Many of us have been there, I’m sure – can’t wait for that latest episode, that movie that isn’t released in your country for another two months then you read the entire plot line on a web post or in a magazine. It’s infuriating, especially in the world of global media – it didn’t used to matter that the film was broadcast six months early in the US – it does now! It’s almost impossible to avoid spoilers and enjoy a films or TV series if it’s been released anywhere in the world that’s connected to the internet.
You can’t buy the DVD, your cable service won’t broadcast for months so you either book yourself into a retreat or perhaps investigate downloading it from somewhere. This is where you’re likely to come across the world of torrents, where you’ll find almost any major media file hours after it’s broadcast anywhere in the world. It’s simple using the various torrent clients, you need no real technical knowledge and pretty much minutes later you can be downloading the latest blockbuster onto your hard drive.
This all sounds great, yet there are some very important points that many people miss about this method of downloading. Firstly there are some very real security concerns involved in using this ‘peer to peer’ method where you are effectively sharing files on your own hard disk to other downloaders. I’m not talking about filters or content analysers or even using a simple porn proxy, this is basic stuff. However these issues notwithstanding – there are other risks which are not always apparent.
What are the Torrent Risks
The main one is simply the number of people who know you are downloading stolen content. Using torrents is essentially a community effort, just look at this sample screen:
It’s from a popular torrenting application, and as you can see everyone can see every other downloader’s IP address. This is not safe, it’s not private and it’s incredibly risky. Your IP address can be seen by pretty anyone and most importantly it can be seen by copyright holders who can also obtain your real name and address.
So the risk is real fines, real DMCA infringement notices and all the costs and hassles that this entails. The biggest risks are downloading the latest blockbusters and I’m afraid porn – both will aggressively target people downloading as an extra income stream. It’s your call, remember there’s nothing private about using these downloads, you can experience anonymous torrenting if you use a proxy or VPN which is properly secured.