Download of the Week: BitBlinder

David Murphy

Anonymous BitTorrent?  Sign me up!  Literally--a new-to-the-popular-vernacular freeware application called BitBlinder is making waves for its ability to conceal your BitTorrent downloading behind a Tor-styled "onion proxy."  What you sacrifice in download speeds, you make up for in raw anonymity. Simply put, you'll have a host of new protections in place that will bounce your location from system to system, creating a giant, untraceable mesh that routes your Linux downloads from an exit node all the way back to your lil' system at-home.

The downside?  You can't actually download BitBlinder yet. The program's still in beta, which will necessitate that you sign up for a waiting list and cross your fingers that you'll get a chance to check it out. Nevertheless, it could be worth your while if you're extremely concerned about others' ability to figure out what kind of free, legal software you'll pulling down through your peers.

What's the catch?  Although you, yourself, will be able to use an anonymous guide to snake your way through this digital maze of BitTorrent connections...  you have to allow others to use your computer as their own privacy-shielding exit node as well. And, in doing so, you could become liable for the data that's requested. After all, the setup of the location concealment is such that requests using you as an exit out of the confusion will appear to originate from you directly.

You can pull yourself out of the "exit node" feature if you so desire, but it will make it increasingly difficult to operate your BitTorrent client of choice. That's because BitBlinder operates on a credit system. Or, to put it simply, you have to contribute to the system in order to reap its benefits. Block off your own involvement in the Tor-like network and you won't be having anonymous downloads for very long.

It's an interesting concept, to say the very least. What about you?  Are you willing to trade in speeds for a little more security, or is BitBlinder's trade-off just too much of an eye for an eye?

Each week, Maximum PC picks a new free or shareware download as its favorite of... the week. Have a nifty application that you can't live without? Twitter David Murphy @acererak with your latest suggestions.

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