Virgin Testing Fileshare Monitors

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Virgin Media has announced that it’s currently rolling out some new tech to take a peek at the amount of filesharing that’s happening across its service.

TheRegister is reporting on the trial of the new deep packet monitoring setup, called CView. Perhaps the single most striking thing about this announcement is that it’s being rolled out to such a high proportion of Virgin’s customers, with somewhere in the region of 40% of users set to be monitored when CView is implemented. Moreover, those customers who are being monitored aren’t going to be informed of the fact…

Indeed, shady as it might sound, Virgin Media contends that to inform users that their traffic was to be among the 40% being monitored for filesharing activity wouldn’t be in the best interests of its trial, instead saying,

“It would be counter-productive because it doesn’t affect customers directly.”

Certainly that’s an interesting stance to take, but we’d be curious to see just how different the figures are between an install base that was informed it was being monitored and one that was allowed to proceed as normal without being told.

For now, we’re both interested and a little scared to see just what kind of results Virgin manages to pull from this test. Given that the whole point is apparently to allow Virgin to have a look not only at how much filesharing traffic it’s seeing, but also to see just what is being shared and presumably by whom. It’ll certainly lead to some copyright holders being happy campers, if nothing else.

If you’d like to read more, TheRegister’s write-up on it is genuinely excellent, pointing out such gems as the fact that Virgin hasn’t actually outlined and end-date for its “trial.” Worrying amount of 1984 going on there 😉

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