Academic researchers have published information on the individuals and groups who upload torrent files to The Pirate Bay. The data reveals that most torrent files are first seeded from U.S. connections, with Comcast and Road Runner being the top Internet providers. The researchers also reveal the top 100 uploaders to The Pirate Bay along with their alleged whereabouts.
Privacy is in short supply on the Internet, especially on BitTorrent networks. Those who fail to take measures to hide their IP-addresses leave a prominent trail of information behind them.
Websites such as YouHaveDownloaded and MyPiracy have shown that it’s pretty easy to maintain a database of downloads connected to an IP address. But things can get even more scary, especially for those who publish torrents on sites such as The Pirate Bay.
A group of researchers from Universidad Carlos III and Institute IMDEA Networks in collaboration with other institutions are keeping a detailed log of those Pirate Bay users who upload torrents. Their main reason is to investigate the “fake torrent” phenomenon and to make the BitTorrent ecosystem more healthy.
To accomplish this the researchers track all files uploaded to The Pirate Bay and where possible record the IP-addresses of the initial seeders. In many cases these IP-addresses are associated with the person who uploaded the file to The Pirate Bay.
While the researchers have no intention of using the data for purposes other than research, it requires little imagination to see how copyright holders and law enforcement might use similar tactics to track down mass publishers of pirated content.
To show what information is available, the researchers have published a tool that allows everyone to lookup Pirate Bay users and see which seeder locations are associated with their account.
In addition they have published a chart of the top 100 most active uploaders during the past month, which is headed by the TvTeam, scenebalance and XxXRG user accounts. The top list might be handy for Pirate Bay users to see who the most prolific, uploaders are, per category if needed. For every uploader there are also some details on the related IP-addresses.
In some cases there are hundreds of IPs associated with a user, but there are also accounts that are linked to a single, or very few IP-addresses.
In addition to “snooping” on individual users the data also give more insight into the geographical locations and Internet providers used by Pirate Bay uploaders.
Looking at the list of top countries we see that most of the initial seeders of torrent files published on The Pirate Bay come from the United States. Canada comes in second and the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, Sweden, Spain, Norway, France and Brazil complete the top 10.
As can be seen below, the U.S. also heads the list of the most used Internet providers.
Comcast, Road Runner and Verizon make up the top three. Also notable is the Dutch University of Tilburg, which is ranked 9th.
Although no-one will be caught based on the data above, it is astonishing to see how much information can be gathered on Pirate Bay accounts and their associated IP-addresses.
Even when the connection to user accounts is disregarded, it is quite revealing that many BitTorrent users are appearing as initial seeders of torrent files from their residential connections, with all the associated risks.
Update: The researchers are working on updating the script, which may result in missing data in some instances.
Source: http://torrentfreak.com/researchers-exp ... rs-120831/