Category: BitTorrent

Dec 19 2013

BitTorrent serverless chat replaces usernames with crypto keys

BitTorrent, Inc. is developing a serverless instant messaging system that relies on public key encryption to protect the privacy of communications, identifying users not with traditional usernames but with cryptographic key pairs.

The company, which develops the BitTorrent peer-to-peer protocol as well as the BitTorrent and μTorrent file sharing software, announced the forthcoming chat software in September and revealed some details on how it will work in a blog post today. It reads:

With BitTorrent Chat, there aren’t any “usernames” per se. You don’t login in the classic sense. Instead, your identity is a cryptographic key pair. To everyone on the BitTorrent Chat network at large, you ARE your public key. This means that, if you want, you can use Chat without telling anyone who you are. Two users only need to exchange each other’s public keys to be able to chat.

Using public key encryption provides us with a number of benefits. The most obvious is the ability to encrypt messages to your sender using your private key and their public key. But in public key encryption, if someone gains access to your private key, all of your past (and future) messages could be decrypted and read. In Chat, we are implementing forward secrecy. Every time you begin a conversation with one of your contacts, a temporary encryption key will be generated. Using each of your keypairs, this key will be generated for this one conversation and that conversation only, and then deleted forever.

Underlying this system is a Distributed Hash Table (DHT) which finds IP addresses, removing the need for a central server to route messages, the company explained.

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Jan 04 2013

Study Says Yahoo, Google Help Fund Pirate Sites

Study Says Yahoo, Google Help Fund Pirate Sites

Google and Yahoo were among the top advertising networks servicing the most ads on pirate sites, according to a new study unveiled Thursday. The analysis by the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California found that Pasadena, California-based …

Dec 06 2012

Hollywood’s Total Piracy Awareness Program Set for January Launch

Hollywood’s Total Piracy Awareness Program Set for January Launch

Beginning in a few weeks, the nation’s major internet service providers will roll out an initiative — backed by Obama and pushed by Hollywood and the record labels — to disrupt and possibly terminate internet access for online copyright scofflaws …

Nov 05 2012

Two File-Sharing Porn Pirates Dinged $3M for Infringement

Photo: Pixie / Flickr

Two men are being ordered to pay $1.5 million each for uploading gay pornographic movies to file-sharing sites without permission from the Florida distributor, Flava Works.

Both Cormelian Brown (.pdf) of Delaware and Kywan Fisher (.pdf) of Virginia were ordered to pay the maximum $150,000 fine for each of 10 Flava Works films a judge concluded that they separately uploaded to and other sites.

The damages, the maximum allowed under law, are the highest ever in BitTorrent cases.

By comparison, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the first music file-sharer to go to trial, was dinged $2 million by a federal jury in 2009 for sharing 24 MP3s on Kazaa, the now-defunct file-sharing service.

In the gay porn case, neither defendant appeared in court nor were they represented by lawyers. As a result, default judgements against the two were made days ago by two different Chicago federal judges who found the defendants liable for infringement based on watermarking technology that Flava Works uses to track its films. Flava Works applies a unique watermark to each film that is downloaded, which is associated with the customer who downloads it. Watermarks assigned to the two defendants were discovered copied thousands of times on the internet, Flava Works said.

Daliah Saper, a Chicago attorney representing other defendants in the litigation, said no IP addresses ever linked any of the defendants to the purloined torrents — just the unique watermarks, which she is challenging in court as unreliable.

Neither of the defendants could be reached for comment. Fisher did not answer phone calls made to what is believed to be his residence. Contact information for Brown could not immediately be determined.

Meanith Huon, Flava Works’ attorney, declined comment.