It seems that every time a new technology comes out, we hear about a special “secure” version of that technology close on its heels. First we had HTTP, followed by HTTPS. Similarly, a lot of protocols like IM, VOIP, and FTP have secure or encrypted versions of themselves. Now it’s the mighty torrent’s turn.
I know what you’re thinking, torrents are already pretty anonymous. The decentralization doesn’t directly mask your activities, but at least there’s some safety in numbers, right? While I’m not network savvy enough to really answer that one directly, it seems that someone with access to a tracker might have a pretty good idea who’s coming and going (or seeding and leeching, as the case may be).
Recently, TorrentFreak reported on a new service called BitBlinder. Similar to TOR in that it uses “layers” of users to funnel the data, BitBlinder protects users’ identities as they help one another pass their bits. The main difference between the two services is that torrenting through TOR can be a slow process whereas BitBlinder is designed specifically for torrenting.
Also, BitBlinder is free. This is accomplished by a model in which you donate data transfer time on your machine in exchange for network access. BitBlinder grants you 2GB to start with and allows you to earn more time by keeping a good ratio of take-to-give.
Right now the service is taking email addresses and slowly handing out invites. I’ve yet to receive one (I registered a week ago), but you never know when their next block of beta tester positions will open up! Sign up now if you’re at all interested.
Does this kind of thing appeal to you? Also, if anybody wants to read the scholarly paper on this topic [PDF] (penned at my Alma Mater, GMU), I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.