The owner of a torrent tracker has revealed how he avoids getting hauled across the coals by the MPAA and RIAA - by protecting his identity religiously. “I’m fairly paranoid and I find that’s a good start point,” he
In a (understandably) anonymous interview with the site, Mr T - as we’ll call him - cites the numerous tactics he uses to keep his internet-based activities separate from his real identity. Part of this, he says, is to “resist the ego trip” and refrain from using an online ID to gain notoriety (and so attract attention) on social networking sites such as Facebook.
Among the precautions he cites are the use of encrypted internet connections on an account under a false name, or a secure VPN over an open wireless network.
He ensures that ISP accounts are completely separate from his actual identity so that any activity cannot be correlated with him. Likewise, for hosting, Mr T uses disposable email addresses in cahoots with anonymising software. Added to which, the site is hosted abroad in a country where “the legal wheels [don’t] turn too easily.”
Respecting the law
Mr T says the domain he uses for the tracker is registered with someone who doesn’t have anything to do with the site, while the WHOIS information is also protected - though, as he admits, when the police need to find out the information they can. He even hides his complete identity to even his closest associates on the site - even his first name. “Small clues can easily add up to answers when put together like a jigsaw.”
He adds that any payments are made via disposable credit cards and various PayPal accounts, while email is also kept completely separate from personal accounts. “In addition, I always hide my IP when I pick up or send email,” he says.
Mr T also claims he respects the law - at least in most territories. “If you get a DMCA type takedown request, take the torrent down,” he says, flying in the face of advice from other trackers. “Be courteous, don’t make enemies,” he reasons.
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Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site T3.com. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.