Sweden mulls tougher file sharing measures

Sweden wants to give police more power to go after those suspected of illegal file sharing even if the crimes are only fineable offences.

Currently, police can only get information on who is spreading copyrighted material or attempt to go after other criminal activity on the internet if the crimes are severe enough to be punished by a prison sentence.

But the government wants to alter regulations to make it easier for police to track down parties suspected of more garden variety file sharing, reports the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

On Friday, the Ministry of Justice is set to receive an interim report on from the police suggesting that law enforcement be allowed to get information about suspected file sharing even if the crime only warrants a fine.

Those opposed to a new controversial file sharing bill, based on the European Union’s Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED), have complained that private companies and individual copyright holders have the ability to go after those accused of illegal file sharing.

The interim report also suggests that police be forced to seek a court order during preliminary investigations in order to get access to email and telephone records. According to the commission which prepared the report, the change strengthens the rule of law.

Current rules allow police to approach internet service providers and telecom operators directly if the suspected crime carries a prison sentence of two years or more.

On the other hand, however, Sweden’s security police (Säpo) and other agencies involved in intelligence gathering would not need to turn to a court.

However, individual privacy would be maintained by other means, writes the paper.