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Sweden seeks new tools to aid file sharing hunt

The Local · 16 Feb 2012, 14:45

Published: 16 Feb 2012 14:45 GMT+01:00

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“I would no longer need to make a preliminary assessment of the penalties associated with the crimes I'm investigating. If I have an IP-address, I can request information about who the customer is, regardless of how serious the crime is,” Henrik Rassmussen, a prosecutor who specializes in copyright infringement crimes, told the TT news agency.

“Previously, I've only been able to request information if I judged the crime to be over a certain level.”

Today, investigators can only request subscriber information if the suspected crime is punishable by jail or a suspended sentence.

But in a bid to make it easier for police to hunt down individuals who hide behind IP-addresses, the government has included language in a bill designed to fight internet bullying and “grooming” that in principal will allow police to summon to an interrogation anyone who has downloaded a movie illegally.

In the bill, the government call for police and prosecutors to be able to request information from internet service providers (ISPs) about the users tied to IP-addresses suspected of illegal file sharing even if the crime in question is only a minor offence, Sveriges Radio (SR) reports.

Internet bullying and other forms of online harassment are a growing problem in Sweden, as is grooming, whereby adults attempt to make contact with children for sexual purposes, according to the bill.

The bill explains that, when it comes to suspected violations of copyright laws, copyright holders have the ability to request information about suspected file sharers from a court in a civil law process.

But police and prosecutors would be able to avoid the extra step, according to the bill, which, if it were to become law, would allow investigators to go directly to ISPs to obtain information that could help them identify users suspected of downloading pirated material.

The bill does not, however, change police powers when it comes to carrying out raids at the homes of suspected file sharers and will still require that the suspected crime carry stiffer penalties.

“We're still not going to be able to carry out search warrants for minor crimes,” said Rasmusson.

“But it will be easier for us to round up suspects and in cases where we will have other evidence than a raid. We can also conduct interrogations and it has happened that people who are summoned to an interrogation and faced with certain facts have admitted to the crime. That's something me may used to a greater extent.”

According to Rasmusson, the new bill should be a cause for concern for Swede who download a pirated movie from time to time.

“Sure, they would be worried to the extent that there is a real possibility that they can be identified if the bill is passed,” he told TT.

Story continues below…

“But our experience is that the organizations that track copyright infringement crimes aren't interested in those who download one movie or a couple of songs.”

TT/The Local/dl


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:17 February 16, 2012 by hackie
I don't want to be the first to comment since I don't know if somebody is monitoring my IP. Hehehe
15:43 February 16, 2012 by Liquidmonkey
so if this goes through, the flood of 'pay up or else' letters are going to start like has been happening in other countries.


the 'grooming' and excessive bullying should be dealt with but 'sharing' something digital for non-profit is simply not a crime nor should it ever be seen as one.
15:45 February 16, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Odd that the government is proposing a bill tht will allow police to identify someone who downloads a single song or movie, and yet the government refused to allow the police to use wiretaps to find any of the illegal weapons that have poured in through the borders, where searching for weapons has 'not been emphasized', according to the chief of border security.

I would rather live in a society where the teenager next door has stolen a few songs, than in a society where the teenager next door has acquired a few AK-47's.
16:15 February 16, 2012 by shozea
@Reason abd Realism I like your comment and its true and good idea if the government implement it.
16:23 February 16, 2012 by grov_kvinnofridskrankning
just proxy or buy a vpn. why do something wrong if you dont know what your doing.

Here is a good one :)

16:35 February 16, 2012 by Reason abd Realism

The police have been very disappointed by what they have been told up to now with regard to wiretaps and their ability to track down illegal weapons.

But there is a chance that something more reasonable will be proposed in March, as mentionned in this article:

18:50 February 16, 2012 by Beavis
I dont remember the head of sony or universal music being elected last election, maybe I was wrong seems they are the ones making the laws
20:12 February 16, 2012 by mdzarobin
If I download some movies from piratebay by using torrent will I get caught by police.
22:05 February 16, 2012 by grov_kvinnofridskrankning
@mdzarobin no dont worry about :)
22:54 February 16, 2012 by luke123
48 Moreover, the effects of that injunction would not be limited to the hosting service provider, as the contested filtering system may also infringe the fundamental rights of that hosting service provider's service users, namely their right to protection of their personal data and their freedom to receive or impart information, which are rights safeguarded by Articles 8 and 11 of the Charter respectively.

49 Indeed, the injunction requiring installation of the contested filtering system would involve the identification, systematic analysis and processing of information connected with the profiles created on the social network by its users. The information connected with those profiles is protected personal data because, in principle, it allows those users to be identified (see, by analogy, Scarlet Extended, paragraph 51).

50 Moreover, that injunction could potentially undermine freedom of information, since that system might not distinguish adequately between unlawful content and lawful content, with the result that its introduction could lead to the blocking of lawful communications. Indeed, it is not contested that the reply to the question whether a transmission is lawful also depends on the application of statutory exceptions to copyright which vary from one Member State to another. In addition, in some Member States certain works fall within the public domain or may be posted online free of charge by the authors concerned (see, by analogy, Scarlet Extended, paragraph 52).

51 Consequently, it must be held that, in adopting the injunction requiring the hosting service provider to install the contested filtering system, the national court concerned would not be respecting the requirement that a fair balance be struck between the right to intellectual property, on the one hand, and the freedom to conduct business, the right to protection of personal data and the freedom to receive or impart information, on the other (see, by analogy, Scarlet Extended, paragraph 53).

52 In the light of the foregoing, the answer to the question referred is that Directives 2000/31, 2001/29 and 2004/48, read together and construed in the light of the requirements stemming from the protection of the applicable fundamental rights, must be interpreted as precluding an injunction made against a hosting service provider which requires it to install the contested filtering system.

11:18 February 17, 2012 by tgolan
so much for government promises of not hunting down private persons , well they have now lost my vote. soon we will be extraditing 13 yr old to US jails.
13:31 February 18, 2012 by swedejane
It's just going to create more demand for vpn services...you know, the ones that don't log user data.
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