back to article Block The Pirate Bay? Arrr, me hearties, new P2P client could sink that plan

Infamous file-sharing-network search engine The Pirate Bay is at work on new software that's designed to help it evade state-imposed internet censorship, sources claim. According to an article on file-sharing blog TorrentFreak, the notorious torrent-mongers are developing a client that will create a distributed, peer-to-peer …

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Pirate

Piracy or not

From a purely technical perspective this seems interesting, and of course very useful, for reasons way beyond "piracy" - the liberated alternative to DNS in particular.

I propose they call the first release "Up Yours Cameron".

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Re: Piracy or not

How about limewiarrrrmearties

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Unhappy

Re: Piracy or not

liberated alternative to DNS

The problem I see with this is that these new protocols wil be used by a relative minority of users, many of whom are non-technical. They won't get the widespread use/testing that real DNS does. That will make them very appealing as targets for hackers wanting to spread viruses and trojans.

Even if the protocols from reasonably trustworthy sources are themselves secured, and we know that security is only as good as the users in any case, people will get into the habit of assuming that this is the expected way to get access to content that is otherwise blocked. It won't be long before we see phishing scams advertising other such tricks to get around blocking, and which are designed only to create botnets. Then, of course, the authorities will get in on the act setting up "fake DNS" arrangements to catch the people trying to bypass the blockers to get to child porn, etc.

It's like tax law, the more complex you make it, the more loopholes there are. It's a race that can't be won, but politicians are as blind to that as they are to tax problems. The idea that less regulation might actually fix the problem is unthinkable to them.

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Def
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Re: Piracy or not

A fully distributed DNS system is an idea I was pondering a little while ago.

I freely admit I didn't get much further than 'what if...?'. But in my mind it sounded (at the time) like an idea worth pursuing.

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Re: Piracy or not

Yep, hopefully they release the software as open source so it can be peer reviewed and improved + possibly adapted for use elsewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Piracy or not

Will all the included dodgy porn and gambling adverts - and malware domain redirects - be decentralised too?

Since when did any attempts to block TPB succeed anyway? It takes seconds to find a working proxy. Ditto any other site that they ever tried to block.

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Re: Piracy or not

They are trying the smother true freedom of communication virtually at birth. I loathe them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Piracy or not

> Since when did any attempts to block TPB succeed anyway? It takes seconds to find a working proxy. Ditto any other site that they ever tried to block.

I don't know. Out of curiosity I went to Google.com, typed in "The Pirate Bay" and followed the first link in the results. Bingo. :-)

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Pint

Necessity

Mother of all invention.

A few of these for the TPB guys , they must be working their asses of at this moment in time----->>>>>>

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Re: Necessity

The powers that be either don't know, care or were ever aware that the internet was designed with the concept of being able to route around problems built in to it, and everyone who makes it what it is also has that mindset.

The internet elevated whack-a-mole to intergalactic proportions it seems, and stole Barbara Striesands knickers at the same time.

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And how long before using this "client" becomes a criminal offence? Or at least something that will get you disconnected by your ISP and blacklisted?

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"And how long before using this "client" becomes a criminal offence?"

I'm sure that it can be arrrange to appear to be a 'proper' browser.

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JDX
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Is Tor illegal or blacklisted?

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Tor is a lie propagated by the UK & US (i.e. GCHQ & NSA), to lull its users into a state of false security.

by giving them a faster look in. I can't see how a Piratebay Proxy Client / Server could be made to serve their interests. All I can really see is that the *IAA's will start to rake their hands together in glee over all the lives of the pleb classes that their gonna ruin if this thing sets sail.

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as long as "smart" people use the clients for legal reasons (and illegal if they choose) I dont see this being an issue, all p2p clients are legal to use, downloading illegal files obviously isn't .firefox tor etc are all legal, even though you can use them to get things illegally etc. Aslong as your not taking money away from the greedy I dont think they really care.

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Tor explicitly says it is unsafe to use in conjunction with Bittorrent for the simple reason that while your searches through Tor might be safe, as soon as you launch bittorrent to download something you found you are no longer anonymous.

That said, I don't see it necessarily any worse than browsing their web site directly.

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Is this much different from the FreeNet approach?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freenet

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I think the approach is more analogous to Bitcoin than to Freenet. The idea seems to be that everyone syncs up their copy of the torrent list with everyone else. Much like Bitcoin's ledger.

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They'll stop this

Eventually we are going to end up with an internet where you are only allowed to connect to shopping sites, approved entertainment sites run by large companies, and google.

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Re: They'll stop this

Mumsnet, Lets not forget that simmering pit of hormones just chomping at the bit to do *anything* if it "saves the children"...

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Unhappy

Re: They'll stop this

Well, they'll try to stop this.

But, as long as "Big Media" continues to take the piss**, there will always be demand, and as long as there is demand there will always be a way.

**Got a shiny new Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-Ray for Xmas. "Includes Digital Copy" emblazoned on the case. Great, thinks I, Something to watch on the train. Errrm no! Only when you jump through the registration hoops do you discover how limited this is.

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Re: They'll stop this

The thing you describe : the original MSN. Could Bill have been right about this new fangled internet thing all along?

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Re: They'll stop this

Mumsnet, Lets not forget that simmering pit of hormones just chomping at the bit to do *anything* if it "saves the children"...

It seems that almost every forum I read anywhere on t'internet has a similar view of mumsnet. Do they not realise they've become a meme/laughing stock? Or are they too busy making out like bandits to care?

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Tribler

Tribler has been around for a while now - it is a torrent client which also has a mechanism for searches of peer databases, thus removing the need to use a torrent indexing site. The content is limited by the size and intent of the user base.

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Anonymous Coward

Cathedral or bazaar development

"No release date for the proposed client was given, and sources say it may be "a few months" before the initial version is made public."

The sooner they are able to open their development to maximise outside contribution and scrutiny, the faster and more secure it will be developed.

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And the sooner the NSA will be able to insert the seeds of future backdoors into it.

For "the people", of course.

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the sooner the NSA will be able to insert the seeds of future backdoors into it

No doubt. But I don't think the NSA or comparable organisations like GCHQ would see it in their interests to share this information with the copyright protection faction. They might all be evil in their own way, but this doesn't amount to an alignment of interest. Intelligence organisations are invariably reluctant to share.

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We need more of this.

I spent a semi frustrated Xmas working around the heavy handed Site level blocks on various torrent sites looking either for non-copyrighted/FOSS stuff that just happens to be torrented and bits and bobs I would claim under fair use (eg format shifted versions of stuff I already own).

Even on TPB there it stuff that is not copyrighted - these blocks are sledgehammers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We need more of this.

"I spent a semi frustrated Xmas working around the heavy handed Site level blocks on various torrent sites"

To work around these should have taken seconds. For instance:

https://encyclopediadramatica.es/The_Pirate_Bay/thepiratebay.se_proxy_list

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Re: We need more of this.

They certainly are. I voted with my wallet and went to one of the smaller ISPs that don't censor.

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Anonymous Coward

Dear PM, please make torrent clients illegal in the UK

Go Cameron, go! :(

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Re: Dear PM, please make torrent clients illegal in the UK

Great idea, make it slower when I need to download a new Debian or other Linux distro for me than it already is on UK's tincan broadband!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear PM, please make torrent clients illegal in the UK

The plods would simply respond: legit files can be downloaded from nearby mirrors, since they're legal. Use enough hosts and HTTP RESUME support and you can do multipart downloads which should speed things up to acceptable levels: no dodgy protocol required.

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Re: Dear PM, please make torrent clients illegal in the UK

@AC If you think 'plod' would say anything other than 'eh?' or 'what?' or 'where's the tea?' then you have a much higher estimation of their technical know-how than I ever will.

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Anonymous Coward

The internet NEEDS something that will bypass censorship, something that would be built into every copy of Chrome, Firefox and even IE... The internet NEEDS to be censorship free. Illegal sites need to be targeted directly, not blocked...

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But at the same token, how do you target something that's outside legal jurisdiction but is still dangerous (say, a malware site)? Especially when it's being housed by what could be considered a "hostile" power?

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Anonymous Coward

Reffer a previous artical this edition on a new drone.

Just give it internet conectivity, some decent wepons, inair refuling, the right google mapping soft ware, a simple AI and let it loose to track and destroy all who oppose a free internet.

A new kickstarter project?

Croud saucing info on free spell checker for android

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Anonymous Coward

"how do you target something that's outside legal jurisdiction but is still dangerous"

You don't. If it's not illegal where it is then keep your nose out. Block it at your borders if you like, but don't try and tell people in other countries what they can and cannot do...

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Anonymous Coward

Which just proves my point. They're blocking because the sites are outside their jurisdiction, so they have no power to actually take them down. What else do you expect them to do?

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The problem with this

Is that it's not a distributed DNS system, it's a client hosted/distributed mini-internet, which isn't going to scale well beyond torrent sites, and if all it's really doing is torrents it's ripe for banning.

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Re: The problem with this

Well, for P2P DNS solutions like yacy and Namecoin are already popping up.

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It's a question of trust

The Pirate Bay is a web site which thinks nothing of facilitating the download of illegal content and plastering its site with ads for porn, malware and assorted other scams.

I wouldn't trust any software they wrote unless it was supplied with full source code and preferably a protocol definition which allowed independent implementation.

I think a distributed search is long overdue for Bittorrent. Other P2P systems have one. The problem I suppose for Bittorrent is that the likes of TPB want ad impressions. At the very least they'd want to be able to bundle up a web app analogous to their web site and perhaps host it through someone's favourite torrent client as if it were a web site. This might not be a bad idea either - user subscribes to some magnet link that represents the app, and then hits localhost:1234 to access it through the torrent. The web app would act as a front end for any search and could presumably craft a query which resolved to another link which returned results.

The benefit to the user is a web app is a relatively safe thing compared to a proprietary client and they could choose their own torrent software. But I doubt TPB will do that.

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Re: It's a question of trust

I wonder if those people who have given me a thumbs down have bothered to review the ads on the Pirate Bay.

A selection of banners ads from the site right now:

"German banker secrets, how to make $15,400 a month trading (no trial / credit card required!)" - affiliate scam, possibly malware "trading software"

"I just joined the 10" club thanks to Ron Jeremy" - scam

"When it comes to penis pills... information is power" - scam

"Santa claus is coming" - scam

"Free online dating" - prostitution site / scam

"Convert to any format - VideoDownloadConverter" - malware / browser hijacker

"I make $686 every day - work from home and earn $20,000 a month" - scam

"Learn how a simple glass of grapefruit juice can add inches to your penis size!" - scam

"Penis surgery in a pill!" - scam

And I didn't even go into the porn section for any of these. If you trust TPB or their software you are clearly not paying attention to their business model.

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Re: It's a question of trust -- @ DrXym

Are you sure those adverts aren't targeted?

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Re: It's a question of trust -- @ DrXym

"Are you sure those adverts aren't targeted?"

I ran from a private window so I assume not. It's just indicative of the low standards the site has when carrying advertising. It's virtually all scams of one kind or another. I would hope anyone with sense would recognize that it would be a very bad idea to trust software produced by the site. It would be different if they produced a protocol or released source which could be reviewed and independently built or implemented.

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Re: It's a question of trust -- @ DrXym

I would guess that most stopped reading at

The Pirate Bay is a web site which thinks nothing of facilitating the download of illegal content

To be fair to TPB, how many 'upstanding' advertisers are likely to want to be associated? The ads you see may well be there because they are the only ones willing to advertise there (incidentally, for some real treats, route your connection through Germany!).

I agree about the protocol/source being reviewed, but for slightly different reasons. If you're releasing a new protocol, I don't care whether you're TPB, Apple or Sir Tim Berners-Lee, it should be open so everyone can implement it.

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Re: It's a question of trust

"And I didn't even go into the porn section for any of these. If you trust TPB or their software you are clearly not paying attention to their business model."

And yet, they trust TPB more than they trust the NSA. What does THAT tell you?

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Re: It's a question of trust -- @ DrXym

"To be fair to TPB, how many 'upstanding' advertisers are likely to want to be associated? "

That isn't the point. The point is that they KNOW these ads are scams and malware and they willingly expose their visitors to these ads. As such their trustworthiness is zero and it should weigh heavily on anyone foolish enough to download and install software that they make.

As for the protocol I stated quite clearly that they should provide source and preferably a specification so independent implementations can appear. But I also said why this runs counter to their current business model - if people can independently implement their search / service then they can strip out or replace ads and deprive TPB of their revenue. This is why I think whatever they produce will be a binary.

Of course, another option is for them to switch to another revenue stream, e.g. a bitcoin micropayment and no ads, but presumably it would still suffer many of the same issues and more besides.

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"I wonder if those people who have given me a thumbs down have bothered to review the ads"

I wouldn't, as I have never seen an ad on the Pirate Bay. If you're dumb enough to go browsing sites you think are dodgy without using blockers for adverts and Java, then you deserve all the thumbs down that you get.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a question of trust

"The Pirate Bay is a web site which thinks nothing of facilitating the download of illegal content "

As far as I can see very little that the Pirate Bay hosts is "illegal content" - in the UK at least. I guess the Anarchists handbook and some of the more extreme porn might be technically illegal. but thats a tiny percentage of the content.

If you mean that the copyright might be infringed in some juristictions by some content, then sure - but its NOT illegal to just download or stream it in most countries including in the UK - it is only illegal to distribute (upload) it...so if your torrent client is set to zero uploads, you are good to go...

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