Pirate Bay's Return Isn't Surprising

By Sean Michael Kerner  |  Posted 2015-02-02 Print this article Print
Pirate Bay

After a nearly two-month hiatus, rogue torrent-tracking site Pirate Bay re-emerges. Is anyone surprised?

Back in December 2014, when the Pirate Bay went offline, I speculated that the torrent-tracking site likely wasn't yet done and would return. As it turns out, that speculation was accurate and the Pirate Bay is once again a live site.

The Pirate Bay is a torrent-tracker site that provides users with a searchable listing of content that can be downloaded via the BitTorrent protocol. The Pirate Bay has a history of providing links to torrents that might include copyrighted content, such as Hollywood movies, music and apps. The site has existed in multiple locations over the years, with thepiratebay.se and thepiratebay.org being the primary domains users have been able to employ to access the site.

The December Pirate Bay take-down involved the .se and .org iterations of the site, as Swedish officials took aim at Pirate Bay servers. In the aftermath of the official site shutdown, copycat sites emerged, including thepiratebay.cz and the priratebay.com.ua.

There was even an open-source code effort launched by IsoHunt called OpenBay to provide the application code that could enable anyone to run their own Pirate Bay type site. Isohunt itself launched the https://oldpiratebay.org/ site as its OpenBay iteration. Neither Isohunt nor OpenBay are directly affiliated with the official Pirate Bay group.

The resurrected Pirate Bay site has already been the subject of some controversy with a lively discussion currently ongoing on the Reddit social media site. The main points of controversy is that the new Pirate Bay site is leveraging CloudFlare's content delivery network and distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection system to help deliver the site, which concerns some Reddit commenters.

CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince told me the company can't comment on a user without permission. That said, he pointed out two key links that are very informative on the policies that CloudFlare has about privacy and transparency. In April 2013, Prince blogged extensively on what his company actually logs and how that relates to privacy. CloudFlare also has a very comprehensive transparency report that details its actions on customer privacy and information requests.

"It is CloudFlare's overriding privacy principle that any personal information you provide to us is just that: personal and private," the transparency report stated. "We will not sell, rent or give away any of your personal information without your consent. Our respect for our customers' privacy applies with equal force to commercial and to law-enforcement requests."

Regardless of any potential user concerns, the simple truth is that thepiratebay.se/thepiratebay.org is back online and is already very active. A search of the recent torrents that Pirate Bay is tracking reveals robust activity, with new torrents posted every few minutes. As was the case at the time of the December shutdown, the Pirate Bay site is loaded with advertisements for adult content.

Pirate Bay is once again alive. Time will tell how long it will be until law enforcement takes aim to shut it down yet again.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.



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