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Protecting Your Privacy While Downloading With BitTorrent

Downloading torrents has always been a risky affair. When your terminal is switched on for extended periods of download, it is easily available for the hackers, who can pick at it at their own sweet time. But what if you got to know that it is not the hackers but your Internet Service Provider (ISP) that you should be wary of? Well, that is the truth. Some of the internet service providers have been monitoring the traffic of their consumers in an attempt to filter out downloading of copyrighted material at the network level.

Getting Less than What You Paid For

ISPs have been known to associate themselves with organizations such as Motion Pictures Association of America to help them fight piracy. In the name of fighting against piracy, the ISPs assume that all the data downloaded using a BitTorrent client is copyrighted material and limit the downloaded content. This is done by throttling the bandwidth.

Throttling the Bandwidth

Throttling has been one of the most effective techniques used by ISPs to limit data consumption by its customers. Imagine that you are paying for an internet connection of 2 Mbps. You will get a download speed of around 1.5 Mbps after eliminating the overheads. This is in theory. In real life, due to the transmission losses and other associated losses, you might end up with a connection capable of downloading at 1.2 to 1.3 Mbps.

What the ISP does is  limit this speed also. By limiting it, you will get a speed of around 600 to 700 Kbps. This will be more evident if you are using a BitTorrent client to download files. By definition, throttling is called as ‘intentionally limiting the download speed of the customer. The logic behind this  is that if speed is reduced, then the customers will be discouraged to distribute copyrighted material online.

Protecting Your Privacy in Case of Throttling

One of the more established ways of protecting your privacy while using BitTorrent client for download, is by using encrypted BitTorrent traffic. There is an option in the client that will allow you to do this. Essentially, encrypting your traffic makes it hard for the ISP to track and zero in on your signal. Even though it will read your signal while transmitting, the encrypted signal will not be understood by the ISP. This will allow you to use the full capability of the bandwidth and give you worry free torrents to download .

Encryption Option in Azureus

Azureus is one of the most popular BitTorrent clients available for Mac users. This client has tools which can automatically encrypt the traffic that is being sent out. The following steps will guide you in enabling the encryption in your Azureus client.

After launching the client, you should select the preferences from the menu bar. This will usually be in the default setting when it was installed. You should switch it to the advanced mode. Once you do that, you will be faced with a host of other options. Select the one that says connections. The bar will expand displaying the transport encryption option. Click on it and also before closing, click on the checkbox that says ‘Require Encryption Transport’. Save it and your traffic will be safe from the prying eyes of your ISP.

The VPN Method

There is another method of preventing bandwidth throttling. If the  traffic encryption method is not working for you, the VPN method will definitely work. Although it is complicated, the end result is worth breaking your head over it. You can search online to find  different ways of extracting the maximum out of your internet connection, using the VPN method. You can also connect via anonymous proxy but that is very risky. If you get it wrong, your node will become instantly vulnerable to hackers.

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