Monthly Archives: May 2010

Internet: Piracy & Privacy

In yesteryears, an average Indian was always deprived of the basic tech; and Internet, unfortunately was one such thing. Just about a decade ago, Internet was considered a luxury in my hometown, which by the way is a very secluded place, away from the hush-hush life of the city. A very few people in our area used to even know what’s the internet hoopla is all about. And, I still remember, the browsing centers used to charge Rs50 for an hour of stinky “dial-up” browsing. It was really disgusting and also embarrassing to some extent.    

But that’s a thing of the past now. Now, everybody has their own personal email accounts, and have registered to a cluster of social networking sites, which most of them update on a daily basis. Almost all of us own a blog now; and it doesn’t matter if we have a good vocabulary, or if we knew the basics of writing a good article. [Both I don’t know by the way :-), and I wonder how proudly I say that.]

Every single internet user in this world who has a good data connection is downloading an awful lot of movies, music, TV series via torrents and stacking ‘em up in their Tera-drives, even though they watch all those movies and stuff a decade later; not to mention the online dating and matrimonial sites roping in a chunk of wealthy teenage hearts. I mean, life of an average Indian surely has changed.

Now, here’s the thing. With the advent of super-speed data connections, two things have become an integral part of every Internet geek’s life: Piracy and Privacy. Now, let me tell you that every one out there who’s downloading stuff via torrent is eligible for being called a ‘PIRATE’. But who cares; I know, I don’t care. I’ve been downloading stuffs since 10 years now. Who can resist shows like LOST, which has succeeded in hooking up the entire world in front of the TV for six years. Admit it, we all are pirates, and we all love doing what we do.

That’s one part. The other face of the coin is privacy, of course. All you people who think downloading illegal content from the net is ‘ok’, might want to reconsider their decisions. Coz, people, its high time that you know that everything you do on the net is very much public. Believe it or not, companies can track you if they want to. They can easily get in touch with your ISP and eventually sue you for what you’ve done.

Hard to believe??? Well, read this story from Fox News:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,96797,00.html

That’s right folks, we are being watched, accept it.

Being_Watched-410730

Nope, the guy above is not the one watching you, don’t worry. Without further ado, I’ll scribble about two most important things here that could be useful when it comes to privacy.  

 

1. Browsing Without Leaving a Trace

Cached DNS lookups and Flash cookies doesn’t ever get wiped out of your system, even though you’ve cleared your history and temp files. Every time you browse a web page, your PC requests the IP Address for that website from your default DNS server, and then caches them locally on your system to speed up future access to that web site. If you are browsing stuff that you shouldn’t at work, you can still get caught by a system admin even if the history on your PC is erased.

To try it out, clear all your history files, first of all. Open command prompt [Hit RUN, Type cmd, Press Enter]. Type in ipconfig /displaydns to see the full list of cached DNS entries. Shocked?? Well, there’s more.

Flash cookies are much more dangerous when it comes to information. It will let the seeker know exactly what he/she is looking for. This information is relevant enough to get you fired.

Possible Solution: Install CCleaner [Download Link]. After installation, on the applications tab, check all of the boxes available, including the Adobe Flash Player checkbox. After you do that, run CCleaner on a schedule via Task Scheduler. It’s as simple as that. 

 

2. Fine Tune Your Torrent Settings

This is perhaps the the most important thing to keep in mind if you download a lot. When you’re initiating a download via any torrent client, you connect to several peers who are distributing the data you need in small packets. In order to send the data back and forth, you need to exchange IP addresses with your peers.

Now, here’s the tricky part. When you’re downloading copyrighted material, sometimes the concerned reps of the organizations will join you in the download and log your information in their systems. One thing is for sure; they will have your IP address within moments. Now, they’re going to find out who your ISP is and log a complaint against you regarding your involvement in copyright-infringing activity, and possibly sue you too.

Here are two interesting software that will bring you peace of mind next time when you download through your torrent client. 

PeerGuardian2

It’s a wonderful application when it comes to blocking the IP addresses that seem to track you. It uses a constantly updated blacklist of IP addresses that are known to track your activity. Very simple to install, and when installing make sure that you’ve configured to check your updates daily. 

Download Link

BT Guard (Works for BitTorrent)

Unlike PeerGaurdian2, this is a proxy app that protects your privacy by routing your traffic through server when it leaves your computer and when it comes back to you. That means that when you’re downloading data, your peers can only see the proxy IP address, and not your home IP address. So, even if the companies get the IP address, they can do nothing about it. BT Guard is made specifically for BitTorrent; also there are a number of apps out there similar to BTGuard.

To set up a proxy, open your torrent client. Under the Connection tab, find the Proxy Server settings. From there, choose your proxy server type (Socks4/5, HTTP or HTTPS), enter in the address and port of your proxy server, and include any login information if your proxy uses it. (If you’re using BTGuard, for example, you’ll be given a username and password when you sign up.) Finally, be sure to tick the checkbox labeled ‘Use proxy server for peer-to-peer connections’, which is the whole reason you’re setting it up to begin with. 

Website Link

These are the two things that I think are most useful when it comes to protecting an average Indian’s web-privacy. So, configure your system to play safe on the web, and I hope it works for you. Be a pirate without compromising your privacy. And people, please do all of these before you get really sued … he he … just kidding! ;-) 

The Forgotten Angel – Divya

The instant picture that comes to my mind is the song from Vishwatma – Saat Samundar. She was so adorable, and I must say, incredibly attractive. That was the first song I saw of her, and probably the last one too. I remember, I was like 14 or 15 years old when I saw the song on TV. I was instantly into her. Everything about her seemed so perfect; perfect body, perfect moves, perfect smile. It was just a treat, really, to watch her dance to that famous Bollywood tune, which by the way, brought her talents to limelight.

And, in recent years, when I got access to the Internet, I downloaded the song, and I used to watch it over and over again. But every time I watched her perform, it made me depressed. It made me think, how could such an angel meet with such a tragic ending. It just made me sad and mad at the same time. I still have that copy of the video though. She died at the age of 19. Well, here is the forgotten story of Divya – “Too beautiful to live; too young to die”!!!

On April 7th, 1993, a 19 year old teenager, dressed up in bridal finery was surrounded by a sea of people, not to cheer her on her wedding, but to carry her to the funeral pyre. And so ended the career of an actress, who, if fate wouldn’t have played such a cruel hand, would have jeopardized the careers of a handful of successful Indian actresses at the moment.

Her tragic death came around the night of April 5, 1993, when she fell from the fifth storey of her apartment building, ending her ever-successful career achieved in a very short span of 4 years, in which she acted in a record number of 18 films. The question here, as always, in every case of this class, remains the same; murder, suicide or accident???

Divya2

The Beautiful

It was alleged by the media that Divya was secretly married to Sajid Nadiadwala, a film producer. As Sajid quotes in Movie June 1993 issue “Somewhere around 15 January 1992, Divya told me that she wanted to get married. The very next day she was tense because her name was being linked with all heroes. She wanted to marry and put an end to all these controversies. People expect me to have a relationship with everyone, she would complain.

Then on 20 May 1992. Divya got married to Sajid in the presence of her hairdresser Sandhya, the hairdresser’s husband and a kazi at Tulsi apartments, Sajid’s Versova residence. She converted to Islam and took on a new name, “Sanah”. As Sajid quotes “We kept the marriage a secret because her career was at stake. Her producers would have panicked. In retrospect, I wish we had told the truth. Divya wanted to announce that we were married but i kept telling her to wait for a while. I wish I hadn’t. Every time she saw the rushes of her films, she would sigh, “This will flop and people will ask me to quit”. But that never happened, her films were hits. By the end of 1993, she would have completed all her assignments.

Sajid was under a lot of questioning by the Police. He was allegedly having connections with the underworld then, but nothing was proved as such. Sajid, in a statement, had claimed that he was out when the incident happened. He first mentioned the name of Pankaj Kharbanda and later changed his statement and said that he had gone to meet Kulbhushan Gupta , a producer friend from whom he had bought the flat he and Divya occupied.

“Everything happened so fast. I had gone to Sajid’s place to discuss her clothes for the Mauritius shoot. she had already had a glass of rum and went to sit on the parapet. She was already high. We called out to her to come in, because she was leaning over the side, but she did not listen to us.” This was the statement given by Neetu Lulla, Divya’s dress designer, who was an eyewitness in the case.

Funeral Pics

Divya's Apartment

Well, a lot of theories were being stated at that time ranging from the involvement of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim to the theory of an accident. The police closed the case after three years. The case remains a mystery to this day. As for me, she remains one of the most wonderful actress that Indian cinema ever had to offer, and nobody ever has or ever will replace the charisma of the angel that she was. I feel I’m in love with her now (well, who isn’t??). May her soul rest in peace!