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BitTorrent Privacy Threats

While many organizations use the BitTorrent protocol as an efficient way of distributing large volumes of data (i.e. Linux DVD ISO files), others use it to distribute copyrighted or protected content.  With the large volume of users and traffic (from 27% to 55% of total internet traffic depending on geographic location), some users feel a sort of anonymity in all those numbers.  Researchers at the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) collected 100 days worth of BitTorrent traffic from one client machine and analyzed it.  Even using anonymizing networks such as Tor, they were able to retrieve as many as 70% of the original host computer IP addresses.  Mind you this is not data collection at the center of the network, but data collection and processing from a leaf node to the network.  It is definitely worth a read if you are interested in internet privacy issues.

 BT Swarm

(Photo Courtesy of Travelin' Librarian on Flickr)


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