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By 14 August 2013 | Categories: news

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The latest salvo in the apparent neverending battle between those pushing for a completely open internet, and those who want tighter online regulations, appears to have been blast from the aft cannons. This time though, it is the former who have launched their latest volley of virtual cannonballs, none other than the notorious Pirate Bay.

Since the site launched the PirateBrowser, its own ‘anti-censorship’ browser on Saturday, available to download via its site, it has garnered in excess of 100 000 willing deckhands. Additionally, according to TorrentFreak, its torrent has been shared with more than 5000 people, with the browser itself exceeding 1000 downloads an hour.

Sinking the censorship

The Pirate Bay stressed that the browser is intended explicitly as a means to circumvent censorship and website blocks, particularly by governments. Apparently it is not intended (and cannot be used) to provide anonymity or hide one’s identity when browsing online.

According to a comment from The Pirate Bay, the browser’s success has been attributed to people desiring to “see the websites their governments and courts are trying to hide from them.”  

Particular countries named and shamed in this regard by The Pirate Bay include North Korea, the United Kingdom and Iran, amongst others.

Hoisting the Jolly Roger high

While the browser is currently only available for the Windows OS, apparently Linux and Apple Mac equivalents are in the pipeline as well. It’s perhaps little surprise that such a browser -  which has been based on Firefox 23 with a Tor client – came from the infamous site. This is especially the case as The Pirate Bay has  controversially been the target of many countries who were desirous of making it walk the plank and go feed the sharks.

Perhaps giving the pro-censorship crew yet more sleepless nights, is news that the the browser is not the anti-censorship tool that The Pirate Bay has plans for.

Apparently, users can also expect to see a special BitTorrent-powered application in the near future, aimed at enabling users to store and distribute The Pirate Bay and other websites on their own computers. This of course, would take the battle to another octave, particularly as this would then make it nigh on impossible for all of these to be blocked.

To the point

The move brings to mind the scientific principle that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Given how much privacy has become a hot topic this year – and fears around whether citizens privacy at large is being unduly compromised have come to the fore – this kind of development comes as little surprise.

It is though indicative of the fact that privacy and censorship may well be two sides of the same sword.

The same way the information age has apparently made privacy an almost impossible task, so too has it done the same to censorship, like it or not.

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