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What is PirateBrowser and why should I care?

3 years ago

1 expert and 2 parents have answered

expert answer
James Diamond expert
James Diamond E-Safety & Safeguarding Trainer Leicester, GB
E-safety expert

Last month the notorious file-sharing website The Pirate Bay celebrated its 10th birthday by releasing PirateBrowser, a 'simple one-click browser that circumvents censorship and blockades and makes [The Pirate Bay] instantly available and accessible' as an administrator on the site describes it. The Pirate Bay is arguably one of the most banned websites in the world, with countries that have blocked it including draconian regimes like Iran and North Korea, as well as more openly democratic countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.

The software itself is both easy to install and use, and is based on a portable version of the popular Firefox Internet browser, bundled with a client of the anonymous Tor Network, Vidalia. While the browser doesn’t offer anonymous browsing, it does enable users to bypass government and ISP blocks on torrent-sharing sites like The Pirate Bay, as well as other sites that may be blocked for non-piracy reasons.

Despite the UK government assuring the public that their planned ‘default-on’ ISP blocks would not be easily bypassed by tech-literate children, it appears that there is already an easily available workaround to the plans over a year before they are due to come into force. The PirateBrowser has already been downloaded by half a million users in less than a month, and demand doesn't appear to be slowing.

It’s recommend that every family computer has a separate ‘master’ account, which is password-protected to ensure unauthorised programs cannot be installed or run without the express permission of an adult. That way, if children want to install new software or change the settings they will need to engage with a parent, and together you can make an informed choice on whether or not to install it. As ever, the key is parental engagement, and explaining to children the risks of their online behaviour.

2 Reply Share:
Fact 3 years ago
Matthew Day
Matthew Day A geek London, GB

In addition to the headline grabbing piratebrowser, there are plenty of other ways to browse using TOR - they have their own browser bundle, replacing the previous outdated and vulnerable solution, though additional care is required to ensure anonymity versus things like DNS leaks.

2 Reply Share:
Fact 3 years ago
Kevin Graham
Kevin Graham Wells, GB

I would just like to add that torrents that you might get to with something like pirate browser doesn't mean all bad. There are legitimate torrents such as linux distributions. Check what torrents your kids may be downloading before you charge in there and accuse them.

1 Reply Share:
Fact 3 years ago

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