Under IPRED it will be easier for copyright holders to get the personal details of alleged file-sharers from ISPs. This week we reported how some Swedish ISPs are effectively neutralizing the tough IPRED legislation by deleting records and not gathering future data about their customers’ Internet usage. Earlier legislation said that it’s not compulsory for ISPs to keep such data and major ISPs Bahnhof and Tele2 use this to stand up for their customers’ privacy.
Now Karl Sigfrid, an MP with the Moderate Party and opponent of IPRED, is urging other Internet providers to follow this lead and refuse to log data that can be revealed under IPRED – no data logged means there is nothing to reveal.
Sigfrid has sent a letter to his ISP Bredbandsbolaget, urging them to stop storing data;
As a customer I ask you to stop storing information on the IP address that you assign me. The data need not be stored by law, and other Internet providers have already decided to discontinue storage.
Since you store my IP address, I can not operate an open wireless network without exposing myself to risk of having my identity extradited to the copyright holder. This is because I can not check if anyone else is guilty of illegal up-or downloading through my account.
A letter from a copyright holder and a possible lawsuit is a major inconvenience for those who have done nothing illegal, especially since a customer can ask his ISP to take legal action to protect their clients’ right to private communications.
So far Bredbandsbolaget has refused to comply and has said that it will continue to log the activities of its customers. A request for another major ISP Telia to stop logging resulted in the same response, with both companies claiming that they will continue to log for the “security of our customers”.
“Our task is to make sure that our customers are safe on the Internet. In order to do this we have to keep records for a short amount of time, maximum three weeks. We will not automatically give away any records but will investigate any such request very thoroughly and also appeal,” said Georgi Ganev, CEO of Bredbandsbolaget.
Ganev said that Tele2’s claimed decision to stop logging will compromise the security of its customers. “If they claim that they will be able to uphold security and at the same time immediately delete records, then I’m confused. It is impossible,” he said.
IFPI lawyer Peter Danowsky is completely against ISPs stopping their logging and has attacked them, accusing them of assisting with illegal behavior. “It is astonishing that someone who claims to be a serious telecoms company wants to contribute to breaches of the law, which is the meaning of what they do,” he said, while completely failing to mention that these ISPs are operating entirely within the law.
Quite how these logs improve customer security is not clear, but for those permanently using a VPN (like this writer) there are no logs whatsoever to refer to – and I haven’t noticed any reduction in my security at all.
In the meantime, Karl Sigfrid is encouraging everyone to copy his letter and send it to their own ISP.