Although private BitTorrent trackers have a much lower profile than most sites, they are not in any way ‘safer’ than public ones. In fact, the only BitTorrent users in the US who have received jail time were heading a private tracker that was dismantled by the FBI. Nevertheless, after various crackdowns in recent years, people flood to these sites and their popularity continues to grow.
More recently, however, the pressure is being applied to the administrators of public BitTorrent sites and trackers who accommodate millions of users every day. At any given point in time 25 million peers are connected to The Pirate Bay’s trackers, which dwarfs every other tracker on planet earth while making the site the prime target of the entertainment industry.
If the Pirate Bay were to close, roughly 50% of all public torrents would be put to a halt, and many of the smaller public trackers would have a hard time in coping with the extra load and could even collapse under the strain. Meta-search engines like Torrentz would have much less to index too. That said, if you’re lucky enough to be a member of a private site, the show probably goes on.
What we’re interested in is how many of you rely almost exclusively on public trackers such as The Pirate Bay and what percentage get your BitTorrent fix mainly on private trackers. For clarity, we define a public site as one that requires no membership or logins and is open to all, while a private site is one you have to join and have probably been invited to. This leads us to the following question for this week’s poll.