Popcorn Time Explores I2P Anonymity as VPN Overloads

One of the most-used Popcorn Time forks plans to implement support for the anonymous I2P network to protect its users from snooping anti-piracy organizations. In addition the application wants to shield its operation from takedown attempts by pushing software updates though a P2P technology.

popcorntBranded a “Netflix for Pirates,” the Popcorn Time app quickly gathered a user base of millions of people over the past year.

There are several successful forks of the application available online who all work on their own feature sets.

Popcorn-time.se, has been one of the most active projects. The fork added numerous features and made privacy one of its key selling points.

Last year it was the first fork to roll out a built-in VPN that could be used free of charge. However, with millions of users the associated VPN provider Kebrum had trouble keeping up with the massive demand.

“Our user base grew so quickly and is still growing at a tremendous pace that we’re having difficulties keeping up with the volume. Only a small percentage of the huge number of our users we have can use the VPN simultaneously at the moment,” the Popcorn Time team tells TF.

This motivated the developers to look for various alternatives to keep its users secure. In this quest the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) caught their eye.

“We’re now making the first steps in examining integration of Popcorn Time with the I2P network,” the team explains.

The I2P network has been around for more than a decade but never really caught on with the mainstream public. It operates as an anonymous overlay network, similar to Tor, but is optimized for file-sharing.

One of the major downsides of this type of anonymity is that it may slow down transfer speeds, and that’s also the main concern for the Popcorn Time developers.

“Our biggest question in regards to using the I2P network, and we’re examining this question thoroughly to see if it’s the best solution for anonymity for Popcorn Time, is whether the download speed will be good enough for Popcorn Time to work well and for users to be able to still get the awesome viewing experience they have become accustomed to.”

“We are trying to find ways in which we can use the huge user base Popcorn Time has in order to enhance the speed of I2P to our users,” the Popcorn Time team adds.

In addition to safeguarding the privacy of its users, Popcorn Time is also concerned about attacks on its own infrastructure. Android Planet reports that Popcorn Time also plans to distribute its software through P2P technology, so users can get the latest updates even when the server’s offline.

This is not just a hypothetical situation. A few months ago this fork of Popcorn Time lost its .eu domain name after they were put “under investigation” by the EURid registry, and pressure from copyright holders hasn’t stopped since according to the developers.

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