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SNOWDEN

Pirate Bay founder to launch spy-proof app

Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde has announced the launch of a new surveillance proof messenger service in response to the recent spate of revelations regarding the spying activities of the US.

Pirate Bay founder to launch spy-proof app

News of the spy-proof app had the new company’s site experiencing such a surge they had to increase server capacity.

“We thought that a new messenger service was needed in view of the surveillance scandals that have broken recently,” said co-founder Linus Olsson to The Local on Wednesday.

Sunde and Olsson have joined forces with Flattr partner Leif Högberg to launch the Hemlis (“Secret” in colloquial Swedish) messenger app that is currently only at the planning stage and are busy raising funds for continued development.

Olsson told The Local that fundraising is progressing well, with almost $27,000 of the $100,000 target raised by Wednesday morning.

“But it isn’t just a question of raising the money it is also a question of gauging interest. We want people to use it as well.”

The development work for the new app is progressing in the meantime although the firm was unable to put a date on when users will be able to make use of the tool. Olsson furthermore warned that despite their best efforts, protection from prying eyes will never be fully guaranteed.

“You can never be 100 percent certain, but we will try. It has to be user-friendly as well. I want it to be simple enough for my parents to use,” he said.

The choice of an Icelandic domain enables the play on words with the project name Heml.is. It is also, however, a recognition of Iceland’s strong tradition of freedom of speech.

“We like Iceland. They have a mentality that suits the project and (the domain) fits into the name as well,” Linus Olsson told The Local.

The trio argued in a statement on Heml.is that their project is different from all other messaging services as the focus is on privacy not profit.

“Security has to come first. The app is part of this process,” Olsson said.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson

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PIRATE BAY

Sweden now owns Pirate Bay domain names

The Swedish state became the unlikely new owner of two domain names used by The Pirate Bay after a court ruling on Tuesday.

Sweden now owns Pirate Bay domain names
The Swedish state now owns two Pirate Bay domain names. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

In its ruling the Stockholm district court awarded Sweden the domain names piratebay.se and thepiratebay.se

The case marked the first time a Swedish prosecutor had asked for a web address to be wiped off the face of the internet, Dagens Nyheter reports

“A domain name assists a website. If the site is used for criminal purposes the domain name is a criminal instrument,” prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad told the Swedish daily earlier this year. 

Sweden’s Internet Infrastructure Foundation, which controls the Swedish top level domain .se, opposed the prosecutor’s move to prohibit any future use of the two Pirate Bay addresses.

The court agreed that the foundation had not done anything wrong and conceded that it could not force the group to block certain domain names, Dagens Nyheter reports. But by awarding the addresses to the Swedish state the court effectively ensured that they will not be sold on to another owner. 

The file-sharing service was temporarily knocked off line in December after police seized servers hosted at a data centre in a nuclear-proof bunker deep in a mountain outside Stockholm.

But seven weeks later the resilient file-sharing behemoth was back on its feet and Tuesday’s ruling is unlikely to knock it off balance for long, as the court cannot prevent The Pirate Bay from continuing to run sites on other domains.

The Pirate Bay, which grew into an international phenomenon after it was founded in Sweden in 2003, allows users to dodge copyright fees and share music, film and other files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site – resulting in huge losses for music and movie makers.

In 2009 four Swedes connected with The Pirate Bay were found guilty of being accessories to copyright infringement by a Swedish court. 

They were each give one-year jail terms and ordered to pay 30 million kronor ($3.6 million) in compensation.