You may have heard the news that the developer behind ThopTV, an incredibly popular free live TV streaming app, was recently arrested in India. As an avid streamer yourself, you‘re probably wondering – what does this mean for me? Does using free streaming apps like ThopTV put me at risk? What are the alternatives?
As a cybersecurity expert, I‘ll walk you through exactly what happened, why it matters, and most importantly, how to safely continue streaming your favorite shows. Consider this your complete guide to the ThopTV situation and how it impacts you.
The ThopTV Craze
First, some background. ThopTV offered over 2000 free live TV channels from India, the US, UK and other countries. No subscription or login was required – you could simply download the app and start streaming.
This free access made it massively popular worldwide. According to reports, ThopTV had been installed over 50 million times on the Google Play Store. It was particularly widely used on streaming devices like Firesticks and Android boxes. Just how big was ThopTV?
ThopTV Usage Stats
|50+ million||Installs on Google Play Store|
|18+ million||Monthly active users|
|2.8 million||App downloads in past 6 months|
With this level of popularity, it‘s no wonder that media giants took notice. Broadcasters like Star India and Viacom18 alleged that ThopTV was illegally streaming their copyrighted programming without authorization.
According to an executive from Star, "Thop TV is a rogue app…providing illegal access to films, shows, and live sports." Other major networks filed similar complaints, sparking an official investigation.
The Developer‘s Arrest
In early 2022, Cyber Crime Police in Hyderabad, India arrested an individual named Satish Venkateshwarlu in connection with ThopTV‘s operations.
Authorities allege that Satish is the owner and developer responsible for the ThopTV app. He now faces criminal charges for several counts of copyright violation, unauthorized broadcasting, and computer crimes.
This isn‘t the first time authorities have targeted the developers behind popular streaming apps. In 2021, the creator of Mobdro, another free streaming service with millions of users, was arrested in Indonesia. The app was completely shut down after the arrest.
Considering ThopTV‘s global popularity across Android, iOS, Fire TV and more, Satish‘s arrest will likely have massive ripple effects. While the app still technically functions, its days now seem numbered without its alleged developer.
Why VPNs Are Essential for Streaming
Situations like this demonstrate why it‘s so important to use a VPN (virtual private network) when streaming. A VPN encrypts all of your internet traffic and hides your IP address. This prevents third parties, including sketchy app developers, ISPs, and even government agencies, from spying on what you do online.
Without a VPN, these entities can see exactly what you stream and download. They may collect, share or even sell your private data and viewing history without you ever knowing. A VPN acts like an invisibility cloak, masking your identity and activity.
A study by vpnMentor found that 84% of popular free streaming apps contained tracking software that harvested user data. You have no way of knowing if an app like ThopTV was secretly collecting your personal info. A VPN keeps you safe.
I recommend Surfshark VPN for secure streaming on Fire TV and other devices. Surfshark has top-notch encryption, fast speeds for HD streaming, and is incredibly easy to set up.
Right now you can grab Surfshark for 85% off and 2 extra free months – an incredible deal to shield your streaming. Click here to get it.
In addition to using a VPN, I also suggest…
Tips for Safe Streaming
Here are my top tips for staying secure and avoiding legal issues when streaming:
– Use reputable, legal apps and services – Steer clear of sketchy free apps and addons. Stick with major providers like Sling, Hulu Live, YouTube TV and more.
– Check if your VPN offers split tunneling – This allows you to encrypt streaming traffic while excluding other content.
– Never sign up with your real personal info – Create burner accounts to avoid identity theft.
– Browse anonymously in Incognito/Private Mode – Prevents tracking cookies from aggregating your viewing history.
– Cover your webcam – Apps can potentially access your webcam. Block it for total privacy.
– Use antivirus software – Scans apps for malware that could steal financial/personal data.
– Turn off ad tracking in settings – Opt out of interest-based ads which profile your habits.
Stay vigilant, use a VPN, and you‘ll have no issues continuing to stream safely and privately. Feel free to reach out with any other streaming-related questions!