I'm one of the guys named in the article and, after reading it, I figured I should clarify some points here - I swear over my laptop that:
- Nobody in the group is supported by RIAA (or associated organization).
- There are a number of legal scenarios you may want to use this for, not just downloading copyrighted material (think of China, Venezuela, Cuba, ...).
- Funding comes from only one only 3-letter organization of the US government - the National Science Foundation
- We are not collecting data on anything; let me say it again - the extension/plugin is NOT reporting any data to anybody - you can inspect the code yourselves. In the other plugins we have made available, those that do report data, this is a functionality you can disable whenever you want.
- The plugin does not download crazy random stuff; if you actually try it you'll see that it picks random torrent from a set of links you provide.
- Finally, the *last* thing we want to do is to scare people off, we are just trying to help (and we have a track record showing it).
Hope this help; there's nothing wrong with being paranoid - that's why you should get the fact straight.