Swedish ISP Starts Deleting Log Files To Protect Users From IPRED Law

from the and-so-it-goes dept

There's been plenty of attention paid to Sweden's new IPRED law, which requires ISPs to hand over identifying information on those accused of file sharing -- but we've already noted that all the law is really doing is driving people to alternatives, such as encryption. And, now, it appears that even ISPs are recognizing that it just makes good business sense to better protect their users. Broadband Reports points out that a Swedish ISP, Bahnhof, has started destroying its own log files, rather than hand them over to authorities. The company's CEO notes that nothing in the law requires ISPs to keep log files -- but only to turn over what info has been retained. It seems likely that Bahnhof may have just convinced a bunch of folks to see if they can sign up for new broadband from the company. Any bets on how long it takes Sweden to pass a new law requiring ISPs to retain data for a certain period of time? Even the CEO admits that's likely -- but notes that it will show this is nothing more than a witch hunt by the entertainment industry:
"And then the legislators will have to step up and say they want to have data storage, not to catch terrorists but to help record companies and the movie industry in the hunt for file sharers."
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Filed Under: ipred, log files, sweden
Companies: bahnhof

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  1. identicon
    Tor, 17 Apr 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Storing the data may break the law

    This is not very surprising considering that one of Swedens most influencial bloggers, IP-sceptic and lifestyle libertarian Oscar Swartz, is the one who founded this ISP in 1994. Although he has left it now I guess some of the freedom spirit (or at least good sense of what the customers want) lives on.
    There are been reports of two smaller Swedish ISPs taking the same approach.

    When this was uncovered it was reported in the news as Bahnhof exploiting a loophole in the legislation. The truth is however that politicians have been aware of this for a long time. Since the EU data retention directive forces Sweden to introduce data retention laws they probably await the implementation of that since they can then blame EU and the former minister of the justice department (he was one of those who most strongly pushed for the introduction of this EU directive - now he is in opposition). Since the data retention directive is meant to fight heavy crime, it's not yet certain that rights holders will be able to gain access to data upon suspicion of less serious crimes.

    What's interesting is that we here in Sweden currently have a law on electronic communications that dictates that those who provide networks for eletronic communication may not store traffic data longer than necessary in order to distribute electronic messages or for billing (and IP-address logs aren't needed for billing). Hence, it would actually seem to be illegal for them to store logs of what IP-addresses were assigned to whom at what times.

    So while the media has been painting a picture of Bahnhof as the black sheep or at least as a form of political protester/activist, it may be its competitors who are breaking the law when they say they do store this info.

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