As part of an investigation running for more than a year, police in Iceland have been trying to track down individuals who run file-sharing sites and those who added large amounts of content to them. This week, teenagers as young as 15 had quite a surprise when police raided several locations across the country.
Following complaints from rightsholders, this week an investigation run by Icelandic police culminated in raids against suspected BitTorrent site operators and individuals suspected of being prolific uploaders of content.
In total, 9 houses were targeted and searched. In the capital Reykjavík, 3 people were arrested. Another 7 were arrested in the port city of Akureyri in the north of the country. Computer equipment was confiscated along with cellphones which according to sources close to the investigation were already being monitored. Police also seized 80g of marijuana.
While the oldest person arrested is 20 years old, others are as young as 15. The youngest of those detained complained that since they are doing school tests this week, that would be hindered without their computers. Some appear to have complied with police interrogations and have been let go, but others have been more stubborn.
“The cops also held ‘Mr. IceFox’, the owner of Rtorrent.net, in jail for 28 hours or even more,” a source told TorrentFreak, adding: “He was given no food, he only got water!”
It is believed that police were looking for operators and major uploaders at four other trackers including icebits.net, isparty.org, icebay.net and kreppa.org. Of these, only Icebay continues to operate. Although reports suggest that a staffer from Icebay was arrested on Wednesday afternoon, the site deny this, but admit that due to the current climate the individual has resigned.
News of the police activity quickly spread and several other torrent sites went down as a precaution.
Icebits.net previously had problems with their hosting provider back in October and isparty.org had also suffered downtime. In November, Isparty announced that they would be back online on December 1st and being run by one of their original founders and assisted by three of the founders of Icebits. Ominously the announcement noted that the site would in future be hosted on a “foreign server which is very safe.”
By December 2nd, two days after the raids, three senior staffers at Isparty – TerraNova, Chrome and Intel – announced their permanent retirement and closure of the site.
Earlier this year, the Icelandic torrent site Istorrent.is finally lost their 3 year copyright battle with a coalition of anti-piracy organizations and were forced to close down.