"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Top 100 Torrents Are Monitored, Recorded

There are probably a lot of entities collecting info. Lots of intelligence agencies will suck up any piece of data they can get, even if it doesn’t have any immediate practical use. Marketing firms are always eager to have more data to package to sell to clients. Also, the use of magnet links instead of torrents makes it very difficult to figure out what files are being used, so most of the data is useless in the context of law enforcement.

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. So say computer scientists who placed a fake pirate server online – and very quickly found monitoring systems checking out who was taking what from the servers.

The news comes from this week’s SecureComm conference in Padua, Italy, where computer security researcher Tom Chothia and his colleagues at the University of Birmingham, UK, revealed they have discovered “massive monitoring” of BitTorrent download sites, such as the PirateBay, has been taking place for at least three years.

“We only detected monitors in Top 100 torrents; this implies that copyright enforcement agencies are monitoring only the most popular content music and movie on public trackers,”the team says in its presentation paper. “Almost everyone that shares popular films and music illegally will be connected to by a monitor and will have their IP address logged,” says Chothia.

If it is for lawsuits, the standard of evidence may not be enough, says Chothia. “All the monitors connected to file sharers believed to be sharing illegal content. However, they did not actually collect any of the files being shared. So it is questionable whether the observed evidence of file-sharing would stand up in court.”

The study:

One response to “Top 100 Torrents Are Monitored, Recorded

  1. Theophilus September 5, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Using a VPN when downloading is probably a good idea, then.

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