A piece of software getting a fresh look this week seems to have the answer that media pirates are looking for: invincibility, with zero liability for website operators. That’s because this software, known as Tribler, does not require a website to track users sharing “Torrent” files, a peer-to-peer network protocol that enables computers to share files with thousands of others.
Such “tracker” websites, like The Pirate Bay and BTJunkie, have been going offline or switching domains in the wake of U.S. enforcement action against MegaUpload, a file sharing site that is accused of facilitating media piracy.
Tribler, in development for the last five years according to technology blog Torrent Freak, is a purely peer-to-peer network that requires no tracker, meaning it is impossible to shut down unless the whole Internet goes down with it.
The nature of its technology is completely decentralized, leaving moderation to the users. Individuals can rename files, flag phony downloads or viruses, create “channels” of verified downloads, and act as nodes that distribute lists of peers across the network.
Right now the internet is mostly client/server based but this technology would make it possible for every computer on the internet to be it’s own server as well as a client. A kind of MESH topology that would be very difficult to control. It also opens up a realm of other possibilities where information could be replicated and stored in as many places as there are computers to store it. There by making access to it even more robust.
In the recent U.S. debate over anti-piracy measures, absolutely none of the proposed enforcement mechanisms would affect Tribler: it is, quite literally, the content industry’s worst nightmare come to life.
Much like when the original media piracy platform, Napster, was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America in the 90s, the Internet’s most prolific have once again found another way around copyright enforcement.
The more the powers that be attempt to control the internet, the less they will be able to succeed.