The hacker released a "Hack Back" document detailing how he hacked the site. It is very well-written and contains some interesting tips for security also.
Please note that we have deliberately not used the term "illegal download". We have used the term "downloading from illegal sources". In the Netherlands this is indeed legal, in other countries it may not be. An illegal source is something like the PirateBay, which has been convicted of illegally sharing copyrighted content in the Netherlands.
We are not "bandying about" some terms, we have chosen them deliberately to be sure that we get taken seriously by both sides of the discussion.
This was inserted by the Slashdot editors.
It does take an academic study to get taken seriously by judges. "Common knowledge" is not encoded and therefore not always accepted. Especially if it is only common knowledge among the Internet crowd.
This paper studies the effectiveness of this approach towards online copyright enforcement, using both a consumer survey and a newly developed non-infringing technology for BitTorrent monitoring. While a small group of respondents download less from illegal sources or claim to have stopped doing so, no impact is found on the percentage of the Dutch population downloading from illegal sources.
The torrent monitoring technique also shows that if you are downloading a public torrent, anyone can find out."
I meant "free" services which store your data for you. As for search engines, there are now options which are more privacy friendly such as DuckDuckGo and others.
The main thing I do to protect my privacy is not to use "free" services, such as Gmail, Hotmail for personal email. I maintain my own server which has a mailserver installed. This means that no-one except me (and anyone who manages to break in) can just access my email.
I live in the Netherlands where ISPs are forced to keep "traffic records" of me. Because I'm an academic I get to use the academic ISP, which is not bound by that law, at least for Internet traffic. But having my own mailserver means that also my my email traffic is not monitored and can not be requested by the police. Furthermore, having your own mailserver and domain also makes it very easy to compartmentalise service subscriptions. Just make a new email address for each service.
I used to use Google Calendar, and Contacts but stopped with that since I discovered that OwnCloud is a really decent private drop-in replacement that you can host yourself.
I use many different privacy plugins (Ghostery, Adblock, etc.), while being aware that this makes my browser ID somewhat unique and identifiable. At least I'm making it harder for them.
Aside from the photos...
Looking at the screenshots of their app on the Google Play Store. It looks like they might be doing something with QR codes. Most likely, scanning QR codes requires access to the camera, hence the "Hardware Controls: take pictures and videos" permission.
They have a feature to take a picture of your luggage tag so that you can track it while travelling. Not quite QR codes, but similar.
As always, terminology here matters a lot. Do you mean that some John Does have been lumped together on the same torrent download, or did they all download different torrents?
In the first case it is obvious that they interacted, they're cooperatively downloading something. In the latter case, you could argue that they interact somewhat, but on a very minimal level. Torrent files are now usually stored in a distributed hash table, spread over all torrent clients. This peer-to-peer storage system is used to store the torrent file itself, but also the peers that are downloading a particular torrent.
So in a sense, everyone is contributing to the download of everyone else by participating in the DHT.
If anyone's interested, I'd be more than happy to share the code and experiences with someone to measure the effect of blocking the websites on bittorrent participation. See https://bitbucket.org/vdham/dutchpirate for the code that was used in the dutch measurements.
A problem with measuring this is that we did not have a good view of the "before" situation, so if this still works, than you can do a good measurement now. Send me a message if you want to know more or need help.
Computer science is probably not going to blow up the world any time soon. The greatest threat from computer programs is to personal privacy. Computer camera's that can read your emotions, cellphones that can track where you are 24/7, online databases that store your online browsing, governments that look through your email, and then I haven't even started with the crackpot theories.
I experienced a good/bad moment not too long ago in my scientific research when I was doing research on the effect of the TPB website blockade on BitTorrent use in the Netherlands. Everyone knows that it had 0 effect, but you have to prove it. So in one afternoon I built a script that could scrape peer-lists, and did some analysis on those.
The evilness of this script is that it can just as well be used by the movie/record industry to easily find out who's downloading. It's not groundbreaking, and they could probably build it themselves too, but still, this gets you thinking about the possible evil use of other research.
This demand from BREIN comes hot on the heels of a University of Amsterdam research (in Dutch) which shows that the blocking the Pirate Bay URL and IPs on certain ISPs has no noticeable effect on torrent downloading activities. Taking down proxies is probably not going to make much of a dent in that either.
Marriage is something that will have to grow between you two. You two have to figure out what feels right and what doesn't.
This is not something that can be read from a book. So stop trying to find wisdom in books and enjoy!