The founders of Pirate Bay, one of the largest public bit torrent piracy website, is now in court fighting a legal battle over whether they have committed any wrongdoing by directing users to illegal content, even though none of the content actually reside on Pirate Bay’s servers.
The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has also gained some notoriety as of late due to their strongarm tactics to coerce universities and ISPs into giving up private data for use in prosecuting download of illegal copyrighted content. Their efforts have thus far been futile, garnering many criticisms and ridicule from netizens everywhere, and hilarious stories of how their tactics have led them to prosecuting dead people and toddlers who don’t know how to use a computer!
However, the fundamental problem remains that file sharing using Bit Torrent is something that can be traced and this is becoming a big fear as copyright holders start to demand private information to be released to aid them in their quest to prosecute. However, a solution may have arrived. 🙂
It comes in the form of an application called OneSwarm, developed by students at the Washington State University. Currently, it implements some unique features that make it capable of answering the problems laid in the opening paragraph of this post, which is privacy. It does so by routing data through multiple intermediaries in an overlay mesh, meaning to say it does about the same thing as what you see in the spy movies, where a telephone call is routed to various sites around the world to avoid being tracked.
The feature however works only for file sharing between friends, using OneSwarm’s Friend List feature. Although it can download files from Bit Torrent, the anonymous capabilities of OneSwarm do not currently extend here yet. However, as a proof of concept, it gives us an idea of how the future of Bit Torrent might look.