by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
privacy, switzerland


Swiss Supreme Court Says Tracking Online File Sharers Violates Privacy Laws

from the the-industry-isn't-going-to-like-that dept

A couple years ago, we wrote about how Swiss officials had told Logistep to stop snooping on suspected file sharers as it violated their privacy. However, a year later, a court ruled otherwise. However, things have changed once again, as Michael Geist points us to the news that the Swiss Supreme Court has said that Logistep's snooping violates privacy rules. Apparently, Switzerland has strict digital privacy laws, which counts IP addresses as private information. I'm not sure if I agree with that idea (IP addresses are, somewhat by definition, public info -- though I could see how connecting that info to users is a privacy violation). However, it's certainly going to make tracking file sharers (or, hell, anyone online) a lot trickier.

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  1. identicon
    Shawn, 9 Sep 2010 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re: of course

    I think what he meant was, your SSN, birth date, etc. are all publicly available information (maybe not on the gps location). But you would still consider someone having those pieces of information a privacy concern.

    Its not the information itself (or them having it) that's the problem. Its the usage of the information to track you down. A computer's IP address is just its identifier. But so is your name and address in the physical world. Its publicly available information, but when someone starts using it to track you or snoop on you, its a problem.

    However, I'd agree with the Swiss law on this one. While its not exactly private information, it would be hard to word a law properly to prevent misuse of public information. Too many possibilities for loopholes and misinterpretations. Especially when the public piece of information is tied to so much that a user does.

    You can't find out what strip clubs I've been visiting or where I've spent my money or who I've been socializing with based on my address.

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