Swedish ISP to Fight Data Retention Law with Out-of-Reach VPN

By on January 31st, 2011 06:02 GMT

Bahnhof, a large Swedish ISP, plans to offer its customers a way around the upcoming data retention law by routing all of the traffic through an encrypted VPN service.

Bahnhof has been in the media spotlight before when it built an impressive datacenter inside the former Pionen nuclear defence center in Stockholm.

WikiLeaks hosts two of its servers in Bahnhof's new underground bunker and according to the ISP, they have been isolated from the main network in order to keep its other customers safe from attacks.

Sweden implemented the European Union Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) in 2009, which led to a lot of anxiety among many of the country's Internet users.

Sweden, is, after all, home to The Pirate Bay, the largest bittorrent tracker on the Internet and public enemy number one for the entertainment industry.

In order to ease its customers' minds at the time, Bahnhof announced that it will stop logging their Internet activity so that copyright litigators can't obtain any data.

However, Sweden is now preparing to implement the European Data Retention Directive which forces all ISP and telecom operators to keep logs of customer communications for at least six months.

This directive is very controversial and in some countries it has already been ruled unconstitutional, as it violates the right to privacy and secrecy of communications.

In order to solve this new problem for its customers, Bahnhof now plans to run an ISP-level VPN (Virtual Private Network) fservice or all of its customers.

Bahnhof's CEO Jon Karlung explained that the company will only log data from the customer to its first server and then everything gets routed outside of the country through the VPN.

"Technically, this is a stealth section, we will store all data up to this point of invisibility," said Karlung, according to TorrentFreak.

"What happens after that is not our responsibility and is outside Bahnhof. So the only thing we are going to store is very little information, which in practice will be irrelevant," he explained.

This will be the default behavior for all consumer traffic. The ISP will offer a non-VPN option for people who actually want their activities logged, but ironically, this will cost extra.

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