When downloading copyrighted content using peer-to-peer file sharing, people are at risk because their IP address is visible.
Software at the ISP scans the network for people downloading copyrighted material. It can match their IP to their name and address.
I protect myself from lawyers and their cease and desist letters by using BTGuard BitTorrent Proxy, a so-called anonymous proxy service.
You need not disclose your name to test it. You simply choose a username and password and select a subscription period.
With BTGuard, legal authorities and your ISP cannot identify you during a torrent session
Download the preconfigured µTorrent client (it has all settings for anonymity in place) and enter the login credentials.
Your computer now routes all your torrent traffic through their server before sending it to you; your IP address remains invisible.
BTGuard supports programs that use a SOCKS5 proxy; it cannot be used for web surfing because no popular browser supports this protocol.
P2P transmissions reach 80% of the available download capacity. The encryption option can stay off, the IP is safely hidden without.
The company Netcrawled LLC↓ is incorporated in the United States. They say: "No records of usage are stored."
The service is 30% cheaper than a VPN and they offer 25% discount for the yearly plan. To get this deal, select 12 months on the order page.
Established and fast proxy service for in-private torrenting. I prefer it over a VPN because I only need privacy for file sharing. It's well suited for this task.
Overall 4 of 5 stars
|Locations||3 in 3 countries|
|Speed||4 of 5 rockets|
Tested plan: BTGuard BitTorrent Proxy on Windows
BTGuard Review – Easy to config. Best grades for security and quick connects. Only 1 user per account can be online. The server to which I connect was never down. I give it a 4/5 stars rating.
The company offers the privacy solutions BTGuard BitTorrent Proxy and BTGuard VPN. How safe is using their products?
Netcrawled is incorporated in Sacramento; the jurisdiction is United States. Earlier, they they were located in Toronto.
It was founded in 2008. Owner since 2013 is Jared Kellen. They operate servers in Canada, Netherlands, and Singapore.
Canada has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world. These laws ensure the protection of identities and IP addresses.
In Europe, the United States, and Canada, using Netcrawled's products is legit. (Downloading copyrighted content is not.)
Asked whether they kept logs, a company spokesperson said:
"It's technically unfeasible for us to maintain log files with the amount of connections we route. Since we do not have log files, we have no information to share."
I'm using their proxy all the time and believe that my privacy is kept safe with them.
BTGuard comes with an already protected version of µTorrent for Windows. If you prefer using your own, follow these steps:
In Options|Preferences|Connection: Checkmark 'Randomize port each start' and apply the other settings from the screenshot.
(You'll need BTGuard login credentials for this to work.)
Check all boxes, especially: Disable all local DNS lookups, Disable features that leak identifying information, Disable connections unsupported by the proxy.
You can test whether your IP address is hidden by downloading and opening the tracking torrent with µTorrent.
People in the USA who are sharing files are in danger of getting caught by their ISP. Five ISPs use the Copyright Alert System (CAS) aka six-strike policy: AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon.
Strike 1 and 2 will notify subscribers that their internet account has been used for copyright infringement. They'll explain how to avoid future notices and direct them to a website with lawful content.
Strike 3 and 4 will keep notifying them of infringements. They'll ask the subscribers to acknowledge receipt of the messages by clicking on a notice.
After the 5th notice, the ISP may take a mitigation measure to prevent future infringement. After the 6th alert, the provider must take an action.
Actions range from redirecting subscribers to a special page to reducing their internet speed until they contact the ISP and discuss the affair.
An appeal to an action costs $35 (paid back if it was successful).
The Copyright Alert System was put into place by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI). They use the solution MarkMonitor to detect copyright infringements.
The software attempts to download pieces of infringing content from other peers in the swarm. It sends the IP address to the user's ISP – which notifies the subscriber.
This is possible because the BitTorrent protocol itself does not provide any privacy mechanism. The CAS is active since 2013. Bulk data collection approved by national governments is reality.
After the 6th alert, subscribers will not receive any further alerts, but they may still be sued by the copyright owners. This is the same risk that existed before the CAS.
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