morning a curious development has arisen. Famed BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay has
been down for customers at select internet service providers worldwide.
In the U.S. reports of interrupted visits come almost exclusively from Comcast
In Australia, customers of Optus -- a subsidiary of Singapore
Telecommunications Ltd. (Z74) have been struck with similar issues.
And in Canada Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI.B)
customers are also having problems reaching the site.
Comcast has issued a statement saying it's not blocking The
Pirate Bay. It states, "We're not blocking PirateBay and reports
online indicate users from several ISPs around the world are affected."
Many initially suspected that Comcast was testing a blocking scheme, given that
it currently throttles (slows) users' BitTorrent traffic to
Comcast also was caught
in 2007 by Torrent Freak outright blocking
BitTorrent traffic. The company initially denied the claims, but was late
forced into an embarrassing confession that it did indeed block traffic.
The blocking incident led to an inquiry by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
and a class action lawsuit, which was eventually
settled, with Comcast reserving $16M USD to pay affected customers.
This time around it's decidedly less clear whether Comcast and others are
outright blocking the site or are merely seeing some sort of bizarre service
outage stemming from issues on The Pirate Bay's side.
Strangely for affected users pings to the Pirate Bay servers return bits as
expected. And DNS lookups also succeed. But when the routing
reaches thepiratebay.piratpartiet.se -- the final destination -- the site
does not load.
Torrent Freak claims that
the site is available for afflicted users via the proxy service Anonymouse [link] and other
similar sites. Users should be very wary of clicking through to
unvalidated proxies, as you never know where you might end up.