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ISP sabotages file sharing law

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10:38 CEST+02:00
Broadband operator Bahnhof is continuing to destroy the IP address details of its customers in an open and fully legal bid to undermine Sweden's new anti-file sharing laws.

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.

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"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.

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