The Internet Archive Starts Sharing Content Through Torrents

BitTorrent is the fastest and easiest way to transfer and distribute files. However, for the last few years, the world of torrent technology is trying hard to get rid of the stigma associated with it. Founders from torrent sites like The Pirate Bay were charged as guilty and this poses a huge risk for torrent technology. At this point, any legitimate business based on torrents comes out like a ray of hope. A few days ago, we saw BitTorrent trying to clear the name of torrent technology by creating its own content distribution network based on torrents.


This time, the Internet Archive is embracing torrent technology to make thousands of legacy files available to users. The Internet Archive is good at what it does, and with this new distribution strategy, they will reach a much wider audience. These files being distributed include old record albums, book collections, movies, radio shows and much more. John Gilmore, the founder of the EFF had this to say in a blog post announcing this release:

 I supported the original creation of BitTorrent because I believe in building technology to make it easy for communities to share what they have. The Archive is helping people to understand that BitTorrent isn’t just for ephemeral or dodgy items that disappear from view in a short time. BitTorrent is a great way to get and share large files that are permanently available from libraries like the Internet Archive.

Not only can you download files, but you can also contribute files to The Internet Archive torrents through or This makes it a true community, and provides a long-term solution for archiving of files, in an easier and better manner.


Mozilla, Reddit, WordPress and Others Join Hands to Create the Internet Defense League

The Internet is a wonderful place for activism, and when we speak of activism, what names come to your mind? Reddit, 4chan, EFF? Well, the Internet just got its own vigilante club, with its own bat signal (a cat signal actually) and the timing could not have been better, with the Dark Knight Rising this weekend.

The movement is done in style, and it is extremely appealing for geeks and Internet fans. The EFF has done a wonderful job protecting Internet users, though not many people know about them. The purpose of this league, is to engage more youngsters and get them interested in rights and freedom over the Internet. The League was launched yesterday with real cat-signals being projected at various cities. You can check out the launch page for more details.


An important part of making an expression is understanding your audience, and this might be a point of failure for the Internet Defense League. The Internet Defense League starts off with a funny name and takes the fun a step further with the cat signal. At the end of the day, it would project itself as a group with strong ethical beliefs and concerns, but these idiosyncrasies might overshadow the seriousness of their cause (though not in my eyes). In other words, good luck explaining to a 60 year old judge or senator the seriousness of your movement, after he sees a cat signal.

If you want to express your support for the movement, head over to their website, join the league and save the Internet.

EFF Launches MegaRetrieval to Help MegaUpload Users Get Their Legit Data Back

As you probably know already, Megaupload, one of the most popular file sharing websites, was taken down by the FBI, which claimed that the website incentivized users to upload pirated, illegal content. While that may be true, there was a significant amount of collateral damage to innocent users who had uploaded their personal, legitimate data on Megaupload servers to store it and share it online. Despite being completely legal, those users have no access to their data.

However, there may still be hope. Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced that it has partnered with Carpathia Hosting, Megaupload’s hosting provider, to launch MegaRetrieval, a website which would allow Megaupload users to get their legit, non-infringing content back.

An EFF staff attorney stated:

“EFF is troubled that so many lawful users of had their property taken from them without warning and that the government has taken no steps to help them. We think it’s important that these users have their voices heard as this process moves forward.”

The EFF hasn’t actually revealed the exact details about what it will do next, but for now, if you are one of the Megaupload users who lost their legit data stored on the website, you can send your contact information to [email protected].

Carpathia has officially stated that it doesn’t have access to any data for Megaupload customers, but it will try to help users retrieve their data.

Do note that the EFF doesn’t guarantee that you will get your data back. It is just trying to provide legal help to affected users.

The DoJ has announced that its searches on Carpathia and Cogent, Megaupload’s hosting providers, are now complete, and they may start deleting the hosted content from February 2.

However, on the EFF’s request, both the hosting companies have agreed not to delete the data without assessing the situation first.

The EFF Partners with XDA Forum to Reverse Engineer Carrier IQ

Until this point, we have had some people pointing fingers at Carrier IQ, while some others defended it hoping it was not as bad as it was portrayed to be. Either way, the whole Carrier IQ fiasco was turning into a big drama with everyone blaming Carrier IQ without substantial proof.

Finally, someone has put together all the pieces in this puzzle and the picture is nasty, indeed! EFF’s deeplink blog has reported about their ongoing work with Carrier IQ and has posted about its architecture. They have also unraveled how Carrier IQ interacts across layers on a phone. Trevor Eckhart was the first to raise the alarm on Carrier IQ, and it grabbed everyone’s attention.

Apparently, what Carrier IQ is doing on your cellphone, might differ from what it is doing on your neighbor’s cellphone. It depends on a nifty “Profile”, that is set through the Carrier IQ command and control infrastructure remotely. However, if you have rooted or jailbroken your phone, these “Profiles” are exposed and they can be retrieved. This thread on the xda forum tells you how to go about it (only if you have a rooted or jailbroken phone).

The EFF claims progress in this matter, saying,

On casual inspection, Carrier IQ Profiles are a mixture of binary data and legible code (example). EFF volunteer Jered Wierzbicki reverse engineered the file format and has written a program for parsing it called IQIQ, which we are presenting for the first time here. The binary file format is WBXML with a custom DTD. The code in the Profiles is written in Forth (if you would like a quick reference on the language, this one is good).

Users of CyanogenMod will be particularly delighted at this point, because it does not have a place for rootkits like Carrier IQ.

Carrier IQ Tries to Silence Security Research Exposing Its Rootkit, gets Pinned Down by the EFF

The first impression of the  Carrier IQ website is almost as if it manufactures IQ. Their website has IQ pasted all over it and this gives an intimidating feeling. However, that is for starters, and the best part of the story is yet to come! Carrier IQ feeds on our ignorance. It is a major manufacturer of rootkit software for carriers like Sprint, Verizon and more.


Carrier IQ describes itself as:

Carrier IQ is the market leader in Mobile Service Intelligence solutions that have revolutionized the way mobile operators and device vendors gather and manage information from end users.

Now, that is a nice way to put it. However, it simply means that Carrier IQ gathers information from mobile-device users and sends them back to carriers and device manufacturers. Even before we question the type of information that is sent back, a better question is “Why does information need to be sent back at all?” The type of information being sent back is varied, and ranges from network-usage to application-usage. If you had have heard of Apple tracking user locations, Carrier IQ goes way beyond that.  Carrier IQ can log much more than location. It can log your network activity, location data, application activity and everything else.

The data collection policy of Carrier IQ states ‘triggers’ and ‘metrics’ as two entities. Triggers are events on the phone that users can carry out. Unsurprisingly, the  Carrier IQ test UI  lists almost all possible events on Android as triggers. In essence, Carrier IQ is a rootkit.

The worst aspect of Carrier IQ is that it stays on your phone as a backdoor and does not require user permissions to run. Forget user permissions, it runs without a hint of being there on your phone.

The presence of Carrier IQ and their operations was hidden, until Trevor Eckhart from  revealed it. This was unacceptable for Carrier IQ because they had setup an empire, selling user data. No one came close to questioning them until today. As a response, Carrier IQ went ahead and filed a cease and desists against the expose article, and removed all its training material (that explained better how it worked) from its website.

However, Carrier IQ did not stop at that. It also demanded Eckhart to declare that all his research was false and give away the list of people he had contacted on the matter. This is when Eckhart turned to the EFF for help and being the organization that EFF is, it offered to protect the  First Amendment for Eckhart.  EFF’s analysis says that Carrier IQ has not much of a case here and these are baseless threats. As pointed out by EFF, Carrier IQ just realized the  Streisand effect.

Are you comfortable with Carrier IQ spying on you? Share your thoughts with us.


In an email statement that I received yesterday, Carrier IQ states that it has since withdrawn the c&D against Eckhart,  and has also apologized to  Eckhart and the EFF for this erratic behavior.