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2005-09-17, 02:50
I received an email today at Friday 2005-09-16 @ 19:24 EDT (23:24 GMT) with a return path of FuRiOuS1@HotPOP.com. I was a registered member of the Methlabs Forums (http://www.methlabs.org/forums/) as username "eclectica". Methlabs was the home site of the PeerGuardian program. It is a program that works as a specialized firewall which blocks connections to any IP addresses that are on a list that the program stores. The list contains supposedly nefarious IP addresses, such as those owned by the RIAA and plenty of others as well. Here is what the email said:

Dear eclectica,

The majority of the Methlabs.org administration and development team have been forced out of their website following a series of threats and incidents. The member of the group that had been trusted to handle the finances and servers slowly managed to take over each individual part of the web site's assets, eventually claiming control over the entire group and locking out the majority of staff.

The organisation's founders, Tim Leonard and Ken McKelland, as well as the majority of the organisation's staff and developers (including the main developer of the PeerGuardian2 application, Cory Nelson and the staff members responsible for auditing the PeerGuardian Blocklists) have all been forcibly removed from the servers that were funded from donations given to the organisation by happy users, and from text advertising placed on the websites forum and project pages.

The money, which was to have been used to help fund the development and hosting costs of the group is now unavailable, stolen by the one who was trusted to keep it.

Development of PeerGuardian will resume, and the website will temporarily move to http://peerguardian.sourceforge.net/ until a new domain is registered and a new server found. The intention of the group is to register a non-profit organisation to handle the development of Methlabs applications and to promote open source projects that aid both security, privacy and peer-to-peer technologies, in order to prevent a repeat of this incident.

The team wish all their users the best through this difficult time, but promise that development will continue. Please visit http://peerguardian.sf.net/ for news as we make progress. All other sites, including http://methlabs.org and http://blocklist.org, are under control of the rogue member and should not be trusted for safe updates to our applications or lists.

A new build of PeerGuardian will be released soon to reflect these changes. Until then we ask you to continue using Beta 6a but with caution as the update servers are no longer under our control.

All staff are available in irc.freenode.net, channel #methlabs if you wish to chat.

Thanks, The Methlabs Staff (looking for a new home) -----

Adam Hoier, Cory Nelson, Eric Mayuk, Fox Lowe, James Shanelec, Joseph Farthing, Ken McKelland, Steffen Tuzar, Tim Leonard


braindancer, D3F, fox, FuRiOuS1, JFM, KuKIE, method, phrosty, r00ted

I visited the Methlabs site (http://methlabs.org/projects/) and there are two relevant entries there that I will quote here:

posted Saturday, September 10th, 2005 at 2:02 pm

There are currently some problems with the Methlabs server which we are working on to restore.

Edit: The Forum is still offline, but everything else seem to to be working properly. We are working to restore the forum as soon as possible.

posted on Friday, September 16th, 2005 at 4:10 pm
Methlabs Update

Dear Methlabs and P2P Community,

Recently, we had several former staff members revolt against the entire P2P community as a whole. They tried to sabatoge Methlabs and attempted to wipe the Methlabs server of all its data.

Unfortunately, they gained access to site backups. In doing so, your passwords may have been compromised, although they are MD5 encrypted. We would like to you login to the Methlabs forums (http://methlabs.org/forums/) and change your password. We sincerely apologize for this issue.

As of right now, the Methlabs site is back online, although forum posts from the past month have been lost.

Since all the data was stolen by former staff members, YOU MAY RECIEVE FAKE EMAILS that look like they are from Methlabs. If they do not come from the Methlabs.org domain and from our email servers, DO NOT BELIEVE THEM.

We assure you that Methlabs development will continue, and ALL OFFICIAL PROGRAMS MUST be downloaded directly from Methlabs.org . Assume that all other sites contain spyware or malicious code which may not be directly trusted.

To update everyone on the current situation, there has been some news going around the Internet of a revolt which happened in Methlabs. This is hearsay. The current real news is that PeerGuardian development and Blocklist development is on schedule, and Blocklist should be out of Beta within the next week or so.

Please spread the word that Methlabs.org is ALIVE and DO NOT believe or TRUST any emails that do not come directly from Methlabs.org and our mail servers. These emails are from disgruntled staff members trying to hurt the P2P community as a whole.

We apoligize for the current situation. Please visit http://Methlabs.org for OFFICIAL updates, and help us spread the word!

- The Methlabs Team

2005-09-17, 16:26
There are two factions at play in the former Methlabs. There is the one which controls the site methlabs.org (http://methlabs.org) that is run by cerberius and eremeni. And the deposed members, which the majority of the p2p community has sided with so far with, control the PeerGuardian Sourceforge site (http://peerguardian.sourceforge.net/). They are: braindancer, D3F, fox, FuRiOuS1, JFM, KuKIE, method, phrosty, r00ted. Posted on the Sourceforge site is the same message that I received in the email.

Yesterday night and early this morning the forums were working at methlabs.org, but they are not working now. I saw that they had restored the old Methlabs forum and were running vBulletin 3.5.0 RC3. I could not access the "Forum Leaders" Show Groups (http://www.methlabs.org/forums/showgroups.php) page.

According to the deposed members, they are looking for a new permanent site besides what they have at Sourceforge. They must already have a copy of the forum database as otherwise I would not have received the email yesterday. They said that the domain name was taken from them but they made no mention of theirselves having acquired a copy of the forum database. I thought it was shady on their part to send the email from the hotpop.com account, and my initial impression before going to all the other p2p sites, was that the members of the deposed group were the ones who were the bigger liars. But I do not know who to believe and it may be that both factions are shady liars or the truth is just a shade of grey in this case.

I eventually project to see copies of the forums running on two separate sites. Since they are using vBulletin, that will require two separate licenses on their part. When or if that occurs I intend to report both sites to vBulletin piracy (http://www.vbulletin.com/piracy.php) in order to try to find out who owns what in the confusion.

One thing that I found a little disturbing was this posting (http://www.suprnova.org/?op=showLong&aID=27) over at SuprNova that suggested a good relationship between JFM and SuprNova. In light of the recent news (http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14115) that Sloncek intended to revive the site to be a p2p news site after selling out what was a prior BitTorrent .torrents site, I thought that could indicate that in the future the home of the deposed group might end up on suprnova.org. And that to me would further diminish the credibility of the deposed group, if they end up collaborating with the p2p scammer Sloncek.

There already is a split in the world of p2p firewalls in that there are two programs: ProtoWall (http://www.bluetack.co.uk) and PeerGuardian. In light of the uncertainty of the Methlabs split, most people are saying that they are turning off the automatic database updates from methlabs.org or are going to switch to the ProtoWall program. Because the deposed faction seems to control the PeerGuardian program at Sourceforge, that to me means they control the ultimate development of the program. The domain name methlabs.org has no relevance to the program. They could always register a domain name like peer-guardian.net, which currently is available. So while they are deposed and without a domain name, they already are the victors so long as they can maintain control of the program at Sourceforge.

I personally don't use p2p firewalls for three reasons. One is that they don't block everything malicious and that they do block legitimate sites. Another reason is because I don't like having extra programs running on a computer slowing it down. And finally I don't fear the RIAA and other organizations to the point that I feel the need to block IP addresses related to them.

This type of disruption that occurred at the former Methlabs is not so surprising when you consider the age of the people involved. Most of them were born around 1986 and method is the oldest of them, having been born in 1979. I do not mean this in a bad way though. I just want to point out that the younger people in the filesharing community are prone to disruption because they are going through changes in life and are less stable, settled, and seasoned. But they are an asset when it comes to contributing to the filesharing community, with their enthusiasm, energy, and fresh ideas. Older people in the filesharing community are also an asset because they bring stability, financial resources, and wisdom.

Here are news stories and discussions from other sites on this topic:
p2pnet.net (http://p2pnet.net/story/6275)
Slyck (http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14191)
P2P Consortium (http://www.p2pconsortium.com/index.php?showtopic=5561)
Zeropaid (http://www.zeropaid.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=31884)

2005-09-19, 04:10
Log onto irc.freenode.net and join #peerguardian . They're all there.

2005-09-26, 17:18
The founders of PeerGuardian have purchased a domain name and have renamed their site from what was Methlabs to Phoenix Labs. You can find the site here (http://www.phoenixlabs.org/) and the forums here (http://forums.phoenixlabs.org/).