For Drupal 7 when going to: admin/config/media/file-system you can set up both a Public and Private File System Path.
Is it possible for files that are within the "Public File System Path" that when they are directly accessed via url that a hook could intercept that file request and decide based on the users role whether to allow or send them to a goto like
(drupal_goto('user', array('query' => array('destination' => $pre_alias)));)
I know that the
hook_file_download can intercept file requests for private files but if possible I don't want to have to spend this extra time setting up a private area.