New services are being designed in an attempt to hide the identity of BitTorrent users and others who share files. In an age when copyrighted materials are being shared openly, and when governmental and other associations are monitoring the sites, file sharing services are looking at a way to hide the IP addresses of those who share. But will anonymous users be able to hide and not get caught?

According to an article at TorrentFreak it states:

The UK government has high hopes for the piracy warnings Internet providers will be required to send to copyright infringing customers. The warnings are designed to scare users away from illicit file-sharing, but when we asked our readers what action they would take upon receiving a warning letter from their ISP, many were unmovable. A massive 41% indicated that they would take steps to conceal their identity, while only 7% of our readers said they would obey the warning and stop sharing.

The results of the survey clearly showed that avid file-sharers would rather hide their identities than stop downloading. And indeed, more and more BitTorrent users are seeking ways to protect their privacy online, rendering all the newly proposed anti-piracy laws useless.

TorrentPrivacy, BitBlinder and The Pirate Bay’s Ipredator are just a few examples of services launched in the past year, targeted at concerned BitTorrent users. The goal of these and other anonymity applications is clear; hide the IP-address of the file-sharer so he can’t be tracked down while swapping files.

Currently in beta, The Pirate Bay’s Ipredator uses the same tech platform as the VPN service Relakks. For a few dollars a month it routes all your traffic through its servers, hiding your IP address. Ipredator is currently limited to 3000 users but according to the Pirate Bay team there are another 180,000 users on the waiting list, eager to join.

Running a VPN network for hundreds of thousands of hungry BitTorrent users will prove to be quite a challenge. The infrastructure and bandwidth required by a service targeted at file-sharers is significant, not to mention costly. This undoubtedly leads to problems.

The aforementioned Relakks saw its subscriptions double in just a month when the controversial Ipred law came into effect in Sweden this April. This surge in subscriptions led to to major problems with support and updates according to Relakks’s chairman Jan Erik Fiske.

So it seems that the cat and mouse game will continue. Which makes me wonder. Will this type of anonymous file sharing programs really work? Or will the government and other associations be able to crack them?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.