The Open Bay Transforms The Torrent Landscape

theopenbay
The Pirate Bay, the most popular file-sharing website in the world, has yet to go back up since police raided its servers in Stockholm, Sweden on December 9, 2014. Longtime users have been awaiting news from The Pirate Bay group, which has only given a short message in December 15, saying that they were still thinking about whether to resurrect the site. Its cause remains alive, however, thanks to The Open Bay, a revolutionary project created by the isoHunt team.

The makers of isoHunt and oldpiratebay.org bring what they call the next step in torrent evolution. The Open Bay, as the name suggests, allows virtually anyone to host their own version of The Pirate Bay on their own domain. With the open source code and easy setup, even a person with minimal knowledge of the Internet and website creation can clone The Pirate Bay. It has garnered a lot of attention from people across the globe, making it GitHub’s most popular project ever.

A Call To Arms

This project has been initiated by the isoHunt team to express a simple idea: the raids and shutdowns of popular torrent sites must teach users a valuable lesson, and that is to shift from exclusively using large file-sharing platforms to creating a network that is truly global. A worldwide community of torrent users would make the industry far stronger, possibly deterring authorities from specifically targeting large torrent sites.

The Open Bay calls out to the entire torrent community to support their cause and spearhead this revolution. Ultimately, they plan to offer a fully decentralized torrent database and create a website that users across the globe would want to use.

Users have the option of improving their versions of The Pirate Bay. The standard release features oldpiratebay.org’s theme. The database dump currently has over 8 million torrent links, nearly three times that of the original Pirate Bay. The large discrepancy comes from the fact that The Open Bay uses a database that includes files from Isohunt.to and KickassTorrents. Some features of the The Pirate Bay are not available as of now such as descriptions and leaving comments.

It would be interesting to see how far this project would come. Because of the numerous shutdowns of major file-sharing sites over the past couple of years, people have become aware of the risks that come with hosting a torrent site. Hosting a Pirate Bay clone exposes the owner to possible legal risks. Will The Open Bay succeed in transforming the torrent landscape which has been frozen for a decade now? Only time will tell.

Down But Not Out

Meanwhile, the original Pirate Bay has also been making a lot of noise, despite being down for almost a month now. On December 22, the site has come alive, displaying a timer counting up from when their servers have been raided. But on New Year’s Day, they updated their main page. It now displays a timer which counts down to February 1. Many are now hoping that the site would be back up when the timer ends. The page also has a “WeAreTPB” banner, seemingly indicating that the group is still alive and well.

Aside from the counter, there was also a BitTorrent Sync key which gave access to old The Pirate Bay files. A magnet link for a 1080p copy of the controversial comedy flick The Interview was also placed. The infamous pirate flag also had a cartoon image of Kim Jong-Un, but it has since been removed.

Many torrent users still await what The Pirate Bay has in store for its users. As the timer counts down, more updates and rumors are going to circulate within the torrent community. Will The Pirate Bay be the same old site everyone has come to love? Or will it now function similar to The Open Bay, sparking an enormous revolution that has been 10 years in the making? Want to see how to install it? Watch this…

President Obama’s Plans For Increasing Online Security

In response to recent online threats that have put into question the level of security that one can expect while online, the President, Barack Obama, has recently given a speech laying out his plans to increase online security. Below is a synopsis of what President had to say.

One of the most noted proposals included in the President’s speech was in regards to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. This legislation is not something new, as it has been proposed in the past, but Obama is hoping to see a new version of the bill pass in Congress this year. This bill will not require companies to change their policies if it does pass, but if a company agrees to the terms and then fails to act accordingly they will be able to be held accountable by the Federal Trade Commission. What this means for consumers is that there will be more companies that will give the option to opt out of information sharing, data collection and will inform consumers of protections used to keep personal identifying information safe.

Data Breaches & Identity Theft Prevention

Another aspect of online security that was touched on by the president was in regards to creating legislation that will require companies to notify consumers if there has been a data breach. There was not a great deal of specifics, but the general idea is to ensure that consumers are informed when their personal data may have been put at risk. Currently this is overseen by each state, so depending on where one may reside, they may not be notified at all. There are some states that already have this type of legislation, but the goal is to make this a federal law to close any gaps that currently exist.

He also discussed making free credit scores accessible to more Americans. The reason for this is that you can use this as a means of identifying any financial fraud that may be occurring in your name without your knowledge. The President believes this expansion will allow significantly more Americans to get their credit score for free at least once each year.

Data Collection Concerns Regarding Children

A new concern in online privacy is to protect children. Due to the increase of internet usage by children for educational purposes there is a concern that companies are compiling information about these children to use as a means to market to them in the future. Some of this information can include their address, birth date and in some cases even their address. It is not clear yet what any new legislation would specify, but the President’s general statement was to allow data collection for educational purposes.

One aspect of his proposal that may seem surprising is to limit the means in which utility companies collect and share information about individual’s home energy usage. The reason that this has recently become a concern is that the energy technology has gotten so smart that you can turn down your heat or turn off lights when you are not at home, as well as set your systems to function at lower energy levels when you are usually away. The issue here is that if this information were to be hacked into or shared with the wrong people, it could become quite clear when you are usually away from home, putting you at risk.

These are the main points of the speech given by the President about increasing internet security for Americans. This speech was relatively short given the importance of the legislation that he is proposing. He did state that you should expect more information in his State of the Union address.

Sony Releases The Interview On Digital Platforms

In a surprising turn of events, Sony has decided to release the controversial comedy film “The Interview” in various digital platforms, prompting what can be considered as one of the most bizarre movie releases in history. On the eve of Christmas, the entertainment giant announced that the movie would be available on Xbox, Google Play, YouTube and a proprietary site in which viewers could rent the movie for $5.99 or buy a high definition DVD copy for $14.99.

Seth Rogen and James Franco, two of the main stars of the R-rated movie, were quick to let the world know about the good news. They took to Twitter to express their excitement and their tweets amassed a huge number of retweets within a small amount of time. The movie was also released on a select number of independent theaters.

Cyber Terrorism

The Interview has been at the core of a month-long hacking controversy by cyber terrorists. The attempt was immediately linked to North Korea, but there’s still no conclusive evidence to pinpoint the real identities of the hackers. They are simply known as the Guardians of Peace, announcing that the US would face severe consequences if the movie were to be released. The North Korea government, despite keeping mum on the hacking itself, said that they view the release of the movie as an act of war.

Celebrities, producers and ordinary citizens were saddened by Sony’s initial decision of pulling the movie from all theaters. Many say the company should not have given in to the threats of cyber terrorists. Large theater chains in the US, meanwhile, banded together and decided not to release the film, fearing possible terrorist attacks. Sony, however, has said that they have always intended to find a national platform on which people can view the film.

Their course of action was to reach out to a number of online streaming services. They made arrangements as to the film’s online release, setting it on the same day as the theatrical release. They chose the path of digital distribution because they believe it’s the best route to take to allow as many people to watch the film as possible, considering that large theater chains were not an option.

The satirical film which features an interview-turned-assassination-attempt of Kim Jong Un by a couple of journalists had a production budget of $44 million. It was originally slated to be released in 3,000 theaters, but after the threats of terrorism, Sony decided to screen the film in only about 200 independent theaters.

A New Model of Distribution

Interestingly, this has opened a whole a new discussion in terms of movie distribution. Studio executives are going to keep an eye on how The Interview performs digitally. The theatrical total would certainly be lower than what it would have been had the film been released in large theaters. But will the revenue from the digital platforms be enough to cover this huge hole? If so, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when certain films get released on digital platforms and only a handful of theaters, especially when the production companies make the same amount of dollars as a traditional release.

Now, it’s hard to say what has been more enjoyable: the film itself—which was actually pretty good—or the behind-the-scenes fiasco that has captivated the entire nation for a month. Who knew that a comedy film such as The Interview would give the people three stories to follow: (1) the plot of the movie itself, (2) what the government plans to do to combat cyber terrorists and prevent future cyber vandalism, and finally (3) whether studios would put more emphasis on digital platforms for future releases. Which one are you going to keep an eye on?

What? NSA Data Collection Hasn’t Prevented Terrorist Attacks?

Say it isn’t so!  All the billions of dollars spent on massive data centers and tapping the phones of our allies have done zip to prevent a single attack on American interests anywhere in the world?  Well that’s what had been reported by MSNBC and Business insider, amongst others.

The reports go as far as saying that any national security benefit has been modest at best and that NSA programs were not essential to preventing attack.  This investigation is at direct odds with reports coming from the White House and the president directly.  The rabbit hole continues to get deeper…

The Coming Wave Of Quantum Computers & The NSA

News has recently come out showcasing the NSA’s desire to create a quantum computer in order to crack every existing form of encryption known.  Well that is until quantum computing is available for the companies creating encryption methodologies.  Although it isn’t new information that the NSA has had its beady eyes focus on this objective for a while, it just makes everything all the more creepier given all the recent revelations of their practices.

If you are not familiar with what a quantum computer is in the first place, here is a video from Veritasium that goes over the basics (if you can call it that).  Pay particularly close attention to the 5 minute mark forward and you’ll understand why this form of computer will be perfect to carry out the NSA’s schemes.

Thankfully, they will likely be some years off before attaining their goal. Hopefully…

NSA Hacks The iPhone With A DropoutJeep!?

I’m starting to think that I am in the middle of a James Bond movie or something.  It recently came out that the NSA created a protocol they call DropoutJeep (who the hell names these things anyway…) that allows them to target iPhone users.  That little hack lets them access your phone’s camera and microphone without you knowing! That’s a happy thought…

BGR put out an article a couple of days back that goes into more detail on the depth of this proverbial rabbit hole; go here to check it out.  Apple has subsequently denied any assistance in or knowledge of the governments activity.  Here’s a pretty little chart that shows how it basically work:

NSA's iPhone Hack

2013: What A Year For Massive Security Breaches

Homeland Security logoIt seemed like a big company saw massive amounts of data stolen by hackers each month of the year.  Whether it was social media sites, pretty much all the big guys, or even the Department of Homeland Security, this year was exception by every count.

In case you haven’t heard about all these security breaches, Think Progress has put together a list of the top 9 for you.  Chances are, you may have been affected by at least one of them just due to the shear volume.  Either way, be careful of what you share and make those passwords a little more secure.  It isn’t a guarantee that your information won’t be taken, but it will make things a little more difficult hackers.

PureVPN Is Now Accepting Bitcoin

purevpn_bitcoinPureVPN is a truly professional VPN service provider equipped with the latest technology and software that would guarantee speed and security. It is one of the most recommended service providers, when considering the internet security and privacy of the customer. They are dedicated to preserving the privacy of the customer, which is what a VPN service provider should be doing in the first place.

What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is an online payment method that uses digital currency for transactions that are mostly done online. It is done on an anonymous scale and the privacy of the person doing the transaction would be guaranteed. It would set you free from any bank verification procedures and help to complete the transaction with full anonymity. There is, no central bank for the Bitcoin currency system as it does not exist in the physical world. It is operated on a decentralized mode without any centralized control. This concept was originated by the Satoshi Nakamoto company in the year of 2009.

More and more online vendors are beginning to accept Bitcoin payments for their products and services. This trend has entered the VPN services too. Virtual Private Networks exists for the purpose of securing the anonymity of their users. Integrating an anonymous payment method to this, would definitely enhance the security that the customer would expect from a VPN service provider.

Why It Matters

PureVPN has now integrated the Bitcoin payment method to its system. Now you can make all of their payments by using the Bitcoin payment system. This is a positive step in guaranteeing your privacy even further. You would not have to go through the hassle of any bank verifications in order to use the serivce. This would be great news to all customers, who would love to preserve their privacy and internet security.

The Dangers Of CISPA And Its Threat To Online Privacy

The controversy over CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) has not abated. Since initially introduced in the United States House of Representatives in 2011, numerous protests and protest groups have arisen seeking to prevent the passage of this very dangerous legislation. Perhaps you are not entirely familiar with what the bill includes, or even why it is dangerous. We will spend a few moments examining CISPA and the ramifications that its passage would have to privacy.

The CISPA was initially presented before the US House of Representatives in late 2011 under the sponsorship of well over one-hundred congressmen and women. Officially, it is an actual amendment to the National Security Act signed into law in July 1947. If CISPA becomes law it will legally allow your privacy to be taken away without your knowledge or consent.

The greatest concerns about this bill relate to its affect on privacy and freedom. Although it is known that the NSA already monitors all internet, cellphone and text traffic, CISPA will give them legal authority to permanently monitor, collect, store and share all information about every American citizen. If a person is considered a threat to the country they can be arrested without a warrant, and detained for an unspecified amount of time without being charged. None of the data will be “anonymized” and it will be freely shared between every other agency (including the Department of Defense, CIA, NSA, FBI and IRS). It also gives your employer the right to demand your password to any social media website that you subscribe to. You can even be charged as an threat to national security for downloading an MP3 or movie without permission.

CISPA was rejected by the Senate in 2012, but as many had expected it was reintroduced when the controversy seemed to die down and people distracted by other news. It again passed the House on April 18, 2013 in a vote of 288 to 127, with 18 abstaining.

One of the obstacles that we face is that many of our congressmen are unaware of the consequences of passing this bill. Most of them have only heard sound bites from television news, or received inaccurate information from their personal aides. It is up to you, the citizen, to properly educate them. They are called our “representatives” for a reason – we vote for them to be our voice in Washington. The pressures to pass this bill are immense therefore the efforts to prevent it must be equally strong. Our arguments must be more convincing than those made by special interest groups who are seeking to deceive and stifle all debate.

Please read more about CISPA, learn everything you can, then get involved. Tell everyone about the dangers inherent in this bill, but most importantly, contact your local congressman. Tell them why you oppose CISPA, and explain in detail why it is dangerous for our country, contrary to the US constitution, and violates the Bill of Rights.

The 6 Strikes Rule Now Being Enforced

The Six Strikes rule is the first phase of implementation of the Copyright Alert System as outlined by the Center for Copyright Information.  That center is the love child of major ISP’s, the RIAA, and MPAA and, as you can imagine, it has caused quite the controversy.  That controversy is in part due to the nebulous circumstances in which it came about.

Who Does it Affect

If you are downloading music from sources that you didn’t pay to receive that content then this probably has you a bit concerned (or looking additional ways to hide your tracks).  Watch the video below to get an idea of how the warning system works and the penalties that you may receive as a result of your activity.

They seem benign at first until you realize that you can be sued if you are particularly active.

What Should You Do

The internet has been abuzz with people trying to get petitions signed, different ways of circumventing the watchful eyes of your ISP, to begging groups like Anonymous to take action.  Whether or not the 6 strikes rule will have any real lasting effect is yet to be seen but it is pretty clear that things will likely get uglier before getting better.

As with anything, be careful of what you are doing in the wilds of the net because you are being watched.  No matter if you are doing something construed as being illegal or just surfing youtube, know you are being tracked.  Start getting familiar with proxy services, vpn’s, and the like because there are many “big brother’s” out there.

Let me know what you think of all this in the comments below.  Are you for tighter copyright controls or does a world free from intellectual property laws seem more appealing?