• Sweden's news in English

Study: more Swedes surf the net anonymously

TT/The Local/pvs · 1 May 2012, 15:05

Published: 01 May 2012 15:05 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Some 700,000 Swedes currently actively seek to hide their identity online by making use of anonymizer services, according to the survey by the Cybernorms project at Lund University.

The survey shows that around 200,000 Swedes aged 15-25-years-old habitually surf anonymously, making use of proxy services such as Relakks, Ipredator and Mullvad - this equates to 15 percent of the age group.

The researchers conclude that as internet usage and file-sharing is most common among younger Swedes, then the proportion of older users surfing anonymously is likely to be lower.

"We can't say for certain for other age groups, but a rough estimate, based on the recognition that other age groups don't share files illegally to the same extent, is that around 700,000 Swedes are currently paying for a service to conceal their identity on the internet," said Måns Svensson, PhD in sociology of law and the survey's project manager.

The figures came as a surprise however as a prior survey on the issue by the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) showed little change since 2009.

The European Court of Justice furthermore indicated recently that the controversial anti-file sharing IPRED law (named after the EU intellectual property rights directive) could be brought into force in Sweden.

The law allows for copyright holder organizations to obtain the identity of suspected file sharers from internet service providers, suggesting that the demand for anonymization services will increase.

"If the European Court's opinion leads to an intensified hunt for file-sharers, the indication is that the use of these types of anonymity services will expand even faster," Smith said.

The Lund University researchers concluded that file-sharing is the single most important factor in the growth in demand for online anonymity, but it has also been found to be expanding among other internet users.

Story continues below…

Danny Aerts, president of the .se foundation which administers Swedish network addresses, estimates that the increasing level of surveillance on the internet is instrumental in the increasing popularity of anonymizing services.

"As surveillance increases, both from the government and from private actors such as Facebook and Google, so does demand (for anonymization services)," Aerts said.

"But I think it's good that anonymization services are available. Take the Arab Spring for example; then everyone in Sweden considers it a good idea that anonymity is possible. And it would be strange if that did not also apply at home."

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:52 May 1, 2012 by muscle
you can not stop filer sharing by strict laws. People will always ...ALWAYS find workarounds with such prohibitions. Take the example of Spotify, by charging small amount of monthly free, you get the music you need. If such services can be provided for movies and other software, may be it will work.
20:52 May 1, 2012 by gpafledthis
jeez !! american here - hey sweedie state !! You can rendition me back anytime you wish - BUT - promise to put me in one of your prisons !! Big Bad Swede State !! Police ought to run a "sting" create a false flag travel agency and offer free trip to Texas & Arizona to their "chosen people" !! Here we treat big mouths-bitc--rs-and various malcontents proper good !!
07:51 May 2, 2012 by Valdemaratterdag
Here's the important info from Relakks' own website:

"De uppgifter som svenska myndigheter kan begära förutom abonnentuppgifter(se ovan) är så kallade trafikuppgifter.

Dessa är omgivna av ett mycket starkare legalt skydd. För att bryta sekretessen för trafikuppgift måste brottet vara föreskrivet ett straff om minst två år i fängelse."


"The data Swedish authorities may require addition of subscriber data (see above) is known as traffic data.

These are surrounded by a much stronger legal protection. In order to break the confidentiality of traffic data should the crime be prescribed a punishment of at least two years in prison."

In other words, you had better be sure that the nefarious deeds which you are in the process of committing constitute crimes less than two years in prison. Good luck.
Today's headlines
Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available