The Philippines is the 10th ranked country in the world for downloading music and mp3 torrents. Millions of Filipinos use bittorrent monthly, though most aren’t fully aware of the legal and security issues that can come along with downloading torrents in the Philippines.
Our ultimate guide to torrents in the Philippines will teach you:
- Legal Issues for Torrents in the Philippines
- Your Right to Privacy
- Learn who is monitoring your torrent downloads
- How download torrents anonymously
- How to unblock torrent sites in The Philippines
- The best VPN services for torrenting in the Philippines
Disclaimer: I am not a legal expert, nor do I claim to be. This article is presented for educational purposes only. Information provided has been drawn from other online sources and should not be treated as legal advice. Downloading of copyrighted materials is illegal in the Philippines (and most of the developed world) and is not condoned or encouraged by this website. There are many 100% legal torrents available for free. Please torrent responsibly.
LEGAL ISSUES OF DOWNLOADING TORRENTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
Bittorrent technology is legal in the Philippines. Bittorrent is a peer-to-peer filesharing technology that allows files to be shared extremely efficiently by a peer network. This is 100% legal, and Filipino’s may legally download popular torrent client software like utorrent, vuze, deluge, etc…
The legal issues start when copy-protected files are shared without a license to distribute those files. Examples of copy-protected files may include: Major movie releases, music, books, etc… These works of art are protected by international intellectual property laws. This protects them from being redistributed, shared, or downloaded without the copyright owners’ consent.
Though there are many legal torrents available, a high percentage of torrent traffic is actually copyrighted material. The legality of sharing this material depends mostly on the local laws of the country in which the downloader lives. Some countries are much more torrent friendly.
Philippines Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012
Last year (2014) the Cybercrime Prevention Act took effect in the Philippines. Though the law covers multiple areas of computer-related crimes, it also includes a catch-all clause that can extend the act to digital piracy as well. Filipinos may be fined up to Php 500,000, and face jail time if convicted of downloading copyrighted material without a license.
RIGHT TO PRIVACY (AND HIDING TORRENT ACTIVITY)
The Philippines bill of rights guarantees all citizens the right to privacy of communication (which should cover digital communications as well)
(1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
So what’s the significance here? You have a constitutional right to protect the privacy of your digital communications, including torrent activity. You can legally use inexpensive tools like a VPN or Proxy service to hide your torrent activity from your internet provider, government, or any 3rd party monitoring agency.
In the following sections, we’ll show you how torrent downloads are monitored in the Philippines, and how you can easily hide your torrent usage.
HOW TORRENTS ARE MONITORED IN THE PHILIPPINES
There are multiple groups and institutions worldwide that monitor and track Bittorrent usage. In general they fall into several categories: government institutions, Internet Providers, Research Institutions, for-profit anti-piracy groups.
How Torrents are tracked:
There are two primary ways your torrent activity can be tracked.
- From your publicly visible IP address in torrent swarms
- By directly monitoring your internet traffic (Government or Internet Provider)
Torrent Downloads Tracked by your IP Address:
This is the most common method of tracking torrent activity, because anyone can do it. Every time you join a torrent swarm to upload/download a file, your IP address is shared with all other computers in the swarm.
If you don’t use an anonymous VPN service like this one to hide your IP address, then virtually anyone can trace your torrent activity back to you through your IP address (which is assigned to you by your internet provider).
Monitoring your Internet Connection for Torrent Activity
This type of monitoring can only be done by a group that has direct access to your data stream, so it’s pretty much limited to your Internet Service Provider, and possibly government institutions as well.
Internet Providers (ISP’s) frequently monitor the internet usage of their subscribers. This can include blocking or slowing accounts that frequently use bitorrent.
If you use a good torrent VPN to encrypt your internet traffic, then no one, not even your internet provider, will be able to read your traffic and see whether you’re downloading torrents.
If you don’t use a VPN, your ISP can see:
- What websites you visit
- What files you download
- If you download torrents
- What videos you watch, images you view, etc…
If you value your privacy, we highly recommend using a secure VPN service like Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is extremely easy to use (you can connect to a VPN server in a single click and instantly encrypt all your internet traffic, as well as instantly change your IP address to hide your true IP address in torrent swarms).
Best of all, PIA costs as little as $3.49/month, and they have a 7 day refund period so you can try their VPN service risk-free for 7 days.
HOW TO HIDE YOUR TORRENT DOWNLOADS
We highly recommend this one simple tool to all bittorrent users. It’s called a VPN (Virtual Private Network), and it can easily protect your torrent downloads from spying eyes like your ISP or other monitoring agencies.
Though the technology sounds complicated, it’s extremely easy to use and very affordable (many VPN services are priced under $5/month).
Related: How to hide your torrent IP address
How a VPN hides your torrents:
As we already discussed, torrent activity is traced in 2 ways:
- By directly monitoring your internet connection (your internet provider)
- By tracing your IP address directly from a torrent swarm
A VPN solves both these security leaks…
A VPN prevents your internet provider from monitoring your internet and torrent activity:
When you use VPN (Virtual Private Network), all your incoming/outgoing data is routed through the VPN server. The VPN server encrypts all transferred data using a secret key (like a really strong password).
Because your data stream is encrypted, you internet provider cannot read your traffic, see what sites you’re visiting or what files you’re downloading. All they can see is that you’re connected to a VPN server (which is 100% legal)
When using a VPN you can visit Filipino torrent sites (or any torrent site) and your ISP will have no idea.
A VPN Changes your Torrent IP address, and hides your ‘Real’ IP address in torrent swarms
When you route your connection through the VPN server, the VPN assigns you a new IP address (instead of the ‘real’ IP address assigned by your internet provider). This new ‘Anonymous IP address’ is the one that is visible in torrent swarms and to websites you visit. Your ‘Real IP address’ will only be known to the VPN provider.
Even better, if you use a VPN that keeps no logs…there is no way that your anonymous ‘VPN IP Address’ can be traced back to you, so as long as you’re connected to the VPN server, your torrents will be completely anonymous.
Most VPN’s will work with any torrent client. No additional setup required.
Connecting to a VPN server extremely easy. Just follow these steps
- signup for one of our top recommended VPN providers for torrents.
- Download the VPN software (they provide it) onto your PC/Mac or Smartphone
- Enter your username/password (emailed to you when you sign up)
- Choose a server location from the list
- Click Connect
- That’s it! Your internet connection is now encrypted.
We also have step-by-step guides for the most popular torrent software
You don’t need to follow all these steps (a 1-click VPN is enough privacy for most people), but if you’re an advanced user that wants more control over privacy and encryption settings in your torrent software, then check out these guides:
HOW TO UNBLOCK TORRENT SITES IN THE PHILIPPINES
Two of the largest internet providers in the Philippines (Globe and PLDT) will reportedly start blocking access to popular torrent sites in 2015. This will prevent Filipinos from accessing the sites altogether unless you know how to get around the blockade.
Fortunately we’ve got just the trick…
A VPN easily unblocks any and all websites blocked by your internet provider…
Here’s how it works:
In order to block access to a specific website, your ISP must be able read your internet traffic and view your DNS requests (when you type a domain name into your browser). Because a VPN encrypts all traffic, it prevents anyone (including your internet provider) from reading your data or seeing what websites you’re visiting. The VPN will route all DNS requests through an anonymous DNS server (instead of your ISP’s)
If your ISP can’t see what websites you’re visiting, it can’t block them. Plain and simple.
THE BEST VPN SERVICES FOR THE PHILIPPINES
There are 100’s of VPN services available.
But this site features only trustworthy VPNs we consider to be the absolute best for BitTorrent users. And from those, we selected our top recommended VPN’s for torrenting in the Philippines. Enjoy.
The VPNs on this list were carefully selected based on the following criteria:
- Security and Privacy
- Torrent Friendliness (do they allow torrents and protect your privacy)
#1 – IPVanish ($10/month)
IPVanish is a true ‘Zero-logs’ VPN provider. They don’t monitor your online activity. They don’t even log the IP address assigned to you when you connect. All VPN sessions are completely anonymous.
IPVanish even has servers inside the Philippines if you want maximum speed, or local search results. Or you can use any of their 200+ locations around the world to stream Netflix, Youtube, or download torrents securely. Save up to 46% when you buy their 1 year plan.
- Fastest VPN Provider for Torrents
- 200 Servers Worldwide (6 in the Manila, Philippines)
- Capable of 100+Mbps download speeds
- 256-bit Encryption
- VPN App for PC/Mac/iOS/Android/FireTV Stick
- No Logs. Completely Anonymous.
- Read: our Review of IPVanish
7-day 100% refund policy
#2 – Private Internet Access
They offer unlimited speeds/bandwidth and servers in 30 countries. They also include a Netherlands-based Socks5 proxy service with every VPN purchase. This proxy works with all major torrent clients and can be used simultaneously with a VPN for double protection. We have setup guides for Utorrent, Vuze, and Deluge.
Private Internet access probably the best cheap VPN in the world, with unlimited plans starting as low as $3.49/month.
7-day 100% refund policy
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND INFORMATION
Thanks for reading our guide to torrents in the Philippines. You should now have a solid understanding of the risks involved, your rights, and how to protect yourself by using a VPN when torrenting in the Philippines.
We have a ton of information on this site, so if you’re looking for VPN reviews, how-to guides, or any additional information on anonymous torrents, then make sure to check out these articles: