Skip Navigation

Watching them, watching you, tracking BitTorrent use
Tuesday 04 September 2012 18:49:44 by Andrew Ferguson

Have you ever used your broadband connection and thought someone is watching you? Well if you have used BitTorrent then some UK based researchers may have uncovered who it is, and that would be monitoring firms that log BitTorrent use.

The BBC News report covers a Birmingham University study that created a BitTorrent like client for the simple purpose of logging all connections that were made to it. Analysis of the logs suggests that if you share popular content then a monitoring firm is likely to have visited you within three hours. There also seems to be no distinction between someone just using BitTorrent occassionally, and those who run it permanently to build their own digital Internet archive.

The researchers found 10 different monitoring firms, of which some were identifiable as bodies engaged in copyright enforcement, and some appeared to be other researchers running similar studies. The concern raised in the article about the amount of data collected and what its future use may be is of a real concern. There are suggestions that the data collection is part of a larger marketing drive, so that copyright holders can be shown data that file X has been infringed Y times in the last month, hence you should buy our services.

The issue over whether IP addresses in logs are sufficient to launch a civil copyright infringement case has never been totally proven one way or another in court. The current Golden Eye International scheme, that is theory underway may end up in court if someone challenges the letters. People in the past have questioned whether firms trying to police copyright infringement have full proof of infringement, and the snippet from this study that they observed lots of monitors connecting, but no attempts to collect any files is very revealing.


Posted by Apilar over 5 years ago
Stick to private trackers. Use a seedbox & VPN if necessary.
Posted by clmfsh over 5 years ago
All great advice Apilar and pay cash wherever possible.
Posted by vicdupreez over 5 years ago
Where can you get decent seedboxes though? I have been looking and all the legitimate services says no seed boxes... do people just ignore that, get kicked off and start another?
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

If you can sign up, so can they.

Definitely agree regarding seedbox/VPN though.


Pricing is is epic for what you get, support is very good.
Posted by ian72 over 5 years ago
@clmfsh - great advice to pay cash. I pay cash whenever I am getting media files - that way they can't get me. Although, when I come to think about it the cash I pay is for the product in the fast place rather than a rip of that product on P2P. Maybe that is why I never get caught?
Posted by ian72 over 5 years ago
Wish I could edit - obviously meant first place rather than fast place...
Posted by nooneatall over 5 years ago
Private trackers offer no additional protection.
Posted by Apilar over 5 years ago
Decent private trackers offer plenty of protection. Show me the DMCA letters.
Posted by Kaufhof over 5 years ago
What are law abiding people worried about? I don't get it!
Posted by Mr_Fluffy over 5 years ago
Don't Golden Eye fear being sued by a large film making franchise and an ointment manufacturer?
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.