Late last week Sweden’s anti-piracy organisation, Antipiratbyrå, (APB) fired the opening salvo in its war on those who share music and films through the internet.
Along with the The Swedish Enforcement Administration, the organisation was behind a raid on internet supplier Bahnhof, in which 450,000 sound files, 5,500 games and 1,800 films on the company’s servers were confiscated.
But the supporters of peer-to-peer (P2P) networking struck back on Sunday night by hacking into the Antipiratbyrå web site and filling it with quotes from emails sent between employees of APB and the personal details of a man said to be an “informer” who helped in the raid against Bahnhof.
According to the hackers, who had been able to read emails on the APB server, the man had been the administrator of one of the file servers which was seized last week.
Bahnhof described the APB raid as “an outrage”.
“Our first assessment shows that some of the company’s 20,000 customers have shared, or uploaded, copyright-protected files on a server which they hire from us. This is, of course, serious and breaches our regulations,” said Jon Karlung, MD of Bahnhof, in a press release.
“The Antipiratbyrå has reacted and requested a raid against Bahnhof Internet. Not against the customers, but against us. To carry out a raid against those who offer a communications service on these grounds is like attacking Posten because someone sends illegal letters, or Telia because someone is encouraging a crime on the telephone.”
The group behind the sabotage calls itself “Angry Young Hackers” and turned its focus on the APB lawyer and spokesman, Henrik Pontén.
“We demand Pontén’s blood,” was one of the statements left on the APB site.
Henrik Pontén told Expressen that he had become a target for “SMS terror” and abusive phone calls, and that he had been forced to hire personal protection.
“When it’s got to a point where they’re ringing my son, I think it’s gone absolutely too far,” he said.
The APB is a co-operation between the associations representing Swedish film and computer games companies. Henrik Pontén admitted to Svenska Dagbladet that the APB had used an informer to help track down people involved in illegal file sharing.
“We can’t just stand there with our arms crossed while the industry is stolen from us,” he said. “We would prefer the police to do this instead of us but when they don’t act then we have to.”
It’s not just the hackers who are targeting the APB. A rival organisation, The Piracy Office (Piratbyrån), is described as a mouthpiece for people who want free downloading of music and film on the internet to be legalised.
The organisation’s press officer, Tobias Andersson, said that while he did not know who the hackers were, he had received information from them by email.
“I don’t want to support illegal actions but I think that what the Angry Young Hackers revealed was interesting – that the APB is using paid infiltrators,” he said.
He also criticised the APB’s use of personal information, something for which the organisation has already been reported to the police by internet entrepreneur Jonas Birgersson and Sweden’s mp3 darling, Jens Nylander. However, Henrik Pontén dismissed the accusation:
“Look at The Piracy Office, they’re publishing details about me, my personal number and home address. And then they complain about us registering personal details.”
Pontén said that the raid on Bahnhof was just the beginning.
“The pirates out there are panic-stricken,” he added.