Using torrents? You are being watched!

The New Scientist reported that anyone “who has downloaded pirated music, video or ebooks using a BitTorrent client has probably had their IP address logged by copyright-enforcement authorities within 3 hours of doing so”.

According to the New Scientist, academics have “discovered ‘massive monitoring’ of BitTorrent download sites, such as the PirateBay, has been taking place for at least three years”.

In the paper “The Unbearable Lightness of Monitoring: Direct Monitoring in BitTorrent”, Tom Chothia and other researchers from the School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK, shows evidence that direct monitoring of torrent websites and users are now occurring.

“We determined that copyright enforcement agencies use indirect monitoring as well as direct monitoring to determine users’ activity,” the paper states.

“From our experiments, we derived a number of interesting properties of monitoring, as it is currently performed: e.g., that monitoring is prevalent for popular content (i.e., the most popular torrents on The Pirate Bay) but absent for less popular content, and that peers sharing popular content are likely to be monitored within three hours of joining a swarm.”

“We found that publicly-available blocklists, used by privacy-conscious BitTorrent users to prevent contact with monitors, contain large incidences of false positives and false negatives.”

It is currently not clear what law enforcements agencies are planning to do with the slew of IP addresses which have been logged.

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Using torrents? You are being watched!