In Australia and Germany there are cases where a person has been convicted for aiding the criminal/copyright infringment by acting as a relay of encrypted information that the person could not know anything about.
Plus Australian copyright law is clear on a person passing infringing copies on is (criminally) liable
[EDIT: I unfortunately made a mistake on the TOR link. I had followed an Australian news article which gave that techdirt link and claimed it was an Australian case. And explained it as happening in Sydney. Well shame on me for only skim reading the actual case. There is still recent legal precedent in Australia for the copyright trolls ]
One was acting as a TOR exit node and convicted for aiding the criminal with data transfer (data was encrypted and the person with the exit node knew nothing of the data.
The other was another friend to friend encrypted file storing system (a bit like SAFE on the surface) and the person friended a media private investigator. He was convicted because he (relayed) sent the file to the PI. It did not matter that it was encrypted or that he was only a relay passing on the file.
SAFE operation that is of concern
The client requests a file and the chunks are retrieved from the various vaults. Each chunk is passed through many nodes till they reach the client.
The client “sees” a number of relay nodes which are the final nodes for the chunks in the file. @dirvine indicated that it will be 3 or more when live.
eg send chunk from vault to client and client is run by investigator.
vault1 -> node 2222 -> node 3333 -> … -> node 1118 -> relay node (7555) -> client
vault2 -> node 1234 -> node 9876 -> … -> node 1111 -> relay node (3444) -> client.
Now if the chunk was part of a public infringing file, then the investigator knows the ip of the relay node (3444), relay node (7555) etc through packet sniffing.
The client machine monitors the packets and obtain the IP addresses of the relay nodes that finally passed the chunks to the client. .
If an infringing copy of a movie is uploaded as public data AND If the Movie Company’s Private Investigator decides to “go after” suppliers of the film in question. What is to stop him from sniffing the IP addresses of the relay nodes that finally passed on the chunks to the client. Then start proceedings using those IP addresses to get details of the people running those nodes.
As said above it has already been tried in court that even passing on (part of) encrypted files without knowing anything about them is enough for a conviction in favour of the movie company.
Is there some way to protect against that?
Supply fake return addresses in the header of the packets for the chunks?
Some form of peerGuardian, PeerBlock?
Australian and German users have to use VPNs?