Google Threatens To Shutter BitTorrent Tracker Fail-Safe

Google has threatened to shut down Trackhub, a free service that provides a BitTorrent tracker fail-safe on Google's App Engine platform. The search giant claims it has received numerous complaints about the service, but seems to be clueless about what it's actually doing.

Last year we introduced Trackhub as a service that shields BitTorrent’s Achilles’ heel by distributing downloaders to a working tracker in case the main tracker in a torrent fails. Since then the site has gained a steady user base, so steady that the service itself is down half of the day because it exceeds the limits of Google’s App Engine.

Despite this ironic situation Trackhub’s owner Pedro has kept the service online, but this may change soon if that decision is left up to Google. Citing complaints from third parties, Google is demanding that Pedro closes his website or else they promise to do it for him.

“We have received numerous complaints regarding your application at trackhub.appspot.com The complaints appear to be a result of your application providing a BitTorrent tracking service which is distributing allegedly infringing content,” Google wrote to Pedro.

“Please disable your application’s BitTorrent service or otherwise filter the service so that it no longer distributes infringing content within 48 hours or we will be forced to remove your application from the App Engine service,” Google’s email continued.

Pedro, the operator of Trackhub was baffled by Google’s email because he has never received any complaints while Google claims to have received ‘numerous’. More importantly, even the most imaginative mind should have trouble seeing Trackhub as a BitTorrent tracker.

The site itself merely acts as a ‘hub’ that redirects BitTorrent users to a working tracker, it has absolutely no role in the downloading process itself. Despite this, Google claims that the Trackhub service has violated App Engine’s program policies.

The section Google refers to prohibits users to “Send, upload, distribute or disseminate or offer to do the same with respect to any unlawful, defamatory, harassing, abusive, fraudulent, infringing, obscene, or otherwise objectionable content,” which does not seem to apply to Trackhub at all.

“The Google Team needs to read the spec for BitTorrent and take a look at what Trackhub does in order to make an educated decision,” Pedro told TorrentFreak. “The source code for Trackhub is very short and is available at Github,” he added.

At the time of writing Trackhub has once again exceeded its daily usage volume, but the site has not yet been disabled by Google. Pedro told TorrentFreak that he wont take it down himself and that he awaits Google’s next move.

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