by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 5th 2009 10:55am
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.
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