It's Absurdly Easy To Get Around Australia's Torrent Site Blocking

Before Christmas, the first practical application of Australia's site-blocking laws was used to block websites apparently used for illegitimate file sharing of copyrighted materials. The block, which will be implemented within a fortnight by some of Australia's largest ISPs, will prevent Australian users from accessing the sites. In theory, this is a big win for the country's rightsholders. In practice, it is ridiculously easy to get around any block that could be implemented, illustrating how inadequate and poorly conceived the government's site-blocking legislation is.

It's worth mentioning to start that it's entirely legal to download torrents. It's popularly used to distribute free software like Linux distros and GIMP. As a protocol, there's nothing illicit or at all dubious about how peer-to-peer file sharing works; it's no different to the HTTP and FTP that Despite that, 'torrenting' has been given a bad name eqaully by both the people that use the service to download Game of Thrones and Westworld and pirated games, and the rightsholders that loudly push the message that any torrenting is illegal.

The ISPs named in the case have a variety of different methods at their disposal -- which they can choose their preference of -- to block their Australian customers from accessing five file sharing or video streaming websites: Torrentz, The Pirate Bay, TorrentHound, SolarMovie and IsoHunt. DNS blocking, IP address blocking, and URL blocking are all options for ISPs to implement, and they're all equally simple for any remotely tech-savvy person to work around.

Any ISP-level DNS block can be solved by plugging Google's worldwide 8.8.8.8 DNS or any of a host of other free DNS resolution services, all of which will allow your PC and browser to navigate directly to any site blocked by your local internet service provider. Any IP address block can be worked around by using a proxy like Tor or even Google Translate. Any URL block can be worked around just by Googling for the IP address of the site in question and entering that into the address bar instead.

Simply logging into a VPN -- whether it's a paid subscription or one of the many free options -- solves any and all blocks that could be implemented by Australia's ISPs and mandated by any court order. It's impossible for a simple block to be put in place that serves as more than a mere moment's deterrence for any vaguely motivated individual.

This story was originally published on Gizmodo


Comments

    And once again the Australian government fails to understand the actual problem. Which is caused by the right holders in question.

      Oh they realise.

      It's that their priorities aren't to solve the problem for the consumer, but for the right holders.

        Isn't there a bit of subtext here? Govt introduces ineffective law which consumers can easily get around. Rights owners think they're winning the battle being given a small victory when in reality nothing has effectively been achieved?

        Govt can appease rights holders and show they are acting - consumers can still download. To me that seems a win - win.

    Its not that we want to pirate ozzie gov.
    Given the chance at better distubution methods like steam for our games we would happily pay.
    you just keep shutting those distro methods down.

      It's not so much that they are shutting the methods down, but more that because we're in a free market economy which allows rights holders to charge us more than other countries based on our geographical location (aka, the "Australia Tax")

    I pay for games, pay to see movies in theatres... but regulalarly downlod BR rips and TV shows I can't get easily on Netflix or normal television. Or obscure movies that are difficult to find.

    There's no video stores anymore and Australian streaming/digital libraries are garbage compared to other countries.

    This isn't even an excuse. It's the state of our reality *shrugs*

      Can't agree with this enough.

      I've built my own fully automated server for my movies and T.V shows because the current options are so hugely fragmented and inadequate. A TV series shouldn't be fought over for exclusive rights so I have to have 3 or more subscriptions to watch the shows I want.

      "Yeah, well... I'm gonna go build my own theme park, with blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the park!" - Bender

    Meh the internet is the internet so of course you can't block it... it's one of its fundamental design principles.

    But I do love the obligatory lamentations over how the corporations force us to pirate because obviously we have no free will anymore... lol

      "Product unavailable in your territory... I better shove a thumb up my arse and wait in the hope they release it here."

      If lack of free will was the issue, we wouldn't be able to sidestep vendors who refuse to sell.

        Yes that's right. Piracy is a choice. Nobody is forcing anyone to pirate. The only person to blame for piracy is the person who chooses to do so.

    Looks like it's going to be the year for it - just this week I (and judging by whirlpool forums a lot of other people) have discovered that the option of buying overseas Xbox gift cards through overseas versions of the Microsoft store has been cut off - this forces Australian customers back into the highly priced Australian store which has a pathetically small range to go with those high prices! Looks like the screws are tightening on consumers everywhere in this country

      It's funny that the main country that always gets the screws tightened is Australia huh? You don't see Japan or Europe get these types of measures, it's always Australia. Hell, even New Zealand doesn't get this level of draconian enforcement

    who care's its old new no matter what they do you will always get around it

    Its even more concerning that ISPs made absolutely no effort to fight this in the courts. I mean does no one respect their own freedom anymore?

    People are all too happy to give up their civil liberties that others died protecting! Its disgusting that people couldn't give a fuck nowadays. It will continue this way until we're all locked up in concentration camps, give it 20 years and the government will make sure it happens.

    If i had the NBN id happily sign up for a legitimate streaming service

    If streaming services covered majority of the movie/tv content instead of them all fighting for exclusivity and forcing the end user to sign up for 2-3 services to watch everything they want to watch.

    If Geo blocking wasnt a thing and people could freely watch the international content they want that isn't available on their local streaming services

    Maybe then piracy numbers would go down

    Last edited 29/12/16 3:15 pm

    meh it was doomed from the start. I'd wager anybody that is remotely tech savvy wouldn't rely on their ISP DNS and would have changed to something else long before hand

    In both Chrome and Edge, if you open an incognito window you can still access The Pirate Bay.

    *That's* how easy it is to circumvent the ban.

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