Torrent trackers to be outlawed in Russia?

The Russian authorities are going to pay serious attention to torrents. Many people around the world resort to this method of file sharing between computers. This is also the most capacious channel of mutual sharing of files, which is actively used for the so-called pirate traffic. The protection of intellectual property is one of the conditions of Russia's membership in the WTO and may trigger the establishment of full control over the Internet.

Russia's recent entry in the WTO implies the absence of any transitional period in applying the agreements of the organization for the protection of intellectual property. According to media reports, the document has already been submitted to the government.

The Ministry of Economic Development has prepared draft guidelines for the activities of the government to "ensure the safe Internet." The document talks about the development of systems of content filtering and the struggle against child pornography, cybercrimes and illicit distribution of personal data. A separate section is devoted to the struggle against the distribution of illegal content, "including with the use of torrents."

According to the International Union for the Protection of Intellectual Property (IIPA), one broadband connection in Russia brings $11.1 a year from legal music downloaded on the web. In France, the figure is 58.8 dollars in the U.S. - 82.6 U.S., in the UK - 97.5 dollars.

Torrents are file-sharing systems. It is possible to close traffic entirely by using so-called DPI-systems (Deep Packet Inspection). However, fighting piracy in this fashion is equivalent to the struggle against violations of traffic rules by shutting the road traffic down. This, of course, is also a method, but it clearly goes beyond the boundaries of common sense, if one seriously considers the fight against pirates the main purpose of "controllers."

Nowadays, torrent servers, according to various sources, account for 65-80 percent of user traffic on the Internet. Experts with the Internet Copyright Management (ICM) say that they are the main channels of traffic between users. According to the organization, four of five most popular resources with illegal content are torrent trackers,,,

However, if the government strictly follows the suggestions from the Ministry for Economic Development, it is unlikely that torrent trackers would be in danger in the near future. The document is about "the measures against the websites that distribute illegal content, if their servers are located in the Russian Federation." Most popular torrent trackers that ignore the requirements of copyright holders are located outside Russia.

For example, search engines Google and Yandex list website Rutracker as the leader. The website left the .ru domain and moved to .org. According to TNS, in September the website had 7.3 million unique users.

Thus, pretending to be struggling against piracy and feeding unproductive groups of "advocates of copyright," the authorities try to gradually establish total control on the Internet and mobile communications. This goal is the basic one, and the cries of so-called "advocates of copyright" with their ridiculous calculations of "losses" that copyright holders suffer are just an excuse.

Perhaps new systems will be able to collect information about most active users, and any of them could later be charged. In the summer of the outgoing year, the State Duma approved amendments to the law "About the protection of children from information that harms their health and development." Under the pretext of protecting children, it is now allowed by law to introduce a new system of control over the Internet with the use of DPI technology, which can "see" the headers of information transmitted through the net, the start and end points of the route, and decode the data sets directly.

Large traffic volume is not a hindrance for Internet providers. However, mobile operators that provide wireless Internet access found DPI very appealing. These systems inhibit the torrents that overload the network, peer-to-peer protocols, as well as the rival of mobile operators - Skype.

In addition to DPI-systems, Russia uses the SORM system (System for Operative Investigative Activities), which was originally a system of global telephone wiretapping. Combining these systems can become the basis for establishing control over the users of mobile phones and the Internet.

Vitaly Salnik


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov