Florida Dorms Lock Out P2P Users

Hope they don't get any ideas from this at any other unis...

"The University of Florida has developed a tool to help extricate the school from the morass of peer-to-peer file trading, and early results show that it's succeeding. Integrated Computer Application for Recognizing User Services, commonly called Icarus, debuted over the summer on the network that links all the residence halls on the UF campus. The open-source program was developed by campus programmers to cut off the file sharing going on among students. Housing officials say the application educates students as it restricts them from peer-to-peer services.

Last spring, the university received about 40 notices of copyright violations per month. At peak file-trading periods, 90 percent of the traffic on the housing network was peer-to-peer. In an average 24-hour period, 3,500 of the 7,500 students in the residence halls would use P2P services like Kazaa.

"We needed something to stem the flow. We were spending too much time tracking people down," said Robert Bird, supervisor of network services for the UF department of housing. "There were too many of them and too few of us." Enter Icarus. "Icarus has detected about 300 people using P2P this fall," Bird said. "That's an over 90 percent drop in people using P2P. That's a dramatic reduction in user behavior."

This summer, Icarus nabbed 769 first-time offenders and 90 second-time violators; only four tested the system for a third time. "When we turned the program on, our bandwidth usage dropped by 85 percent," said Norbert Dunkel, director of housing and residence education for the university. "People simply stopped trying," Bird said. When students first register on the network, they are required to read about peer-to-peer networks and certify that they will not share copyright files. Icarus then scans their computer, detects any worms, viruses or programs that act as a server, such as Kazaa. Students are then given instructions on how to disable offending programs.

If a student is on the network and tries to share files, Icarus automatically sends an e-mail and an immediate pop-up warning and disconnects the student from the network. The first violation disables network access for 30 minutes; the second cuts off access for five days. Third-time offenders are subject to the school's judicial process, and their network access is cut off indefinitely. "

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