EU Court Of Justice Says ISPs Can Be Forced To Reveal Info On Accused Infringement

from the no-privacy-violations dept

A few years ago, we wrote about how Swedish ISP ePhone was refusing to hand over info on its subscribers who were accused of infringement, arguing that the country's IPRED (IP enforcement) law was in violation of EU law. That case bounced around the Swedish courts before hitting the EU Court of Justice, who recently 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.

While perhaps somewhat unfortunate from a privacy perspective, I don't actually find the ruling to be that surprising, and the impact is not all that far-reaching. It's pretty well-established that companies can be compelled to give up private info on people as part of a legal dispute. The larger concern should be over the standard of evidence required before such info is handed over (and also whether or not the accused has the opportunity to anonymously fight the release of info, should he or she believe that the release would be in error). The EU Court of Justice has had some good rulings lately, pushing back on copyright maximalism, but this particular ruling isn't really all that surprising, given the details. In fact, the full ruling suggests that it was tackling a very narrow question that really changes little. It doesn't even say that such info should always be given up -- just that, if certain conditions are met, it could be legal to require ISPs to hand it over.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2012 @ 3:46am

    am still trying to understand how they will be able to differentiate between customer info and infringer info? are customers going to be held liable for any and all downloads through their accounts now, even though it isn't a legal requirement to have secured internet access to prevent someone else from using the connection? (car owners dont get taken to court if their vehicle is used in a robbery, are they?) what about those that dont know how to secure their connection?

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