Is the private tracker community facing an existential threat?

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I take drugs like a fucking champion!
Aug 9, 2009
Brisbane, Australia
6,863 15 84
I think we can all agree that twenty-sixteen has been a dumpster fire of a year. We've seen the rise of Trump including a resurgence of overt bigotry and racism, the Syrian humanitarian crisis, the exit of Britain from the EU, a string of beloved-celebrity deaths, and to top it all off, our little corner of the internet has come under attack from law enforcement.

The sudden closure of BCG by the UK's Intellectual Property Crime Unit saw the arrest of two UK nationals responsible for operating the site, including pjcnet pjcnet , one of the most beloved staffers in the PT community and active contributor on TPS. This was followed by the shocking closure of What.CD after 12 OVH servers consisting of the What.CD infrastructure were seized by French cybercrime authorities. We also saw the closure of SciHD in a way that can only arouse speculation that security concerns were at the very least a motivating factor.

These were three of the oldest and most beloved trackers in the private tracker community. Each consisting of around a decade of content archived by thousands of passionate members. The shock from their loss has reverberated throughout the community and even made its way into the mainstream press.

Much of the shock came as the realization dawned on us that no tracker is immune from the ever present and pernicious reach of law enforcement.

Immediately after the BCG seizure/arrests I began reading about the sudden concerted effort by law enforcement to shift their priorities toward attacking private trackers. One member of the community writes:
If cracking down on private trackers is being made a priority by LE, it's only a matter of time until users (uploaders, FLS etc.) will be caught up in tracker busts too imo. At that point (hypothetically speaking), I as a user would be safer using public trackers behind a VPN/Seedbox instead of being a member of a private tracker.
I wrote at the time: "I don't see anything that suggests this. Gaming trackers have always been targeted and this is the first bust in years (from memory). It will take several more busts in a row before this becomes a trend." However, after What.CD was seized these comments became a chorus singing that of Armageddon. But does the attempted (and ultimately failed) seizure of What.CD really suggest the private tracker community is under increased attack?

IMO, no. Both of these operations were conducted over several years by, as far as we know, entirely separate organizations. There is nothing so far to suggest this was part of a coordinated international effort to target private trackers. Most of these comments are hyperbole with little basis in reality.

The more rational view from my perspective is that private trackers have always been under attack, and while there is a significant amount of resources dedicated to eliminating our treasured trackers, we're not exactly public enemy number one. Seizures have always been a fact of life in this game, after all, Oink was seized nearly a decade ago. This is a reminder to never get complacent, but isn't a threat to our very existence.