Pirate Bay launches easy anti-censorship browser
The team running the Pirate Bay (TPB) – one of the web’s largest
file-sharing sites – has launched a special PirateBrowser that
allows users “to circumvent censorship that certain countries
impose onto their citizens.”
The launch comes as TPB celebrates 10 years of harboring ‘pirated’ and other online content.
Rather than being standalone software, PirateBrowser is a combination – or a ‘bundle’ – of a portable version of the Firefox internet browser and a popular client of the anonymous Tor network, Vidalia. The package is said to have the FoxyProxy add-on and “some custom configs” built in, while assuring that none of the programs had been modified, and that it does not contain any adware, trojans, or toolbars.
“It’s a simple one-click browser that circumvents censorship and blockades and makes the site instantly available and accessible. No bundled ad-ware, toolbars or other crap, just a pre-configured Firefox browser,” a TPB administrator nicknamed Winston said in a release message.
He also urged people to recommend PirateBrowser to anyone, who “can’t access TPB or other torrents-sites because they are blocked.”
According to information posted on piratebrowser.com, countries that have blocked access to the Pirate Bay include Iran, North Korea, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Italy and Ireland.
While enabling the internet users in those countries “to remove limits on accessing websites your government doesn’t want you to know about,” PirateBrowser does not guarantee web anonymity. To ensure complete anonymity, its compilers recommend using VPN (Virtual Private Network) services.
The pre-configured browser’s release is the latest effort by the Pirate Bay to disregard the growing number of legal actions mounted against it and other file-sharing websites, as well as against the distribution of copyright-infringing materials on the web in general.
Most recently, corporate giants EMI, Sony, Warner Music and Universal won a lawsuit against TPB in Ireland. A local court on June 12 ruled that all major Irish ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay in 30 days’ time.
Similar court decisions were taken in the UK and the Netherlands last year. Moreover, after a complaint by Dutch entertainment industry’s anti-piracy association BREIN, a court in The Hague ordered the Pirate Party of the Netherlands to stop publicizing ways to circumvent the block. The party claimed it was legally banned even from giving a website link to the well-known Tor project.
Facebook and Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger have also been blocking all messages containing links to the Pirate Bay. While Facebook claimed it has the right to use blocks on links where there is a “demonstrated disregard for intellectual property rights” based on their terms of service, Microsoft simply started flagging such links as “unsafe.”
The efficiency of all such limitations have been questioned by internet experts, as the use of proxy servers have continued to grant an easy access to the blocked websites for those craving for free media file content. The new TPB tool could thus mark a further success of free internet activists in their fight against the corporate rights-holders, as it brings the same practice to a wider audience of less experienced users.