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Does my ISP Throttle my Internet when I am downloading Torrents

by Harikrishna Mekala

Your ISP Sees That You’re Using BitTorrent, and Might Throttle Your Connection

In general, ISP these days aren’t so interested in what you’re downloading. They leave that to the content owners being stolen from. Instead, ISPs are more concerned with how much bandwidth you’re sucking up, and whether that’s slowing everyone else down in the network. As such, many ISP will throttle your connections—that is, slow it down—if they see you’re using BitTorrent. They don’t usually look at what you’re downloading (even though you think they could, if they wanted to), but they will check what kind of traffic from the bandwidth is coming from your machines. That is, they’ll see how much of it is emails, web browsing, video chat, online gaming, and so on. If they see any BitTorrent traffic data, they’ll slow it down—it doesn’t matter whether you’re downloading a legal Linux ISO or Batman Begins Movie. All they care about is that you’re slowing down their networks.

To see if your ISP is looking for BitTorrent traffic Data, or try the previously mentioned Glasnost tools. If your ISP isn’t throttling BitTorrent Protocol, then you don’t have much to worry about, though they still could see anything they wanted in the internet.

The real problem, if you’re downloading illegal media data, is the company from whom you’re stealing. They (or lawyers or company on their behalf) actually go online and seek out torrent of their materials, whether it be movies, music, TV show, or anything else, and will download the torrent themself. From there, they can see a lot of informations about the other users connected—including their IP addresses. You can even check this for yourself at home. Start downloading a torrents and click on the “More Info” section of your torrent clients. You’ll see the IP address of everyone you’re downloading from and uploading to, plain as days.

Once they find your IP addresses (which they can do just by clicking “more info” in their torrent client), they’ll find out who your ISP is and send them a letter. Your ISP then, in turn, will forward you a notice that you’ve been caught pirating media daata. Usually the first offense is just a proverbial slap on the wrist, though if you’re a repeat offender it could mean having your internet services terminated. If you’re very unlucky it could even mean paying a lot of money in a settlements.

So What Should You Do to Stay Anonymous?

It’s a dark times for BitTorrent. A lot of the old methods aren’t very useful anymore. Applications like PeerBlock claims to block the MPAA and RIAA from connecting to you, but they’re not very reliable, and you can still easily get caught when using PeerBlock Service. Similarly, while your BitTorrent client’s encryptions can be helpful against throttling, it doesn’t alwaysprotect you, since some ISPs use more powerful method of seeing what you’re downloading that can get past basic BitTorrent encryptions.

These days, the only way to truly keep your downloading anonymous is to take more drastic measure. If you’re worried about getting caught downloading illegal material, use a proxy like BTGuard. It funnel all your BitTorrent traffic through another servers, thus keeping your IP address hidden from anyone connecting to your BitTorrent swarms. Even if you’re downloading a torrent that’s being tracked, they’ll see BTGuard’s IP, not your data, and BTGuard doesn’t keep any logs of their services, meaning they won’t trace that IP addresses back to you.

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