As soon as I heard the name BitTorrent it all came back to me. 1999 and my German friend Martin regularly coming in to visit from Stuttgart bearing a giant rucksack filled with 20-odd massive portable memory drives. All the booze and food we wanted in exchange for access to our record collections. A killing, genuinely worth millions of bucks, was made of millions of recordings, which were converted into files and sold all over the old Soviet bloc.
So no wonder, if you mention the name BitTorrent to most techies of a certain age, they’ll have a good giggle. Right or wrong, their name has been rendered infamous vis-a-vis its association with online piracy. Having invented the eponymous code utilized in transferring over one-third third of each and every single day’s Internet traffic, it is used most as a means for large corporations to transfer their files internally. This has always been BitTorrent’s bread and butter. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the executives of the company and the scientists who created it, it is also the source for most of the illegal global copying of music and films, which are easily resourced on the web before being repackaged into downloadable files known as ‘Torrents’.
Yet BitTorrent’s people argue that they are not responsible, nor able to direct or assume control of how others manipulate the code its founder developed. It’s been a stigma BitTorrent has been incapable of fighting. A murky kind of opaque character assassination which parallels blaming the manufacturers of industrial fertilizer for the terrorist bombing of federal government facilities in Oklahoma City.
Redemption, however, is now at hand. Thanks to the mass-hysteria in North America and Europe over U.S. Government-backed NSA spying and Russian mafia criminal hacking, the San Francisco company has an opportunity to alter its image. This is because BitTorrent’s peer-to-peer file-sharing technology simplifies the manner in which people are now able to move and store data so that they no longer need to depend upon the kind of old-school servers that technology companies have traditionally used as a means of storing data. Such data-rich servers are catnip for cyber criminals, according to Business Insider.
It has always been BitTorrent’s position that it would be unwise to store important information of any kind on servers. A year ago they started BitTorrent Sync, which is a cloud-storage system that allows users easy access to files through multiple computers, iPads, tablets or smartphones. BitTorrent, however, have taken the quality of security up a notch by keeping such files exclusively on a user’s own computer instead of voluntarily placing it into the hands of a tech company.
From now on, BitTorrent is planning to send forth all kinds of content that would allow data to be streamed live online. This new status quo means companies can distribute their content without ever having to worry about having their secrets picked off because the applicable information never touches a server. Consequently, the stream is secure, hundreds of times faster and less likely to crash no matter how big its audience.
Founded in 2004 by Bram Cohen, the company’s chief scientist, will soon be back up to its old profitable position as employer of at least 150 people after having shrunk to as low as eight in the disastrous days of 2008. Unlike Napster, who chose to remain in the music business and has been withering on the vine. Ignoring the old stigma about bootlegging and pirating, BitTorrent got on message with Security and stayed with it. The scandal surrounding the NSA and Edward Snowden has ultimately been a stroke of luck.
At any rate, as of Wednesday, July 30, 2014, according to Phys.orgnews, they announced the arrival of a preliminary, test version of BitTorrent Bleep software, which will allow you to make calls (voice only) and send messages over the Internet without using a central server to direct traffic. From now on, there will be no records of the calls or texts stored anywhere along the way.