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07/22/2010

Pirate ISP to launch in Sweden

Sweden has been a battleground for anti-copyright and piracy advocates for some time now, thanks primarily to the presence of the Pirate Bay, one of the most popular filesharing sites online. Now, the country is taking things up a notch with the introduction of an Internet Service Provider designed to protect filesharing users from prosecution.

Developed by the Swedish Pirate Party, an anti-copyright parliamentary party in Sweden, the Internet service provider would let filesharers exchange copyrighted movies, music and other digital assets while providing them with anonymity from prosecution. Using technology from ViaEurope, an organisation that developed the iPredator anonymisation system, the service will blind itself so that it doesn't know who its users are. 

Western ISPs can be targeted more effectively by industry bodies hoping to track down the IP addresses of users that they consider to be operating outside the law. In the US at least, this is often accomplished via a John Doe lawsuit that forces the ISPs to divulge the identities and IP addresses of users who are sharing copyrighted files. But if an ISP uses technology that somehow anonymises its users, then it won't be able to help the copyright owners seeking their identity. It's the digital equivalent of a bank safe designed not to let the bank manager open it in the event of a robbery.

The pirate-friendly party will operate the ISP and deal with any legal cases served against it, presumably with the help of fees paid by users. The rationale behind the initiative, according to organisers, is that other ISPs are failing to stand up to the rights of those users who want to exchange copyrighted files. 

Some might argue that users wanting to share content that is owned by someone else should be held to account. What do you think?

Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets 

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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