Swedish ISP Stands Up to Media Companies, Refuses to Give Up User Data

Cites violations of the EU privacy directive

Sweden has been one of the leading countries when it comes to anything having to do with the Internet. It is one of the countries with best broadband deployment in the world and its citizens as well as the authorities have had quite a progressive view on how to handle the inherent changes brought by the web. Last year though, it looked like Sweden was taking a step backwards, after pressure from big-media interest groups, when it introduced the so-called IPRED laws which would enable copyright holders to request user data from ISPs when dealing with alleged infringements. Yet, even if the government buckled under the pressure, the ISPs are fighting back claiming clear violations of existing privacy laws.

TorrentFreak points to Swedish ISP TeliaSonera which is now refusing to comply with a court order to release information about one of its customers, the owner of the SweTorrents BitTorrent tracker site. The company claims that the request is in violation of the European data retention directive which, although hasn't been ratified by the Swedish government, should apply in this particular case.

“The protection of privacy contained in the directive prevents the application of the Swedish IPRED law in this case,” TeliaSonera’s lawyer Patrick Hiselius is quoted as saying. The appeal is also based on what the ISP's lawyers claim to be "faulty technical knowledge” on part of the Court issuing the initial ruling. The ISP quotes part of the ruling which makes the claim "the material that is uploaded on the website” clearly a misunderstanding on how BitTorrent works.

BitTorrent tracker sites don't actually host any of the material being shared by the users, infringing or otherwise, instead just make it easier for the users which do have the content to 'get in contact' with the ones wanting to download it. The Swedish Södertörn District Court had asked TeliaSonera to reveal the user data based on a complaint by three movie companies and the local anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån. With the ISP now appealing the decision, the case could prove crucial in future cases involving the infamous IPRED laws.

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