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Windows 10 sends torrent pirates running

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Private torrent tracker group iTS has banned users on Windows 10 from accessing their site, with more private torrent tracker sites likely to follow suit. Why you may ask? There was a lot of talk recently about Microsoft’s EULA, which some suggest would cause Windows 10 to disable pirated games, yet as I showed last week, there is no evidence to support the theory. Windows 10 just “can’t stop phoning home” as the Operating System (OS) continues to communicate with Microsoft even when enabling all privacy settings in an attempt to “live off the grid”.

Is there any legitimacy to the private torrent tracker group’s concerns or does the move to ban Windows 10 users stem from paranoia and the fear of getting caught, sending these groups running for the hills.

(Please note: Piracy is illegal and MWEB GameZone does not condone any form of piracy; therefore, no links to torrent sites will be given in this article.)

Windows 10 and private torrent trackers

For the uninitiated, there is a big difference between private torrent trackers and public ones. Anyone can simply jump onto a site like The Pirate Bay (which has a public tracker) to download legal and illegal software or media. Private tracker groups are sites with a set group of members who use and share files via a private torrent tracker. These groups can take weeks or even months to get invited to and have a strict set of rules to protect their members.

The main reason for the ban on Windows 10 users and the Windows 10 privacy controversy comes from a line in the 12000 word Windows 10 End User License Agreement (EULA), which reads:

“We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.” - Source

Although the news that Windows 10 will disable pirated games has spread across the internet this month, there is no evidence to support the theory, as I pointed out Xbox and Windows Games published by Microsoft and not all pirated content. Without official word from Microsoft on the matter we just can’t be sure.

However, the issue is serious enough for private tracker group iTS to ban Windows 10 users from their site. If you attempt to access the site from a Windows 10 PC, you are redirected to the video below that details the alleged dangers of using Microsoft’s new OS.    

According to a Reddit post, the iTS tracker group has issued a statement on the Windows 10 ban:

“Many of you might have heard or read about the terrible privacy policy of windows 10 recently. Unfortunately Microsoft decided to revoke any kind of data protection and submit whatever they can gather to not only themselves but also others. One of those is one of the largest anti-piracy company called MarkMonitor. Amongst other things Windows 10 sends the contents of your local disks directly to one of their servers. Obviously this goes way too far and is a serious threat to sites like ours which is why we had to take measures. Since last Thursday Windows 10 is officially banned from iTS.

Members using it get redirected to a video that explains the dangers quite in detail hoping to enlighten as many people as possible. Perhaps at some point special versions of windows 10 will surface that would successfully wipe all those outrageous privacy violations but until then windows 10 is not welcome here in the interest of this site and all iTS members.” - Source

The individuals behind a private torrent tracker group are probably more knowledgeable about the inner workings of networks than most. However, there is no clear evidence to support their statement that “Windows 10 sends the contents of your local disks directly to one of their servers.”

One point that does raise concerns for pirates is that Microsoft can submit data to others, specifically MarkMonitor. Although at first glance it looks like a legitimate point of concern, it is important to note that Microsoft has been working with MarkMonitor for years. MarkMonitor assists Microsoft by “providing data to help Microsoft protect customers from phishing scams.”

Although there is no evidence to support that piracy information is being shared, the connection is raising concerns from other private torrent tracker operators as well. Both well known private torrent tracker sites BB and FSC are considering banning Windows 10.

BB staff elaborates in a comment:  

“We have also found [Windows 10] will be gathering information on users’ P2P use to be shared with anti piracy group. What’s particularly nasty is that apparently it sends the results of local(!!) searches to a well known anti piracy company directly so as soon as you have one known p2p or scene release on your local disk … BAM!”

The same sentiment is shared by FSC staff:

“As we all know, Microsoft recently released Windows 10. You as a member should know, that we as a site are thinking about banning the OS from FSC. That would mean you cannot use the site with the OS installed.”

Is the concerns raised by private torrent tracker groups legitimate or drenched in paranoia? Will more torrent sites follow suit? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Source: Reddit, Microsoft EULA

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