Rights Alliance Warns That Persistent BitTorrent Pirates Face Prosecution

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Earlier this month Rights Alliance declared victory in its war against private torrent trackers but according to the anti-piracy group, a stubborn minority of BitTorrent users aren't getting the message. So, in partnership with the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime, Rights Alliance aims to weed them out - even those hiding behind VPNs.

denmark flagIn the closing months of 2020, enforcement measures against private torrent sites in Denmark became evident when the alleged 69-year-old operator of NordicBits was arrested by Spanish police.

Then, following a complaint from local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance, the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime (SØIK) had a 33-year-old Danish man arrested in Morocco on suspicion of running DanishBits.

With both sites shut down, two other sites – Asgaard and ShareUniversity – opened their doors to new members but were quickly warned they too faced similar treatment.

Asgaard quickly shut itself down as did ShareUniversity, but fresh arrests earlier this month showed that the authorities were ready to pursue their operators.

Attention Switches To Persistent BitTorrent Pirates

When torrent sites shut down, there is a tendency among users to find new homes, as illustrated by the exodus from NordicBits and DanishBits to would-be replacements. While this can happen seamlessly, the authorities in Denmark have already signaled the possibility of tracking down site users, using data obtained during earlier raids.

“The most important thing is clearly to stop the illegal services, but it can certainly not be ruled out that seized data can lead to the identification of the users of the two illegal networks,” Deputy Police Inspector Michael Lichtenstein said in December.

It’s not uncommon for pirates to dismiss these kinds of statements as scare tactics or lacking in substance but there are now signs that SØIK and Rights Alliance intend to make good on their warning. In a statement published Friday, Rights Alliance says that it intends to “sharpen its focus” on these entrenched users “who stubbornly stick to their illegal activities.”

Referencing the closure of Asgaard and the associated arrests, Rights Alliance notes that SØIK is maintaining a keen interest in persistent pirates, something that it believes is “enormously important” in its battle to prevent online copyright infringement.

According to the anti-piracy group, its earlier actions against the sites listed above reduced the number of private tracker users by more than 75% but that leaves around 25% who, despite the enforcement actions, still aren’t getting the message. As a result, further measures will be taken.

“With the IP Task Force behind it, technical insight and access to the illegal services where the Danish incarnated users have moved from, it is now possible to take an active part in sanctioning them,” Rights Alliance warns.

Interestingly, the anti-piracy group makes a specific reference to users deploying anonymization techniques, noting that they have the tools to unmask them, whether they’re using a VPN or not. TorrentFreak asked for more information on this claim but Rights Alliance declined to elaborate at the moment, instead offering to supply more information in the coming weeks.

Warning To Operators and Users Of New Pirate Sites

With Asgaard and ShareUniversity no longer open for DanishBits and NordicBits refugees to get their file-sharing fix, there are reports that other sites are already stepping in to bridge the gap. However, Rights Alliance warns that these services won’t be the safe haven most users prefer.

“In the coming period, the Rights Alliance’s activities will be focused on the perpetrators and users of the newly established Danish services, including NorTor, which is trying to establish itself after the closures in December,” the group says.

NorTor is a reference to NordicTorrent (NorTor.org), a torrent site that’s attempting to get off the ground at the moment. The site’s operators bought the domain at the end of December and appear to be using hosting registered in Seychelles.

Potential visitors should also be aware that while easily blocked, the platform already has not one but two cryptocurrency miners running on its main page.


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