RIAA Begins Monitoring this Summer
If you’re worried about prying eyes monitoring your Internet traffic, the RIAA and your ISP are likely to legitimize that concern for you in the summer of 2012. According to reports, the monitoring of Internet traffic on the behalf of the RIAA by several ISPs will begin this summer and that means that your privacy certainly isn’t what it used to be.
The RIAA announced that ISPs including AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and Cablevision will all being monitoring traffic to check for illegal downloading. The ISPs are providing the infrastructure to do the monitoring but the RIAA will actually be doing the monitoring itself. The targets will be bit torrent and other P2P technologies that online pirates use to share copyrighted materials.
The RIAA will report the incidents to the ISPs and, from there, the ISPs will take an escalating series of actions. Those actions start with warnings and get more severe from there, ascending to actually cutting off service to the user the RIAA has named.
Privacy Infringement and Few Results
There will still be plenty of ways that people can get copyrighted materials, despite the fact that all of the users on the ISPs in question will be having their traffic monitored by the entertainment industry interest group. Users can download from little-known torrent sites, for example, which are likely to pass under the radar of the RIAA, according to reports. Users could also use alternate technologies to download or use technology that allows them to conceal their online activity.
The official start date is listed as the “second quarter of 2012″, according to an article in Ars Technica. The original date given was July 12, which the RIAA says is incorrect.
Protecting Your Privacy
Piracy is a serious issue online, but so is privacy. For some users, having your Internet traffic monitored to make sure you’re behaving according to the definitions of the RIAA is the equivalent of having your car randomly searched to make sure you’re not doing anything wrong.
For users who do not want to have their traffic monitored, a VPN network provides concealment. (Hint: Check out our guide on the best VPN networks.) The networks encrypt information and obscure the origin and destination of traffic. Their protection applies to any and all networked communications engaged in from a computer, so there are no holes when using a torrent client for legitimate purposes, for example. Not all ISPs are participating in this monitoring activity.
Another note worth mentioning different VPN providers will have different policy on types of traffic so make sure you do your research before you signup.