As ‘Six Strikes’ Policy Rolls Out, BitTorrent Users Just Look For Ways To Remain Anonymous

The number of people searching for "BitTorrent VPN" spiked following the Feb. 25 Copyright Alert System announcement.

The number of people searching for “BitTorrent VPN” spiked following the Feb. 25 Copyright Alert System announcement.

After months of delay, the new Copyright Alert System (better known as “Six Strikes” for the six levels of warnings handed out to alleged violators) finally began rolling out to the nation’s largest Internet providers a couple weeks ago. But rather than curb their file-sharing, a number of folks just began looking for ways to not get caught.

TorrentFreak recently looked at the Google Search Trends for terms “BitTorrent VPN” and BitTorrent Proxy,” figuring these would be good barometers for determining if there was increased interest in services that hid or masked a user’s IP address from those who might be monitoring to look for people illegally sharing copyrighted content.

As you can see from the graph above, after remaining relatively flat for the first six weeks of the year, searches for BitTorrent VPN spiked during the last week of February, which just happens to be the week the Center for Copyright Information announced the CAS roll-out.

“Some people may stop or share less when they receive warnings, but there will also be a group that will respond to the warnings by becoming more anonymous,” one researcher explained to TorrentFreak. “A third group will try to find other means to share files than BitTorrent, since these are not monitored.”

It’s worth pointing out that plenty of people who use things like VPNs and Proxy servers to mask their IP address are not necessarily doing so in order to illegally share files. To some, it’s just a matter of privacy and programs like CAS — though ISPs claim they are not directly monitoring users’ browsing habits — strike a number of consumers as being too invasive.