It seems that Paul Mutton (jibble.org, PieSpy bot, O’Reilly’s “IRC Hacks”) and I share a mutual opinion on how negative IRC is constantly portrayed in the regular press.
“… It always gets me riled when journalists and news reporters persistently portray IRC as some kind of hacker’s playground, where illegal software and and credit card numbers are used as a virtual currency. I set myself the mission of disproving this portrayal”, Paul starts in this article on his website.
Paul explains how IRC is being used in academic usages (I personally manage two IRC channels which is in use by spaceweather scientists and enthusiasts) and the open source community for example.
Paul describes how he has monitored the 60 largest channels on a group of networks. By nature these large channels are often involved into illegal sharing of files. “Within a few seconds, my IRC client was bombarded by a stream of messages advertising illegal unlicensed software, mp3s and the latest movies – items known collectively by illegal file sharers as “warez”", Paul described his join one of these channels.
After doing this research Paul has to agree has the results of his research showed that the channels he visited mainly exist because of illegal activities.
“IRC is a big, dangerous city full of crime. I just happen to live with a bunch of people in one of the nice streets in the suburbs”, Paul ends.
Paul’s article is also being discussed on SlashDot. Thanks to Mite and Ed for pointing me out this article!