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Using PeerBlock correctly, when and when not to?

Posted by SherlockHomes 
Using PeerBlock correctly, when and when not to?
October 26, 2009 01:49PM
Hey Everyone

I'm a computer science major but I've never really delved into the world of content tracking but with the influx of many people receiving mail from their ISP's about copyright infringment I thought it was time to take notice. I've been sat at my computer today and have been trying to figure out something about PeerBlock and was hoping to get some of the PeerBlock guy's opinions and your own about this.

Say hypothetically that I activate PeerBlock and then begin to torrent a piece of copyrighted material. When firstly does the risk of this action being tracked generally occur. During the download or are media companies constantly accessing your PC to search for copyrighted materials?

As I sit here and type this I'm looking at my PeerBlock and its stoping requests without surfing the net, torrenting etc. Sony pops up a good bit which i assume has something to do with securrom. And even other more random ones pop up. The bottom line everyone is I want to know should I just leave PeerBlock running all the time seeing as I'm always getting requests?

Thanks for any advice you can give

SH
Re: Using PeerBlock correctly, when and when not to?
October 26, 2009 04:08PM
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yes, keep PB running whenever your machine is on to get the maximum effect PB offers.
Re: Using PeerBlock correctly, when and when not to?
October 26, 2009 06:42PM
I agree with brandonjm8. Leave PB running at all times. When I'm downloading but will be away from my PC... I'll enable block HTTP also.
Re: Using PeerBlock correctly, when and when not to?
October 26, 2009 11:18PM
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Yes, definitely leave it running all the time. it uses very few computer resources, so it's not an issue to leave it running. it stops all sorts of connections that we don't want! Sony for example!

For your hypothetical situation;

bittorrent (by it's very nature) gives you IP to a tracker, and from there, the tracker gives your IP to any computer that requests it, along with everyone connected to that tracker.

So if you are using any torrent (including legal ones, say a linux distro), it is very easy to get your IP.

this isn't usually enough evidence however for a company to attemt to sue you; they typically need to download content from your IP to confirm you actually have some copyrighted material.

this is where PB steps in; it does not allow connections to computers on your blocklists, so these computers cannot download anything from you.

lets assume that our blocklists are perfect (they very rarely are, but that's another issue!): companies have very little evidence that you are actually downloading copyrighted material, such that they will struggle greatly to sue.

if however, there are holes in your blocklists (which i believe WILL be the case if you are trying to block all companies that track torrents - they change so often!), then some companies may be able to 'get through' PeerBlock, and download enough content to have adequate evidence to sue.

so in this hypothetical situation, whilst peerblock does help significantly, it is not perfect.


If anyone using PeerBlock thinks that they can download copyrighted content safely 'because i'm using PeerBlock', they are wrong. Simple as that!


I hope that's cleared up any questions you have!

If you've got any further questions, feel free to ask!

Cheers!
Re: Using PeerBlock correctly, when and when not to?
October 27, 2009 01:56PM
Thanks for all your comments everyone, especially hoodadilly. I do have on other concern.

From what I've been investigating it seems that the popular weapon of choice for media companies seems to be setting up fake trackers and then not only recording an IP but also logging what your downloading from them. In this scenario then PeerBlock would not help us.

The only way I can see to combat this would be to use a 3rd party encryption gateway like Tor and JAP. With that said though it wouldn't really help. And this scenario is a fairly extreme example. Like hoodadilly said, media companies usually need to collect more data than just your IP from a tracker.

In the past couple of days I have become inspired to promote not only PeerBlock but more secure web usage in general. Not only do I respect all the work PeerBlock stands for I also helps promote net neutrality for the simple reason it is ensuring that media companies don't get a foot hold into ISP policy
Re: Using PeerBlock correctly, when and when not to?
October 27, 2009 02:51PM
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SherlockHomes Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> From what I've been investigating it seems that
> the popular weapon of choice for media companies
> seems to be setting up fake trackers and then not
> only recording an IP but also logging what your
> downloading from them. In this scenario then
> PeerBlock would not help us.

As hoodadilly said, once you're part of the swarm you're part of the swarm, regardless of who the tracker is for a torrent (or whatever other P2P protocol you're using - emule for example).  In this case, so long as the "bad guy's" IP address is in one of your blocklists, you won't be connecting to them - or them to you.  Where "bad guys" is whatever you've defined them to be - governments, tracking servers (the reason "Bittorrent, Inc" is blocked by the Bluetack Level1 list for example), lawsuit-happy media associations, etc.

Furthermore, some of the lists available track such things as "bad peers", "fakes", etc.  Using these lists can supposedly help insulate you from some of that too.

Again though, if you are downloading copyrighted material, you may be breaking the law in whatever town/state/country/planet you live.  I urge you to read our disclaimer, the FAQ entry Does this mean my P2P downloading is completely safe now? 

Just for the record: PeerBlock does not specifically condone or endorse copyright infringement.  We simply believe that it's your right to determine who your computer is "allowed" to talk with, just like a parent will keep tabs on who their children talk with.  And while we understand that many of our users use PeerBlock in an attempt to "protect" themselves while sharing copyrighted material, PeerBlock has many other uses as well - blocking access to advertising/spyware servers, machines which have been hacked or otherwise compromised, virus/worm/trojan "command and control centers" (a few people have actually reported to me that PeerBlock was the one tool on their machine that detected a Conficker infection, stopping it as it attempted to contact a Conficker "C&C" machine), pedophiles, etc.

        ---  Mark  ---




Lead developer of PeerBlock
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