The introduction of Sweden’s controversial Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) gave rights holders the authority to request personal details of alleged Internet copyright infringers in order that they can be pursued through the legal system.
The legislation came into force on April 1st this year, and the very next day the Netnod Internet Exchange reported a significant drop of 30% in Swedish Internet traffic. This dramatic reduction in data transfers was attributed to file-sharers reigning in their activities on fears of being identified by anti-piracy companies.
In response to the news, Swedish Pirate Party Chairman Rick Falkvinge told TorrentFreak that most experts believed that the initial “scare effect” would wear off in time. They were absolutely right.
Current data from Netnod reveals that traffic levels in Sweden have not only returned to normal, pre-IPRED levels, but actually seem on track to surpass them. This increase is partly natural, but the relatively steep climb in recent months seems to suggest that P2P traffic is on the rise again.
Who’s scared of IPRED now then?
While anti-piracy and copyright groups are working hard to clock up successes in getting governments to implement increasingly tougher laws to deal with online file-sharers, they too aren’t sitting back and accepting defeat in the face of these new challenges. Many are turning to services which enable them to hide their identities.
Recently the Cyber Norms sociological research project reported that 10% of Swedes aged between 15 and 25 were taking measures to neutralize online surveillance, with as many as 500,000 of their countrymen following suit. Måns Svensson, PhD in Sociology of Law in Lund, estimated that 6 to 7 percent of all Swedes could now be hiding themselves online.
In this cat and mouse game, the cats have to spend millions of dollars and years of effort to achieve their aims of getting new legislation to protect their interests. However, in a crushing response, the mice spend just a few minutes in thought deciding how to spend a few dollars in order to instantly neutralize the threat.
As people around the world look forward to the festive season, it must seem like Christmas every day for VPN suppliers.