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An Initial Look at the Impact of New Zealand's "Skynet" Law

On September 01 2011, the New Zealand Government's Copyright Amendment Act (more colloquially known as the "Skynet law") came into effect. Briefly, the Act allows for harsh penalties for Internet users who download copyrighted content illegally, culminating in the cancellation of their Internet account. This law unsurprisingly received a lot of media attention in New Zealand and there were conflicting accounts as to whether the law was having any effect on traffic levels.

In an attempt to clarify the matter, we used a passive monitor that we have located inside the core network of a New Zealand ISP to capture traces of several days worth of traffic in early September. The traces were analysed using libprotoident to determine the mix of application protocols being used by ISP customers in September. This analysis was repeated on another trace set captured from the same ISP in January 2011 to see if there had been any notable changes which may be due to the new law.

The results are presented on the pages linked below.

NOTE: To protect the anonymity of the ISP, the traffic and flow counts have been multipled by a fixed constant to disguise their actual values. Any relative differences are preserved (e.g. if the unmodified traffic value is halved, then it will still be halved in the modified results), but the absolute difference will obviously no longer be correct. Bear this in mind when interpreting the graphs.