2009-02-26

Pirate Party passes the Left

The Swedish Piratpartiet (Pirate Party) has, according to the latest figures, now passed the Left Party in membership figures. The Pirate Party has, according to their latest estimates, over 10 800 members, a bit over 100 more than the left party.

Also, their youth organisation, Ung Pirat (Young Pirate) has surpassed the once mighty social democratic youth organisation SSU in membership figures, becoming the second largest youth organisation in the country. It's getting clearly more difficult for the mainstream media to ignore the influence that the Pirate Party is, or should be, gaining in Swedish politics.


2009-02-25

The Pirate Bay trial - my favourite scene from the screenplay

Witness examination with Magnus Mårtensson, IFPI:

Prosecutor: It is correct that you're working for IFPI?
Mårtensson: Yes.
P: How long have you done that?
M: For fifteen years.
P: What are you doing for IFPI?
M: Antipiracy. We act against pirates.
P: What does acting against mean?
M: We gather evidence and turns it over to the police in ongoing investigations.
P: So you have prior experience in investigating infringements.
M: Yes.
P: What did you do before you started working for IFPI?
M: I was a student.
P: Had you gathered evidence over the net before working for IFPI?
M: No, only for IFPI.
P: So, this is the first time you gather evidence over the internet?
M: Nono.
P: Okay, then I misunderstood. How did the investigation work?
M: I went to the Pirate Bay, downloaded a number of albums to my own computer, and concluded the songs I had downloaded were correct and working.
P: How did you make your selection?
M: Not very scientifically - I checked the top list.
P: What software did you use to secure the evidence?
M: None at all. I used Internet Explorer and made some screen dumps.
P: You didn't use any BitTorrent software.
M: Yes, of course I did. I also used a BitTorrent client called Azureus.
P: But there were no network logging in the background?
M: No.
P: How did the download work?
M: I searched for an artist, chose one of the links in the search results list presented, clicked it and was redirected to a download list for the torrent file with a lot of information, and what is relevant on that page is a link that is called "download this torrent". When you click the link you get a torrent file. When I got the torrent file, Azureus started the download of the file.
M: When you had started the download, did you get any contacts with other file sharers?
P: Yes, mostly uploaders.
M: When you started the download yourself, did you get in contact with a tracker?
P: Yes, well... I watched over some of the cases. In one of the screen dumps I took you can see a tracker address to PRQ. I'm no bit torrent expert, but I am somehow communicating with the tracker.
M: Did you somehow during the download check that you were in connection with the tracer?
P: No.. as I, making the download, felt, I was on the Pirate Bay website, I didn't control what tracker was contacted.
M: What albums did you download?
P: *goes through a list*

Defense: You say that you're a lawyer. That means that you have no education in computer science?
Mårtensson: That is correct.
D: You also said you're no expert in the BitTorrent protocol. Does that mean that you're not an expert in technical matters?
M: That is correct. I was supposed to mimic an average user.
D: There is someone that has uploaded a torrent file to TPBs homepage. Can you at all claim whether or not the downloaded torrent file originated with that one uploader?
M: No.
D: Can you at all claim whether or not the work [the music] has been available at the internet at the time when you downloaded the torrent file?
M: Yeah... well... you can upload in one of two ways, you either have the entire file or parts of it.
D: So, can you claim that you've downloaded a part of the torrent from the uploader?
M: Er...? No.
D: Can you say how the people in the swarm got there, via the Pirate Bay or some other way?
M: No.
D: When you made your screen dump, did you turn off DHT and Peer Exchange?
M: DHT was turned on of course. I wanted to mimic an average user.
D: So there were no way for you to verify that the tracker was used?
M: The tracker's address was on the screen. I take that as a confirmation that it was somehow used.
D: But since you had DHT turned on, you have no possibility to claim with any certainty that the Pirate Bay tracker was actually used?
[After many exchanges of this question, Mårtensson finally admits:]
M: No.
D: Did you really listen to all the songs from beginning to end, to verify it was actually those songs.
M: Yes, I did.
D: How did you select the songs?
M: I chose them myself.
D: Did you download the BitTorrent client from the Pirate Bay?
M: No, from the client manufacturer's homepage.
D: So, you had a complete set of file sharing software on your computer before you went to the Pirate Bay?
M: That is correct.
D: So it was your computer that initiated the file sharing?
M: I have to get a torrent file from the Pirate Bay.
D: But that torrent file, you could just as well has gotten it from Google?
M: I have never done this via Google.
D: Nobody on IFPI has discussed doing this with you, aside from you never doing it yourself?
M: We never had any problems with Google...
D: But after working for IFPI for fifteen years, you must be aware that there are torrent files on Google?
M: This might sound strange to you, but that's nothing we talk about.
D: But you do know other sites than the Pirate Bay? For example?
M: I would say, for example, BTJunkie.
D: And had you gone to that site instead and downloaded the same torrent, your client would have reacted in the same way.
M: Yes.
D: Do you have any idea how many of these sites there are on the internet?
M: No.
D: A file sharing service, is it automatic, in that it doesn't know whether a file is protected or not?
M: That is correct.
D: So when you start your download, are you on the Pirate Bay or in your client?
M: The client.
[Discussions of a particular screen dump]
D: This torrent file is uploaded by [user name]. Have you or your employer ever attempted to make contact with this person?
M: No.
D: This torrent file being uploaded by this person at this time, does that also mean the person has uploaded a copy of the work?
M: No.
D: It could be empty?
M: Well, the torrent file is uploaded at this date (Feb. 13).
D: Do you know if the person uploading the torrent also used his client to upload a copy of the work?
M: No, I can't answer that [meaning: I don't know].
D: Your screen dump is from Azureus. That program is not released by the Pirate Bay?
M: No, you can get that program anywhere.
D: It says there are two complete sources and two non-complete source. What does that mean?
M: I'm no bit torrent expert, but, it means two seeds, two leechers.
D: Then I want to ask you - have you made any attempts to identify these four computers?
M: No, the entire point was mimicing an average user.
D: I'm still asking.
M: No, we haven't made any identifications.
D: So my question is: do you know if these four persons are uploading via the Pirate Bay.
M: I have no idea.
D: Could they be uploading through completely different paths?
M: I have no idea.
D: On February 13 this torrent was uploaded to the Pirate Bay. Have you any idea how many times it has been uploaded to other places, such as Google, YouTube...?
M: That is impossible to say.
D: It could in fact be the millionth copy...?
M: It's impossible to say. It could be.
D: If Robbie Williams release an album, how many times has it been copied before it ends up on your computer.
M: I don't know.

Comment: It should be obvious, the ownage. No need to dwell on that.

I have personal reasons to feel a connection to this very scene: by a bizarre leap of fate, Magnus was working on a summer camp where I was as a kid, at Varvåkra. In fact, he was arguably one of my favourites among the camp leaders. He's really a great guy. Almost a shame he was this pwned here, though we're on the opposite side of the trenches on this matter.

Note that I did not witness this scene on the original show in the court house. I only translated the transcript from Rick.

2008-09-12

The latest Pirate Bay controversy

The Pirate Bay, the scorn of the Old Empires, is currently involved in a new scandal. But it's the same old story about the evil of men, the question of right or wrong and the morals of the hypocritic Old Media.

Act 1 - The crime
In spring, there was a terrible double murder in Sweden. Appearantly, a jealous ex girlfriend went berserk. She killed two little children and put their mother in a coma.

The press was all over this thing. Day in and day out they reported minute reports on anything regarding this case. Everything known about the murder. The thrilling drama of the mother, unconcious and unaware that her children were dead. Then the chilling drama as she woke up and found out about the whole ordeal. They marvelled at the police investigation, every little detail at the trial and so on.

Act 2 - The Principle of Public Knowledge
They managed to do that because of a constitutional right in Sweden called "The principle of Public Knowledge" - I think that's the best way to translate it. It's a lawful principle that says that documents made by Swedish authorities are open to the public without limitations, unless extraordinary circumstances (such as national security) deems it to be classified. Publicity is the norm. Classification is the exception.

The idea is, of course, that everyone should be able to check up on any authority descision afterwards to see the reasoning behind it and detect flaws.

Untill recently, this principle was hardly ever exercised by others than journalists or scientists, because it was quite a task to go to the office of said authority (say the prosecutor in some small town far away) and find the document in question. Then you couldn't take the original, obviously, so you had to copy the documents you wanted. A complex police report such as the one in the aforementioned case can be thousands of pages. So copying it would be both pricy and hard work.

Nowadays, that's not a problem. Most of these documents are turned into PDF documents, and getting a hold of them is a matter of requesting them from said authorities and having them mailed over. The fee is usually about ten bucks, the cost of the work put down on sending it over. A service fee.

Act 3 - The upload
For some reason, someone decided they wanted a copy of the prosecutor's material on this case. So they did just like I described before, they ordered the material and got it sent over. And then they decided to make a torrent file out of it, and uploading it to the Pirate Bay.

In the prosecutor's material was included some pictures from the autopsy of the victims. This made it all hot stuff.

The file was uploaded to the Pirate Bay. Not the report itself, but a link to the computer from where it could be downloaded. Nothing is stored at the Pirate Bay servers but links, and this is why it has been difficult to file charges against them and get them convicted of anything. They are currently awaiting a trial for the ridiculous crime labled "Aiding piracy", invented just for this trial.

The link was uploaded, and didn't get much attention. There are millions of such torrents on the Pirate Bay. Thousands are added every day. If people doesn't upload it, it disappears in the noise. This is what probably would've happened in a couple of days, if the Media hadn't intervened.

Act 4 - The hype
For some reason, a driven reporter on TV4 News found out about this torrent and decided that it would be News (TM), given the high profile of the murder case and the fact that there were autopsy pictures. So they aired a report about this. They couldn't resist - "Autopsy pictures at the Pirate Bay". Despite the fact that this was hardly the case.

It led to the Pirate Bay getting hundereds of mails from upset people who, in more or less threatening manners, demanded they take down the material.

Now the Pirate Bay can't really do much about this.

First of all, they have a principle that they don't take stuff down, unless it is illegal to possess (such as child porn). If they started to back down on that principle, they would soon have to start to take down more and more controversial (or private) material links untill they idea with the site was obliterated.

Secondly, the Streisand effect would've kicked in. The Streisand effect is a principle that if you try to remove something from the Internet, it starts spreading faster. The definition is, "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."

In 2003 a photographer took an aerial picture of Streisand's house. She sued the website publishing it as part of a beachfront project. And soon it was evident that this had led to the picture being very popular on the Internet.

In April 2007, the HDTV encryption key was published on Digg. They tried to remove it. The result is that it started to occur on hundereds of thousands of web pages. There's a song about it. Several domain names contains the number or variations of it. By trying to conceal this number, it became the most famous number on the Internet.

Wikileaks had a series of OT documents from the Church of Scientology. When the Scientologists tried to have it removed, Wikileaks woved to publish several thousands of additional pages of Scientology material.

It's quite simple - once something gets on the Internet it stays. If you try to remove it, you make things worse. The Pirate Bay crew knew this.

And the fact is that if TV 4 News hadn't made the report, the file would've disappeared in the noise. But by making the report, they made the public aware of it. Suddenly, it went from 100 downloads in several months to tens of thousands of downloads in a couple of days.

All this the Pirate Bay crew understood and tried to tell the people mailing them to have it removed. Aside from the fact that material wasn't there in the first place, only links to it.

When one of the moderators had spent an entire day answering this kind of mails, with various levels of abuse, he got fed up. To one mail, he simply answered. "Enough with the fucking nagging. No, no and again no."

The problem was that the person he replied to wasn't just any concerned citizen. it was the father of the two murdered children.

Act 5 - the bigots
Of course, this was realized quite quickly, and the Pirate Bay issued a public message (Swedish only) apologizing to the father for this reply, along with an explanation of why the mistake had occured.

But of course, the story took off. Every old media - newspapers, radio, TV - in the country has reported on this. Hundereds of blogs has discussed it. Some have tried to start a boycot campaign against the Pirate Bay with limited success. Others have tried to explain or defend the Pirate Bay - I tend to belong to the second category.

But it all boils down to this:

The Old Media loves this whole situation. They feel threatened by the new media trends and the development that new technology has meant to them. They have not been particularily good at following the latest developments and are worried about blogs, user-provided content, torrent technology and all the other things that threatens their monopoly on handing out information to the masses. They have seen an opportunity to do so now.

And in fact, how cynical aren't they? For months they have exploited the tragedy of this family on a daily basis. And now, suddenly, when one of the symbols of the new information infrastructure have accidentally gotten involved in this case, NOW they are suddenly horrified about the lack of morals towards the family?

Talk about hypocrits. Being holier than thou when they in fact created the problem in the first place - after exploiting it for add incomes for months? I am suddenly glad I never became a reporter. Had I been, I would seriously have questioned the ethics of my job today.

2008-06-17

Law on communications tapping scorned from abroad

The Swedish FRA law is condemned by several international NGOs. Among these are Privacy International, a London based foundation based in 50 countries which works against electronic monitoring of citizens and for a stronger protection of privacy and openness.

Privacy International's vice secretary general David Banisar has followed the debate of the Swedish FRA law for some time.

"I can't imagine how this law is going to be able to meet the demands of the European Declaration of Human Rights, Banisar says to DN.


He can't think of any European equivalents to the FRA law, and says it's one of the most far reaching acts he has seen in this field:

"The closest you get, the way I see it, is the controversial decision of the Bush administration to bypass the law and monitor all American communications with other countries, even that on internal matters."


Echelon is a huge American-British network for search pattern basedlinetaping, the largest information collection and monitoring network that has ever existed. According to Privacy International, Echelon is able to get itself into and spy on the tele- and data trafic of almost any country and with very limited judicial control. The system is estimated to catch around 3 billion communications a day.

Echelon is primarily controlled by the US and the UK, but Australia, New Zeeland and Canada also adds to the surveillance.

Surprisingly enough, David Banisar claims that the FRA in a way actually works in an even broader fashion.

"In reality it will contain Swedish domestical communication as well, if it happens to cross the borders."


The European Federation of Journalists, EFJ, has also made a statement where they condemn the Swedish bill proposal. Electronic monitoring of tele- and e-mail communications is breaking international and European legislation, the EFJ concludes. In the European Parliament the FRA bill is questioned by, among others, the French MEP Benoît Hamon, prominent socialist and former coworker of Martin Aubry, minister of Labour in the Jospin administration. Hamon has written a letter with a number of questions about the bill to the European Convention: He wants to know if the Convention believes that the FRA bill is compatible with European legislation and with the European Declaration of Human Rights. He also asks if the Commision has any idea wether or not the Swedish government has taken any measure to protect non-Swedes. He also asks if there are any connections to monitoring networks ouside of the EU, primarily Echelon.

Håkan Jevrell, state secretary in the Ministry of Defence, claimed in DN yesterday that the Swedish law isn't unique in the world or in Europe. However, his only concrete example was Echelon.

In fact, it is very hard to get a greater picture of what models of surveillance that are in use in other EU countries, and if they can be compared with the FRA bill. Except for the UK, the Netherlands and Germany has implemented some fort of surveillance. But details about how these countrie control their signal fishing, or other European example, are things that the Ministry of Defense hasn't been able to provide DN with.

"I don't think we have any such informations specifically about tapping withing the EU", department employee Per Anderman says.


Tove Nandorf, DN

Sweden steps away from democracy

World+dog ignores Sweden's Draconian wiretap bill
'If your email crosses our border, we tap it'
By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
Published Wednesday 4th June 2008 20:27 GMT

Sweden is on the verge of passing a far-reaching wiretapping program that would greatly expand the government's spying capabilities by permitting it to monitor all email and telephone traffic coming in and out of the country.

So far, hacks from the mainstream Swedish press seem to be on holiday, so news about the proposed law is woefully hard to come by. That leaves us turning to this summary from the decidedly partisan Swedish Pirate Party for details. We'd prefer to rely on a more neutral group, but that wasn't possible this time. According to them, here's a broad outline:

The En anpassad försvarsunderrättelseverksamhet bill (which loosely translates to "a better adapted military intelligence gathering") gives Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) direct access to the traffic passing through its borders. Now remember, we're talking about the internet, which frequently routes packets though multiple geographically dispersed hops before they reach their final destination.

This all but guarantees that emails and voice over IP (VoIP) calls between Swedes will routinely be siphoned into a massive monitoring machine. And we wouldn't be surprised if traffic between parties with no tie to the country regularly passes through Sweden's border as well, and that too would be fair game. (For example, email sent from a BT address in London to Finland is likely to pass through Sweden first.)

Once intercepted, the data will be searched for certain keywords, and those that contain the words will be pulled aside for additional scrutiny. A broad array of organizations will have use of the system, including the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture, the police, secret service and customs, and in some cases major businesses. The bill allows Swedes to be singled out, as well.

When the bill was introduced in early 2007, Google was reportedly so concerned about its consequences for privacy that it threatened to limit its ties to the country if the measure passed.

"We have contacted Swedish authorities to give our view of the proposal and we have made it clear that we will never place any servers inside Sweden's borders if the proposal goes through," Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, said last year, according to this article. "We simply cannot compromise our users' integrity by allowing Swedish authorities access to data that may not even concern Swedish activity."

But so far, few outside of the pro-privacy universe have bothered to discuss the bill this time around. There have been no similar pronouncements from Google and representatives there didn't respond to a request for comment. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has likewise been reticent about the bill.

"Surprisingly enough, there hasn't been that much written about it, even in the Swedish media," said Patrik Runald, a Swedish national and a security response manager for F-Secure who works in San Jose, California.

"The funny thing is when asked what do you want to look for, [backers of the bill] don't really specify what they're interested in," he continued. "It's a very broad bill. They basically can interpret whatever they like."

One of the few recent press mentions of the bill came from a publication called Cellular News in London. According to this story, Nordic and Baltic telecommunications provider TeliaSonera planned to move email servers out of Sweden to protect the privacy of its Finnish customers.

The bill is scheduled to come up for a vote on June 17. According to the Swedish Pirate Party, a majority of parliament currently backs the bill.
Source: The Register

I am seriously starting to worry about Swedish democracy.

1: When this law is passed, Sweden has taken a huge and almost irrevocable step towards abandoning democracy.

2: This step has been taken by systematic cheating (votes and debates during times when many are away, i.e. Christmas vacations and similar) and lies to the press and on official websites.

3: This step has been part of a strategy that has been used more or less since the same year that Swedish political society - around year 2000 - unanimously said that we will never again mass monitor our citizens.

4: This step has been taken because both the left wing and the right wing parties have pushing for it.

5: It is enough that four parliament members from any of the governing parties votes against it for it to be turned down. However, several of said politicians who claim they are against this law has told media that they will either vote to pass the law just the same in fear of reprisals or bad blood from their party peers (the so-called "party whip") or that they will refrain from voting alltogether for the same reasons.

6: Mass media has shunned to write anything about this untill last week, when it was clear that hundereds of blog posts has taken it up, when hundereds of upset people have mailed their MPs to protest, and when the campaign site against this law has had hundereds of thousands of visits within the span of a week. Now, suddenly, all news papers write about it. From various angles.

7: The Pirate Party released an mp3 recording of a conversation with the chairman of the FRA admitting that the authority has already been monitoring trafic en masse for several years without being permitted to do so by law.

8: Sweden's leading TV news show has also uncovered that FRA has done this monitoring, and well aware that there are serious legal issues surrounding the procedures.

9: Several other authorities, expert panels, unions, concideration bodies, union of journalists, union of lawyers, the National Security Service and others have all shunned this law as unconstitional and anti-democratic.

And still, it seems like the Swedish parliament will ignore all these facts and pass this law on Wednesday.

2007-03-28

Check out Magnatune if you haven't already

If this hasn't already been featured everywhere, it should have been.

Magnatune is a record label that started in the year 2000 from what I can gather (claims that the famous Courtney Love article was written six months after the foundation of the company, but Wikipedia says 2003). The founder's wife had been signed and completely screwed over by the record company - she lost the rights to her music for 7 years, even though the CD was out of print for many years, and received $137 in royalties, parts of which was paid out as CD copies of her own album.

So John Buckman started his own record label. It is not connected to any of the music mafia lobby groups like the RIAA. These guys don't believe in such groups.

All artists signed to the label is handpicked. Which means they sell what they believe in. And because of this, they don't screw their artists over - 50% of the sales goes to the artist.

When you browse around the site, you'll notice that you don't make a buy based on a guess. You can listen to everything, every minute of every song of every album, so you know exactly what it is that you're buying.

And when you make the buy, you download full CD qualities in several formats, with high quality album art - or you can have the CD shipped to you. If you lose your products for any reasons, it's completely okay to download it again.

There is no DRM on their products. Magnatunes doesn't like DRM. Their music can be played anywhere.

If you have a podcast that is non-commercial, or what they call "commercial but starving", you can use their music for free, due to individual deals with every individual artist. And it doesn't stop their. On their website, they outright encourage the buyer to give three copies of your purchase to friends.

The three copies limitations sounds like DRM. It's really not. It doesn't stop you from making more than three copies of files. It allowes you to do four downloads from the downloads page. So when you buy something from them, four people can download the buy.

The only thing I miss is the opportunity to buy individual tracks or designing one's own CD - one buy the entire album in a chunk from Magnatunes, in an old-fashioned style that might quickly go out of date.

2007-03-22

Cheering too soon

Recently, I reported that there is a chance that the social democrats might force a postponement on the Stasi law of defense minister Odenberg, that their own former justice minister Bodström developed before the elections last year.

I also pointed out that Bodström and the social democrats have nothing principally against mass surveillance - quite the contrary, they wouldn't mind it at all when they regain power in 2010 or 2014 - but they are now trying to take popularity points as this legislation is turning out to be a hot potatoe.

I guess I can only confirm that I was right.

The Social Democrats have started working on their own proposition of surveillance legislation.

Today the party held a hearing where critical voices could make themselves heard.

Defense minister Mikael Odenberg have adjusted his original proposition. But it is not enough, according to Board of Attorneys representative Anne Ramberg and the chairman of Directory Committee and former head of SÄPO (Swedish National Security Agency) Anders Eriksson.

Ramberg protests against the fact that the proposition that lets FRA listen in on all tele trafic and read e-mail, faxes and text messages to and from Sweden will make possible an unregulated retrieval of information.

"We are talking about surveillance on a scale that we have never been close to before," said Anne Ramberg, who think that such revolutionizing legislation must be prepared differently.

"Why such a hurry? Why not take a step back?" she asks and called for an independent body authorizing the surveillance.

Anders Eriksson agree and compared with other countries that have more far-reaching limits [to survelliance - my comment], such as the US and Germany.

Former Justice Minister Thomas Bodström also wants new rules for surveillance but he is critical of the proposition from the government.

"We will bring our own proposition where Anne Ramberg's and Anders Eriksson's views will be important", Bodström says and calls for an independent body of control.

The non-socialist parties have left an opening for changes in the proposition during its handling in parliament. The committees of defense, justice and constitution are to hold a public hearing and the decision is not to be made until June.

The governmental party MPs are happy to remind anyone that it was the social democrats that created the proposition. But Bodström says:

"We have failed the propositions of both the old government and the new one."

If the social democrats can't get support for their opinions, they will reach the minority protection the parliament provides and postpone the proposition for a year.

(Source)


So, the social democrats will make their own proposition about mass surveillance á la Eastern Germany. The main difference is that they want a control body (which they also had in Eastern Germany, by the way), and they will take the opinions of a lawyer and the former head of the Swedish Security Services into account! But they will also only postpone the decision if these changes doesn't get through.

So there is really difference at all, in other words.

But, even if we are lucky and the proposition does get postponed, we shouldn't believe we are safe just yet. Because there are three other surveillance propositions waiting to get sneaked through as well. The Pirate Party made a press release on March 13.

The social democrats have made it understood that they will probably vote with the Green Party and the Left Party for a postponement of the FRA proposition. The mass surveillance that the government has planned will then have to wait for at least a year.

"But there are three other almost identical propositions just around the corner, that threatens integrity just as much, says Pirate Party chairman Rickard Falkvinge.

Science Radio reported on March 13 on one of these propositions, one called "Availability of electronic communication in crime investigations", or SOU 2005:38. The proposition says that police is going to be able to place bugs in computers, and that internet providers are to be forced to spy on all their customers, all the time, for the benifit of the National Board of Police. The idea is that a police officer or another personal involved in state administration can watch what a person has done at a given time. The internet providers are to pay the bill for the surveillance and the gigantic database that is required.

"Just like in the case of the FRA proposition, it is a matter of mass surveillance of ordinary citizens that are not even suspected of crime. This is the wrong direction to go for our society", says Rickard Falkvinge.

Another proposition that is expected to be brought up in parliament during spring is the Data Storage Directive, due to be integrated into Swedish legislation before June. It is a EU directive from the winter of 2005, where Thomas Bodström was a key architect. Just like the proposition on electronic communications, it is about internet providers being forced to register what their customers are doing and give this information to authorities. Critics claim that this clash with the European Convention and thus can not and should not be implemented.

"From having a mail secrecy where it has been forbiden for the operators to store information about our private communications, we are now going to have laws that says that they are forced to do it, says Rickard Falkvinge. Information about all text messages, e-mails and phone calls are to be logged in a gigantic database. They are also being forced to store our movements through to"wn, by continously taking the bearings of all cellular phones."

The third proposition is the so-called Sanction Directive, or IPRED1. This is also a EU directive due to become Swedish legislation. The planned Swedish implementation give the lobby groups of movie and record companies the right to work as police and prosecutors, with more far reaching power than the real judicial system.

"This is how it works in the US, for example. There these lobby groups have put into system forcing tens of thousands of citizens to turn over all their fortunes to them, threatening to sue them for the tripple amounts if they don't comply. They have sent legal threats to 83 year old ladies and 12 year old school girls. This is nothing short of systematic and state sanctioned blackmailing, and this kind of organized crime against our citizens I don't want to see in Sweden," Falkvinge says. "Those that don't believe this could happen in Sweden can watch any other country in Europe - every place where these special interest groups have been given this authority, they act in the same fashion. They are accused of organized mafia methods, and not without reason."

"Each one of these propositions is an abomination against democracy and a direct threat against society if they are made into laws. Sweden is the second worst country in Europe when it comes to protecting our privacy. Why is the government hurrying to create the police state that is the lowest spot on the list? The Pirate Party claimed before the election that there wouldn't be much of a difference between a red or a blue government in this respect, but it is sad to see how correct with were. It is now up to Sweden to confirm that all these propositions is a breach against basic human rights conventions and to refuse to make them into laws," Falkvinge concludes.


We are currently fighting for basic democratic principles in Sweden, believe nothing else. If these propositons are passed and turned into legislation, we have a system of mass surveillance that has not been seen in Europe since well before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Back then we were on the right side of the wall. If these laws are passed, we will quickly find ourselves on the wrong side of the Telescreens.

Name the company

Who can guess the name of the company I am now describing?

5 points: One of the many companies that are effectively involved in lawsuits against itself for copyright infringments?

4 points: The company in 2005 hired graffiti artists to spray paint advertisements for one of its products in seven major US cities.

3 points: The company has been charged for price cartelling several times, including in 2005 (at least three times), 2006, and just as late as March 20, 2007.

2 points: Received fame for installing a rootkit on the computer of those that bought some of their products. They provided an uninstaller - that installed a dial-home program. They are facing several class action lawsuits regarding this matter. being sued or filed by several US states, the US federal government and sovereign states.

1 points: Provides what is probably the most over-priced game console in the world - for consumers, developers and virtually anyone else.

Answer: Sony, of course.