The Pirate Bay plans new ‘anti-censorship’ browser

The Guardian

Wed, Jan 08, 2014 - Page 7

The Pirate Bay’s own PirateBrowser Web browser has been downloaded more than 2.5 million times since its launch in August last year, but the filesharing site is already working on a successor.

PirateBrowser was designed to help people access The Pirate Bay and other torrent services even if they were blocked by their ISP, while also circumventing other kinds of Internet censorship in countries including Iran and North Korea.

It reached 1 million downloads by mid-October last year, and has added a further 1.5 million since then, but it seems set to be replaced by a new client later this year that will use peer-to-peer technology to evade ISP-level blocks on people’s online activities.

“The goal is to create a browser-like client to circumvent censorship, including domain blocking, domain confiscation, IP-blocking. This will be accomplished by sharing all of a site’s indexed data as P2P downloadable packages, that are then browsed or rendered locally,” an unnamed Pirate Bay “insider” told TorrentFreak.

“It’s basically a browser-like app that uses Web kit to render pages and BitTorrent to download the content, while storing everything locally,” he said.

The story claims that the new software will be made available as a standalone Web browser, or as a plugin for Mozilla’s Firefox — on which PirateBrowser was based — and Google’s Chrome browsers. The first version is not expected to be released until later in the year, with The Pirate Bay recruiting coders to help with the project.

News of the new project comes at a time when The Pirate Bay is being blocked by a growing number of ISPs across Europe, often as the result of court rulings following cases brought by music or film industry rightsholders.

That includes the UK, where a case brought by music industry body the BPI resulted in a British High Court ruling in April 2012 that five of the largest British ISPs must block their clients from accessing The Pirate Bay.

The site reached its 10th birthday in August last year, but was forced to change its domain name six times that year.