Switzerland Decides That It's Ok For Private Firm To Violate Your Privacy If It's Searching For 'Pirates'

from the unfortunate dept

Last year, Swiss officials told Logistep -- one of a few companies that tries to scan file sharing networks for IPs used by suspected copyright infringers -- that its efforts were an illegal violation of privacy rights. However, a new court ruling has overturned that original ruling, and has said that Logistep is perfectly legal. The court appears to have said that preventing piracy somehow trumps privacy rights -- which seems kind of odd. I'm actually not a huge fan of claims (or lawsuits) that such services violate privacy. I'm not entirely clear how your basic IP address is "private." It's "public" by default, in that your computer uses it publicly to identify itself, so I'm not clear how that's automatically seen as "private" info. However, it seems odd to claim that simply tracking unauthorized usage trumps privacy rights. If that's the case, you have no privacy rights at all, because officials could just claim that they're violating your privacy to prevent any crime you might be committing. So, while I think it's a bit silly to declare IP addresses private, if they are considered private then I have a hard time seeing why Logistep should be allowed to do what it does.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 11:09am

    Gee Mike, is this your first day here? Don't you know that IP rights trump a person's liberty and life?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    JohnRaven,CHT,CSH (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    OMG!

    Mike! What the heck is wrong with you?!

    THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!

    =)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Rob R. (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 1:02pm

    Wow, there is still privacy that hasn't be superseded by the government's "need to know" everything about you?

    Bah! Get rid of that pesky privacy rights crap - the government has the RIGHT to know everything you do because one day you might not floss after lunch, thus costing the taxpayers an estimated $0.001 in extra health care costs. The government has the RIGHT to spend the $67,841.12 (I pulled the number out of my ass, so don't try to verify it) it took to find out that information via the monitored dental floss container and mouthwash bottle you are required to have 47cm to the left of the sink center and touching the back of the sink (required to activate the sensor that says the bottle is there).

    Can we have more regulation, please? I don't want any privacy, I want people smarter than I am to dictate my life to me.

    Pardon me while I go eat a double greaseburger and onion rings and follow it up with a deep-fried burrito at the gas station, then wash it down with an extra-large chocolate chip mint shake. Why? Because I have the right to clog my arteries should I feel the urge.

    Demolition Man

     

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  4.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

    Re:

    "a double greaseburger and onion rings and follow it up with a deep-fried burrito at the gas station, then wash it down with an extra-large chocolate chip mint shake"

    ....Sorry, but that just sounds fantastic!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    "one of a few companies that tries to scan file sharing networks"

    They are looking at public data. What's the big deal?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

    New national motto

    Switzerland: It's like Germany with skiing....

     

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  7.  
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    1DandyTroll, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:06pm

    Switzerland?

    Ah, yes, the little country who let that shady little character Adolf Hitler have free riegn.

    Who's suprised now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Narayanan Subramanian, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 7:10pm

    Switzerland decides that it is ok for private firm to violate your privacy

    Wow! What an argument that the IP address is "public by default in that your computer uses it publicly to identify itself...". Whell, every mail anyone receives identifies itself with the sender's and receiver's house or business address. So that also gives the right for any private company to open the mail, read it and then deliver it to you!!!

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 7:16pm

    Re: Switzerland decides that it is ok for private firm to violate your privacy

    Not, that just means that your address is public - not what is sent to it.

    Nice over reaction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    SailingCyclops (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    You are very confused Mike! While the IP address itself is very public, the account information associated with it, and held by the ISP is PRIVATE. A raw IP says nothing about it's user, nor does it divulge any private information in and of itself. The privacy violation occurs when use and billing information associated with that IP is divulged by the ISP.

    SailingCyclops

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    nelsoncruz (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Secretly gathering information is a privacy concern

    I would say that having a private company secretly gather information about what a person does online is a privacy concern. Hence all the controversy about tracking cookies, targeted advertising, google keeping search records, systems like Phorm, etc.

    And this Logistep company isn't just collecting anonymized usage info for statistical purposes, to offer other useful services to the people targeted, or to serve advertising to them. They are collecting this info with the aim of tracking down the persons involved and using it against them!

    Imagine a company joining public chat rooms to indiscrimately record everything said and the respective IP addresses with the intent of selling it to others who might want to sue somebody for libel and defamation.

    Some information can be publicly available and still be protected as private. Phone numbers and addresses are often published on "phone books". That doesn't mean companies can collect all that info and use as they wish. Here in europe the law says a company must ask a person's permission before they transmit personal info they have collected to third parties. A person also has the right to contact any company and ask them to correct or delete any personal info it might have about them.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Secretly gathering information is a privacy concern

    "Imagine a company joining public chat rooms to indiscrimately record everything said and the respective IP addresses with the intent of selling it to others who might want to sue somebody for libel and defamation."

    ... and what of it? If you post it in public, it is public. What part of privacy is violated when you keep track of and relate public conversations?

    You guys really have a hard time knowing what is private and what is public.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 12:04am

    Not Exactly What It's About, Mike

    I'm not entirely clear how your basic IP address is "private." It's "public" by default, in that your computer uses it publicly to identify itself, so I'm not clear how that's automatically seen as "private" info.

    That's not exactly what it's about, Mike. It's actually about the company getting account holder's identities from ISPs based on IP addresses. Here's the very link that you posted yourself earlier: http://www.infoworld.com/d/developer-world/antipiracy-groups-tactics-violate-swiss-law-836
    Don't you even read your own links?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    chrisbryon, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 2:06am

    It's like Germany with skiing....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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