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ISP sabotages file sharing law

Published: 16 Apr 2009 10:38 GMT+02:00

Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung, a vociferous opponent of the measures that came into force on April 1st, has said he is determined to protect the company's clients.

The new file sharing law is based on the European Union's Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) and allows courts to order internet operators to hand over details that identify suspected illegal file sharers.

As such, the law enables Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to retain the IP addresses of file sharers. But ISPs also remain at liberty to destroy information about their users if they so wish.

"It's about the freedom to choose, and the law makes it possible to retain details. We're not acting in breach of IPRED; we're following the law and choosing to destroy the details," Karlung told news agency TT.

Bahnhof's actions render the IPRED law entirely ineffective when dealing with file sharers signed up to the company's broadband service. Karlung noted that the law would have no effect whatsoever if other ISPs were to follow suit.

"Yes, that would make the new law completely ineffective. And then the legislators will have to step up and say they want to have data storage, not to catch terrorists but to help record companies and the movie industry in the hunt for file sharers," he said.

Swedish Law makers are in fact currently working on new legislation based on the European Union's data retention directive, which requires ISPs to store electronic data for a minimum of six months.

If the legislation is enacted, Karlung said Bahnhof would continue to stay within the bounds of the law.

"If the state decides that everything has to be handed over to various private organisations, then we will of course comply, even if I think it's unfortunate and hope public opinion pushes the matter in a different direction," he said.

Stefan Johansson, deputy director at the Swedish justice ministry, confirmed that Bahnhof was not breaking the law by choosing to destroy IP address details.

"The IPRED regulations do not entail any obligation of this kind. They are only concerned with the retrieval of existing information," he said.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

11:29 April 16, 2009 by Menachem
Spot on Bahnhof. Here is someone with some chutzpah. It comes to show how ridiculous and inefficient this law is. One law worthwhile enacting would be to break up the monopoly over systembolaget and apoteket. It is idiotic and it shows complete and utter contempt for the rights of individuals to choose where and when he/she should by their booze or their headache pills.
11:42 April 16, 2009 by VikingHumpingWitch
Hmm, must check when I can close my current ISP account and switch to these guys.

Bit odd though, how would they track down a customer who hasn't paid their bill if they've destroyed all their details?
12:49 April 16, 2009 by Sebastian_R
That's definitely a good move! It is amazing to see how hysteric the whole filesharing debate has grown.

And it is a shame to see that advanced societies have no better idea than to trash the most basic civil rights in order to prosecute the filesharing of even one song.
12:56 April 16, 2009 by Miss Kitten
This is awesome and of course this means that the other ISPs will have follow suit in order to compete. I have a feeling that this company is going to have a surge of new sign-ups.
14:54 April 16, 2009 by kaze
I don't think they're destroying all details. Only access details. They'll still have who the customers are and payment stuff.

Really good stuff though!
15:53 April 16, 2009 by Shark99 - The Great Catsby
Excellent idea.
16:05 April 16, 2009 by Bender B Rodriquez
They don't need the IP number to keep track of customers. When your modem contacts the ISP it gives credentials that identifies you to the ISP, and if they see that you are a paying customer they will assign an IP to you that enables communication with the rest of the internet. Once a day or so they will assign you a new IP and throw away the logs so that nobody can associate the previous IP with you, not even the ISP.
16:08 April 16, 2009 by VikingHumpingWitch
Thank you, I had to read it through three times but I think I understand it now.

I want to switch right now to these guys just to give them a hiiiiiiiigh fiiiiiiive.
17:06 April 16, 2009 by rong
Excellent move! I hope other ISPs will follow.
19:21 April 16, 2009 by drf
To clarify, we (Bahnhof) have not "begun deleting information" of any kind, we have always discarded this sort of informationcouplings in the earliest stage possible in our ongoing efforts to provide iNTeGriTY-marked(swedish language ahead) broadband for our customers.

This is not an action spurred out of spite against the incoming barrage of integrity-violating laws but a continuous service that we have provided for our customers since the very beginning in 1994.

(End of clarification)
19:27 April 16, 2009 by drf
Was supposed to be a link somewhere in there. But here it is again for those that understand swedish out there: http://integrity.st/
22:14 April 16, 2009 by Jack123
Great Idea !
13:17 April 17, 2009 by RealityCheck
I will join Bahnhof if I am able to.

Not that I fileshare anything other than my own music that my band and I have composed.

The music and film industries are rotten and corrupt. Their garbage should be looked at before buying or listening.

No true artist fears losing sales because someone listened and chose not to buy.
16:56 April 17, 2009 by Nemesis
Excellent:)
19:38 April 17, 2009 by Dodger
I received this mail today from my provider AllTele AB

AllTele har beslutat att med omgående verkan ansluta sig till Integrity

initiative och därigenom inte spara några kunduppgifter som kan

komma att lämnas ut enligt IPRED.

You can read the full press release AllTele AB
21:04 April 17, 2009 by Keithy
Correct me if I'm wrong, but by EXACTLY the same logic of this decision against the Pirate Bay, couldn't a car manufacturer be sued every time someone kills someone by speeding in one of their cars?
12:02 April 18, 2009 by jim747
Iv'e already got Bahnhoff

Bostaden opened up the network in January this year and I got to choose a new provider. Thanks Bostaden!!
14:38 April 18, 2009 by Miss Kitten
Yep, and a knife manufacturer could be sued if someone cuts themselves or stabs someone.

And a gun maker could sued if someone shoots someone else.

And a spray paint manufacturer could be sued when someone vandalizes a wall.

And a candle company could be sued if someone leaves a candle burning and starts a fire..

The list goes on and on.
03:34 April 19, 2009 by Blazek
Well, the law isn't about the people who manufacture the cars, in your analogy. It would be more like a car manufacturer suing a company that provides the resources necessary to steal cars. Which would still be BS.
07:04 April 19, 2009 by RARCA
I wrote ComHem asking if they would do the same to protect my privacy, and they said "we have no information on this" which to me is just another "lie and dodge" from ComHem. I recommend to everyone to seek alternatives to them until they start giving straight answers to their paying customers.

Is there anyone else seeking to make changes in the footsteps of Bahnhof?
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