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Oh, those silly governments. Internet censorship won't withstand the onslaught of web-savvy geeks! Nevertheless, the British and Dutch governments recently ordered ISPs to bar users from accessing The Pirate Bay whatsoever. Despite claims from anti-piracy groups that the blockade is being effective, new reports show that simply isn't true, and one website even explains how you can bypass the ban using only a web browser.
Yesterday, ExtremeTech studied data from XS4All, one of the largest ISPs in Europe. The graph below shows BitTorrent usage on the company's network, with the red line indicating the date that Dutch service providers were forced to blockade The Pirate Bay. As you can see, BitTorrent usage hasn't gone down, and if anything, it's gone up slightly. That coincides with data from the University of Amsterdam, whose research found the Pirate Bay blockade to be utterly useless, ExtremeTech reports.
That's not surprising; anything you can find on the Pirate Bay can be found on dozens of other torrent sites, and as surely as haters are gonna hate, pirates are going to pirate -- if there aren't other affordable, easily accessed digital options available, that is.
Accessing the Pirate Bay is incredibly simple even with the ban in place. TorrentFreak notes that would-be Pirates can simply boot up the Opera browser and activate Turbo mode. Turbo mode streams traffic through the Opera servers, compressing the data before dishing it up in-browser. It's made for users with low-speed connections, but since Opera's servers aren't behind the blockade, they pass on full TPB access quickly, easily and sans VPN trickery or DNS tweaks.
No matter what you think of file sharing -- and I'm more of Netflix/Hulu/Spotify guy, myself -- it's been proven time and time again that criminalizing users and censoring BitTorrent-type download services simply doesn't work. Napster originally popped up more than a dozen years ago, after all, and we're still having these discussions today.