Forgot your password?
Piracy Your Rights Online

Most Torrent Downloaders Are Monitored, Study Finds 309

Posted by timothy
from the you-ah-being-vatched dept.
derekmead writes "A new study from Birmingham University in the U.K. found that people will likely be monitored within hours of downloading popular torrents by at least one of ten or more major monitoring firms. The team, led by security researcher Tom Chothia, ran software that acted like a BitTorrent client for three years and recorded all of the connections made to it. At SecureComm conference in Padua, Italy this week, the team announced that they found huge monitoring operations tracking downloaders that have been up and running for at least the entirety of their research. According to the team's presentation (PDF), monitors were only regularly detected in Top 100 torrents, while monitoring of more obscure material was more spotty. What's really mysterious is who all of the firms are. Chothia's crew found around 10 different monitoring entities, of which a few were identifiable as security companies, copyright firms, or other torrent researchers. But six entities could not be identified because they were masked through third party hosting. Now, despite firms focusing mostly on just the top few searches out there at any given time, that's still a massive amount of user data to collect and store. Why? Well, if a reverse class-action lawsuit were feasible, those treasure troves of stored data would be extremely valuable."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Most Torrent Downloaders Are Monitored, Study Finds

Comments Filter:
  • Re:VPNs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alen (225700) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @11:43AM (#41223429)

    no, most normal people don't care

  • Re:VPNs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @11:45AM (#41223467)

    you really live in quite the bubble if you think MOST people are using VPNs...

  • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @11:53AM (#41223569) Journal

    Why is that mindblowing? It's exactly the attitude people have when speeding and just as true.

    And there have been some worthwhile films made in the last 15 years from Hunger (re IRA, not the Hunger Games bullshit) to El Perro.

    And sometimes I like to unwind with bullshit entertainment, not something deep and clever.

    (Although Slashdot's almost as good for that.)

  • Don't care (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @11:54AM (#41223579)

    Scare tactic away. I'm going to keep downloading.

    I can get a product the media assholes won't give me at ANY PRICE! For free.

    It's not even up for debate anymore. I'm not listening to the media mafia anymore. Wrong? Illegal? Immoral? Stealing from the artists?
    Sure whatever you say fucknuts. I'm going to keep downloading anyway. And teach other people how to as well.

    Go try to convince and have an arguement with someone who still cares. I'm going to do whatever i want.
    Why? Because fuck you thats why.

    And no matter what i do. I'll never be as big of a douche as anyone from the media mafia. Never.

  • Better products (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @11:54AM (#41223581) Journal

    One day the illegal media cartels might actually get it, that the "pirates" provide a better product. No adverts for other films (Disney is top culprit but there are others), no trailers accusing you of being a crook despite buying a legit DVD / BluRay, no DRM... no regiuon coding, in other words, it just works. The illegal media cartels just p people off with their crappy product.

    The problem is, the politicians in many countries that can sort this out have been bought and paid for by the illegal media cartels, so expect no change to their tactics.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @11:54AM (#41223587)

    > there haven't really been any movies or music made in the past 15 years that are even worth downloading for free

    um... either you are deaf & blind, a troll, an idiot, an illiterate barbarian or you have a vintage porn fetish... neither of these validates your point since there are TONS of good movies made every year. They just don't play in your local theatre, but they ARE available as a torrent.

    I would say that torrents are about to save the movie industry. If only independent filmmakers would realize this and skip the whole distribution channel... For instance in Belgium, if you would take the government sponsoring out of the equation, 95% of all movies are a loss. I wish they would simply release torrents and add a nice donation banner at the end of the movie. I would gladly donate (1 euro if it is a shitty movie, 3 if it was okay, 5 or more if it was awesome) !

    there is NO way of doing this legally...

    the most baffling part here is that it is SO FUCKING EASY TO DO ! It takes like 10 minutes to make that banner, and 10 seconds to start a torrent. WTF is stopping them ???????????

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @11:57AM (#41223615)

    It's safer to rent movies and rip yourself, direct download links for movies, borrow an open Wifi point, and direct exchange content with friends (hard drive swaps). These methods are far safer than Bittorent. As for TV shows, those seem to be a bit unclear in terms of legality (tested in courts), and not taken to court that I am aware.

  • Re:VPNs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OldSport (2677879) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @11:58AM (#41223627)

    For my part I don't really know who to trust. How do I know that PrivateInternetAccess is a legit service, and that they are really doing what they say they do? If I'm going to pay for a VPN service, I definitely want to be sure that they are solid.

  • Re:Better products (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:01PM (#41223647)

    Just because you dont like them doesnt make them "illegal media cartels"

    But using that term does make you retarded.

  • Re:Better products (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:03PM (#41223669)

    Yep.. if you don't like the terms the artist provides the content under, you can just do what ever you feel like.

    Like when Linksys used Linux for it's routers, and didn't provide the source code... the FSF went after them for it, and they eventually settled and provided the source.

    And that was their mistake. They should never have settled or provided source. They should have just told the FSF to fuck off. GPL non-compliance makes for a better product!

  • Re:Better products (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:07PM (#41223711)

    OK, you're right. They aren't illegal. That is to say, they aren't illegal under the letter of the law (because they paid a lot of money to help write those laws), they're legal ones that write the laws that they then use to bully, intimidate, and extort individuals to pay them money while ensuring no one can form competition against them.

    They totally are a cartel, though, and a thoroughly scummy one at that.

  • by Kimomaru (2579489) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:08PM (#41223719)
    Nothing worth stealing, though.
  • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:20PM (#41223861) Journal

    Well, no, it's not worth actually going into someone's cinema/store/house and walking off with a physical copy of the film.

    Downloading is another matter.

    lol@my troll mod. Did I annoy someone in the past who has mod points today or something?

  • Re:VPNs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:24PM (#41223895) Homepage Journal

    Well, what is the disadvantage? Why would you NOT want to use one?

    Because unless you're running your own VPN, there's no proof or guarantee that whoever is running it isn't farming your data anyway, and just lying to you about it.

  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:26PM (#41223919)

    Personally, there haven't really been any movies or music made in the past 15 years that are even worth downloading for free, I'll never understand why people bother wasting drive space.

    That old Slashdot chestnut.

    According to IMDb's these are the highest ranked films in their top 250 that were made in the last 15 years and scored 8/10 or higher:

    The Dark Knight (2008), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Fight Club (1999), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Inception (2010), The Matrix (1999), City of God (2002), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Memento (2000), American History X (1998), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Spirited Away (2001), American Beauty (1999), Toy Story 3 (2010), The Departed (2006), The Pianist (2002), Life Is Beautiful (1997), WALL-E (2008), The Lives of Others (2006), Amelie (2001), Gladiator (2000), The Prestige (2006), The Green Mile (1999), Requiem for a Dream (2000), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Untouchable (2011), L.A. Confidential (1997), Avengers Assemble (2012), Oldboy (2003), Princess Mononoke (1997), A Separation (2011), Pan's Labyrinth (2006), Downfall (2004), Batman Begins (2005), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Up (2009), Snatch. (2000), Gran Torino (2008), The Big Lebowski (1998), Sin City (2005), No Country for Old Men (2007), Hotel Rwanda (2004), The Sixth Sense (1999), Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), The King's Speech (2010), Warrior (2011), The Secret in Their Eyes (2009), Into the Wild (2007), Black Swan (2010), Good Will Hunting (1997), How to Train Your Dragon (2010), Donnie Darko (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), V for Vendetta (2005), Million Dollar Baby (2004), There Will Be Blood (2007), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), The Artist (2011), Amores Perros (2000), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Mary and Max (2009), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Howl's Moving Castle (2004), District 9 (2009), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Ratatouille (2007), Infernal Affairs (2002), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), The Truman Show (1998), The Wrestler (2008), Ip Man (2008), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Star Trek (2009), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring (2003), Mystic River (2003), Shutter Island (2010), Let the Right One In (2008) and Big Fish (2003)

    Are you really trying to say that none of these are worth watching?

    In fact, the only merit to your argument is that all the films that scored higher than 8.8 were made before 1997:

    The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Godfather (1972), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Pulp Fiction (1994), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), 12 Angry Men (1957) and Schindler's List (1993)

  • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:33PM (#41224043) Journal

    Are you absolutely sure that you have thousands of users? Are you sure your donation system is legit? Are you sure you are asking for donations in the right way - visible, polite and proportionate request, etc.?

    I've just finished some vague involvement in a fundraising drive via a raffle thing, i.e. selfish and altruistic components. We raised over $2000 over a few weeks via members on some forum alone. Some people are amazingly generous if you give them a reasonable proposition which accords with their interests. Though I guess it can depend on the culture - some groups pour away their money on things that others would never spend a cent on, even though both groups ostensibly "support" something.

  • Re:Better products (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DCstewieG (824956) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @12:44PM (#41224245)

    I was stunned when I watched the Hunger Games Blu-ray this weekend as what I thought was the lead up to the main menu in fact lead to a large message: "Previews for Your Mandatory Viewing". This was a purchased copy mind you, not a rental version. Of course now the Main Menu button was disabled, fortunately the chapter skip button was not (it must not be able to or it would have been).

    This button disabling shit is unbelievable, even the Stop button. Yes, the Stop button.

    To paraphrase John Siracusa, everything about Blu-ray sucks, except the AV quality, which you can't get anywhere else (legally).

  • Open Wifi (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bussdriver (620565) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:01PM (#41224495)

    Once monitored, who knows what else they may be doing with your IP address and it MAY NOT BE YOU. Go to somebody's yard use their open Wifi and touch just one of the Top monitored files and they'll get on the monitor list.

    Hate your neighbor? use their Wifi to torrent a bunch of movies currently out in theaters. Six strikes...they probably won't even realize it is the Wifi before being banned by the local monopoly. (In my area both ISPs signed up with the content Mafia so you are probably banned from internet almost completely.)

    Does anybody think it is time to start connecting their neighborhoods on their own?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:03PM (#41224529)

    Personally, I don't care if the movie business or the music industry dies. Let them. They're almost universally a bunch of self-congratulatory assholes to begin with. There might be a lack of blockbuster movies for awhile, maybe, but I doubt it. And certainly, they can't argue that we'd be missing out on "quality" music if the music industry shuts down, because most of the crap they provide these days is marketing with a tune anyway.

    People are going to keep making this stuff and, one way or another, it will continue to be supported. Sound engineers and artists are still going to be needed, and good actors, directors, crew and others will be needed as well. Once they figure out how to make themselves useful to the new distribution methods, have no fear, the middlemen will be able to make money hand over fist again. I'm only suggesting that perhaps it is time to move on to the next swindle.

    When you have such a high population of downloaders, many of them who would actually buy some of this stuff if you released it at the same time you did for everyone else, instead of bullshit restrictions to artificially drive up prices, you need to understand that you are not only fighting a losing battle, but you are missing a market you can work with.

    Copying and downloading bits from people sharing them is not stealing and it's not depriving the businesses of sales they deserve to make. They are distribution organizations and cartels which sort of made sense when you needed to press vinyl records and distribute them via trucks to stores. They make little or no sense now that you can just duplicate millions of copies of their wares cheaply and without cost to the distributor.

    So, in summary, the Music companies and Hollywood can feel free to go away. They will not be missed.

  • by arth1 (260657) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:37PM (#41225817) Homepage Journal

    Really? Not in the 60's 70's and 80's that I lived in. What was different was that people were better behaved.

    If where you lived was anything like where I lived, part of that was because the movie theatres had a guard walking around, and if you were disruptive, he shone a torch in your face and the second time told you to leave. If you were really obnoxious, they would snap a photo of you and ban you for a year.
    These days, they don't want to pay that guy's salary, and don't really care what kind of experience you have. The main thing is to be able to sell overpriced popcorn and soda.

  • Re:Better products (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @05:25PM (#41227829)

    Yep.. if you don't like the terms the artist provides the content under, you can just do what ever you feel like.

    Small problem: The artist has no say in how the content is distributed. Take Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Ever seen it on TV? Can you find a copy on the internet? As a matter of fact, it's very rare to do so because Martin Luther King's dysfunctional family wants money for it. A seminal work, part of our cultural heritage, and easily one of the top 100 speeches ever given in the United States, can't be shown in public because now that King is dead, his family owns the copyright.

    I do not think King, if he were still alive, instead of his shit-eating family, would say that people who air his speech should give him or his descendants royalty payments. I think, in fact, he may have been rather shocked at how his own family is participating in this new form of slavery and oppression of his people -- by preventing his own message of peace and goodwill from being heard by others.

    So would you propose that we allow his speech, and that of all civil rights leaders who have died and the rights to their words passed on to their greedy children or a trust, corporation, etc., be striken from history? Because that's what copyright law has done here, and in many, many other cases.

    Our children don't know much about history because it's all been revised, and then copyrighted, and then sold off piece by piece. Their only culture is a collection of brand names, pop music, and shitty internet memes. You can thank copyright law for that... it has cut off our access to the past, to our own history and culture... and most of the damage is irreparable.

  • by TheP4st (1164315) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @03:51AM (#41232361)

    why are you pirating bluray rips, when obviously they are available for purchase. I'm sure you might have a reason other than because it's cheaper, but you didn't give it.

    One very good reason in my opinion is this this []

  • by RaceProUK (1137575) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @07:44AM (#41233161) Homepage

    Pirated copy != lost sale

Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes. -- Mickey Mouse