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How the Comcast Bittorrent 6 Strikes Program Invades Your Privacy and What You Can Do About It

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

The Copyright Alert System, also known as Six Strikes Program, is a system designed to curb online piracy. The system is jointly implemented by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and copyright holders such as Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The system is designed to send warning messages to the users who willfully participate in copyright infringement activities. After five or six warning messages, the ISPs may take further action to prevent a user from indulging in file sharing activities. While the program wants to protect artists and their intellectual property, the program opens up a can of worms in terms of how your privacy may be violated.

Comcast Bittorrent Six Strikes Program Background
While the Six Strikes program has a single goal, different ISPs have implemented their own version of the program. For instance, Comcast will send warning messages and browser alerts which are designed to become more urgent and pronounced with each violation. While the company would not cut-off your internet access or throttle your internet speed if you participate in file sharing or torrenting activities, you will have to call Comcast’s customer support to acknowledge the message and get the browser message removed. If you fail to act after repeated warnings, you will see a permanent message in your browser window that can only be removed once you call Comcast’s Security Assurance team. Due to the fact that they must monitor for bittorrent behavior, this sacrifices the privacy of consumers.

The Road Ahead
While the six strikes program is a big step towards preventing copyright infringement, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot participate in peer to peer sharing or torrenting. There are several ways in which you can keep your privacy even within the Comcast 6 Strikes program:

Using A Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN is arguably the best way to beat the six strikes program to win back your freedom. A virtual private network is a secure network designed to provide security and anonymity to its customers. With the help of a VPN, you can encrypt your internet traffic and participate in legal file sharing activities without revealing your IP address or worrying about the consequences. Moreover, when you use a VPN, even Comcast would not be able to detect the nature of the sites that you are visiting – thus protecting your privacy even further.

Use A Proxy Server
Using a proxy server is another way to beat six strikes program. A proxy server works like an intermediate layer and helps you hide your online activities from your ISP. However it should be noted that many proxy servers leak user details so they are not considered as secure as virtual private networks.

Switch Your ISP
If you are not happy with Comcast’s implementation of six strikes program, you can switch to a different ISP. However since most ISPs have their own version of 6 strikes program, you cannot bypass the system just by changing your ISP.

As you can see from above list, using a VPN is the perfect solution to bypass Comcast’s 6 strikes program. There are several excellent VPN providers like HideMyAss, IPVanish, HideIPVPN, StrongVPN and proXPN that can help you to beat the six strikes program implemented by Comcast. Since your internet connection is at stake here, it makes sense to use preventive measures especially while visiting file sharing sites or indulging in peer to peer sharing and torrenting activities. Also, if you are involved in illegal downloading of copyright material, it is highly advisable that you discontinue that act now as the government and private sector seem to be cracking down fairly hard. Nevertheless, if you want to protect your privacy from ISPs, a VPN is a great way to go.

April 9, 2013

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