Thursday, 16 April 2009

Privacy on the frontline

The verdict on The Pirate Bay trial is due tomorrow - and will surely get a lot of coverage in the press.  But since the trial ended the legal landscape here has changed with the introduction of IPRED - legislation allowing copyright owners to gain access to the identities behind an IP address.

So before tomorows hype, how is it going with IPRED?

So far it seems three applications have been made to the courts, and all three raise issues of one sort or another.

The first related to someone allegedly making lots of Swedish literature freely available as e-books on the web.  It sounded fairly clearcut until it came out that the site is not an open site but an FTP server with secure access - raising significant concerns about just how the Antipiratbyrån got access to the site without breaking legislation on data security

The second case is interesting.  A company is seeking information on an IP address that gained unauthorised access to their company systems (including copyrighted information).  The evidence presented reportedly doesn't include evidence of any copied work so it's hard to see it getting approved - but it highlights how this legislation is open to scope-creep...  Using other legislation would man a police investigation, and this way you can investigate yourself (with greater powers than the police).

The third case is a Pirate party member seeking information on who is downloading their songs.  This is meant mostly to test the system - can anyone armed with a screen dump or two go to the courts - and do rights owners really have the same support under the new law that corporate media interests do?  Interesting to watch that one...

More recently it's reported that Internet Service Provider Bahnhof (who offer 'integrity-marked' broadband) don't, and aren't going, to save records of who used which IP address when.  They point to existing laws that require operators to anonymise traffic records 'when they are no longer needed'.   A survey in Göteborgs-Posten shows despite this that all the broadband operators questioned do in fact keep copies of IP Address records.

Deleting IP details like this has been discussed in the press as a loophole - but it is a pre-existing legal requirement and ought to be an existing part of all operators processes.  IPRED doesn't require operators to store information - only to give out the information they have  when ordered by the court.  "We don't have that information" ought then to be the most legitimate answer they can give... least until they change the law.

1 comment:

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