The US' six strikes anti-piracy scheme has been off to a slow start, but it's picking up some steam. Only a few people got the educational letters that are part of the program, but those who received them are finding them quite "informative."The letters start out innocent enough, pointing users to legal alternatives and listing some of the downsides of using a peer-2-peer app like BitTorrent to grab pirated content, other than its being illegal, of course.
But then the letter sent by Time Warner Cable and shared by TorrentFreak starts to veer off course and into fantasy land.
It explains that you may not even be aware that file sharing app is installed on your system or that it runs automatically, which is technically true.
But then it warns users that if they have a P2P app installed, anyone on the Internet will be able to access their files.
"These programs allow any anonymous person on the Internet to look at your computer files and copy them for themselves. This could lead to unwelcome activity, such as identity theft," the letter warns.
"Also, the programs, which use large amounts of memory, can interfere with the functioning of your computer by destabilizing your operating system, leading to general sluggishness at boot up and during operation," it adds.
Granted, Hollywood has always been good at creating drama where there is none, and the letters do read like the script of some dystopian-future movie.
The reality though is a bit more mundane. Obviously, downloading several movies over a fast broadband connection is going to use up some resources, but it's nothing that will kill your computer.
And no one can access anything on your computer that you haven't shared with them already, i.e. files you grabbed via BitTorrent.