How Different Countries Handle the Threat of Online Piracy
Americans are used to a country with relative lax rules regarding internet usage. There is very little access barred, even if the sites in question are privy to illegal actions. In the U.S., a site is typically accessible until a court rules that the website itself is engaging in impermissionable behavior: at this point, the website is taken down.
In the U.K., things are a little different. The U.K. as a whole tends to give more power to authorities in the case of potentially illegal activities. As such, the U.K. actively blocks its citizens from accessing pirating sites. Pirating sites, such as The Pirate Bay, allow users to exchange and download files illegally. These files typically contain music, movies or television shows, among other things. For this reason, some people in the U.K. search for reverse proxy sites that allow them to access pirating websites.
The U.K., as a result, launched “Operation Creative,” a task force with the stated goal of cracking down on piracy networks. This week, The U.K. Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit busted the reverse proxy server known as Immunicity. As of today, the site is offline. Immunicity, though not necessarily doing anything illegal itself, specifically existed in order to allow users to access torrenting sites. Who was behind the website? Authorities have not released the suspect’s name, but say that the owner of the domain names was a 20-year-old from Nottingham.
What is reverse proxy service, anyway? Though it might get a bad name from cases like this, in reality, reverse proxies are just a type of web service. Basically, they act as a go between for a server and a client. As shown in cases like Immunicity, proxies can help to hide the initial source of information, which can be useful for many companies dealing with the exchange of sensitive information. Depending on the reverse proxy service used, it can be possible to compress data for better loading times, and distribute data loads better. They are also useful as a first line of defense against cyber attacks and for easy file transfer.
What’s the future of sites like Immunicity? Although illegal activities will likely persist as long as the internet is around, it will likely get more difficult for users to easily access sites like The Pirate Bay.
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