless by the next P2P 'upgrade.'"

Check out Palmer's complete analysis here.

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