"Around 200,000 young Swedes aged 15-25 have adopted anonymization techniques with products such as Relakks, IPredator and Mole. This is 15 percent of the whole age group.
Btw. I think many of the articles about VPN usage forgets about geographical IP restrictions as a driver for the adoption of VPN - again ironically something created by the copyright industry that then comes back to bite them.
I disagree with you on A. If you store the IP address then of course it will be possible to retrieve it later. How much it will tell you is another matter.
Please note that PST may not be interested in the data for the purpose of prosecution but for further investigations. I wouldn't rule out that it might be useful in some cases, but it's still a totally unbalanced proposal that restricts basic human rights in an unacceptable way.
No, but it is part of the EEA. The request by PST is directly related to the norweigian implementation of the EU data retention directive. It seems to be a bit uncertain to what degree Norway is bound by the directive (some analysis in norwegian can be found here).
The strange thing about the norweigian legislation is that it seems to give the authority that's appointed to oversee the data retention the power to extend the obligation to retain traffic data to new parties. One would think that the parliament or at least the government would have to give its approval to such restrictions of fundamental human rights.
So what PST is doing here is making a request to this authority (PT) to extend the obligation to retain data. And it's not just internet communities and chats either. PST wants to extend the obligation to IP-adress data to internet cafés and it wants ISPs that use NAT to store the URLs that people access.
Btw. in Sweden the police requested that the geographical position of people who make a mobile phone call should be registered every minute to track the movement of the person. Thankfully the government disagreed and the data is now to be stored "only" at the start and end of the phone call. We can only hope that this PST request ends up being rejected too. I think that's quite likely since the EU data retention directive introduces no obligations for providers of services over the internet (eg. webmail, IP-telephony, etc) unless they are offered by a company that also provides internet access or physical network infrastructure. So internet communities and such are not covered and although the PST seems to pretend otherwise it should be clear to most people that this is a quite massive extension of what the directive says.
"decided that it is perfectly reasonable for ISPs to be ordered to hand over customer info -- if certain specific conditions are met to keep it in-line with the EU data retention rules"
I believe those specific conditions are set out in other directives -- not the EU data retention directive. The data retention directive quite explicitly states that data stored for the purpose of that directive can only be handed out to competent authorities - not private parties. Now if the data was stored in a database that was not mandated by the data retention directive, then it's another story.
It's not entirely clear to me how one should reconcile this verdict with the earlier suggested verdict by the advocate general. Specifically point 60:
"For the disclosure of personal data to be possible, EU law requires that an obligation to retain data be provided for in national law, in order to specify the types of data to be retained, the purposes of retaining the data, the period of retention and the persons with access to said data. It would be contrary to the principles of the protection of personal data to make use of databases that exist for purposes other than those thus defined by the legislature."
There is no law in Sweden that says that IP address logs should be retained for the purpose of being used in civil suits. This verdict doesn't really seem to explicitly contradict the statement of the advocate general. I wonder if that's because the court disagrees, agrees but didn't find it relevant in its answer to the questions, or if I have misunderstood something (I'm not a lawyer after all).
"Rapidshare must monitor what pages on it's site are getting visited, and then check those pages to see if the material is infringing. The best way to do that is to look at the referring sites, to see how the file is linked, etc."
If this refers to the http referer header it easy to add a level of indirection that obscures it rendering that method pretty useless. If the court means that Rapidshare is to determine what constitutes an infringement and what doesn't, then that seems like a dangerous ruling.
Does anyone have a link to the ruling? I find the obligation to monitor third-party sites really strange and would like to read the court's own words about this.
This is what the EU E-commerce directive article 15 says: "1. Member States shall not impose a general obligation on providers, when providing the services covered by Articles 12, 13 and 14, to monitor the information which they transmit or store, nor a general obligation actively to seek facts or circumstances indicating illegal activity."
To me it seems that the german court has found that there is "a general obligation actively to seek facts or circumstances indicating illegal activity", which runs counter the meaning of article 15.1 above.
It's simply a result of the power balance. A too long patent term would also hurt some big and influential companies, so in the patent case you have a company vs. company struggle. In the copyright case you have to a large degree companies/special interests vs. the public. The former have traditionally been better organized which is why we see unfair and undemocratic rent-seeking in the area of copyright today.
It's going to be interesting to see if this increases the willingness of people to engage in a political fight concerning these issues. After all, all this file hosters combined should have a quite significant user base.
Re: Re: free speech is for everyone, even opponents of your views. Above all opponents .
Same thing could be said about people expressing themselves on sites censored for copyright reasons: "well, they can always find some other place - some less controversial part of the net". I don't think that's a valid argument.
Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not just the government that can attack free speech
I'm not a native english speaker so I've got to wonder if this is some kind of figure of speech or if you're actually talking about physically assaulting someone by throwing a pie at them. If it's the latter, just think of for example a local politician who get assaulted at a public meeting for daring to present her viewpoint. Such a thing could very well make a person quit politics for life. That's not attacking free speech?
Re: Re: It's not just the government that can attack free speech
Censorship is something that the state does (and unless you're a libertarian you might also say that powerful organisations sometimes do it) and it normally extends over time.
However, even though throwing a custard pie on someone's fade is not censorship it is still an attack on free speech. Sometimes it can even be a quite serious attack.
We shouldn't just discuss censorship. If you for example take SOPA/PIPA a big part of the problem is that they introduce completely new risk structures for intermediaries and people who want to express themselves. Those risk structures need not always be censorship per see (one could perhaps call it outsourced censorship), but it's still a free speech issue.
It's not just the government that can attack free speech
"free speech" issues are about government censorship
I disagree. The core issue is how much power the party attacking free speech has. Since the legal system and the government are central places from which where very powerful attacks can be launched it naturally attracts a lot of interest.
But if groups that are not affiliated with the state use their power to seek out and silence others I'd argue that that's too an attack on free speech.
Besides, if we want even people who say stupid things and who want to limit our freedom to enjoy freedom of speech then what better case can we get than this to demonstrate our willingness to stand up for those principles. :P
Verdict in the Netherlands claims blocks are effective
"Towards the end, Cotton claims that when a court in the Netherlands ordered The Pirate Bay blocked in that country, traffic to the site dropped by 80%. That's a flat out lie. I mean, ridiculously false."
People may perhaps find it interesting that in the recent Netherlands court case BREIN claimed (see section 4.35 in the linked document) that countries blocking The Pirate Bay typically create a 92% drop in visitors from that country (citing Italy and Denmark as examples). Since the ISPs didn't object the court used this in its argument that the blocking measures were effective.
I can certainly see how this could be a practical problem at the workplace, but would our politicians really be that much better policymakers if they had more up-to-date hardware? I doubt that.
If you had to choose a person to decide IT policy and the decision was between a knowledgeable computer hacker (in the good sense of the word) arriving via time machine to our current time from 1995 and a politician of today who doesn't know that much about computers but have all this fancy modern IT equipment, who would you pick?
It's easy to get pessimistic but I tend to think about it in this way: if let's say only 5% of people contact their representatives about issues they feel strongly about, then if you choose to voice your opinion that makes you a spokesperson for 20 other voters. So it's a responsibility to shoulder, and your voice carries more weight than you might think at first.
It's an even bigger responsibility if you think about the ~100 people from other parts of the world who want to avoid limitations to free speech and due process take root in the U.S. and then spread from there, but who are excluded from the political process.
It's true that in a partly corrupt political system like that in the U.S. you might need to reach some kind of critical mass before there is any real change, but it's not at all impossible to do so - internet helps people organize.