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What If Your Internet Service Provider is Spying On You?

Music and media companies have been trying different methods to keep a check on online piracy. But it has been an increasingly difficult task for them, considering all the data is not stored on a single computer, but is spread across multiple computers connected to  the internet. The problem escalated to new levels when the peer-to-peer download technique was developed, in which users download bits and pieces from different computers and assemble them on their computer.

The only solution the companies had was to form an alliance with ISPs in order to keep track of such downloads. If anyone was seen uploading or downloading pirated content, the ISPs let these companies know about it. The miscreants are then given a couple of warnings before the company takes legal action on them.

Challenges Faced By Music and Movie Companies

As the the popularity of the internet grew, concerns about online privacy was also increased. However, the rise of online social networking took the privacy concern to an all new level. It went to such an extent that online tracking could be done legally, without the tracker realizing that he or she is being tracked. So, new and improved techniques to hide your tracks over the internet were developed.

One of the biggest obstacles for music and movie distribution companies was proxy servers. Even if they found a computer downloading pirated content, they couldn’t pinpoint the user’s exact location. The company could not ask the ISP  for details of that IP address for two reasons. The first  was that the IP was spoofed by proxy servers and hence no user existed at that address. The second reason was not all ISPs are friendly with the media companies. If the music/movie company was based in USA, a Brazilian ISP will definitely not provide details of an IP belonging to that country citing privacy concerns.

Make a Deal with the Protectors

ISPs or internet service providers are responsible for protecting your online privacy. They have elaborate measures set in place to  keep a check on unauthorized network access, and other internet security issues. Since they are the ones monitoring your internet traffic, they have complete access to the data passing through their servers. Till date, they were ignoring the data and concentrating on making the data tunnel secure. However, because of the new deal, they might have to start monitoring the internet traffic again. There are both good and bad implications of this. The tracking cannot be prevented even if you stop cookies/tracking online.

The Good and Bad of Internet Traffic Monitoring

Online piracy is indeed a serious issue and many people are not getting the credit and the revenue they deserve for hard earned work. Monitoring the traffic will allow the music/movie companies to track down the people who are distributing pirated content at the grassroots level and nip it. This is probably the only way to avoid online piracy.

But there is also a bad part to it. Even though majority of the users are not involved in seeding and uploading pirated content, they might have sensitive information which they do not want others to access. The scope of this information can be anything from personal to sensitive business information that involves thousands of dollars worth profits and losses. There is no guarantee that the employees at your ISP will not access that information on someone’s orders and use it against you.

No Other Alternative

For the moment, there seems to be no other alternative solution. The internet is not as secure as we hoped it would be. The only way to avoid any mishaps is to ensure that you take extreme caution while using the internet as a medium for any communication involving sensitive information.

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