Anti-Piracy Lawyers Lose License To Chase Pirates

Just days after Norway’s data protection department told ISPs they must delete all personal IP address-related data three weeks after collection, it's now become safer than ever to be a file-sharer in Norway. The only law firm with a license to track pirates has just seen it expire and it won't be renewed.

Earlier this month we reported that since Norway’s Personal Data act prohibits the storage of unnecessary data, ISPs in the country must delete all IP address-related personal information they hold on their customers which is more than three weeks old. This makes it very hard in most cases to track down illicit file-sharers.

Now according to a Norwegian report, going after domestic file-sharers has become more difficult than ever before.

Since 2006, the Simonsen law firm – home of notorious pirate-chasing lawyer Espen Tøndel – has been in possession of a license from Norway’s data protection office which enables the outfit to monitor alleged pirates and collect their IP addresses.

But unfortunately for the firm it now has to stop this Internet surveillance, since the license was only temporary, has just expired and won’t be renewed.

The reason for the renewal rejection is that there has been little political debate on the issue since the license was granted. Norway’s data protection authorities had previously requested political clarification and legislation on what licensees can and cannot do. They haven’t been forthcoming.

Simonsen lawyer Espen Tøndel told Dagbladet that he was very unhappy with developments. “We believe that the decision is politically justified,” he said, noting that there should be no reason why the license shouldn’t be extended.

Tøndel further said that his law firm will object against the non-renewal of their license but if they fail, he fears that copyright holders will be completely powerless to stop illegal file-sharing.

“One can not deny [the copyright holders] their right to protect their interests in this way,” he said.

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